Interview with Hellhammer taken from Sounds Of Death Magazine
Thanks to Dan Zimmer of SOD Mag.
SOD: Was there a concept in the band of being anti-religious, or an idea
of becoming a force that would create or cause evil?
Hellhammer: At that time it was very dark Satanic stuff, but that isn't what I feel Mayhem is about today. Back then we were very much into that kind of thing, but I've found out over the years that those powers are very dangerous and they can get out of control. We all used to laugh about it, but now we know that it's actually true. Mayhem's music is still dark, but I wouldn't say that it's Satanic.
SOD: I'm going to get to your new music in a minute, but I want to get a little bit of background information first since we've never discussed any of this in the magazine. We've had two interviews with Count Grishnack, but I'd like to get another side of the whole story. How far into creating the music after you joined the band did you think that things might be getting a little out of hand, as far as maybe the church burnings or violence and things of that nature?
Hellhammer: Back then the church burnings and things all came from Count Grishnack, because he wasn't trying to hide the stuff. He and Euronymous were very close friends before, and he was very persuasive and able to get his friends to do these kind of things. It very rapidly got out of hand and into more criminal stuff. Younger people were questioned by the police. I wouldn't say that this was particularly good for the scene.
SOD: What were some of the events that led up to the deaths of the other two of your band members? Did you see anything on the horizon that indicated that something like that could happen?
Hellhammer: The potential was there for bad things to happen.
SOD: How did you find out about Euronymous' murder?
Hellhammer: (laughs) I was actually trying to get ahold of him Tuesday morning, and there was no answer, so I called his mother. His mother was crying, saying that Smoyspeim, her son (Euronymous) was killed. So I said, "Well, ok...Bye." and hung up the phone. (laughs) I really didn't know who could have done it, you know. I thought it might have been some really extreme members of the Swedish scene because there was a cold war going on between Norway and Sweden. So we stocked ourselves with weapons and knives and guns and stuff to be sure that no such things would happen to us. Then, all of a sudden, everyone knew it was Count Grishnack who did it, and later I spoke to Blackthorn and he told me the whole thing. I was shocked. I didn't know he had it in him to do it.
SOD: It's one thing to talk about violence and watch it on videos, but the actual committing of the act is something that only a few people can actually do.
Hellhammer: That's true. I could never imagine that Count Grishnack could do that sort of thing because he was always so nice and humble and polite.
SOD: Those are the ones you have to be scared of!
Hellhammer: Yeah, probably! (laughs)
SOD: So Blackthorn was involved in the killing as well?
Hellhammer: Well, yes. He was sentenced to nine years in prison. He was in the car when they drove to Oslo, which is a seven or eight hour drive, and they planned to put an axe in the back of his head, but I think that things got really out of hand. Euronymous must have been running around the apartment, because I've seen it, and there was blood everywhere. He ran down the stairs and he crashed into Blackthorn, because he was standing on the steps, you know. Grishnack was stabbing him in the back the whole time, and he was screaming (laughs). Blackthorn looked down and Grishnack was pulling his knife out of Euronymous' head, his eye actually, and they went out from there while he was still making strange noises. He actually lived for 30 minutes or so after the last stab, and he was stabbed 20 or 30 times. What happened then was they were driving back, and on the way they put their clothes into a plastic bag and threw it into the river. The next day I called Grishnack to inform him about this event, and Blackthorn picked up the phone and I said, I want to speak to Count Grishnack. So, he told me he wasn't there, and then all of a sudden he started crying, and I was surprised and I said "What the hell is the matter with you?" and he said oh, it's nothing, it's nothing. So I told him about what had happened, and he seemed like he was a little bit shocked by it, but he was just trying to hide it, you know. The truth is that after that happened, he was mentally ill afterwards, but he's taking medication and he seems to be a totally normal guy now.
SOD: So what was his involvement with the bands?
Hellhammer: He was actually in Mayhem when this happened, because Mayhem had two guitarists, Euronymous and Blackthorn. The bassist and the second guitarists were killed.
SOD: So when did Dead commit suicide?
Hellhammer: He committed suicide in 1991, I think, before all of this.
SOD: I was curious about the photos of that, and how they appeared on the album.
Hellhammer: Well, me and Euronymous and Dead were all living in an old house, kind of in the woods, you know. And I was in Oslo, because things weren't so good in the house, and I was visiting my mother, and I got a call from Euronymous and he said "Dead has gone home now." And I said, what, Dead has gone back to Sweden? and he said, "No, he has gone home, he has blown his brains out." That was totally shocking for me. He was a very shy, quiet person. Then Euronymous told me "But the best thing is that I have taken pictures!" (laughs) Then he told me the whole thing. They only had one key for the door, and the door was locked, you know, so he had to climb in through Dead's window to get into his bedroom. Luckily he had left the window open. So there he was, and he told me that he went straight out the get his camera, and he came back and took a whole roll of pictures which I had to develop because we couldn't take it to a commercial developer, you know. But some of these pictures were stolen, and they appeared on this CD from Blackheart.
SOD: So you guys had nothing to do with that?
Hellhammer: No, absolutely not. We were actually planning on using it, then suddenly Euronymous went commercial. We were kind of pissed at him at that.
SOD: So Euronymous was trying to make money off of it.
Hellhammer: He hated the band before. He hated everything; he was a communist, you know. (laughs) A self-proclaimed communist, which I really hate myself. He abandoned all of his principals.