Heavy Metal

With the supprt of the Black Mark label I've got the permission to make an interview with one of the legendary characters of world rock-QUORTHON-exclusively for the readers of Heavy Metal Magazine.

It is said that Bathory is the first death metal band in the world. Let me agree with that but I would also like your opinion on it.

Yes, that's right.That's because in those times (1983) we were playing a type of metal that later got the name of Death Metal. All the other bands playing at the same time with us were Black Metal bands, so we can be regarded as the pioners of Death Metal.

Considering the fact that you were the first, the beginning doesn't seem to have been too easy.

The beginning was quite modest. Three unexperienced youngsters formed the band in February 1983 in Stockholm if I'm not mistaken. Even from the start we were confused because at that time we didn't know exactly what we wanted, except for the fact that we wanted to make a lot of noise and play as fast as possible. It seems that because of this we didn't stick together for long, so after we recorded two tracks for a compilation (January '84) I parted with the drummer and the bass player and went on by myself.

Would it be too annoying for you to go over the entire Bathory discography?

The first record of the band was called simply "Bathory", it was released in June '84, however, as I said before, our first recordings were the two tracks included in Jan.'84 on the "Scandinavian Metal Attack" vol.1 compilation. The debut album was record and mixed in 56 hours, so in a quite short time, but still it sold very well and it was considered the first Death Metal record. The second record, "The Return", was recorded in February '85. This time I was influenced by satanism so no wonder that the most record reviews made it clear that this was the most satanic record of all times. The third record ,"Under The Sign Of The Black Mark", was recorded in Sept.'86. On this record I tried to mix speed and heavy parts, so I think it come out very well this also being the first record for which I worked with great attention as meanwhile I had been listening to a lot of classical music and so I noticed that the musical arrangements were not so simple. At those times all the bands had the same sound so my objective was to do something different. The fourth album, "Blood Fire Death", was recorded in Feb.'88. Then again I tried to give the band a different contenance so as a result I orchestrated the tracks with even more attention, I introduced more accoustic guitars, keyboards and all sorts of special effects. Because of this the tracks became longer but in the same time more elaborate. This time the Viking mythology was the main subject. Then came the album "Twilight Of The Gods", which we recorded in April '91. I wanted to record an album which would give the impression that the end of the world and religion had come, the end of the end. After this product we released two compilations "Jubileum 1" and "Jubileum 2". They were both released in' 92 and they had to commemorate ten years since Bathory had been formed. Shortly after the release of the second volume a lot of people asked me why wouldn't I try to make a solo album. One day I asked myself that question too, and I reached the conclusion that I should try to compose a series of tracks totally different from what Bathory was playing. So in Jan. '94 I recorded my first solo album simply entitled "Album". However, it's release created a state of confusion because of the interviews that I gave to the radio, television and press. Everyone had understood that this was the end of Bathory which was not true. So I had to start work all over again writing and recording a series of new Bathory-influenced tracks. To be honest, I didn't work more than a few weeks for the new Bathory album. I recorded these tracks in June '94, which will soon be included on "Requiem". I also worked a bit on the mixing and on the cover but it will be released this month anyway.

Could you point out the important events in the whole history of Bathory?

Between '83-'85 we took up Death Metal. Between '86-'87 we passed to Gothic and Doom Metal and between '88-'90 we were influenced by the Viking mythology. My solo album contains in my opinion, only rock and grunge parts. Referring to the last record, "Requiem", I can say that it is a Death Metal record, brutal Death Metal.

Can you give some arguments why so many bands are chainging their musical orientation?

My opinion is that an artist can afford more than that, he has to experience new things. Just as you don't want to eat the same food everyday, a musician doesn't want to make the same music every day.

Which is the best "Bathory" record in your opinion?

I couldn't say exactly which record can be considered the best and I am not the person to do that because they are all my compositions. The fans are the ones to do that.

From what stage did you compose "Requiem" and what is it's level comparing to the others?

From a superior stage, as better musicians, naturally. I've made a great progress in the last twelve years and I got enough experience in order to put things the way I want.

From a conceptual point of view, how can this be record be classified?

Well, this time the album doesn't have a precise direction. So it has nothing to do with satanism, mythology, death or anything else. It's simply a 100% Death Metal album. There are nine tracks on "Requiem".

From what you told me, you've also worked on your solo album.

Well, I can reveal you that secret, too. I've had quite busy periodlately. I composed twenty tracks for my second solo record but that's not the priority, yet. I still have a bit more to do for it and if things are going as they should it will be ready this year. You might not believe me but besides the twenty tracks I composed five more for a different album which will be released in 1995. I haven't find a name for it yet, but it will certainly be released in May.

Do you think that Bathory has influenced any other bands with the time?

All these years I heard many voices saying that Bathory has opened the way for many Death and Speed Metal bands. It's hard to say at the moment which was and is Bathory's contribution to metal. For me, Bathory means a lot and I could say it means everything. Anyway, from what I noticed, Bathory is a cult for hundreds and thousands of musicians and fans all over the world.

Favourite bands: Unfortunately, I can't tell you which my favorite bands are as I am a great admirer of classical music. However, I think that The Beatles is my favourite band.
Favourite albums: Alive ('75)-Kiss; Beatles (all); "Hounds of love"-Kate Bush; "Ace of spades"-Motorhead.
Favourite musicians: Chris Cornell (Soundgarden); Neil Peart (Rush); Paul McCartney; Ace Frehley (ex Kiss); Leslie West (ex Mountain).
Favourite drinks: Coca Cola, Black Velvet (whisky), Absolut Vodka, water.
Favorite movies: Alien; Back to the future, Battle for Britain; Madworld.
Hobbies: Collecting military outfits. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a Romanian outfit yet.

Interview From Heavy Metal Magazine #3, November 1994 by Lenti Chiriac
Provided by Iulian Petrovici. Translated by Bogdan Gheoca and Iulian Petrovici.
Taken from Twilight web-site.

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