"There should be a presence of a very vile, raw human energy in our music."
Interview with Frost of 1349 & Satyricon
May 03, 2010 - Englewood, CO
You guys were delayed in getting to the United States, but now that you all have finally gotten here, how has the Evisceration Plague tour been going so far?
I feel that this 1349 tour with Cannibal Corpse is going better and better. Obviously, since it’s not our own tour, we’re not in total control of all the factors that makes up a tour like this. But nothing — or something that no one could control was that volcanic eruption that made it impossible for anybody to fly from Scandinavia to the [United] States at the point where the tour should have begun. It delayed paperwork, that delayed me even two days more than the other guys because– yeah, I have some old criminal records, I needed some waiver in addition to an ordinal (inaudible). So, all the crap delayed us, but now that we have started, I feel happy about being on the tour.
I feel that we’re getting tighter and better day-by-day even if we have to you know, play on board equipment and all that. It’s basically, you know, we require that everything should be shipshape on a tour like this. We have to be a little more humble; but in a way I think that it’s our gain in the end that we step down a little and accept circumstances that makes things even more difficult for us because what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger they say, and that’s how we feel.
We managed to catch up to a difficult situation and I think the band is going to be strengthened. And for those who didn’t get to see us in Florida, in Massachusetts, and the last part of the tour that we can’t unfortunately do because we’re having– we had booked a job in Finland before this tour and so on. All I can tell them, we’ll be back here in the Fall, do a headliner tour, and then we’re going to be much more in control of the situation as well. I look much forward to that. For now, I think it’s good that we’re here.
You guys are a little different from Cannibal Corpse and Skeletonwitch on this tour, obviously…Does that make it a little difficult to connect with the crowd sometimes?
I would say both yes and no, but mostly no. Most of the shows, we’ve either had a very good connection with the crowd from the first song, or what is more common, is that a large part of the audience that are basically very loyal to Cannibal [Corpse] and their sort of music, they watch with curiosity, but eventually we usually win them over.
I think that even if they do not share our references and even if they’re more into death metal and the black metal we play, they can still feel the energy, they can feel, you know, that kick they get in the ass, and sometimes you don’t have to understand all the aspects of music that we listen to. Even if you don’t really understand or appreciate the darkness of it, you can still get a kick out of the energy and these very, very extreme vibes of a band like 1349.
I think very many in the Cannibal [Corpse] audience are ready for it. Some of them don’t know it yet, some discover it now. And you know, that’s what’s so fine about going on a tour with a band that’s a little different than yourself because you can play in front of a new group of audience. I mean, sometimes it’s cool to play for your own community; your own herd in a way. But other times, you need to expand on it a little.
You know, we were once kids too that got into it; it had to happen somehow, and I think that’s how it is for many of the kids here that this might be their first way of encountering something they otherwise wouldn’t seek…And some of these people will discover that this is the greatest thing they have ever seen or heard. So, it’s a good thing. And here in America, I think that a mixed building works perhaps a little better than in Europe, actually.
What would you say to people who would find your music to be “too extreme” for them?
Well, somehow, we don’t really try to convince people that aren’t perceptible to it that this is the thing that we believe that many people here are receptive and there is nothing better for us to do than play in front of them, and really do our thing, and they are themselves, will find out whether this is something that they can get something out of, or not. I don’t say that people are idiots because they don’t like our music. I mean, that must be up to them, that is highly subjective, and we know what we do is quite…What should I say? It’s not the friendliest type of music ever, is it?
But still, for some people here, even if they aren’t diehard black metal people, they like extreme metal.
How has the success been form your new album, Demonoir?
Great. Nothing but fantastic response from all people that has commented on the album. That’s varied from good to absolutely fantastic. I hope it continues that way. It looks very promising, I have to say.
What do you think your fans love most about Demonoir, so far?
Well, that’s difficult to say because as of now we haven’t really gotten specific feedback, people just say that they like it. Many are, of course, happy that we have turned up the BPM [beats per minute] dial again. But, surprisingly many people turned out to be fans of the previous album, as well and like that deeper darkness that we have brought in 1349 now and kind of mixed in with the traditional elements of 1349. So, surprisingly many have uttered appreciation of just that. There’s nothing better than appreciation, because that’s how we feel about it.
With the cover art for the Limited Edition release and the regular release, is there anything that is symbolic between the two?
Yes…There’s a connection anyway because it’s the same guy who has painted the motive for both of those covers. One was painted already and we liked it, we felt that it had something that fitted very well with 1349 and our vibe. And the regular cover was partly based on the Demonoir lyrics and partly made according to instructions that we gave the painter. And he, himself is very into 1349 and the particular dark vibe of this band, and therefore he has a certain understanding of what it’s about. And he, himself wants to offer something that shows his respect and understanding of that work.
When we and the painter have some common views, the result will turn out very good. And, I had some kind of vision of how Demonoir room or dimension, I just got this kind of vision when I was working the studio with this album, and I explained it to the painter, and he kind of understood what it’s about, and found that he could render it somehow; visioned it perfectly, I think.
You don’t always write the lyrics for 1349, but when you do, how do the words start to materialize in your mind?
Yeah, that’s an interesting question because that’s what they really do, they do materialize in my mind, and I feel this brainstorm. The lyrics for Demonoir, they came about when we were working in the studio, and I just started to get a few words.
The opening sentence basically presented itself to me, almost like I could hear it in my head– “Hear, Sound, The steel pipes…” And I just started writing it down in front of me; and decided to enter more spiritual or meditative; and it started to just come, I could see things that had to be there; and the vibe of the song itself kind of channeled the words into my head; I wrote them down and then I did some poetic grips to make it fit the song somehow. But basically, it came by itself as soon as I started opening myself up and dedicated myself to that project. And I’m very happy with how it turned out. It feels very right in a way.
Some artists say that they can make their fans feel the “iciness” or “coldness” of their music, what is it, do you think, that make people feel the “Hellfire” through your music?
I think it’s a combination of being inspired and being able to transform the ideas and the inspiration into music. The whole process of how we work, in rehearsal place and in the studio, how we make ourselves mediums for the music that we want to manifest on the albums. That is really important. I think that if we do our uttermost to basically let the music communicate through us as musicians, then people will also feel that because it’s there and we make– we take steps to bring the human energy into the recording, making it present, somehow.
There should be a presence of a very vile, raw human energy in our music. And, I think we have gotten better at it as we have become, you know, better musicians, but also understanding how a studio recording works, to find out what we can do in order to achieve an acoustic, but burning recording. And, we have connected with people that have helped us achieve that. Like, we have a very fine studio technician, we had Tom G. Warrior from Celtic Frost with us to bring this connection to the old creators of the black metal music style, and that meant a lot. I think that there were elements that were needed to make this recording as spiritual as it turned out.
You have been working on a side project with Ov Hell.
I simply did some session work with what was then still Gorgoroth actually, it turned into God Seed, then that project was just ceased to exist as Gaahl withdrew from this. And, King eventually decided to just take the material into this Ov Hell project.
I’m not a member or anything, I just did it as a job, and a favor to a band that I have been affiliated with for many, many years. I kind of understand what they’re about, and I can go in there, and just connect with the ideas, and play accordingly. I felt that this should have a very militant and mechanical, but yet still brutal approach. So, I just gave it that.
You always seem to constantly top yourself with whatever you’re doing as far as 1349 and Satyricon…
Yeah, that’s something I require of myself to do. I mean, to have a constant development, to have improvement that is a fundamental element in what I do.
Does it ever make you feel stuck or frustrated sometimes?
I don’t really feel that way about it. At least not upon this point, I have. I rather feel as it’s (inaudible) to always push myself. I think that push is needed; you have to be a little hard on yourself to achieve something, and I have become friends with that thought or that method of working. As long as I feel that I can cope with it, it doesn’t frustrate me, but sometimes it makes it very difficult or hard for me. And that just means I have to put even more work into it, and that’s what I do.
I dedicate myself more and more to my task as I get more and more connected with it. Me, myself, and my work becomes more and more… [Pauses] One matter, one issue. I feel that I still have a long way to go. So, there’s still a lot of improvement to make and that drives me forward.
How do you think you’re going to top yourself the next time, for the next album or next project?
Well, just continue to work harder, having an open, humble mind, but also being very, very clear about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. And never letting loose of these goals; I think there is no reason to believe that should happen, that I lose grip. Rather do I feel that even without me forcing it, I’m just moving in that direction; it happens by itself almost. It’s like I have taken some initial steps and then I’m guided by my own participation in my bands, you know. I feel it’s just about walking a path and I took the initial steps choosing to go it, I’m putting all my will and my strength there and I think that as long as I have that burning flame inside, I will be able to continue to walk that path.
The way you talk is so poetic and philosophical, what exactly gave you the passion to speak like that and to think like that, to translate it to your music?
It’s impossible for me to imagine that I could be someone else (laughs), I see it as part of my identity. It has probably been shaped by (pauses) deliberate steps that I’ve been taking; my decisions and so on. But for me (pauses) I feel that’s something I don’t need to think about anymore, it has manifested itself as just a natural way of being.
There weren’t any books that you read when you were younger that sparked this way of being off?
I cannot really tell. Perhaps, but I think that when it comes to subconsciousness and how it affects you, then it’s beyond one’s ability to really understanding that. I think that so many actions and decisions are somehow coming from the subconsciousness. But I feel that understanding what lies beyond that again, is impossible to really penetrate that, and perhaps it’s not that important. At least I don’t feel that this is something that I need to analyze or understand, I just float with it, and that seems to work.
I was informed earlier that you get ready hours before you perform…
Mhmm, I do.
Why exactly is that? And how do you get into that mind-set?
First of all, I do some physical exercises to get the steam and the force I need to enter stage. And then I carry out other rituals like, putting on the paint is one of those rituals that I like to do in order to channel my being into the art itself. And that helps me be one with my music when I play on stage. But it takes some time, but I learned that there are several things that work for me. Those are a couple elements, like the physical exercises warming up, and also working a little on the mind.
I bring in a lot of red energy to what I do. I visual stuff that I see entering my body and filling me. At the point I enter stage, I’m filled with it, I’m all focused on my task, and I shut out things that would disturb the energy flow and that vibe. I’m almost non-receptive to elements that disturb it. Like, humor doesn’t really matter in my world, in the hour or so before I enter stage, because it doesn’t work when I have entered that mind-set, you know? I want to have that mind-set because I feel that’s what takes me there. So, over the years, I’ve just learned how to achieve it.
With how you have your face painted, how does that translate to who you are? Or what does it represent?
It’s basically a visual expression that goes to the musical expression. I want that to go hand in hand and I wanted to be grim and intense because that’s how the music and the playing is. Since I have very clear ideas of what I want to achieve, I think that’s mirrored in the way I choose to look on stage too. Part of a larger vitality, right?