Geniuses Or Posers?
(Provided by LEGION magazine & Novum Vox Mortis)
DIMMU BORGIR seems to be the most contradicting band on the black metal scene nowadays. Some call them posers and sell-outs, some Ė geniuses and ďthe best black metal bandĒ. Well, far be it from me and LEGION magazine to judge them and thus impose our thinking. We just tried to take into the consideration the two opposite points of view so that you, our readers, could make your own mind about the Norwegian black metal bandÖ
I hear youíre in good moods,
Silenoz. May I assume that you are totally satisfied with the things you are
Yeah! We are very happy about how the album turned out, how everything has turned out. After the last album we didnít expect that everything would turn out so soon and so good.
Didnít you plan to make the
new album even more successful than the previous one?
Well, we think that the new album is better than the last one. In that case we expect something, you know? But before we released the previous album, we didnít have any expectations about selling and so on.
Regarding the promotion
Nuclear Blast is doing for you, I personally think that the label did expect to
get a really good album from your band...
Yeah. And we are satisfied as well. The label really liked the album and they did a really good promotion. Thatís cool that they like the album because itís easier for them to spend a lot of money on promo things, distribution and stuff like that.
Do you think that DIMMU BORGIR
is Nuclear Blastís favorite band?
No, I think since Nuclear Blast now has MANOWAR, S.O.D. and DEATH... these bands have higher priority. But we are very happy with the situation we are in now.
Is there any kind of competition
between the bands signed to Nuclear Blast?
No. We donít feel any competition with any band from the label. We have always done what we wanted to do, regardless what other people thought.
Oh, yes! I think these words
have become the motto of DIMMU BORGIR!
But if you do things just to
please merely yourself and you forget about the audience, the audience will
never like you.
Of course, we like to play for the black metal audience. Hopefully, because they understand this way of music, you know. But we also want other audience to get our music, we want to expand the horizons, to reach other limits.
But the ďexpanding of the
horizonsĒ might as well result to the loss of the dedicated fans...
Yeah. Of course, you cannot expect that everyone will follow you from the start to the finish. And thatís OK.
Is it a painful process for
Yeas, because it is not cool when you know that people liked us from the beginning until we signed to a bigger label. Then suddenly they say that they hate our music, they donít like us anymore. Personally I canít see any reason why they should do like that. Even if we were not on the bigger label, we would have done the same music!
Oh, are you sure?
Yes! I know that people think that Nuclear Blast tells us how to handle things musically wise. And thatís bullshit, because we have an artistic freedom, we can do what we want lyrically and musically wise.
Still Nuclear Blast is a big
help for you, without this label a lot of things wouldnít be possible for the
Of course. May be we wouldnít record on Abyss because this studio is a very expensive one. May be with the smaller label we wouldnít have become who we are today, you know.
To my hearing, ďnew horizonsĒ
for DIMMU BORGIR have a more melodic and less extreme sounding. Is it the way
you try to attract a new audience?
I think that on the new album the melodic parts are even more melodic and brutal parts are even more brutal. We always wanted to combine these styles because now all the members in the band contribute to the writing process. That means that there are six different individuals with different influences when it comes to music. when we all sit down and arrange songs together, it turns out more varied. Itís better for us when everyone is contributing putting the songs together.
Still you did not give an
answer to my question. Donít you think that you may one day turn to a simple
pop-black-metal (what a terrible combination - Ed.) band?
I donít think there is a chance for that because as long as I am in the band we will still be a metal band. We will not turn to pop like METALLICA. I heard once that James Hatfield said, that they had never been a metal band! Thatís the biggest contradiction I have ever heard! Itís stupid, METALLICA has metal in itself. They had really good albums and nowadays they say they have never been metal. How stupid is that!
Are you still black metal? To
be on the safe side...
The black metal we have now is
totally different from the one we had in the beginning on the Ď90s. Do we still
mean the same things under the whole notion of ďblack metalĒ?
Well, there are so many people and bands emerging, many of them donít even know what the whole thing is about! They think that black metal is just a scream in vocals! Bands like EMPEROR, CRADLE OF FILTH and LIMBONIC ART - just to name a few - are very different from each other. At the same time we all have something in common.
Black metal was created as an
underground movement. Now you can earn money playing black metal music. This is
the case with DIMMU BORGIR. What kind of black metal do you play?
Well, we have nothing against selling more records. I respect people in the underground very much and I understand their point of view, but if we were even an underground band we would have an ambition to become something more. We want to conquer a new type of audience and we want to keep an old audience because thatís what we grew up with. These are people who first got into out music. But I donít think that black metal in its true essence can become commercial like METALLICA or SPICE GIRLS. I think itís still too extreme for mainstream companies. Bands like us and the ones I have mentioned before, need to be on an independent label to express our art freely. If a label tells you what to do, then this is commercial.
Of course, you may not sell as
many records as METALLICA does, but some people think that sitting in a
basement for ten years without recording a single record - that is the real
Why then have a band? Why then release albums if you donít wanna get to people? If you have a band and if you release an album, why not let people get it? Why even have a band if you think like that?! For us itís wrong. You should show your music to people. We didnít think that we would get that far, but we got a chance to sign to a professional label and we took it. I donít think we have to defend ourselves because of that, you know.
Do you know that a lot of
people really hate you for the words you have just told me?
Yes. They can just go on and hate us and talk shit about us. If they waste energy on the things they donít like, that shows how stupid they are! All I can say, ďContinue to hate us! Thatís cool that we annoy people as well. We cannot expect that everyone will like what we do!Ē We are not naive, we donít think that we are the greatest and everyone likes us. Thatís pretty stupid to be like that too.
Some people think you earn a
lot of money selling the records. Well, I understand that it is ďa lot of
moneyĒ for the real underground, not for you. Still, do you have to work part
time or do you earn enough money to make your living?
Actually, I bought my own castle with a double pool, ha ha! Iím just kidding. Itís not like we are rich or something. But we can live for some time from the money we receive from selling our records. We donít have to care about having a job, we can fully concentrate on the music, the thing we like most of all in our life. We have our own money, we donít have to ask for it. We really worked hard for it and now it is a pay back time. Finally we are getting something from our older works and years.
To my personal thinking the
new album turned out not as ďbrutal and extremeĒ - according to your forecasts
- as it was supposed to be.
I think Iíll disagree a little bit Ďcos the new album, I think, sounds much rower and vicious than the previous release. It has much more darker and evil atmosphere, more horror in the keyboards. The melodies on the new album are not that nice, if you know what I mean. We have got a new keyboard player and heís got a different background. Heís pretty young and pretty talented. He is nineteen and heís been playing for eight or nine years already.
Why did you decide to get rid
off the previous keyboard player?
She was not a permanent member, actually. She is a good friend of ours and she wanted to do some session stuff on tour. Our former keyboard player was not even into rehearsing. But at the same time she was not a person we want in the band. She was not the kind of musician we prefer. After the tour we realized that itís almost impossible to have a girl in the band, ha ha! Five guys and one girl...
Well, itís not like we had hearts for her or anything! Itís like...I guess it didnít work out the way we wanted.
And, as far as I know, she was
pretty much a self-concentrated woman.
She is an American and that tells everything, ha! She is a nice girl, nothing bad about her, actually.
You spent two months recording
your latest album in the Abyss studio. What made you enter Peterís dungeon once
We were talking about trying a new studio but then we said, ďHell no! Abyss is obviously our first and only choice and Peter is the main man we can easily work with.Ē Since he is in extreme metal as well, he knows how we want things to be. And apart from many other producers involved in song writing process, he doesnít do that. He just gave us some advice. Heís the best producer we ever worked with! Actually we needed to spend more than two months because we used a lot of days just to make the right sound for drums. And it took us two days to find the guitar sound. During the mix we changed the drums sound completely.
Itís plain to see that the
image of DIMMU BORGIR is changing from year to year. Not so long ago you
changed your logo...
I think it was something we decided together with Nuclear Blast. They also depend on selling of our records, they have to earn money.
Another commercial trick?
You can put it that way if you like.
Your faces still look pale
though it is not the make-up you would appear with a few years ago. May be you
have found out that your faces are good enough not to hide them under the
Actually, we change the make-up all the time. Sometimes I use only a pale color, sometimes I use a real black metal make-up. It depends on how we feel. Itís a rather spiritual process.
One can see naked women on the
covers and photos of the band. A sort of black metal sexual revolution?
Yeah, a lot of people connect us with CRADLE OF FILTH Ďcos we use naked women, but we wanted the represent the idea that women represent death in two faces: the beauty and the cruelty of death. It has nothing to do with vampire stuff or anything.
Are you still Satanists?
Yes, but may be not that obvious as we were before. If we use the word ďSatanĒ we donít mean the devil riding the horse. Satanism for me is the dark forces existing in my subconscious. And these forces are rather positive and constructive.
Satanism is a very individual
thing and its usage in show business might be regarded as a profanation of the
May be. We donít say that the Satanism is the only right way. It is a very personal thing.
You know, Silenoz, some people
call you ďblack metal geniusesĒ, some people call you ďblack metal posersĒ. What
do you like the most?
Ha ha! Of course, I like the first! But, whatever, our true fans know what we are about and they donít think like that. And evil people make fools out of themselves - not us!