there a Black Metal band more respected than them ? No, I donít think so ! With such huge releases as ĎDe Misteriis Dom Sathanasí or ĎLive In Leipzigí, Mayhem have won a cult status. But after Deadís suicide and Euronymousí murder, the future didnít look bright at all for them... until Hellhammer decided to refound the band with original singer and bass player (Maniac and Necrobutcher), and the new guitar player Blasphemer. ĎWolfís Lair Abyssí was a killer MCD, the new live ĎMediolanum Capta Estí kicks ass, and I can tell you that the long awaited ĎA Grand Declaration Of Warí is gonna be something too ! I needed to interview them, which I did backstage with Hellhammer in Wacken... Very very cool and friendly guy, here is what he told me :

So, you are finally going to record ĎA Grand Declaration Of Warí pretty soon. What can you tell us about it ?

Weíre going to begin on the 15th of November, and this is gonna be the most furious and extreme metal record ever. About the concept ? Well, the LP had a concept about war, and this is gonna be the same.

Where are you going to record it ?

Originally, we were supposed to go and record it at The Abyss Studios in Sweden, but due to some problems in timing, we had to book another studio. Itís still in Sweden, but itís like an old studio. (Sunlight studios)

You also changed label, you just signed with Season Of Mist. Why did you choose them ?

We actually had like lots of proposals from labels like Century Media, Nuclear Blast. But I canít see Mayhem on these labels, because I want Mayhem to stay underground. You know, I play in Covenant actually, which is on Nuclear Blast, and thatís not the right label for Mayhem. I prefer small labels, I donít give a shit about money, the most important thing is to make the band underground !

And how did you feel when you learnt that Misanthropy was closing ?

It was hard actually, because it was a good label, they were devoted to us, there was no restrictions, and with a band like Mayhem, you canít have any restrictions ! Like in case of T-Shirts design, or whatever... Misanthropy was perfect for us, but then they had to close...

How did you feel sharing Burzumí label ?

No bad things about that, really !

You also just released a new live album, ĎMediolanum Capta Estí...

Yeah, allright ! This was recorded in Italy, but I didnít know that was supposed to be recorded (laughs) ! Roberto from Avantgarde Music taped it on a DAT, so this is really a live album. But if I had known it was going to be out, I would have played better ! ! (laughs)

How do you feel about the fact that a tribute to Mayhem is gonna be released soon ?

The tribute to Mayhem ? I think thatís cool, you know ! It might be a little bit early to release a tribute to Mayhem, because only old bands get tributed. But Mayhem is really old, you know ! Some say Mayhem is dated, but I donít think so, Mayhem is not too old ! I think that Mayhem is getting better and better, and the moment I see that Mayhem is not getting better, then Iíll have to stop !

Hey, so youíve got a long time before you, I think !

Thank you, I hope so ! !

And what about Maniac suicideís attempt ?

(a bit embarassed) You will have to ask him (laughs).

Still about Maniac, like on the Bischofswerda video, he likes to mutilate a lot. Does he do that a lot ?

Only on special occasions. If the fans really get off, then he does things. If the fans give him a good feeling, then he likes to cut himself. But sometimes, the fan response is great, but still he wonít do it. I donít know, it has something to see with his feelings too, you know.

By the way, as you are now on a French label, maybe youíll be able to tour in France ?

Yes, absolutely ! We will tour in France. Probably with the band Seth, with whom we have good contacts. I think theyíre a cool and great band, with good members.

And how do you feel right now in Wacken ?

I feel that I could have played much better drums (laughs). I also regret that we were not able to use pyrotechs on stage, but this is a festival, and we had good echoes from the concert, so I just have to be satisfied.

How do you manage to play in so many bands, like Mayhem, Arcturus, Covenant ?

Well, you have to organize your time. Like, with Covenant, I donít spend a lot of time, Iím totally into Mayhem, I give 100% to them, and Arcturus, thatí been put on ice now. So, itís OK.

You certainly know the band ...And Oceans. They released a bonus CD with remixes from their tracks... Do you think that youíre gonna do the same thing one day with Mayhem ?

Mayhem will always be like...I canít describe this. Mayhem is following an undescrible path. We know where we have to stop, and as far as we can see it, the path is straight ahead.

So, always more brutality, and no remixes ever ?

Yes, exactly!

OK. Do you still have problems with the Norwegian customs ?

Customs ? (laughs) You have to ask him ! (laughs) (Ďhimí is Paul, their drum technician and driver. In fact, they had to pay at the border between Norway and Sweden, because they had no papers for the drumkit). Itís like, customs are... pfuu... they do their job, thereís no more things. (laughs)

If you look back at your career, what are the best and the worst moments in it ?

The worst moment is when I played with Mayhem in the tour in '89 or something like that, we toured the East Germany... The best moment is in '95 when I toured with Immortal as support for Morbid Angel, that was cool , and I learnt a lot from these experiences.

Well, you have often been described as ďsex maniacs Ē. Euronymous once told that you were obsessed by sex... 

What?? (laughs)

Yeah, he said that ! And now, are you still groupie maniacs, or nice family fathers like Necrobutcher and Maniac ?

Yeah, Maniac has just become a father ! But I mean, sex, what the hell is that ? As long as you are able, thatís what counts! (laughs)

What would you like to say to the readers ?

Iíd like the French people to listen to the new album, because itís not something theyíll expect ! But if they listen to it, theyíll be convinced that itís a pretty good record.