Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N Roll
(This interview is provided by LEGION magazine)
Christopher, you started out as a brutal death/black metal band. After inviting a female into your camp, you switched to more melodic tunes. Did the woman melt the ice in your hearts?
Actually, we just wanted to play in a metal band and we wanted to be as extreme as possible. So, we had this insane music. Since I was nine or ten years old I had been dreaming to play in a band. And in 1992, when we finally created a band, I was thirteen years old. But later on I found out it was more challenging to make a more melodic stuff. It’s really easy to make just brutal music! And I think the brutal thing was overdone in 1993-1994. You couldn’t create innovative riffs without sounding like ROTTING CHRIST or whatever, you know. So, we wanted to put melodies into music. We were inspired by the bands like AT THE GATES and BATHORY with its epic thing at that moment.
So, you think bands that are still playing brutal music are just copying what has already been created?
I don’t know, I shouldn’t say that stuff about all the bands. I think it was just really hard to make a monotonous music that could still sound original We had to attract some new stuff like female vocals and melodies.
I suppose female vocals in metal music were rather original in 1993, but nowadays it’s by no means an innovation! Is it difficult for you to create something original these days?
I don’t think so. We have tons of riffs, I make music all the time. So, it’s no problem.
So, you were pretty young when you formed the band. Where did you get money to buy instruments?
There is a kind or ritual in Norway called Confirmation. We got a lot of money from our parents. We used all the money to buy the equipment.
Were your parents pleased with such a “bargain” bought on their money?
They hated it! I had terrible parents who did not allow me to buy those equipment. They thought we were into that Satan thing all the time. They did not understand it then, they do not understand it now as well!
As far as I know children under 18 are not allowed to play in clubs where alcohol sells. I guess you were far under this age when you performed your first gig?
You are right. But it depends on the situation, on the people who organize the show. Things are getting much better now.
How did the audience react on the young teens headbanging on the stage and producing loud noise?
We were 13-14 years old back then. The first song we made was called “Black Funeral”, it was a totally black metal stuff. And we played it at the Christmas ball at school, haha! Everybody just stood like zombies! We has a special department for underdeveloped kids, they just started crying!
A good present for Christmas, I should say! Actually Christmas ball is not the very right place for black metal gigs!
Yeah, it was fun. We also had a song dedicated to our head teacher: we cried “Fuck off!” to him and stuff. We were really pissed off. We have a videotape of this gig, I haven’t seen it for many years already.
Did the principle of the school try to throw you out from his Alma Mater?
So, I assume he was pretty much tolerant to such a behavior of his pupils!
Well, teachers sent letters to our parents warning them about the things we were doing. But still we were allowed to do it. We played a gig in our school two years later when we were leaving it. We played a SLAYER cover and all the parents were sitting with their eyes wide open thinking what the fuck was going on! Other bands in our school played pop music and we entered the stage and started screaming. We were total fuckers!
I know the first name of your band was HEADLESS CHILDREN…
There is a song on the W.A.S.P. album called “Headless Children”, so it was influenced by W.A.S.P. and other bands from the 80s.
Really? Playing black/death metal stuff and being influenced by metal bands of the 80s – it sounds ridiculous! Did you hear anything about the Scandinavian black metallers?
No, we hadn’t heard about the Scandinavian black metal bands back in 1992. I did listen to some DISMEMBER albums and DARKTHRONE stuff (aren’t they Scandinavian metallers? – Ed.). But mostly we were influenced by metal stuff.
What did you do after your leaving the school?
I continued studying a few years more, I started psychology. And in 1998 I started working. I worked for the Post office for five months (do all metal musicians work at Post offices? – Ed.), but after that I have been doing nothing. I am 100 per cent into the music now, I work at our music five or six hours a day.
Hey, do you have enough money from playing music to pay your bills?
No, no way. I live from the government donations at that time.
Do other members of the band work or are they supported by the government as you are?
After signing the contract with Nuclear Blast we decided to quit our jobs so that we could focus at the music. Just small studies and occasional works to get some extra money.
Did the contract with Nuclear Blast change your life a lot?
May be it has changed our lives in a way, but it definitely hasn’t changed the way we write music. However, we haven’t released anything for the label yet, so I don’t know.
Were you being envious about some bands receiving more money from selling their records, or getting more attention from labels?
Yeah, kind of. Some times I was really disappointed with our promotion back then. But you have to work for it, you can’t get bigger over a night! So… I’m not sure I remember the question now!
Never mind Christopher, I have got the point that you are a jealous and envious person, haha! Nuclear Blast has already announced your latest release to be the first metal musical. What have you done to make the “blasters” think so?
Well, some of the stuff is really old. The tracks “Lunatic” and “Victory” are from ’96, and some music is from ’97 and some from ’98. We just had to make the proper arrangements. This is a sort of concept album, it is dedicated to the dark side of human mind, a lot about insanity, schizophrenia. It’s really interesting, I read about it a year before this record to come in to the subject. What’s funny is that persons capable of insanity, are often very intelligent. They may be too intelligent, they have a deep thinking mind.
You know, some people think that if you write songs about certain subjects, you might be really experienced in the issue. Is it the case with you?
Sure! Some things I have experienced in dreams, I remember, and some of them are based on drugs. Last year I was pretty much on acid and stuff. In that case you have to be opened to new tunnels, it is really exited.
Were you influenced by drugs? Could you elaborate on the question?
It was an experiment, I am no longer doing it.
Weren’t you afraid to get addicted?
No, I never get addicted to anything, so I just did it to try it. And acid is not an addictive drug. But I am kind of addicted to hash. But it’s just a psychological addiction, you know. I like to smoke a bit, to drink a couple of beers and get inspired, and write weird music and weird lyrics.
You think acid drugs are necessary for inspiration?
It’s not necessary, just some times. For example, if I have an idea of a song, I smoke to become more concentrated on it, I get more into what I am doing.
How could you describe your first experience with the acid things?
It was totally insane. The first time I had a vision trip, it fucked me up a bit, and I also got some inspiration… What can I say? We went to a large old industrial place and we had a lot of painting with us with a lot different colours. So, I started to paint on the walls, I was painting those demon figures on the walls and they turned alive of course! And I was like “Wow! Fuckin’ A!”
So, you were wandering from one room to another, and it was like a gallery of different visions?
Yeah, you’re right. Some of them were really horror-like and some of them were very nice. I was like in the middle of the film, it’s really inspirational.
If one day you would like to write a song about a ripper or a murderer, will you try to get an experience in that field as well?
Haha! Well, I know how psycho people think, I know how their mind works. It’s really strange to be in the same room with those persons. You never know what they will do next! When you come in the room you get kind of a chill…
Sounds like "Silence of the Lams" movie or "Basic Instinct" stuff!
Yeah, may be we will make a movie some day!