Victim

I don't think I have to introduce Mr Q., but I will introduce his forthcoming creation, the solo album "Purity Of Essence", which is a double CD containing no less than 23 songs. So...WATCH OUT!!!

What gave you the idea to make these solo albums?

I think I explain that a bit more in detail in the story on the "Blood On Ice" album. It says something like after "Twilight" I decided to give it up. Not that it didn't matter or we didn't sell, but it felt like what the hell more could you do? Porno movies or cartoons? I had sort of covered the whole spectrum.
After "Twilight" I had no idea what to do. What shall I do now? Yes, let's cut my hair, get an academic education and become something completely different.
While I was thinking about what to do someone recalled we were celebrating ten years on album. It was ten years since the first album was released so we decided to release the "Jubileum" records. They were released in late '93, early '94 (late '92, early '93 actually /Twilight). The reason it was two albums is that it was so many genres to cover, plus the fact that we had some unreleased material.
During that time I had had plenty of time to think and then someone said to me; "Go into the studio and make a record, anything. It doesn't matter what it sounds like. Just go in there!" So I went into the studio and brought with me a bass, a guitar and a drum machine and had really fun for six days. Then that record was released. It was a gamble. I didn't care if it had sold a hundred copies, but now it has sold 80-90 000 copies I think. Despite the fact that I did no tours, interviews or advertised on the moon. It's because of the name on the cover.

Is that why you choose to call it Quorthon instead of coming up with a new name?

If the cover had said "The Devil's Shithole" people would have though I had formed a new band and that Bathory was dead. The idea was, people should be able to figure out that I did this for my self, for my own sake. Something nasty, like an affair on the side.
I didn't expect neither positive nor negative reactions. The fun part is that there weren't that many bad reviews, rather confused ones. People sort of couldn't understand how to deal with it. When the solo album was finished I thought to myself, let's play speed again. You really long for it, I wouldn't had if I hadn't made the solo album. That's the reason "Requiem" and "Octagon" were made. After that we sat down and started working on "Blood On Ice", because it had emerged that it was almost a complete album. When that one was finished I thought OK, now I'm going to make the next solo album.

Did you have a special purpouse with this album or is it just to "clean" yourself?

God, yes. Just imagine being linked to something for twelve years and then you're standing there wondering how the hell you sound when you're not sounding as Mr Q. How do I sound when I'm singing for myself? That's what it was like when I made the first solo album. It was almost only talk-singing on it. I just talked into the mike. It felt pretty good because I didn't have any patterns to follow. There were no other albums to compare it with. However, this time there are. It's both ways, you make yourself develop. That's why I felt I couldn't record ten songs, I did 23 so people can choose what songs they like themselves. The record contains sort of anything from cute love songs to brutal hardcore punk.

What's the toughest or most boring part when you make a record?

The cover! It's always the toughest part.

Why? Is it boring?

Yes, but I think that it's not important. It's so fucking charged with covers and image. I've gone through all of that. I've wore leather underwear with nails, been sitting with skulls, blood and cobweb breathing fire. It's been lots of sixes and pentagrams everywhere. It's so nagged. After fourteen years you realize that the only thing that matters is how you sound, if it's still fun listening to this song after a year.
I would prefer if someone else would take care of the covers and stuff like that, but unfortunately there are no organisation behind Bathory. It's me and a guy who walks into the studio having fun and releasing the album, calling it Bathory. That's all, and it has s been like that for eight years.

What gave you the inspiration to write the material for "Purity Of Essence"? Old girlfriends?

No, nothing is straight from my private life. I'm so personal in everything I do anyway, but this is more indirect influences. You look at friends relationships with unfaithfulness, fights, ponderings and those kind of things.
I have a book with lots of songs from the '60s, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones among others, and if you read their lyrics they are sort of an atmosphere in them you will rarely find today. I mean, who would sit down, a long-haired hardrocker with a black metal past, and sing a song like "god, I miss you. I wonder what you are doing right now", half past one in the night. You couldn't picture Tom Araya doing those kind of things. People would laugh their ass off. Maybe they do it in my case too, but I don't give a damn. Anyway, today you are supposed to be socially interested and talk about death penalties and pollution and so on. It has become too serious, it's too much monotony in all that. If you have the liberty to enter the studio and make a record, why not get inspiraton from somewhere else. But if people, after all these years, quote me as a source of inspiration for hundreds, thousands of black metal bands, viking metal bands or whatever you call it, why shouldn't I be able to take influencese from the mid '60s?
OK, love can be really corny to sing about if you have an inverted cross around your neck, but it's just as relevant today as it was two million years ago. It's the same no matter how you look or what music you play. I mean, if you are a satanist maybe you call it being horny or something, but you still have emotions. But you gotta be cool as well.
I don't have any problems with my image, others do. I can say, come on. I'm 30 years old. I looked like that when I was 14-15 years old. I'm not saying I'm more intelligent because I don't look like that. It's just development. It's really hard when you're talking to someone who is 19, 20, 21 years old, a fan who walks up to you and complains about the latest album, you realize this guy was hardly in the junior-level when Bathory was formed.
Being young and unexperienced, no matter what area, you never take good advice from those who know. There isn't one kid who won't stick their fingers in the electrical outlet when the parents say "don't stick your fingers in the electrical outlet". We all learn from our mistakes.

Did you write all the material yourself?

Yes, I can't work with others. My ideas are always better than others. That's the way it is. With the first line-up, I tried to make the others write something, but they did really strange things that spoiled the songs. It became strange so I told them I'm sorry, I can't put this in my song. Write your own song. Maybe they did, but not even they thought it sounded good. Not everyone can write songs. I have a friend who is a divinely gifted technician when it comes to computer, drummachine, synthesizer programming and god knows what but he can't write a song.

How do you write a Bathory song, from the first chord till the complete song with lyrics and everything?

Always the music first. At first you come up with a "key", a riff you think sounds great. You put on the guitar, connect it to a mixer and give it an hour. You save the good parts and copy it. The bad parts you forget. If you hadn't recorded it all on tape you would have forgotten it all anyway, because all riffs sound the same. There's a part in one song on "Blood On Ice" which has a riff key that lasts for twelve beats I believe, and has exactly the same key as one of the songs on "Twilight". It's almost the same song, the same rythm, the same chords and everything. Because those songs were written at the same time, but I didn't think about it because the "Blood On Ice" material weren't supposed to be released. That wasn't the plan.
Anyway, you save the stuff you think sounds great and you listen to it and thinks this sounds great and then you get inspiration from it. Then you might come up with a rythm and eventually lyrics.

How long did it take you to write the material for this solo album?

I started in May, June last year and we entered the studio the 14th of August I believe. We mixed it in October and engraved it the first half of December and the rest at the end of January, early February. So nothing on the album, except maybe for some lyrics and a chorus somewhere, will be older than a year when the album is released.

You did all of it pretty fast then!

Yeah, but you know what detours you don't have to take. It's different if you play in a band which has been in the rehearsal place for two years and then for the first time are going into the studio to make a record.Of course you don't sound the same in the studio as you do in the rehearsal place, no matter if you have played those songs a hundred times and know them backwards. It doesn't even matter if you wrote the songs yourself or if you have played a cover since you were a kid. It's a completely different process, but you'll learn with time. After a while you know what detours to avoid.

Are the lyrics different from one another? I've only got a few songs yet since the albums has not been released and I haven't seen any lyrics.

I know where they come from, so of course you can tell them apart. But just because I sing about something doesn't mean it has to have a meaning. After all it's just fucking lyrics. I remember for example a speed metal magazine a guy from Kerrang started said that if you read the lyrics on "Octagon" or "Requiem", you get a clear picture over Quorthon's drug problems (? /Ed.) and those kind of things. You wonder how people read the lyrics on an album. If they are under the influence of some funny chemicals themselves, sitting with headphones and a black candle painting up one picture after the other in their heads.
Just look at USA, Metallica are being sued once a month just because some kid blew his head off. It's not Metallica's fault, it's the parents fault. The funny part is that they don't care about the worst stuff. Not one person is yelling about Burzum for example, they are after bands like The Eagles, Van Halen or Madonna. Because they know those bands are commercially bigger and if they ring that bell they reach more people.
What parent is so fucking stupid that they think they can get their 14 year-old son back after he committed suicide because he might not have gotten the love he needed when he grew up.
There are a song on "Octagon" called "Immaculate Pinetreeroad #930" which is based on a true event. If you read lyrics whithout listening to the music at the same time maybe you get a completely different picture of what's behind something like this.

Sueing bands is so fucking typical USA!

God! USA has the worlds largest hard porn production at the same time they say their evening prayers.
They are shouting about being the largest country in the world but half the population doesn't even live in human conditions. Total misery. It's so fucking crazy. It's such a young and big society. They have no culture, no breeding ground. OK, if you want something well done, do it yourself. But if you can't take care of yourself how the fuck are you supposed to be able to take care of someone else?

How did you plan the album?

It's hard for me to give prominence to any particular song since everything either sounds good or shit to me. I'm so fucking tired of the songs I can't stand hearing them, but people who came to the studio during the recording and while I mixed them said it sounds like a mix of Nirvana and Oasis and that certain songs, they picked out three, four pieces, are so fucking great they might even be played on radio stations. Because of that we have those songs in the beginning of the A-side since Putte-Niklas at the radio station with a capital R don't bother listening to 23 songs, hoping to find one he can play for his listeners between washing powder and child insurance commercials. They have a prominent position if you talk about the order of the songs, but it doesn't mean I want to sound like that forever and that I'm pissing on old Bathory fans because they still like "The Return". There are 23 songs to choose between and you have to take every song for what it is.

Have you sent anything to any radio stations yet?

There was a big trade fair in Cannes in France a while ago. It's the biggest fair in the world for record companies, artists, the lot, so we brought 10 000 promotion singles I think, containing four songs and gave them away. Than we have a list of 3000 radio stations all over the world that will also recieve a copy of the single.

How about Sweden? Will you send the album to Bandit?

Probably.There aren't many others that play guitar based rock today in this fucking techno based society. And I guess small local stations out in the country who plays hard rock one hour a week.
At least Bandit have guitar based music anyway.
I went to Radio Bandit for an interview, I don't remember when, I guess about two years ago. Back when they were still under English management. I rember they were exremely happy about a cuople of songs, especially the titles and the chorus.
In USA you can't say nigger in public for example, even less sexual words and curses and that was the case with the gyus at Bandit. OK, they knew what kind of a country Sweden are, very liberal. You can have naked tits in advertices and stuff like that. Something that would be completely impossible for an american adverticing agency.
So we had some song where I say "I'll never eat pussy again" in the chorus and they thought it was hilariuos, they played it 200-300 times and rolled on the flour laughing. Of course they played that song when I went there and when the song ended I said wery close to the michrophone "I'll never eat pussy again". They roared with laughter and said god, it's wonderful that you can play this kind of stuff in Swedish radio, so that song became a little favourite of theirs.

How much money do you get when a radio station play your songs?

Depends on how big an area they cover. For a local station there's a certain sum of money and for a station covering all of Sweden another. For a video played on MTV all over Europe there's an even bigger sum. How much? I don't dare to say a number because it could be half as much or twice as much. All I know is that I recieve several kilos of lists every week. If they played a Bathory song in Paraguay, rest assured it's on that list too. It says what country, what station and what song they played and how many per cent you recieve, but I can never remember that bloody number. If I have to make a guess it would be a couple of hundred SKR per minute I believe, which is great if they would play more songs from "Twilight" where many songs are ten minutes long. Like "Sorry listeners, we only have half an hour so we'll have commercials and two Bathory songs. We haven't got the time for anything else".

Did you hear they played the "One Rode To Asa Bay" video on MTV recently?

I know they have a couple of times. I recieve lists covering music videos as well. If a video have been shown which you have made the music for you get a fucking lot of cash, but I still haven't seen it. A lot of people you get in contact with in one way or the other says "God, I saw the video. I've been wating ten years to see it". Oh, I see, I've also been waiting that long to see it.
We had all kinds of people in that video. We brought with us a couple of girls who worked in the kitchen on a restaurant where we ate. I just asked: "Hi, do you be want to be in a video?" I guess they wondered what kind of a video it was, ha, ha! Then it was a couple of ladies working at a stable.
We filmed it everywhere in Stockholm. Among others we went to viking graves, but a lot of the things we filmed are apparently not in the video according to those who saw it. We poured five hundred liters of gasoline in a big lake and gasoline is thicker than water, so it spread like a thin membrane over the surface. We thought it would be just a big ring of fire. We didn't think it would spread all over the surface.
When we had emptied that can of gasoline, totally five hundred liters, it spread over the lake without us noticing it and when we took a match and lit it the whole lake was on fire, but at least we got some great pictures.
We also went around with torches inside caves 120 meters below earth.
But all of this was for fun. Not a fraud, just to have some fun. It's the same thing with merchandise for example. Ten years ago we had the opportunity to sign a big fucking contract with an american merchandise company named "Winterland Production" and they are the world's largest shirt manufacturers when it comes to rock t-shirts. There was a huge sum of money involved, but all of a sudden we realized no, this isn't right. We're supposed to be an underground band. When we print shirts we only print about 1000 copies and then we sold it all in three months. Then you see a lot of fans with home-made Bathory shirts. It sort of gives you a genuine feeling when you see someone who painted the goat on the back of their leather jacket instead of walking to the store and buy one for 200 SKR. It's more real.

Were you planning a double CD or did it just happen?

Noone enters the studio and makes a double CD today. Hardly "normal" bands who sell decent can sell a double CD with the tough competition we experience now.
Imagine a debut band releasing a record. They should be glad if they sell 10 000 CDs. There are an incredibly amount of albums being released and an incredibly amount of bands. The competition is fierce. You'll be glad for anything. It's not the way it was 14-15 years ago, when we started. Back then there were fewer bands, but you got the feeling people knew more about the music and the bands. In those days, around '83-84, there were maybe fifty fanzines in the world and if you did an interwiev with a fanzine you knew that the guy you were talking to or answered some questions through mail had heard every song a hundred times and worshipped all the bands that were around back then, no matter the style, because "yeah, this is my music".
But today, god, you walk into an international press newsstand and pick up the latest number of Kerrang!, and what do you see?
Marilyn Manson and Type O Negative! What the fuck has that got to do with metal? You feel a bit lost. Well, I shouldn't talk, I'm about to release an album with lots of acoustic love ballads, but anyway. Those tiny boundaries that are being broken hurts a bit more than what you are doing if you are breaking boundaries.
Anyway, noone thinks, yeah I'm going to make a double CD, I'm that big. After all, it cost you twice as much to make a double album and mathematically you'll have to sell twice as much to get your money back. So you are not sitting down calculating, yeah I'm going to write one hundred songs and make a double album.
I had twenty-four or twenty-five songs when I entered the studio and I scrapped some because I felt oh, this one is too bad. I don't have the energy to work on it. That's so typical me! If I don't have the energy to do the guitar on on a song it's like, no I don't give a fuck. There are probably five or six songs on the album where I said "but I don't have the energy to sing on this song. I hate it!". "What? It's great!", someone said and then you did the vocals. Maybe that week you feel hm, I don't want to work on this song right now, but then you have to do another song. The songs ended up on the album anyway and people who listened to them thought this is right, it covers everything, why not make a double CD and let people decide themselves what songs they like the best instead of choosing some songs and ending up in some genre somewhere, like this is only brutal songs and this is just soft songs. We couldn't choose so we put it out on two CDs, like a music-box of chocholate.

Did you have any guest musicians helping you out during the recording?

Well, on one song a friend of mine plays some synthesizer chordes. I was so fucking tired that day and didn't have the energy to play it myself so I wrote down the tones and he played in on the synthesizer. It was G, D, E minor and C7 or something like that. Anyone can play that.
The drums are a mix of drummachine and real drums. I think it's 75% drummachine and the rest is something I do afterwards when you feel no, the beats should have been harder there. Things you can't correct with a computer, but everyone works like that nowadays. Not even Metallica or a five-piece band who plays two hundred gigs a year enters the studio strictly playing real drums. You always use a sampler, computers and shit. OK, it sounds like real drums but you have to correct it. Like if you adjust the sharpness in the beat. You can play the drums on a phone book or a shoe box and then you change the sound with a computer.
That was't possible when we recorded the first Bathory albums in the early '80s. You were happy if you could hear it at all.

Did anything go wrong during the recording?

No, we just laughed all the time.We have so fucking fun when we record. If someone would come into the studio when we are recording they would think we're insane, that we've been in that studio for two years not seing the sun or something like that.
Sometimes, at half past ten in the evening, you think fuck, nothing on TV tonight and no date this night either. The you call the pal and say "let's go the studio and work". Then when you're finished nine in the morning all you did was laughing all night, having lots of fun trying out new ideas.
I remember when we did the first solo album. We laughed for six hours at one single thing. You know when a conductor taps his music stand to prepare the orchestra. A three-year old could do it. Take a small stick and tap three times on a rack.
This was during the end of the recording and we were totally psyched out by all jokes and stuff, so I couldn't do those three conductor-taps. I think we tried for a day, but it didn't matter. We were ahead of schedule and besides, we laughed till we cried. The only thing I was supposed to do was tap one piece of metal against another and I couldn't do it. I just cried of laughter. Eventually it didn't make it on the CD.

What do you think was the most laborious or boring part with the work on "Purity Of Essence", not counting the cover?

The most laborious part is mixing. If you say like this, it might sound like a really strange explanation or translation, but if you make a sketch on a big piece of paper, let's say you're drawing a landscape and work a lot with it. When you're sketching someone all of a sudden comes up to you and say "that's fucking great. We'll use it". Then you'll have to do it all over again, but this time you'll have to make it perfect. No rubber lines, you can't use a rubber. Everything must be perfect. Now you've been working on this drawing for three weeks, you haven't done anything else and you must finish it and have to do it over and over again.
When a person who's sitting at an editorial office, which of course will recieve a copy of "Purity Of Essence" on his desk along with two hundred other CDs he's going to review for the next number, the first thing he'll hear are some sickly-sweet guitars, some stringed instruments and a lot of sickly-sweet lyrics from an old black metal god from Stockholm. Of course he will give it terrible reviews, but he'll only listen to half a song once. Then he don't give a fuck about the rest. Maybe he'll add it to his personal album collection saying "look how many CDs I've got". While I have heard every song, not exaggerating, 800-1000 times, so I'm terribly tired of them.
It's one thing to do the guitars, then bass, drums, vocals and then solos, effects and chorus or whatever. That's fun because the material grows all the time. When you're done and get to the mixing you can spend three days listening to one song over and over again. After a while you can't hear the differences. Sometimes I have to leave.
When we did this solo album we worked with another technician because we had a very advanced computer table. He said you should see when we mix other bands, like when they make this techno music, which to me sounds like something you can make in 45 minutes. It's just machines playing. The week before I was there they had a Swedish artist, who recorded a single, and the technician told me that they worked for four days with one sentence and that's completely natural when you make albums. And we mixed 23 songs in ten days. Yet we took a weekend off and you just don't do that. A studio is so expensive that you can't take a weekend off. We worked from like ten in the morning until five in the afternoon, that's not too many hours. I mean, I have to go to watch hockey too, ha, ha.
The technician couldn't believe it, you don't mix 23 songs in ten days, you can't work half-time and you can't say we don't give a fuck about this because I'm going to the hockey game. He just sat there shaking his head saying you can't work like this, you're not supposed to work like this. Then I said I've been working like this for fourteen years.

What do you like the best with the new solo album if you look at it as a whole?

It will sound really strange trying to explain, but I have taken such a big step from the first solo album. On the first album I just entered the studio thinking well, I can give it a try. If it sounds OK maybe we can put it on an album and maybe release it. It was like groping in the dark, but this time it sounds really ambitious. It's hard to explain, but those who have listened to the new one says it sounds completely different compared to the first one. I guess it sounds a bit more proffesional.

Did you make any money on the first solo album?

God, it didn't cost much to do it. What could it have cost? 12 000 SEK maybe. And what did it sell? 80 000-90 000 something. We got the money back many times.
It's like the first album we made. It costed 2000 SEK to make and took 56 hours to make and it still sells. Great!

How long does it take before you get any money?

I can tell you an extreme case, but it's a bit our own fault too. When we did the first Bathory albums, from the first until "Blood Fire Death", we had no album contract. We just had a distribution contract. We didn't report the first albums to this giant organisation which collects royalties from all over the world. OK, I got my money straight from the record company, but there's something called "Gema". It's kind of a royalty organisation from which you recieve money for album sales, radio shows and stuff in other countries. The money I was supposed to recieve ten years ago I recieve now. Talk about interest on those money. They didn't know where to send it, so it's not until the last four years I've been able to live of the music. Earlier I just got a few tens of thousands every now and then. Now I've never less than 50 000-60 000 SEK on my account. I raise my hat for the Bathory fans and say thanks.
When Black Mark was founded we thought no, we don't give a fuck about all these semi-contracts anymore. It's better to stay permanently at one place. Black Mark said they would go for new metal, a lot of young, fresch bands. It sounds good we thought. Why be on a big label with umpteen other bands, well now there are umpteen bands on Black Mark too, but it's still the same feeling. When you go to the office there are no leather sofas and the long-haired have to be in the kitchen. You can call the office saying we'll wait two weeks before entering the studio. We're not ready yet.
Here you have a company who aren't afraid to drive the bus when the band is touring and the guys wants to party and take one beer to many. They just say "it's cool. We drive".

What did you do before you got those money? Did you ever work with something not involving music?

Anything! I've done anthing and 90% of it was dirty money. Anything from working as security guard at parties, concerts and water festivals to anything you can think of. And as I said, I didn't pay taxes for most of it.
People gave me 2000 SEK for one nights job. That's not bad. But now I don't have to work. I can live of the music. It's so well organized today. If they play half a song in the People's Republic of China or whatever, it sure as fuck ends up on a list six months later. I get my money there. Noone have a chans to run away.

Will you be going out and promote the album?

I did for the first solo album, but that was also to explain why it was released about the same time as the jubileum albums.
To be really, really fucking honest, I don't do these things only to promote, more to see the world. Go to museums and to make a real bargain at flea markets and stuff like that. It's much more fun going to a flea market in Berlin finding old interesting things than sitting at an office surrounded by five journalists who are sitting there nodding.
Another benefit is that you don't have to pay for anything yourself. You fly without paying, you stay at great hotels, you eat and get driven back and forth. But it can be strenuous too. When I promoted "Hammerheart" I was out for two months and slept about two nights a week. I brought a video camera and on it are recordings from the first thing I did in the morning, before I even had breakfast, doing an interview over the phone at 7.30 AM. Then there are photo sessions in parkes and houses to be demolished and meeting people in rock clubs and signing records in a record shop. And when you look at the watch it's half past one in the night and you're still sitting in your bed with dark circles around your eyes doing an interview with some little scottish fanzine.
At least there are always a couple of days you can take time off and go to museums. I always go to the war museum when I'm in London. That's routine.

Are you going to celebrate the release in any way?

Release parties are just an excuse to drink beer and say you are on album. I remember what it was like between '84-'86. I was out partying every night, but unfortunately there weren't as many rock places in those days as there are now. Same story every night. You drank as much booze you could get hold of, you tried to get off spending as little money as possible and tried to sleep with anything that was possible to be slept with. In the middle of all this there were other guys in my age who were also wearing their hair long and played in bands and had visions. The difference was they were trying to copy a certain band (Europe /Twilight) from Upplands Väsby with poodle hair do's, make-up and frilly shirts instead of coming up with something of their own. I know those guys are still out on rock clubs thinking they'll succed some day. The difference is they are not eighteen anymore, they are thirty.
Besides, it's the audience that decides if you will succed or not. In the end it's always the people that gets the most of it. That's the way it is, because if you don't like an album you don't have to buy it.
I guess I was the least ambitious one. I thought Bathory would never release an album, we won't be around in ten years, we'll never gonna sell, but now I'm sitting here fourteen years later.

Did this Quorthon project affect your work with Bathory in any way? Delayed it or so?

No, the contrary rather. I had the intention to record this second solo album in May last year but when I found all those old "Blood On Ice" tapes we said no, let's scrap this. We'll finish "Blood On Ice" first and when that is finished and released and so we'll do the solo album. It can never take one second from Bathory because that is still the ultimate priority, but of course it has been affected. It will be after you've done a sickly-sweet album, or whatever you could call it, like this. Sickly-sweet is just an expression though. When I talk to people in letters and interviews about old Bathory songs and say old fucking shit songs they think I'm ashamed of the old black metal days, but it's just an expression. It's the same thing with these solo albums. If you say sickly-sweet songs it's just to point out that you are so fucking excited to go into the studio and raise hell. So that's great for Bathory.

What makes you enjoy being involved in music?

That you can come up with something I guess. I mean, a song is just a fucking song. Three chords, some lyrics and a rythm. About nothing that is being done now hasn't been done before. There are a limited number of strings on a guitar and a limited number of notes you can come up with. Hard rock or extreme metal are very narrow as it is too. But sitting in my bed in my dirty bathrobe with cold dishwater tea playing guitar and then four months later it's on tape. It's that process that is fun, come up with something, finish it and then go into the studio and record it. After it has been recorded I loose all interest in it. I would rather walk away and let somone else take care of all the things. The boring part is next. Mixing, doing covers and travel around Europe talking to a lot of dickheads who sits at their intellectual fucking metal offices trying to be some kind of fucking metal guru. Some old fucking German dude with an architect education, who's only excuse to his grandmother why he has long hair is "but grandmother, I work at a heavy metal magazine". If I come there they take me to a room saying now we gonna take some photos and then there are a black piece of cloth with a pentagram on it and then there are a plastic skull and a couple of black candles. Here's a bottle of blood, you can change your clothes over there. Where's your fire spitting stuff? Grow up is all I say.

Are there, in your opinion, any negative aspects being a musician?

It should be the fact that, well it's a poor excuse, but a person who's been involved in music rarely has a good education or grades.
Take my best friend who's also been involved with music since he was a kid and knows how to play lots of instruments and stuff. He's done albums, been in magazines and all that, but when he comes to the employment service and asked what he has done he says he's been a rock star for ten years and now he needs money from an unemployment benefit fund or a job. "What kind of education do you have?" "I've been to lots of places in Sweden and Finland and in magazines". That won't give you a job. You need an education today. And when he's a pensioneer he has no ATP points because he hasn't worked at some fucking industry somewhere. He's just been on stage at a rock cloub somewhere in Gothenburg playing his songs, maybe got some free beer. He has no ATP points whatsoever. He got those five hundred SKR after the gig.
That's the negative part, being a musician you are so involved. At an industry you walk up to a machine and press a button and you do it twenty times. You are just a piece of the machinery. But when you're a musician you have to come up with songs, you have to rehearse, play live, make videos, be in studios and do interviews. At the same time as you have to watch yourself so you don't loose your image, because to many it's very important "look at me. I have long hair and tatoos. Fuck, I'm cool. I make albums". Eventually they'll end up in the same situation. They meet a girl, get children and live in a terrace house somewhere in a suburb with a volvo and an Alsatian.

What's positive?

I can't exactly bragging about all the world tours I've done. I can't compare with other bands and their experiences. It's different with every band, with every person. We are all different, but the great part is writing songs and record them in a studio. You can do without the rest.

Is there something you did that means an extra lot to you?

Two things. The musical part, that you have managed to develop yourself all the time. That you don't chew on the same chewing gum year after year, not daring to take the step you need to take to succed.
I remember when we did a song on "Hammerheart", that was like two minutes long with acoustic guitar and very sensitive, tranquil vocals, that was called "Song To Hall Up High". Like I said, Tom Araya couldn't do that without people shitting their pants, but if you're in the position that you can do something like that and people accept it, it means that you have managed to develop yourself and the fans in about the same pace.
You can always try a new sound but it's not all the times you succed or dare. If you can do it and still make it, it means you have helped out stretching the boundaries a bit. Having stretched the boundaries musically without selling out so to speak, without becoming ridicilous or not trustworthy.
Then there's always the aspect that I know that I've always been a great example to the fans, I've never pissed on them thinking, fucking brats, buy this album so I'll get a couple of hundred SKR. It doesn't matter if a person can't write good English or if he lives somewhere where they don't even have a CD recorder. It shouldn't matter. I don't have to be sound as a bell or really free to sit down and answer some letters. It takes like a quarter of an hour to read a letter and then answer it. It means so much to the guy who wrote the letter. Not many do this and I'm fucking proud that I've managed to do it for all these years. Being the so called "rock star" I would have wanted to write to. It's in the heart, without a heart it won't work.

Maria Eriksson interviews Quorthon, Victim Magazine #5, March 1997
Typed out and translated by the Twilight Webmaster
Taken from Twilight web-site.
www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Palladium/6646/


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