Here in the states, not too much is known about the dark knight of Norway, Danny Larsen. The long-haired European metalhead walks tall, rocks hard, and has been holding it down for Oslo (“city of Satan”) for years. Standout parts in the Pirates films (including this year’s Hooked) and a unique photo output combine with a thirst for heavy music, controversial artwork, and free living, making up one of the mythical personalities in all of snowboarding. With garlic ropes, stakes, silver bullets, and religious texts in hand, it’s time to get Caught UP with “The Darkness” himself. Be warned …
What’s up Danny? Looking good.
Hey man! The mullet and hunter glasses? F--k yeah. That’s my “at home” look. You know, when I don’t have to pose for cameras. It just feels more relaxed that way, but the tie still makes me look business-y.
How have you been?
I’m all good! Sitting at home, drinking some wine, drawing, and listening to Burzum. Just loading up before the Pirates premiere tour.
Burzum is a pretty hardcore black metal band. The guy behind it was sent to jail for a bunch of years for killing a guy and burning down a bunch of churches. But, he’s out now and just released a sick new album.
All truly evil metal is forged in the great northern darkness.
Explain Norwegian death metal to us. The people gotta know.
First of all, it’s “black metal.” Often confused with death metal. Black metal involves all the Satanists and church burnings. It’s all about lo-fi recordings, high-pitched screaming, and evil vibes.
The Satanist bullshit is just that: bullshit. Most of them are just anti-religion, but it gets misinterpreted as being Satanic. That’s just some nonsense picked up by the newspapers and so on. It’s way more fun to talk about a bunch of Satanists playing in a band than just a group of evil guys who don’t like organized religion, right?
Do Norwegian metal bands make all other metal bands lame?
The Norwegian in me wants to say yes! [Laughs] No, I think there’s awesome stuff from all over the world. Even sunny California’s got some badass black metal. Slayer’s one of my favorite bands, for sure. Those guys are f-kin’ killing it. And you’ve got to love Kerry King’s sense of fashion. Tribals and chains--so hot right now.
Who do you got: Top Five Metal Bands of All Time?
1) Black Sabbath
3) Iron Maiden
Have you ever killed a goat and cooked it on a cross?
HA! Wait … are you talking about a typical Larsen family picnic?
Depends on your family.
No, I haven’t. But I did have some lamb cooked with cabbage today. That kind of counts, right?
Ok ok. So the big question here, for those Americans who maybe don’t know: Who the hell is Danny Larsen?
I’m a Norwegian snowboarder. I live in Norway because I love living here. I draw when I don’t snowboard, and sorry for sounding like a stinking hippie, but I do what I love.
Some people here don’t realize that you’re pretty damned famous back home. It’s sort of the same thing with the Pirates films not being so massive in the states, even though they’re insane films.
I guess the scenes are pretty separated at times. It’s not always easy to pick up on everything. People should check out the Pirates movies though, they’re pretty cool.
What is the Euro/Norway scene like nowadays? What’s the new trend?
Dude, I have no f--king clue. I guess basically the same as in the states? Spin to win, while going upside-down twice? I do what I want and don’t pay too attention to that whole thing.
I guess being upside down three times is the new thing in Norway. Torstein?
That was f--king amazing. Pretty impressive.
Thoughts on the mad flipping craze?
I’m a big fan of letting people do what they want and letting them be happy with it. Personally, I’d rather see people figure out new ways to ride their boards--coming up with an entire new way of doing tricks instead of just slapping another 180 on an already big spin. I just don’t see what the point is. Is it just because it’s harder? I mean … a frontside 180 is still way harder than a 900 when you’re on a 70-foot jump.
It’s impossible to say that someone is best at snowboarding. It just doesn’t make sense. That’s like saying that a musician is best -- f--king impossible claim. You might have picked the guitarist that knows the most riffs or chords, but who the f--k cares? I’ll always rather see Andreas Wiig or someone do a smooth frontside 7 than a jerked 1260 any day.
Sorry about all the swearing, by the way. I’m Norwegian. That’s how we communicate!
[Laughs] It’s all good. We’re American--we swear in the womb. How often are you in the states?
It depends. Usually I come over a couple of times a year. Always good times in the USA. Friendly people and awesome terrain.
Both here and back home: Favorite riding spots?
Cooke City, Montana
Spring backcountry in Folgefonna, Norway
Explain your nicknames.
My real name is Daniel Espen Berentsen Larsen, but who the f--k would remember that? So it’s Danny, but people call me “The Darkness”, as well. I did an interview in Europe that was just titled “Danny Larsen, The Lord Of Darkness”. People over here think I’m a Satanist.
You did eat goat today.
…But only on my mother’s side… [Laughs] Naw, Satanism is bullshit. That’s like being a Christian, but rooting for the wrong guy. I’m not christian, so I don’t believe in Satan, but I do like eating both goat and lamb; that’s Satan’s and God’s animals. Oh! And fish--that’s Jesus.
Are you named as the Larsen Ice Shelf?
Some guy named Carl Anton Larsen was the first person to ski in Antarctica. Called it the Larsen Ice Shelf.
Sweet! But having “Larsen” as a last name in Norway is like having “Lee” in China.
I think you’re owed some royalty money from that. I’d call a lawyer.
I’ll f--king sue those penguins!
Kamp K2 in Hintertux.
Ha Ok Ok… So are you the first snowboarder to bring back the leather jacket?
Nope. I saw Scotty Wittlake do it before me.
Where did the style come from? Who were you looking to as a kid?
I grew up listening to Guns N Roses, Iron Maiden and AC/DC. I guess I never grew out of that. Got to have the leather jacket.
Your style, in one sentence.
Like Mother North dug me up from an 80’s party survival kit.
Oslo, city of Satan, Norway.
K2, Spy, Whiteout Outerwear, 32, Etnies, Elm, Clast, Session Boardshop,
Music to ride to?
I don’t listen to music while I ride. I hum the opening segment from Subjekt Haakonsen.
Best movie ever?
Brainstorm. Yeah man, that VHS is f--king torn to pieces, like Pamela Anderson’s pelvis.
HA! Holy s--t… Spirit Animal?
What’s good with dannylarsen.net?
It’s basically an extended blog where I can put a bunch of drawings, pics and news. Right now I’m working on a new website for my drawings, which is going to be vinterart.com, as soon as i figure out how to get that damned thing online.
How often do you get to sit down and create? The stuff is insane. You’re one sick puppy.
Thanks, mane! http://vinterclothing.blogspot.com/-- If I’m home that’s what I’ll do: sit down with a cup of coffee, put on some dark music, and draw for hours. Pretty cool thing to do in the off-season, and not to different from snowbaording. It’s all about coming up with something that people usually don’t see and that makes you stoked.
You should design boards.
Thanks! Yeah, there’s a K2 board coming out next year that I did the design for. Been doing some Russian skatedecks as well. Fun hobby. I also have this new goggle coming out with Spy--a featured artist/rider goggle. Darrell Mathes and I are doing one each. I basically tried to do an evil-looking piece inspired by black metal graphics, but without being offensive to people who easily get offended by cool stuff like that. At first glance, I’m sure people will believe there are hidden occult messages in there. [Laughs] I love it when people see occult and evil stuff that isn’t there in my drawings.
With dannylarsen.net, Helgasons, etc; how important is it for riders to be creating their own media these days?
I think most do it as some kind of a creative outlet, but then again, it’s harder and harder to get your name out with all the sick riders out there. So I guess riders try to do what they can to entertain. That’s what it all comes down to, I guess--entertaining the crowd.
Has it become as important to be accessible as it is to push progression?
I’d hate to see snowboarders not being accessible. The world’s got too many jock douches that think they’re too good for their fans. And that’s just so lame… It would suck if snowboarding turned into something like that. As a pro, you got both the responsibility to push progression as well as being accessible to those who care.
How’s life with the Pirates crew?
Pirate movie Productions is Europe’s biggest production company. Gigi and some friends of his started it as a friends company back in the days. Now they’ve gathered riders from all over Europe and Scandinavia and shoot the whole thing on 16mm to keep that old snowboard movie look. Every DVD comes with a 100-page artbook that consists of work by the riders and the crew that put the whole thing together.
The new film is Hooked. You hyped?
Yeah, man! We’ve got a bunch of new riders, like Stian Solberg, Gulli Gudmundsson, Halldor and Eiki [Helgason] and so on, so it’s gonna be cool to see that as well.
Do you need snow to snowboard?
[Laughs] No, but it helps.
Any last words? Anything on your mind?
A big hello to every hater on the messageboard! Ha!
Bonus Question: If you could take the stage with any band, any location, anytime: where, when, who, what song, and how much blood would you drink?
Oh, holy shit! Let’s see here… I can’t sing for shit, so it must be some kind of metal band where that doesn’t matter too much. So… Hammersmith, London, with Motörhead, singing “Orgasmatron”. Drinking grape blood. About a bottle.