Tales Of The Macabre

A band like Bathory needs no introduction, so let's fuckin' start with the interview...

What have you been doing since the release of "Blood On Ice"? Spending the money you earned with it, haha?

"Blood On Ice" was released in May this year I guess, since then I have had a nice Summer off duty so to speak. In August I entered the studio to record my second solo album. It'll be released at start of 1997. It'll be a double album containing 22 songs ranging from brutal Punk stuff to acoustic pieces of unplugged style...

What was the reason to release "Blood On Ice"? In old interviews you did not want to release it, because the fans/critics would say "it sounds like Manowar " anyway. Why your change of mind? I mean, the album is great, and it is not a negative thing being compared with Manowar is it?

I guess I have explained the whole situation behind releasing "Blood On Ice" quite well in the CD booklet that follows with the CD (it's dual language English/German). The demand from the fans to release the album was so powerful and the whole project was such a great challenge to me. I felt I really should have a go and try to make a good album out of the original material... About me talking about people probably making comparisons with Manowar was simply not an excuse for not putting it out, but mainly to show that I was aware of the fact that the comparison was gonna be made by allot of people, not to piss on "Blood On Ice" as an album or Manowar as a band.

Why have you re-recorded the vocals? Weren't you satisfied with the old ones anymore? Were they "different" (like less sung) to the new ones?

The reason why some new vocals was added to the original material was that not all of the tracks had vocals laid down. Read the story on the recording in the CD-booklet on this and you'll get a more detailed picture.

Well, in the meantime I got the album on Lp, so I now read your words. So, is there still any unreleased songmaterial existing, or was "Blood On Ice" the last messenger from the past? I know that you once had a song entitled "Witchcraft" ... how many old songs have never been recorded?

It's true that there is a lot of material still unreleased. Not that I think even half of it is even worth releasing. Not even the most die-hard BATHORY fan could enjoy some of it. There is some demo-stuff made in 1983 and early 1984, some songs from an album that was never completed from the end of the 80's etc... "Witchcraft" is a really old song. I don't even remember how to play or sing it, so unfortunately that is a track that no one will ever be able to hear. I'm not even sure I have a tape of it anywhere...

Talking about "Requiem" and "Octagon" " a lot of fans are not very fond of those albums and are (to say the truth) disappointed, especially of "Octagon" ... they say that the typical BATHORY felling/atmosphere is gone. How do you see "Octagon" compared to all the other Lps you did? Why do you think that this album received bad response? Is this another BATHORY album which gets criticised first and hailed afterwards?

It's true that whenever BATHORY puts an album out, 50% of our fans are always disappointed. Some of our fans accept the Black/Death type of albums, but cannot listen to the more Nordic/Epic albums. Others do not like the Black/Death but hail the Nordic Epic as legendary stuff. About "Requiem" and "Octagon" I think the problem was that people had gotten used to BATHORY sounding a certain way like "Twilight of the Gods" ... but here they were offered two albums of brutal Death Metal. Not everybody (who had a definitive idea of what BATHORY was/is all about) could accept two such brutal albums. In some circles they are considered to be among the best stuff we've done. But as a musician and an artist you can not always write stuff to satisfy all out there. In the end what an album is all about is satisfying yourself. I wanted to make an album like "Requiem" and "Octagon" at that time. I wanted to make a brutal, dry and violent production at the time. What one person may think of any album is not important... there is always other albums to listen to should you not like the new one.

What do you see when you look into the crystal ball when it comes to BATHORY'S tomorrow?

I have a million of ideas for the future. I don't know yet the specific style and what it may sound like, but I promise that it is gonna be something really special. We are gonna start working on the next BATHORY album next year, and hopefully it will be out sometime early Summer next year. No titles as of yet though...

To what kind of mujsic are you listening nowadays? You often said that you don't listen to metal very much... but you play metal. Why this?

I listen to virtually everything really. I have no specific favorite type of music now a days... I hardly buy CDs and follow no "living" acts die-hard.

When you think of old bands, which ones have survived in your heart? Do you still listen to them here and then?

SLAYER have always had a big place in my heart, because they have remained true to their style and sound. As far as any other old acts, I guess most of them are gone since long now... VENOM reunited for one show, but other than BATHORY, SLAYER, METALLICA and I guess one or two others there aren't any bands around from the really old days.

Well, I can not agree, just think of KREATOR, MEGADETH, SODOM, RAZOR even NECRONOMICON etc. are still around, even if their sound has changed during the years... You said that you made your QUORTHON solo Lp, because you were (or still are?) a big KISS fan. So, what do you think of all the re-union stuff that happens today? Not only KISS , but also VENOM, TWISTED SISTER and even SEX PISTOLS try to revive their old days. Why are so many people hot to see all those bands? Don't all the new bands of today have anything exicting to offer anymore?

I can not believe that I have ever said I made the first solo album because I am/were a KISS fan. That was never the reason. The reason was to take a step aside and see what could be done outside of BATHORY for fun really. I guess ultimately the people who get the most out of all these re-unifications and revival stuff are the fans/the audiences. They will decide which act should fail or succeed, there's really nothing about any of that. But I would have preferred to see the original KISS without make-up and blood on his world tour...

Will you go to one of those KISS gigs in near future? and what about VENOM ?

I will probably go to see KISS in Stockholm in three weeks but never in a life time should I go to see VENOM ... not even if anyone pays me a million Deutsch Mark to go and see them.

This you can tell your grandma, but not me, haha. But let's continue... BATHORY has been one of the bands (like BULLDOZER, HELLHAMMER, SODOM, etc.) who got ridiculed by the press in the mid 80's... which were the worst reaction you ever got? Do you still remember some of the old reviews?

I guess there is a time when we all care a lot for reviews and stuff... for a lot of years now I have not been bothered with even reading my own interviews or reviews on BATHORY albums.. I don't care at all... I have been doing this stuff now for 14 years and have not too much love for the media for no other reason other than tha I feel a single person's idea about an album should not influence thousands of readers whether they should buy it or not... the Fuhrer-Prinzip, you know...

Yes, that's true, but reviews are necessary for a rough orientation, aren't they? Also, a bad review can sometimes be a reason for some maniacs to buy an album... The new wave of Black Metal was heavily influenced by your first three Lps, and you were regarded as a kind of god for many new black metal musicians. But when I read newer interviews of you, I can't get rid of the feeling that you like to destroy your "cult status" with statements like "Under the sign.." is your worst Lp, and things like that. Don't you want to be a kind of idol for all those young satanists? Or is Black Metal something that belongs to the past, and that you can't take for serious anymore?

It's not a question of wanting to be an idol or not... I am just perfectly honest when I say "Under the sign of the Black Mark" is not a very good album at all. It's just my personal opinion. I am not trying to kill the BATHORY legend and piss on the cult status around the name BATHORY and our albums. But all this legend status and cult or whatever you may call it was created by other people and I have nothing to do with that ( You certainly have something to do with that.. you created the mystery around BATHORY in the beginning, and most important, you created the music... - ed.). When I say I don't like some BATHORY stuff, some BATHORY fans go crazy and raise hell because I talk bad about a BATHORY album. Like if I wasn't in a position to be able to have an opinion at all... Of course I know how much BATHORY has meant to hundreds of bands and to tens of thousands of fans... but to me BATHORY is just another act. Very little of what BATHORY has done over the years is really good, most is shit... but the important thing is that we all understand when and how this stuff was recorded... we have to put everything into its right time-slot. We all progress, develop, improve and learn.....

How has Quorthon as a person changed during the years?

The same way we all change.. we grow and get older and wiser with time... better musicians and better understand what life and music is all about... well, most of us I hope!

What differs the new Black Metal wave from the old one? Are those two scenes comparable in your opinion? Can you take most of the new bands for serious, or are they just a horde of teenagers for you who just like to provocate with the help of Satan?

No. One cannot compare BATHORY, SLAYER, VENOM, HELLHAMMER, SODOM and the rest of the old acts with what's happening today. Mainly because first of all more than ten years seperates these acts with what's going on out there today. It's true we influenced a lot of these new acts but it's and entirely different market and scene now than ten years ago. These new acts carry the torch on into the future and I love it even though I know absolutely nothing about what they sound like or their names... I don't believe Black Metal was ever dead at all... music will always be around, only fashion comes and goes.

Please could you tell us how many copies you have sold of each album? Would be interesting to know... I guess you still sold a lot of CDs/Lps in the 90's as well, after Black Metal came back to reign?

The sales figures concerning BATHORY was never affected of the frequency of Black Metal in fanzines or magazines... We have sold more and more for each year there today. Today a new act can be glad to sell more than 10,000 copies of a debut album. It's not fair to compare sales figures because our first album has been out for 12 years and is considered a classic, whereas "OCTAGON , or my solo album are totally different type of albums and have only been out for a short time. But I have been able to live from the albums around the world.

Why are you so faithful to Black Mark? I mean, they haven't released anything that was as strong as BATHORY ... haven't you got any other offers from bigger labels so far?

That's your personal opinion that BLACK MARK hasn't released anything as strong as BATHORY ... it's true that we are their first babies in the sense that we sell more than any other act even though we do not tour and make videos like the others. We mean a lot to them as far as prestige and credibility is concerned and they do a lot for us becuase of that... We also draw attention to the label and this in the end helps a lot of great young acts reaching a record contract and an album release, etc... of course we have been approached by other major labels, but we have always said "no" to each and everyone of them basically because we want to remain an independent band on an independent label... the same reason why we never signed any big merchandise contracts.

Which were the coolest, most memorable things you experienced with BATHORY ? I can imagine that having a band helps you to see a lot of people and different countries...

I don't know really... what about fucking girls in limousines and 747's at 20,000 feet above the atlantic (sounds great! - ed), or signing autographs for six hours in two continents on promo trips, or doing TV and radio... I don't know... the greatest thing is probably having been able to make music and putting on Vinyl/CD... the other is the love and support from hundreds of thousands of fans all these years... money couldn't buy that I tell you, man!"

Yes, I can imagine this. You can't beat the felling, haha. Heavy metal seem to be a musical style that cannot be killed. It's alive for about 26 years now. Why do you think metal is still popular, why doesn't it ever get out of style?

Metal has got a specific sound and style that is very definitive even though there is a big difference between bands like BON JOVI (is this metal??? - ed.) and BURZUM . But call it Hard Rock, Metal, Black Metal, Death Metal, Speed, Thrash, Epic, Doom, Gothic, Grunge or whatever... its the guitar based hard style right through it all... Metal and Rock will never die!

There's talk of a BATHORY tribute Lp/CD... have you already heard some of the bands that will be included on that release? Have you heard any BATHORY covers at all so far?

I have known about several BATHORY tribute albums being made over the past two or three years, but I haven't yet heard of any out on the market... I know that several bands have done BATHORY covers on their album and I have even heard a few of them... It's great and you feel proud and start to think how much the stuff that I have done for these years have meant to a whole generation of Metal fans...

Are the BATHORY HORDES still existing?

BATHORY HORDES is just a bond of fans... there's no official fan club or anything... anyone into BATHORY is a horde member/ warrior.

Any final message to the fans?

Thank you for all these years of great memories... You are all part of the BATHORY legend... without you it would never have been possible. Hail the HORDES!"

Interview From Tales Of The Macabre #4, 1997
Provided by Mike Ferguson
Taken from Twilight web-site.

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