Although Die Weisse Rose released only one full-length album so far (A Martyrium Of White Roses, CMI 2009), this is a project that certainly is quite recognizable in European underground. We decided to ask a few questions to Thomas Bøjden, the brain of this project, among others how he managed to rech such status, but also about new album, about Poland and few other interesting issues. Have a nice reading!.
First of all I’d like to ask you what was the main reason that you released your first album 8 years after founding DIE WEISSE ROSE?
Since the start of DIE WEISSE ROSE, I had a very explicit direction and feel that I wanted A Martyrium Of White Roses to embody, both in sound, form and concept. It was important to me, that it became a coherent album and not merely a collection of songs, which seems to be the case for most bands these days. During the creative process of writing the songs, the songs tended to gain a life of their own, so it was just a matter of capturing these songs and getting them down on tape/harddisk or whatever until I was satisfied and, yes, in the end it did take quite long.
Does the name of your project have any special meaning for you? Why did you chose Die Weisse Rose organisation as your… let’s call it “spiritual signpost” for your creativity?
The main reason for choosing the name DIE WEISSE ROSE, was that I wanted a name that wasn’t being static and something that was open to multiple interpretations. In that sense I feel still that the name is doing the concept justice. I have also considered just using the initials DWR to be able to use different names (like old hc/punk bands like MDC etc) depending on the purpose and concept that I would be having in mind for a release, but that would just makes things unnecessarily complicated and over the years I realised that the name DIE WEISSE ROSE is more than sufficient. The various explanations and feedback I have come across over the years furthermore emphasised that it was the right decision to stick to that name.
DIE WEISSE ROSE is an interesting and rare example of a project which has been quite well known since many years, but has never released any official stuff until “Martyrium…”. In your opinion what brought you such esteem in martial/neofolk circles?
I know that at least the approach of playing so many concerts before releasing anything was unorthodox, but it wasn’t something that I intended or had planned beforehand. It occurred this way organically and when looking back on the days before A Martyrium Of White Roses and how things evolved, it does seem that this was the right course of events and I don’t believe it could have been any different. In regards to the esteem that you mention, that is not for me to judge, this path was “just” laid for me and i had no other choice of just marching down it.
Who stands behind DIE WEISSE ROSE today? Is it your personal project only or are there people who help you on regular basis?
DIE WEISSE ROSE consists solely of me but I of course call upon friends to join in live performances and recording situations. For me this modus operandi is ideal. Art should be dictated from our hearts so that the (i)rresponsibility that we create becomes cause and effect. That is tragedy that we create. Art should not be compromised or selfcensored. Art should be confrontational and a kick in the face. The people who are involved with DWR, for example John Murphy, Kim Larsen, Gerhard of ALLERSEELEN, the various members of JÄNNERWEIN and all others that have been involved over the years, are all musicians that I truly admire and respect for their individual projects and their contribution to DIE WEISSE ROSE. In the end however it is me that has the final say on everything and who will have to face the firing squad for my choices alone!
On “A Martyrium…” you used the texts of Friedrich Nietzsche. Could you tell us few words about philosophy behind DIE WEISSE ROSE project?
The main objective or philosophy of DIE WEISSE ROSE, is primarily to focus on subjects that feel relevant to me. Most of the time these interests or historical references should have different connotations and different interpretations and work on different levels. Words and music should always resonate with a certain poetic tone or else both words and music will fail and falter. Therefore I try to work very intuitively from what feels right and in that sense I trust my intuition enough to be the guideline.
DIE WEISSE ROSE is the project considered as “Gesamtkunstwerke”, a total work of art involving not only music but also visualisations, performances, references to historical events etc. Though my question is: is this by any chance possible to reach such “total work of art”? Isn’t it the term which describes the perfection, something so monumental that it’s almost impossible to reach? At which stage of reaching such “Gesamtkunstwerke” is DIE WEISSE ROSE today?
Of course the ideal of perfection is not attainable, but less can do and will have to do though one would surely need to aspire to the highest possible level. And I do believe in the idea that artists yearn for making sense of this imperfect world, and that it is precisely this dissatisfaction that might be the driving force and inspiration for an artist to try and create beauty in such an at times disgusting world where beauty and ideals seem to have been utterly lost. However these are indeed interesting times that we are living in and that we are facing and I wouldn’t have preferred to live in any other time or era.
You used also excerpts from Ezra Pound and Herman Hesse. How important is literature for your creativity? Do you have any favourite writers?
I would say that literature is a very important input for both for DWR and for me personally as being a teacher of literature. I am constantly surrounding myself with books. To name one single author would seem like an impossible task but I do believe that all the authors that I have used are individuals that would qualify for the title of being my favorite writer. The list is endless however.
Are you interested in art? Which period in art history you find most interesting and inspiring?
Yes, art has always interested me for as far as I can remember. The term ART has become such a broad definition today that I often hold a contempt for contemporary art. A lot of it seems flawed from my perspective, in the sense that it is being purely egocentric and more like a therapy for an artist, than holding any true artistic merit, direction or purpose. Art should be generous and giving. Art should be functional otherwise it’s meaningless and without purpose. Art is about communication and I do believe that all songs yearn to be heard, and music is essentially about communion in various forms either with a resonance to its listeners or a spiritual dimension.
What do you think about Sophie Scholl and Die Weisse Rose movement? Heroic actions which gave courage and spirit to other people resisting the enemy or rather unnecessary, useless death of young and intelligent men and women who had all life ahead of them?
The members of the Munich White Rose movement certainly have my highest form of admiration in terms of their actions. I admire people that have the courage to go and grow against the grain of popular opinion or against their time! In terms of dying a “useless” death i do believe that their deeds lives on to this very day and that we are having this dialogue in the first place proves it even more to be so.
In your opinion, is there a place for heroes today in these consumptionist ruled by multinational corporations times?
These times much more than previous times call for heroes and heroic deeds.
Where do you think will be humanity in 50 years from now?
I dont have any nostalgia for either the past or the future. The very moment of the present and the now, that is what is essential and it is the actions that we take in the now, that we shall be remembered for. Furthermore I firmly believe that things are not moving in a linear direction, but in cyclic movements so I do believe that it will be the same shit all over again!.
Do you know anything about Polish industrial/folk scene?
Yes i am aware of several very good Polish bands such as Job Karma, Horologium, Ghosts of Breslau, Cold Fusion, Across The Rubicon etc. But it’s especially the works of Zbigniew Preisner, that touch me profoundly, with an almost religious resonance not unlike certain works by Arvo Pärt. Though his works can of course hardly be described as post apocalypic/industrial/ hipster neofolk whatever.
When can we expect another DIE WEISSE ROSE album? I hope not in 2017?
No- actually the new album has been written for some time now and exists in a very rough demo form at the moment. It’s scheduled to be entitled SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI… Ahead of me is the hard work of getting everything organised and not forgetting that detail is everything, so I am fully aware that things might take longer. Originally recording was supposed to have started last year but due to live activity it was postponed. Right now I am working on it day and night. In the meantime I do have several others releases planned such as 7″s as well as other formats.
In December 2011 you played in Poland. Was this your first visit in my country? What is your first association when you think about Poland?
Yes, it was be my first visit to Poland…. Unfortunately the time was really limited, so i am very much looking forward to visit Poland soon again. Some of the associations that come to mind in regards to Poland is my deep admiration of Polish cinema, and especially the work of Kieslowski. Kieslowski’s Dekalog was one of the recurring elements that I kept returning to, as a constant source of inspiration when writing ‘A Martyrium of White Roses’. I still find it inspiring these days for its themes and the questions that arise from it. When visiting Warsaw i went to the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising, which really left a deep impression on me. Already having read about it prior to my visit it still struck me with it historical significance.
DIE WEISSE ROSE was sharing the stage with Death In June. Does the fact that you share the stage, well, with the legend, had any particular meaning for you?
Yes, DEATH IN JUNE have always had a special place in my heart. It has been twenty years since I discovered DEATH IN JUNE and my life has been changed ever since. DEATH IN JUNE truly transformed the way that I perceived things and how art should or could be. When I look at those 20 years in hindsight or in terms of continuity, the only constant has been DEATH IN JUNE, as a companion for the good and the bad moments in my life. To be honest I couldn’t think of a better way to first visit Poland than by sharing stage with DEATH IN JUNE in Warsaw.
Kim Larsen accompanied you on stage – how do you like “The Lone Descent”? Can we expect any OTWATM interludium during DIE WEISSE ROSE performance?
No, no, there were no OF THE WAND AND THE MOON songs in the set, since I firmly believe that things should be kept seperate when it comes to performances. Personally I think that “The Lone Descent” stands head and shoulders above everything else that is being released these days. “The Lone Descent” will be a reference point in years to come and certainly will raise the bar of quality and songwriting of people that have been listening to it. I was fortunate to hear it from the very early stages of songwriting to the actual finished release and I have to say that I was immediately convinced of its quality and that it would be an instant classic. Of course it speaks more for itself than my praise for it ever can do it justice.
Thank you for interview. Last words are yours.