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Interview with Satyr from "Nordic Vision" magazine by Melankol X (# 11)

Apart from Satyr and Frost, Satyricon have gone through a lot of different musicians up through their albums. Some who have just participated on one album as session musician and then others who have been proper members but have left almost before we got used to seeing them in the band. So what about the new bassist Daemon. How long will we see him playing with Satyricon? His joining to the band will hopefully create the third fundament in the band and reassure us that the band will have more time for the musical side of the band rather than using a lot of time on getting new members settling in now and then. Satyricon's fourth album is due in about a year if everything goes as planned, and with the splendid title "Rebel Extravaganza" it seems like there is a lot of great music in the horizon. Satyr and Daemon told us about the current situation.


***

How was the contact with Daemon established?

I was in Sweden in 1995 I think to do promotion for the Wongraven album and under House Of Kicks' direction which is Moonfog distributor in Sweden and then I was invited by House Of Kicks in the evening after all these interviews to attend a concert with different No Fashion bands at a local place in Stockholm. I saw Unanimated which Daemon played session bass for and thought that the band played music that doesn't appeal to me but I was impressed by his capabilities on the bass and the figure he was on stage. And I thought about that a lot afterwards that it was such a bassist we should have had in Satyricon. Nothing really happened around this, but I talked a bit with him and got the impression that he seemed to be a nice guy but I assumed that he was very established in Dismember and such. And then later at a concert in Oslo with Dismember and Dødheimsgard which I didn't even know should take place, the situation was like that Satyricon were back to being only me and Frost. I was focused on that we should just continue because I am tired of dragging around incompetent people, tired of people who are competent but that isn't willing to use that on something smart. Frost was more focused on getting new members so he has in a way taken an initiative towards Daemon without me knowing about it. Though Daemon said he was busy with Dismember and that he was flattered by the interest but that Dismember was his thing. About a month later he contacted Frost and then later he changed his mind and would like to hear more about this, and then I got in touch with him to hear what he meant with his interest and what I would expect from him in case we would cooperate. Then we reached a sort of agreement so we just have to see how it works. I'm an optimist but at the same time I am a realist, I know that it is only Frost and me who have been stable in this band and that is in a way okay because we are the only ones who have meant something in particular for the development of the band so as long as we are here it works out good but we would like to have some more that are steady, so then we just see how it ends up. But as I said I hope it will work out since he is very capable.

Do you have a better feeling around him than what the situation has been with the former members who no longer are with the band?

Yeah, maybe some of them! I had at least as good feeling when it came to Kveldulv who was both a great person and a very proficient but he had maybe not pictured that to play in a band would be something that took so extremely much time and that you had to do a lot of sacrifices. He would rather just lick the cream off the cake really and not take the hard work which follows. And that is okay and a lot of people have that attitude but it's not really that way it works for us, so then it came natural that we wouldn't cooperate anymore when we went to work with such a different attitude. That is regrettable but that's just the way it is. But when it comes to Daemon, he says he is ambitious and that he doesn't give a shit, so that is just something time will give an answer to. But he has proved something earlier by having been in Dismember for seven years and been active with that, so he has a history that allows us to be optimistic. And I also think the chemistry between us works out good in addition to the musical side, so then it is basically to hope for that it will work out in the future too.

He has been playing Death Metal for many years, is there a big difference in getting into the routines in how it is to play in Satyricon?

I believe that he feels that way, and I also feel that he is a bit engraved by it. I know that a lot of band practice like, how can I explain it, as a finished package in a way, that they rehearse with all the instruments present and at an early stage try to simulate a finished result. While in Satyricon we don't rehearse because it is cool to practice, that we are standing there and digging music, we look upon it as a working process so that things sound very good at rehearsal and that the sound is so perfect that is not really important. What is important is one learns the rounds on the themes and that one works on the harmony and with the rhythm. So we look upon it very much as a working process, and that is something me and Frost are very used to and when we think about rehearsing we don't think in the way as "oh, this doesn't sound good, what can we do now". We think in long terms, the rehearsals are very much as a sketch. I don't think most bands are working in that way and that can perhaps be a bit unusual for him I would believe. And it's also a bit with the rhythmic that is different, I would say that Death Metal is more technical than Black Metal mostly so in that way it is perhaps to climb one step down for him in a way, that he plays less technical stuff and that it is easier for him. But on the other side he gets a challenge since playing the music we do require more insight contra than to play in for instance Dismember. In quality Black Metal the expression from the individual is more in place than what it is in for instance straight ahead stereotype Death Metal. So it requires more from him as a musical individual than to play Death Metal, but technically speaking it is easier but he has to change his playing style and give more of himslef and he has to work with that. But I think that will work out good with him since he is a capable musician with good experience.

You have already started to rehearse some new material?

Yeah, we have quite a lot of new stuff going on, but it is very sketches. Right at the moment we really don't have one single song finished but we have themes that should be something like... well, it takes us about one hour in the rehearsal room to go through the themes we have so then some of it will be cut down and something else will be added. But quite a lot of the material for the basis of the next album is ready and many of the riffs are ready but what it is all about is to put things together the way we want it and also to work more with the arrangements. If I had wanted to have four songs ready now then that would not have been a problem because I have more than enough riffs to make four songs ready. But the goal is not to get the material finished as soon as possible but to make it as good as possible and then we just have to use the time we need. But the way it is now we work with developing themes and during the summer it will be more to put the developed themes together and make entire songs out of it. When it comes to lyrics, I looked at them the other day and the way it is now we have four lyrics that we definitely will use and then we have a handful of lyrics that we are a bit less secure about whether we will use them or not. We work a bit with the expression in the lyrics and we try to portray the things in a different way than we have done earlier.

In what way?

The language for instance. The message is perhaps not as obvious either. The message has been very much in focus so far and what I'm trying to do now is to arrange things rather than produce things. With that I mean to arrange an atmosphere-spectre, arrange an apprehension of something or to arrange a story rather than what it has been earlier, like war prpaganda you know! And that's not how it is now, and that is because I feel that I burn stronger for these things now than what I even have done earlier but I don't have the same need to express that anymore. I also have a need to change the language in the lyrics because I think that the language in Black Metal lyrics have been very much watered out and lack effect and being quite boring. We have always had a quite direct language but I want to try to make it much more direct than before but not in a way that it is gonna be raw or something but that it gets right in immediately in a way. Without that being a deliberate goal I see that when I sit an analyse my lyrics a bit, that that's the way it is. I think that the lyrics to "Rebel Extravaganza" are clearly the best Satyricon lyrics so far, but I don't know how much people care about it since it seems like people more and more don't give a shit about the lyrics. That does also perhaps have a connection with what the language in Black Metal lyrics is watered out and that people are tired of it.

When do you picture that you will go into studio with the new material

Those things are a bit difficult to predict, but I have aimed at the months October-November this year. I then want the album to be out early in 1999. A lot of people think it is too long time because "Nemesis Divina" came in 1996 and then three years have passed between the two last full-length albums. But on the other side, it was only half a year between out two first albums and we have released the split with Enslaved and we have released the "Megiddo" MCD. I think we have exposed ourself enough between 1996 and 1997 so that it is quiet around us in 1998 I don't see anything wrong with that. Nevertheless we don't have a choice since we need that time to make the result we wish to have.

Is it decided what studio you are going to use?

No, and that is because we will have some contribution from other musicians who are capable at special areas on the album. I could be interested in trying out a new studio, I am not very conservative in that way I don't necessarily seek the safe and the secure, I think it is exciting to try new things. But as I see it, in Norway Waterfall is the best alternative. There are a handful of studios in the same quality league as Waterfall and out of these studios Waterfall is the cheapest one. So that is in a way the only studio that is possible to use, but I could perhaps imagine going to England. I have also been thinking about Sweden, Germany and such things, England is something I have been thinking about now lately but we'll see if there's something good there. It would be quite a few pratical problems since we have to bring along so much equipment and then hotel, food and some extra expenses with bringing musicians back and forth over the country borders. So maybe the whole process will just be too expensive. And then there is something else I'm thinking about and that is if it is simply will be too much stress. It would be interesting to try out something new, and I think we will reach a decision about this during the Summer. But whatever we decide to do, we will go through the recording process in a different way than what we have done earlier since we will have more people with different competence areas to get an even better result.

Would it be possible to get a foreign producer to come to Norway, rather than having the whole band going abroad?

We have had a dialogue with two producers, in which one of them was Trent Reznor. He seemed to like the Satyricon CDs we sent him but that he didn't have the possibility to do it in 1998, because then he was busy himself. That is the only thing that is interesting for us to do, so in a way it didn't work with him. Then there is another producer who is very capable which we have had a dialogue with now, who most possible, if we manage to go through with it financially, will co-produce together with me during the mix of the album, and also do some programming and synths and such things. But wise of earlier damage, it is better if the readers of this magazine don't know who he is since it always hit back on me even though when I assume that noone would sink that low that they would steal ideas from us, but that happens frequently! But I hope it will work out with him since I am convinced that he will do a good job.

But 1998 Satyricon will remain quiet, no concerts in sight?

Perhaps at the end of 1998! We have plans to do a lot of live jobs in regard to "Rebel Extravaganza" so it is very important to bring the music out to the people but I, as most people know by now, don't really feel for that life. I like playing live and that is cool but what I don't like is all the stuff that is dragged along, the stress and the miserable life it is to be out on tour. That one never can have some time alone, and that is what I dislike very much. But I assume that it will be for the best of Satyricon if we will be able to do a lot of live jobs in connection with that release. Some tours and festivals and such in the first half of 1999 and then will see when we are finished in the studio not too late in 1998 so maybe we will do some live stuff at the end of the year. As a way to warming up in the direction of doing tours in 1999. But I don't really picture us being finished at such a state in 1998 that we will have some time left over to do concerts. I think it is more possible that we will start quite late in 1998 and be finished in early 1999 and then that we'll take a little break for a couple of weeks to get things at a little distance. And then that we'll get together again and establish a live-lineup with session musicians and start to rehearse a live set and travel around with that after the release of the album.

What is the background for "Rebel Extravaganza"?

It is as it has always been before that with every title, apart from "The Shadowthrone", have come as lightning from a clear sky down to my head. "Dark Medieval Times" was just... I don't even think I was thinking about what the album should be called and suddenly it hit me that "Dark Medieval Times" would have been a good title for the first album. With "The Shadowthrone" it was a bit more thinking to find something that could describe the atmospheres on the album a bit and the basic concept for that album. But that also came quite suddenly, to put it like that. When it comes to "Nemesis Divina" and "Megiddo" it just came, maybe it has something to do with me having it operating in my subconsciousness. That the titles for the albums have their own process which is going on in the back of my head which I am not very conscious about. And that it is something I touch into my thoughts now and then and when I sit and think about other things then it suddenly appear from the subconsciousness, and then it's just there! I almost think that is fascinating that it has happened so many times and in a way I have been conscious about it happening too. And as long as it appears like that, there has been no questions, then it is just the title. For me it is kind of an obscure process that is going on within me and I have respect for that process. The analysis I do of how the titles appear as they do seem very correct too, because the titles that come after a process in the subconsciousness are very describing for both the musical side and the lyrics for the album. And when it comes to "Rebel Extravaganza" I feel that it is very representative both for the music and the lyrics and it is very Satyriconish as well, it is a grand title. That lies in extravaganza. I feel that rebel is very nice too, I don't associate that with the traditional uproar thing but with something a bit dirty and filthy in a way. It also fits very good along with the music and the lyrics for that album. A different way to look at it which makes me like it very much is that I have experienced that one of the World's biggest tea-clubs and gossip-clubs is the Black Metal scene. It is something the most conservative there is! It is a movement that is interested in stopping any kind of development, extremely afraid of new things, oldfashioned, boring, that's what I think. I feel that in a way both musically and lyrically and also what we are going to do around the coverdesign and the pictures then we will break with some of the standards and the norms which are within Black Metal. So in that way I won't say that it is a "Rebel Extravaganza" from Black Metal but that it is a grand creative way of thinking which one is heading into both lyrically and musically. My goal is not really to sit and analyse the title to death, but I think it is interesting to look at it in several ways. When people aks what the album is gonna be titled then we have several reactions. Either that they feel it is very Satyriconish without them understanding the background for it, but it sounds like a Satyricon title and that they like. While others don't understand it and shake their head and think that it is not oldfashioned and conservative enough, and don't like it in a way. That is something I think is rather amusing. I don't know, I think I'm going a bit away from your question but I think it is regrettable the development things have taken. That is so boring. Black Metal was a fresh breath in its time and had such a glow that was very admirable, it was very fascinating to stand on the outside and watch and admire at the same time as it has been a very big pleasure taking part in it. But now I think that it is so dull, it's the same boots and the same leatherpants and the same faces and the same beerglasses and the same cigarette brands and the same records and the same logos and the same record companies and nothing new is happening! It seems like it is a carrousel that is going around and around and will never stop. I don't say I'm going to jump off that carrousel but I rather want to put spikes on the outside of it or something.

And what's more appropriate than to also hear what Daemon had to say about his new position!

What made you leave Dismember after being with them for so many years?

It was actually quite a few reasons, but basically that I was tired about it. The development that Dismember were heading in wasn't interesting enough for me, it didn't give me as much as it once did, it wasn't the same enthusiasm about it. And I felt that I didn't have so much to add to the band either. I was tired of the situation.

It must have been quite strange to leave a band in which you have been with for many years.

It felt damned strange since we had become so close. We started when we were young and been through so much. We've been going on for 8 years all together, but one always has to go forward.

How did you react when you got the inquiry from Frost about joining Satyricon?

I was quite surprised (or as Daemon would have said: Snopen! - ed), I hadn't at all expected that but nothing happened just then since I was living in Stockholm and they were in Oslo so then I had no direct plans to move either and I hadn't been considering the situation with Dismember. But when I realised that I din't want to play with Dismember anymore, the Satyricon alternative appeared and it was a very interesting alternative, but it was just that I lived in Stockholm and they were in Oslo which in the beginning felt quite strange.

Do you think you would have left Dismember if you hadn't been inquired by Satyricon?

Yeah I think so, though maybe it would have taken a little bit more time. But it would have happened sooner or later. But Satyricon had a very big impact that I quit Dismember.

What's the difference about playing in Satyricon contra Dismember?

The style of music is perhaps closer to my heart than what Dismember's music is. I have always been a big fan of Black Metal through all the years and very extreme forms of music, and I very much like the loyalty and the professionalism behind Satyricon. It suits me very good. It's a very different way of playing for me than how I'm used to play. I'm learning a lot and develope as a musician as well in regard to the fact that it's a different way of thinking behind the music and what type of tones which one use in the music. I play a lot faster on the bass than what I have done in Dismember. Quite a lot different! And even tough I'm quite experienced by now, it always takes time to get into a new band, but I think it will be very good.

Now as you are a new member of the Norwegian society, what is the biggest difference between Sweden and Norway?

The access to alcohol is a lot better than in Sweden. but at the same time the prices are very high! But the people seem to be more friendly in a way, it seems to be a big difference in the mentality.

I feel that Swedish people are more friendly than the Norwegian, that they are more open!

Yeah that's possible, but in a different way. The Swedes are nice in their way and the same with the Norwegians but in a very different way. Swedes are more, I don't know what to say, a bit more unserious or something (or as Daemon said: Flamsiga! - ed). Norway is a bit more conservative.

You also played in a couple of other bands when you were in Sweden. Are there some ideas you will bring with you and perhaps do besides playing is Satyricon?

Soulreaper and Murdersquad. Murdersquad with Matti and then Peter and Uffe from Entombed that is something I will leave behind since there is no time since they are doing it here in Sweden and they have just taken Jørgen from Entombed on bass, so it is almost entirely an Entombed band. Three members from Entombed and then Matti. But with Soulreaper, I don't know if there's time for it. Right now I feel that I don't have time for anything but to get into everything with Satyricon, but I still have material for Soulreaper so it would be cool to do something. But it's a completely different thing, it's more Heavy Metal.


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