Victim

It's Friday, the phone rings. "Hi, it's Quorthon. What's the weather like in Stockholm?" I hear a voice saying. Well, the weather wasn't very good, but the interview was all the better. In this interview you will read things about Bathory you probably have never read before. THANK YOU Quorthon for taking time even though you had so much to do and and for the long and great answers.

Tell us in a few words how it all started!

We started 13,5 years ago, in February 1983 to be precise. The band was formed when I was 15-17 years old. Me and the other two members at that time were kicked out of school so we started to devote ourselves to music. The music was a mix of Motörhead and old Black Sabbath since it was those bands we listened to back then. With time, many albums came and we were called anything from satanic vikings to god knows what. If you have released a couple of great albums you get a certain mark. You don't have to make a great album and it doesn't matter what it sounds like, it will sell anyway.
Ten years ago nobody admitted to listening to us, but nowadays a lot of bands are influenced by us and there are a lot of people who say they listens to us.

You never played live. Why? Is it kind of an image and will you never play live?

Actually we have played live. In 1983-85 we played in various places in Stockholm. We played in Ralambshovsparken in 1983 for instance. It was hard to get gigs at clubs because of our looks. The club owners wanted you to look like Joey Tempest in Europe, like a poodel and not like a long-haired rocker. In 1986 we stopped trying to get gigs and we didn't want to play live either. We simply thought it was more fun doing albums in the studio.

Not much was heard from you for a while, between "Twilight Of The Gods" and "Requiem" to be precise. What were you doing? Have you ever considered giving it all up?

It wasn't that quiet, was it? (No, but almost /Ed.) I've helped Black Mark with other bands and I did my solo album. I was tired of everything, tired of playing the guitar and so on, so I decided to make a solo album instead, to find the fascination again, and I did. Since I had listened to nothing but classical music for the last six years the results was different from the old Bathory stuff. It sold 18 000-19 000, I'm not really satisfied with that. 100 000 would have been great. Well, well...the important thing is it was fun doing it.

Did you ever think you would be this big? What was your goal when you started?

The goal was you weren't supposed to know what song you would play when you came to the rehearsal place since you knew so many songs. If the band could play three songs and it turned out great you were overjoyed. We had no plans to release an album. We just went step by step.We made our debut on a compilation album, but you sort of make debuts all the time. When we released our first album that was a debut. And if you change style you make another debut.

What album sold the best and which one is your personal favourite?

The best album is not made yet and probably never will be. When you make an album you work until you are satisfied with it, then you release it. Even if you are satisfied with that album at that moment you will never be completely satisfied. There is always something you are less satisfied with. Because of that the perfect album will probably never be made. My own favourites would be "Hammerheart" and "Blood Fire Death".

What is the worst reviews Bathory has recieved?

I have no idea. I don't read reviews or interviews and noone who has interviewed me has dared to give negative criticism directly to me. If I ever recieved really bad reviews I think I would remember it, but I can't recall recieving any.

Is it true you drive around the streets of Stockholm on a Harley Davidson?

Ha, ha! Where did you here that? (I heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend and so on /Ed.) No, I don't. I don't even have a driver's licence. The only engines I'm interested in are airplane engines. I have a flying license. I'm not even intersted in motorcycles.
A lot of people ask me if rumours about me is true and sometimes I wonder if they have made them up themselves just to have something to ask me about. Last week I was interviewed by a guy who only had these kind of questions. For example, he asked me if it's true that I walk around wearing a Nazi uniform and if it was true I drink blood diluted with gasoline. Those kind of questions are absurd and unnecessary.

How long did it take to make "Blood On Ice"?

It took a whole eight years to make that album. We had songs for many years that were only half-finished. The summer of 1995 I worked on the songs and among other things recorded the lead vocals for four songs and changed a couple of things here and there I felt needed to be changed.
"Blood On Ice" is a concept album, one long saga. With the album comes a booklet where you can read most of the stuff about us, from when we started till now.

You did a cover on the Kiss song "Deuce" on "Octagon". Are they a great source of inspiration?

When you enter the studio you have to adjust and test the sound, warm up the instruments so to speak. When we test the sound we usually play a lot of covers and all of it are recorded so we can listen to the sound and determin if it's good or not. We didn't like the lyrics on two of the songs on the album so we removed them and to avoid making the album so short we filled it up with the Kiss song.

Do you listen to anything of today's Metal or is it only Motörhead or Mozart that will do?

To be honest, I haven't been listening to any new band exept when I hear them on TV. Shows like "Striptease" and "Norra Magasinet" (Swedish society debate programs /Twilight) have been discussing the "problem" with the satanic hardrockers. The youth becomes satanists because of the music, they say, and people accuse them of being all sorts of things. It's unbelievable! People can dress and act the way they like. Nobody should bother about it. Anyway, these shows sometimes invites some little band from like Finspang to play in the studio. That's about all I have heard from the new Metal scene. Someone sent me a Burzum record, but I've never listened to it.

What were you listening to when you were 14-15 years old?

Mainly Motörhead. There weren't that many great bands in those days. Black Sabbath were great until Ozzy left. Back then the style of all bands were like Bon Jovi and Europe and that's not quite my taste.

How long have you been on Black Mark and how come you choose them? Will you keep on releasing albums there?

We have been on Black Mark for seven years and we are completely satisfied with them. First we were on a company called Noise Records. The only thing they cared about was releasing as many albums as possible and threw out records constantly, they didn't seem to care how the bands sounded.
We wanted a company that knew Death, Speed and Black Metal and that's exactly what Black Mark did. We were a couple of Swedes and Germans who wanted to start Black Mark so we put our heads together and formed this company. We could have signed with a really big company but on big companies you rarely have contact with the big heads and that's not how it should be. On Black Mark you can sit down and talk to the top head as if you are the best of friends and that's exactly how it should be. Thanks to this, we're definitely going to stay on Black Mark.

What does music mean to you personally?

Music means everything to me, it's all I have. I've been involved in music since I was nine years old, that's when I started to play instruments. Music is the only thing I always have been really interested in.

How was the response to "Octagon" and "Requiem"?

"Octagon" and "Requiem" were released only six months apart and I guess noone were really prepared for that. The records were released without us promoting them. They recieved some bad reviews, especially in Germany and they didn't sell very well there either.

What's the current line-up?

The line-up today are as follows; I handle the bass, guitar and vocals. (Wow, that's a lot /Ed.) A friend of mine since ten years are also in the band and has played on the last four albums. (Unfortunately I didn't catch the name of this mysterious man /Ed.) We have also got in contact with a very competent Jazz drummer. Yeah, I know it sounds odd (You bet it does! /Ed.) but he can play heavy Rock if he wants to so we'll see what happens.

How many members have you had?

From the start in February 1983 till January 1984 we had the same three members. And then for about four years we tried out 4-5 bass players and 5-6 drummers. It was very hard to find the right people since we had nothing to reffer to when we wrote the ads. People who looked like Joey Tempest him self and wanted to play the same music as Bon Jovi could turn up. A guy like that only got to stay for a week or so, to see if you could change him.
You had to keep members come and go because all of them weren't perfect and maybe not ready to concentrate on it as much as the others.

How come you choose the name Bathory?

When I was 13-14 years old I read books on magic. In them Elizabeth Bathory, among others, were mentioned. (A witch that was burned at the stake. The last one I believe /Ed.) (Actually she was walled into a chamber where she died in 1614 after three years of imprisonment /Twilight) The name Bathory got stuck somewhere in the back of my head and I didn't think about it for a couple of years. A few years later I went to London with a friend and we visited a chamber of horrors. There we saw Elizabeth Bathory in a bath tub. This was at the time we had formed the band and we needed a name for it. At first we had Nosferatu and Elizabeth Bathory in mind but it sounded like some band playing dance music so we shortened it to just Bathory. For those who are interested, there is a great story behind the name and it's also easy to remember. That's why Bathory were and are such a great name.

Was this your dream when you were small?

A friend's dad had bought the first album by Kiss when he went abroad and I started to listen to that one. That was the first time I heard a distorted guitar and I knew right away that I wanted to do this too. So, since I was small I've known what I wanted to do and you could say it's been a dream of mine. I have never been into sports for example.

How many fan clubs have you had?

We've had about fifty fan clubs. One of the fan clubs in Los Angeles are a Rock club nowadays, it's called "Twilight". (I think you can figure out where they got that name /Ed.)

Why were you kicked out of school?

I didn't really do anything wrong in school, I rarely started the fights. I was almost half a meter taller than all the others and had long hair even back then, I've had long hair since I was a kid. In those days you were supposed to have short hair and preferably wear a shirt, tie and have a attaché case. It wasn't exactly what I was wearing, I always wore leather clothes. I didn't care too much about school either, I just wanted to play music. I can't say I attended too many lessons either and in the evenings I took the train to the city and stayed there till the middle of the night, then I went home. The school management thought I had no business in school and told me to leave. That was in 1981 and after I was thrown out of school I tried to make money in all sorts of ways. I saved money to be able to buy a real guitar and while I did that I played in a Punk band.

If there's nothing more to add, I'd like to say goodbye!

A tip: don't eat minced meat sauce with field mushrooms. It's no good if you're gonna have anal sex. I think you'll understand why! (Yes, ha ha! Thanks for the tip! /Ed.)

Interview from Victim Magazine #3, August 1996
Maria Eriksson interviews Quorthon.
Typed out and translated by the Twilight Webmaster.
Taken from Twilight web-site.
www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Palladium/6646/


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