Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Interview with DIMMU BORGIR in Issue#2, 1997

Yez, people love to hate them these days. And I’m not going to delve further into that. To each his own. Obviously blown away by the magnificent opus “Stormblast” back then (and it’s still retaining its crown as one of the most exquisite presentation of moody, atmospheric, bombastic depressive melodic black Metal album ever, DON’T ARGUE on that), this is the interview with Silenoz in 1997. Shortly after, “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” sweeps across the Metal scene around the globe, and the name DIMMU BORGIR are well-versed by the Metal community even in the most remote of countries. Love them, loathe them, early DIMMU BORGIR is not to be forgotten, even by the most underground dwellers in all of you.
DIMMU BORGIR… one of Norway’s finest black Metal bands. Surely is a favourite of mine, as soon as I heard their debut, “For All Tid”. Clearly is the masters of transforming depression into a piece of art. Let’s journey into their world; and let the words of Silenoz be the guidance…
How’s the atmosphere in Norway while answering this interview…
It seems that the Spring is about to arrive within a couple of days, the sun shines, the weather is warm and brightful at this very moment… although I guess it is far much warmer where you guys live.
Straight to the point. Tell us something about “Stormblast”. Personally I think it’s a bit different from “For All Tid”.
Yeah, I think so too, I mean, the “Stormblast” album is a result of natural development musically. Even if the sound is not as good as we wanted to be, it is still a lot better than the sound on the “For All Tid” album. We have also progressed a lot both as songwriters and musicians since our first release. We are very satisfied with the “Stormblast” album and as far as the response goes, it seems that a lot of other people around are also satisfied.
You write all of your songs in Norwegian lyrics. Why don’t you write in English? Don’t you think that what you’re trying to tell in your songs will not get across to a lot of people?
I guess you’re pretty right about that, and since our albums have sold quite much, despite our Norwegian lyrics, we have changed to writing them in English instead, so that we perhaps are able to sell even more albums in the future. Our next album, “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant”, which is supposed to be released in May by NUCLEAR BLAST, has English texts only.
DIMMU BORGIR… How’s the creation became reality? What’s the meaning of it and why chose it as the band’s name?
The name got an unusual atmospheric touch and since the first time we heard it we got emotionally attached and drawn to it. DIMMU BORGIR is an Icelandic name and means in English “The Black Castle” or “The Dark Fortress”. It is also even a place on the northern part of Iceland that it is called “Dimmuborgir”. Shagrath, Tjodalv, and myself, Silenoz, formed the band during midsummer 1993. Some weeks later, Brynjard Tristan (who is half Icelandic) joined us on Bass. We also got a fifth member a month later who is very talented in playing piano and keyboards/choirs. Tristan is no longer with us, and got replaced by Nagash last summer.
“For All Tid” was released by NO COLOURS, while “Stormblast” by CACOPHONOUS. What made you changing labels? How do both of the labels treating DIMMU BORGIR?
We still have very good contact with NO COLOURS and the relationship seems to be just fine. CACOPHONOUS haven’t kept the agreements concerning the contract, so we are naturally very disappointed about that. We only signed for one album with CACOPHONOUS, first, to see how things worked out. We gave them an opportunity to show us how serious they are, and we decided that if they did a great job with the “Stormblast” album, we would eventually sign for more albums afterwards. But as their promotion have sucked compared to our ambitions and they have been pretty lazy about this important matter, they can’t expect us to be satisfied and surely not expect us to sign for more albums. They still haven’t released the vinyl-edition of “Stormblast” either, and it seems to us that they aren’t interested in doing it at all. They haven’t fulfilled our demands and what we agreed about regarding the contract and they haven’t supported us that much either and this is just the opposite of what a label is supposed to do. They have lost great bands such as CRADLE OF FILTH, DIMMU BORGIR and GEHENNA thanks to their narrow-minded and moneygrabbing way of seeing things. We are not in a fight with them or anything like that but we are very much disappointed about they have been handling things for us. We have because of this, signed to NUCLEAR BLAST for four albums, and it is with a delightful relief that we are experiencing such professionality and maturity. They really do everything what’s in their power to promote us well. This is a serious company and I can understand very well how they have been able to survive the last years. They have a lot of money, yes, but they are administrating the money in a way that it will gain both the band and the label. Our relationship with NUCLEAR BLAST is the best and we are open and honest to each other, which is the ground basis and the most important foundation if a relationship between a band and a label are going to last and be successful.
DIMMU BORGIR music is, for me; very depressive. Do you intend to sound that way? How can you achieve that very deep depression in your music?
We try to transfer our inner feelings and thoughts into the music we make and my impression is that we are able to manage this quite well, and I guess that is why our music sound depressive and dark as it does. The day we will feel happiness and joy within ourselves will be the day we quit playing this kind of music, doing this kind of extreme black art.
Norway produces many talented bands. I would like to know the definition of “Norwegian Sound”. Does such thing exist? What makes a Norwegian band sounds different from bands of other countries?
I suppose the reason why Norwegian bands sound different is because we have much more than just riffs in a song. We do things complete in an ‘orchestral’ way so to say, if you know what I mean. The secret must be that everything that Norwegian bands do is done with the subscription of a true dark feeling, and with that I do not mean the foreign bands are not capable of doing the same, but almost every Norwegian has its own actual feeling, a true spirit of cold and darkness. So I guess the definition of “Norwegian Sound” is not valid, it doesn’t exist. Not for us Norwegians anyway. Could you tell us something about Shagrath’s own label, HOT RECORDS? Why don’t you release DIMMU BORGIR’s materials on that label? What does he try to achieve by forming the label?
HOT RECORDS is something Shagrath concentrates on only when he has some spare time left over. It is a small, but a serious label. We released an MCD-single called “Devil’s Path” (also include two different cover-versions of the CELTIC FROST song “Nocturnal Fear”) on HOT RECORDS last August and it has sold a lot, if you consider the fact that it is a single (about 6,000 copies). But releasing more material on HOT RECORDS is out of the question for us, it doesn’t quite match with DIMMU BORGIR’s ambition. HOT RECORDS next release will be the full-lengths with LAMENTED SOULS, MINAS TIRITH and NOCTURNAL BREED.
As a black Metal band, what is a must have in every black Metal band, from your own opinion?
In my opinion it must be essential to any black Metal band, old and new, to have a true dark feeling, lyrics and music written on a Satanic basis and to put higher the mysteries of death more than life. A black Metal band shall represent and glorify the evil and dark forces of human being, not mission the word of happiness and light. That is what really matters, and in which way a band decides to do this must be up to themselves.
Looking at the current black Metal scene, so many bands sprouting up everyday. What do you think about this, and what differentiate good bands from the bad ones?
It is very easy to differentiate the good bands from the bad ones. If a band try as hard as they possibly can to look and sound evil without having the ‘the true formula’, or showing mature attitude towards this art, one can consider this as an attempt to be something which they are not. Also if a band uses energy talking shit about all and everyone they don’t like more than concentrating on making music one can also consider this as a truly bad one, having no serious ambitions whatsoever. This is also what keeps the trend going, people who has no understanding and knowledgement for the music and the reason behind it. So the conclusion must be that there is actually not that many great black Metal bands around, just another big heap of compost…..
What do you think about live-shows. Some band refused to do live-shows. In your live-shows, what will it be like?
It will be like Hell…, no, seriously, it will of course have the usual ingredients like torches, blood, smoke, flames and all that shit, more like some sort of theatre-act. Up until now we have only played a couple of gigs, but in late March we will do a festival-tour in Germany together with CRADLE OF FILTH, DISSECTION and IN FLAMES. In May we will play at the Dynamo Open Air Festival in Holland and in August we will be touring with amongst others SODOM(!), STEELER and RAGE. This is what is confirmed.
Do people there still believe in Odin? Do Hugin and Muninn still flying around? Do you personally believe in the Norwegian culture? What do you think about it?
Well, as a Norwegian I am of course proud of my forefathers and our history. I also like the Northern Mythtology, even though I don’t take directly inspiration from it. I think it is important knowing your inheritance, but on the other hand I think it is kinda wrong only to engulf oneself in the past without thinking one step ahead, after all, it is the future that really counts from this very moment.
What do you see your life in this world as?
Painful, with a certain conviction that I am obligated to continue what I have been set here on this earth to mission.
Reveal DIMMU BORGIR’s aim in the near future…
Our new album, “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” will be released in May on both CD and vinyl. A new MCD will be released within late summer, entitled “Entrance”. Apart from the title-track, it will contain two re-recorded songs from the “For All Tid” album plus two new ones. It will also be released as a shape-CD, limited to 3,000ex. Otherwise we will try to play as much live as possible, maybe some gigs in the States this summer.
Spit some melancholic words before you finally end this interview.
First I would like to thank you for this interview, interest and support. It is very much appreciated! A big hello also to our Malaysian fans! Last melancholic words must be: “Things are not what they seem…”

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