Interview with Hellhammer taken from the book Lords Of Chaos.
Interview conducted by Michael Moynihan & Didrik Søderlind
Thanks to Michael Moynihan for use of the interview.
For any of you that dont know alot about the history of the black metal scene, buy Lords Of Chaos and read all about it. It especially covers the Norweigan events of the early 90's (like Euronymous' death, Dead's suicide, and all the Church burnings etc.)
Lords Of Chaos
was published by Feral House
How did you become involved with Mayhem?
I started out in Mayhem in 1988 - early, together with Dead.
You knew him?
I didnt know him before - he was a Swedish guy - but we joined Mayhem at about the same time. I'd heard from some friends of mine that Mayhem was seeking a new drummer. I hadn't heard about Mayhem back then, but people had said it was the real stuff. I got in contact with Euronymous and he wanted to hear a demo tape, so I brought one to the meeting and he said, "Yes, of course!" and was very pleased with it. Then I just moved to Ski, outside Oslo, where they were living and rehearsing. Dead had started out in the band a few months earlier than me.
How long was it before he was literally dead?
It was in April, 1991, three years later.
How would you describe him?
He was a very strange personality. He was from Sweden, the old vocalist in a band called Morbid - some of the guys play in the shit band Entombed now. But he was an okay guy, a very nice fellow, but a bit melancholic and depressive.
What were the circumstances of his death?
Me and Euro and Dead were living in an old house outside of Oslo where we rehearsed, but I was at my parents house in Oslo when it happened. I was planning to go back, but Euronymous called me and said, "You cant go back because the police have closed the house."
"Why?" I said.
"Because Dead has gone home."
"He went back to Sweden?" I asked.
"No, he blew his brains out."
Euronymous found him. We only had one key to the door and it was locked, and he had to go in the window. The only window that was open was in Dead's room, so he climbed in there and found him with half of his head blown away. So he went out and drove to the nearest store to buy a camera to take some pictures of him, and then he called the police.
What happened to the photos?
We had them the whole time, but when Euronymous was killed his father found them in his apartment and threw them away.
But you saw them?
Yes, I was the one who took them to be developed. They were in color, real sharp photos. Dead was sitting half up, with his shotgun on his knee. His brain had fallen out and was lying on the bed. Euronymous was taking pictiures from above, with details of the skull.
Dead had been sitting on the edge of his bed?
Yes, thats right. He had a shotgun, which was Euronymous's. We had alot of weapons in our house.
Was there any advance warning he was going to kill himself?
I'd thought about it, because I saw him earlier that day and he told me he'd bought a knife. I said, "Okay." Then he told me it was very sharp, and I said, "Yeah, so what?" But I didnt know then. The same night he commited suicide he was talking to a friend near our house, and they were talking very much about it, about suicide in general, and when he'd left that night he'd seemed very happy.
He was looking forward to it?
It fit in with his personality?
Yes, depressed, melancholic, and dark - very special.
Was he upset about his situation with the band?
Yes, because Euronymous was always telling him - lying to him - that, "Yeah, we're going to be very rich, just wait..." But in fact they were very poor and had no food to eat. Euronymous was a dreamer. The goals he set were far too high.
Were you also angry at the time?
No. I didnt care about them fighting because I would just go to Oslo. I didnt care about it. I was concerned about the band, but not in the same way Dead was. He was far away from Sweden and didnt know anyone because he wasnt the kind of fellow who could get in touch with people very easily. He just sat in his room and became more and more depressed, and there was a lot of fighting. One time Euronymous was playing some synth music that Dead hated, so he just took his pillow outside, to go to sleep in the woods, and after a while Euronymous went out with a shotgun to shoot some birds or something and Dead was upset because he couldnt sleep out in the woods either because Euronymous was there too, making noises.
What was Dead doing when he wasnt working on the band?
He was writing letters, mainly, and drawing pictures all the time.