Kogaionon

The "Blood on Ice" album fascinated me, that's why I wanted to discuss with Quorthon. Even I've recieved the answers a little bit later, I think that my choice is a good one. Let's see.

Hi, Quorthon, and welcome to my 'zine. The "BLOOD ON ICE" album has been released on May 13th. How do you feel now?

It feels great. So many BATHORY fans have been waiting for me to complete it and release it and now it is here and it sold well.

The BATHORY history started at the end of 1982, when three guys decided to set the grounds for a band who wanted to play original music. Two years later, you broke off with the bassist and the drummer and went on your own. Why the split? How do you see Quorthon of '83-'84 now?

A few corrections first... The band was formed in February of '83 and in March of '84 we went seperate ways because of musical differences and the fact that the other two guys in the band had no idea about writing songs and they asked of me to write stuff in the line of IRON MAIDEN and DIO etc... also they were never to hot for rehearsals or to actually make this a band all together... How do I look on myself of '83-'84... well that was 12-13 years ago so I guess I can feel very little kindship with myself as a teenager...

You stated in an interview, a couple of years ago, that BATHORY started with Death Metal, then Gothic & Doom ('86-'87), and the '88-'90 period was influenced by the Viking mythology. Should I understand that "UNDER THE SIGN OF THE BLACK MARK" is a Gothic album? Give me some details concerning the other albums.

You can call an album anything or nothing... I think it's bullshit to put labels on bands and albums... I know for a fact that I would never use those terms when describing my own albums. It's just music and lyrics...no more no less...

Let us pass on to "BLOOD ON ICE". The album is dedicated to the fans and based on a legend written by yourself many years ago. The tracks were recorded/conceived in '88-'89 and rearranged last year. You said you released this album because your fans kept asking you about the "BLOOD ON ICE" legend. More or less persuaded, I am prone to believing that the failure of "REQUIEM" and "OCTAGON" have made you unleash the new. Is there a grain of truth in what I have just said?

No, there's no grain of truth in what you just said...firstly, "Requiem" and "Octagon" were not failures in any way other than a few "journalists" had problems with the brutality of these two albums... I think the problem was some folks thought of BATHORY as big drums, multitrack harmony vocals, soundeffects and an arranged and well produced bombastic metal with Nordic influences...there is a danger in having people pinning you down musically and lyrical in a corner and when people does that the time has come to shock people by doing the opposite. "Blood on Ice" was worked on and released simply because the two releases at the time ("Requiem" and "Octagon") would not appeal to the other half of our fans. 50 % of our fans are into the heavy and slow Nordic Type of metal while the other half enjoys the brutality and energy found on "Reqiuem" and "Octagon". I have heard people say that "Blood on Ice" was released simply because I could not write new material and I tried to get some money out of BATHORY by releasing old material...that's bullshit. People concentrate too much on why, how and so on rather than just enjoying the music which is what counts in all situations and at all times...

In my opinion, "BLOOD ON ICE" is the album of the last 3-4 years. What else should we know about the tracks of this album and what does the Epic Metal style mean?

As far as what can be said about the tracks on the album...it would take too much time and space to talk about that... I am gonna have to refer to the CD-booklet that comes with the CD...as far as what can be said about epic metal... I have no ideas at all... I try to think as little as possible of what type of metal I write or play at the moment...

The album cover represents the elements of your story; the eight-legged stead (Sleipner), the one-eyed wise man, the lake, the valley of death, the ravens, the clouds, the woods'woman, the main caracter, and, in the centre, the key element, the sword (the link between generations). I can also see a snake, which you have not told anything about in your legend. What is its significiance?

The warrior in the story has his heart placed in the snake pit as pawn... in return he will recieve the ability to take mortal wounds in the ensiung battle...

The story of the whole (end) of universe and of the eternal forest is hidden in the depths of the lake. The track called "THE LAKE" is referential for BATHORY and dare I say it is even the best of all tracks so far. Does it have a more personal significance for you maybe?

No it's just another song... many folks say it is the best track ever...for me it's just a song like any other...

In the "ONE EYED OLD MAN" track, the story is written by Mr. Tim Earl. Who is this person and what was the reason why you brought him in?

The spoken story in the middle part of "One eyed old man" was not written by Tim Earl but by me...Tim is an actor hired by me as the "One eyed old man" to narrate my words, that's all...

The sound of several tracks reminds me of MANOWAR and in that which I have just mentioned, the reciting/story makes me think of "THE WARRIORS PRAYER" on the "KINGS OF METAL" album. Did MANOWAR mean anything to you and tell me if you felt offended when I said a parallel could be drawn between the sound of your band and the legendary Speed Metal band.

I don't feel offended simply because MANOWAR and BATHORY were the only bands out there to be able to put across a truly barbaric atmosphere...MANOWAR really didn't mean anything to me personally but I respect them simply because they never compromise and always keep their own identity.

Still talking about the old bands, Tom G. Warrior has put up a new band, APOLLYON'S SUN, and KISS have returned to the stage just for the fans. What do you think about these revivals and of how much interest do you think they will be? Does this not hold in the case of BATHORY too?

The '90's really seem to be the century of revival/reunions etc... first Sex Pistols, Eagles, The Beatles (anthology), Kiss and then Venom and now we see Van Halen reforming...strange...

The history you told in the pages of the CD booklet can be taken as an open letter to the fans of BATHORY. Why has it only been written in English and German? Your pride of being a Swede should have determined you to write in Swedish, too. Am I wrong? Is this "letter" trying to answer all those who wrote you, maybe?

I figured I owe to tell everybody the whole story behind "Blood on Ice" and in doing so I had to give a true and broad picture of the whole story. The reason why it was written in English is I guess self explained... why it was written in German as well!?...well... BLACK MARK is a Berlin-based company and not too many Germans speak too good English...it was simply just a nice gesture...I wanted to write the story in French and Spanish as well... then we would have covered the four largest languages in the world and just about anybody could have read the story... I don't know where you got that "national pride" from... It would have been really stupid of me if I would have put down the story in Swedish as well because we are only 8 million Swedes and less than 10.000 young Swedes would ever have any interest in reading the BATHORY "Blood on Ice" story... and all Swedes do speak English very well...so... .

A pretty common question but, as I am Romanian, I would like to know whether the name of your band is in any way linked with the Transylvanian character, Elisabeth Bathory? Does the reason why you chose this name 13-14 years ago still hold today? What would be the link or compability between E. Bathory and the Viking myths nowadays?

Of course the reason why we picked the name BATHORY was because of Elizabeth Bathory...I don't quite understand your question about the connection between her name and the Nordic or Viking style of our albums of the mid '80's...

What does shadows represent for you? You have maybe read the myth of the cave in "The Republic" by Platon. Can you make a reference to those appearances that mislead?

Shadows is because of contrast between light and dark and is natural, only humans put symbolism in dark and light...

Written between '88 and '89, "BLOOD ON ICE" touches, of course, the Viking issue. Will you explore this matter further in the future? Have you found any other themes to develop (the idea of the end of the end in "TWILIGHT OF THE GODS" was excellent; afterwards just Death Metal and nothing more)?

As far as what BATHORY will sound like in the future not even I will know... I think it's useless to sit down and concentrate on whether one should make Viking or satanic metal...and I don't think that "Blood on Ice" has got anything to do with the Nordic or Viking style at all... it's a free story making it quite well on its own as a fairy tale really...

Despite the 14 years of activity, there was not much live BATHORY to be seen. Why? Tell me something about your videos too.

In 1986 I said about live stuff: "To hell with it" simply because there wasn't any places to play in Stockholm... I find music so much more interesting than concerts...

Any musician affords (feels the need) to explore other territories, too (it may also sound as an excuse). Proving that you are not an exclusivist, you have set the bases of a solo project, a blend of Rock and Grunge elements, called QUORTHON. I have known for two years that you had already prepared 20 new tracks for a second album, but nothing has been released just as yet. Would you offer me all the details now?

I am recording the second solo album right now simply because the first one sold so well and everybody (well at least a lot of people) have written me and asked me to do a second solo album... The whole idea is to explore different styles as far away from BATHORY as you can come...And it is truly far away from BATHORY with almost '60's styled lyrics, acoustic guitars and strings... some unplugged feeling to it and harmony vocals..I don't know exactly when it will be released but hopefully it will be out at the end of the year...

Wagner and Beethoven mean a lot for you. In other words, the classical music. Tell me, Quorthon, what does the classical mean for you? Would that bother you if I said that BATHORY will remain a classical band in the Metal scene?

I wouldn't mind at all if BATHORY was considered a classical band but not a classical band because we don't deal in classical music but metal...

Is it true that BEATLES is your favourite band?

Of course.

In your presentation you stated that Satanism is nothing else than denial of Christianity, two deceptions that have developed in Sweden after the invasion of Christianity. A little further, you report (joking or not) to Christianity, mentioning sin. What do you understand by "sin"? Does it have to be seen from a religious point of view? Is Quorthon (or has he become) a religious person? Details?

I was never a satanist but an antichristian...Christianity as any dictatorial thing sucks...my mentioning of sin in the CD-booklet was an ironic remark of course...one does not have to be a Christian or a religious person just out of that...

To complete the previous question: do you consider life as determinism or as an area of complete freedom?

I am not thinking in terms of what life or death is all about...we are not asked to be born and when we die it's all over...so eat, sleep, fuck, party and play music and have great fun for as long as it lasts...

I know Nietzsche has represented something for you. He used the term "Hyperborean" in one of his books (to my knowledge, this is the Greek name of Scandinavia, as well as the Roman one was Ultima Thule). Do you consider yourself a Hyperborean?

I may have been born in Sweden and should therefore theoretically be considered a Swede but I consider myself a free individual with no bonds whatsoever.

The main part of Black or Dark bands consider BATHORY and CELTIC FROST as referential/inspiration bands nowadays. Are you proud of this? Even of those bands who would only accept BATHORY as a Satanic band (many of the guys in those bands torch churches, commit crimes...)? You know enough examples I suppose.

Whatever BATHORY means to a lot of people is beyond my responsibility...anything means something to someone...

Voluntarily or not, there are 2 nuclei that have formed , a Swedish one (reknown through Death Metal) and a Norwegian one (Black Metal). The styles meddle sometimes, hence the so called rivalry. Do you find this rivalry constructive? Otherwise, although the history of these two countries has largely been common, the mentalities differ (an example could be Sweden's sole entrance in the European Union, wihthout Norway). How do you see this issue?

There is no Norweigan and Swedish metal...just metal...whatever you call it...Black or Death or whatever...it's not important...why bother about stuff aside from the music...why create a thing that has no importance besides the music... why even care about styles, images and nationalities...stop the bullshit and play music or fuck off and die...

I know one of your hobbies is collecting military uniforms. I guess your fans would be glad to find out something about your "wardrobe".

Well it started when I told a fanzine that I collect stuff from many armies for fun (you know paint ball is quite a big thing a fun to do) so now fans from all over the world send me helmets and uniform and camo-material from their own homeland which I love and I really appreciate it...

If I said that I was a BATHORY fan, your true fans would laugh at me (who cares?). Are you, or have you ever been, in contact with a real BATHORY fan? Do you still answer fans' letters? How many a month do you get?

What the hell is a "real" fan!? Of course I have met people into BATHORY music millions of times for all these 14 years... I get fan mail (about a hundred a week) and I try to answer the most intelligent ones... if you ask for free T-shirts or have questions regarding an album or something other people take care of that...

Your whole activity was supported by the BLACK MARK PRODUCTION label. Have you not recieved any other offers throughout the years, maybe more convenient ones? Or is it friendship too?

I think 100 % free hands with anything we do is convenient enough, don't you think!?

Thank you, Quorthon, for this interview, and I wish you nrule in the Metal scene at least as long as Lemmy. The speed century will become history shortly. Musically, BATHORY makes the transition between the second and the third millenia. Do you find my statement overrated? How does Quorthon view the millenium? Willl the "Valley of Death" be passed? Do you believe in immortality?

No I don't believe in immortality...as far as what the future is all about...no one knows and who really cares...have fun and enjoy life as it comes day by day. Take care and good luck.

The normal questions = The normal answers. Without divagation. Only too much "...". That's all.

Interview From Kogaionon Zine #2, 1996 by Doru Atomei.
Provided by Iulian Petrovici. Typed out by Heathen.
Taken from Twilight web-site.
www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Palladium/6646/


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