Interview with Peter Bjargo conducted by Bill Zebub for THE GRIMOIRE OF EXALTED DEEDS magazine.
The percussion i Sophia makes me think of medieval warfare. Did you intend for it to sound militaristic?
On the first album i wanted my music to have a small connection to the Templars. But on the later albums, it wasn’t my intention to make it that military. To me, Herbstwerk is more orchestral, and Spite more cold industrial.
Some of the tracks makes me think of what baroque would sound like in the mind of someone undergoing a psychotic episode. The nine tracks of Sigillum Militum were written “specifically for a live performance” – I read that by chance. How do you actually set up a live show, and does it include the haunting textures of the studio version?
I had this idea of a very special one-time live situation. I wanted to make a quite bombastic performance, with a lot of people on stage and very powerful. But I realized quite early that this kind of live performance costs a lot of money and is very difficult. Too many factors could go wrong. My live shows these days are more minimalistic, more humor on stage. Often just me and one more, samplers, and drum.
Am I correct in assuming that you intentionally compose a musical tension which builds up suspense? It is almost frightening sometimes when the aggressive release arrives.
Often i work after a model, where I start very calm and build up a cacophony. This often happens unintentionally. I try to break this pattern intentionally.
In Adeptus/Last Movement, did you use a beat out of time? It sounds like you did something like that to create a feeling of disturbance. I had an idea of two independent parts, moving into each other. This created, as you say, a feeling of disturbance. Sophia has always been a platform for experiment, and I will never be afraid to break an old pattern and try something new.
The Seduction of Madness MCD is your musical interpretation of SATURN DEVOURING HIS SON, and although it specifically intends to depict madness, I had always felt that Sophia is like a “schizophrenic lens” through which one sees reality with a little bit more. When a schizophrenic hears or sees hallucinations, it is called a “positive” symptom because it is something that “adds” to what normal people have. Conversely, schizophrenics whose facial expressions are flat and do not reflect their feelings are said to have “negative” symptoms because something in a healthy person is absent. Sophia is music with positive symptoms, I think. My question is, how is the mini Cd more of an exploration into psychosis than your other releases?
It was actually intention of a live performance, together with a movie backdrop. The theme of the songs was never in particular schizophrenia but more of different cases of psychosis, and I guess most of that came from my interests in psychology and after have read the book “Seduction of madness” by Edward M. Podvoll.
I will ask about Stravinski having an effect on you because he was the first composer, I believe, who broke from comfortable melodies and specialized in disturbing music, especially in the area of percussion. You sometimes lull the ear with safe phrasing and then you unleash a nightmare is this original, or inspired by others?
This is my idea of how to make people feel calm and relaxed, then start to feel uncomfortable and in the end trying to get a climax of chaos. This model is, I think, mostly for Seduction of Madness MCD. The model of crescendo has been existing for of long time. But I never took the idea from anybody else.
The author of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST was under the influence of peyote when he wrote that. Did you ever ingest a hallucinogen when creating music?
No, I haven’t. If you don’t call enormous amount of booze and beer a hallucinogen.
interview with Louis Galvez conducted by Bill Zebub for THE GRIMOIRE OF EXALTED DEEDS magazine.
I will not speculate why there is a new vocalist whose style is so far removed from what I’ve become fond of. Rather; I hope that you will talk about what led to this.
After the release of “Crucidiction” Thomas, wasn’t in the band. I did try some new vocalists, but it didn’t work, so finally I decided to use a session vocalist with totally different style than Thomas. I wanted to try something new, and I don’t regret it. Some like, some not, but I don’t care what people say. Anyway, I won’t use the session vocalist again. Hopefully Thomas will take care of the vocals on the next album. If not, I’ll use death-style vocals instead. There are a few death singers around here where I live, so it would not be a problem. Pity that they don’t sing gothic style because that is what I prefer in Tristitia. Death-style vocals would bring more darkness into my lyrics this time than it did on “The Last Grief”.
The “Crucidiction” album lists five musicians, yet the photographs only show three members. Is that because the hidden ones are studio musicians? Only you and Thomas remain from “One With Darkness”, so should not there only be a picture of two members?
Yeah, you right. They were just session, but Adrian on bass was in the band in that time. But he got into study and that stuff, so he quit. For the moment, it’s just me and Thomas. I’ll see if there ‘ll be new members, or I’ll play most instruments in the studio and bring sessionists in those instruments I can’t handle, like I did in “The Last Grief” – I played everything except the drums.
Does Tristitia play live?
We did some shows when we released “One with Darkness” back in ’95, but it sounded crap with just one guitar. It must be two guitarist when we play live. I still have trouble in finding a suitable second guitarist, so it hasn’t been any live shows after that. Anyway, I enjoy most sitting in the studio and recording than playing live. Maybe in the nearest future I would be able to put a suitable line up to do some live gigs.
Do you feel that Holy Records is a worthy label?
I don’t have any trouble with Philippe. I think he treat us well. I see our albums here and there, but I don’t know nothing about distribution and stuff. I record my albums and leave the rest to the label, and I trust that they do a good promotion and all that.
The “Crucidiction” re-release has some extremely enjoyable bonus tracks. Are they demo versions of songs from “One With Darkness”,or are they true alternate versions?
Those songs are demo versions for the album and also intended to be for our debut album, but after been talkin with the label I decided to work more with some of the songs and to re-record the whole album. I not so pleased with those early versions. I think they are better done on the album.
I heard demo songs from a tape-trading friend, and I quite liked the very raw version of “Reminiscences of the Mourner.” As we speak, money is on the way to you for your two demos. Have you ever thought about releasing the demos onCD, the way Gloomy Grim released their “Friendship is Friendship, War is War” and so on on the demo CD, “Reborn Through Hate?”
I’m very satisfied with the production of our two demos. I really enjoy doing demos. To be honest, it’s fuckin’ more enjoying doing demos than recording albums! I just sit at home with my home studio and let the ideas flow. No worries about time or other stressing things. I worked very hard with those demos back then, but haven’t thought of releasing them as a CD and, I don’t know if the label is interested in doing that. I think they’ll only do it as bonus tracks in future re-releases.
Are you classically trained? Your music is exceptionally flavorful, and the moods flow with unparalleled mastery. The solos are packed with feeling, and each note seems to be essential in the celestial ladder that the spirit climbs and descends.
Well, that was a very cool description. You know, I find very difficult to put my music into words, but I would say it’s something like that. I’m not classically trained. Everything I play is self-learned. I believe you can fucking hear that. If a real classical pro player hear what I play, he would probably kill me when I desecrate such beautiful music. When I begun to play guitar, I went to guitar lessons in school, but it was too damn boring. I wanted to play heavy metal, not some wimpy easy-to-learn shit melodies, so I just went to the store and got some note books of Iron Maiden and Kiss and of Yngwie Malmsteen…. also some classical guitar of Bach and Segovia. So that’s the way I learned to play some riffs and solos, and still have a lot to learn. My biggest inspirations were and still are Ritchie Blackmore and Toni Iommi.
I know the answer is “no”, but is there any chance that Holy Records will be interested in having the vocals of “The Last Grief” replaced by the old singer? Maybe that would make for cool bonus tracks!
I think they are interested in doing that. I have mention it to the label and they had nothing against that, so we’ll see after our fourth release. Sometimes it’s better to leave things as they are, but darker vocals on that album would really be a good idea.
“Galvez” is not a Scandinavian name. Is there an interesting tale of political asylum?
I was born in Chile, but ended up here, in Sweden, back in ’74, after some guerrilla war games they had down there at that time. I’m not into politics, so I have no idea what the hell all that shooting was about, but I don’t complain moving to Sweden. I enjoy it very much living here.
You produced both “Crucidiction” and “One With Darkness”, yet they sound very different. Each has its own charm, so I am curious what your strategies were behind the audio choices.
Simply the studio choice. The first album was recorded here in Halmstad, but for “Crucidiction”, the label sended us to Dan Swanö’s Unisound studio… the singer in Edge of Sanity, you know, and the sound ended up very good. That was a far more professional studio than in the first one, but somehow I think “One With Darkness” is much more darker and atmospheric, even darker than “The last Grief.”. I’m thinking in recording our fourth album where “One With Darkness” was recorded. I would like to catch again that darkness and atmosphere that dwells in that studio.
I am very fond of the artistically anti-christian lyrics. Did you adopt your enlightened stance out of healthy skepticism, or were you introduced to the true origins of that false religion by reading the books of scholars ?
Cool that you got the message in my lyrics. Some listeners think we are a christian band, with all the crosses and lyrics, but they misunderstand the whole concept of Tristitia. Some listeners can’t or don’t want to read between the lines or see the irony and profanity in my lyrics. Those antichristian lyrics was just a way to express a religion I don’t agree with because I don’t like the idea of living my life after a book. I believe in myself and my music. That’s enough for me. Metal is my religion, and Tristitia is my church!
This is an interview with Cronos of VENOM. The full interview will be uploaded shortly, but for now, enjoy this in a video format. The images are of Grimoire Girls and the voices are those of Bill Zebub and Cronos.
Interview with ALL conducted by Bill Zebub for issue #13 of THE GRIMOIRE OF EXALTED DEEDS magazine.
The person known as “It” has left the scene. Why did that happen?
Mainly I think it was because he was fed up with music and black metal and everything. I think he wanted a break.
I am rather suspicious about that. I think that it is a marketing ploy and that the next album will be promoted as the triumphant return of It.
(laughs) Yeah. Maybe. He has completely disappeared. Only his sister knows where he is.
In Europe CDs are packaged as digi-packs. In America, Vondur is packaged in a very strange way. It is in a very big box.
It is a very big box, and it is red. It does not have the name “Vondur” on it. It has thy name, “ALL.”
There are commercials for it on American television. In them, there is a mother washing her clothes, and her child is pointing to the album, which is a big red box, and the child so speaks the letters “A-L-L” – hast thou heard of this?
I thought it was strange that Necropolis would actually advertise an album on television, especially during soap operas.
Yeah. Me too. I did an interview earlier today where a guy heard some rumors about IT – that he left the scene because he received death threats from a lot of black people and Jewish people for the “War” album. and now THIS.
There is a subculture of homosexual Jewish people. They can be identified by their use of the word “wonderful” to describe things. In Germany, it is VONDUR-bar.
In Germany, there are gay bars called “Vondur” bars. I was wondering if that embarrasses thee.
I’t s a pretty poor stretch.
This article is thy chance to tell the truth that the posters of thy album in Vondur bars is not thy idea.
Yeah. Not my idea. Write that in capital letters.
Art thou angry that Joker is promoting thy album and that he is only four feet tall?
Four feet tall? (laughs)
Yes. He is very small.
Actually, IT is very small too. What he lacks in physical strength he makes up for in psychological stature.
Joker writes for the magazine PIT, and it rhymes with IT.
We never got to see each other.
Dost thou think than anyone in EMPEROR looks feminine?
Yeah. They all do.
Dost thou have a picture of Herve in thy house (editor’s note – the label head of Osmose)
No. I don’t.
Who is more handsome, Herve, or Paul from Necropolis?
I like Paul. Mainly for his car.
Paul speaks in a fake English accent because he wants everyone to believe that he is English. England was the first country that had a black metal band, so he wants Necropolis to appear to be a true black metal label.
What band was that? Venom?
It was Paul’s own band, actually. It was called “Pinky.” He gave Quorton his first lesson.
That’s true. I was there.
Americans do not know much about the Swedish government. Thy police do not have guns. They have flowers.
We live by some stupid thing called “Democracy” which kind of destroys thew country. We have a long and glorious history of strong kings and war. I thought that I would get together with our present king who has no power at all, and talk him into a military coup against the government and take the power. Then I will dethrone him.
Is this to have a national anthem with a thrash beat?
Yeah, and so I can get free liquor.
I heard that if a school has a black person in it, the Swedish national anthem cannot be sung.
That’s true. They forbid the national anthem because it is considered racist.
Does the Swedish national anthem have lyrics like “We have blonde hair and we like to kill niggers?”
Nothing like that. Praise of country.
Because of thy feelings about Norway, wouldst thou kill everyone like Hitler wanted to do to Polaks?
I would use them for slave labor.
I heard that in Sweden, the mosquito is a sacred creature.
That’s true. It’s forbidden for a christian Swede to even think about hurting a mosquito.
Swedes think that a mosquito was the first creature to ever drink the blood of Jesus. In case thou hast not noticed, I do not actually like to talk about music.
This interview with Hellhammer, drummer of Mayhem, was conducted by Bill Zebub for Issue #12 of The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds magazine, which was published in time for the Milwaukee Metalfest (the year of publication is not currently known, but Mayhem played)
Didst thou have sex with Kim from Ancient? Wilt thou back down from John McEntee if he challenges thee to a duel?
First of all, I back down from no one. And anyway, that other shit is, like, stupid rumors that follow me. You know?
Whatever happened to Popeye, the vocalist on Die Mysteries Dom Sathanas?
Oh well… he ate too much spinach. He got married to Olive Oil, and we never saw him again.
Dost thou think that thou art wasting thy talent by drumming for a black metal band? Wouldn’t a death metal or grind band be more appropriate for thy skill?
I could play in any type of band, even pop, if I chose. And so, if I thought I was wasting my time, then I wouldn’t do what I do.
Thy new singer, the one who sounds like a cat choking on a hairball, tries to use clean vocals at times. Or is that a different fag? In any case, he sounds more gay than someone who was thrown out of a fag bar. Didst thou allow this, or wert thou outvoted by the other homosexuals in the band?
(sarcastically) Firstly, how come you know so much about facts? Maniac, the vocalist you talk about. is actually the original vocalist from twelve years ago. Have yo been to that homo bar that you speak about? I don’t understand what the fuck you’re talking about – outvoted – you stupid ass!
Are there any traces of Euronymous’s writing in the new material, or is the riffing created by someone who adored the fat fuck?
No. All material is solely ours shit-head.
I am curious why thou calleth thyself “Hellhammer.” Is it because thou wanted to believe that when people were praising the Hellhammer band created by Tom Gaybird Warrior that they were really praising thee?
No. Of course not. But I think that Helhammer is a way better name than Bill Zebub. What a ridiculous question! Even fags like yourself should know better!
Art thou exploiting the notoriety of the stabbing, or art thou trying to make the world forget about it? I am wondering if there is any pressure on thee to be a continuation of what was started.
To play Mayhem is no pressure. We just carry on, follow our path. And so yes, I am exploiting the stabbing – actually in the most cruel way. And if you don’t back off soon, you can be next!
Is it true that when thou were struggling for money, that thou made ice pops by putting drumsticks in cups of apple juice and freezing them, selling them to kids, telling them that they were the jellied brains of Euronymous?
I’ve heard many times that you have a short dick.
Is it true that some of thy songs were inspired by candy? I heard that, over there, it is common to buy bags of various candy.
How stupid can you be? Of course you are totally misinformed about this,the faggot that you are. But you know, I think that when it comes to drugs, that you could have an answer. you know, I hear that in the gay world they probably call drugs “chocolate” and that’s why maybe I think you are so easily confused.
I heard that Count Grishnak played the bass on thy album despite the protests of Euronymous’s parents. I heard that it was an inside joke that thou wert credited with the bass lines because, in freindlier times, Varg Vikernes sucked so bad that Euronymous used to say “Gay Hellhammer can play bass better.”
I heard many times that you have a short dick.
Didst thou ever give shelter to an annoying American?
Are you talking about Kim? By the way, she was the one who often talked about your dick size, and we all would have a great laugh at your expense.
I am hoping that thou wilt tell me which black metal bands not to listen to.
You better find out yourself. I know what you’re up to here.
What would thou say if I told thee that Judas Iscariot declared himself a more proficient drummer than thou art?
I couldn’t give a shit about it. If someone is bragging about themselves, so be it. That is not something I will do.
Wouldst thou say that drummers are the rarest musicians in underground music? There are tons of guitarists, but bands everywhere complain that they cannot find drummers. Or is it that not everyone can have the stamina to play that style?
At a certain extent it is true. I think that the heart of the complaint is finding good drummers. The underground drummers like Judas Iscariot guys are a dime a dozen.
Dost thou see improvement in the way that extreme drumming is recorded, or dost thou favor poor production?
I’ve been in the game for sixteen years now, and a poor production is for a poor musician. But it is understandable that also it is either a lack of money or a lack of technical ability to play. This was usual in the beginning. It’s accepted if you are an amateur.
I would like to end this chat with the opportunity for thee to insult me and to have the last word, as our history together has been full of insults which might have seemed as if I had the final say. Unleash thy wanton revenge upon me.
Actually, I am not going to do that since you will get off on it. You seem to be like a sado-masochist. But I’m sure that I will see you at the Milwaukee Metalfest bar, and we shall discuss these matters further. Thank you, and fuck off.
This interview with Paul Mazurkiewicz, conducted by Bill Zebub, was published in issue $6 of The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds (1996).
Hast thou done many interviews thus far?
Yeah. We’ve been doing a lot. Today and yesterday as a matter of fact,
Does everyone start out with “What happened to Chris Barnes?”
I guess that one’s going to be the big one tonight. Is that what you’re going to start out with?
No. I wish not to speak of this. (pause) I was just jesting with thee. I’ve heard that it was a very nasty thing. Hopefully thou wilt not be giving me the public relations speech instead of the dirt.
Well, if you want the dirt, I can give you the dirt.
I beckon the dirt.
It’s been a long career for the band, but we’ve really had to go through a lot of bullshit in the past – little things here and there – basically just him being an asshole and us dealing with it. The band almost broke up a couple of times. I don’t know if you’re aware of that. Me and Alex officially quit for like two days after the tour for “Butchered” because we were really pissed at Chris. He was fucking up on the road. He ended up… not really taking money, but doing things behind our backs – things that should be band decisions – he took it upon himself. I could get into many a thing. Just to sum up, things escalated when we went ot do the new record. We had all the music done. When he came to do the lyrics, it just wasn’t what we wanted. He’s very stubborn to work with. He just wants to do everything himself. He wouldn’t take any advice from anybody. When he went to do it, we were very unhappy with the vocal structures. The lyrics were just redundant. There were many instances when we said, “Hey! We don’t like this. We’ve got to changes stuff.” He gets pissed at us. He’d rather get mad than sitting down and saying, “Hey man. I need some help. Let’s all work on this as a band.”
When we’re writing, it’s trial and error. When it came to vocals, he wanted to do that himself. We looked at that as wrong. It was starting to slack in a lot of aspects, especially his performance level. there was definitely a hate thing going on. There was a tension for years. It wasn’t like we were friends anymore. It was just business. Before we kicked him out, for months I didn’t even call him or hang out with him. nothing. He was too into himself. Everyone is below him. He’s out of the band and he lost a few friends.
Wert thou terrified of expelling him because Chris Barnes is perceived as Cannibal Corpse? He is a trademark entity.
Initially, maybe for a minute. The people are gonna freak. But George was our first choice. We knew he’d do a killer job. We knew he could write better lyrics and come up with better vocal patterns. We almost didn’t even hesitate. he learned a song in two days, and it blew Chris’s away! It is, by far, heavier than anything that Chris ever did. Chris actually did lay down, like, six songs. That obviously will never be heard by many people.
What wouldst thou say if it came out on a bootleg CD?
Well, if it did, there’s only five people in the world hat own those tapes. It’s not even on a studio tape. Morrisound doesn’t even have it on the reels. It’s just on personal cassette. Chris has one. If it did get out, we’d know that it was either one of us, or Chris.
I give the prophesy that this will happen.
We’d know that it was Chris and we’d have to take some pretty fuckin’ drastic action.
You’d have to. He’s a money-grubing… We had to change the logo because he wanted money. He’s just trying to get money fro previous record sales. So we said “Fuck you! We’ll change the logo! It’s a new band anyway!”
It’s Cannibal Corpsegrinder.
Thou wert rumored to have expelled Chris in favor of a more commercial direction.
I didn’t hear about that one.
A band does not always hear the whispers.
We wanted to get more vicious because Chris just wasn’t anymore. George can belt it out. He’s got the killer lungs for it. We’ve been killing it on the music and we needed somebody up on our level in that way. Chris doesn’t like playing fast anymore. I can tell he wasn’t into Cannibal Corpse. He was only in it for the money. We’re doing good. We’re making a living. He was praised at being the best – placating his ego. He took it for granted. “Whatever I do is gonna rule because I’m Chris Barnes.” That’s why he did Six Feet Under – strictly for the money.I mean, ANYBODY can do that stuff. Whatever.
The irony is that, when I interviewed him for the previous issue, I asked him how the other members of Cannibal Corpse felt about him touring when there was an album in progress, and he was confident that thou wouldst not exile him.
He did delay the mixing because when he did his vocals, he was gonna go out on tour and then mix his vocals when he got back. We were a little ticked about that. The way we viewed it, he was looking at Six Feet Under as his full time band, and at Cannibal Corpse as his side project.
Was Mr. Corpsegrinder trying not to stray too far from the Barnes approach?
We weren’t looking for anyone who sounded like Chris, obviously. We wanted George to be George. He’s got a brutal voice on his own. We wanted it to be better, catchier, faster. We weren’t worried about filling Chris’s shoes. The vocals finally fit the music.
Dost thou think that the position of drummer is the most demanding?
Physically, yeah. Definitely. I’m sweating every night – not that those guys aren’t busting it. It’s a different thing when you’re at practice. They can just sit there and not be furious, whereas I have no choice. I can’t slow down. I’ve got to be belting it out so I can be doing this every night on stage.
Some pretentious mainstream drummers criticize death metal for being nothing but stamina.
Unless they can do it, they shouldn’t be knocking it. It’s a weird style of drumming. You’re not gonna pick up any drum book that’s got death metal drumming. Some of those guys might look at it as noise. I try not to think about it. It’s just what I do.
Is it not ironic that some people who play bubblegum punk rock look down upon metal while their own music is simple?
Yes! They look at our style as shit. Look at bands like Nirvana that write three riffs and sell millions of records. That’s all you need- just one riff and a catchy vocal pattern. I guess they have to laugh in that respect. “Look at us. We must be better. We’re selling 500,000 records. People like us more.” That must be their attitude. We can’t let that bother us. We’re busting our asses out there, and then there are sucky bands out there making a lot more money.
Is anyone in the band going to get a gay alternative hairdo?
No. Not any time soon.
What dost thou think of bands like Obituary that wear baggy clothing on stage?
Whatever. I don’t mind it. Alex and the other guys like to wear black t-shirts and jeans. It’s just that whole changing thing now – a lot of bands are not sticking to death metal, like they should be. They don’t want to. But we want to stick to what we started. We’re death metal. I’m sure we’re always going to portray it in the manner that it should be portrayed.
No slicked-back hair and goatee?
No. We’re wearing shades in the new picture. That’s about it.
That is the extent of it?
Yeah. We might wear a white t-shirt. I guess it’s not that big of a deal. The music should speak for itself. As long as you’re brutal, that should be enough.
Thou maketh thy kit do much.
Yeah. I never really looked at it that way. It probably does not sound like I’m using a massive kit. But I’ve been refining my own style. It seems like it’s a lot more controlled. There might be a song where there’s not one fill at all… not one roll. Then there’s songs with a lot of fills and a lot of rolls. I’m just concentrating on strong beats, doing what’s best for the song.
Hast thou meta many of the publicists at Metal Blade?
Yeah. We met and talked on the phone now and then.
Hast thou met Mat?
I don’t think I met him. I talked to him on the phone a couple of times.
How dost thou feel about a person who lisps and talks like a complete fag to be promoting thy brutal music?
(laughs) What can we do? I mean, he works at the record company. We’re not freaking out too much. He does have kind of a soft voice. That’s all right.