Darkthrone interview from Eter #1 (pre-Q)

Interview: Chiaradia

Y'know, they say that armageddon is coming soon. And they also say that the new DARKTHRONE album is coming soon. So, there you have already two reasons (or excuses) why we simply couldn´t resist a DARKTHRONE interview when there was a chance to execute one. This is a real long one (the interview was included in its entirety because lack of time), so we certainly hope there is all the info you will need before the release of the Ravishing Grimness album later on (check the interview for an accurate date). Well, let the chat between David and Fenriz begin...

Hello, how are you?

"I'm happy today."

 So you're ready for the interview?


First I want to ask some questions from other people to the surviving black metal icon of the nineties.

To many people DARKTHRONE is a synonym for black metal. Do you think this is a burden or are you proud that DARKTHRONE has succeeded in keeping up the level this long?

"I would rather say I'm proud, it's not a burden because if I really had to do other sorts of music, then I just would make another project. We don't really feel a need to progress or anything like that. We are really stuck in the eighties and we never changed our influences, you know, we just kept the same influences and that means like we will be the same also. I think that if we would have been a band that rehearsed maybe two times a week, then maybe it would have been more progressive like all the other bands but we, we have our jobs, you know, we don't need to rush anything, so you understand it's very easy for us to do the same thing."

Well is it not difficult to create new material in that case? Because some people think that you haven't got that much moving space within the same musicfield.

"No we haven't got that much movingspace, that's true but we don't want to either, I mean, it's like the blues music you don't want the blues music to sound un-bluesy. But you know, I don't feel a need to listen to another black metal album unless it's influenced by older stuff."

Your next album is called "Ravishing Grimness" Does it describe the atmosphere or the music on the album or both?

"Describing the atmosphere well, you know I just made one song and my song is very different from what Nocturno Culto is doing. He's doing more atmospheric stuff now I think, mixed with the typical DARKTHRONE, BATHORY, CELTIC FROST influences. I'm doing more HELLHAMMER; he's more into atmosphere. The basic difference now from before is that we don't have the typical DARKTHRONE speed anymore, not that I'm saying we never were a fast band, but we had the moderate fast speed and now we just, technically speaking on the RG album, we have one riff with a tempo that is straight ahead fast, it's more slower now. You just, for a drummer it's easy to explain: you just play half of the speed on the drums and there's a lot of that on our new album. But it's a bit heavier, I think."

Referring to earlier comments DARKTHRONE is based on being Norwegian. If you were born in another country, would there be the same kind of DARKTHRONE as there is now for almost ten years? Or is it not fair to speculate with things like this?

"Yeah interesting would we be the same persons, how much does your country form you? The whole idea with metal was, I guess with the underground, where I come from, from the eighties, it was more of a global thing, you know, you even had guys from far-off countries, like even Africa, Costa Rico was usual, that was normal, you know lovely, they were always hanging in there from the beginning. Yeah I think it was really a very global thing. I don't think we wouldn't really be that much different you know. You could take a band like Sarcophago from
Brazil, you know, even if they were from Brazil they would still play brutal music when no one else was. Thinking of so much black stuff, so a lot of respect to SARCÒFAGO. I think we would probably have the same influences as today, but I don't know what our connection would be with the Norwegian scene. It was because MAYHEM had always the spirit for this, when no one else really had. Really all the other people came after MAYHEM, all the other ones and us too! But they kept the spirit alive you know."

Do you think that the new Norwegian black metal bands have a privileged position, compared to bands from other countries, since the old Norge black metal groups have kind of smoothened out the road for the new groups.

"Well new, old, I don't know. I don't know where you draw the line from old and new. Some bands started up in like 90, 91 and some bands started maybe I don't know how many new bands there are, we have got many bands that are playing for a long long time. I don't think of them as new bands, but I think it's now starting of being a big difference between new school black metal and old school black metal. And everyone always wants to ask me "would do you think of the new style?" because they know I'm an old school dude, you know, ha ha ha, but I just don't want to say to much either, just say that I'm into the old school sound. DARKTHRONE doesn't spend a lot of time in the studio, you know we just go in there and play. No fancy stuff from us. We are just a simple band; we're working men."

How would you classify black metal, what is for you black metal? I've had some discussions about this.

"Well I know for sure that I have got the black metal feeling. And in the beginning of this movement I was think, well now we have people around us here and around Euronymous that I know they all understand why we are all listening to TORMENTOR from
Hungary, why we are listening to this and why we like BATHORY when no one else was interested in BATHORY at that time you know. So we understood that we were seeing something special in metal music and it was a sort of religious feeling but we were wondering when we saw more more people coming forth, we wondered, how can all these people have a black metal feeling? That was impossible, you know that, there are a lot of people that ain't real, probably because it's impossible that all the people involved in the scene could have a real black metal feeling. I'm not saying you don't or you do, but I'm saying there is a lot of people that have understood it a little not so strong as we did at that time. We had to have this strong feeling, because why could we make all these crazy things in the beginning, without a great feeling?"

And that was I presume why the new Darkthrone was formed in 91? To spread an ideology for yourself, or more a passion for the music itself.

"Of course, people are always wondering now, why don't you enjoy Soulside Journey and things like this. This was really we don't really plan things. But for us it was really important to say that knowing we're quitting death metal, death metal has become totally nothing for us anymore, you know? We had to say that extreme, we had to draw a line. We were up to our necks in the death metal stuff. That's why we said we'll start again, or something like this, but I think Soulside Journey is a great album, you know, but at that time it was important to say no, and it worked. But I don't know how happy I'm now if I see what has happened it is so many bands. There is nothing to stop black metal now. And I don't know man, it's going to be an
America it's going to take off there Jesus, you know But the old days are definitely over. You know Satyr says, it's over, done, finito, let's move on. But I just rather sit down to dream of the eighties; the nineties are not for me when it comes to so much metal. But I still hear great albums, so I'm not saying, there is probably. I think there are about 30 great albums each year and I guess it was 30 great albums in 91. But I'm not saying it has to be black metal. You know I've been doing that trash stuff and I'm really getting into that, and man, I'm getting tired of my old trash albums, so then I'm going again in the death metal. And I really enjoyed the new MORBID ANGEL, ANGEL CORPSE and like this brilliant."

Do you think everything is already achieved with DARKTHRONE or do you still have many things you really would want to do with your band?

"What I want to do, you know, are you going to do if I want to do a video or so? Ha ha ha, that's not for us, you know. The only plan that I ever had in my life with music was to get a record contract, and I got that ten years ago. And I didn't have a single plan since then. We were just doing black metal; we didn't have plans to make it big. We already played our final gig, we just want to keep on making some black stuff, some black metal. And it's strange: people are starting to make these fantastic albums, I just heard the new SATYRICON, it's tiptop entertainment, it's all-professional. It's starting to completely take off now with the studios we have today and the budget. The metal is really starting to be entertainment now. I don't know where to go, but with Darkthrone we are not going anywhere theoretic, technical stuff. We'll just wait, maybe in eight years it will be a popularity like simple old fashion DARKTHRONE again, and then we will be there, ha ha."

What would you like Darkthrone to be remembered 20 years from this day?

"I don't know if they will remember us 20 years from today."

I'm sure they will.

"He, it depends on who you're asking, you know, let's take the fifties man, and I'm saying rock'n'roll, what do you think? What comes to your mind when I say 1950ties rock'n'roll. You don't come up with the names of the people that created rock'n'roll. You will come up with Elvis, Bill Haley and things like this, this isn't just right man, these are just the people who sold the most. But I want for the nineties or the eighties, or the whole black metal thing that at least MAYHEM will be remembered 20, 30 or 40 years from now on, because they are the ones that should be totally remembered I think, and for the rest of us, it's not that important. But it's bad I think, it will be very sad if the bands that sell the most, like in the 50ties, but it will happen again, that's typical. You don't get that much credits for staying more or less underground. But we even said now when we were recording the album, that we were wondering how many it is going to sell, and if it sells more than 20000, then we would start to get a little bit worried, you know, ha ha, if you know what I mean. We don't want to sell that much because hell, we would think something's wrong or so if we sell too much. I think it's amazing that MORBID ANGEL sells that much albums because their last album, or 3 last albums are really uncommercial stuff, I mean that's not girlies-music."
But nevertheless they are very popular here in
Belgium, their last gig was superb.
"That's good, because if you like Morbid Angel albums, they don't really have the cosy sound anymore, you know, so I think it's fantastic that so many people can get in such harsh music they are doing, so that's hope for people ha ha."

During the years many bands have tried to copy DARKTHRONE's unique sound.

"Oh, have they?? I don't think we are unique, you know! That's what we never said, we were mostly just influenced by eighties and mostly BATHORY and CELTIC FROST, you know. We don't think it's unique, I don't know what's the DARKTHRONE sound, I have no fucking idea. I read in many reviews, the reviewer is saying "Oh this just sounds like DARKTHRONE", I don't know what they mean, what the hell is DARKTHRONE? We just try to make some fucking black metal, we don't sound that unique, you know."

Well, but many people think this, there are many clones around. You know for example the band JUDAS ISCARIOT?


It's an American band, the sound is quite the same as DARKTHRONE, I think, also a bit slower now. But DARKTHRONEis perhaps a bit more harsh.

"Well., I've never heard of these bands, I'm NOT interested either. I just want to continue to listen to music that gave me the black metal feeling. There are not a lot of bands that can give me the black metal feeling now. But I'm not saying that I'm listening to fucking everything you know. It's impossible, do you listen to all black metal that is released today? It was crazy how the scene changed with all these small labels and with everything coming into the picture. I mean in the eighties you could at least see, you knew all the labels, now with so many labels it's unbelievable. It's amazing that the scene changed this way, but I don't know, a lot of people say that it's killing the music and everything, but it's getting a bit more independent as well. I really have no opinions about the scene changing in this way, it's not important for me."

Does the music you create for DARKTHRONE come spontaneously or does it demand some special efforts?

"No, I don't really hang around and play my guitar every day, I don't fucking like to play instruments, you know I hate playing drums and I don't like playing guitar really. I'm making like this, I'm always making HELLHAMMER stuff now and I'm doing that for a while. When I'm making a song, even if it's for this project we're going to do know with NECROPHAGIA dudes and things (EIBON), then I will also make this probably, mostly always typical the type of riffs you want to hear when you're drinking beer in your pick-up truck and throwing beer cans out of the windows and going (evil spoken) "Alright", that's the kind of sound we're basically looking for, no romantic black metal here, ha ha ha."

I know that most people will ask you a lot of the new album (I also did), but I also would like to know what is currently happening with your sideprojects. It's because there are so many rumours and debate.

"Oh, rumours and debate, so waw, what about that. I'm doing the EIBON project together with Maniac from MAYHEM and Killroy from NECROPHAGIA, Satyr from SATYRICON, Phil from PANTERA. It seems that this is going the right way, but it's a lot of work of getting all of us together in the studio because we are busy people. People are always talking about this because it's funny to talk about this, like it's fun for journalists when they have a lot to write about when there are projects like this might be happening. I'm not saying it's going to be something fantastic, and I mean like with the DARKTHRONE album also, I'm just saying "same old, same old", you know it's another album. I'm not good in doing commercial for myself you know and I really hate to say (evil voice) "Ohhh, it's sooo fantastic, I get orgasms when I hear my new album" [a lot of fucking laughing! -ed], you know , that's not for me. I mean people shouldn't be wetting themselves waiting for these albums, I don't think so. But SATYRICON, that's the worst wait I think, it's a very entertaining album. It's more like old metal, you know what I mean with old metal, it's got all the styles, like trash, death metal."

It's more in the vein of the mini Intermezzo?

"But Intermezzo was just the intermezzo, you know? Now it's (with an Italian accent) "the grand crescendo" you know, yeah, yeah, it's pretty much majestic I would say, and I've always been the biggest fan of Satyr's style of writing either. I was arguing with him when we were making riffs, because I want four to the flour, you know straight ahead and he always wants to make ornaments in the music, but with Meggido they did shot the Goldenberg I think, but you will have to wait another 2 months I guess if you don't get the promo early."

I also wondered what happened to the Spacelab album from NEPTUNE TOWERS?

"Ah, fuck that man, it wasn't good enough to be released. Blehhhh."

OK, next one, any new STORM or ISENGARD?

"NO, because now I've been making the DARKTHRONE and EIBON and I'm also doing VALHALL which now sounds like a mix between Jimi Hendrix and old BLACK SABBATH, because we have this fabulous songwriter and guitarist, so I'm playing some pretty funking shit on the drums there. I'm doing these 3 projects: DARKTHRONE and I'm doing EIBON and I'm doing VALHALL. I'm not doing anything else right now. I might, I want to do another ISENGARD in the future, that would be like HELLHAMMER-like songs I guess with a rotten sound of course. When it comes to sound picture in black metal I feel more connected to the punk attitude then the metal attitude, you know? I would rather have the sound of the early UK SUBS than DREAM THEATER."

If a real Jesus and God would pass you in the streets, how would you feel about the situation ? What would you do to them ?

"Well you see them every day, ha ha. It's just ATTITUDE. I always had a problem with attitudes, it's such a big thing you know, we are discussing how much energy are we supposed to use on this, you know? I'm thinking for instance that Satyr doesn't really give a shit. Satyr wants to use his energy to create what he has created. He started with 2 fucking empty hands and now he's got a label going, he's got a lot of good musicians on the label and shit, what I'm saying is that people should follow his example, you know? To use your energy on yourself, creative in stead of thinking of too much religious questions. But I'm not going into religions because I've been sitting here for all day talking about it, you know? I'm not too happy doing that. Next question, go go go, I would say I have to go to the forest but I've got a bus to catch, but just ask more."

If the end of the world came tomorrow, what would be your last act ? Would you regret anything you have done in your life ?

"Well, it would be nice, what I will do, I would probably watch South Park, I don't know, ha ha ha What the hell would I do You know this is better for writing, if you do written interviews you should ask this, because I don't think a lot of people have thought this trough and I definitely haven't. I would probably get fucking drunk or I could just go into the forest because if I knew it was going to happen, I totally don't know. Maybe I would just shoot a lot of people down or so, there are a lot of possibilities to do crazy stuff, but you know, if you would have 24 hours you could have enough time to do pretty crazy stuff. I mean it will be one hell of a party, ha ha ha, everyone knowing that the apocalypse is there yeah totally cool."

Do you like the introduction of industrial sounds in black metal? DODHEIMSGARD, THORNS.. ?

"I don't think it's industrial at all, I think it's just creative, but I'm not really into industrial sounds. It's not funky enough! Ha ha ha No I was never big into it, I just like a little old MINISTRY or something like this, but don't make me listen to FEAR FACTORY man then I would kick your ass!"

I won't! Some people think to linear like "hmm black metal is evil, and racism is evil ,.. .OK so now I'm a racist and I want to kill all people from other cultures. But on the other side there are people who think "politically" correct and yet listen to extreme metal.

"If you're a racist, I don't think that you think racism is evil. If you're a racist then you feel like anserine is evil. That everything against you is evil. This is another question that we could sit here and talk about forever man, asking about evil and good, but no I could give you an example. If you're raising a kid and you say to the kid that you can't eat candy, that you can only eat candy once a week, because it's going to give you a hole in the tooth, it's going to hurt ya. So it's GOOD for you that you don't eat candy, and then your grandmother is coming to visit, or your mother, that would be the grandmother of the child and she would bring the kid lots of candy, because she wants to be GOOD for the kid, you know, and then there's a conflict because both parties think they're GOOD, who is right? Fucking unbelievable This is the state of the world today, we can't really agree on a lot of things. When people can't really agree on some basic things then we have a real problem. But we don't have a real problem because it takes all kinds to make a world at least I guess it takes all kinds to destroy the world too, ha ha ha."

Nowadays there are many soft, cheesy melodic "black" metal bands. Compared to early bands like DARKTHRONE, MAYHEM etc these sound like pop-music. But nevertheless they sell many CDs. Did you never get the idea to create such a poppy album?

"No, why the hell didn't I do that I'm reading interviews with people that were in the scene in the eighties and they always had this "Why why did you like to listen to, especially with KREATOR, why did we get a kick out of listening to CARCASS? It's because it was extreme, total maniac music, you know and that was some of the thing I want, I mean I could like nice metal too, but then I would rather listen to a band called OMEN from the States which was something '85, '86 or half there, a little bit IRON MAIDEN like, then I would rather listen to this. But with black metal I didn't really want to create so much extreme things, it was more of a very hideous atmosphere, that caught my ear, but still we have a lot of maniacal black metal, that's great, but I don't understand the whole structure, the type of riff structure. I don't know nice, I don't agree on the notes it chooses and things like this. But hell man, I haven't heard that much things that have been irritating me, because I don't listen to, I don't want to seek this music out, I don't want to try to find it, you know in Norway there is no black metal being played on for instance Elm street, you know. We don't have to listen to it. It's more MOTÖRHEAD we're listening to. You know when we're in the studio and thinking "Well what would Lemmy do?" Ha, ha, this is basically a cool rule.

Probably get drunk?

"No no I'm more talking about decision making in music and I would sit and make a riff and think "would Lemmy do this?" ha, I'm kidding but I'm talking about but that would really be a smart thing for people to think about. Before they do their romantic stuff, because Lemmy ain't that romantic. There is too much romance in the metal these days, at least when I see album titles and reviews and things like this. It's really soft. I like soft music, but I don't want it in metal you know? Everything to its own time. And you know you will be hearing the new DARKTHRONE album and you will perhaps not know but I've been listening all sorts of fucking music a lot, for I know the fact that some of the metal scenes maybe here a few different albums that they like and they start to change the sound a bit. And I don't know why the hell they have to do that. Because if I would have been influenced by what I'm listening to, DARKTHRONE would not sound as DARKTHRONE at all, we can't just change like that. It's the same with Nocturno Culto also, he's been listening to psychedelic stuff and we haven't changed a bit man! No problem, you've got to be able to listen weird music without changing your band afterwards. At least WE are not changing."

What do you think of bands that succeed in making out a living of being in a band?

"I think that they probably wanna live of the music, I don't want to live of the music anyway. What I'm thinking is that if you want to live of music, you've got to do sometimes what your boss says to. It's just a few few people who get so big that they can say that they are their own boss. I'm thinking this, I'm not saying that this is correct, I'm thinking this, so I 'm thinking in DARKTHRONE we can do whatever we fucking want because we don't fucking need to play, we don't need the money really, we can really do what we want, that's brilliant you know. But what we want to do is, like we want to play old school black metal and nothing more."

About the new album again, is there already a release date?

"The fourth of October. Wuw, wuw, and we have a forest on the cover, a big shock, yeah."

We know that the world-population is still growing and we still aren't able to leave the planet on a huge scale, do you think your new CD could be a driving force for engineers to create spaceships so that metalheads could be deported to Mars?

"Ha ha, well I definitely start to think that humanity is starting to look like a plague, you know, mother nature, we will see how long it takes before she is going to blow the whistle and start to regulate us because we just don't regulate the animals, we kill them, but who the fuck is going to kill us? Someone's gotta kill us, ha ha we're going nowhere fast, you know ha ha ha ha ha, it's brilliant but I don't think it's going to be a total disaster before I die, I might die any day, but it would be nice to see it all go down, you know. And you know for sure, that's a horrible thing, a terrible uncertainty that there will always be new life, and it will be the same thing over and over again. I guess the big question is, are we going to leave the planet before we inevitable have to. I guess we are going to make that. But I don't know what metal people will be looked upon like when that will happen. Cause man if I look upon a guy like Satyr, I would look upon him as a lead, not only in metal but he's a creative person, he's a survivor, right? A lot of male people like me are"

Well speaking of dying, how would you like to die? Fast, slow, or do you consider yourself immortal?

"I have wide lunacies (???) how I want to go...I don't know man someone asked if I wanted to go if I had a hangover or when I was drunk, I've been thinking a lot of suicide, man it's easy to stand and you're just seconds away from death if you stand at a tall place where you can just throw yourself out, but hey, what if you don't die? What if some sucker comes to save you take all those pills and everything like that and then you're what are you then? You didn't even manage to kill yourself, I mean that's a bit totally horrible It's like falling out of the boat and missing the water, you can't do anything right. I think that I you really blow your head off, well people have actually known to miss that as well I've heard that drowning should be pleasant but I don't know. I don't know how I want to go. I think you would totally be really sado-masochistic or masochistic if you would like to die slowly, that would be the ultimate masochism. I'm just killing myself to live; I'm not killing myself to die. Have you got many more questions?"

That was the last question I really wanted to ask.

"YEAAAAHHHH, it was a nice interview, but I've got to run."

Any final incantations???

"You've got to watch out for the project I'm doing with my friend Matt from
England who does almost John Tardy vocals, completely the same as John Tardy, you know OBITUARY and Astennu from DIMMU BORGIR, we're playing WOMBATTOR, and we will do anything live, throw or crush xylophones or anything like that. All right, that's all I have to say, thanks for doing the interview with me. In 40 years I will be sitting in a chair watching TV and go "hey, no one's interested in doing interviews anymore""

Well, then we will call you back

"Ha ha ha, ALL RIGHT, party on man, bye!"

So that's the end of this very entertaining interview with a guy who is considered as a god in the black metal scene. But in doing this interview, I noticed that he's a guy like anyone else, he's also human, only more intelligent than most metalheads and someone with a strong personallity. A person with a strong spirit capable of creating music that is unholy to many! Thanks to Fenriz, Moonfog and Mikko for letting me do this interview!

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