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"Beauty and darkness" on the ruins of Celtic Frost

at is the message behind your latest album Eparistera Daimones?

The message behind it is very difficult, it's a very personal album. The album reflects a certain stage of my life. It was created during a time when there were a lot of problems in my life, a lot of darkness, and, of course, it's nothing unusual to say something like that in the scene, so it sounds like a huge cliché, but it's a very personal album. I lost a band, Celic Frost, that was the center of my life, that was everything to me and I lost that under very difficult circumstances. It changed my life completely, and on such stage of my life I created this album, Eparistera Daimones.

People are fond of classifying music into genres, how would you classify Triptykon yourself?

It sounds like Celtic Frost (laughing). That's how I classify it. Triptykon is a continuation of my past that started with Hellhammer and then went on with Celtic Frost. I'm continuing exactly that path. But if you really must put a label on it, I just always say we're a hard rock band or heavy rock band, I don't even like to go any further, you know. There's so ma
ny things that are part of Triptykon's sound, it's impossible to say whether it's black metal, or thrash metal, or death metal, or doom metal – there's so many things in there. I've played this music 30 years before all this tags even existed, so should I label it? I think not.

Tell us more about the video "Shatter", that seems to be one of the most successful and artistic metal videos of the last year.

The main idea is derived from the German expressionism of the 1920s, not only the black and white movies and the silent movies, but also the graphic designs after World War I, when the artistic scene in Germany was beginning to flourish. I'm a big fan of it. It's amazing: the photography of that time and the graphic design are fantastic. And the logo of Triptykon is also derived from these expressionist designs. I paid especially good attention to finding a good director for the video, and, of course, it's a German director from Leipzig. He completely understood where I wanted to go and he even contributed with his own ideas, which fit perfectly. The whole video was a 5 months piece of work, there are tons of detailed concep
ts behind it; I drew the whole video. I had a very definite concept of what I wanted, and with all the respect towards the other bands, of course everybody can do whatever they want, but I personally thought there were enough videos of a band standing in an empty factory headbanging. I've done all of those headbanging things, I wanted to do something very different.

Do you think that without Helhammer and Celtic Frost modern black metal scene, especially the Norwegian one, would not be what it is now?

I cannot possible answer that. That would be extremely arrogant, if me, having been in both bands, would say something like that. I don't know! (laughing) You people from the media and the fans would probably have to judge it. I recorded and played my music, that's my contribution. But whatever it does to the public is neither under my control nor am I entitled to judge it. It would be totally pretentious and egomaniacal if I'd go "Yeah, yeah, my music changed this and that". I'm old enough to view myself very realistically, very honestly. I'm simply a musician. I play music; some people like my music and some people hate my m
usic, that's the end of the story.

You recently cooperated with a Norwegian band 1349, mixing their albums? Why them and what attracted you in this project?

Well, we've been friends for many years. I first was friends with Frost, who also plays in Satyricon, for many years, and then I also became friends with the singer of the band 1349, Ravn. We just discovered that we think exactly alike, that we understand music exactly alike, they invited me to join them on stage, and I invited Ravn to join Celtic Frost on stage, and we just became closer and closer. And at the end of the day we were talking about doing an album together and eventually we did two albums. We toured together many times. It's a very close friendship, and that kind of things happen, of course, between people who think alike.

Why do you think black/extreme metal scene is so strong in Norway?

I have no idea! (laughing)

Do you think it might have anything to do with the weather, nature?

Well, of course. I mean, my own music was also derived from darkness, from the long Swiss winters. Switzerland, my
own country, is in a way similar, with very long and cold winters, we get a lot of snow, long night and all that, so it's the same circumstances. And, of course, that moves people to creating darker music. And I can imagine that Scandinavia and Finland, sharing the same circumstances, will also be drawn to the same music.

Do you have any plans of collaborating with any other bands in the nearest future? Why?

I will most probably co-produce or co-mix a couple of albums by other bands this year, together with the guitar player of Triptykon at his studio. And I've just been asked by a Swedish band to do some guest vocals on their album this year, and, of course, I will of ,course produce next Triptykon album, we'll probably have a guest or two in there as well. So yes, there'll be a few collaborations this year.

You've never really fit into the parameters of black metal, so why do you think you've been so popular among its fans?

I'm not so popular; there are also many people that hate me with a passion (laughing). I've been creating extreme music for over 30 years, and extreme music creates extre
me reactions, whether positive or negative. But, you know, I'm not creating "elevator music". I create extreme metal, and the reactions are as passionate as extreme. I write my music for myself. My music is me performing exorcism on my own demons, my own therapy, me dealing with the things that are going on in my mind. And what happens beyond that is neither intentional nor is under my control. Of course it's flattering if somebody likes your music, but that's not why I'm writing my music. I'm writing my music for my own sanity.

You told that nowadays a lot of old school extreme metal bands behave themselves like cowards recording totally predictable albums, so two questions related to that statement:
- Don't you think it's a natural process and they simply cannot produce anything interesting/unique, just because they don't come up with new ideas and not because they're cowards?
- Would you tell that there are any old-school bands breaking this pattern and if yes, what are they?

Well, of course, one can't generalize. I think there are different reasons behind every single band. There are bands out there, that
have courage and record unusual albums, but there is also a plenty of bands, that record very predictable albums. And I'm sure there's a story behind every single one of those bands, whether they're good or not good, I don't know. The fact is that it has become very difficult to record an unusual album. When I started in 1981, heavy metal was a relatively new kind of music, and people were still defining metal at that time. Now there's been a million bands, a million songs, a million riffs, everything's basically been done. Heavy metal was created around 1969 or 1970, so we're talking about a kind of music that is decades old. And it becomes more and more difficult to create something truly new. Also, all the bands are becoming technically better and better, the competition is fierce. So, when a young band goes into the studio, it becomes very difficult to record a fantastic album.

You told now you are experiencing a new period of your life; what has led to it? What made some things change? Or did the changes happen naturally?

I think it's both. I've found that I look at myself in a very different manner the older I become
. It's probably a part of life experience, I've traveled the world all my life, there's so many things that have happened in my life and hopefully that reflects itself through some life experience. And that allows me to look at myself with different eyes than when I was much younger, and I feel I'm in a completely different place in which I've never been to in my life. Of course this has also reflected in my music, my lyrics have changed, and so on. I don't like to be stagnant, I don't like to remain at the same place, I like to move. I'm not dead yet, you know, I exist, I live, I've been creative, and that needs to manifest itself.

What made you write your books "Only death is real" and "Are you morbid"? Did you need some time on your own, to think and explain some things to yourself, maybe?

It's both. Doing interviews like this all my life, you realize what the people want to know, and I thought I could also write it down. Because you often get the same questions and you see that people are really interested in finding out why this and that happened, what happened behind the scenes and so on. I decided to write it up, but
, of course, I also did it for myself. Once again, it's like therapy. To see it written down, to talk to the people involved, helps you get a clearer picture of it. For this I interviewed all members of Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, and it was very interesting to hear their points of view, and to find out things that I didn't even know.

Tell us more about your death-mask project and such works as Jesus crucified on a dildo that can be seen in your blog?

Yeah, what about that? (laughing) People hated me doing that to Jesus. I'm not a religious person whatsoever, I don't believe in anything: neither Satan, nor God, nor anything else. I don't believe, that's the end of it. Yet having said that, that little phallus statue, it's not even a comment on Jesus, I don't give a shit you know. It's a comment on human mankind; Phallus I/2011. Because to me, what the Church does with Jesus is using as a phallus to lead people around. The whole statue is a comment on mankind, and their religious patterns. It's not about Jesus, whether he existed or not, I don't really care. It's a mirror of mankind, and all the outrage that happened, when I put this on my blog, is simply a confirmation that they really do threat him as a phallus. He really is a phallic symbol, and that just proved the validity of my little sculpture.

You told you were indifferent to any religion, but why then would you raise this topic (Christianity/Satanism/darkside) so often in your artistic works?

Because it determined the whole history of the world. Human beings have been scared of things ever since the Stone Age, when we came out of the caves and got scared of the big world outside, we couldn't explain everything. So we always gathered around the leader, whether the leader is a dictator or a god or whatever. We always needed to have some security, a leader that knows everything and takes care of us. And religion is of course and exponent of that. And it's an endless source of interest.

You told the combination of beauty and darkness fascinates you - what are the finest artistic and music examples of this combination for you?

To me the pinnacle of the combination of beauty and darkness, it's probably a cliché and nothing original, but to me the pinnable and the best example is H. R. Giger's work. I don't think anybody alive currently has been able to combine and show the aesthetics of darkness better than H. R. Giger. He has created such utterly dark landscapes, and yet they're always aesthetic no matter what he shows, whether it's sexual, or religious or hellish. It's always beautiful, and he's a master in doing that.

Have you ever thought about your own "perfect death scenario"?

(laughs) To me death is perfection anyway. I'm not afraid of death. There are certain parts of me that are eager to die, because I'm very sick and tired of this human planet. To me death is like an escape, it is beauty, it's the final peace from this shit we've created on this planet, from this destroying nature, from killing animals, from killing each other, from just destroying whatever we get in our hands. I don't enjoy that. And death is the ultimate escape.

Victoria Maksimovich
Ane Orue-Extebarria
6 авг 2011
the End

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