Interview with Euronymous and Dead

Interview taken from Slayer #8

E = Euronymous

D = Dead

Do you think we can expect a new lp from you guys during1991?

E: "Yeah, we are now working hard on new trax for det next lp, and at this moment we need about 3 1/2 more before we have the 9 trax which are necessary. This time it won't be more delayed, if not something extreeme happens, like if Hellhammer (drums) disappears again. Dead cuts himself too much on a gig, or I lose my passport in Albania or something...."

About your lp, will it be a concept dealing with this book "De mysteriis dom sathanas" only?

D: "No, it won't be a concept lp. Only one song on it will have to do about the book. But to explain a bit closer about that particular song would be weird 'coz it wasn't enough evil and it didn't fit. So we saved it to be th elast book itself. I must find it before some wimpy mainstream jerk will do that I think I'll have an expedition on my own around the world to find it. It's so dark, darker than death."

Since you (Euronymous) have a certain political view, would you ever to concider to write about that in some lyrics?

E: "No, that will never happen. Even though I'm active in the most extreeme communist party here (Albania inspirations), I leave to the Punks to write about that in the lyrics. Nowadays tons of bands are writing "social awareness" lyrics and they still dare to call it Death Metal. BULLSHIT! I play in a Death Metal band, or maybe you should call it Black Metal, and the most important thing then is Death! Bands who claim to play Death Metal and are not into Death itself, are fakes, and can start to play punk instead. It's a big trend today to look totally normal with these goddam jogging suits and sing about "important matters", and call it Death Metal. These people can die, hey have betrayed the scene. Death Metal is for brutal people who are capable of killing, it's not for idiotic children who want to have funny hobby after school. I'll write more about this later. I'll just end up saying even if I'm personally very much into studying the great works of Mao, Stalin and so on. I think the band is much more important, and Death and Black Metal is my life."

For a long time the band didn't have a reh. place, what did you do during this time?

D: "Good question ........After that we couldn't be at the old VOMIT's place anymore we had for a very short time our own place (2 weeks or so) before they cut of the electricity and later on tore down the whole place......By then Hellhammer had joined the band. What we did then was to find somewhere to live (well, some things go before rehersal place). We could stay for some month mostly at each place and those have been at friends, half broken down houses, forests and camping places etc.......... But luckily it's much better now, even if we can't stay here so much longer. For really long time we were out of any place to rehearse at all and what we could do then for the band was not much else than replying on the mail."

Now much material have you written which you have thrown away? How many songs do you have now?

E: "Probably 50-75% of all the riffs I make will be thrown away sooner or later, because after a while it is not good enough. I don't want to make any mainstream music, so each riff must be something special, and then it takes very long time to make the music. We have five new songs now ("Funeral Fog", "Buried By Time and Dust", "The Freezing Moon", "Pagan Fears" and one new without any lyrics), but if you're thinking about the total number of songs which we have and will play live, it's nine songs + this new one which we will not play live before some time."

At certain times it seems like the band is living on the edge of starvation. How long can you live the life you do?

E: "It's true that we've been through some hard times, generally we have very little food, but we can eat at least some bread each day. And sometimes we just don't have anything at all, and must go out to steal food to survive. These periods fortunately don't last more than a couple of weeks. It's very frustrating to live like this. It's been like this for a couple of years now. I don't know how long we can keep it going. It better change soon, or we might get some line-up problems again. I now hope the record label will help, in the last month I have been able to buy some food because of the label, and that's great. When we get some more records out, it will be better, especially when the MAYHEM Lp comes."

Euronymous; what do you think of the current situation in Eastern Eurpoe? Do you think it is good what happens??

E: "The question is a bit difficult, because there are two answers. All the revolutions you have seen in E.E. are just as they could be taken from MARX/LENIN/MAO, and the party I'm in is totally supporting it, because of the communism means total freedom, and that it should be the people who decide things, not the goverment or the capitalists. But on the other hand, I'm personally very facinated by the countries like Albania, North Korea or Kampuchea, which have been running a very hard line and which have closed for the rest of the world. I really regret that I didn't get the chance to go to Romania while it was like in the old days, but at the least I'll be going to Albania soon. OK, I didn't think Romania was a very good place for people to live in, but there were other reasons for that than Ceausescu. You see, the main reasons for the problems in the Eastern Europe have been their big foreign debt and alot of corruption. Romania owed lot's of money to other countries, and Ceausescu decided to get rid of this debt quitckly. So he shipped everything the country produced away, and in a couple of years he would actually have got rid of that foreign debt and Romania would have been very rich country. He could of cource have avoided building himself a palace to himself, but that's the same the big capitalists do over here, and they have also got rich by exploiting people. Ceausescu was a very popular person before, also here in the West, and I 
still concider him as comrade."

Why do you think so many bands are trying to copy Napalm Death, Carcass, Morbid Angel or Death? Aren't people creative anymore?

E: "No, creativity disappeared in the middle of the '80s. I think 95% of the bands today are worthless shit. There are just a few who manage to capture the brutality and Evil which the ancient bands like Sodom, Destruction, Bathory, Possessed, Venom, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost and so on had. It's very important that the music is filled with dark moods and that the music smells of destruction, but no bands manage to do that. (Well....ED). But instead, they suddenly occur in the scene and rip off another band like ND, which has made something original. Take a bands like Deicide. They play so incredible standard, their music is really ment for all the idiot children who started to listen to Metallica after "Master of Puppets". The last Napalm Death lp is also a part of this extremely boring mainstream which people dare to call Death Metal. I think Merciless (Sweden of corse) play much more brutal than most of the so called Death Metal bands do today. Merciless really play music which feels like a jackhammer in the brain. I thin the main problem is that Death Metal is now commonly available and accepted. The underground is dead. In the ancient days, it was extreemly unpopular and extreme ot play in a band like Mayhem. Most people hated us, and each time a new lp came out, it was something so raw and evil that you were freezing on your back, and you really got a kick from listening to it. Now Death Metal is commercial, and bands like Cadaver have even played played gigs for their parents. This is not good. This does not help the underground. It's killing it. Real Death Metal should be something normal people are afraid of, not something mothers can listen to. Ask any 12 year old idiot on the street which bands he or she listens to, and the answer will probably be Guns & Roses, Metallica, Napalm Death and Morbid Angel. It's all a big boring trend for idiots, and unfortunately all these idiots always start to play in bands or make a zine. When bands like Master's Hammer, Rotting Christ or Merciless makes demo's/records. I'm happy because they bear the spirit from the ancient days when Death Metal was something evil. And I refuse to have anything with to do with all the mainstream trendies in the scene today. If I had played in a band like Napalm Death I would have been so angry that I would have split up the band immediately as a protest. Death Metal should not be played on MTV or be on TOP 10, because that is killing the scene. If this ever happens to Mayhem, if we become a trend band (which is very unlikely to happen), then I'll stop playing. That's a promise. I don't want to see Mayhem records in supermarkets in USA like you can with ND and Morbid Angel."

You obiously don't like so much Hardcore. Does that include the people who plays it, or is it the music you dislike only?

D: "I don't listen to Hardcore. And I don't like the people. I don't hate Hardcore itself, but what it later became when all those "attitude" which seemed to include bermuda shorts, baseball caps, and so fuckin' on. I think it was trend and I hated it til those vegetarians switched to make something else fashonable instead. Which was the same such crap of course, but then I didn't hate Hardcore anymore....."

Now something about your label. What do you listen to when you decide to sign a band?

E: "I just have to like them alot. If I like them, it means that they are not one of the mainstream idiot bands, and that is enough for me. If the bands look like old Sarcofago/Hellhammer, it is the best of cource, but I give the bands total freedom concerning everything. I generally hate bands who wear light clothes and jogging suits and shit like that, but even if a band looks totally boring, I'll sign them id they make really good music. Merciless.....they don't look exactly brutal, but I just love their music so much. If I had to choose between signing them and Morbid Angel, I'd sign Merciless without delaying a second. Also I love Satanic bands, but I don't care if they sing about eating carrots, if the music is great."

What kind of deals do you give the bands?

E: "We pay all the recording and pressing costs, and then we split the profit 50/50 with the band. That's the only fair way of doing it."

Do you have any written contracts and so on?

E: "Yeah, we always have written contracts. There are two things which are good when we do it that way:
Both sides will know exactly what they can expect of the other, so no misunderstandings can occur. In the contract it will be written how much they get, when the get it and so on. It's the best for the band. 
It will be written that we have total copyright and ownership of all recorded material, cover and master tapes. This is of course not to prevent the band using this material themselves, but if they get signes by some 
capitalist label some day, the label will of course try to get the rights for themselves so they can suck more money out of it. And it's this which we will prevent. After we released the Merciless lp, Merciless were contacete by Active Records (who have released Candlemass, Atheist etc), who wanted to buy the rights. If they had done that, we wouldn't have been able to sell anything at all, and we'd lose tons of money and maybe we couldn't have continued the label. Because we had the contract, Active had to contact us instead, and we refused of course, even though they offered us alot of money. I think we should get about $30000, but we told them to fuck off. On the contract with Merciless we hadn't thought about getting the rights for the cover, and this has now resulted in that CBR (the label Merciless is signed to now) has made t-shirts with the cover, and we can't do anything about it. We always learn from the faults we do, and we'll not repeat thaton the next record. So the contract is not for controlling the band, it's for avoiding being ripped off by money hungry labels."

How manycopies do you reckon to sell of each release?

E: "It's a bit hard to say, because we have only released one record which has not been on the marked for a very long time. I'm sure about selling somewhere between 4-6000 records, but I hope for 10.000!"

In how many countries do you have distribution?

E: "So far we have been concentrating on Europe. We've sold quite a lot in France, Germany and Greece, and Sweden of course. I've also sent some records to Japan. 60-70 I think, and a few to Australia. But lately I have started to send some packages to South and Central America as well, and will continue with that and expand into North America soon. I've contacts in about 55 countries now, but not all of them are possible to send records to the Eastern Europe, USSR, and the poorest countries of Asia/South America, because the records are extremly expensive for them, even if I give them the cheapest price possible. It's realistic to think that I'll be selling records to about 45 countries, and more later."

You have produced the Mortem ep "Slow Death". Is this something you will do again? Producing, etc...?

E: "I don't know. If someone wants me to help, I'll of course help them as good as I can, but I'm not a good producer as I haven't been much in the studio myself. But there is one thing I'm aware of which proffessional producers are not, and that is that it is not enough to give the band clear and good sound. You must alos put forward the identity of the band so they don't sound like all the other bands. This really lacks on all the new records today. Just listen to Morgoth, Obituary and so on. All the producer has managed to do is to rip off Death and make a standard sound. It's important to get a totally special sound like the first albums of Sepultura, Bathory, Destrucion, Sodom, Possessed, Carcass, Sarcofago etc. had. It sounds much more brutal that way. Listen to Sodom or Sepultura now. One thing is that their music stinks, but the sound is weak and polished. I think it sounds shit."

Are you still planning to record your lp in France?Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper to record it in Sweden or Norway?

D: "No, we won't (record it in France). According to the delay of more than two years many plans for recording as well as touring have screwed. When I had the idea of going to that studio in France, it was 'coz we'd heard they got some promotion from somewhere and it would be almost free to record anything there. That was why . Now, we just hope we will make it with "Kællen", the dude who engineered for Cadaver, as the producer. It will probably be in Norway."

Have you been in contact with our friend Marci lately?

E: "This is very irritating, because we have just heard that he has moved to Chicago! How he managed to do that is a mystery, but our revenge will hit him there as well. Unfortunately, the poison we gave him wasn't strong enough to kill him, but I won't rest before he is dead. Coming to America was his dream, and we hate that he probably is happy now. But we also know that the poison caused him pain and that he suffers a lot from it, and in the end he'll also probably get cancer......if we don't kill him before that. He's going to die."

Dead, did you think of Mayhem before you joined? Do you think you have changed the musical and lyrical direction of Mayhem?

D: "When I heard "Pure Fucking Armageddon" it's no bullshit that I thought it was the most brutal I've heard, and I think it still is. You know that at that time Necro's lyrics were Black Metal. It's not the same on "Deathcrush", and then it wasn't only Necro who wrote the lyrics. The "Deathcrush" lyrics aren't bad at all but they are later what became gore or trendy. I'm now writing what I think is Black Metal from my view. But I must say that I think my lyrics are different from eachother. So far I've been the one to write the new lyrics, except for some we dropped. I hope this will change, but we have some problems to cooperate. Necro + me will do a better try to work something out in the future. It must be black metal! I think everything has drifted away from what it once was, or should be. After Venom's "At war with Satan" the scene died and the trends clone bands and mainstreams appeard instead. Everything comes from our Almighty Venom so no one can say their influences come from something else. Even if they think they are something original by wearing "normal" clothes and succeed in looking 100% boring. Wimps shall die and only Venom was real. That was the scene! And that is what I try to pick up in lyrics, what I think black 
metal was."

As we know, Death Metal is the new trend, but do you think it will fade away like crossover and grindcore once did?

E: "All trends will sooner or later die, and I will welcome the death of the trendy "Death" Metal people who are just fakes in my opinion. I think and hope that in one year, only the trye people will e left and the others have gone back to disco or whatever they listened to before they "discovered" Morbid Angel. I'd like to see a scene where the music is something gruesome and evil that normal people fear, and where the people in the scene all look like Hellhammer or old Sarcofago, spikes and chains rule! The scene must also be out of reach for normal idiots, because I think it only should be for extreme people. If someone thinks this is stupid and that the scene should be openminded, have various attitudes etc etc...then he is one of the persons I don't want to see our gigs. I don't mind if most of the idiots in the scene hates me and think I look stupid in corps-epaint, black clothes and spikes, because Mayhem is not for them. My parents don't like Mayhem, but I think this is how it should be. Just the same - it's not the idea that every idiot shall like us either. Iff all idtiots in the scene, or if my parents liked us, then something would be wrong. Sore throat and ENT are right - the scene is dead. I'd just like to save the rest of it and create a new one with only brutal people. Everyone else - Fuck off. Our music is just as much for you as for my parents."

Do you like Norwegian bands? Do you think the Norwegian bands are a bit more original?

E: "I like Balvaz, Cadaver, Darthrone and Immortal (Ex Amputation). Thy Abhorrent is also ok. By the way, watch out for a possible lp of Immortal on DSP. If you want to listen to bands that are really original, then listen to Rotting Christ! Their music is so Dark, so BRUTAL!! ARGH!"

What will be the ultimate goal for Mayhem? What is what you think you will manage to do during your career?

E: "I don't know if we have any ultimate goal, for me it would be perhaps to play live in Albania, North Korea, Laos, Vietnam or Kampuchea. But the other guys may have other ideas about this. I'd also be happy if we could continue to release records without too much problems, and manage to make a living out of that + the label without having to sell records to mainstream people. This lowlife should not have any access to Death Metal."

Finally, do you know what the ex. members of Mayhem are up to now?

E: "Yeah, we have more or less contact with all of them, but some of them live their own lifes and we see them only rarely. This especially goes for Manheim and Messiah. Manheim is married with an idiot chick and is working in an insurance company. He has become a totally normal person. Messiah is only into Hardcore as far as I know, and he has some strange Hardcore band (Within' Range) I don't even know where he lives now, but sooner or later he will turn up again. Yesterday I got the new Impostor demo where he does the vocals, so he still lives. The Vomit guys are playing in a band called Børre og Bløderne which is some kind of strange punk. I haven't seen them for quite some time either. But Maniac has been in regular contact with us, he was here some weeks ago, he's still the same old dude."