Emperor Interview

Emperor

Emperor
Interview with Faust
2000

How’s your daily routine at Ulllersmo Landsfengsel? Do you get to answer many interviews?

The daily routine is rather boring, actually. I attend school inside here, which occupies me between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Apart from that, I train, regularly, and… that’s about it. It’s just plain boring with the same routines everyday – no exceptions at all.
I don’t answer many interviews these days. I consciously stopped doing it for a period. These days I answer only those I find interesting or fascinating. The boring interviews are thrown away rather fast.


In Portugal, the environment in prison is completely different when compared to Norway’s. Do you have any hobbies to keep yourself busy?

A prison is supposed to be a reflection of the country’s social and welfare standard, and as Norway is quite an economically healthy country the prisons are considered good, but I can assure you that Ullersmo Landsfengsel is no hotel.
As for hobbies, you can spend an hour or two out in the courtyard and after that you can train in the weight-room. After five years, those two alternatives become quite boring. A Norwegian prisoner inside here served some years in a Portuguese prison and he said that if you have money inside there you can pay everyone off and live like a king so, in that sense, Portuguese prisons might be better than Norwegians, because Norway is one of the least corrupt countries in the world and you can not at all pay anyone off inside here. The conclusion will be that a prison is a prison, no matter where it is.


Emperor @ FaustHow do you look upon the development of the more extreme genres of Metal within the underground? Do you believe there will be a new musical approach within the next couple of years?

It’s clear that, in the last years, the underground scene has gotten much more open-minded to other styles of music and other thoughts, views, etc. The underground, in the last part of the former decade and the beginning of this one, was very “strict”, as you were supposed to mean and think what everybody else thought and you had to wear the same clothes and listen to (and hate) the same bands. Fortunately, after the incidents in Norway in 1992 and 1993, this has loosened up and more alternatives have appeared. Personally, I think that many people – including myself – became bored with the narrow-minded Black Metal concept and many people started looking for other styles and approaches. The underground scene is much more vivid, independent and respected today than, let’s say, 10 years ago, although there must be limits as well, of course. It’s also obvious that Black Metal became more and more amalgamated with the rest of the music world, as Black Metal bands are getting more recognised and also other styles of music are gaining more respect in the intrinsic Black Metal scene. It’s a development that will continue, I think.


These days, how do you look upon corpse-paint, as a concept?

The concept with corpse-painting is overused, and the purpose is gone for long ago. It was obvious, already, in the time around my arrest that the concept started to fail, and it was also at that time, for example, that Emperor stopped using it. There are other ways to stay true to your views than to wear corpse-paint. Besides, most of the 15-year-old kids that use it look ridiculous with it, anyway, and should rather rehearse their instruments, instead of trying to impress with a “genuine look of evil and darkness”. It’s pathetic, I’d say.


Black Metal displays a rather strong, militant anti-Christian aesthetic and principle; however, that has gradually changed in the last couple of years since several bands have dropped their burning allegiance to Satanism in favour of a more encompassing view on religion. Society also seems to be evolving and allowing itself to be opened to other ideas and views, doesn’t it?

It’s a fact that the world is becoming more and more secularised, but, then again, religious doctrines and dogmas are deeply rooted in this world, and religion itself works as a “buffer” against the fear of desperate people who live a miserable life and hope for something better after their death. It also makes social cohesion and creates unity for those of a specific race, ethnic group or tribe. Therefore, removing the concept of religions in itself means that the global world order and the world-view of millions of people would have to be reconsidered and that is not likely to happen.
Many bands have declared “war against Christianity”, but what war? Walking around in the forest with corpse-paint and a torch trying to look grim? Is that a war? Sure, some people have died and some burnings have been completed, but remember that the “enemy” is one of the strongest, most economically well-established organisations in the world: “Christianity Inc.”. The battle is already lost.


What is your opinion of Marilyn Manson?

I have heard Marilyn Manson and, musically, they are quite interesting. I am of the opinion that anyone who tries to preach something that walks against the normally accepted rules, norms and the conformity in society – in general – is doing a worthy job. It gets people opening their eyes to other alternatives as well.


Emperor @ FaustNagash (of Covenant, Dimmu Borgir and Troll) stated that only the commercial Black Metal bands would survive and that there’s no rule that says Black Metal has to he underground. Do you agree?

I think there’s nothing wrong with selling a lot of records, as long as you do what you feel is right. The commercialisation of Black Metal was unavoidable and there’s no point in trying to keep it underground any more. For example, Emperor are starting to get huge these days, but the guys are the same as when I was in the band and selling a lot of records doesn’t mean they have sold out, or anything. You sell out when you change your music according to the trends and in order to get money as a mere purpose. What, though, I despise, is labels like Nuclear Blast that, some years ago, hated Black Metal and everything it stood for and gave their full support to Hard Core, Grind Core and lousy Death Metal bands, and now they are selling out by immediately changing their views concerning Black Metal because Black Metal has become more huge than other of their “alternative styles”. What is a pity, though, is that the feeling that existed before is gone; it vanished together with mutual respect and loyalty for each other. Now it’s replaced by backstabbing and gossiping.


What music have you been listening, lately? Are you still in contact with other bands and artists (like Vikernes, perhaps)? Also, is it true that you’re reforming Thorns?

I listen to a lot of music, really; everything from the hardest Metal to original Metal, 70s Rock and Pop, Techno, Horror soundtracks, newer Rock bands, just everything that gives me a kick.
I keep in touch with some people all over the world – also Varg Vikernes, indeed. I don’t write so many letters these days, as I did some two or three years ago; I’m more selective now.
About Thorns, Blackthorn served here before and we lived in the illusion that we, actually, could reform the band within these walls, but it was easier said than done. Anyway, he left already back in 1995, but I know he sort of has restarted the band in the prison he is now, although it’s more based around synthesizers and computers, I think. I don’t know if I have any part in it any more.


Do you have any project after you get released? Hope you enjoyed the interview and best of luck for the future.

No plans are made, as it’s too distant in the future. You know, I still have five years to go. Anyway, I have always loved Music, so I hope one day to get the possibility to play again. Where, when and in what I don’t know, but we shall see, though.
Thanks for the interview. Your questions were rather deep and complex, but I hope the answers were to your satisfaction. Keep up the good work!


Emperor

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