Darkthrone Mindview February 1999
FENRIZ, the Norse black-metal god, was cross-examined by yours truly (who had been dreaming for this interview since a long time). To honour the ten years' anniversary of the best black-band ever, Darkthrone, a few Norwegian bands joined forces to release a Tribute album (under Moonfog), and I daresay it proves to be one of the better ones. After years of a dead silence, life is rushing through the Darkthrone veins again…High time it did !
Whose idea was it to release the 'Tribute to Darkthrone'?
'The story's got more to it. We were figuring out whether we were supposed to do something to mark our 10 years' anniversary. An idea I had was to make a backpatch for a jacket, or maybe a poster. So the record company said that we should do something more and then I said: "What do you mean, like a tribute or a best of? I don't want a best of, and if this concerns a 'tribute to', then I have to think about it for 5 days." It might be pretentious to look for other people to do this tribute, and maybe it's too soon to come up with it. However, these days it's a fact that I don't take the major decisions in Darkthrone. Nocturno Culto is doing that now; he took over for me. He and Satyr thought it was cool to do it, I didn't... But, it's no problem because it turned out great, but I had nothing to do with what bands were going to play what song.'
Do you like the result?
'Sure, I'm really flattered that the bands know our songs. I think it's interesting to hear things they play that are far off from the original, like the 'DÆdheimsgard or the Thorns' version, it's totally extreme.'
Which one is your favourite song?
'The 'Thorns' cover song, because they made it sound like a robot.'
Why only Norwegian bands on the tribute?
'I didn't know what bands it was going to feature, until I heard the result on tape. For me, it was like a surprise then, and it was also a surprise that it came out on the eleventh anniversary because these tribute albums always have a delay. It's difficult to make a lot of bands come together or record stuff, because they often are on tour. But why only Norwegian bands, I don't know, it's pretty logical for Satyr to choose them. Moreover, I had no idea what bands to ask, so I'm glad that Nocturno Culto and Satyr have done that. I like a lot of bands, so it would have been embarrassing to choose.'
So what's happening with Darkthrone since 'Total Death', is it total dead or what?
'Yes, it's been totally dead concerning song- and lyrics writing. But only recently, Nocturno Culto's been phoning, saying that he's writing songs again and writings lyrics, which is an indication of what will happen. I'm not the guy to sit down and write poetry and have no use for it. I don't like to write lyrics unless there is a big need for it. So this probably means that we are going to do an album, which is what we are thinking about.'
I hope so!
'Who cares, we have plenty of albums out and I don't understand that people want more. It's like eating pancakes, 6 or 7 that's enough for me... I can't understand that people are still hungry.'
It's like a drug...
'Haha, it can't be! Can't be that good...'
So Nocturno Culto is writing new songs, do you know how they will sound?
'Not yet. It will be a surprise for me, once I get there, because he lives very far from my place. It's five hours and a half by train, so it costs a lot of money to go there, so I don't go often. I will go in the near future to check out what he is doing and pick up my guitar, which I haven't picked up in three years and a half. Just a part of me sitting down making some riffs melodic enough to make me fall over and laugh in between the beers... No, if I would make the songs it would probably be more like Hellhammer, not so melodic.'
Where do you get your inspiration?
'It's hard to say, but I wouldn't like to sit down now and pick up a guitar, silence might be a big inspiration. There must be some sorrow, hatred, something strong and now I'm talking about the inspiration for making stuff. You could get ideas by listening to other stuff, ripping off stuff and basically it's everything you heard and you like, that could come up when you play guitar, and you trash out something. I decide what to use and what not. Think about the songs you hear around you, it's pretty much things put together by different peoples' taste.'
It's about taste? What kind of music do you listen to?
'Right now? I'm listening to electro. What I've been doing lately too, is supporting Thrash metal. I'm not playing it, but we've been having Thrash parties at Elm Street. It's so cool, because I couldn't dream about that like in '86, when I was listening to Kreator, and I could never figure it would come back like that!'
You should join Nocturnal Breed…
'I'm supporting them too, because they are going to play on the next 'Thrash metal night'. Last time Aura Noir played there, I love those guys.'
Tell me about your side-projects, Lex Luthor for instance (techno-mix), are you still doing anything with that?
'Not really, but I have a job where I can listen to my favourite CD's, I just get paid to listen to music, it's more important for me to listen to music than to create, because I'm a bit tired of it.'
Why did you choose to do things like Lex Luthor?
'I had to, because I got really into that techno stuff and I figured I had to do something with this music, we used to play metal, it was not because we chose to play it, but because we had to. It's like: 'what am I going to do today, I find a guitar and play metal, no it's like ooh metal first thing in the morning...' You just have to do it. Some people can't play an instrument and so they give their support by writing for a magazine. So I figured I have always been doing this with metal, so when you do this you find out about the magic. When you cannot play an instrument, metal music is magic, but when you try to play all these riffs yourself, than a lot of that magic is gone. I was thinking that I didn't want to do the same thing with techno, I didn't want to buy computers and start to program shit and didn't want to destroy the magic. So I bought a couple of record players and started to mix some stuff together. I didn't really release stuff, just some tapes, it's just a hobby.'
Why did you leave Dodheimsgard?
'I both quit and got sacked because the day I went there to say I was leaving they said: "we know because we already have a new bassist". I doom the day that happened, but I didn't have enough time for it. If I had been really hungry, I would have made time for it. But when I was in the band, I gave all that I could. It was fun.'
Are you going to do a live concert for your 10th anniversary? (Yes, yes???)
'Oooooh, now we exist for 11 years, so we don't have to!'
Bad excuse, it's not a reason....
'No, fuck live. This question has been asked for so many years, so many people say that standing on a stage is great and nothing can beat it. I think that one billion things can beat sitting live behind a drumkit. I don't enjoy it. There are a lot of reasons, mostly because the sound is always shit, you play on different drumkits, it gets too hot, problems with your hair sticking on your corpsepaint, drumsticks flying around because of the heat, I hate waiting in the backstage room.... I hate waiting, and I'm glad I didn't had to wait for this fucking interview, haha, it's better that you have to wait.... [I've been waiting years for this...! -IS] I'm glad to do this interview, they made a note on the promo stuff that people could book interviews and it's cool.'
What do you think about the actual black metal scene?
'Oh, the one that's going on right now.... I don't really know so much about it, I read a lot of magazines but you hear a lot of people complaining about this 'Goth-romantic' stuff. If everyone were praising that, and would say that old-school sucks, then there would be something wrong. A lot of editors seem to know a lot about the eighties. In the early nineties, it was important that the black metal scene was extreme but it's made a good basis for people that could say they play old-school black metal and people would know what it is. If we hadn't made it that extreme, it would have died out. But there are a lot of strange bands now, and in ten years I think they will be embarrassed about what they did. When I hear a bad band, than I crush the CD! So I'm glad that Darkthrone did mostly hard stuff, because it's not so silly to look back on.'
How does it feel to be the best black-metal band ever?
'Well, those are your words… You will soon go crazy. I don't know whether a lot of people think alike.'
I know it's true!
'It's good to be mentioned as an old band because the way I see it, originators of a sound always have a certain degree of influence or respect, even if you don't like it.'
Some last word for our readers?
'People should check out the Necrophagia album, and must look out for the Emperor vs Thorns album, it's beyond great, it's so fresh....'
So, we will never see you live then?
'I hope not, nobody can force us, the only one who can is Nocturno Culto.'
I will talk to him!
'No, he forced me last time, the gig in '96 was our official last gig. I was angry and we just played 6 songs…