"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Interview

Interview With Satyr

Photo of Satyricon

Band Photo: Satyricon (?)

I went to see Satyricon Saturday night in Worcester and had the pleasure of personally interviewing Satyr. First of all, I would like to thank James ( the tour manager for Satyricon) who was absolutely cool and arranged the interview in a very short notice.

I really wish Satyricon played a longer set ( it lasted for only 25- 30 min) but they did play Mother North- a total classic in the genre. It was a very good show and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was pleasantly surprised to find many enthusiastic fans in the crowd- something that I haven't seen here in New England, especially when it comes to a black metal show. Overall, the band received a very warm reception. Check out some cool pics here

I was quite elated while doing the interview. Satyricon are an icon in Black metal and I was really honored to chat with Satyr. And so it begins...

Gothique: First I wanna ask you what have you been doing for the last 2 years since the release of 'Volcano'? Anything new you've got going on?

Satyr: After we released the album in Europe, we toured [Europe] quite extensively and now we're just focused on getting a new setup in the States for the band and that's what we've done with signing with EatUrMusic/ Columbia and 2004 is just dedicated to touring America to try not only to just promote 'Volcano' but trying to establish the band.

Gothique: You just released it here [US], right?

Satyr: Yeah, and, you know, I write a little bit of material in between all the things that I do but I guess the most valuable thing for me is just do the tour or write music. To combine the two of them doesn't work. We do have some material for a new album that we're gonna record next year. But we gotta finish what we just started here in America and then just focus on the album. But to me, 'Volcano' is my new album because it just came out in the States.

Gothique: Well, I'm actually from Europe so I'm familiar with it.

Satyr: Yeah (smiles)

Gothique: When you're writing new material, where do you get your inspiration from? Do you walk around in the woods in the winter, sit by the lake? (laughs)

Satyr: No. I think my inspiration comes from my own mind and soul, you know. For me that's just the way of doing it. I could never, like, sit there and think- oh, I wanna do something in style, in the vein of this and that band, you know. I don't think Satyricon would've been a successful band if that was my way of thinking. We are black metal pioneers , we're not copycats and there might be some vibes in other people's music that I wanna create similar to that, but that's it, you know. Everyhting you experience in your life makes you who you are . I think all the things that I've seen and experienced in my life, all sort of things, is making me do the music that I do.

Gothique: What about the black metal scene- do you think that the style is actually decaying or is it stll progressing?

Satyr: Well, that's pretty much up to the band, if it's progressing or not. I think it is [progressing]. I think that, for example, the last record we did, 'Rebel Extravaganza' ('99), contributed a lot to progressing of black metal. And that was also part of the reason why I made that record the way it is and I guess what I'm saying is the band takes responsibility. I think it's almost like in a football team you have good players or spearhead, that will show good example, kinda lead the rest. But there's very few black metal bands that have awareness about that, you know. They are like- I've got my own band, I don't care about the rest. That's not the way Satyricon think. We make music for ourselves but we're also very well aware of the fact that we are and have been for a long time one of the most important bands in the scene and what we do, no matter if we want it or not, has kinda shaped the direction of black metal because it's gonna influence a lot of people and bands.
So, I know Darkthrone think like that. Darkthrone's thing is very much like they do what they wanna do but they're also conscious about wanting to keep the traditional old- school Black metal alive, you know. And the more bands who think like that, the better the chances are of this style having constantly progressing and developing. And, I think that the strong bands will always survive and in Europe it [Black metal] has lasted for a long time and I guess it's a brand new thing now [in US] but it's on the rise.

Gothique: So do you think that the audience is different here in the US, because I myself as an European find huge differences between the American and European crowd.

Satyr: It's very different. You know, I haven't even played places like California and Texas and stuff like that, so there's a lot of stuff for me to experience.

Gothique: Yeah, I would say that the European audience is much more enlightened when it comes to black metal, while in America nu metal is quite big and black metal is a fairly unknown style except for Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir. Speaking of which, I've been reading in various forums lately that those bands are not considered "true" anymore. Do you think they really sold out, like, by signing to Sony (Cradle Of Filth)?

Satyr: No, I don't think they did. Because I think that any band should always, as far as the business side of things, record deals and stuff like that, aim for artistic freedom. And artistic freedom comes with money. The more money you have to spend on you recording, your videos, gives you more artistic freedom and the ability to do what you like to do. And you have a lot of people saying- yeah, this should be underground and at the same time they send e-mails to my label Moonfog saying where can we get your stuff, we can't find your stuff. And another thing that comes with big labels is distribution, availability of records, which is crucial, obviously. But I think that it's also cool to have labels like my own label [Moonfog], I mean you hardly make any money off of it, it's just the thing where we're doing something that is not gonna make us rich but it's going to make us important artisticly and creatively and there's a lot of stuff that you can get rich from that hasn't anyhting to do with money. But, you know, in major labels there's all those things like bureaucracy that I dont' like.

Gothique: So you produce Satyricon through your own label, Moonfog?

Satyr: No, 'Volcano', the CD in Europe is out through Capitol and Virgin Records and the vinyl is out through my own label, Moonfog. And 'Volcano' in the States that just came out was released through EetUrMusic which is the new label of Daron Malakian from System Of A Down.

Gothique: And one last question- what is you personal musical influence? What did you listed to when you were 15- 16?

Satyr: I guess all the same things I listen to today. Like, 15-16, that's when I started getting heavily into the music that I do today. I started listening to music at a very early age. According to my mother, I was listening to classical music when I was 3 years old, I don't even remember that but she told me that I knew how to put on the music and just listen to it. When I was 7-8, my two older cousins turned me into bands like Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, and all that stuff. And thrash metal, something I discovered on my own, just, like, heavier things. And then late 80's, that's when I was 15-16, then I was listening to Black and Death metal, mainly Black. You know, Darkthrone, Morbid Angel, and more classic bands like Slayer, Celtic Frost, Bathory, Venom, stuff like that. And at that time I was starting my own band.

Gothique: Thank you very much for you time. Good luck with the tour and I'm sorry for what happened with Frost.

Satyr: Yeah, me too (laughs)

Gothique: Far Vel, tusen takk.

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