BEHEMOTH – Anno 2004
Once upon a time in 2004 in Oslo, I got the opportunity to meet four bands from four different countries. The occasion was Clash of the Demigods Tour 2004. The meeting took place at John Dee and the bands were the Norwegian black metal band Ragnarok, the American death metal band Incantation, the brutal Brazilian death metal band Krisiun and the Polish extreme metal band Behemoth. Here is the interview I did with singer and frontman of Behemoth, Adam "Nergal" Darski.
Welcome back to Norway. I can almost call you Norwegian now, hehe.
Thank you, do you feel we have been here so often, hehe? This is our fourth time here in Oslo.
What is it with Behemoth and Norway?
I don`t know. I remember Avantgarde a few years ago, they told us that we sold good in Norway, and we thought we have to go there. We did a gig at the Inferno Festival and it was great for us. We enjoyed it very much, and since that time we knew that we had to come back every time we had an album out. And that is the way it works now. Norway is not a big country but has a fairly big metalscene, so we have been visiting pretty much. We like it here, hehe.
Have you learned any Norwegian words so far?
Hehehe, yes but I can`t say them on here, hehehehe. Bad words you know hehe. The first words you learn are bad words, hehe.
BEHEMOTH backsstage in Oslo November 2004
(Photo: Rune Grande)
Let’s start with the tour. How has it been so far?
It`s been very good. We have been on this tour for 2 weeks now and we are halfway. Everybody has a great time and everything is perfect. We got good turnouts and the lineup is solid. We did Ireland for the first time and yesterday we did Sweden for the first time and those ones turned out really good.
What do you think of the 4 bands touring together? Has there been any problem with 4 nationalities?
I think it is great, the whole package is perfect. It was actually me who came up with the idea for the tour. I contacted the labels and the bands and asked if they wanted to be a part of this tour. And everybody liked the idea besides Metallysee who was more like ehhhhhhh…maybe you shouldn`t risk this, maybe you shouldn`t do this and do that. We had to cut the costs because the whole thing was too expensive. So we agreed to cut the costs and still do this tour, because it is a great package and everything. It seems like my idea was good because so far there is just one show with a low show up. The rest has been financially ok. And everybody is happy. There have been 300 averages and that is good. Usually these days there are too many tours and bands out there playing and for the fans it can be too much. They don`t have the money to go see everything and therefore many of these tours get a bad show up and that is no good. So since this tour is going financially ok, I am very happy with it. On this tour there are 4 bands that have been around for like a decade or more, they have good names; they have a good following here and there, a fairly good amount of fans. We kind of fill each other although we are kind of different. Actually Krisiun and we are switching every night and so does Ragnarok and Incantation, so it`s cool. There is really no real headliner on this tour which makes the whole package fairer I think. Nobody is more important than the rest.
You are also touring the UK, Mexico and South America this winter + a tour with Pungent Stench, so we can say there is a lot of touring.
Yes, and then we go to Great Britain and then over to the States before we do a Polish and Russian tour and then we are going back to the states for a tour with King Diamond and then it`s already June. We have like 150 shows scheduled up till then so it`s going to be crazy.
Are you never at home?
Well, maybe 3 or 4 weeks in all the next six months, but I don`t care. This is life, the shows goes great, I love to promote our new album, which we think is fucking excellent and we are ready to kick some ass.
How has the fans/audiences responded to the new songs?
It`s been great. So far the fans don`t know the songs well, but I can see some of them applauding and screaming to the new songs. Although the album is out now so they should have had their chance to get a copy of it.
That brings us over to your new album called Demigod. The album is more extreme and brutal than the previous albums. Probably a silly question, but are you happy with it yourself?
Yes, sure we are. We worked very hard, and we lost the vision on what is right or wrong on that album because just the production session took us more than 3 months. It might be a bit too long, but I don`t know. It seems like everybody like the album so maybe we did a good job, hehehehe. I am having a vacation from the album right now and I haven`t heard on it for over one month now and will not do so for the next couple of months either. So when I hear it the next time, I will be blown away. I just need some time off; I am and have been to close to it emotionally.
Recorded in Hendrix Studios, produced by you, mix by Daniel Bergstrand and mastered in Cutting Room. Would you say that everything went smooth?
Yes, the mixing went smoothly, but the recording itself is always a pain in the ass because we are so detailed. So it`s never easy but as long as the result is good and you have done your best, I am happy.
Was there any special reason that you choose those places?
Well, Hendrix we have used 3 times already, so that was natural. We have good relations to that studio and we have lots of hours we can spend there. There is hardly a studio here in Europe that can fit our sound that can handle the extremity so well. Most of the extreme music is produced in America, but I don`t like any of those productions. I didn`t like the pre production we did, so we had to compromise to get the sound as we wanted. All my favorite producers, they never uses blast parts, they never do blast bands, and we are somewhere between the hammer and the anvil it seems, hehe. So I thought that this place would be the most proper studio for us to mix the album. And the guy, Daniel, he has done some great albums there, so it was natural.
The sound is impressive, not much more to say about that, hehe. Bring Behemoth up to the level the band deserves.
Thank you. We wanted to get both the brutality and the extremity and on the same time keep the clean sound. We don`t really need to go through the wall of noise to catch the drum beats or guitar solo or something. You can enjoy it as it is because you can hear everything. The sound is even more brutal than ever and also more professional and still kick ass; I couldn`t think of any better result on this album. We are definitely going to go that way in the future too.
Karl Sanders from Nile did a solo on the track Xul. How did you come up with that idea?
I thought of him doing this solo. I kept this part on the Xul song in my head and thought it would be a cool idea if Karl could do this solo. So I just wrote him a line and asked him about it. We just put the song on his server and bang, 2 days later; "It’s ready". There is nothing more to say about it. The solo rocks and it kind of gives the song a dimension and it is probably because of that solo. This song is my favorite song on the album along with Slaves Shall Serve, The opening track Sculpting The Throne Ov Seth, Conquer All and the title track Demigod. I think these 5 songs are already Behemoth classics.
You also have released a new DVD called Crush, Fukk, Create. Tell us a little about it.
The title speaks for itself, hehehe. This DVD is meant to be watched by people, so I won`t say much about it here and now. There is some private coverage on it which caught many of the most embarrassing moments in our back stage career. There is everything from porn to jack ass kind of scenes. There is a lot of crazy shit, I took some clips from my private archives because I thought it would become a cool compilation of things and stuff from our lives. We’re already exposing us selves a lot with our lyrics, so it`s natural to give the fans this stuff too. It`s cool and very enjoyable to watch. No black or death metal has done these type of DVD before. Satyricon tried, but they never succeeded. Their DVD turned out to be pretty boring. There might be some sort of Monty Pyton humor on it which I didn`t get. I don`t know.
Regain Records, how has it been so far?
It`s a Swedish record label which is pretty established now. They have been stealing great bands from other labels and it is fun too watch them doing it, hehe. The reason Regain gets these bands is because they offer the bands great deals. You get the shittiest deals on the biggest labels and visa versa. You can check out any magazine around and you will see that there are some big colored ads in there, reviews, interviews and stuff. What do we need more? We get a good studio budget in advance, we are treated well, and I feel very comfortable with being on the same label as Samael, Danzig and Marduk. Those are some of my favorite bands ever.
BEHEMOTH live in Oslo November 2004
(Photo: Rune Grande)
Regain has signed some great bands lately in Dark Funeral, Samael, Danzig and Behemoth. Are they really ready for such a big step?
I`m not sure, I hope so. Life is about challenges and to challenging yourself. The same comes to us, we fucking challenge ourselves all the time. People come to us and say "Hey, you guys are overdoing. Nobody is going to notice all these details and everything". So I just go: "Fuck you man. I am going the most professional way there is".
Behemoth’s first release on Regain was Conjuration, limited to 1000 ex, but in 4 different versions. You don’t feel like Behemoth or Regain is milking the fans for their money?
We have more fun, hehehehe. There is fun to see people getting confused over different colors; different song order, it`s just for fun. In the US we have more songs on it because it`s a limited edition. In the US we didn`t get a single cent out of the release. We just did it for touring. We just gave it to the label and said: "Pay off our depths with it". On Regain we did only 5000 copies of the CD and there are just a few left and the LP is sold out already, so it is a collection item man.
The line up: Orion (Vesania) is new on bass and Seth (Nomad) is hired in as session guitar player. Would you say that the line up today is working great?
Yes it does. This tour should have been called Clash of the Bandleaders, hehe. The reason is that Seth is the leader in his band and so is Orion. No, the line up is shaping up, we haven`t done more than 20 shows together, but there isn`t many reason to complain so far. It`s pretty tight and we`re getting there, hehe. You will see tonight as we will play new shit and old shit. I feel comfortable on stage with this gang and I am crossing my fingers that we can work on the next album with this line up. Seth just joined us before we entered the studio and Orion just practiced with us for about a month before we went on this tour. So imagine what it will sound like after 250 shows, then take a break before we enforce ourselves to make another album. I can only cross my fingers and be optimistic about the line up. But it`s life, it`s all about changes. You never know what happens in the future.