Interview conducted by Joseph S. Hopkins over the course of July and August 2016.
The subject of our sixth interview in Mimisbrunnr.info's Six Questions series is Danish artist Kim Larsen. Larsen is best known for his musical work, particularly as founder and sole constant member of musical project Of The Wand And The Moon (OTWATM).
Since OTWATM's first album in 1999, Nighttime Nightrhymes, a steady stream of singles, EPs, and albums has cemented the project as one of the most well known groups in a musical genre widely known as neofolk. Like some of his collaborators, Larsen has frequently employed symbolism and motifs from Germanic mythology in both his musical and visual output, perhaps most prominently in the 2005 album Sonnenheim.
1. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Amager, Copenhagen, Denmark.
2. Can you remember when you first encountered Norse mythology or, more generally, Germanic mythology? And what was the context?
My first encounter with Norse mythology, as far as I remember, was in school. I remember being read stories from Norse mythology in class.
I have included a couple of drawings that I did for a school assignment of Odin and Thor. Not sure what class this was as the other pages in the book are about trees and animals, which would suggest biology class or something.
My drawing of Odin looks like a one-eyed Jewish rabbi drugged out of his mind, haha. And Thor only has four fingers. Guess I was a weird kid. :)
The first encounter of Norse mythology could possibly also have been via the Danish comic book series Valhalla.
The first book came out in 1979 and seems the first book has also been used as education material in schools. I don't recall that though. It was also done as a cartoon movie in '86.
3. How would you describe your religious beliefs (or lack thereof)?
Guess I would consider myself agnostic. And lean towards that we are floating in a black starfilled sea of empty, meaningless, godless space toward the inevitable end for all of us.
But I'd love to be proven otherwise. Anyhoo, I do love meaningful coincidences. Like seeing the shape of an algiz rune or swastikas in a building or logo or whatever. Also after using the algiz rune for years and finding out I could combine my name Kim in the algiz, using the Danish Younger Futhark. Insignificant to others I guess.
4. How would you describe your political beliefs (or lack thereof)?
I tire very quickly about politics. I do vote at elections. And when I do I vote to the left. Not going to expand on this subject. I can already feel a nosebleed coming along as I write this, haha.
5. Do you have a formal academic background in Germanic studies? If not, where do you do your research on the topic?
No. I haven't had any background in Germanic/Norse studies. I don't read as much as I used to about the runes, etc.
But back in the day I found information about runestones for instance at the university library in Copenhagen. I also purchased books by Edred Thorsson [pen name of Stephen Flowers], Ian Read's Runa journal, etc.
6. How does Norse mythology and/or general Germanic mythology influence your creative output?
Not so much these days as it has in the past. Though I still use the runes in my artwork at times.
Joseph S. Hopkins would like to thank Kim Larsen for his participation.