interview with Panzerkardinal

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Have any of you played in other bands? I have been the lead vocalist for metal and rock ‘n’ roll bands such as Black Cyclone, Lawgiver GBG and Under Attack.

What are your names? / Who plays what? My name is Arnór Hermannsson Wikström. I do everything.

Have you had other previous members? Yes. The first Panzerkardinal song, Under The Dome, was a collaboration with my friend Debra Warg.

Where are you from? Reykjavík, Iceland, but based in Gothenburg, Sweden.

What year did the band form? The idea for the band first formed in 2005, around the time Benedict XVI was elected Pope. The name Panzerkardinal was an old nickname of his. It would, however, take five years before the first song was ever recorded, and the band has existed in its current and active form since 2017.

What's your style of genre? Experimental industrial and gothic.

What inspires you?

All my songs have meaning. The first album, Safe Harbor, was mostly inspired by playing a gig to support suicide awareness, so the sound on that album is quite bleak and depressive, but with a ray of hope. Right now, it’s mostly world politics and corruption that inspires me, and those will be the major themes on my sophomore album, Megachurch.

I can be inspired by a beautiful view, a tragic documentary, by reading the news, by watching a gripping film. Anything, really.

How have you developed since you started with the music? I no longer have as many doubts about my sound, and I have become more confident about my craft. I have also learned not to limit myself. I’m in charge. I can do what I want. I don’t need to conform to people’s expectations. If I were to suddenly want to make a concept album about My little Pony, I’ll just do it. No limits, not even when it comes to genre. I have a hard time sticking to any kind of barriers.

Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? Not really. I’m not looking to do a lot of live gigs. Maybe just a few from time to time. Perhaps in the future.

Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? I am currently signed to Danish label Initium Records, and I’ve been quite happy with them. It’s run by very flexible people.

What made you decide to make this music? I had been performing with bands for many years, always having to conform to the wishes of band mates. I just wanted an opportunity to realize my own vision, and as much as I love metal and hard rock, that was not ultimately what I wanted to do. I had been involved in the gothic/industrial subculture for much longer, and wanted to go back into that.

What are your songs about?

The first songs were all critical of religion, and the catholic church in particular, while the songs on my first album were mainly about depression and a yearning sense of wanting to belong. My latest songs have been focused on politics and war. I don’t shy away from any subject, but I want there to be

a purpose to every song, and often strive for an album or EP to have an overarching concept that ties the songs together.

Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? I do everything.

Do you compose in a certain environment? I work from home. I don’t need anything other than a cup of coffee, and a decent night’s sleep to get the creative juices flowing.

Have you done any covers live? No covers, but there are some songs I’ve been wanting to explore. I have a fantasy about making a really grinding industrial version of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights.

What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs? Only done one so far. It wasn’t exactly packed.

What ages are most of your concert attendants? I’d say mid twenties to late thirties.

Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? As I’m not planning on doing too many live performances, I can’t answer that.

Do you have a regular place you play live often? No.

What was your first gig like? Low on people, late at night. Quite cozy.

What was your latest gig? Välkommen Till Avgrunden in Berg 211, last summer.

Where have you played live this year? Don’t plan to play live this year.

What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? Theft of art is a form of compliment. I just want people to listen. I have no comments regarding the morality of it.

How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? It’s never been easier to get your music on the market. It’s never been harder to get heard.

What do you think of my work? You seem to be doing what you do out of a passion. That’s valuable, and I hope you get the opportunity to keep doing it for as long as you want to.

How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? I don’t know, but any exposure is exposure. Hopefully, people will enjoy reading this.

Do you have any role models or idols? Yes. Many. But when it comes to Panzerkardinal, the biggest guiding light is Slovenian avant-guard industrial band Laibach. Panzerkardinal would never have existed without them.

Why do you think that they exist? Their sound and attitude towards creating music, and how they completely don’t give a shit about expectations and how they are perceived is a huge inspiration to me.

Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? Totally depends on your image and sound.

What have been your biggest obstacles? The industrial scene is still quite underground, while at the same time being completely over-run with artists. This has, however, inspired me to evolve my sound to a more experimental one, where I try hard not to sound too much like everybody else.

What advice would you give other bands or artists? Don’t do it for money. That will kill you and your creativity. Do it because you love doing it. Everything else is a waste of time. If you don’t like doing what you do, nobody else will either.

Do you have any new material? Yes. My latest song, #MAGA, is available on all streaming services. It’s the first single from my upcoming album Megachurch, and it’s meant to show of the harder and more vicious sound on that album.

What are your web sites? Panzerkardinal.com and Facebook.com/panzerkardinal

Do you have something to add? The second single from Megachurch, Ránfuglinn (Icehot1), my first song in my native Icelandic, will be available on all streaming services on august 2. Make sure you check it out. I’m also working ona secret project with insanely talented Lamashtu vocalist Sandra Mattsson. In the meantime, please enjoy #MAGA and Safe harbour, both available now.

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