Korovakill

Interview with Christof Niederwieser by Bill Zebub for issue #30 of THE GRIMOIRE OF EXALTED DEEDS MAGAZINE

 

I was very traurig when I discovered that Korova was no longer a band. I googled the word “Korova” and Redstream Records had
a band called Korovakill. The song titles had compound nouns that Deutsch-speaking leute are fond of, so I wondered if Korovakill was a new incarnation of Korova. I Emailed Redstream to find out, and when I received the antwort, I could not believe my augen! Thou art not dead. Was the change of name a strategy to get out of a gay contract?
Guten Tag! We changed into KorovaKill to make it more a rhyme on Bill. We thought that would be a nice thrill .

The music was just as delicious as I remembered, and I loved the album so much that I almost was sent to das krankenhaus.
Is such strange music the work of a band, or a project?
Thank you very much for the Roses! I think it’s not so important if you call KorovaKill a band or a Project. Until the end of 1999 we have been what is called a band. We had rehearsals twice a week, we had fixed line-ups with fixed members, but in the end, all the songwriting and the whole organizational work was just done by
myself. Since 2000 we are what many people would call a project. We don’t have rehearsals at all. We just meet before recordings. The
members are also involved in many other bands. Moritz has played on albums of a dozen different bands within the last tears – Atrocity,
Graveworm, Abigor, Dornenreich, Darkwell, Siegfried – just to name a few, and Renaud puts his major focus on Elend. But when we record an album together the interaction between us is much stronger and intense than in our early days. Although I am still doing the whole songwriting, Renaud and Moritz contribute very much to the arrangements and to the final shape of the songs. Concerning this point, we are much more a band now than six Years ago. So if you like you can call us a “banject”. 

 

Thy lyrics are a close to the poems of schizophrenics. I know, because I published a newsletter that was written by
schizophrenics. Inside the words that seem like broken concepts are true meanings. If I may, I would like to decipher the meaning
of “Into the Underwhirls.” Was that song  about the brutal practice of fisherman who use huge nets? Each year, they catch dozens of mermaids, and while the ugly ones are thrown overboard after a few blowjobs, the pretty ones are kept on the ship, away from their natural environment. Dost thou think that thy message could
reach more sympathetic ears if the lyrics were more straightforward?
I like your interpretation, but one question remains unanswered: “Where do Mermaids have their Vulva? Our Lyrics always have been
symbolic, for they shall take a glance into the hidden, into the realms of Untime, into the world behind the world, the eternal shining beneath the shallow surface of the visible. It’s a realm where the ordinary logic of language has no value anymore. You just can try to catch a little shadow of this world by painting pictures with words and sounds. Schizophrenics and drug people mostly get a distorted picture of this world. Artists and visionaries try to get a clear picture of this shining empire. But in the end, each of them must fail,  because as soon as you try to make the invisible visible, you destroy it. Whatever you see loses its unseenness. Who knows will  understand! And we just bear our children for those who understand. It’s not our aim to reach a high quantity of ears, but a high quality. We don’t make music for the masses. We make music for individuals! 

 

Thou art now in Berlin, which I think is dangerous for an Austrian. Germans hate the Austrian accent, but Berliners hate the soft accents of the surrounding Deutschbags. A Berliner would say “Ik bin attraktiv” but the softer people say “Ish bin Berlina.” How  dost thou find refuge among people who are so kalt?
This question reminds me of the last Bephegor concert here in Berlin, when Hellmuth shocked the audience by doing his a announcements in Austrian accent. After the show he enjoyed teasing girls by telling them in dialect, that they had a nice ass. It was a very funny evening. Yes, there are some strong stereotypes between the crude megalomania-maschine-Prussian and the naive farmer-operetta-Austrian. Germans don’t take Austrians serious, intellectually and Austrians don’t take Germans
serious concerning creativity and humaneness. They are streamline-pseudocreative half-robots for us. But fortunately these are just stereotypes and there are enough nice German people, who don’t fit into it – about the rest, I don’t care. And actually most Berlin people aren’t kalt anyway – they are “warm”…it’s the European capital of gays. Concerning the accent, it’s a bit more complex, because there are over hundred very different accents just in Tyrol, the little part
of Austria where I come from. And my accent is very hard – people often think I am from Russia or Poland. My accent is a crushing Kruppstahl- Fist compared to the soft Piefke-Slang. 

 

I have a beautiful Deutsch frau who writes for me now. Her name is Katja and I would love to inhale her auspuff. She is a fan of Angizia and I was wondering if thou couldst arrange an interview.  Apparently that is another band that is no longer on Napalm
Records. What has happened to that record label?
Oh, I also would like to inhale Deutschfrau-Auspuff! Does Katja have a beautiful sister here in Berlin? Maybe “Panzerdivision Brundhilde” or “Schlachtross Irmgard”? They are cordially invited. I am sure Michael will answer her questions about Angizia They have just released their new album some weeks ago – a great work once again! Napalm Records have supported the Austrian underground very much for many Years. Maybe bands like Angizia, Korova, or even Abigor would never have gotten a chance to release albums without them. I think this is what counts. We had some legal arguments
in the past with them, but everything has been clarified in the meantime. There’s no bad blood between us.  (UPDATE: I arranged an interview betwwen Katja and Christof – and the now have a child because of me.  I am cupid.)

 

I would have thought that thy band would be on Holy Records because of the experimental nature of the music. Have they
offered a contract, or is the old hatred of the French preventing such union?
Well, we have been in contact with Holy Records in 1997, when no record company dared to release our second, yet unreleased, the album “Echowelt”. Phil told me on the phone: “Sorry, you Guys are too much! You are much too much!” I haven’t heard many Holy-releases
since that, but as far as I know they are doing a good, reliable Work. At the moment there’s no use to think about that anyway, for we are very satisfied with our current Label Red Stream. 

 

Is it nutzlich to have mind-altering substances while composing thy music? There is an argument in science about such things. One side is saying that enhanced creativity is just an illusion.
I don’t think that substances can make a philosopher out of a monkey. But I know that the Monkey may think different about that… 

Is it silly to call a police siren a siren? It may be true that the police siren calls men to their doom, but the police siren has no lure. I would think that it is better to call it a banshee. What dost thou think? Is this matter serious enough to write a symbolic
song?
I think there are more serious problems in the world. Why do so little people have to laugh when they read the name “Dick Cheney?” Do his friends call him “Penis”? And why is “Dick” the German Word for “Fat”?

Let us just say that In Germany, it is not an a compliment if a girl tells thee that thy dick is not gross. American women think that my dick is gross, but Geman women would not say that es ist gross. In any case, I have only recently realized that thou hast a member of Elend in thy midst. I have been trying, for months, to arrange for some Elend songs to be used in my first avant-garde movie, but the Lecons album is a source of shame, not pride, to the composer. It baffles me completely. Newer Elend still has the heavenly soprano, but gone are the tortured screams. It has made me verruckt. Canst thou relay the message that it is grausam to make such a legendary album as Lecons and then to shut away the secrets forever. A legion of fans await the wieder-kommen!
Elend just had rather limited resources for the production of their first two albums. It’s the sound quality that is not satisfying for them anymore, not the music or the concept. I like their scream-albums very much, but also the new works are great, I think. It’s more than ten years ago now that they’ve started screams and violins, and I totally understand that they don’t want to repeat themselves for ages. 

In America, women have been cultivated to prefer large sizes of things on men. In Germany, do women judge thee on the size
of thy schnurbart?
Yes, also in Germany you can increase your shooting quota by wearing a beautiful Osamabeard. 

In America, people sometimes fart when they drive. What does thou do when thou does fahrt?
I fart.

I am very curious about that unreleased album. I want to hear it! Is there a chance that Redstream will release it? Will they also pay for your nebenkosten?
The Echowelt-songs always have been our killers at concerts. It’s total mania! It’s total outbreak and destructurement – a post nuclear
deconstruction of all that once was called music about a place that once was called world! Unfortunately just an ugly-produced demo with four songs has been recorded back in 1997. Some songs are nearly ten years old now, but they sound fresher and weirder than ever! We definitely would like to go to the studio somewhen and record this album with good production, since it is our core-work. But it’s not realistic that this will happen in the nearer future. There is just too little interest in KorovaKill. If more people would buy our albums it would be much easier for us to do productions.

Has a man ever given thee a hummer, or dost thou only allow women to do so?
I just allow blue-haired girls to give me a Hummer Simpson.

Is it not ironic that Freud came up with the pleasure principle? (Freude)
No, that’s just what Jung called “the Synchronicity between Name and Named”.

With friends like Freud, who needs animas? Some extreme bands like to schimpfen on their albums, but thou hast stayed away. is it because thou dost not need to do such things to create curiosity?
We don’t have to nag on our albums – lots of other people are doing that work for us. 

I hate when bands advertise heavenly operatic vocals on their albums when their vocalists are not trained. When Elend had
the contrast of the genuine operatic vocals with the tormented male vocals, it was very powerful. But I can only listen to a few songs on the newer albums because I do not like the Barry-Manilow-style of singing. It is gegenuber of the first example – the untrained make vocals are only interesting when they are tormented. what thinkst thou?
Oh, Barry Manilow – that’s a big compliment! I am sure Renaud will be happy to hear it! He is singing in that way, because untrained  listeners are only interesting when they are tormented.  Personally I like his voice on the new albums very much. There was no intention  to sound operatic at all, so there’s also no use for comparisons with
Pavarotti or Caruso.

Korova
Korova

As unusual as thy melodies become, they have never been very dunkel. Will that change on thy next album. Wilst thou venture
into this territory and stay away from hell?
In the black of the void waits the gold of the All. So our melodies are a step further to the dark. They show you what comes out when you
were sitting in the darkest place of the world for twenty years, without any sound, without any movement, without any sentiment. And then, after twenty years, suddenly the Darkness dissolves and the hidden Light comes out.

Some heroic themes live in thy songs. It is sort of an archetypal hero who has great strength but also great weakness. Elric is a sort of diabetic, is he not, in Moorcock’s Elric saga? Let us stay away from asking why a man would not change his last name if it is “more cock” – let us dwell on this serious topic only. In thy hero themes, art thou really trying to make people think seriously about unterhund? He needed to take a pill from his ring in order to derive great power.
Hmmm, that’s really interesting. So far I haven’t been aware of the hero, Underdog theme in our lyrics. But you’re right, it’s in there
pretty often. Maybe it’s because we have been beaten like a dog by the metal scene since fourteen years now. I think it’s time to beat back! Our next concept will be about terrorists flying with  aeroplanes into the Milwaukee-Festival.

Hast thou ever cancelled a gig  because someone gave thee a
shnoopfen?
What is a “schnoopfen”? This Word does not
exist.

It is a kalt, sort of like a flu. It flew over thy head. Thy lyrics make me denken a lot. Why is the swastika forbidden in thy land? After all, the KKK costume is permitted here, as well as the swastika. Is it more a
symbol of defeat to thy country? I have also noticed that the Hitler mustache is no longer in style. Oliver Hardy from Laurel and Hardy, as well as Chaplin, were fond of that mustache style. I am sad to see it go.
Please understand that I don’t want to answer 

In America, the Nazi movement is very popular. We even have a candy here that alters brainwaves. It is called Racist Peanut Butter Cups, but a more obvious candy product is Rece’s Pieces. They are
the color of the German flag, and I have to admit that the peanutty goodness gives me a spell of good old-fashioned jew-hating, unless I eat the candy as part of a balanced nutritious frushtuk. Is that the secret plan of Hitler, a final dying stroke of genius to overturn the minds of Americanss with the simple use of candy?
I don’t want to answer the Nazi questions. It may be misunderstood by too many Europeans if I would take part in such kinds of jokes.

Thou art reluctant to make humorous comments about Nazi antics, but Ko n n i g e n Katja, my Deutsche schwester, sees no reason to
be afraid. As a musicican, thou art an artist because thou art not afraid to offend traditional composers with thy explorations, but
why is there so much concern about what a humorless person will think about thy reply? Surely thou art practiced in the experimentation – researchers tend to compensate for participants who have have the response-style of giving socially-pleasing answers.
No, it’s just too billig for me to take part in Nazi-jokes. You don’t need any brain cells to gain attention with that kind of stuff. So I prefer to leave that to others. The second reason is, that talking about Nazis, no matter if in a positive ora negative way, gives them power, makes them important. But I don’t think that they deserve
such an attention.

Dost thou denken that when a subject, like Nazi history, is avoided, it is actually preventing the “realization of the Shadow?” Jung, thy deutcshe bruder, warned that to deny the Shadow in thyself is to be doomed, for the shadow will manifest in other, dangerous ways. Is it not besser to be in control?
You have to confront with the Shadow, throw his masks away and look deeply into the jerking smallness behind. But there’s no use to
drag it on your shoulders just for fun after it has been de-shadowed.
Because then the Lightbringer would turn into the Coprophagous.

Dost thou believe that aus-of-Korper experiences are real phenomena, or are they purely mental?
Since it’s your mental energy, astral body, soul, or however you’d like to call it, that is leaving your body, of course it is purely mental, spiritual, immaterial, or whatever term you’d like to use. But anyway, it’s still a “real” phenomena. But what is reality? 

If thou wert to fly in a dream, is there really a difference between that and if thou were to fly in waking reality?  After the flight, all that we have is the memory of the experience.
There isn’t any difference. Life or dream, it’s all the same. There’s no possibility to differ one from the other.

Dost thou glauben that ethics really exists in science, or is that just an Amerikanization of science which transforms research into a business – a business that must be protected? Universities that conduct research have much to lose if a participant were to sue. Few people realize this, but even if a participant signs a consent form to participate in research, a lawsuit can still be filed. Experiments in which participants are deceived are considered “unethical” by the review board which has the power to deny the research, but I think a better word is “liability” – the university fears lawsuits that the “traumatized” participants may file. Now it is thy turn to sprechen.
Just unethic people need ethics. Ethic people don’t need to talk or even think about ethics. It’s like intolerant people always have to use
the word “tolerance”. The have to preach tolerance to fight the intolerance within themselves in the outside. Of course you need some basic standards about what can be allowed in science, e.g. when you think about genetics or testing out new medicines on people. But if there are so many standards that even deceiving
people in psychological experiments is forbidden, it leads to a very boring science, where nothing new is going to happen anymore.  Anyway, I think, that there is nothing like an evolving collective of scientists. The big steps in science are done by a few big Individuals.
And the whole huge mass of university-scientists are just the cattle that gathers around. These are the business pseudo-scientists. And
this cattle needs rules. But everybody candecide himself to which side he wants to belong, to the side of money and reputation or
to the side of wisdom.

Dost thou wish for the world to return to the glorious days of World War Zwei, when there were no restrictions imposed on human experiments?
Well, actually there have been more restrictions on science and art than ever during Teutsches Reich. Physicians who believed in relativity theory, “depraved” artists, astrologers, everybody who was experimenting beyond the norm had to flee or was sent to concentration camp. And the medical results of the human
experiments were pretty poor. Those days have been as glorious as the Bush-era in USA – if you really want to believe in cheap propaganda.

Thy homeland is a modern Atlantis, is it not? Thou art from Austria.” Aus” means “out of” so thy people must be out of a land called “Tria.” What was “Tria” like before thy people were exiled?
In the ancient days of Atlantis, Tria has been the legendary continent in the hollow core of the Earth. Nobody knew if it really ever existed. But some old Atlantean writers have named this mystic continent in their books, so many Atlanteans believed in it. It was told, that the
Tria-people have been technically advanced very much, but then they incensed the gods and hence received big punishment. The whole core of the Earth was filled with glowing lava. Their whole cities have been destroyed. But the most intelligent Triaseans escaped from this Inferno and settled down in the Alps. There they live in immense wisdom, beauty and matureness until today! But also a group of mentally deranged Triaseans managed to escape. They copulated with apes and formed a new race called Humans. Soon they spread like parasites all over the globe. But the Austrians
were very wise. They camouflaged as harmless idiots and hid all their richness. So the humans don’t bother them.

Scientific method demands that something must be observable.
This may be useful in determining how much water must I drink in order for all gelb to disappear from my urine, but that means that
many interesting things fall outside of this approach. I consider
psychologists who are behaviorists to be too dull and stupid to
understand something as abstract as psychoanalysis. Thou art more of a reader of Jung, but thou must surely hate behaviorists more  than I, for they regard Jung as a mystic.
I don’t hate behaviorists, because this would mean that they had kind of power over me. I think they are very funny, especially when
they take themselves so serious.  And they may think a b o u t me, Jung, Satanas, sexy boy Shawn Michaels, or anybody else whatever they like. 

If a person who is blind since birth dreams of colors and objects that were never seen, what dost thou infer?
You don’t need to be blind to see or dream colors and objects, that never have been seen by other eyes. It happens every day and every second, because you never can see something twice in exactly the same way. You never can put your feet twice into the same river, like
Heraklit said.

Doest thou love that geld is gelb?
Well, but geld isn’t gelb at all as long as everybody has washed his fingers before paying. 

In thy land, are Amerikans famous for being Stumfsinning?
Yes, many stumpfsinnig people in my land think so.

Foreigners learn English from Oxford style, which is the gay style from England. They are also taught the British gay pronunciation.
I have often wondered if the accents of foreigners would change if they were taught the pronunciation of the region they would inhabit. The English do not pronounce the “r” very much if it is in the middle of the word, but Americans pronounce it, and in the hard way, not the soft British way. I think this would improve race relations in America. But the real question I have is, if I visited thee, would I get beaten up because I sound like a a fag? I know high German, the Berliner style of proper German, but no one there speaks that way, right? is the verb always in the second place? Does anyone say words like Arbanduhr? Wie spat ist es?
Language in northern Germany is like a machine-code. Of course there are also regional dialects, but everybody can understand and
talk the machine-code if it is necessary. Southern Germans and Austrians also have their own regional accents, but mostly they cannot talk the machine-code, because they don’t want to be machines. But I guess a guy like you would be beaten up anyway if you’d come to Germany or anywhere else. I like the sound of
Oxford English, at least it sounds more noble to me than the American chewing-gum slang. But personally I prefer to talk English with Italian accent. I started that when I lived one year in Italy and I am still doing so. 

Did thou hate learning English? French is even more annoying to  learn. It feels like I am learning slang because of all the apostrophe
action. Of course the language is so shitty that the French would
want to shorten it as much as t h e y could. A F r e n c h sentence
could have t w o b i l lion letters i n it but to read it would only sound like “blaaaaaah!” The world should learn the beauty of the Czech language. Each letter is so precious to the word that everything is always pronounced. Not a single drop is ever wasted. To speak Czech is to be drunk on words. Or dost thou not agree because of the hatred passed down from thy forefathers? Dost thou hate Slavs?
Well sorry, Bill, but the Czechs are our brothers! They’ve been an important part of the Austrian World-Reich Monarchy for hundreds of Years! It’s a cool country with cool people and I am sure, that within the next twenty years Czechs will be first world and Germany will be second world. Then Czech men will come across the border and fuck German women cheaply and make cheap holidays in Germany. That will be justice. I liked to learn English, but I love
French, though I cannot talk it, and I love French women! They have the right mixture between grace and emotion, between dignity and warm, rich feelings.

I demand that history should be taught to students from as many versions as there are available. Read the words of the winners as well as the losers. In America, there is much propaganda about the atrocities of the Axis, but there is no mention of the atrocities that the Americans committed. Canst thou reveal at least one thing?
Surely the intentional starving of Germans after the surrender was not an action that was lovingly remembered. I do not ask this to stir hate, but rather, to lift it. I want people to stop thinking in black
and white. Hating a German because he was a soldier is like hating a black person because he is a nigger.
After the second World War Americans have been very popular
in Germany. They were friendly and brought food and freedom. So I don’t know exactly about what you are talking. Concerning atrocities, I would rather talk about the present,
about the indirect genocide that Americans will be guilty of in some years, because they deny to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, or about
the “structural Violence” of Market-Fascism, that they are forcing upon the whole world. Anyway I don’t want to raise anti-american stereotypes, since I know so many cool people in US who definitely
won’t deserve to be insulted just because they have some stupid
Landmates. 

When China finally starts attacking, which country gets destroyed first?
I guess China.

 

Chryst
Chryst

UPDATE: Christof released a new album under the name CHRYST.

Amon Amarth

Interview with Johan Hegg conducted by Bill Zebub for Issue 28 of The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds Magazine

It seems that extra special care was given to the recording of the drums on the new album. They are louder in the mix than what I had heard on previous albums. Am I talking out of my ass?
We put extra effort into the whole production, but I know that Fredrik and Berno worked very hard to get the drum-sound we were looking for. As you say, the whole album has a “thicker” sound, and I
think one of the reasons for that is how we went about tweaking the sound for the recordings. You know, a lot of bands bring CD’s to the studio and say: “We want to sound like this or that“. We’ve never done that. Berno didn’t even want to hear our old stuff. He wanted to create our sound from scratch, without any pre-determined ideas on how it should sound. I personally think that’s the way to go, and I feel that the extra effort that we put into the whole thing paid off in the end.
Now that The Lord of the Rings has been made into movies, does the metal world now understand what Amon Amarth is, or do people still think it is a Swedish term?
I think a lot of people already knew what it means literately, since it’s been the most common question we get when we do interviews.  Now they have a movie that actually describes “Amon Amarth”, which maybe actually can give them an Idea of what we were thinking of when we chose the name. It’s true that a lot of
people have believed that it’s Swedish, and many still do, but I don’t really care too much about it.

Johan Hegg
Johan Hegg

I really enjoyed the sorrowful songs in “Once Sent From The Golden Halls”, especially the guitar work. Of course I am referring to songs like “Amon Amarth”. On the new album there are instances of the same kind of guitar work that really catches my ear. If I won the lottery, how much money would I have to pay you to make a totally
sorrowful album?
Well, we don’t work that way. I don’t think we could write anything on demand. For us, emotions are very important when writing music,
and they have to come spontaneously. Otherwise it doesn’t feel right somehow. When we write music for a new album, we usually start out with a few ideas for one or two songs, and then everything
seems to grow out of that. This takes time, but we feel it’s the ultimate way for us to write music. Still, if you’re insisting, let say… US $ 500.000 should do it…
You are a bit tall. Is that a common Swedish trait, other than blonde hair?
Actually I think it’s fairly common in all of Scandinavia. Even the Vikings were taller than most people in the rest of the world were, I
have my own theory about that. It’s so that noses will be above the snow wintertime, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to see or breathe.
Have you actually traced your bloodline to a ring-thane?
No. My grandma is into all that stuff, but I’m too lazy, even though it is sort of interesting.  Through her I learned that I’m related to Ingmar Bergman in some odd way, but that’s not really thing to brag about, even though I just did. 
I noticed that, unlike the trendfags who are your brethren, you favor the deep guttural vocals instead of the shrill and unmanly black metal squeaking. Your voice has a good range, both in  pitch and in character, and you never go int o the wimpy spectrum of black metal. Have you been pressured by the band to black-metalize the vocals, or do they agree that it would appear silly for someone with your stature to screech like a fat woman who is upset about the rising
prices of donuts?
It probably would sound pretty damn stupid if I were to sing in a more Black-Metalish way. The guys in Black Metal bands sound like constipated frogs when they sing names, but that really sounds like shit. The guys in the band usually let me use the vocals I feel are right for that particular part of the music,

Johan Hegg
Johan Hegg

Did you get the idea for your beard from the former vocalist of Deranged?
I started growing this beard back in ’92, before I was in the band. I’m  not sure if Deranged was around back then, but if they were I had not heard of them. It’s more like ZZ Top influence but don’t tell anybody.

 

Am I wrong to think that you were perhaps in a death metal band
before you joined Amon Amarth?
Amon Amarth is the only band I’ve been in. I’ve never really wanted to sing in any other band after we started Amon Amarth, and I never really had the opportunity to sing in any band before that either.
Were you asked to act in the film “The 13th Warrior”?
Yeah, but you know, I refuse to take part in such crap!
When you toured America, did you notice how  idiotically trendy people are over here?
Not really, the fans over in the US are so different from the metal-heads here in Europe. It depends on where you go. On the other hand the only truly un-trendy metal-fans are Germans. They haven’t
changed their style for twenty or thirty years and they will look the same in a thousand years. They’re almost like cockroaches. Nothing can kill them off completely, not even a nuclear war.
After I had gone bananas over “Once Sent From The Golden Halls” I was told about an album that you did for a label in Singapore, and
after a bit of searching I was able to get “Sorrow Through The Nine Worlds.” Is there any chance that the album will be bought by a stronger label and remastered? That album should not have to die.
Actually, ” S o r r o w throughout the Nine Worlds” is on the bonus  version of the new album. The s o – c a l l e d “V i k i n g Edition.” We
put a lot of rare stuff on there. Apart from the MCD we put the demo “The Arrival of the Fimbul Winter” and the previously unreleased  demo “Thor Arise” on there. It’s sort of
our ten-year anniversary gift from us to the fans, as it’s ten years since we started out. 

 

Johan Hegg
Johan Hegg 

What are some misconceptions about the Vikings?
There are quite a few. Most Vikings were merchants. They traded with people from all over the world basically. Most battles that Vikings fought were actually with other Vikings, and plundering
was not as common as historians will make us believe. Vikings have often been portrayed as barbarians, but as a matter of fact they had a functioning justice system long before any other European country did, and Vikings dictated the first laws ever written down. The Vikings were the first to discover North America, and there are even indications that they traveled as far as Mexico. The Vikings were however fierce in battle, which may have given them the reputation as barbaric wildmen. The reason for this is that the Vikings were fatalists. They believed that there was no way of avoiding fate, so you might as well rush into it because you will live as long as fate has decided for you to live.
In Sweden, do cows say “moo”? They like to say that a lot in America.
No, cows say “muuu”. Pigs say “noeff” and not “oink”, like they do in America.
Hey, Olli and Hansson played the guitars on “Sorrow”. Is Olli the same as Olavi? I suppose, if that is the case, that he is the
originator of the style that makes your albums so rich, or are those cool techniques very common over there?
Yeah, Olli is short for Olavi, almost like you guys over there call guys called William for Bill. Olli is one of the founding members of  Amon Amarth, and it’s actually his previous band, “Scum” which he started in 1988, that later on became Amon Amarth. I think Olli has  his own unique way of playing the guitar. Don’t ask me about techniques though. I haven’t heard anybody here in Sweden, or anywhere else for that matter, that plays the same way he does.
Are you hateful toward a particular band?
I wouldn’t say hateful, but there is a “Power-Metal” band from Sweden that in our ion rips off “Helloween”, and we like to make fun out of of them, and crack jokes on their behalf. The name has a bit to do with a certain tool, and a do with tripping. If you can figure out which it is, you’ve just won a box of water-colors.
My experience with dogs has taught me not to bother them when they are eating. Do you also  growl if anyone comes near to your beer?
That’s the first reaction. If they don’t realize the seriousness of the growl and try getting close to my beer again, I usually rip their heads off piss down their throats.
There are parts of America in which a band can never hope to make any money through the merchandise table at shows. In such places, would it be acceptable to barter for your Tshirts  with a suitable offering of beer?
Beer is always welcome. Maybe that is easier to sell in those places, but knowing the raging alcoholics I play with, that beer would be gone in four seconds.
Did you know that Middle Earth is hobbit-forming?
Had no idea.
What is your favorite race in Tolkein’s world?
Dwarves! Cool beards, cool weapons, and who wouldn’t want to carve the mountains for riches?
In America there is a wigger phenomenon, and it affects the weakminded Caucasians who are also ignorant enough to believe the pious myth of the Christians. Such afflicted victims suddenly abandon English grammar and instantly shed 85% of their vocabulary. They also misperceive the manner of speech characteristic of an illiterate 75-IQ thug as an accent. I wonder if this is also happening in your homeland. Is the glory of your people
fading?
Those Neanderthals are unfortunately existing in Sweden as well. I don’t care too much for politics and shit like that.
Do you prefer the sword or the battle-axe?
Tough one! The sword is the most elegant weapon, slender and gentle yet lethal. The axe on the other hand is more brutal, but can also be elegant. I think I go with the sword, though.
Is it true that you wear clothes on stage against your will? I
heard that your entire band pays homage to the berserkers who ran naked into battle, but modern laws forbid the swinging pee pee of the Vikings. Is this true?
No, it’s not true. The real reason we are half-naked on stage is that
we sweat a lot. But it would be cool if it was true though. Who knows?  Someday maybe we’ll be playing in our underwear.

 

Katla – Embryo

This album is quite ’70’s-ish, taking a psychedelic approach.  The hollow vocals are a compliment to the trippy retro-style.  I find this retro movement to be a welcome rebellion, or alternative.  

You can enjoy a live video by clicking HERE and determine if you resonate with the style.  

And here is another video

Therion

interview with Christofer Johnsson conducted by Bill Zebub for issue #31 of THE GRIMOIRE OF EXALTED DEEDS magazine

 

You may not remember this, but many years ago I interviewed you for the first issue of this magazine. Back then it was just a fanzine that was photocopied and stapled in the corner. I will again ask you the very first question that I have ever asked you to see if your answer is different, and then we’ll get on to the serious interview. Are you ready?

Yes.

 

If there were a warmth emanating from thy buttocks, what would it be?

A fart.

 

Yes! That was the same answer, so now I know that you are an honest person. In the early days there were some cover songs that appeared on albums, like the Judas Priest cover. When I saw your show at BB King’s, one of the encores were  Mercyful Fate’s “Black Funeral.” Did you ever record “Black Funeral” in the studio?

We never recorded it.

 

There was an Orff cover on one of the albums. I was wondering if you were ever tempted to do something in the same vein from Strauss, like “Biem Shlafengehen” or the Commendatore finale song from “Don Giavanni.”

Anybody can do classical covers, but the most  interesting thing is to break new ground. 

 

In America there are television commercials for a breakfast cereal simply called “Shredded Wheat.” On one side there’s frosting and on the other side there isn’t. The commercials show that people are divided. Some people like the sugary side and others like the unfrosted side. Same thing with beer. Half of the country supposedly likes it because it tastes great. The other half likes it because it’s less filling. Those people probably like the unfrosted side, but I doubt that people carve their breakfast bits in half. In Therion, I personally prefer the opera over the prog side.

That’s very gay. I caught you.

 

(In total shock) That’s so funny. You insulted me before I insulted you!

Well I’m gay too. We can go to Denmark and get married. It’s legal there. (pause) But it’s  interesting that people in metal actually prefer that side. We make the classical and the opera more accessible because they don’t really have, for lack of better words, the capacity to go deep into all of this musical information that some opera contains. If you listen to a metal album, or rock, or pop, or whatever – there’s a couple of riffs in each song – and it doesn’t really contain much musical information. You can pretty much judge the album by one listening if it’s a regular rock album. If it’s a metal album than you can judge by a few listenings.  But even a very short song in opera contains so much more musical data than, let’s say, five or six metal albums. A lot of people don’t really have the energy, or whatever, to actually take the time it requires to penetrate  the surface and go deep into this sort of music. So what we do is actually a shortcut that, because we have the rock structure with classical content as well. It’s a shortcut to opera and classical, which is very convenient for people. Maybe they could like a few highlights. They might buy a CD with Ride of the Valkyrie or some highlight part from an Italian opera, but they wouldn’t sit and listen to opera for a few hours. I think that we’re filling a function for people who could be potentially really interested. So we can start stuff with this, and if they get really enthusiastic they could find a way to more  sophisticated music.

 

You are the gateway to opera.

A few people might take the next step.

 

There was a very irritating record label publicist who said that every band that has female operatic vocals or orchestral instruments is influenced by Celtic Frost because they were the ones who apparently tried that first. 

I don’t really think that bands these days pay homage to such distant albums. You shouldn’t underestimate what Celtic Frost did. Into the Pandemonium – you have The Gathering, Therion, Tiamat, Paradise lost – all with Celtic Frost influence. We, in our turn, influenced other bands. So we can say that they (Celtic Frost) are indirectly influencing this whole wave. But on the other hand, what did they get their influences from? Everything comes from somewhere.

 

 

Have you heard Elend?

Yeah. A very long time ago somebody made me a cassette. They’re French, aren’t they?

 

French. Austrian. One of the members of Korovakill is in it. If you heard the right album, it’s a blue album (the re-release with bonus tracks is red). Instead of bringing operatic vocals and orchestral instruments into metal, they brought death metal vocals into opera. But these days they don’t have the death metal vocals anymore.

That’s a brilliant idea. But that’s precisely what I didn’t like about it. (The death metal vocals).  

 

When I listen to opera, I prefer the very dark opera. It’s vary sad. I was always hoping  that there would be that sort of opera presence in Therion, and I was wondering if there is any way for that to happen. I know that you are a live band and you like to create a certain mood for that. But could there be a song or two, not meant for live performance, that delves into the realms of sorrow?

There might be. But the thing is, the way that we write songs is very spontaneous. I’m hopelessly trapped with whatever I write. If someone said to me, “I’ll give you five million bucks if you write a ballad. You have a weekend. Here’s a  guitar.” I would write ballad, but it would be the most miserable piece of shit ballad you will ever hear in your life. That’s how it works. I cannot shit on command. I write what I write. It’s what I’m stuck with and what everyone else gets.

 

If there is a way for me to send you some music, hopefully on some level it will influence you.

Actually there is a lot of sad opera that I like. (editor’s note – We discussed opera, which to you would seem like an inside conversation. Rather than make you feel like an outsider, I edited this part out. I now bring you to the last part of that hidden conversation. Christof went on and on to praise a particular soprano opera  singer). She is the best singer in the history of recorded music.  

 

Well, by that reasoning, if she can turn shit into gold, and if you force yourself to write a sad opera song and it will be shit, then she should sing on it so that she turns your shit into gold.

(laughs) By the way, have you seen this movie “Holy Mountain?” That describes the modern culture so well. You know the scene – it’s like  everybody gets color on their butts and then they put it on paper – it’s mass-produced art.  

 

It’s so strange that you, being the kind of artist that you are, watched a movie by that kind of director.

Naked Lunch would be one of my favorite movies. Brasil too. Along with that I also like Nightmare Before Christmas.

 

A long time ago I did try to contact you to hopefully be able to send you some music, but the only Email address on the website is for the webmaster. There is some sort of explanation about that along the lines of, if any band member’s Email were to be  known, you would get overwhelmed.

That’s true. But it’s  usually not a problem  for people from the press to get it. ( editor’s update – After this interview, I asked the lazy twat at Nuclear Blast for the Email, and all I received were excuses for her not doing her job.  Eventually, the incompetence resulted in my severing ties from the American office of laziness)  If I gave my Email out  then I would have to  get a new one every month. I got so many  Emails every day. 

 

Were the Emails about penis enlargement?

I wish it was. It’s  more about boring questions like, “When will you come to my town?

 

In Sweden is penis size very important?

No. They’re all American companies who Email me.

 

I had heard that Sweden has even more concern about penis size and that  it has spread to veterinary science as well, with penis enlargement programs for dogs and  cats.

No. That’ completely wrong. That’s totally American.

 

I did notice that there’s a tremendous  difference between the audience at a Therion show and a crowd that sees any other band, and that difference was the  extreme level of respect. It was also your respect toward the fans. I was told that you  did not want the usual barricade between  the fans and the stage. And the end of the  performance was the metal equivalent to a  standing ovation. Is that a common reaction throughout the world?

Yeah. We’re very spoiled. But I think that is  related to people having bought the records and  they had been waiting ever since. They never thought that we would come. For a lot of people  it was more than just a concert. It’s something  more special. The same thing happens in  Europe when we play countries we never had  before. Same thing with Latin America. We get  an explosive reaction. In many countries they  have a really tough life, so when people go to a  show they switch off their daily problems for a  while. It’s almost like a religion.

 

Your main opera singer – what is her  name? I hope you don’t take this the wrong  way, but the way she puts on make-up is  sort of the mistake that a little girl makes  when she puts on make-up for the first time  in her life. Is that the look that she was  going for?

She’s the only one who’s a trained opera singer so I told her to make something very theatrical.

 

Oh, so that’s why she walks on stage like  she’s a Gestapo officer patrolling the concentration  camp.

That is what is turning you on. (laughs) She  has nothing to do with metal. She doesn’t listen  to metal. She’s just doing her thing to our stuff.

 

There’s a blonde to the far right, if you  have the same set-up every night – I was  wondering if you could have her in the front  instead.

Well, that’s an idea.

 

She’s Swedish, right?

She’s Finnish but she lives in Sweden. We’re  going to sell tickets on the next tour to the back stage.

 

Can you let her know that I love her?

Yes, I will do that.

 

Some people say that Sweden is very conservative and some people say that it is very liberal.

Conservative? Are you fucking kidding? Our conservatives would be condemned as being too liberal. Ralph Nader would call our conservatives liberals.

 

I learned that when I ask someone about a country, it’s almost like asking someone in America what America is like. It’s not a true representation.

If you ask a communist, of course he will say  that we are conservative. But if ask someone who is somehow in the middle, politically, it is hilarious. We had a social democrat ruling this  country in the second world war. It’s like a one party state. But you have a one-party state too.  You just have two names for it. 

 

Actually, we are owned by Israel. (Editor’s note – for the new readers of this magazine, there is a lot of sarcasm and baiting.  I, in real life, know absolutely nothing about politics, and I don’t care.  I just use it to evoke.)

We were speaking of parties. Maybe they own the party. That’s maybe your opinion. 

 

No. I don’t know enough about politics to talk about it seriously.

You don’t need to know much. Just know the  fact that your choice is like buying Coca Cola or Pepsi. The difference between democrats and  republicans is that republicans piss in your face and they say. “Hey, we pissed in your face. We’re happy about that.” Democrats will piss in your face and if you ask them about they’ll say, “No, we never pissed in your face.”

 

You mentioned Cocoa Cola before. I have not verified this, but I have heard that in  France they have passed a law which protects  their language. On television they  cannot use non-French words, especially  slang, and the term “Cocoa Cola” is one of the no-no words. In direct opposite thinking, America, because it is so sales-driven, has allowed the most niggery language to be on TV.  People leave out verbs. It’s almost like hearing Tarzan talk. Poor grammar, nigger-slang, and simplified language.

The American version of English is now completely destroyed. We learn Oxford English in school.

 

Is Sweden protecting its language?

Protect the Swedish language? Are you kidding?  That would be racist!

 

Yes, Snowy Shaw and I had a conversation about how the Swedes are pussies.

Yeah, I read that. Those things you cannot say in Sweden. I showed that interview to a band and they thought that Snowy is joking. If you do that interview in a Swedish magazine then your career is over.

 

In America it’s very trendy to think of the French as pussies, but I look at them as heroes. The French deserve respect for  standing up for their culture. 

I’m very conservative when it comes to things like culture. A lot of things are better these days, but I don’t understand why you have to ruin everything from the past. A lot of liberal  ideas are very good, like equal rights for women.  And in interracial marriage, it’s up to people what they want to do with their lives and if they want to have those kinds of kids. But there comes a  point when you fulfill the  rights of minorities and  start to go in the other way.

 

We’re in the other end  of the swing.

In Sweden we completely crossed that line a long long  time ago, and maybe that’s  the reason why we went  from being #1 to… (editor’s note – I laugh so loudly that I cannot  hear the rest of that sentence)

 

I’m sorry, you made me laugh.

What else can you do  about it?

 

“Lucid Dreaming” was  an album that I had to  buy because it was at that time that I found out  that what I had experienced  actually had a  term, and that other people  had similar dreams.  Many years later a girl I  know interviewed you  and she said that you had  out of body experiences.  Is that true?

That’s correct.

 

What came first with  you, the lucid dreaming  or the out of body experiences?

The astral projection came  first

 

Was this something that you learned or something  that happened accidentally  when you were  falling asleep?

It happened accidentally. It has happened to  many people who have had their first out of  body experiences that they are in their room outside of their bodies. Actually, I didn’t even look  at my body. I was looking through the window, and was drawn outside, out over the woods. And I had a very strange feeling that I can’t really  explain these colors.

 

You are able to induce these now.

Yeah.

 

Did you learn that on your own?

I’ve been a member of the Order of the Dragon  for some years now. They collect ideas and  develop techniques.

 

When I found out that my lucid dreams had a name, I discovered a scientist, Stephen  LaBerge, and he had developed techniques, and one night I actually had three lucid  dreams in a row. It was crazy. But prior to  having had experienced lucid dreams, I had  thought that out of body experiences were  a hoax.

Very easy to think that if you are a rational person  and if you never had that.

 

Right, but there are parallels between  lucid dreams and out of body experiences.  In fact, lucid dreams are the perfect launch  pad to out of body experiences.

That’s actually how I most often do it. I usually  find a gate, like a mirror or window, and I project  through that.

 

Lucid dreaming, to me, is a purely mental  phenomenon because although I am aware that I am  dreaming within the dream and  I control everything around me,  it is still a dream. Do you think that an out  of body an actual phenomenon in which your awareness somehow  extends beyond your body,  or is it a mental state?

When I thought about the matter, whether it is internal or external, it doesn’t really make a difference.  So I haven’t really made up  my mind because the experience  remains the same.

 

In Sweden, do you have the  Christmas carol “Tis the  Season to Be Jolly?”

Yeah, we do. But our main songs are about the yule, which has nothing to do with Christianity.

 

In the song I asked about,  being that you are a musician, I  was oping that you could help  educate Americans. They are probably the most ignorant people in the world, judging from the interviews I have done with people all over the  world. Stupidity is our #1  export.

Your big companies don’t want  people to think. They want people to work for minimum wage and to  pay taxes and to consume a lot.  Here, we pay 33% in taxes but  hospitals are free. If you are  unemployed you get money that  you can actually live on, and so on and so on. 

 

Americans are not interested in  the rest of the world, and for those  that are interested, they look at  the worlds thinking it’s the same as it is here (editor’s note – I meant that Americans generally cannot accept that other people think in different ways and that other cultures have different attitudes).

It’s really bad that your education system is that way because that makes people that  much more unable to have opinions about international affairs. There are a lot of similarities with the Roman empire. You can  see a lot of degeneration in empires that are  falling, but it won’t be a few centuries. Here we are talking about only a few decades, maximum.  You import a lot more than you export.  And there’s a lot of loans. You consider yourself  the richest country on the planet, which is correct on paper, but if all the international investment would be withdrawn from the United States…

 

Interesting. But if you look at America’s capital city, it looks like a third world country.  Washington D.C. But getting back to the “Tis the Season to be Jolly” – the end of that song is “fa la la la la la la la la.” I would like  you to tell me the notes of the major scale of C.

I am happily uneducated musician.

 

Really? It’s C -D -E- F- G- A -B -C.

I’m very thickheaded to learn things unless I am interested. If I am interested I learn very quickly. Notes and stuff like this is like learning Latin.

 

I will still ask you the question. The  scale that I just told you, in other countries is DO- RE- MI- FA- SO- LA- T-I DO.

Your B is called H in Germany.

 

Getting back to DO RE MI, when you sing  the fa la la la la, it should actually be the  notes F and A. But they’re not sung as F and A, and I would like to know if this is some sort of conspiracy.

But you can write a song any way you like. 

 

Certain things should not be intentionally  misinterpreted. You Wouldn’t have a guitar that is  shaped like a swastika, right?

Not on stage, but it would be fun to own one.  I‘d like one like a banana, and one with a hammer  and a sickle.

 

But you know what I mean. The swastika  is a cool symbol and it meant something else prior to world war two, and now if you see it you cannot remove the associations that define it.

If you were playing India it would be very popular.

 

It’s really not easy to interview you.

Well, you do not have an easy magazine.

 

But anyway, if I were to use FA and LA as  lyrics, I would make sure that they were sung in the right pitch! 

But music doesn’t need to follow rules. 

 

The Alphabet Song must also obey this  rule. When you sing A B C D E F G A B, do it in the right pitch. And what happened to  that word “god” being in the pledge of allegiance?  America is a theocracy! Do you, as  a Swede, see America as being too religious?

Yes. In Sweden only 2% of the population consider  themselves Christian.

 

You have heard of moslims (editor’s note – that is the correct speling of the word)who blow themselves up believing that they will be rewarded with virgins. Well first of all, if  you’re in the afterlife, you can’t do anything  with corporeal things. And even if you  could, why would you have sex with virgins.  They are not good in bed.

It’s not just a moslim concept. Christians  thought they would get rewarded if they died in  the Crusade

 

If you play in Israel, would you go on stage  with a backpack that has a lit fuse on the bottom?

That would be a pretty cool effect, but it wouldn’t be worth it.

 

Getting back to the moslim thing. I don’t think it’s really a good reward to be given  virgins. Virgins are terrible lovers. 

It’s much better to be a rock star (instead of a suicide bomber) because it’s very easy. You  don’t have to blow up yourself. Just learn how to  play guitar. But define “terrorism.” According to the term, the United States is a terrorist state. You bombed Iraq while there was no war declaration. If you don’t declare war and bomb the country, you’re a terrorist.

 

Don’t say “you” – I’m not an American.

Ok, so you’re not responsible then.

 

 

SANZU – Heavy Over the Home

This may seem like a strange way to introduce an album, but I found myself enjoying the bass.  you will have to hear for yourself how great this is in the mix and the way that it was marinated n the juiciest sounds.

The album is solid. providing plenty of chugging for the times when you need such, but there are other things going on.  The vocals tend to hit the higher sort of screeching, but stop short of being gay.  There are enough of the more masculine approaches to death metal vocals to keep you from wearing pink when you listen to this album.

You need to be clear about this being a good album.  The jokes may throw you off if you are faggy, so just think of a happy place when you read.  Speaking of which, this album will make you happy because it is tasteful and heavy.  It was built to last.

You can enjoy a sample video by clicking HERE, but bear in mind that their songs are varied.  

Bathsheba – Servus

SVART RECORDS  has released many albums of the doomy variety, so I often check their roster for something new when my need for warm distortion and a slower pace  compels me.  I first found out about the label when I heard the ultra delicious GOATESS album (that is the name of the band as well as the album). The song “Oracle” has made instant fans.  you can hear this song by clicking HERE but I warn you that you will not rest until you then find the whole album.  Luckily, it is easy to purchase (as you should… don’t be a parasite)

Bathsheba is a band that I hastily classified as doom but that is just a starting point.  The guitar flirts with other forms, and the tempo sometimes reaches thrash speed.  The doom fuzz is an apt flavoring.   Add to this the female vocals and you have the tasty treat for the songs.  She varies her performance, just as the guitars do.  She can sing sweetly in parts but also can make her voice gruff in other parts.  She also evildoers words in a more flat way in some parts where she is more like a temptress, or a storyteller.  Indeed, the lyrics are an enjoyable ride as well.   

I found a live performance video that you can see by clicking HERE

Cytotoxin – Gammageddon

The crystal clear production brings out some of the best elements, like the guttural vocals and what might seem like a touch of math-metal (guitars masturbating scales instead of expressing feeling, and there is some flare that might be a turn-off).  Some of the guitar is a bit too close to wiggercore, best suited to the short-haired bands, with stop-and-go or muted phrasing, but these tidbits can be overlooked due to some of the other elements.  

Enjoy a song on youtube by clicking HERE and hear for yourself. 

Alunah – Solennial

The standout qualities of this album are the flat female vocals and the fuzzy guitar.  That’s not an insult.  Sometimes an album like this can hit the spot.  A flat vocal performance makes it feel a bit more trance-like, and while the riffs aren’t doom per se, they are mellow, and combine with the singer to lull the ear.  

Luckily, I was able to find a video for a song, so you can hear how close my description is, and see for yourself that “flat’ does not mean “bad.”  it is the opposite of “sharp” – if you will.

Video click here

SLAGMAUR-Thill Smitts Terror

It’s hard to categorize this album because it has familiar elements yet it does not belong to any group in particular.  The vocals can be death metal, the lower register of black metal, clean, and also may fit pagan metal, if you pardon that term.   The foreign tongue adds to the feeling of the music.  

Throughout the album there is a sense of something being not quite right.  This uneasy feeling is further coaxed by odd instrumentation and atmospherics.  The tempo is mostly mid-paced, so expect neither brutality nor doom, but be thankful that the black metal cliches are absent.  

Morbid Evils – Deceases

This tasty tidbit comes to us from SVART RECORDS.

The first thing to notice is the thick production in which the guitars ooze into your ears.  The warmth of the distortion reminds me of stoner doom, but the riffs are sludge.  I like when an album makes me try to orient myself.  

The vocals are stertorous, cementing this is the sludge bracket, but the extra dimension of the guitars, the strange mix of fuzz, warmth, and atmosphere, tear at the confines.   

If you are in the mood for sludge then this will satisfy beyond expectation, and you get to enjoy some ingredients outside of the style, which is quite stimulating.  

 

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