Interview with Frost from "Ledo Takas" magazine by Tadas Kazlauskas (# 06, June 1998)
Start was in 1992, when soon to become black metal leading duo Satyr and Frost took the corn of much promising project. Actually at the dawn of Satyricon it was Carl-Michael Eide (Ved Buens Ende, Aphrodisiac, Inferno, Aura Noir) who put Satyricon in action. Yet first recordings were done with Frost already…
This is the ultimate force in today's blackmetal scene, and we are fucking proud to present a chat with highly intelligent Mr. Frost, who, according to his own words, is currently serving some time in jail and has some time to spend. Any news on this will follow in our upcoming issue, and thus far - Frost's answers. Questions were addressed to Satyr, who back then in June 1998 was very busy with work, so some specific things remain unanswered… Yet no complaints at all, just read it:
After a majestic top-notch "The Shadowthrone" album how have you managed to write a tremendous follow-up in the form of "Nemesis Divina"? That previous work was the most perfect form to combine various black metal hints into one wholeness.
We always develop. The musical skills get better, and so do the composing skills. When creating "Nemesis Divina", we had far better technical abilities than when creating "The Shadowthrone", something that was actually necessary to make the material work. "The Shadowthrone" with its combination of different atmospheres is a good album indeed, but not our best effort in my opinion.
You are ready for another crusade soon? I mean a new record. Could you tell just some things how it will sound, be named, different and special? "Nemesis Divina" can be a reference?
Satyricon are currently working on the 4th full-length album, which will (most probably) be entitled "Rebel Extravaganza". This album that is to be recorded late autumn/early winter this year, will be our blackest and hardest album so far. Fast, freezing, dark, slow, eerie, bizarre, intense… It will even contain some "groovy" themes in the vein of Black Sabbath. We try to avoid too melodic and heavy metal oriented stuff, as that would only ruin the devastating feeling of this forthcoming assault. Then "nice" black metal sucks - big time! I shall not compare our new material to "Nemesis Divina". No two Satyricon albums will be alike.
Writing your new tunes you try to reach some new musical dimensions, to cover some yet undiscovered landscapes, or better lead a well-known path, mixing it up with a perfect composing?
A combination of the two, but we always try to be innovative and find new ways to express the atmospheres in our music. So there will be some experimenting on the 4th album also.
Since the start your music was turning more and more intense, extreme, compromiseless. "Nemesis Divina" was like a final station? Is there a road to even higher level of extremity, or you start to calm down?
Calm down?? Why?… No way we will calm down. The next album is going to be even more intense and extreme than "Nemesis Divina", but not for the sake of just being so. Our music is always going to be varied, and "calmer" parts and songs will be present on "Rebel Extravaganza" as well.
A new tour after the album release will follow again? I have heard you were not satisfied with first tour in 1996. Is it true you cancelled some shows?
There is going to be a new tour following the album. The tour in 1996 could in general be described as problems, problems and more of the same - all due to the total lack of professionality of our tour organizer, Metallyssee. Fuck Johan and his crew, may they suffer the worst of agonies! We cancelled some shows… Despite all shit, some gigs came out highly successful.
"Nemesis Divina" CD layout was amazing. You spent loads of money on that? Do you think these expenses were worth of the result? Will you come up with any majestic composition of details again?
The "Nemesis Divina" layout was rather expensive, but no doubt it was worth the expense. The booklet is meant to show a visual side of Satyricon, and in order to express the visual aspect our music deserves, we put the money, work and creativity necessary into it to make it right. The layout for the fourth album will not stand back for the "Nemesis Divina" layout. Exceed! Exceed!
Kveldulv (aka Nocturno Culto) is not going to record bass once more? Then why you used him on "Nemesis Divina"?
Kveldulv was a full-time member of Satyricon at the time of recording "Nemesis Divina". Later he moved far away to the woods - just all of a sudden. He planned to stay in Satyricon, but no longed back to a more desolate place. Satyr will take care of the bass on our next recording, I suppose.
Tell me if you had any professional music education and if it has influenced somehow your manner to write and play?
Neither me nor Satyr has any professional musical education.
Some professionals claim it has nothing to do with their current musical experience. Do you suppose why it is so?
Some professionals claim what? If I understand you correctly, what they may mean is that their musical education has only increased their technical abilities, without afflicting their creativity or style of playing. (Exactly - and this is an extra bonus for talented musician - ed.)
You have some incredible ideas on drumwork. Do your contribution make music stronger? Any other drummer could fit more perfectly?
I surely hope my drumwork strengthens the music of Satyricon, but I think the drumming on the forthcoming album will be a lot better than on the first three. Who knows if any other drummer would fit better?
Stepping back in time, don't you regret that let's say "Dark Medieval Times" could be recorded better, in a more perfect way, if it was done these days? Your music back then was still growing up or already was an individual matured creation?
We were not exactly skilled and experienced musicians when recording our debut LP/CD. What we had was our black metal spirit and iron will. Satyr also demonstrated great creativity in composing. If recorded today, considering the musicianship, "D.M.T." would technically belong to an other dimension I believe. But we did the best we could do back then, and hence it is pointless to regret what is done years ago. Anyway, the characteristics of "Dark Medieval Times" are the mystic, dark, medieval feelings to it, atmospheres that would be difficult to capture in such a perfect manner one more time. To the last part of your question: yes - and yes! Our music is always growing up as you put it, but each album is still an individual/matured creation. Exceed! Exceed! (seems like this is Frost's favourite expression - ed.)
Stepping even further back, what are your thoughts about the demo? Why Enslaved were chosen as an other split part? You know them since early days?
The demo is excellent - primitive, raw die hard black metal with frighteningly bad drum-playing, chainsaw guitars and killer riffs. Enslaved then - whatever happened to them? "Yggdrasill", their demo, is just splendid, and we wanted to re-release that one on the split as it deserved more attention - at least in our eyes. The mini LP "Hordanes Land" was also a little masterpiece. But then what happened? "Hordanes Land" is characterised by innovative and creative composing, while the three full-length albums following it are characterised by the lack of the same. Personally I must admit that I find them to be quite boring, with some great themes here and there (like the opening theme on "Vikingligr Veldi"). Too bad, because Enslaved was a very promising band in their early years, and the guys are cool metalheads. Hopefully, the future holds far better times for Enslaved. Maybe they just drink too little beer - could that be the reason of their stagnation? (Of curse that is the reason, but who could believe it is true!! Well, Ivar has lost some kilos in last few years… - ed.) By the way, Satyr told me on the phone the other day that Enslaved had delivered a more than decent cover track for a Darkthrone tribute album about to be released. Could be a hint of better times.
How has it turned that Nuclear Blast started taking care on Satyricon distribution? Black metal underground hates this label.
Nuclear Blast gave us the best offer, that is why we did business with them. I suppose many underground people hate Nuclear Blast for their album release of the stupid christian project horde. And that band surely deserves no respect from anyone! But then, it is Satyricon's goal (not the main goal, though) to expand, and no christian shit shall prevent us in any way from doing so. If we were to stay away from the label giving us the best opportunities because of an unimportant, lousy band like horde being on that label, that would be horde's victory, not ours. Moreover, Satyr tried to make Nuclear Blast kick horde out of the label (cool! - ed.) as just a project and will not release anything again.
What about true spirit and natural commercialism, which still takes presence, combination? You know, you deal with people who spread your stuff and gain money out of that… For example, do you bother that your releases are spread in lots of commercial shops?
We do not bother our releases being sold in commercial shops. And why the hell should we? Selling our stuff only through underground distributors and shops is absolutely no guarantee that just the "true" and dedicated people get hold of it. And just to make that clear - Satyricon will never under any circumstance turn into a commercial band. It simply will not happen that we change our music in order to sell more records. Satyricon creates the music that pleases us. There would be no problems making an album more pompous and commercial than you could imagine, but we will not, because such music sucks. What is fortunate is that it seems to be unavoidable that others earn as much, or more, on Satyricon than we ourselves do.
I have read in one interview Satyr claimed not to be a satanist. What about inverted crosses, satanic lyrics and overall approach? Antichristian and satanic do differ, but have much in common either.
Satyr is no satanist, he has never been and never said so, but he surely belongs to the darkside. Satyr does not believe in satan, and strongly hates religion. However there are other approaches to the darkside than satanism. Yep, read the lyrics; they reflect his inner world of darkness without being satanic. No question - the contents of the lyrics are black as are the music we play, but this blackness is not tied up with the deity satan. What antichristianity and satanism have in common is an antichristian ideology, nothing else. Antichristianity does not have anything to do with a belief in, or worship of any deity. Concerning the use of the peter cross (inverted cross), this is not only a satanic symbol, it is a symbol of the left hand path (the darkside), of antichristianity and really - of black metal. The peter cross is no doubt a powerful, evil symbol and should therefor be used with a certain respect. Satyricon has made use of this symbol, and we fully stand for the darkness it represents.
How Satyricon manages to remain so obscure unit? Even in Oslo legends are dwelling about the band. Elm Street is a place Satyr hates to visit?
Satyr does not enjoy himself on Elm Street, that is correct (where did you get that from?) (it is no problem to receive such news when you visit the place yourself! - ed.), but personally I drink some beers there from time to time. I used to hang around there a couple of years ago.
Tell me your opinion on works of Mr. Th. Kittelsen. I guess you have used him in the past absolutely not by occasion? So where is the key of his majestic works, full of natural mystery? And what about his work becoming a trend?
What was so magnificent with Th. Kittelsen was his ability to express the mystique and grimness he saw in Norwegian nature through his art. Kittelsen's imagination was obviously very vivid, combined with unique talent and a profound interest in Norwegian myths. This resulted in numerous enchanting pictures of trolls and other mythological creatures, the personification of the black death a.s.o. We used a splendid drawing by this artist for our debut album, because it fitted the concept perfectly. Since then, a lot of bands have made use and misuse of almost every single Kittelsen drawing that could fit a black metal concept. It pretty much makes the magic disappear… still nothing can change the fact that the drawings are great.
You took part in a famous underground documentary "Det Svarte Alvor" years ago… Comment why just rehearsal footage, no mention of Satyricon, and no interview was done back then? What about making a home video?
A rehearsal footage was all we wanted to do, we had no message we would like to share with the Norwegian people. The sequence was planned to be a lot longer (the cameraman was filming for about ten minutes!). And of course it should have been mentioned which band was playing. But the TV company fucked everything up… The whole documentary is ridiculous and completely worthless. We have participated in another documentary as well, but did no interview. "What about making a home video" - what about "Mother North" then? (I wanted to ask about full-length video full of music and not only - ed.)
Motörhead is your fave old school band, or you liked so much "Orgasmatron"? Tell me which older heavy metal bands you appreciate? Don't you feel that cover version was a shock for many black metal followers?
The fave old school band of both Satyr and me is Bathory. But "Orgasmatron" is a killer song, and we thought it could be made a bit rawer and more powerful - which we did successfully. I do not know how the bm people have reacted to the cover version, but I have heard some very positive comments. I do not care really, I think the cover sounds very good. I am not that into heavy metal at all, be it older or newer, but Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Accept have made some decent stuff in the past. Old Mercyful Fate and King Diamond, if you count them among heavy metal bands, are of course both great, Mercyful Fate being considerably better than King Diamond.
Moonfog seems to stand as strong as possible in these years of current trends. You think a neat choice of artists make it as it is? Is it true you work there as well? Will you ever sign a non-Norwegian band?
Not for me to answer. I may however mention that Moonfog stand stronger than ever as Gehenna and Thorns are signed to Moonfog, and presumably Dødheimsgard is to be signed as well. A non-Norwegian band may be signed, if only it is good enough. (Satyr manages the label, if you wonder - ed.)
Do your beliefs have anything to do with militaristic actions? Is it possible to reach the goal many black metal freaks try to through such experience?
Militaristic actions are great, but there are nothing in my beliefs that necessitates such actions. Also they may easily turn back on you - militaristic actions against christianity have resulted in a situation where the police watches our every move.
These described vikings, pagan traditions or natural mysteries should remain just in our books, not being forcefully brought to any other human, or on the contrary?
About pagan traditions and so on - I am not the one to talk about them.
Your comment on Satyricon by Petronius Arbiter. You think to invent something similar?
I began reading Satyricon by Arbiter some years ago, but strangely enough it got lost - I do not know how it could happen, but it just suddenly was not where I meant I left it. It is still gone, and I cannot comment a book I have not finished. (The tragedy is recommendable, believe me, as it is so bizarre, odd reading… - ed.) To your second question: no plans about any such thing. Decadence and hedonism are not the most prominent traits of ours.
Taken from: Ledo Takas