Interview with Maniac
What can you tell about Mayhem’s highly anticipated full-length and ensuing live shows?
Right now we have been rehearsing our new material. This summer we will spend rehearsing for both live shows and our upcoming album, Grand Declaration of War. Very much of the material is finished and we hope to record it in late summer. Some of the songs will be A Grand Declaration of War, In the Lies Where Upon You Lay, A Time To Die and Blood and Honour. I think it will be the most brutal and aggressive Mayhem album ever. We really look forward to record it.
We are also supposed to play some shows in USA and Mexico, but nothing is certain yet.
Did you choose where to record it already (Grieghallen, perhaps)?
I don’t know where we will record our next album, but it will have to be in a studio where we can get through with our ideas; if too many people use the same studio they will, eventually, have their albums sounding the same. This is what happened in Florida, with Death Metal and the whole Morrisound thing, so we have to wait and see. I would not mind recording at Grieghallen, but we do not know yet.
Do you feel the new Mayhem era transcends the band’s more mythical periods?
I feel that the new Mayhem stuff is much better. Of course that the De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas album is excellent, but I tend to like brutal and warlike stuff much better. I also feel that we have to be brutal when we express the viewpoints we do. Also, we have become a much more militant band. It gives me much more to play in Mayhem now, even though it was reeking hell fire back in 1986 and 1987 as well.
How was it like to play in Bischofswerda and did your blood ritual pay off in the end? What about the rumour of that you died to deep self-mutilation?
It was a totally great feeling, apart from the fact that we had a total fucked-up sound. But it was good to be back.
As for the cuts, all true art is received in blood; my truths are forever soaked in blood. Rumours fly like dead birds. It is true that I cut myself quite deep, and I had to go to the hospital when I got back to Norway. But the fact is that I spent one extra day in London and I was feeling worse and worse. However, the rumours of my death are highly exaggerated. A little poison now and then makes for pleasant dreams, although too much poison in the end makes for pleasant death.
Sources led me to believe that your show in England didn’t go that well. How did you like it?
It is true that playing in England is not the best. In England, they rather listen to English bands than foreign bands. It was good in Bradford, but London wasn’t that good.
Your lyrics are rather figurative and philosophical. Do you gather any inspiration from known theorists? What are your tastes in film, literature and music?
I do not watch many movies, as I tend to read much more and listen to music. I can’t really say that movies are a big inspiration for Mayhem, except for, maybe, old war movies and documentaries from the First World War. One of my favourite movies is probably The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
As for books, I read a lot of books on Philosophy and History from the 18th and 19th centuries and I write a lot of lyrics and poetry. I will also start studying Philosophy in Oslo next August. Spinoza is an excellent writer, as well as Nietzsche. I also read poetry from Ezra Pound and Edgar Allan Poe.
I have not really listened to many new bands lately, as I live a bit far from Oslo, so it is difficult for me to follow everything that happens. I will be moving back to Oslo next month and things will be much easier. The albums I have played most lately are the new Marduk’s and Blood Axis’ The Gospel of Inhumanity, but I listen to a lot of different music. As far as Metal goes, I prefer bands like Darkthrone, Marduk, Burzum and, of course, all the old Metal bands. One of my all-time favourites is Celtic Frost. Having that said, people should check out an American band called Necrophagia; they released a great album in 1987 and have recently got back together. Me and Fenriz used to listen to them a lot. And, of course, I also have favourites like Blood Axis and NON.
Mayhem’s history will always be tainted by what happened between Euronymous and Vikernes. Do you feel at odds with it?
I do not feel strange about this; whatever happened between Varg and Euronymous was a very personal thing. I respect the music of Burzum and I really can’t say what happened back then; in fact, I think the only people who know the real truth are either dead or behind bars, So I really can’t let this affect me.
To a certain degree, similarities can also be drawn between you and the late Dead. How do you look back at his role in the band?
He has a huge place in the history of Mayhem. The guy was excellent. He was a withdrawn person with many great ideas, and the fact is that I do not think too many people actually knew Dead. His voice and stage persona is immortal and I shall always remember him as a great guy. He probably lurks the mountains and woods of Transylvania.
Have you got a side project?
I have a small project called Voluspå. I have released a few tapes in very limited editions and, mostly, the music is only for close friends. I do this to get some other music to deal with as well. It has become trendy, but this is a very personal thing for me. I don’t know what will happen with this, but I plan to release a new tape in late May. It is a very dark and “krigersk” conceptual, ritual war band.
Countless bootlegs and tributes have been released. Did you ever think about releasing a authorised compilation?
We have not considered this idea. Personally, I do not like compilation albums. We’d rather record a new album that will crush the former ones.
What do you know about Portugal and, if applied, what is it that you like, or hate, the most about it?
Unfortunately, I do not know much about Portugal, apart from the time when you were imperialistic kings of the world. I would like to play there and in the future we shall see if we can get ourselves down there. But, besides Moonspell, I don’t know that much about your scene either.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for the interview. Remember to wage war on the leper region that is Christendom: that which is falling should also be pushed, that which is crawling should also be crushed.