Black Metal is chiefly characterized by vocals that sound like Edith Bunker from “All in the Family” although some bands have decided to actually have masculine vocals, if only briefly. Black Metal riffs feature more dissoant chords and are more simple, or basic, and can sometimes even be described as “thrashy.” The drums are also usually more basic, and the same simple beat can last for long duration without a fill.
You should start your journey with the second track “Her Name” which has vocals that remind me of a spirit being summoned to speak warnings, or of a mystic uttering in trance. Without further delay, let me list a stream of it for you.
At times, I am reminded of experimental Voivod, which is quite pleasing. This is my first venture into Hornwood Fell, but I am impressed enough to seek out their earlier albums. I had to enlist a friend to obtain this one directly from the label because no merchant near me had any information for getting it into the stores, and the Internet options were bare. I am sure that this has been corrected since those days. I had a promotional version and wanted to show my support with an actual purchase, as I do with every band that has made music that affected me.
interview with Agathon conducted by Bill Zebub for issue #23 of THE GRIMOIRE OF EXALTED DEEDS
Thy vocals are destined to become legend. Have other bands tried to lure thee onto their albums? Thy vocals can instantly make any album sound cool.
Thanks. I do little parts in Soulgrind’s albums and I did few whole songs when I was in Thy Serpent. Actually I don´t think that vocals on Blood… were good enough. Since then I have sung more and I think that in “Life?” all went far more better. I tried nothing… just screamed.
Was Whisper used because of her extreme beauty? I think I am still in love with her.
She´s free now. Come here and try to pick her up… She was my girlfriend and since we broke up she didn´t want to be in any contact with me. So, we decided that in “Life?” we are not going to use any female vocals, and synths replaced her. Actually, in my opinion, that was very good decision, and we are not going back with female vocals. Synths can´t make you crazy…
If Hitler were to come again, dost thou think that he would get away with the same practices of torture and slaughter? Would the majority of society join him? That is a rhetorical question. By the same reasoning, why is it that the majority of society embrace Christianity when it is responsible for MANY holocausts, not just one? We all know about the Inquisition, and the Crusades, and even of the bloodbaths between Catholics and Protestants. But there was much more systematic slaughter of entire sects, like when Pope Innocent III ordered 30,000 Cathars to be slain, regardless of them being women, children, and elderly. Thy lyrics have a poetic anti-Christian stance. I wonder what has made thee take such a position because thou art far from a rebellious teen-ager who just wants to defy his parents.
At first my lyrics were pure Satanic, because they told of the things which happened when I was 15. In “Life?” all the lyrics tells about the visions what I saw when I was at hospital at summer ‘98 and was in coma few days. I am not worshiping none but myself. Bible was only written to dominate people and keep them quiet. I still think that “evil”, like christians think it, is more pure than any kind of “goodness”. Actually, in my opinion, there is no such things as evil or good. There is only different happenings and people. Satan represent to me that animalish, pure side of man, which every christian try to deny. All religion try to deny humans’ real feelings. I try to be like animal, which lives through its instincts. So-called goodness is always learned from somewhere, but your instincts are pure. If I feel I want to be nice to somebody I can be, but if I don´t feel like it I don´t have to be. That’s simple and I can´t understand that shit what christians try to feed to everybody… that we have to love each others even thou they are fuckers to us. Christianisms were brought here with sword, so how they can say they love us? All religions come from people… without people there is no Satan or God. We are the only ones who really dominate.
Thy music is neither death metal nor black metal, but the vocals and thy affiliations suggest that thou art more a fan of black metal. Is this true?
Many have said that our music is “Horror Movie Metal” and I agree. In fact, I am big fan of old school thrash and black metal like Slayer, Exodus,Venom, Bathory et cetra. Agathon is more like feeling and He works through Gloomy Grim. I don´t want to be personalized as Agathon from Gloomy Grim, because most of the time I am not that person. If people start to believe what I preach then all my work has gone in the sand. I want people to think by themselves, and Agathon can only give guidance, but not exact ways to think.
As thy popularity grows I am sure that there will be a demand to see thee perform at fests. Is that something thou wilt deny?
Hope it does… I don´t have any reason why we could not make gigs. Actually, we were at France at April with S.U.P and Divion Alpha.
We had 7 gigs in there and I was amazed how well we were known there. We used DAT tape for the synths and drums. Of course, guitars, bass, and vocals were live. After the next album I think that we are using real drummer at the stage too, but that is someone else than me. I want to keep Black Mass at the stage.
Hast thou ever grown disillusioned by being signed to Holy Records? It is not very easy to get their titles in America, and I would think that Gloomy Grim has a market here.
Not this far. They have done great job for us. I don´t know the situation at America, but I assume that at least in Europe Holy´s records are well distributed.
This is black metal that has stayed away from the gay screeching, so I was more receptive. If you get the album, listen to “Rapace Planare” first. The song goes through some interesting changes toward the end, foreshadowed by heavy phaser on the guitar. Suddenly you will hear crooning. These clean vocals fit perfectly and are pleasingly sung with a dark quality.
Yes, this album has black metal traits, like dissonant chords, but it’s a dynamic offering with some heavier elements that are not common in that style.
interview with Snowy Shaw conducted by Bill Zebub for issue #27 of THE GRIMOIRE OF EXALTED DEEDS Magazine
I prefer a personality interview as well as a musical interview, unless you prefer a totally insulting interview.
Why do you choose to go that way? I mean, to insult people – is that to make it fun for the readers or something?
It’s fun for the whole world.
So people that you don’t like or don’t respect – you just give them a hard time.
I pretty much give everyone a hard time, and people like George Corspegrinder from Cannibal Corpse have a lot of fun being assholes back to me. Let’s begin. Mickey Dee badmouthed King Diamond in interviews and stuff like that. I was at a Motorhead show and I was wearing a Mercyful Fate shirt, and he said “Why are you wearing that? That band sucks!” He wasn’t even in that band. And this was apparently after King Diamond had a talk with him and asked him why he said things like that. He’s still an asshole. I don’t know why he has problems with King Diamond, but I was talking to King and he said that in the press he saw that you felt constricted in the band.
That I did or that Mickey did?
That you did. I know that if you say something negative it wouldn’t be as an insult. I know that you would have a reason for saying something that sounds negative. The press might make it seem nasty.
Yeah, I realize that it’s stupid to say anything negative because nobody believes me. If it’s a question about “Ok, is it a drum machine on The Eye?” or something – I mean, that is kind of a stupid question…
That is one of my questions.
The thing is, it was my decision to use that kind of drum patterns and stuff like that, but nobody would believe me. Yeah, I’m the one who brought it up, and if I didn’t say anything, nobody would know about it. Nobody believes me. They believe King instead, of course. But I have nothing against King.
The question was more “what was the problem?” He said that you were doing all these crazy things and you said “I’m going to do everything I ever learned as a drummer” and that he was holding you back. Like, every time there was a change in a song you would have massive drum rolls. They were good, he said, but it just made the music a bit more complex than it needed to be.
When I joined the band, he wanted… OK, Mickey Dee was good. It’s fine to have a drummer that could be like a puppet. You can have control over this guy. Maybe King all the time wanted not that kind of complicated drumming and strange drum arrangements. I know Mickey told me that King told him “Stop playing that! You’re ruining my songs!” But back then they were a band and Mickey Dee would say “Fuck You! I play the way I want to!” But when I joined the band I didn’t have that kind of position of course. So I just had to do what he told me. We kind of compromised and arranged things together and so on. I don’t know what it was, but I felt I want to do what I want to do. It’s not like I want to be a modern drummer and that is my major goal. I want to play good drums. Sometimes I thought some of his ideas, or arrangements, was kind of simple and standard and stupid or something… (laughs)
When you left, were you thrown out or did you voluntarily leave?
Yeah, I left the band. “Ok, now it’s a European tour coming up. Oh no! I quit.” Kind of strange, but that’s the way it was. It’s like putting a lid on a volcano. It’s a stupid expression maybe, but I needed to express myself musically. I wasn’t satisfied with just being a drummer and playing (ed. – Snowy makes sounds imitating a drum beat). It didn’t give me that much so I needed to quit and try to write my own music and start my own band.
It’s very important for me to clarify right now that you’re not saying anything in a nasty tone. Some magazines are irresponsible and they don’t mention that. They try to make it look like you’re trying to start a fight. Notre Dame does not have showy drums – like you’re showing off. It seemed like that was the argument in King Diamond. Do you agree?
He comes up with some stuff and it’s basically my arrangements, but when I wrote some songs myself I tend to arrange the drums so it’s pretty simple just because the song itself should be in focus instead of different musicians showing off what they can do. It’s quite the same for thing for King. I think I play better drums if I don’t like the band, because then I just want to have fun playing drums.
Your accent sounds more Danish than Swedish.
Nobody told me that before. Maybe I have a sore throat or something because they sound a bit like they’re supposed to throw up when they’re talking.
Maybe that’s the reason. So what do you have to say about the production of the drums? I thought that you would be over-produced based on what I’ve heard about you. But it’s a mild production.
The overall production – I don’t really like it because we have kind of a limited budget. We have to go mix in a friend’s place or something. Next time around it will be a lot better because we’re working with this friend and he’s a real producer. The drums sounded quite bad the last couple of albums.
That helped me understand the elusive personality of Snowy Shaw a little bit. I heard that you like American Indians.
Yeah. I was really into that some years ago. I was into reading about the Midwest Indians.
Any particular reason?
I don’t know. I mean, for various reasons I guess because they were very cool and proud and they had a great history. It was magical and mystical. I thought it was very cool. But I kind of left that, and since I’m working with Notre Dame I’m watching horror movies and being more into eerie and stupid horror comics.
So you were never part of any drum circle?
Indian drum circle? I never had the opportunity, but maybe in the future.
You don’t prefer to play drums with your hands.
With my dick.
The first time I heard Notre Dame I didn’t know you were in the band. It was on the Mercyful Fate tribute on Listenable Records. It was Into the Coven. The very next time I heard your band it was on this latest album Coming Soon To A Theatre Near You.
That’s the second one?
No, the new album is a re-issue – the Second Coming. It was four and a half songs originally, but now it’s like eleven. We added a bunch of bonus tracks from the same time – the same recording sessions and so on. We fucked it up totally. I think it was better the first time. It’s better as a mini album because you tend to get tired after six songs – not when you record them but if you listen to them. You’re pretty much satisfied when you’ve heard seven songs.
I’m sure Osmose will love to hear the way you’re talking about the album.
Yeah, but what’s done is done. I just wanted to… because of the lousy distribution… I’m sorry… I’m burping here from drinking Coca Colas. But anyway, we just wanted to give a second chance because the distribution wasn’t working that good and maybe Osmose distribution isn’t working that good either, but it’s much better anyway. But they wanted to add a bunch of bonus tracks, and I looked into some old material that’s never been mixed and so I recorded some vocals and some guitar on some songs. We made it like a totally new album instead of just a re-issue.
So the vampire theme is going to be common to your next album as well?
No, not really. I mean, the character Vampirella – she’s still in the band. Maybe we kind of focused on that for some time, but it’s basically just shock shock rock and horror metal. I grew up with KISS and Alice Cooper. I was really influenced by those kinds of shows and the kind of image that Alice Cooper had. I think this is my interpretation for the new generation. It’s not just about vampires. I grew up reading all those horror comics. So this is just the logical development.
Back to the old days when Mercyful Fate reformed – there was an American tour. Did you have any problems playing drums for the song Satan’s Fall?
No, absolutely not. That is my favorite song. Maybe there was a show where I fucked it up.
No, there was a lot of Snowy in that performance rather than Kim Ruzz.
Yeah. I really like that song so I couldn’t keep relaxed. I just went berserk. Maybe I fucked it up.
Is it easy to fuck up in that song?
Yeah, maybe it is because when we played this big festival in Copenhagen that is the only time I fucked it up. There are so many changes in the song and I was so excited and everything so maybe I forgot something because I was waiting for the last part which is the coolest. So maybe I skipped a few parts of that song. That song is so fantastically evil. When I was a kid I listened to it and I thought “this is too much!This is really scary!”
Did you ever imagine that you would be playing with King Diamond?
No, not really. I didn’t realize they were from Denmark when I was 14 or something. I didn’t see that coming. But after a couple of years Mickey Dee and Andy Laroque joined the band, and all of a sudden we had some kind of relation to them. It wasn’t that far-fetched to actually join the band after a couple of years because they had close relations to Gothenburg musicians.
For the band Notre Dame what is the reason for the choice of black metal vocals trading off with sort of like the theatre style vocals?
Maybe I was into that somehow. They’re the same kind of songs that I wrote for Memento Mori. It’s just that we don’t play the drums that slow. (ed – makes drum noises) It would be boring to play it that slow. So instead we speed it up and play the fastest part possible – all these kinds of patterns. But when it comes to vocals maybe it’s that I can’t sing that powerful so I’m just trying the best I can. I’m also into Metal Church and Nazareth and Udo,.. Accept and stuff like that. I don’t know if it’s black metal vocals. It’s just really distorted vocals I guess.
The first track on this second edition, The Bells of Notre Dame, reminded me of Immortal, and then I took a look at the cover and you have the diamond-shaped corpsepaint around your eyes just like the singer. So I was wondering if you have any admiration for Immortal or if that was just a coincidence.
I never listened much to them, but they look cool (laughs), especially this Battles of the North album. But this is just some kind of coincidence because I didn’t use that kind of make-up for a long time. I think he has much bigger diamonds than I do. It covers pretty much his whole face. Most of the time I just have some mascara and I look more like…
No, not like a girl. But it was more like a raccoon. This was the only time when I was like, “this looks kind of theatrical,” like pantomime, or scary in some kind of circus way. I did not think of Immortal when I did that.
I’ve seen the movie The Decline of Western Civilization, and I saw it because I thought it was going to be about metal but it was about posers. And there was this one poser in there who was talking like an absolute faggot…
And his name was?
I don’t know his name. Half of his hair was blonde (Snowy laughs) and half of his hair was black, and I also noticed that in the Notre Dame pictures half of your hair is blonde and half of your hair is black. So I was wondering if you know the poser from that movie.
No, I don’t. But I heard that the singer from Madam X dyed his hair black and white. I was thinking more of Carella Deville (spelling?) the Disney character. You know, I’m blonde, so that isn’t very evil. So should I dye my hair black? No. That’s boring. So let’s do it halfway as a compromise.
So it’s not a symbol for bisexuals?
No. I can do that and still go around buying groceries. I don’t give a fuck. It was just a thing. After that I shaved off my hair completely. But now it’s growing back and I look like…
A German look, or something. This was a long time ago.
A long time ago I interviewed Candlemass and the lead guitar player told me that he found your drum configuration very strange.
Yeah. On your rolls, what you do is each hand goes down your sides instead of going in front of you. Do you know what I’m talking about?
No, not really.
Was he just imagining things?
I don’t know. I mean, I only have one rack tom and I have two floor drums.
One on each side?
Yeah, actually when I bought this Ludwig I had four floor toms so I can have two on each side, but it’s just a poser thing because I can’t play on my left side. I did it with Mercyful Fate to look cool, but it’s OK with just one rack tom and one floor tom. I’ve been playing drums for so long, and I don’t think about drums very much nowadays. It’s not like I’m, “OK, check out that new drummer from this band!.” I just play the way I play. I don’t think that much about it. Maybe some people find it strange. I’ve been out playing festivals with this power metal band now called Dream Evil, and people seem to like the way I play. People say, “Oh, you’re my favorite drummer!” and so on. I don’t really know what’s the big deal. I’m just playing straight bullshit. I can’t really see what’s so special.
But at one time were you obsessed about learning drums?
Yeah, I was, when I was still a teen-ager. Now my goal is elsewhere, like to sing better and write the best possible songs I can do. It’s not like I’m practicing drums very much these days.
Is Notre Dame a project or a band?
I guess it’s both. For me it’s a good forum, or something, where I can write my kind of music. We’re starting to do shows now. We had to turn down some offers from big festivals in Europe this summer. So we will be starting with the King Diamond manager taking care of the whole business because I don’t know how to handle that stuff. I can’t negotiate with foreign promoters and stuff like that. But for some time now it’s been like a project – a recording project pretty much. Have you seen our video?
No. Is it available N.T.S.C.?
I don’t think so. I don’t think that Osmose have done what they should do.
They have been doing a lot because they believe in the Grimoire. A lot of Europeans don’t see the value of advertising in America. They don’t believe that the American market is worth it.
Yeah, it’s so bad because I don’t think that our albums are even released in America.
Yeah, it’s hard to find. But if anyone here wants to get an Osmose album it’s pretty easy to get There are enough metal merchants. But you have to be a real undergrounder. A lot of people in America are very lazy about their music unless they’re enthusiasts.
Yeah, but people are that way everywhere. You go to record stores – what you see on the shelf is what you buy. It’s not like you’re running around to five different stores trying to find something. I wouldn’t do that nowadays. Maybe when I was 15, but not now. It’s a shame. You’ve got to just feed the people.
If you want to succeed.
It’s not like I want to make a lot of money. I would be an idiot if I did with this kind of music. Maybe I am an idiot. We spend so much time doing this stuff that we want people to at least be able to find it if they want to, and to reach out to as many people as possible.
Maybe this interview has helped.
The song “Daughter of Darkness” – was the piano in the beginning taken from Beethoven?
Vampirella said, “Listen to this song! You stole that part!”
It’s not exact. It just sounds like it’s based on a Beethoven song.
Yeah, it’s Moonlight Sonata, or something. I never sit down and “OK, I should steal this”. I’ve always had some kind of obsession with the Halloween theme – that’s where it’s coming from. I always have that kind of sound in the back of my mind. When I’m writing, maybe it sounds familiar, but I don’t know what it is. About Beethoven I really liked that song when I heard it. When I wrote that track it didn’t even cross my mind that it reminded me of something, but a year after we released that CD. I went to a record store and bought a vinyl album of Pahntom of the Opera, and I put it on, and then I heard it (the opening of Bells of Notre Dame). It’s, like, unconscious. I pick it up somewhere but without knowing it.
The titles of your songs are like B movies, like “Dracula Sucks”.
Yeah, I borrowed it from some B movie. It was such a cool title.
It’s so funny when an originator is not original. There’s also “The Misconception of the French Kiss”. I get a feeling of French theatre. Is that how you got signed to Osmose, which is in France?
I don’t know, but somehow with different projects you get different visions, and like, I was really into Indians like I was talking about, and I wrote Indian music. No, not really, but anyway, this French kind of style – I think it’s a bit elegant and just the kind of image that you get from watching movies. Ok, I went to the ballet and drink wine. The French theatre pretty much inspired me to write this music.
Speaking of Indians, do you know what the sitar is?
Yeah, but that’s the real Indians from India.
Actually, the Cherokee Indians invented the sitar, and when the Indians from India found out that the native people of America were called Indians, they sent spies over to see why they would be called Indians because they wanted to be the only Indians on earth.
Yeah, but it’s hardly the American Indians’ fault.
I know, but the Indians stumbled upon the Cherokee and stole the technology for the sitar and brought it back to India, and India made an agreement with the French government to kill any Cherokee with a sitar because they wanted to be known for that instrument on the planet earth.
Seriously? That sounds so strange. I never heard anything like that.
No, I’m just joking. I want to know what you think about Kim Ruzz. Was Kim Ruzz an originator?
Do you mean like he invented his own style?
He brought a unique interpretation into this style of music.
I don’t know. I mean, Mercyful Fate – the whole band were pioneers. You can very much hear Stained Class with Judas Priest in combination with Iron Maiden. I guess they just picked up from what was going on around them.
Sharlee D’Angelo said that one of the things that really set Kim Ruzz apart was that he wasn’t really a metal drummer, yet he played in metal.
Yeah, I really haven’t analyzed it since I was 15, or something. But I don’t consider myself being a metal drummer either. I’m more grown up with Sweet and KISS and Deep Purple and so on. I’m more of a ‘70’s drummer. I’m not that good at playing metal, really.
Do you agree that it’s harder to play slow, like at an extreme doom tempo?
Yeah, I guess you learn a certain way. I play very hard on the drums and so does Mickey Dee, for example. A lot of black metal drummers play so fucking fast but they don’t play that hard. They don’t break any sticks and hardly any drumheads either. If I want to play really fast, I’m not really used to that because I’m playing so hard and it takes so much energy from me, so I have take away some of the strength and play loose and just focus on the speed instead. I was supposed to play with Candlemass and I thought, “OK, that’s so easy.” You have to get used to that because you’re not supposed to play on the ride cymbal, for example (ed – Snowy makes drum noises) I can’t express this. But you should play very few notes and still keep the beat. There’s so much space in between the notes, if you know what I’m saying. So it’s easy to fuck up that way. If you play as fast as you can play there is not so much space that you can fuck up with. I mean, every music has its difficulties. Some people say that AC/DC is so boring. But Phil is good at what he’s doing. It’s complicated in different ways, I guess.
You don’t seem to favor the off beat too much.
Offbeat? What is that? (laughs)
You’ve been called a technical drummer by some people, but you don’t really do jazz beats and stuff.
Like I said, I kind of developed my own – it sounds stupid maybe – but it’s pretty much my own style. I’m not saying that I’m unique. I don’t check out other drummers and steal their chops because I find no interest in that. I’m just trying to play to the music that I’m playing in a tasteful way. I inspired by from Dio or Black Sabbath and Sweet – those old guys – and I took it from there. I don’t know if I’m technical or something.
So what does the future hold for America? Is there a Snowy Shaw tour?
Yeah, that would be great! I haven’t been in America since ’95, and it really pisses me off that Osmose can’t get it out there. With other bands that I’m in now, and this Dream Evil that’s power metal and very popular in Europe right now – but I guess it won’t sell too many records in America – so I doubt that we will be going on tour in America. I would love to come back and see how things have changed.
I think that if more white people live in America that metal will come back. But right now immigration favors the third world countries, and metal is a bit too complex for them. They like rap.
I don’t like that kind of music.
You call it music?
(laughs) I was just trying to be polite.
I talked to Tom Pasquale who is a writer for Meal Maniacs. He also puts tours together, and he said that metal seems to be getting stronger here because there are now five big agencies that book metal tours, whereas before, everyone was at the mercy of this person called Finberg.
Who was that?
He was a person who allegedly took advantage of metal’s lowpoint in America.
I hear there’s a lot of black metal bands. Isn’t black metal growing in America? Marduk, I heard, frequently tour America.
Well you know more about this than I do, but I heard that black metal is dying in Europe, but America just started to follow that trend.
Yeah, pretty much. I’m the wrong person to ask about stuff like that because I’m in my house and write my own music and live in my own world. So I don’t pay attention to what’s trendy and what’s going on and what’s in fashion. I don’t care about stuff like that.
This interview was very merciful, wasn’t it? Get it? Mercyful Fate?
Very Mercyful Fate.
So no insults. Are you surprised?
Yeah, pretty much.
I’m making a movie called “Metalheads”. So far Jensen from Séance, Ross from Immolation, and Agathon from Gloomy Grim have given me permission to use their music.
Yeah, you have permission to use Notre Dame. I don’t know what I’m saying yes to here. But of course, spread it around
It’s a comedy. This is great. I didn’t even have to negotiate with you.
So how did you negotiate with Jensen? Did you do certain favors for him? (laughs) You would love the Thrillogy movie that we’ve done. It’s done in the 1920’s, like Nosferatu, style of movie. It’s also the ‘60’s and ‘70’s cheesy style of horror movie. I guess you would really like that kind of video.
(editor’s note – there was more to this interview. When I have archived more of the great articles from the printed mag i shall go back and include the bits that were left out (like the Anal Cunt interview). These shorter edits were due to the web page limitations with the software i was using in the old days (the program was called “Frontage” and there was a page length limit)
This is a black metal album that has a clean production, but that is not written to dissuade the gaylords who regard good-quality recordings as “commercial” – no, it is more an assurance that this album isn’t recorded stupidly. It’s still gay, because it’s black metal, but at least there was some effort.
This album has some elements that can lump it into the “sounds-like Dimmu-Borgir” category, namely the pseudo-symphonic parts. There is also the raspy and throaty vocal delivery that doesn’t interest me at all, but as I made an attempt to hear something to break my apathy, I gazed upon the cover art, which I strongly suggest that you avoid. The gayness meter immediately spike to the red. Leave a comment if you wish, but this is where I stop.
Interview with Hellhammer conducted by Metal Monster for Issue #22
(Metal Monster): How do you like our beautiful city?
(Hellhammer): Oh well, it’s nicer than Brooklyn. I’ve been there before.
( Looking at Bill Zebub slouched against the alley wall) I think Bill Zebub is a little drunk.
(Looks Over at Bill) Oh yeah, he looks like it
Bill Zebub wanted me to interview you because apparently the two of you didn’t hit it off the last time he interviewed you. Do you remember that?
I remember that!
Bill wanted to do a more serious interview with you, and because I am such a big Mayhem fan, he asked me to do it. (pause) Have you ever tasted your own semen?
Do you prefer to be called Hellhammer or Jan?
It’s the same
Hey, didn’t you release a solo album?
You didn’t put out a solo album under the name Jan Hammer?
Yes, Jan Hammer?
Oh, Jan Hammer! No. (laughs)
Right, You know Jan Hammer right?
Yeah, I know Jan Hammer. Miami Vice. Among other things, He’s also a drummer and yeyboard player.
What happened with the new Mayhem album? A lot of Mayhem fans are very disappointed with it..
I heard that there were plans to change the name of the band because the new music was so different. I heard you were going to change the name of the band to “Gayhem”. Is that true?
Gayhem? Um, not likely, but in some parts we are labeled Gayhem.
Wasn’t the name of the new album going to be “Chainsawbuttsfuck?”
Chainsawbuttsfuck? Well that’s kind of for (Hellhammer says something undecipherable) and all that for Norway, so that’s all right. Did you ever have sex with a kleptomaniac chink slut named Kim?
(Bill Zebubis brought back to reality by my question and laughs in his booming trademark Viking laugh)
(laughs) Not as far as I can remember no.
That girl has sticky fingers, if you know what I mean?
Sticky fingers, yeah.
Do oriental girls have yellow vaginas?
Mmm, Yes they have.
They do. I understand you are Jewish..
(Laughs) No, that’s not true!
Well, Seth Putnam from the band Anal Cunt told me that you were a Jew.
That I’m Jewish?
That’s right, Jewboy.
No! That’s not true.
You made a very controversial statement that black metal was only for white people and that in Norway people didn’t like negroes. Do you still stand behind that statement?
Yeah, but they don’t!
I know it’s true. I agree with you..
Yeah, it’s true.
A few blocks from where we are now, there is a place called Harlem. I have a fun idea. Let’s go to Harlem and yell as loud as you can that you hate negroes. Just for fun. We could go down there and say “Hey blacks we don’t like you. You are not welcome in Norway!“
Yeah okay. You go first.
Speaking of negroes and black metal, here is some trivia for you; Can you name the only negro that was in a classic Black Metal band from Canada?
Yes, it was in fact, Um. (Racks his brain for answer)
Your guitarist has a very similar name
Come on… Blas-ph
The up side to being a negro in black metal is that they would probably save money on corpse paint because they would only need to buy the white paint.
Yeah, they can if they want. Absolutely!
What is your opinion of Fenriz?
Fenriz? A good friend of mine. An alcoholic of course, and a good drummer actually.
I understand he has some kind of strange smurf fetish?
You know what a smurf is?
Yeah, those little blue naughty bastards. I think he likes to put them up his ass.
Fenriz is a huge star over here in America. He is on the covers of all the teen magazines like Tiger Beat and Big Bopper. I think there was some talk of Fenriz replacing Pierce Bronsnan for the next James Bond Movie, but he turned down the role.
That’s because I got the role!
All right, enough with the chitchat. Are you a better drummer than Fenriz?
(Yes, I definitely am.
Are you a better drummer than Akhenaten from Judas Iscariot?
Is it true that he beat you in arm wrestling?
(Yes it is.
He did beat you?
Yes. Actually I don’t remember because I was so fucking drunk.
I heard that you also tried to hit on his girlfriend, is that true?
Yes, I’ve heard you are something of a womanizer..
You have a boyfriend?
You do have a boyfriend?
Oh no! A girlfriend!
You should pay attention.
I’m fucking tired.
Yeah, do you usually get homosexual when you are tired?
(Metal Monster): Am I keeping you awake?
I can see that. Why can’t black children play in sandboxes?
Cat’s use the sandboxes to shit in
Close, because the cats keep covering them up! You like that?
I’ve heard it before
Really, then why didn’t you answer correctly?
No, I said..
Where is IT?
Where is IT?
Where is it?
Yeah, where is IT?
Do you know where IT is?
Have you seen IT?
I was just wondering if you’ve seen IT?
But what is it?
No, where is IT?
IT, yeah, ha, ha, very funny, duh..
(Metal Monster): Since we are on the same page now, do you know where IT is?
(Hellhammer): Probably in Finland somewhere.
There is a large population of homosexuals here in New York City. Does that please you?
Of course it does! Ha, ha, ha, no, no!
You’re not going to hit me are you?
Good. Are you going to cry?
Besides your other band Kovenant, are there any other homosexuals in the Norwegian black metal scene?
A couple, yeah
Would you like to name any of them?
Hm.I better not, you know, because they can come out of the closet themselves.
Is it true that Euronymous was gay?
Um, I better not speak about this.
Grishnackh stated that he found a dildo with shit on the tip of it in Euronymous’ apartment..
Oh really, ha, ha, ha.
Did you ever see this alleged shit-tipped dildo?
Did you ever see Euronymous with girls?
With girls, yes.
I was a little disappointed that Maniac did not cut himself tonight. Why didn’t he?
Um, because his knife got stolen in Milwaukee.
interview with Harald conducted by Bill Zebub for Issue #23
I must make clear that my tone in these questions is respectful toward thee, even though it might seem that I am picking apart little details. Letus begin with a look at the vocals. They seem not to be as up front as before, and that might be caused by all the reverb. Or is that not the way that the final mix will sound?
I’ve never thought about the vocals place in the mix as any different from the other albums really, and actually we’ve never really been concerned as far as if the vocal should be up front or whatever. Of course the vocals are normally high up in the mix, but we’re more concerned about what sounds good as a whole. It might be a possibility that as the guitars are more powerful now, and also there’s “more” guitars when it comes to the actual riffing, so I guess that might take some from the vocals. The vocals still sound fuckin’ brutal in my ears and they sound great with the music. Also as you point out, it’s not the final mix you’re listening to, so there will be some changes and everything will come out a bit clearer.
I immediately noticed a more straightforward approach, and then I read about some artistic differences which resulted in the line-up change. Have the artists of the band left, being that there are no more experimental songs like “The Brighter the Light, the darker the Shadow?”
I don’t think you really can call it more straight forward as there’s not much that is more straight forward than “Onwards…” That one had about two different rhythms, ha ha! “Under The Reign of Terror” is much more varied when it comes to structures, tempo changes, and definitely when it comes to the riffs, which are the most complex stuff we’ve done for sure. The old songs were very streamlined, if I can use that word, and the riffs were simple and the arrangements also, with a few exceptions, one of which being “The Brighter…”. This song was a collaborative effort between Krell and Knarr, our old drummer, and I must admit that together they came up with some very weird stuff. There was too much problems with having Knarr in the band, though, and we had to let him go. No hard feelings because he’s a cool guy, but he didn’t have the time to make the commitment that was needed for touring and such, and also he was not interested in playing fast, which was one of the main reasons I think that our old stuff don’t have any really fast parts. He just didn’t have the stamina I guess… As for the other guys I can say that their departure has nothing but gained the band and our music.
The role of the keyboard has greatly diminished. Didst thou not consider that to be a trademark of thy sound?
No, actually not. The keyboards were never an important aspect of the band in our eyes, even if some might think that sounds strange considering they are very much present, especially on “Onwards…”. But in the original mix for that album the keyboards were much more in the background, however Season wanted to remix the album as they thought it sounded too messy, so we said “Ok, you contact studiomega and pay for it and get them to do it and it’s fine with us” because we hadn’t really got the sound we wanted anyway. We had at that time gone back to Norway and couldn’t be present at the remix, and so when the new one arrived the sound wasn’t much clearer at all. All that had changed was more bass and the keys were a lot higher! I guess Season told them to put up the keys as they probably thought it would sell more albums or something… I’m not sure, but all I know is that this wasn’t what we were after as far as the sound goes. Also, that album was as far as the music goes, too much compromising with people in the band who wanted to pull it in a softer direction, people who don’t know shit about extreme metal or metal at all, for that matter. Some of us wasn’t happy with that because we wanted Bloodthorn to go in a harder direction after the “In the Shadows…” and especially after “Onwards…” so they had to go. We also noticed that in a live situation the keys didn’t play such an important role ,and before we went on tour we actually simplified some of it which made it sound heavier.
Alas, the girl is gone. What has caused her departure?
We felt we didn’t need her and we saw the label (Season of Mist) and the press focusing on her and trying to make her like the front person, which was totally stupid as she didn’t write any music or lyrics and sang for about maximum five out of the fifty minutes on the album, so it was another attempt to commercialize the band, which we felt very uncomfortable with. We didn’t want the people to get the wrong impression and buy the album because of a female singer – which would’ve made them very disappointed since she’s barely on the album. Also, she didn’t show up on rehearsals, and live, she couldn’t do her job properly even if she only sang those little pieces, and therefore we didn’t see any reason for her to continue with the band, especially now that we’d got rid of the other elements that had hindered our progression, and the music turned harder.
I enjoyed the odd things in thy past material. But it seems to me that many unique elements have been eliminated. Of course, there will always be the telltale vocals. Yet I wonder, will the changes unmake thee?
I don’t know what you see as odd things, so it’s hard for me to say anything on that, but as far as we see it we’ve made our best album by far in every ways. We still feel that we have kept the things that for us made Bloodthorn in the past and that will make Bloodthorn in the future, and that’s what’s important for us. The band has progressed and we’ve done an album that we stand one hundred percent behind, and we don’t see how that can unmake us. The new album is just so much stronger, so much more interesting. It’s intense, heavy, aggressive, all the things that we wanted it to be, but I can’t predict if it’s gonna make us sell less records or more, ‘cause you will never know until it’s out there in the shops. The album is good, and with Red Stream backing us up I think it’s gonna go well. We got good feelings for this album.
Are any former bandmates bitter?
I don’t know and I don’t care. We talk to Knarr whenever he comes up of his basement and as said he’s totally cool, and Krell sees him quite often, but the rest I don’t care about. We know they talk shit behind our backs, but as long as we don’t have to see them, let them do whatever fuck they want. If people want to be assholes that’s their business and as long as we don’t have to mingle with them, let them be assholes. It only proves what miserable human beings they are.
Is Krell considered a national treasure? He is king of both black metal vocals and death metal vocals. I usually feel irritated by black metal vocals except in bands like Tristitia and Gloomy Grim. But I think that another reason why they are so tasty is that they do not ride atop music that is black metal. Bloodthorn does not adhere to a particular system. It seems that the best elements of many styles are selected in the crafting of thy songs.
He’s more likely a national disaster – and king of the forest – ha ha! No, he’s doing a great job. He’s definitely one of my favourite vocalists as far as black/death metal goes. He’s always equally powerful and not loosing any strength or brutality, and that’s very important. You’re right by not calling our music black metal, and we’re not doing so ourselves either. This was an issue we talked to Mica about, him labelling us black metal in the ads and shit, and for the second album we said ‘don’t write black metal’, but he did anyway – ‘atmospheric black metal’ or some crap like that. I mean, we definitely don’t see ourselves as a black metal band, not to say anything bad about the genre, but we’re just not doing that, and I think anyone with something between their ears will say the same. The first two albums actually had a lot of more doom metal oriented stuff in them as well, as the more aggressive parts, but for this one we’ve more or less forsaken the doomy parts and sped up a bit, but still keeping it heavy as fuck. I think it’s closest to what one would call death metal, and the lyrics and everything are really death metal, and the music is very heavy and aggressive and it got a bit of this and a bit of that so it’s hard to put a label on it. Some people said it reminds them of early death metal, others said it was like early ‘90’s black metal, so we hear at lot of different shit, and I think it’s up to each and everyone to put their own label on it. I guess it could be called something like “blackened death metal” or some shit like that. It’s not really important.
Interview with Dani Filth conducted by Bill Zebub for Issue #8
Art thou hung over?
(laughs) I’m fuckin’ massacred. I’m taking these “Energy Now” tablets. I am riding on some coffee, myself.
I just can’t keep myself awake. I feel like shit. And you know what? it’s all your fault! Oh?
Yeah. Because you’re American. Anyway… Art thou ready, head-ache man?
Do you have to say it so loud? Dost thy drummer play with a light bulb in his mouth?
Are you insinuating that he looks like Uncle Fester? Yes.
Well, that’s cool because nowadays in Europe and what-have-you, the press actually regards him as Uncle Fester, and for some reason, being a very violent character – he’s warmed to it, rather than just storming into the publication office and start killing people, which is fuckin’ amazing. But I think the new maxim for him is “Uncle Pester.” In the photo with the blonde woman who is being bitten by everyone, he does look like Uncle Fester. But in another photo in the CD insert, he looks like the typical Brit with a misshapen head.
(laughs) And not threatening at all.
I wouldn’t carry on too much about him because you haven’t met him yet. (laughs) Perhaps we shall have a…
Fight. It can be commentated for the next issue. Is he more violent than the bass player of Solstice?
The English Solstice? Yes.
A bunch of pussies! They really are. I’m about half the size of that guy and I gave him ‘large’ when we last met. They were doing some weird thing with… uh, you know, the circle… Well, I wouldn’t say they were pussies because John was in Solstice – our new guitarist. But there was one point when they had like a “doom metal council” or something, for no reason at all. They would just gather telephone numbers and ring us up, giving us loads of shit. So we confronted them about it and they were like, “Ooh. I don’t think it was us” . Anyway, do carry on. Oh! Is he more violent than him? Yeah. Well, most certainly. But not as violent as Carl from Cancer, however.. who is incredibly violent.
Is he violent because he puts out mediocre albums?
(laughs) Probably, yeah. They split up, didn’t they? Because they just sucked. I don’t know what they did. They were a cancer to the scene.
Hmmm. Dost thou think that thou art being typically English by ripping off the Scandinavian music?
(laughs) Do you mean showing appreciation for the likes of At the Gates?
I believe the word was blatant ‘rip-off’ of the most trendy aspects of Scandinavian black metal.
No. I think you’ve ‘got the message completely wrong. Enlighten me.
I will do.
And stop chewing.
I’ve got a tootie bar or whatever they call them. Tootsie Roll… No. I don’t believe that at all. What you misunderstand is that Cradle of Filth write fuckin’ good riffs. And I’m in a ‘position to say that because I’m not a guitarist. So I m not bragging. I’m just saying Cradle of Filth write fuckin’ great guitar riffs. They’re not Swedish. I think they’re more typically British than Swedish. If anything, the Swedish would rip off the English scene.
This will be a great interview!
When you listen to Cradle of Filth… no, I’m afraid there’s no comparison whatsoever, and Nick is a much more skillful drummer than anything they’ve got to show apart from the drummer from Eucharist. Wouldst thou liken thy vocals to those of a stupid bitch who is screaming that someone is pinching her breasts?
Is that all I sound like? I’ve failed miserably then, haven’t I? It should be more like a red hot poker in a virgin’s entrance, like the rings of her anus.
When singing, art thou…
I haven’t finished yet! Oh! I’m sorry.
No. That’s just plain derogatory. Goodbye forever!
When singing, art thou inspired by memories of thy mommy burning herself on the stove?
Hey? Excuse me? What do you mean? I thought thou wouldst be more evil in thy response.
No. It’s just that I don’t understand what you mean by that.
Perhaps the meaning is lost between American English and English English.
It was just a meaningless question.
I mean, there was a motive behind it. Otherwise, you know? Hey! I am doing the interview, not thee!
No, no! But you’ asking me a question. I’ve got to know what it actually meant. Otherwise you could speak in hieroglyphics, couldn’t you?
Only if there were a caption that magically appeared above my head because hieroglyphics is a writing style, not a language. How dost thou feel that Seth Putnam considers thy band to bee extremely gay?
He’s probably just jealous because he can’t string a song together. Seth Putnam. That’s a fuckin’ awesome name. Awesome band name. Awesome thought – everyone should be killed. But unfortunately, his music is absolutely shite. And I think that he obviously realizes that, and that’s his way of compensating. I’m sure everybody’s going to listen to him. Just as a break, what was that word?
“Shite?” Is it spelled “s-h-i.-t?
OK. That’s the Ahhhnglish (I pronounce english in the most gay way possible) way to pronounce “shit.”
It has derived from the Newcastle way where they say “Shite, man!” and things like that. Wouldst thou consider thy manner of speaking to be “common.”
No. I think I’m a bit of a snob, actually. Thou speakth the queen’s English?
Fuckin’ better believe it! I’ll hear nothing against the Monarchy.
Wouldst thou say that thou art vampiric?
Well, skinny and white, yeah. No. I can’t answer it seriously anyway because the question’s aren’t serious. Thy teeth last night had fake fangs overlapping the canine variety.’ That would lead one to believe that thou art “gothic.” And is not the “gothic” scene merely a group of bisexuals who are trying to be horrific?
Quite possibly. Nothing wrong with being bisexual.
So wouldst thou suck a man for thy nocturnaL sustenance?
No. I certainly wouldn’t. But there’s nothing wrong with being it. You’re actually being narrow-minded, I think. I was on the Internet last night and you can tell that everybody on there was about 14. You can just see them pouring behind their computer. They probably didn’t have a girlfriend. They probably never went out, probably wondering what sex was like. All the questions seemed to do with men’s anuses and wanking and shitting on people and just being derogatory toward women. Are not thy fake fangs a sign of stupidity?
A sign of stupidity? I wouldn’t call myself a goth either. I just like wearing black. I’m very sorry if that offends anyone. But most goths are pretty smelly and pretentious and not willing to speak to anyone and huddled in the corner in nightclubs, looking scary. No. I don’t like wearing fangs. I have other things that occasionally I wear.
And thy contact lenses make thy eyes appear to be those of a cat?
Uh huh. And cats are the original vampires?
You’re going back to Egyptian mythology, aren’t you?
I didn’t know that there was any meaning to what I just said. I was just trying to be funny. Is Cradle of Filth the most gay and trendy of all black metal bands?
No. I think that we’re just the best and the most popular. People just get jealous, and they have to laboriously argue. It just gets up my nose because we’ve had like 90’/o of the reaction in America has been utterly cool, and the other 10% are a load of jealous wankers who masturbate over pictures of Count Grishnack, thinking, “God! if onIy I had the integrity to do that! But I’m too scared, because if I ever went into prison, men would touch my bottom.” Art thou secure in thy gender, wouldst thou say?
You mean, do I cross-dress? In human myth, angels have wings , but in birdy heaven, do angels have arms?
Birdy heaven… (laughs) If there was ever issue. I don’t know. Ask one.
Christopher Columbus was in search of a new route to India. When he discovered America, the savages that he saw were mistaken for Indians. What if someone in India were looking for a shortcut to Spain? If they discovered America, would they call the natives “Spaniards”? Instead of cowboys and Indians, would we have Cow-worshippers and Spaniards?
(long pause) is there a relevance to this? The one question that I ask that I want thee to explore is blown off.
What if Columbus re-discovered Atlanta? Atlanta?
Yeah. Whatever it is called. That question was a bit too taxing for me. No. You actually must be thinking of a point. When you come out with that questions it couldn’t be random. It does seem a little involved, doesn’t it?
No. There must be a point to it, like there must be a point to the one I argued about and said, “What does that mean?” Thou wilt detect the point when seeing it in print after thy hang-over is gone.
Why? Am I being overly grouchy? No. Not at all. Thou art just not seeing what should be seen… It is just a joke.
Ok. Well, do go into that one. I’m just interested in why you cam with that. I cannot give thee the keys to the kingdom.
We’re just talking about perspectives here, yeah? How things are viewed in somebody else’s perspective? And the point of it is? .What?