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Interview with Satyr from "FourteenG" E'zine by Josh Thorne (24 May 2006)

Black Metal has various meanings for music fans all over the world. To some, it's a joke and to some it's a viable form of music that deserves unlimited respect for what it means to them and to those like them. One of the people who has chosen the latter path since the beginning is Satyr. Satyr, vocalist and namesake, of the band Satyricon is one of the few remaining true Black Metal musicians.

After speaking with Satyr, I truly came to understand just how much this music means to him. I found myself in a conversation with a person that truly believes in his art and those who influenced it from the beginning. What follows is my interview with one of Black Metal's most enigmatic frontmen. I hope you enjoy it, my friends.


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First of all, congrats on "Now, Diabolical".

Thank you.

Let's talk for a moment about the title. How did you come about choosing this as the title for the record?

I think a good album title should reflect the musical and lyrical content on the record. Artists spend too much time trying to find something that sounds cool in quotation marks, but really, a good title says something about the actual record. Coming up with album titles for Satyricon is a very simplified, yet complicated process. I think about the record, the lyrics, and the artwork for a long time. I have so much going on in my subconscious, and then suddenly, the title appears in my mind. This is how it's been from the beginning, even back on the first record "Dark Medieval Times". When it comes to me, I just don't question it because I know immediately that it's the right thing to do for the album because it's what I'm feeling at that very moment in my subconscious.

Now, musically it seems like much like "Volcano" you guys are returning to the more primitive, rock and roll inspired sound of Black Metal.

I guess there are different sounds of Black Metal, just as there are with any genre. In the last few years, we've done a lot of progressive stuff with a great emphasis on actual playing. Personally, I think that Black Metal has taken on more of a mathematical approach, where it's just about showing what you can do musically. To me, it was always a great misunderstanding about the music because it's all about atmosphere. It has nothing to do with how good you are, but what you feel from the music. Then, there are the more primal elements within the music and on the first three records, the progressive elements are there, but they are all traditional.

If you look back at some of the classic bands, that's what they did. For example, look at Bathory. The first four records are the ones that are their classics. They're all different from one another and they were always moving forward. We try to apply that philosophy to our music. We have our feet planted in the roots of our tradition but we're also looking forward as well. I prefer the primal sounds of Black Metal, as opposed to the technical aspect of it.

Where was the album recorded?

Primarily, it was recorded in Norway. We did the drums in Denmark where we did most of "Volcano" but we did the vocals and mixing in Vancouver, Canada. But it was primarily done in Norway.

The new album is being released through Century Media here in the States, whereas "Volcano" was released through Daron Malakian's Eaturmusic imprint on Sony Music. What happened with the Sony deal, exactly?

I don't think the label exists anymore, actually. It's not officially dead, but nothing's going on with the label so we've moved on.

You guys we're actually on Century when "Nemesis Divina" came out, correct?

Yes.

So have they been doing well as far as promotion goes now?

Well, it's still early but our fingers are crossed and we're hoping for the best. We're just going to push them to do as much for us as possible, just like we push everyone else. But things are definitely looking good right now, yeah.

You also own your own label, Moonfog Records. What's going on with that these days?

Not very much right now. We are going to be making some considerable changes, as far as getting rid of some bands and find out what we want to do artistically. It's something we've spent a lot of time and effort discussing and we're still in the process of it. We want to renew the label and if it doesn't happen within six months, it doesn't mean we'll shut the doors on it. It just means we're taking our time. That's the beauty of being truly independent.

We've done the things at the pace we like, and now we have to sit back and talk about what we're going to do. We couldn't continue with the way we were going. Several of the bands we had weren't serious about their music and we'd love to have some fresh blood coming in that reflects the quality of our label.

Now, speaking of Moonfog releases, will we ever see the release of the Eibon record that you did with Phil Anselmo and Killjoy?

Well, we recorded half of an album and what we did was of spectacular quality. It was really good. I trust the musical judgment of my artists friends and what I've played them has blown their fucking heads off. It's a shame it didn't come out in 2001 when it was recorded, because it was revolutionary at the time. Now, it's great music but not revolutionary as it would have been had it been released then.

Basically, Philip and Killjoy had a major falling out and I was so busy with Satyricon that we just didn't have the time to come together and finish it. Phil wants to the continue the project now, but I don't have the time at the moment. However, he's in Europe with Down next week so we'll be hanging out and discussing what we're going to do with it.

When is the major touring going to begin for "Now, Diabolical"?

Well, we've already started here in Europe but the major touring won't start until the fall. There's a chance that we could possibly show up a some point towards the end of the year in America. I hope that we'll get over there within the next six months.

Now, this question comes from one of our other writers. Right now, Frost is unable to tour the U.S. with you guys. If you had your choice of any drummer to tour the States with, who would you choose? Any drummer.

Wow. Well, that's a tough one because there's so many to choose from. If I had to say though... I'd say Joey Jordison. Joey did such a good job with us the last time, and he can pull off our fast parts perfectly. It'd be interesting to hear Dave Lombardo, one of my favorite drummers, doing our stuff. He'd just have to be capable of pulling off our extremely fast stuff, but still, I'll say Joey. It's not just about music, it's about motivation. When Joey filled in for Frost the last time, he was so enthused about it months in advance. It reflected in his performance as well. But actually, we're going to be okay as far as Frost goes from now on.

Really?

Yes, we finally have everything sorted out so the next time we come to America, it will definitely be with Frost.

That's awesome, dude!

So, prepare yourselves now because he WILL show you all just how it's supposed to be done with Satyricon.

Now, as one of the original bands from the original Norwegian Black Metal movement, what are your thoughts on the scene today as someone who was there when it all began?

It's way different than it was before. What my band is a part of today doesn't even resemble what it was back then. Not many people knew about Black Metal in those days, and in a way, it was a bit more charming since it was this little secret thing you had between yourself and your friends. It made it more special, in many ways. Today, however, there's an interest in it that wasn't there before. You can do much bigger things as an artist and all artists want to achieve big things artistically. I'm not talking about album sales, I'm talking about achieving things as musicians and as artists. People have access to things that weren't there before, and now there isn't as much ideology behind it as before.

I'm the laid back guy that never walks around telling me people whether they're good or not good enough to be a Black Metal performer or a fan. I care a lot about the music. It's my passion in life, to this day, but in a different way than it was back then.

What kind of legacy would you like to leave with Satyricon?

Our records. Fenriz from Darkthrone once said that it's more important to make records that will be remembered ten years from now, than to sell 10.000 more records. I think our records will stand the test of time, and they've really helped to shape the direction of Black Metal. That will be the legacy of Satyricon in the way that our records affected people's lives and hopefully inspired people to get into the genre and play this music.

Satyr, that wraps up my questioning. Again, I thank you for taking the time to speak with us and congratulations on "Now, Diabolical".

Thank you so much.

And I definitely look forward to seeing you guys on tour here once again.

Oh, absolutely. Thank you again very much for the interview. Goodbye.

With that, my conversation with Satyr ends. I'd like to thank all who made it possible and to Satyr for his informative answers and the passion he has for the music. Hails!


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Taken from: FourteenG
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