Drummer Frost Discusses Satyricon's Upcoming Activity
Band Photo: Satyricon (?)
Norwegian black metallers Saytricon saw the U.S. release of their last album “The Age of Nero” in January of 2009. The band is set to embark on an extensive set of North American and European tour dates throughout the next few months (tour dates listed below). Satyricon drummer Frost (Kjetil Vidar Haraldstad) spoke to me about the band’s most recent release, their upcoming tour, and plans to start writing new material.
We started off with the basics of when Frost first became interested in music and joined a band.
Frost: I got my first drum kit and started to play at the age of 15, but my true involvement with music began when I joined Satyricon in 1992. Music has been an important part of my life and my identity since I was nine, but it’s impossible to say exactly when I conceived the idea of being a musician. Most kids with a strong interest in music toy with the idea of playing an instrument and the line between an exciting idea and a serious plan is thin. The decision to devote my life to being a music performer is actually of a quite recent date.
Frost then explained the sound of “The Age of Nero” and how each of the songs were put together.
Frost: “The Age Of Nero” is a dark and muscular album, and we see it as Satyricon’s great work and our finest achievement up until now. It sums up all the strengths of the band and adds something that has taken Satyricon further. We apply several different methods [in creating a Satyricon song], but most of the songs for “The Age Of Nero” were created in an iterative fashion. Satyr (Satyricon’s vocalist and guitarist) would typically show me some song sketches after having gotten the core idea manifested musically, and I would work on the rhythmic solutions with Satyr in the rehearsal place. Often we would build on or change the unfinished musical pieces and then record our work in the rehearsal place. Satyr would bring the recordings with him to evaluate the work and take the composing process a step further. On this foundation he would make a new and improved version of the initial song sketch, which he would then take with him to the rehearsal place again. Like this, the process would go back and forth between creative work and evaluation until the song felt complete and had a good flow from the beginning to the end. It was like breeding living organisms in a way, and seeing to it that each song/organism had a strong spine and a set of well functioning body parts and, of course, a spirit.
After having read many positive and negative reviews of “The Age of Nero” that all cited Satyricon’s shift in style I asked Frost about how Satyricon has changed and more importantly how black metal in general has changed since they started back in 1990.
Frost: Satyricon will never stick to a formula. Creativity is a strong driving force in this band. Hence, all our albums sound fundamentally different from each other. Both Satyr and I seek to learn a lot from the work it is to create and record an album and to improve technically, musically, and composition wise. It follows that significant change will take place in between each round as we bring new insights and abilities into our musical work. As far as black metal in general goes, I simply think it has gone through a perfectly natural evolution. There is really nothing dramatic with what has happened. It has grown and matured and gotten more complex just like any living organism. But a revolution rather than just slow evolution is now called for, I think.
Frost was excited to mention the upcoming U.S. and Canadian tour dates alongside their three supporting bands.
Frost: We’re following up a truly successful tour that we did with Cradle of Filth in January and February, touring across most of the country and doing some shows in Canada, too. I look forward to meeting our American fans again, as it was a real pleasure the last time! We’re bringing Municipal Waste, Chthonic, and Bleeding Through as support. It’s a hungrier and more potent Satyricon than you’ve ever seen before that’s about to hit the U.S. this time.
The band recently posted a MySpace update stating that they would take time off after their upcoming tour dates to “get creative.” I asked if I could assume that meant writing new material and go the following answer
Frost: You drew the correct conclusion.
Satyricon has been part of the Norwegian black metal scene as long as any of the other big names like Emperor or Gorgoroth. Since Norway is such a relatively small country I asked Frost about how the various black metal pioneers interact today.
Frost: There were stronger bonds between people in the scene when we were younger. Many of these bonds were of a professional rather than a social nature, though. We still are in contact with some people in the scene, but you have to remember that in this scene there are many individualists whose main purpose is not to create social groups or to be part of a movement. Traditionally there has been a quite healthy and balanced mix of competition and cooperation between the Norwegian bands.
To end the interview I asked Frost about the music he’s been listening to lately.
Frost: Old classics like Bathory and Celtic Frost are always appreciated, but since I fill so much of my days with sounds and intense music, I often listen to ambient soundscapes whenever I want to chill out. Klaus Schulze and Bohren und der Club of Gore are examples of artists that I listen to a lot.
You can catch Satyricon live on the following tour dates:
10/2 2009 The Door Dallas, Texas
10/3 2009 White Rabbit San Antonio, Texas
10/6 2009 Marquee Theatre Tempe, Arizona
10/7 2009 Glasshouse Pomona, California
10/8 2009 Key Club West Hollywood, California
10/9 2009 The Boardwalk Orangevale, California
10/10 2009 Slim’s San Francisco, California
10/12 2009 Hawthorne Theater Portland, Oregon
10/13 2009 El Corazon Seattle, Washington
10/14 2009 Rickshaw Theatre Vancouver, British Columbia
10/16 2009 Club Sound Salt Lake City, Utah
10/17 2009 Gothic Theatre Englewood, Colorado
10/19 2009 The Pearl Room Mokena, Illinois
10/20 2009 Peabody’s DownUnder Cleveland, Ohio
10/21 2009 Opera House Toronto, Ontario
10/23 2009 The Palladium Worcester, Massachusetts
10/24 2009 The Trocadero Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
10/25 2009 The Fillmore @ Irving Plaza New York, New York
10/27 2009 Club Soda Montreal, Quebec
12/2 2009 Hof ter Lo Antwerpen
12/4 2009 Trabendo Paris
12/5 2009 Turock Essen
12/6 2009 Z7 Pratteln
12/7 2009 Backstage Munchen
12/8 2009 Estragon Bologna
12/10 2009 Szene Vienna
12/11 2009 Jumbo Kosice
12/12 2009 Folimanka Praha
12/13 2009 Studio Club Krakow
12/15 2009 Train Ahus
12/16 2009 Markthalle Hamburg
12/17 2009 Batschkapp Frankfurt
12/18 2009 Alte Spinerei Glauchau
12/19 2009 Effenaar Eindhoven
12/20 2009 Shepherds Bush London
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