Live On London Radio

This interview was taken from a bootleg I own. It was originally aired on radio. I spent many long hours writing every word that was said. If you are interested in obtaining the original copy on cassette tape, E-Mail me. The italic font is Quorthon. The normal font is the main interviewer. And the bold font is the co-host. Don't ask who the hell Andy or Ed is. He is mentioned several times in the interview.

Okay every body out there in radio land. We have live on air, Quorthon from the band Bathory. How you doing Quorthon?

Great to be here.

That's good. Did you have a nice flight over?

Umm... The flight was okay. I'm not too sure about my bags because I didn't get 'em till now. I've been separated with my bags for three days. I've been worrying about the toothpaste now for three days.(laughter)

Okay. Just so everybody knows, where are you calling from?

Aaahh. At the moment I think I'm in Toronto. It says Toronto here in the skyscraper somewhere.

There's a big tower?

Yes. Pretty big.

Okay. I'd like to thank you for taking the time and joining us tonight. It's greatly appreciated. And I guess this is a first for London anyway. Hearing your voice live rather than on CD. So, its pretty cool. Anyway, the first thing I wanted to get out of the way though if you don't mind is your name. What's your real name?

For as long as people are interested that is probably one of the things that I will not talk about. I mean who the hell really cares, its just a fucking name. For as long as people try come up with one or the other names, its fine with me. A real good strip tease dancer will not take everything off you know.

Obviously you haven't been to the strip bars in Canada then.

(laughter)

Everthing and then some.

So you don't want to say than, huh? Just Quorthon. That's how you like to be known as.

Well, you can call me Dickhead, but out of politeness, you probably won't

Yeah, you'll hang up on me anyways.(laughter)

(laughter) I can't afford it. (laughter)

Okay then. You got the new CD coming out, Blood on Ice. When was that all recorded?

Between February of '88 and June of '89. The reason why we're releasing it right now is because we actually have the time to do it. But also its a concept album and I don't think we were too sure whether we could afford to release a concept album back in those days. I mean eight years ago. Today we could afford risking this album to be a turd. Because we are in a different kind of a situation today than we were eight years ago.

How many albums do you have out now that you know right off the top of your head?

Including the solo album I did four years ago, we have twelve out at the moment.

Can you tell the listeners than what the can expect to hear on the new CD. What sort of music is it like?

Well like I said it's a concept album based on a story. Each song is like a chapter in a book, only you can listen to each and everyone of the songs separately. We did a great patch job with this recording. We had basic drums, basic guitar, basic bass, and some guide vocals done in '88 and '89. We never finished the album off or the project, and we didn't touch everything up until now. Putting down I think four or five lead vocals, additional guitar, changing the drum sound, using the CD sampler, everything. Modern computer technology and everything, it's cost me alot of money. I don't wanna talk about it. (laughter) It was great fun you know because I know for sure I would never be able to write this kind of big arranged type of epic metal today. So working from scratch would be impossible. I mean the material was already there on tape. We releasing this now as a souvenior to all our epic fans. Because every once in a while we'll release an album, we will have 50% of our fans disappointed. We definitely have alot of epic fans.

Okay, I listened to the three song sampler that was sent out. What sort of music can you tell the people that it's like? That they can hear.

Well it's the usual stuff we did duting the mid to late '80's. Big arranged type of epic metal, big drums, multi-track backing harmony vocals, two million guitars or whatever, sound effects. Kind of like an opera, a mixture between extreme metal and opera but in a slow tempo.

But it sounds more like the Hammerheart era though doesn't it? That type of music.

That's true

Rather than the early black metal stuff you used to do. Okay then, what's all involved with the packaging than? Because I heard that there's quite a bit involved with that. Do you have a 30 page booklet or something like that? That's what I had heard.

I think there is even more than that. We have, I can't remember how many pages, but there is a long story sort of like a mini-biography. Because there is alot of explanation to be done when your putting this kind of a record out. People have been knowing about this record for years. There's alot of great stories, especially from all the different recordings of all our albums. Stories like me doing the vocals in the cleaning cabinet because the recording studio during the recording of Hammerheart was actually turned into a car repair shop. Stuff like that. So there is alot of great sense of humor in there.

Okay. Well personally than one of my favorite CD's, now I'm not trying to kiss your ass or nothing. I don't want you to get that impression. But one of my all time favorite CD's is definitely "Twilight of the Gods". What was your favorite Bathory CD being?

I don't know I don't have any. (laughter) Yeah I'm lying. I have a the Blood Fire Death picture disk on my wall somewhere. I think. And one of the Jubilieum albums on CD. I guess I was having to listen to all the albums when we put those two compilation albums together. That's something you just don't do, listen to your old stuff. So I really couldn't be fair and say this is my favorite or anything like that. But I think that Blood Fire Death was pretty successful in a sense that we were able to mix both heavy type of music, metal and speed. And all kind of topics you know.

Your talking about topics in your lyrical content. I know that in your earlier days you were singing about the satanism and all that stuff. Then you turned to the viking theme. Is this going to be the same sort of thing that is going to be on the new CD then?

You mean Blood on Ice?

Like the vikings? That sort of content?

Ohh. The viking stuff was just another way to get at Christianity I think. We picked the satanic topics up. I mean today when you talk about Black Metal you think only about drinking blood, you know war paint and stuff like that. Inverted crosses and pigs heads, and burning down churches. Fourteen years ago Black Metal used to be something completely different. It was everything from satanic or whatever, the occult, the dark side of life (not necessarily the evil side of life). Witchcraft, or anything magical or whatever. Today it's a much more narrow scene. People will get very bad feelings about Black Metal today. Because it's got such a very bad reputation. We slid from Black Metal on to whatever, you know, viking shit. Because it was just something, another way to get at Christianity. But also to talk about something, or write about something, that was before Christianity came around.

Okay. What are your feelings then about these Black Metal bands in that they're coming out and doing all this stuff. Burning churches, they're getting into the murder thing, stuff like that. And then they say "O Bathory was are biggest influence". How does that make you feel when you see these guys going out and doing that?

Well actually the very first time that I heard about that I actually double checked my lyrics to see if there was anything of error. Of course I didn't say anything about killing people in any other sense. I mean we were talking about raping angels. I'm not too sure whether anybody has been convicted for that yet?

(laugher)

One of the things that I'm sure that's happened here. You have a couple of guys sitting some where, listening to your music for 24 hours a day, probably intoxicated with one or two chemicals. I mean you can be on the opposite end of the United States and still be affected by by that you know. Everyonce in a while an adult person needs to come knock at your door and say "Hey buddy. You okay?" or something. Anybody who is human anything for x amount of hours or days in a row will ultimately be affected by Death or Black Metal type of lyrics. You will take it for reality. I mean, I've met people who have come up to me and they just look me straight in the eye, they can't say anything, they treat you like a god and everything. You try to be polite with these guys. I mean you realize that these guys are 16 and 17 years old. I formed the band 14 years ago. That means that they were 2 years old when I first started to rehearse the first couple songs for this band. I'm turning 31 now and you have to be really polite with these guys, you don't want to piss these guys off by saying "Hey. Grow up. Wise up, this is not for everybody."

So I take it that you don't really associate with those guys or they don't try to call you very much or anything like that?

Even though I wanted to I couldn't because there's a generation gap there. But you try to be polite. There's a time for each and everyone of us to wise up. I'm not saying that these guys are assholes or anything like that. Because I used to be like that myself, 14 years ago. I mean we were the biggest band. We were the fastest guitar players. Nobody played double-bass drums faster than we did. We were going to fuck the world. Everybody was like that at a certain age.

Okay. Well then, talking about the other members in the band, for instance. How come I haven't seen any other names on the past Bathory albums except for "Blood Fire Death"? I saw a couple of guys there but after that its always been the Quorthon name.

That's true. Well, the band was formed in February of 1983. We had a line-up for about a year and the next two and a half, three years. I was working with probably four or five different line-ups. I don't know if you remember those guys Europe, you know the "Final Countdown"> and all that shit.

Oh Yeah.

The big thing that was going with heavy metal in the world in those days was Motley Crue and Wasp. And whenever I had an ad out in the music press or whatever, the bass player or drummer came down to the rehearsal place, he would, you know, where eye liner and smell of perfume and poodle type of hairdo. And that's not the kind of guy you would want in a guy like Bathory. So I said Hey, You better put on a square feet of studded leather and be prepared to sweat. And their idea of getting laid after the concert was not going hand in hand with wearing the kind of clothes I wanted for us to where on the stage. Whenever we had a line-up together, it didn't matter whether it was a four or five or six months, they were great musicians in one way or another. But they sure as hell were not the kind of guys I would want in a band. And after a couple of years our music had changed so much that 80% of everything we did we couldn't reproduce on stage anyway had we wanted to go on tour. So we stopped playing concerts in '85. We only played in Stockholm and the areas around Stockholm. And when we became quote, end quote "big" there was no ambition to go on live and no ambition to publicicize any names or pictures and anything like that because we realized that people were drawned to the band because of the mysteriousness and everything. So we just played right along with it. It wasn't something we created. But we realized of course that there was a sales arguement there.

Okay. Are you doing any touring for this new CD then?

I can only tell you the same thing I tell everybody when they ask me when I'm going to play. I say I play with myself every night.

(laughs)

Probably that's not what you had on your mind.

Well no because we don't want to see that.(laughs)

Once you listen to this stuff that's on this CD, you'll know that it's impossible for three guys to reproduce that on stage. I mean who the hell is going to do this 16-track backing harmony vocals and stuff and two or three overdubbed guitars and everything. Naturally it would be stupid for me to say "Sure, we're looking forward to a tour". I haven't been thinking about tours since 1986. I don't get off on concerts. I'll go to a concert every fine year and I'm bored to death. I have friends playing in bands and they say, "Well, its like 50 people in a bus". There's bad girls, bad money, bad beer, bad food, bad sound, bad light, bad clubs. So they just wanna go home. They envy me like hell. They say you don't know how lucky you are. I say "I do". I laugh all the way to the bank.

Okay then. Do you mind me asking you a few personal questions?

Haven't you already? (laughs)

Yeah I guess I have. Alot of stuff that I've ever heard of you have been rumors. I haven't seen too much print on you anyway. One thing I've always heard is that you've always been a recluse. Is that true?

A what?

A recluse. Like someone who just sort of stays away from the public eye. That's just the rumors that I have heard. I just kind of want to clear the air.

Umm..In other words, Is it true that I haven't been involved with any street fights for twelve years? What? (laughs) Yeah thats true.

Yeah, well, you know what I mean. You were telling me earlier before we went on the air that you did do a lot of interviews and stuff like that. Like I'm saying, I'm just trying to clear the air of all these rumors I've been hearing over the past few years about you.

Yeah, well. I'm not the kind of guy that would want to go to all the clubs and fuck all the girls like I used to do before I turned 20. There's just a certain amount of "Hey, look at me, I'm some body". You know? Once your in the studio recording thats heaven you know. Going to clubs, showing off, and everything. {Quorthon seems to babble a bit} What the hell am I going to talk about in between records? I'm not interested as a private person or anything like that. When I go to a hockey game I want it to be private. Even though a fan comes up to me and says "Can I have your autograph?" I keep a very, very clear distinction between business and personal life. That's true. If I go to New York or anywhere else I'll probably be {more confusion} Stalking is quite easy. I don't go to clubs, I don't go to the movies, I don't go to concerts, I call for pizza. (laughs)

Don't we all though. (laughs) I take it your not a family man than. Or is that an issue you don't want to talk about either.

I gotta cat. Does that count?

Well I gotta dog so I guess we're even. (laughs) So what sort of bands do you like than? Are there any bands out there right now that your really into? Any metal bands? Or don't you listen to metal music when your at home?

I think metal has been changing alot. Today you can listen to something that anybody could call metal. You don't have to have stripped spandex today to say that this is automatically considered metal. I don't know if you would call "Foo fighters" and "Smashing Pumpkins" metal. There are a million labels out there for music. The important thing is that your not fucking little boys or anything like that, or get plastic surgery just as an excuse to be an artist. Or burning down churches. Music is music. It will always be around. From Beethoven to Motorhead. From Kate Bush to the Beatles. So I listen to just about everything.

What are your feelings on bands from Sweden like "At The Gates" or "Dissection" or theory underground bands like that or don't you listen to them either.

You have to be interested to be really up to date. I bumped into one of my buddies here at the Black Mark label. I was so ashamed because I didn't know the name of the band or what kind of instrument he was playing. He came up and asked for an autograph and we sat down and had a beer. We were talking and only after half an hour I said "So how are you doing?". Up until the end of the conversation I realized that he was playing in this band. That's kind of embarressing sometimes.

What happened with "Noise" records than? I know "Hammerheart" was released on Noise and than your off Noise. What happened there?

Well..(laughs) Your asking me?

Was it a bad situation with Noise records?

That was just one big fucking mistake. I cannot understand how that happened. Don't ask me why I signed the dotted line. At the time they were big. They had quantity. We're talking quantity here not quality. There was problems from scratch. From day one. I went on a promotion tour for two months touring Europe, had great fun. The only support we had from them was about (can't make out what he's saying), which isn't even 500 dollars. It was hilarious. I had to pay for everything. Hotels, flights, everything. Food, condoms. (laughs)

Well does Black Mark at least pay for your condoms? (laughs)

I'm not sure, thats a good point. I'll read the contract (laughs)

Actually get Andy to get you a hooker while your down there.

(silence)

Nevermind. So Blood on Ice is alot like Hammerheart so people can expect to hear that. Which is a good thing. I kind of like that era there. Now for "Octagon". Your last CD Octagon. That was a total change. From Twilight of the Gods, hammerheart and that. Why did you go back to that sort of music?

Well it's not a question of why going back. We have several categories of fans. When I had come back to enjoying playing rock & roll, whatever that is. After Twilight. The solo album functioning as a sort of therapy for me. We just realized, "Why don't we just go in there and have a fight?" for 2 or 3 days recording an album. That was "Requeim". It turned out to be real great fun. We haven't been doing this in 10 years. We just continued. Straight on with "Octagon" six months later. It was just great fun. Once those 2 albums were out we realized "Hey man we got a pretty big following among the epic metal fans so why don't we just sit down and work this "Blood on Ice" stuff out?" Now its here.

So your next CD then, have you had any plans to think about that?

Well how about Jazz? (laughs) We've been covering everything. From Black, Death, Speed, Thrash, whatever you know. I really don't know. We can afford to just sit down and relax for at least 10 months having put out 5 albums in 4 years. The next thing up of course is the solo album. The second solo album is due out in October sometime.

Will that be along the same lines as the first one?

It will just as far away from Bathory, whatever Bathory is, as the first one. Although this time we will use a real drummer and I'll probably work a little bit not writing all the songs in the same line so to speak. I try to be a little more varied.

I had heard rumors that Bathory was done with once the first Quorthon album came out and I noticed all of a sudden you had Requiem out a couple months later. Was there ever any doubt whether Bathory would continue after your first solo project?

No. That's the funny thing. Once I decided to actually do that solo album that was when I got fired up all over again. Actually the time when I personally didn't think I was ever going to be anything was when we were recording Twilight. Because that was when I realized I didn't have any more ideas. I just hated guitars. I didn't pick a guitar up for almost a year after that. I wasn't even listening to music. I went in to the, I wouldn't call it a university or anything, but I wanted to study and I didn't even think about music. I even was thinking about cutting off my 3 and a half feet long hair. Fortunately that just didn't happen.

(laughs) My co-host Beven here did that. Cut is three foot hair or whatever you want to call it. Poor guy. (laughs)

It's wash and go that's all I can say.

Is there anything you want to say Beven? I've been hogging this whole conversation. (laughs)

I just noticed on the Octagon album that you were responsible for the layout and the album cover. Were you inpart responsible for the earlier albums and albums to come? As far as photograph layouts or drawings?

I drew the first album cover. The picture on the cover of the second album was taken by the engineer. The engineer that was recording with us on the second album. The third one has a very great story. Everyone seems to think it's a painting but it's actually an ex-swedish bodybuilding champion standing on the stage at the Swedish national royal opera house. On stage while the curtains down. The opera house is filled with suits and ties and tuxitoes. What do we have next?

(laughs)

Blood Fire Death? A painting. Classic 19th century painting. The same with Hammerheart. Twilight? Just a picture of a mountain I think. Octagon. I bought this piece of a stone and bought some chicken blood and drew a octagon.

(laughs)

The album previous to that one, Requiem. They had dug up some skulls somewhere. I thought it would make a great picture. And then Blood on Ice which is the very first time I went and had a contemporary artist actually doing the cover for us. I was thinking about the Star Wars posters where scenes from the film were frozen on the posters so you can see all the characters in the story. What they look like and stuff.

We have a 3 song sampler here. Is that anything like the cover that your going to have on the actual CD?

Actually its on the table here 2 feet away.

I take it that's not going to be the cover than?

You mean the promotion CD?

Yeah.

It's just some ice with blood on it. But we have this very, very beautiful painting in nice blue colors. Actually it took so long to paint it we had to postpone the release twice.

Could you tell us how many tracks are going to be on the new album?

Ten.

Ten. Okay. We have 3 here and we have been playing them the last few weeks. Don't know how they've been received though, nobody ever calls in and tells us what they think. (laughs)

Well I don't know who is responsible for picking the tracks on the promotional CD. Probably because some areas won't play Black Metal now so they want to pick something that is more easy to listen to. I mean its not like we're saying fuck all the time are more middle of the lines so to speak.

Okay. So we can expect something different from the other tunes than?

Not as if were doing banjo or ukalayle or anything like that. The other songs are a bit more up tempo there is even a couple of brutal ones and a couple of ballads as well.

You ever thought about getting into violins and that stuff? I know that seems to be a trend going on now with a lot of bands. Have you ever thought about doing stuff like that? Like orchestration going in your music?

Well we used I think on Under the sign and Blood Fire Death we used strings. All those synthetic ones and synthesizers. I played a guitar synthesizer on our third album as well as using that fucking Rockman guitar system. There's no Marshalls on the album. Probably that's why I hate that album more than all the other albums we did. Plus I was complete drunk during that entire session.

Whick session was that again? (laughs)

Under the Sign of the Black Mark.

You were drunk the whole session aye?

Yeah. Not to mention the album previous to that one, The Return.

Okay. Because I had heard a rumor about that today that you were drunk during those sessions. Oh well have a good time. JD was it? Jack Daniels? (laughs)

Umm. No actually sour mash Jack Daniels really sucks. It's much nicer to record drinking Swedish vodka.

(laughs)

Is this your first time in Canada, Quorthon?

Yeah actually it is. I've been to the United States 6 or 7 times but never to Canada.

Have you had a chance to sample the beer yet?

I'm too big a fan of beer. I can't even stand the smell. It's good for the hair though. (laughs)

Yeah make sure that when you get a chance that Ed takes you too one of the strip bars down there.

What? Moose beer?

Moose beer? Now there's a beer.

(laughs) How about polar bear beef steak? (laughs)

You say your a big hockey fan. Do you guys get the NHL playoffs over in Sweden?

I'm actually watching the Detroit Wings and St. Louis Blues at the moment. (laughs) How's that for attention?

Dont rub it in. (laughs) Do you guys get the NHL playoffs over there though?

On tv?

Yeah

Sure. But not on too respectable hours though. Six o'clock in the morning. That is if you want to watch it live.

So are you an international hockey fan? Do you like watching the Swedish national team?

Anything thats hockey

Anything that's hockey aye? So I guess that's where the title Blood on Ice came from.

You got me. (laughs) No actually we're just covering up in case (some hockey company) is going to sponsor our tour. (laughs)

(laughs) Anything else you want to add here Beven?

No. Thats about it.

Okay. Is there anything else you want to say to all your devine fans listening (reading) right now? Anything you want to say to them?

Oh my god!

Words of wisdom?

I really don't know.

Come on. They're actually hearing Quorthon for the first time on radio. There's got to be some sort of enlightening thing you can tell them.

Me? Enlightening? (laughs) Your asking to much from a buddy who's been away for three days and hasn't seen my luggage for three days. Well lets just say I'm going to be hitting my tooth paste. (laughs) That's with an attitude.

So in other words, everybody out there should be brushing. (laughs)

(laughs)

Well I'd like to thank you for taking the time and talking to us tonight. And lots of luck with Blood on Ice. I hope things go well with that CD.

Oh. Well, just enjoy it. It's made of plastic though but there's a hole in the middle.

(silence) (laughs)

Did that joke get you? (laughs)

Well, It was too big for that. (laughs)

Think about it for awhile. (laughs)

I hope we get a chance to talk to you with the next release of your next solo album.

Your planning ahead aren't you?

Oh yeah we like you. You'll be coming back to Toronto won't you?

Hopefully. If you guys are still around. (laughs)

Maybe we can flip the bill and you can fly us over to Sweden and we'll talk to you in person there. (laughs)

(laughs) We'll hold a press conference down in Niagra falls. (laughs)

Okay. Well thanks a lot Quorthon. Hope to see you next time.

Okay. Take care.

Live On London Radio - 5/10/96 - Ontario, Canada
Email: ferg570@hotmail.com
Taken from: http://www.angelfire.com/il/TheReturn/Inter2/


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