Thorns and Early Mayhem Inspired Teloch’s Riffs On “Esoteric Warfare”
Three years after joining Norwegian black metal progenitors, Mayhem, Teloch put his first notes on wax. Emulating the sinister sounds by previous six-string surgeons Blasphemer and Eurynomous is no small task and Teloch admits his first show was a bit bumpy, but the former Gorgoroth live member found his footing writing the riffs for “Esoteric Warfare.” After getting off "their juicy asses," mainstays Hellhammer, Necrobutcher and Attila (back for third recording) joined Teloch to create another an album built on speed and experimental dissonance. In the following interview, Teloch recalls his inspiration writing the album and the larger cast involved in its creation. Additionally, he discusses making another Nidingr album.
Rex_84: First of all, what influenced your stage name? What does it translate to, if anything, in English?
Teloch: Well, my real name is Morten, so I just played around that, Morten-Morte-Muerte-Death. And my good friend Dirge Rep found the Enochian word for death to me. Voila, nothing more magical than that.
Rex_84: How did the band handle writing and recording "Esoteric Warfare?" Did you rehearse much before going into the studio?
Teloch: I think Hellhammer and I had 3-4 rehearsals, where we played 3-4 songs, nothing more than that. I wrote the music and Attila the lyrics. Started to write the songs that is on this album during the summer of last year, and we started recording it in September. We started with recording the drums at the same place we did Ordo, at Mølla Studio in Norway. As soon as the drums were done, I recorded the rest in my studio -SleikBallaMi. Everything apart from some vocal parts was recorded there. When everybody had recorded their parts, we went back to Mølla Studio and got Knut Møllarn from Arcturus to mix it. The mastering was done in USA by Maor Applebaum.
Rex_84: Who conceived the album title? What does the title refer to?
Teloch: It’s from a song on the album “Throne of Time," “The will of man is broken, Esoteric Warfare.” Hellhammer and I were sitting in the car on the way back to Oslo from one of the mixing sessions, while listening to what we had done, we both looked at each other when Attila sung those words and agreed that this should be the album title. What it refers to? I have no idea, it just sounds cool. I really don’t read lyrics.
Rex_84: Much of your guitar play is on the low-end, bottom strings, which I feel relates more of a death metal sound than the thinner, higher notes of early Norwegian black metal. Were you going for more of a death metal sound on this album?
Teloch: Didn’t really think of it like that, maybe its just my way of playing, I tend to make more Death Metal things because I came from playing DM, a long time ago, stopped playing that genre in 1992. My plan was to go back to before Mysteriis with the riffing a little bit, but more updated. The Mayhem sound is very influenced by Thorns, so I went back and listened to some Thorns.
Rex_84: There are many instrumental pauses featuring various voices by Attila. Did you write these parts as a way to narrate your stories with Attila playing different characters?
Teloch: Some of those parts where meant for Attila to do his thing yes, others where not. When I wrote those songs, I also wrote drums, bass lines and vocal guides. Of course some was used, and some of it was not used by the guys.
Rex_84: What older Mayhem material did you start to learn when you joined the band in 2011? How long did you practice before playing your first gig?
Teloch: Being me I did practice a lot, but I don’t remember how much that was and what songs I first learned. It’s ages ago!
Rex_84: Do you recall your first show with Mayhem? How do you feel about your performance?
Teloch: Yeah, we did a show here in Norway, it was a cool gig. I wasn’t exactly on par yet, had some problems with monitoring of course, that’s real fun on your first gig with a new band. But all in all I pulled it off and did an OK gig.
Rex_84: Were you a fan of Euronymous before joining the band? Did you know any of his riffs before entering the band?
Teloch: Yeah I was a big fan of DMDS. That was the album that made me completely stop playing death metal and when I jumped on the black metal wagon. He has indeed written some memorable riffs, that’s for sure.
Rex_84: Hellhammer is considered one of the best drummers in black metal. He set the bar very high in terms of speed on early Mayhem recordings and has a distinct, jazzy quality to many of his slower paces. What was it like writing this album with him?
Teloch: We didn’t write much together, it was more like “is this too fast for you? “ Hellhammer : “no” when I showed him some 300bpm ideas I had. That guy is insane. He worked so hard one day on the studio, so he couldn’t walk anymore, barely get out of bed. But they put a stick on him and he did is job (in severe pain) for the rest of the studio session we had, not many other drummers would have done that.
Rex_84: How does writing Mayhem songs compare to Nidingr?
Teloch: With Mayhem I feel I have many rules to follow, it has to be some certain kind of way. But with Nidingr I have more freedom. For example, if I write a riff for mayhem that turns out too nice, I delete it. With Nidingr it can be as nice sounding as I want it to be.
Rex_84: You joined Mayhem in 2011 and released the Nidingr album "Greatest of Deceivers" in 2012. How did you divide your time between the two bands?
Teloch: It wasn’t a problem, with both bands it’s always me sitting waiting on the others to get their fingers out of their juicy asses. So far it hasn’t crashed yet, but if it does everyone agrees that I have to put Mayhem in front of Nidingr. It’s just the way it is.
Rex_84: When can we expect another Nidingr album?
Teloch: I started on the new Nidingr album a couple of weeks ago because as of now the Mayhem album is out, and the interviews are getting fewer, hence there is time for getting into the Nidingr material. I’m not very good at multi-tasking when it comes to song writing, so I had to get the Mayhem album out of the system first.
Rex_84: What are the band's touring plans? Will we see you in the U.S.A. again soon?
Teloch: We have a couple more EU tours, and some festivals this year. Nothing planned for North America yet. But we have to check out the possibilities to go touring there soon!
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