Loud Zine

The man himself, Quorthon of Bathory - Scandinavian king of total death metal. A daunting prospect awaited as I braved all pre-conceptions and tookup the 'phone (in between power cuts at MFN tsk, tsk!) and found myself talking to a very pleasant, vegetarian, Kate Bush fan - no, not me..but that blood-sucking over-sexed Swede.

Quorthon is a bit of a different name from Cecil or Reginald, thinks I. What's in it then?

Nothing really. I just wanted to break away from all the other Swedish bands who were following the US and taking on that kind of name (like 'Joey Tempest' I suppose - Cecil). I wanted something that was different from anything, so we took our names from a list of demons. In Swedish it was supposed to translate so that it means 'a good fuck', but it didn't quite work. It's more fun really.

A fun Satanist? Surely not, though recent press has been over-emphatic of stating that you're not really a Satanist.

I've always liked Motörhead, good sex and Power Metal, so it was obvious we'd have an image of Satanism. Back in '83 when we had the first backing band together, people would say that we needed to have an approach that was serious and dedicated, which I was...but not the rest of the band, so I kicked them out.

So the stories of you wanting to sacrifice a lamb onstage are not true?

It was just something that was said a long time ago which was over-exaggerated. I mean. I'm a vegetarian!

Good on yer Quorth! Bathory has been documented as a joke which became serious. Is this true and why take it to such an extent?

There has ALWAYS been a band with Bathory. It's just that, until '86, we had no stable line-up which we could take pictures of or name. The band must have total commitment, like me, because I don't want anyone coming to a rehearsal who is more bothered about a sick girlfriend. So there was only me to put on the record sleeves and promo pictures. It was the press who thought that it was a joke, but I've always been serious, totally.

You now have a stable band who you are proud of. Does this mean we'll now get to see you live?

Everything has been done before that you could possibly imagine, so we could do nothing new. Music is so unimportant live. We want to do something different, not what the fans have already seen, so we decided to do a big video which will cost a lot of money and have everything that we want in it, exactly how we want it!

What songs will you use?

We've sent letters to all the members of the fan-club, The Bathory Hordes, and asked them to choose their 5 favourite tracks. The most popular ones will do.

A noble gesture. What effects are being planned?

There'll be a huge stageshow, for all the fans to see the songs the way they want. We'll have bombs...they've been done before, but ours will go 30 feet. We'll have big mountains as a backdrop and horses, naked women...everything.

And nuclear weapons, as you seem to mention nuclear war somewhere on each album. Are you criticising or praising?

There are a few missiles in the world, and they don't do much. They are boring. I like the way wars were fought a hundred years ago, but not now.

I see Boss helped out on production this LP. Is he still heavily involved with Bathory even now you've left his label, Tyfon Grammofon?

He's still part of the team. We're with his management still. It's just that Under One Flag can help with distribution better. There was no need to change as it's perfect. There's the 3 guys in the studio and the one behind the space desk who are totally committed.

Personally, I find the production a little too sharp (too much tone, which makes it hissy). Are you happy with it?

Yes, I'm happy, although I see what you mean, but when you spend 3 months in a studio recording 25 songs, you don't get much time to compare it to anything. That's what happened.

25 songs! What's going on?

We recorded out LP's together. The next one, "Blood On Ice" is finished as well, and will be out in Spring '89 on Under One Flag.

And to round this off, I have to ask about influences, as Venom immediately spring to mind. But there's also the classic "Odin's Ride Over Nordland",which lies in a more classical vein.

Well, I listened to Motorhead and Venom. Venom call us dickheads you know, but that doesn't bother us, 'cos we're bigger. The comparison comes from the fact that there are 3 of us, 2 have black hair and one is blond, and we wear leather and chains. But that's because we want to. Anyway, we can't wear jeans and satin shirts and look American. I listen to things that are unlike Bathory. Classical, yes, like Wagner etc. A lot of that stuff is so similar to Heavy Metal really. But my favourite record is Kate Bush's "Hounds Of Love". I told everyone this was brilliant when it came out. Then, because I play it 20 times a day, all these other bands started saying they liked it too.

Well, thanks to Quorthon for a very informative interview. A very well spoken and polite chap, too. I must say that I also think "Hounds Of Love" is the best LP ever, and it wasn't JUST because he likes it! (I never even knew that). So get "Blood Fire Death" now. The new LP "Blood On Ice" should be out about the time you're reading this - the same time as Kate Bush's new LP. Thanx to Mimi for prompting this interview and all the background stuff.

Interview From Loud Zine #16, 1988 by Cecil Polanski.
Provided by Emmett Rees.
Taken from Twilight web-site.

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