Here is a rare interview with KOBOLD of reactivated Cult Black Metallers OLD FOREST - made on a cold Friday afternoon in the Autumn of 2008, in a famed Sussex brewery's pub in Lewes, Sussex. We wanted to take a glimpse into the world of what is probably the most obscure Black Metal band the UK has to offer, questions about their burying of their work around the countryside, and their take on the music..

Please tell us about the formation of Old Forest and your early work ?

Old Forest was formed by myself (Kobold) on the vocals and keys, Beleth (on the guitar), Grond (on the drums) and Dante (on the bass guitar) in 1997. We were all fans of the early 90's Black Metal scene as it had been portrayed in the press. It was literally a dangerous form of music back then, and the atmosphere of these bands and that time sparked great inspiration for all of us. Me and some good freinds from University decided to form a band to express our love of this scene. Like our favourite artists, we adopted psuedonyms. Shortly after forming the band, Dante left the area (London) to study in North Wales - for this reason, he had to leave the band also. We continued without him, and Beleth took over bass guitar responsibilities also. This line-up has been consistant ever since.

When the demo "Of Mists & Graves" had been recorded, we sent out about only 3 or 4 demo tapes. Two Labels showed immediate interest, and we settled with Mordgrimm. After that we recorded another demo "Well of Souls" - that was never released - both of those demos are going to be a free release on Death To Music productions in the near future. We recorded the debut (Into the Old Forest) - which consisted of the tracks from both demos - for Mordgrimm, and it was hated by all the magazines (I am proud to say that the trend-following magazine Terrorizer gave it 1 out of 10) - althgough the intended audience (the die-hard Black Metal fans) seemed to appreciate our work very much, and since we created our myspace profile, many of these fans have got in touch with us.

What happened to make the band split in 2001 ? Why did you reform ?

After the debut, we set about recording "None More Black - The Second Coming", but correspondance with the label was incredibly slow (this was still a time when the internet was not common) and we didnt recieve any contact for over 12 months. During that time, we all went our seperate ways to other locations and decided to halt all work with Old Forest. It was apparent that the second album would not be released, so we took the master tape into the New Forest in Hampshire, and buried it at a secret location (we lost the map, but have a vague recollection as to where it may be).

In 2007, I had a chance meeting with 'Grond' at Portslade train station. It turns out that he and Beleth had also returned to the area of our childhood (the East Sussex area) and had begun rehearsing some cover versions of old Darkthrone, Emperor, Burzum and some other classic artists in a very run-down rehearsal space on Brighton sea-front. They had not been aware of my location, as I had left no forwarding address at my previous 3 residences. We immediately arranged a meeting, and in a true old fashioned pub that sells Sussex Ale, Old Forest was reformed. We recorded a cover-version of Emperor's 'Ancient Queen' from the classic 7" vinyl EP "As The Shadows Rise". By some chance correspondance from James of Death To Music (who we had been in contact with during his days with The Meads of Asphdoel), we were able to get the blessing of Samoth himself for this recording - which has been available to listen to at the Death To Music myspace profile for some time

Why have you chosen the Sussex countryside as the theme of the trilogy ?

We had all grown up in the area (myself and Beleth having been at school together since the age of 8). Incidentally, Grond was a few years our senior, and was instrumental in directing us to the very best metal bands when we were young (early Metallica, Slayer, Bathory and then later on - the Norwegian Black Metal). We had all grown up on the edge of the Sussex Downs, and were aware of the myths and legends of the surrounding countryside from an early age (for instance the cleberations of the Medieval Mummers in Ditchling). In fact, much of the early inspiration for lyrics had come from these, yet we had not openly stated it. We are proud of the local culture we have, and seek to share it with those who will lend an ear.

Why dont the band like to give interviews ?

Black Metal is many things to many people, but it is certainly not about celebrity, fame or fortune. When whatever you do becomes about the ego, it is certainly time to pause and reflect. I have been willing to answer these questions in the interest of letting people know a little more about Old Forest, rather than hearing rumours and lies from those idiots who would try and seek to disrupt our work (they know who they are, as much as we know they are reading this).


Why did you chose to release the trilogy through Death To Music productions ?

Old Forest has never made any profit - certainly, our first releases were never profitable for the band at least (something which has greatly angered Grond since the release of the debut album). We dont play Black Metal for money (that is obvious), but we feel we should have a share of the little profit that is made. This is assured with Death To Music productions - we have already secured the costs of our first EP, and also for the recording and manufacture of the second part (which is underway and due for release in the near future) . Also, I much admire that a label can exist with no strict requirements other than artistic integrity. Art for art's sake is a comendable venture in 2008, and we are proud to stand alongside them. I guess you could say that Old Forest as a group are inclined to the socialist ideology that Death To Music stands for.

We have now made available our first demo "Of Mists and Graves" as a free download, as it is now 10 years since it's release and it has long been out-of-print.

What can we expect from Old Forest in the future ?

Old Forest are currently rehearsing new material for our own pleasure, and enjoying pitchers of our county's Pale Ale after rehearsals in one of the two or three pubs in Brighton that have the Sussex myths as their theme.

We have talked of organising a mini-bus tour for a very small amount of fans, visiting the sites depicted in the trilogy when it is complete (and visiting the Inns of the Welad along the way), but that is to be decided on as and when the time comes.

the self-directed music video
for 'The Devil's Dyke'

Any last words ?

Keep the Black Flame burning...

Then Kobold drains his pint, places his jar on the bar (forever the gentleman) and says 'goodbye' with a simple nod of the head - exiting the bar just in time to escape the Friday evening deluge...

...he promises another interesting meeting with the other two members of the band, sometime before the completion of the Sussex Weald trilogy.


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