This interview with Quorthon was conducted for Issue #5. I kept in contact with him, and we had talked about him participating in my black metal documentary. He was to videotape himself answering my questions and then send me the footage, but he died of a heart attack.
Dost thou acknowledge that thou art the father of black metal?
In Sweden we have an expression that goes, “Everybody knows the monkey, but the monkey doesn’t know anybody”. What I am trying to say is that, if somebody comes up to me and says, “God man, your music has been such an influence on me and my buddies, and there are two million bands copying your music, and you have such importance on the metal scene for all these years” who the hell am I to say, “Yeah!” because I’m sitting here in my kitchen playing a couple of songs on my acoustic guitar?” I go into the studio to record it….. having a great time/// don’t think much about it. Once the album is released – twelve years later you have a lot of people telling you that your stuff was so great and has meant so much. There are no scales by which you can match your influence. We all sound different anyway.
Thou wert not contacted by the “Inner Circle?’
… inner what?
Those bad boys in Norway.
Oh yeah! Those guys! They wrote a lot of letters to me when they were young – when they were big, big, big, big Bathory fans, and they even had a magazine. I don’t remember the name. But they were heavily into the Satanic shit that we were doing. Once, a couple of these guys were arrested for the things that they did – you know, burning down churches, killing people. They told the police that they were influenced by my music. So I had a letter from the Norwegian police asking some questions – a truly weird situation. All we’re dealing with here is music and fantasy.
They speak of some jewish conspiracy. I was wondering if that’s just their own personal political philosophy, or is it entirely a Norwegian way of thought.
To begin with, without mentioning any names or try to mock down on anybody personally, or a group of people – I think there’s something completely wrong with you if you mix Odinism with Nazism and Satanism. All of these three things don’t have anything in common. If you’re a Satanist you couldn’t be a son of Odin because Odinism doesn’t believe in earthly values in the way that the Satanists are. If you’re a neo-Nazi you wouldn’t be able to play death metal and have long hair. So what we’re talking about here is total ignorance.
I was wondering if Scandinavia was an anti-semitic community, based on the rantings of the Inner Circle.
Well, a lot of people have preconceived notions about Scandinavia. Certainly some American people I talked to when I was over there – they think Stockholm is like a suburb of Moscow or something. The thing is, I was fucking a Portuguese girl a couple of years ago,and she had this truly weird opinion about Swedish and Norwegian people. She thought we were the same type of people. The language is basically the same, like British English and America English. Norway is very conservative and old-fashioned, and a very christian country. They’re like four-and-a-half/five-million people, and we’re like eight-million people. That’s fly shit in the universe, compared to what’s out there. Sweden is a very liberal country, and all values are accepted – except neo-Nazi and anti-semitism. Sure, there are groups like that all over. You have this “New Order” in the United States, and all these church knuckle-heads over there. So I think it’s a universal thing. Everybody needs to blame anything on anybody. In Sweden, when christianity came around destroying a lot of the European culture, a lot of the stuff that has been going on for thousands of years… was destroyed. We don’t know too much about our own history. If you don’t know the past, you cannot master the future. If some young guy is into some heavy music… has the idea “Shit, man! We don’t like the church, and we have to get into something that is against the church”
. Now we know there are no golden thrones above the clouds, and so on.So I think they’re just picking up on anything that’s against society and the establishment and most of all, the church.
The Satanists who are from the Anton LaVey circle use the term “christian Satanist” to define bands like Deicide. I am not sure if thou hast heard of them.
Sure. I worked as head of the security when they were playing in Stockholm, and they probably didn’t know who I were. Two or three Bathory fans recognized me. Nobody else recognized me. So…
The Satanism that thou used for lyrical ideas is ‘christian Satanism,’ the kind that is evident in bands like Deicide. It is not from the LaVey school.
Basically, it was very innocent. I don’t know if you had it over there, but in Sweden during the early ’70’s we had a magazine or horror book called ‘Shock’ with Vampirela, Dracula, Frankenstein, and all that shit. We were very interested, when we first started, in the darker side of life, not necessarily the evil side of life. At one point we wanted to make a statement against the establishment, or christianity, because it’s old and dull and square and blah, blah, blah. We didn’t know what to write about. In bands like Saxon and Motorhead, they were thinking about motorcycles going down the road at 200 miles per hour, whiskey, and fucking women. We came straight out of school. We just turned to what we were interested in, which was the mysterious. Everybody is interested in that at a certain point in your life. I don’t think that we wanted to make a statement except for trying to be upsetting people in a very innocent fashion. We were very far away from the academic in any sense. We didn’t know shit. Really. We didn’t. As soon as I wanted to get deep down into it, I read the Bible. I read everything about Satanism. I read the Black Bible and blah, blah, blah. All that happened was, I came to the conclusion that it was all bullshit. I mean, we know there are no heaven. There is no hell. There are no golden thrones up there. There is no god. There are no devils. Nothing happens to you when you die. So you’re just an electrified organism. When you die, you go back to earth. That’s it. Man, from the dawn of time – we invented gods – and old gods became new gods in new religions. Christianity – the only reason why it has stayed so long is because christianity conquered the Western Hemisphere, which technically, is more advanced – and more advanced a thousand years ago than Africa or Asia. The christian man stood on the moon in 1969. Praise jesus christ. Sure.
Getting back to thy more physical out-look on life...
Art thou familiar with the philosopher “Descartes?’
I think, therefore I am. Dost thou remember?
No. I just read scientific magazines.
Well, his thought is what scientific method is based on – the observable and what can be proved, as in – if a result is achieved once, it should be duplicated another time under the same conditions. It seems that thou hast the same way of thinking.
I didn’t mean to sound so cool, you know? I mean, anything I say could be interpreted as the result of reading the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher.
His work is reputed to be tampered with by his sister who survived him.
Yeah. That’s true. Not all of the work. But most of it. Some of the stuff was published while he was still alive. He was famous even in his young years.
But dost thu not think that his suffering influenced his thinking, what with the diarrhea and constant nausea?
I think a lot of what he did was the result of his mental illness. But if you have a mental disorder, or if you’re truly koo-koo in your head, 500 years ago they would be called saints. We had a truly weird woman in Sweden 600 years ago. She’s the only saint we had in Sweden – the Holy Begetta. If she would be alive today, she would be locked up somewhere.
There is thy video…
(laughs) You bastard! There’s a love and hate thing going on there. I spent between $3,000 and $5,000 on that video out of my own money, and we had 16 hours of film. Once the whole thing was supposedly mixed together. There was so little time because I was going on a promotion tour in Europe for six weeks. We had so little time to do the video properly before we went out. So I said, “O.K. Let’s wait. I’ll take care of all that when I get back to Stockholm.” But sometime when I was out there, someone put the whole thing together and just started to distribute it – and it was not meant to be that way. I should say first that I have never seen the video myself. I refuse to see it. The guy who was filming that thing – six months after recording that video, nobody heard from him anymore. He owes us a lot of money and all that. I spent two weeks organizing – renting horses, uniforms, armor, swords, people, food, driving people – everything. I paid a lot of money and I wasn’t even allowed to be there when the whole thing was mixed. We had 16 hours of film, and I wasn’t even allowed to see one second.
Thou art one who uses a drum machine.
It’s 50/50. The snare drum, and I believe the “ride’ is a drum machine. Then the drum rolls and some of the crashes on the high hat is the real thing. The reason you use most of the time a drum machine for the snare drum is – you can never get a real good sound out of a real snare drum. It’s very hard. But I mean, everybody is working with sample technique today anyway. So…
I Interviewed someone who’s been sentenced to 53 years in prison. He was part of the ‘Diabolical Skinheads,” as the press referred to them. The reason I interviewed him was because of the coverage by the media of the black metal violence.
Everything does not have to be attached to the label “black metal violence.” You cannot blame an entire genre for what a couple of people are doing. We’re voting politicians into power for four or five years, and they’re the guys who start world wars and drop atomic bombs. I’ve yet to see a death metal fan start a world war or kill six million jews or pollute our oceans.
So stop me at any time. “…these bands don’t actually practice the rites of the left hand path, not at all. They just merely claim to so as to snare the uneducated child (who so desperately seeks an idol) into purchasing their fallacious CD release. The band ‘Bathory’ comes to mind when thinking along these lines. Consider the many occult/pagan claims Quarthon has made in the past, and the atheistic view he now holds, and the blonde hair dye, or is that really his natural hair color? Well, like his integrity, one never knows. Seemingly rock star jewelry, or shall we call it Jew-ery? One can easily see the many transitions a poseur goes through when the poseur is tired of acting one way, so begins to act another way.
Well, as far as the blonde shit goes, my hair is “natural.’ Over there you’d probably call it “blonde.” But over here, it’s just natural, or golden brown, or whatever you want to call it. 99% of the city’s population have golden brown hair. Actually, I used to dye my hair black because my jackets were black, and it makes a great outfit. Does he anywhere explain what the right thing is? I mean, he was just pissing off a lot of people by saying they’re wrong. What’s HIS philosophy on life? What’s the true way? You said a ‘skinhead.’ Is he neo-Nazi or a Satanist or an anti-jewish guy or what?
His ideas I have never encountered before.
Let me make a parallel here. When I was, shall we say, the cock-sucking slave of Satan 15 years back, I would fuck off bands like Celtic Frost and Volvod – Celtic Frost because I didn’t like their sound or the way they looked. I didn’t think they were enough Satanists, if you know what I mean. I thought that they were more into art and the academic way of it. I didn’t like Volvod because they were doing the space shit thing. I was too ignorant. I didn’t know shit. It wasn’t until years later that I started to listen to Voivod as a professional, realizing that these guys really had something. They were pioneers. I still hate Celtic Frost. Nobody is allowed to mock anybody else down. I still hate them, and I stand for that. But I shouldn’t mock down a band because I don’t like them. I may not understand it. But there are people who are in love with Celtic Frost’s music and people who like my music. There’s just one planet, and there’s room for everybody here. What goes on in your mind is ten million times bigger than the universe. And my political views and my religious views will not affect anybody as long as I keep it inside my head. But if I don’t deal with my values and compare it to what man has achieved as far as science is concerned… and medicine – the way we progress as individuals and as a species – come up in a truly weird soup – and one of these days, if you have an ounce of hate in you, all that shit will explode. If you put a bomb in a state building, if you kill a friend – as in Norway or whatever – kill a homosexual, or blow the brains out of a jew – we shouldn’t try to label all these actions as racism or an act of religious defiance. What we should label it as is purely “crime.’ We shouldn’t label ourselves death metal bands, black metal gods, or rock idols wearing jewelry. We should just label ourselves as musicians and individuals. In ten years, nothing of this will even matter. So I think it’s very pointless to make comments of something a person says, who, first of all, has never met me and probably never met any of the other people he was referring to. So it’s just pointless. I will answer him in a letter or something, if that’s what he wants. But if you make a comment to a person like that, you just give him too much importance. When we were kids, I grew up listening to KISS, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles. I didn’t know shit – what kind of drugs these guys were taking, what it felt like to sit down on a motorcycle going down the highway, what it felt like to be fucking girls in a limousine. I’ve done all that now. I’ve fucked a girl in the lavatory of a 747. I’ve done all that, and it’s not because I am the son of Satan. I didn’t do it because I was the greatest guitar player in the world, or I had the best face, or the longest hair, or whatever. I was able to be a part of something that just happened – the underground movement. Kids wanted a music for themselves. Then someone comes along 15 years later doing something and they lock him up away in jail for life, and he starts to make statements about something he’s never been a part of and doesn’t understand the situation of working-class kids in Europe. He should just shut up and not make any comments about anybody. And YOU shouldn’t make comments about what he has to say about other people! You give him too much importance. The world is full of knuckle heads anyway.