"I Feel More Excitement Than Boredom"
Interview with Satyr from "Gryphon Metal" E'zine by Dalia "Gryphon-Spirit" Di Giacomo (Wil, Switzerland, Club "Remise", 15 March 2003)
Can you tell us something about your latest album?
Well, what do you want me to tell, there are a lot of things to say about. So what do you want to know about the album?
It's up to you...
It's up to me... I think, you know, its very hard to describe an album, to me it is a very typical Satyricon album in the way you can instantly tell "but is that Satyricon" with strong trademarks but still moving onwards and thats the nature of the band, and it is by far the darkest album we ever made, thats for sure.
So you broke many rules with your music.
We did that since they want that.
With this album too, which is the rule you broke with this album?
I don't think there is one specific rule we broke, because that is not the purpose to break the rules, it is just to be free of any conventions, let our own imagination be the only "obstacle" as to what we doing musically, taking Black Metal inway with much more directness and to me that is something that Black Metal used to be and that it lost somewere along the road. Meaning, we have very epic songs in the new album like "Black Lava", on the other hand there is also very innerfaced directed songs like "Fuel For Hatred", that might be in its in 2003 groundbraking, on the other hand to me thats what Venom did all the time, for years with their albums and that's were Black Metal started. Black Metal didn't start with orchestrations and female opera singers, they started with bass guitars drums and vocals.
What does the snake mean on the cover art, because there is an other band who recently came out with a gun eating snake on the cover art of their new album described as symbol of life. Maybe your snake is different...
It's a symbol of darkness. If you read a bit of the Necronomicon, the book of Death, the serpent is probably one of the strongest symbols and thats been all the way, so for me it was very suitable, it's not like we took just a picture from a book, we took together many pictures of snakes and we ended up with the one we thought it was the strongest symbol.
Can you tell us more about your collaboration with Halvor Bodin?
We worked together since we did "The Shadowthrone" and he is one of the best grafic designer in Scandinavia or maybe in the North Europe, he is the grafic designer who picked in Norway the most awards and also international awards. When we started to work with him we where looking for somebody particulary good, but I guess it took a few albums to us to concrete in a way which was in the meaning good for both of us and we found a visual identity for Satyricon albums that is very strong, but we are involving other people as well.
You was mentioning before how Black Metal was born. What is the new face of Black Metal, because methinks Black Metal is getting more and more influenced by other metal styles like Industrial, Death, Thrash and there is also a so called Spheric Black Metal.
I think Black Metal is what the bigger bands decided it to be, for me, I mean big is not necesarely about the record sellings, but the most influential bands, they decide what Black Metal is. Those bands like, ...Emperor, well they don't exist anymore, but they where one of those bands... Immortal, Darkthrone, Satyricon and many such bands that with their music set a kind of agenda what Black Metal is at the moment. The most influencial bands shape the direction and they are all different from each other, Black Metal is like a multiheaded creature.
What do you think about Death or Black Metal bands who are launching the message "no more God, but no Satan too". In few words: I want no religion.
I'm not that much interested in what other bands believe or not, I'm interested in our own band, and Satyricon has always been directed in human values such as pride, strength, honor and to some degree also discipline, and the band has a strong misanthropic atitude, but I wouldn't say that it is always shadowing our personality it is just a part of what we are, we are many things, you know, to me it is not that simple like "or you are a misanthrope or you are a nice guy", you can be both, you have a complex personality and that complex personality will reflect in your music and works. I think what you can see in our music is the darkness and the agression within that comes through, but also deeper emotions, on the other hand if it comes to lyrics, in the past we always had a certain anti christian attitude but it not really so much about being anti-something anymore, it is more to be "pro" what you are believing in, so instead of singing about what you are against, you sing about what you for, and that is beeing the most significant change in the lyrical style of Satyricon, but as we have never been a Satanic band or a Pagan band or whatever. I don't pay much attention to the latest developement what other bands do or what direction of religion they have.
Do you feel boredom?
In Black Metal?
No, in general, in life.
Sometimes..., but I guess everyone does. I feel more excitement than boredom. I have more good times than bad times and I try to live variate life, and I do as much things as possible to keep myself entertained and to get new influences for creative purposes.
Which are your impressions about this tour, the Black Lava Tour, in particular I would ask you what happened at Milan outside the Transilvania Live, because we where there the day after you played, and we spoke with people there who where still a little bit upset...!!
Well, I think we where a little bit drunk and the police came, but it wasn't anything strange. As we didn't had a concert the day after we were just hanging around and had some drinks, some in the backstage, some at the club, someone was outside in the tour bus, but I remember that the police came at 7:00 in the morning, but I don't remember why. What did you hear about?
The owner of the bar near the venue, made the day we where there trouble with the tour treck of Paradise Lost because he didn't want that the buses parked in front of his bar and stuff like that, and they told us that yesterday they had to call the police because the people where pissing on the street.
Well, that guy came and he was very rude and unpolite and our tour manager was very pissed off about him, and then one of the guitar players just went over and pissed at the door of his bar. That's why he called the police.
...and your general impressions about the tour, is it going well?
The tour is going well, and I think the problems we had on this tour is the usual mumbo jumbo you have to deal with on a tour. You know, on some shows we had problems with the promotors they didn't really respected our technical writings, like in Spain for example. In order to do our show we need about 7 DI boxes to connect our microphones and stuff, and in Spain they just had 4, and that way you can't plug all the microphones for the drums which makes it impossible to have a good sound... and shit like that. Also we had shows with 300 people and they where really bad promoted if you know that you can have 7-800. But we also had some good shows in Holland, France, Germany and Portugal... in Belgium we had one of our best shows. We had a bad show in Milan due to the promoter and to the fact that our drummer broke his foot in Milan and he plays since there with a broken foot and we know that every show from now on on this tour can be our last one. The pain he has is very bad and he takes a lot of pain-killers, but you know: every night he can say that he likes to stop, but he is a really tough guy.
That's professionality too! Well, what is extremity, or being "extreme" for you?
...yeah, that is one of these things, in order for something to be extreme it has to be a combination of excitement and afraid aspect. I think the moment when something comes to be extreme is when it becomes unconventional, so to me extreme is taking an expression to the edge of a new level, let's say you have an album with five songs that are really fast and aggressive then it will have a certain level of extremity, but after five songs it isn't anymore extreme because you are getting used to it but then if you have song number six and you put in some noise like industrial, that would be extreme because you are like "what the fuck is this?!!" it has to be good of course. For me extreme is a lot about the surprising element, you know, you're showing people something they like but thay actually don't know that they like it, and, you know, a lot of metal people don't want to be extreme... they want to feel the same all time, they feel safer that way.
Just a couple of words about video clips. Do you like video clips?
I love videos, I think it is a great way of expression, ...several things the same time, I mean you can visualize your music, I love doing videos, I wish it wasn't so expensive, that we could do more videos.
Who are your diehard fans, and have you ever been a diehard fan of someone or something?
Still I'm a diehard fan of many things. I'm a diehard fan of Celtic Frost for example and other bands too of course. I think our diehard fans are between 18 and 45 and most of them are man and most of them are Scandinavian and Southern European and they are openmided people they are explorers, thats my general impression.
If you could give me an example of stupidity, which example would you purpose?
In general there are many things, but it is always very irritating with people they ignore logic they won't listen to reason, because to use common sense and reason is always a good way to get through situations and people who have no interest in common sense, reason and logic is to me very stupid.
Norway has been the cradle country of Black Metal, but now other countries are showcasing surprising and well prepared young Black Metal acts. Which are the more interesting not Norwegian Black Metal bands for you, where you can say "yes, thats a talented band!!!"?
I don't know actually. I've heard some interesting bands from other countries, but no one has impressed me deeply.
This question is about the market. Metal is proving these days that it is not dead, there is a good interest around every kind of metal style, Love Metal is getting harder, a lot of bands are struggling for success and respect, older bands reunite. But there is conterweight for that: the market is full, albums are very expensive, there is not much money around, metalheads have bigger problems than getting the newest CD of their favourite band. I mean, too many bands and a lot of them not up to the task. The whole thing can collapse. What do think about?
I think the biggest problem in the record labes and bands is the computer age: basically with CD burning and filesharing in the internet, and I think the big misunderstanding among fans and underground music is that what they are doing in not damaging the majior labels and not the indie labels, it's actually the other way round. I mean obviously CD burning is a concern to Sony Music, but it is a much bigger concern to Moonfog Productions than to Sony Music because they have the financial strength to rule the world and Moonfog has only enough to finance the next record, you know, it's just like, five years ago, when we took a band into the studio with my label, the budget was two times the budget the bands has today, and that's due to the sellings. All of them went from selling 15-20000 CD's down to 5-10000, and I think that that is caused by CD burning and mp3 this moment. All that stuff is killing small indies. All that subcultures like gothic, electro are just looking for getting a CD for freehand that is a challenge what subcultures generally are looking for. It is always that the fittest one will survive, and in the music it's the same, the strongest bands and labels will survive, the other ones will fall through.
Before the last question, would you like to leave a message for your fans?
I'm not that messenger and stuff like that, I just usually urge people to getting inside to what we are doing, basically that, to listen to "Volcano" and come to see Satyricon live. That's my only message, because that is my life and that's what we are doing.
Last question is our typical Gryphon Metal question we do to every band we interview for the first time and it is called the game of the tower. There is a very high tower and on top of this tower are three bands waiting for you and you have to push down two of them saving just one, and for you the bands are : Cradle Of Filth, Bathory and Baratrum.
Thats too easy!! Bathory will allways stay in top of the tower because there is not much that can be better.
Thank you very much Satyr!
Taken from: Gryphon Metal