A I L H O U S E R O C K
No one really cared about the extreme music scene in Norway until
1993, when all hell broke loose - litterally!
Churches were burned and murders were committed. Emperor's dummer, Faust, was
charged with killing a homosexual man who was foolish enough to make advances
towards him; and the man who is Buruzm, COUNT GRISHNACKH, was charged with
killing Mayhem guitarist Euronymous. Others within the scene went down for
arson. In 1995 the rivalry between bands anxious for notoriety has subsided,
as the most activists lay behind bars. In an exclusive interview, Robyn
Doreian travels to Norway to talk to convicted murderer Grishnackh about how
he is dealing with the reality of prison life, about Burzum's fifth album,
and the future of his one-man musical project.
The prison where 22-year old Varg Vikernes (aka Count Grishnackh) is
currently serving a 21-year sentence for murder used to be a concentration
camp in WWII. It sits amidst the hills of Oslo, about 20 minutes from the
airport, looking about as bleak as would expect a German halfway house of
death to be.
This is the third prison Varg has been in since receiving his sentence on May
16, 1994. His first incarceration was Oslo jail, then Bergen prison, and he
has been here since August '95.
In accordance with bizarre Norwegian laws, Varg is allowed to receive visits
from journalists, but at present none from friends or relatives. Whilst we
had no security check, people who actually know him have to undergo extensive
scrutiny from the police and authorities before they allowed in.
Once through the massive barbed wiregates surrounding the building, we walk
into the reception area where three guards sit watching us arrive on
It takes around 15 minutes before we actually see him. We have to go through
several locked doors constructed of metal bars before we reach the wing where
he resides, which is occupied solely by murderers and rapists.
There is a long hallway with approximately 20 locked cells. Each cell is
approximately five feet wide by 12 feet deep, and contains a bed, sink, small
table and wardrobe. The place smells like a hospital.
We are shown in to what serves as a visiting room. The windows have vertical
metal bars on them, and provide a full view of the massive exercise yard to
the rear of the building. The walls around the building are imposingly tall,
complete with barbed wire and an abundance of security cameras.
The notorious Count Grishnackh appears in the doorway of the room. He is
wearing a long-sleeved, heavily soiled Burzum shirt, army trousers and army
boots. Varg is intelligent and articulate, speaking surprisingly good English
but occasionally grappling for the right adjective. During our discussion, he
is overtly hyperactive, making drumming movements whilst seated on the
cushioned sofa, and looks incredibly pallid. The latter can be explained by
the fact that he is currently serving time in an isolation cell.
are you in isolation?
"Because I had some trouble with the guards. They come up with these
ideas that suddenly I am not allowed to take visits from this or that person
because they are politically incorrect and I am a bit pissed because that is
no reason whatsoever. They really just want to mess things up!"
sort of people won't they let visit you?
"Well at this time they denied my girlfriend visits for no reason. They
claim that she smuggled things out, but that is bullshit, as they check me.
We have to undress and they go through our clothes and we have to stand naked
- even when I talk to you, journalists, which I don't normally do. So it is
just bullshit, really."
have you been treated since you've been here?
"Not different from the other inmates, I believe, but because I have
political beliefs which are lot acceptable they have stopped all my mail.
Sometimes I get one or two letters, but they stop most of it because people
write letters with these stupid inverted crosses on it. I am not allowed to
draw Norwegian flags on envelopes and such things, as that is Nationalist
Socialist, they say."
was it like the first night you arrived in prison?
"The first day, I was left naked in a massive cell with a concrete floor
with a hole in the middle. There was no bed, nothing on the floor, and they
left the light on for 24 hours. People were walking past 24 hours a day,
looking in at me through the bars. The next day they threw a blanket in. Of
course it was very humiliating, but that was the point - no shower, no
were you thinking while you were Iying there on the floor?
"I thought it was quite ridiculous. They thought I would be so scared,
and they would be like, 'You are really down now!' There is psychic terror in
these places, not physical terror. They know this is worse!"
is an average day like for you?
"Well right now it is a bit extraordinary because I am in isolation. I
have been there all week and was allowed to take a shower today, so right now
I do nothing. Normally I read books and write some letters.
You can either go to work or go to school in here. When you are at work, you
have to put lamps together - very intellectual work, (laughs) - but luckily I
am in school. I have to get up at 7am, and then go there from 7.30 until 2.50
pm and then have dinner. Then from 4.00-6.00 pm you stay in the yard if you
want to be out there that long, and then go back to my room.
There are sections of 10 people who have to share a kitchen, shower and
toilet. You don't have a toilet in the cell, so if you need a piss you do it
in the basin. You had better not have to do a number two (laughs), as you
will have to do it in a plastic bag or something.
I wrote a book when I was in Bergen. There was always the threat of it being
stopped, so I crammed in as much as I could. I will be talking to a publisher
There are some chapters dealing with the so-called 'black metal' in Norway,
and some chapters about the relationship between the ecstacy dance culture
and pagan rituals. It is exactly the same thing in Norse magic, when you
dance until you are completely exhausted and then have an out-of-body
do you escape from your reality in here?
"Listen to music. Normally we are allowed to have a cassette and CD
player, and I listen to Bach, Beethoven, Grieg (of course, as he is Norwegian),
and some techno."
you ever think of committing suicide?
"Why should I ?"
you get incredibly depressed?
"From time to time. Suicide is a cowardish thing. It is one of these
escapes some people take."
you regret killing Euronymous?
"No, why should l? The big point is that I am serving time for something
that I didn't do. They claim that it was a first-degree murder, and
everything points to the fact that it wasn't. And it wasn't, but still I am
charged with this. If the truth would have been served I would have had a
maximum of 12 years. And that is a totally different thing, as I would only
have had to serve some six to eight years."
do you think should you have been charged with?
"Well the guy I murdered, he tried to kill me but obviously he didn't
manage (laughs), so I killed him instead. It wasn't what I would call direct
self-defence, because he was no real threat there and then. I could have beat
him up and kicked him out in the street, but I killed him. If I didn't kill
him then, he would have tried again. There was no point in giving him a
did he want to kill you?
"The point is that he started with black metal in 1984. He was always
considered the king as such in Norway, but when we started to socialise with
them in '91 everything changed.
The scene had a boost. My debut came out in March '92, and then Immortal came
in September, and at the same time churches started to burn. None of these
things happened before we came into the scene. Every time a church would burn
he would phone around to all of his friends and tell them we had burnt
another church, as he really wanted to be part of this church-burning thing.
We got a bit tired of him, and he was into this satanism and evil and all of
this, and for a while we called ourselves Satanists. We were never really
Satanists, so why call ourselves that? He didn't want that, because he wanted
to be evil and all this bullshit, and we didn't, so it sort of became a
did you know that he was going to kill you?
"Because he phoned a friend of mine and told him, and also sent some
letters to a friend of his who told me. I went around to his place to warn
him not to come near me.
I turned up at 3am and we started to talk angrily, and he panicked and tried to
attack me. I just threw him on the floor, and he got up and ran to the
kitchen to get a knife. And I thought if he were going to have a knife so
could I. I cut him off so he could not reach his knife. Then he headed for
the bedroom where he had a shotgun, so I ran after him, but he ran out
screaming for help and ringing all the neighbours' doorbells.
That pissed me off. First he attacks me, and when he starts to lose he is
screaming for help. It was ridiculous and pathetic. The neighbours told the
police in the interview that they had heard a woman screaming (laughs). So I
followed him, and the other guy who was with me followed us, and he ran into
a lamp and the glass broke and he fell onto his back. I waited to see if he
would attack me again but he just went past me and tried to kick me, and then
I just stabbed him in the head."
did it feel like when you killed him?
"Nothing special, really. It was no big deal."
you horrified that you had actually killed him?
"Why should l? It is natural to kill, especially when you are
threatened. I think it is quite normal. This thing about killing has caused
it to keep our society civilised? Otherwise people would be running around
killing each other.
"Of course there has to be rules and standards and all that, but when a
pig like him planned to kidnap me and first knock me out with an electrode
shock gun, what can you do? It doesn't matter how strong you are.
Am I to have mercy with such scum? No way! I value my laws more than the laws
of society. People who want to kill me, that is fine. If it is serious, I
will kill them first."
that has gone on around black metal in Norway - the church-burnings, murders
etc, what has it got to do with music?
"I think it has very little to do with the music. There has never been a
black metal scene in Norway, that is the point. The only black metal scene we
have in Norway is the one we have today after the newspapers started to write
will you be eligible for leave?
"In four years time. You can fill out a form so you can get out for one
day with all of these people following you around with handcuffs. Later you
can have more leaves - two to three days, but you have to sit four years
you think you will get out before your full sentence?
"I get out on probation after 12 years. Everyone does."
your parents horrified when they heard you had committed murder?
"Not really. The reactions my mother got from her friends was that I
should be rewarded for killing that pig! She didn't like him at all."
there really an 'inner circle' operating in the scene, performing acts of
terrorism, satanic rituals and rapes?
"That was just another dream of Euronymous. He wanted there to be an inner
black circle, and we played along for a while. But he was damn serious. The
only person seriously into this satanism thing was him. Nobody else wanted
anything to do with it, so his fantasy picture was falling apart and he was
There were no ritual rapes. I think there are two forms of satanism: Firstly
you have this satanism which is more continental in Germany and Britain,
where you have middle-aged people who have watched too much pornography and
they can't get their dick hard without very extreme things. They dress up
like Satan in pyjamas with horns and get really horny by doing it, and that
is their satanism, right?
The other is the church of Satan satanism, which is in many ways the same as
the other, with these middle-aged men who tempt young girls into it because
they cannot get women of their own age to do it. They have sex in churches
and think it is really exciting, but this thing has absolutely no place in
Norway. It doesn't exist at all quite simply because we do not have much pornography
in this country and have strict rules about such things."
you allowed to have conjugal visits?
"Yes, you have a normal visiting room and you can lock the door. It is
not the most comfortable place, but it is possible. When I have visits from
my friends - if they are allowed to come here in the first place - there has
to be a guard in the room at the same time, because we are not allowed to
plan any political activities. They have also started to do that with my
girifriend, just to be arseholes."
are your political beliefs right now?
"I am involved in the Norwegian Heathen Front, which is a place where we
spread information about Norwegian paganism. I am against anything that is
alien for us. That goes not just for religion, but also counts for politics
you advocate racial segregation?
"Race hygiene, because it is proven scientifically that it is damaging
for people. If you mix a negro and a German, you don't get the developed
organisational skills from the German and the strength of a negro you get a
weaker result of the two. Besides, we are created different, so why should we
destroy the order of nature? It is the differences which create energy. Black
and white is not a colourful friendship. It turns out to be grey.
I have a problems when my people who are originally exclusively blonde or
red-haired with blue eyes cease to exist. In 100 years time the Norwegians
will look like the Greeks do today if we don't segregate."
have a new album, 'Filosofem'...
"I made it in March '93; it is quite old. The tapes for it stayed in the
studio all the time, and the first time I will hear it is when I have a
will happen with Burzum, as you won't be able to record another album?
"I recorded an album in Bergen. I was allowed to have a keyboard and a
music processor, so I recorded everything on disc. I had a four-track
portable studio, so I just recorded it and sent it to Misanthropy. It is an
instrumental and electronic album."
must be expecting to sell a lot of records because of the huge press coverage
you have attracted and your now notorious reputation...
"I don't know anything about that, because I do not see anything. It
depends who is on guard as to whether I can have these things. I haven't read
a music magazine since mid-'94, so it is hard for me to know."
you enjoy all of this media attention?
"I have been accused of courting press attention, but the big point is
that I have weekly requests from TV stations etc. but don't fulfil them. It
is not very pleasant, actually, because most of what is written is normally
wrong - just shit talk and rumours like I have heard that I am a communist.
If they would have quoted me directly it would have been more interesting.
But I don't do these things because I want my picture in the press, but
because I want these opinions out there to create dialogue."
you think other bands in the scene despise you because you've had so much
"Yes, that is natural. That is one of the reasons that Euronymous was so
pissed at me, because everyone wanted to talk to me and not him."
have you changed your whole appearance?
"I coloured my hair black in '92; I shaved it off in '94. All the
newspapers make photos of me look very dark because they wanted me to have
black hair. Everybody who has this black hair they call a Satanist and want
them to look like that, so I had to have black hair."
do you envisage your future?
"Well, I am going to educate myself and eventually I will get released.
We are trying to get a new trial, because in my jury we had two freemasons
and the only Christian healer in Norway - an old guy with a beard who could
hardly walk, who claimed to look through you and pull the evil out of you. In
my jury - great! Ninety per cent were pensioners over 66, and that is the
jury. My defence lawyer was a homosexual; one of the psychiatrists was a
freemason and a jew, and the other one was a communist; the other guy was
tried in the same time and his defence lawyer was a freemason and was
actually witnessing against his own client just to hurt me. The whole thing
was just a big show, really. They could have just as easily sent me the
sentence by mail - here is my 21 years!"
you got out of prison tomorrow, would you fear for your life?
"Why should l?"
don't think that friends of Euronymous or members of his family would try to
"[laughs] I am sure that they would say that they would, but I still
stand by what I said in court: weak men threaten, real men act. If they
really wanted to kill me, they wouldn't say anything, they would just shut up
wait until I get out and kill me instead of boasting about it. The big point
is that they would do that because they want attention; the only way they can
get it is by threatening me.
Why didn't they do anything when they had the chance? Everybody knew that I
had killed Euronymous the day it happened, and still nobody did anything.
If I should fear for my life, it wouldn't be from them, it would be from
others - other groups with opposite political views. If I should really look
for someone to fear, it would be the police. If I tried to escape whilst on
leave, the police would shoot me. That is what the police do with people they
don't like. The last time they shot a guy, he was sleeping in a bed and he
got up naked and they shot him in the throat. And nothing happened to the
policeman. That is the only fear I would have."
arrives for Varg to be escorted back to solitary. As he disappears through a
locked door, you can't help but think what a waste of two lives.
Published in January 1996 issue of Metal Hammer
Typed in by Bob Witlox.