Interview with Old Forest (UK)

Maintaining the essence of the true BM underground feeling since 1998!This band came to my attention after coming across a video of theirs on Youtube with the song 'The Devil's Dyke' from the mcd 'The legend of the Devil's Dyke-Tales of the Sussex Weald Pt.1' released in 2008 by Death To Music Productions.

Hail and welcome.As this is a great privilege for me to do this interview with Old Forest.

First of all.Old Forest has been active for quite a long time now since 1998.How come til this day not many people heard of the band?Or has it been a relative aware choice?

Greetings and many thanks for searching far enough into the true underground scene to discover Old Forest. We are not very well known at all, but this is no problem to us. We create our music with little heed given to current trends and notions of notoriety. All of that is worthless and destroys the spirit of the music.

How did things started in first place,and what was and still is the main goal for Old Forest?

The ideal of the band is to create something inspired from not only the music of the early 90s Black Metal scene, but also to invoke the mystery that was created around the Norwegian Black Metal circle and the ensuing media frenzy over arson murders. We are not simply a Black Metal band, but a band dedicated to the memory of Black Metal as it once was and ceased to be around the time of about 1995.

What are the main influences,inspirations and importance for Old Forest to keep up the old-school BM spirit?

Describe to us in a short answer your view upon the nowadays BM scene.Is it become better or for the worse.These days people all make groups in what is 'true' or not,or just simply leave it as a gimmick.How important is all of this for Old Forest.

Ever since I have read underground fanzines since the early to mid 1990s, bands have poured scorn on what they see as trendiness and un-true black metal. In general, it was the untrue and trendy bands making these statements, in a desperate bid to be seen as old school and “true”. This is a childish way to see things. My own thoughts are quite simple – if a scene exists and has a name, then you are already too late to be relevant to it. All bands formed after the Kerrang! magazine articles about the Black Metal circle are trendy in some way (as most people until then were totally un aware of it all), but there is a distinct difference between an orthodox band such as Old Forest and a pompous pop band such as Dimmu Borgir. Strangely, Old Forest did not seek to be different from what we believed Black Metal was about – but by following this ideal, we have seemed to become original in comparison to most. Everything is relative.

The first demo was released back in 1998 entitled 'Of Mist And Graves'.The title speaks for itself,but can you tell a little more about it?Like where it was recorded?Like how the process go for the first demo release,and what was the line-up exist out back then?

The demo was recorded shortly after Old Forest was formed. Our original bassist left, and so Beleth took over the bass as well as the guitars. The line-up ever since has consisted of myself (Kobold – Vocals & Keys), Beleth (Guitars and Bass) and Grond (Drums). We recorded the demo in a local and long since closed rehearsal space in north London, and mixed it ourselves. We sent out 2 copies; one to Mordgrimm records (UK) and one to No Colours records (Ger). Both responded offering Old Forest recording deals. Due to No Colours records releasing bands with questionable beliefs which have tainted Black Metal for many people, we chose to sign with Mordgrimm and to avoid any connection to the whole NSBM scene.

A full-length appeared in 1999 entitled 'Into The Old Forest'.Cause of the short tracks (approach 2 minutes each)the album itself only lasts about 17:00 minutes long.All in all this minor detail.Seems Old Forest isn't really fund in writing longer tracks?What is your view upon bands who write those kind of tracks lasting around 10 minutes or longer?

The debut album ‘Into the Old Forest’ (1999) featured 8 tracks and has a running time of over 30 minutes. Perhaps you have become confused. However, we are not too concerned about the length of songs – 90% of most albums is filler material. We avoid that, but do end up with slightly shorter songs. It is a case of quality and consistency that is important - not quantity.

Where was the full-length recorded and who was responsible for the artwork?

The debut album was recorded at a studio in London. It has also long since closed. The artwork was supplied by the label. Our new artwork is far more representative of the bands material and we have full control.

Theres also an unreleased full-length from 2001 called 'No more black (The 2nd coming)'.Why wasn't the album actually being released?Are there plans to still release it someday?What was the meaning behind the title for that album?

We don’t know why the album wasn’t released, but in retrospect it was probably the best thing to happen with it. It is not representative of Old Forest and was a mistake to record. We symbolically and ritually buried the master tapes in the New Forest (near Southampton). This is a tradition we have continued ever since, with copies of both parts of the trilogy buried in these sacred places (a copy of Part 1 at the Devil’s Dyke, and a copy of Part 2 at the hill above the Long Man of Wilmington).

Finally after a absence of 7 years Old Forest finally started to work on new material again.Resulting in the mcd 'The legend of the Devil's Dyke-Tales of the Sussex Weald ;pt.1',released through Death To Music Productions in 2008.

Later on the concept album had a follow up in the shape of 'Tales of the Sussex Weald ;Part 2 (Domain of the Long Man).

Can you explain to us what The Devil's Dyke is all about,and why choosing a concept about it?I have pt.1 myself as well,and there's rather a long yet interesting story coming along with it in a shape of a nice prof.printed book.It was put together very nicely and informative.Who was responsible for that?

The trilogy ‘Tales of the Sussex Weald’ is an idea we had as a band. We all originally from, and have since returned to the area of the south of England that was once covered in a dense and sparsely populated forest area. This was one of the very last areas to succumb to Christianity, and therefore has many myths and legends existing to explain away the old beliefs of the area. The most well known in the area is the legend of the Devil’s Dyke. It is a small and steep hilled valley that is quite unusual. The myth is that the devil came to his pagan lands of Sussex, and was angered to see so many churches built on the north side of the hill, so attempted to dig a path through to the sea in order to flood the low lying lands and wipe Christianity away. His plan was foiled by the cunning of St Cuthman, a local saint, who (with help from a nun at the edge of death) fooled the Devil into thinking that day had come, causing him to flee, leaving the work unfinished. The lyrics of the song are probably the best and most concise way to explain this.

There's a name printed upon the cover of the booklet.Namely 'Master Cisbury Oldfirle'.Who was he and why did he inspire you so much?

Master Cissbury of Oldfirle was the local teacher at the village of Poynings who recorded this story in its most elaborated form, which I in turn assembled and reprinted. The story is not available anywhere else, and was last printed in this form some 150 years ago. I owned a copy by chance, as my grandfather had been born at the foot of the Devil’s Dyke in a house long since demolished. He grew up in the area, and as a result collected much information and artifacts.

With 'Tales of the Sussex Weald ;Part 2 (Domain of the Long Man)'the story continues.It also comes along with a nice booklet printed in 100 pieces.Can you tell something about the music on that release?When can we expect pt.3?

Each part is as important as that which follows or precedes it. Part 3 is currently being recorded. We do not yet wish to say more on its content, but it will be the most contemporary of the three, in terms of the stories it recounts.

The video for 'The Devil's Dyke'.Where was it recorded and who was it coming up with the idea behind it?

The video for the devils dyke was recorded in and around the Devils Dyke area, and also in the small rehearsal space we currently use (in the basement of a converted barn in the outside the city limits). The idea was to present a visual stimulus to accompany the song. It was interesting to add a further dimension to the music, but Old Forest is foremostly about our music.

Personally i like the video very much.Its put together rather low-budget yet very effective.Without all those special effects which are overdone nowadays way to much most of the time.Was it the general idea to capture that certain underground feeling?

It was recorded with the budget of half a tank of petrol. The band footage was recorded literally underground. The music we make is of an underground nature, and we care not for the capitalist ideals of the mainstream music scene. You will NEVER see Old Forest on any television show or hear our music on commercial radio because we hate what the modern day world stands for.

This year a new demo appeared under the title 'The Kingdom of Darkness'.It was set up as a free download on the Old Forest Myspace profile.

What sort of material does it contain?

The demo ‘The Kingdom of Darkness’ was recorded in 1999, just before we entered the studio to record our debut album. As we were about to record the album, we decided not to release the demo. Due to the rarity of the debut album and the continuing and growing interest in Old Forest, we decided to make the demo available, so that those whom are interested to hear the material from the debut album can do so for free without having to search for it.

Are there plans for any live performances in the near future?Did you actually do some live gigs already last year?

No. Gigs are for poseurs and egotists. Old Forest are neither, and despise any form of ego gratification and macho posturing – which is for deeply insecure herd followers. The only appearances we will ever make is in the form of video. If you want to ever see Old Forest play a live gig, then you do not understand our values. If we ever did play, it would be for our own enjoyment and would be under a pseudonym so as to not taint our work with mis-understandings..

Thanks alot with doing this interview for MRP.All the best for the future with Old Forest and any other possible projects.

Final words are for you...

Support the true underground Black Metal art of Old Forest and download our demos and buy our new material at As a pact, we shall keep up the black crusade and keep the black flame burning!