IMMORTAL´s Demonaz talks about the band´s new coming…
Interview and live pictures by Luxi Lahtinen
Warriors from the icy kingdom of Blashyrkh, Immortal, have returned! They are stronger than ever before. The band decided to have a 4-year break starting in 2003 simply because the band felt they were loosing that important yet vital spark that kept Immortal´s heart pumping smoothly – and what´s most important, in a creative way.
With Abbath, Demonaz, Horgh and Apollyon in the Immortal line-up in 2007, the band is full of enthusiasm and passion and are once again ready to deliver their goods like when they started 17 years ago. The spirit of Immortal has been re-found and new material is in the works. This is something for every Immortal fan to look forward to for sure.
Immortal has a ´reunion´ tour going on called “Seven Dates of Blashyrkh” and the band stopped by the Finnish Tuska festival on June 29th for the very first time (that was also the very first time for Immortal to play in Finland). I managed to find one of the Immortal´s main song writers, Demonaz, from one cozy-looking hotel in the downdown of Helsinki a day before the show – and Demonaz was very eager and passionate to tell for the readers of Metal-Rules.com about all the recent updates from the Immortal camp as well as about his own solo project Perfect Visions that he´s working for with Abbath, Ice Dale and Armagedda – plus just much more.
So, Demonaz – as the fact is…
THE BREAK IS OVER…
IMMORTAL IS READY TO INVADE YOUR LIVING ROOM AGAIN
… Immortal are working with songs for a new studio album right now. What´s the latest update from you as far as that goes?
Well, me and Abbath are working with the new songs for our new album, and we are totally in spirit at the time and we´ve been in long time actually. Anyway, we didn´t want to rush things and that is how we have always been working. We never put ourselves up to any deadlines because it would destroy us. And that´s also why we took a break because everything was so heavily tied to deadlines and everybody wanted different types of things from us. But we don´t want to deliver things when everyone asks us to do so; we want to deliver things in a natural way. So, we never wanted to be run over by record companies or people that demanded things from us all the time because we want to deliver things whenever we think we are ready for it, in a natural way, y´know. We were never in for money, or for certain commitments – I mean, fulfil commitments for everyone else than for us only. It´s like we started out at early age listening to Nazareth and bands like that, and it was like for Abbath when he was a little kid, y´know. Everybody wants to be a fireman or policeman, but Abbath wanted to be Gene Simmons. And for me, it was the same. It´s a natural force to do this and we cannot do anything else. We don´t want to make this a job for us because we never thought about having this just for living, or just make a plenty of money for ourselves – or just going on tours and destroy the band with all kinds of deadlines, or destroy the band with what everyone demands from you because it destroys our spirit. Because the spirit and the force we have and what we do, is what means most to us.
Can you tell how many songs you already have ready for your next album?
I have about 7-8 songs. I also have a concept ready for our next album lyrically and we are working with putting the pieces together right now. We have a lot of riffs, a lot of arrangements and we are just putting them all together right now. I think it´s hard for us to work with the music in the summer time. So, it´s not so natural to do that and when we go back home after all these dates – and the coldness will come back, y´know, we will be working class with it and basically use the time to finish the songs and be ready to enter the studio with a fucking great album. That´s what we want.
So, you still haven´t planned yet when Immortal might enter at earliest a studio to record your next album?
No, no pressures for us regarding the ideal studio time. I don´t think pressure will do any good for us.
You are just taking your time and whenever you feel you would have the songs ready for the album, and whenever you feel like going into the studio, that´s the way how you work for this album?
That´s the way we have always worked, I think. There´s no receipt to it; there´s no code for making like we are gonna do like 10 songs and we are gonna be in the studio by February – or whatever! We need the time to make our songs 100% perfect for our next album and put it out without having any extra weight put on our shoulders, y´know. It´s just how we work.
How would you say these new Immortal songs can be compared to the stuff that Immortal did on SONS OF NORTHERN DARKNESS that was a huge album from the band in many different ways?
I think all our albums we did, mainly naturally from me and Abbath´s side – and the same with this one. With all the old Immortal albums, we got kind of a wide style musically, and a lot of these albums are still different. This new album of ours, will be different, too. However, as soon as people get a chance to hear it, they still know it sounds like Immortal. It´ll have the identity of “tsintsou” what we did before. But we´ll try to improve all the time. We don´t think that we are gonna have like… Or well, let me say that it´s gonna be our darkest album so far, I think. We have our darkest period spiritually.
I suppose all those elements that made your previous album, SONS OF NORTHERN DARKNESS, so great – basically, I mean some aggressive and strong parts combined with some dark and epic atmospheres, is what you have been looking for in your new stuff as well. Or, am I completely mistaken?
You already answered to your question what I was actually going to say to you, ha-ha!!
Eh, I just never knew I am THAT good, ha!
You are brilliant! I mean, you are right. Our new stuff is going to be dark and atmospheric. We are gonna continue doing that because that is what we are good at – and that´s what we want to do. We never think like we are gonna like this and this and that… All this stuff comes from me and Abbath naturally. Abbath makes most of the riffs, the song arrangements we do together and I´m more involved now than I´ve been before. We are preparing to make an album that will reflect all our past albums we have done, in one way or the other. It will have parts from every other albums, I think. It will have fast stuff like “One by One”; it will have slower and epic things in some of the songs. Some of the songs will remind of the stuff what we did on our DAMNED IN BLACK or AT THE HEART OF WINTER albums. And lyrically I will go a really long way back in times to pick up the elements where we left off BATTLES IN THE NORTH and PURE HOLOCAUST. I really go through everything just because I could be inspired by myself, you know. And it´s important to look inside yourself and find out what it is that you don´t want to be yourself in this one. Anyway, our next album will surely be dark by its atmosphere. We don´t think any commercial way whether our new would meet commercial standards. It´s easier to find a production for this forthcoming album when the songs have been written, and we are overall ready. So, we´ll see what this album will eventually be. It´s gonna be a really exciting because me and Abbath have got the old spirit back that we used to have back in the day. We are really having good time together again. We are really inspired, and we basically want to take the time to do this album properly.
The reformed Immortal contains you (Demonaz) on guitar, Abbath (on guitar & vocals) Horgh (on drums) and Apollyon (on bass). How did this line-up come together and when did you actually hacked the announcement on the wall of rock that Immortal will come back – like they could have never been away from the metal scene?
Well, we always tend to change the line-up. The good thing is that Horgh and Abbath are playing together with Apollyon who comes from Aura Noir, and he´s an old school guy just like us, y´know. It´s important that everything´s like not stressful if someone works for us. And Apollyon is a good musician; he´s dedicated and we come along very well – and we have the same thoughts about things in general. I gotta say this line-up is really strong and I honestly believe this is the best Immortal line-up so far.
When did you actually nail it down that Immortal should be pumped back to life again?
We, I mean – me and Abbath, we were talking about it around on Christmas, 2 years ago. We wanted to take the time to announce that we are gonna bring ther band together again. We knew that it would be happen eventually. This was just a break for us. We needed to put Immortal on ice because everybody demanded a number of different things from us before Immortal broke up. We were touring, we were very stressed and we felt like we couldn´t be a part of this ´circus´ any longer. At that point we felt like we were loosing the spirit of Immortal and it would take a longer time from us to get back again. So, in other words, when some thing in Immortal is dying, you have to put it on ice. I guess that´s the right way to say it. We need to have this certain spirit in Immortal – we need to be shaped up with our minds, y´know. We need to have that old feeling because it´s a lifestyle to us, and Immortal means everything to us. Immortal is precious to us and we want to keep it that way. We don´t want to destroy the band with being on tour all the time; like doing tours one after another and having certain strict deadlines for our albums constantly. The most important thing for me is that both me and Abbath have a good feeling about what we do – and nobody puts pressure on us or rushes us for anything because we are in charge. We want to have our music and lyrics to be perfect, y´know. And it´s easy for us; we just do things that are best for us – and that will be the best thing for the fans, too.
IMMORTAL WILL NOT BE A JOB… EVER.
Immortal disbanded in 2003, after making a respectable 13 year career. Do you think this 4 years break was somewhat necessary for the band in sense of getting inspired and creative again about certain things that are demanded to get a band like Immortal on feet again? You kind of lost the spark for doing things with Immortal, correct?
Yes, we are really aware of it because Immortal is not a job to us and it will never be that either because Immortal means too much to us. If you want to have 94 jobs, then don´t play in Immortal because that´s not the way we think. And we don´t think about making as much money as possible, or being all the time on road and doing tours after tours. We think of the spirit and what we do is more important and how we keep those things up. I think we are gonna here for a long time and we don´t want to destroy this certain spirit and feeling what we have right now. If we just kept Immortal going the same way we did before we broke up, it would destroy us eventually again. That´s why we stopped Immortal before it destroyed us completely both mentally and spiritually. We really had to put the end to everything in Immortal back in 2003 because otherwise it would have destroyed us. Other than that, we knew all the time that we are not going to stop Immortal for good. As for both Abbath and me, I think we have a whole different way of thinking from other people. I think we have something that is different, and it has always been with us – and it´s with us even nowadays, too. It´s like whatever everybody else wants to do with certain things, we don´t care, or we don´t think a common way with them. We think that Immortal is precious to us – and it´s very important for us to take care of that. We don´t want the band to suffer any way like touring too much, recording an album every year or letting deadlines guide us too much, the quality of this band would go down for sure – and we don´t want to go down with the quality or anything. We want to have this monster moving on, y´know. It had to rest a little bit in order to get stronger again.
Do you have any working titles of some of these new songs ready that can already be revealed in public?
Unfortunately I cannot do that right now. All I can tell that I have the album title already; I have the concept and everything ready for it, but I don´t wanna reveal these things yet because it doesn´t feel right.
Take no pressures from me because we can well skip this part and move on to the next question, ok?
Alright, so let´s do so.
THE ROOTS OF IMMORTAL
You started Immortal together with Abbath back in the day, but decided to stay away from the actual recording – and live line-ups of the band while still, at the same time, being a strong part of Immortal nevertheless. What made you to do this type of decision in the first place?
I was there all the time. It was like me and Abbath cannot do this without me and him, y´know. That´s why we had to stop Immortal for a while because we came to the point where we were getting a little separated from each other because there was a lot of touring for us back then – there´s a lot of demands toward us, etc. – and it drove me and Abbath away a little bit from each other. And that would kill us because we cannot do Immortal without one of us, y´know. It´s not that normal because in some other bands when f.ex. one guitarist runs into some serious problems, a band fire him, find another one and move on. However, Immortal´s setting is way different; it´s blood, it´s family – and it means more to us both mentally and personally. That means more than just to be some metal band that makes tours, just doing basically what every other ´typical´ band does. We are not that much of a typical band; we are not typical types of guys either, y´know. I think a lot of other bands have like band meetings, they tour and do things together. I think we are really a very few bands out there to have the same attitude as us because even after 17 years, I haven´t been playing live with my guitar in Immortal for almost 10 years – still being a strong part of this band´s line-up though. We have four members in the band and three of the guys play live. So, this is a very unique thing after all. It´s a really strong bond that we have in this band. I go to every show with Immortal. I travel with them, me and Abbath do everything together because without one of us the spirit is lost. It´s that kind of thing that nobody can come in between us, y´know. It´s really different compared to many other bands how we are and work in Immortal.
You have always written very strong lyrics, and I gotta believe that Abbath feels them like he could have written them by himself; I mean, you are like brothers to each other, right?
Yeah, that´s true. When Abbath made some, I remember I also write a lot of riffs and come up with a lot of ideas for the arrangements. Abbath makes most of the riffs and it´s like whenever we are finished with some song, I put on my earphones and will go walking to the mountains. I´m the one who can describe some certain atmospheres best, for what he does and what we do. I have always written lyrics for bands. The first thing what I actually do with every album that I buy, I always check the lyrics first – and if I don´t like them, it´s very unlikely for me to like the rest because for me it´s like imaginary. To have an atmosphere… well, the music and the fucking go, but if the lyrics are bad, it will destroy the whole atmosphere, y´know. That´s how I see it anyway…
ABOUT BEING DIFFERENT…
Good music should always support good well-written lyrics – or just vice versa…
Yes, exactly. But that´s a teamwork also and we had really problems in finding drummers since the beginning of Immortal. When we on tour, we found Horgh. He was so dedicated, and he wanted so badly to do this. And it was in our channel, y´know. Before he came in to the band, it was a really hard to find a dedicated drummer for the band – with the right mentality. Overall I think it´s really hard to find people for this band, but I like what Abbath and me have. I don´t know why, but we are different than the rest. It´s really hard to explain… We are never afraid of doing what to do. Lots of people say why you guys have a white cover on BATTLES IN THE NORTH. We just tell them: “Well, because we want people like you to ask questions like that from us…”. I know we even provoked our fans with that cover when the album came out. It was like when everybody else was hiding behind the trees with a spy club, and everything became like a trendy thing, y´know. Everybody wanted to get a corpse paint, bringing the dark and we were like: “F**k them!”. We´ll do exactly what we want to do, so we really did another cover for that album (BATTLES… that was). We were completely aware of what we wanted back then: We went up to the mountains, climbing up the snowy steps and we took the pictures in the fucking show and showed everybody how a cover – based on Norway´s mountains, will look like and then we don´t fuckin´ care what people think of it. I think the cover caught the atmosphere really well at that moment because it was meant to provoke a lot of people. We were posing with out guitars on it and everything and I think it´s important to break this certain ´ice´ what comes to your imago and so on, y´know.
I think you are in a really privileged position as far as your location is concerned. You live in Bergen where you have these truly breath-taking landscapes – with huge mountains, fiords, lakes and so on. Nature is a great source of inspiration in itself already, keeping in mind that Norway is known for all those aforementioned things.
Yeah. Nature is the greatest inspiration for my lyrics, of course! You see, I work every day and I cannot write anything without working. I live in a city – in a quiet place at a great house where nobody can disturb me, so it´s perfect. I live in a top floor, and I have a lot of fuckin´ windows in my apartment where I can see everything straight to the mountains. I can walk from my house straight up to the mountains. It will take like 2 hours to get on the top of these mountains by walking. It´s great to go up to those mountains and get inspired. Where Abbath lives, it´s like an half hour driving from there to a place where is a lot of great nature like the sea, the mountains and this area of really old woods which is full of these ancient woods. That place looks really special. I get a lot of inspiration from that place. We also tend to go far to south – to the mountains where Abbath has a cabin up there. That place with all those views from there, really inspires us and it would be hard to do this without those landscapes.
Has it always been that way for you guys that you get most of your inspirations from the nature itself?
I started very early combining walking with getting inspired. I don´t do any jogging or anything. I would walk through the whole wintertime even if I would be fucking slow down. It became a thing that I did so much that I had to do it every day. If I don´t do it, I would be pissed, y´know. Because I´m used to doing it and it´s a part of what I, or we do. I cannot sit at my apartment and write music and lyrics if I don´t have something rollin´ in my mind, y´know. Rain, cold, wind – whatever, I´m out there for them.
SEVEN DATES OF BLASHYRKH
Now you are doing this reunion tour called “Seven Dates of Blashyrkh 2007” and tomorrow Immortal will play for the very 1st time in Finland and at Tuska. What kind of pre-expectations do you have about that particular appearance in front of Finnish Immortal fans?
Well, we are gonna be ourselves, that´s for sure. We actually have good expectations to play at Tuska because we know a lot of people from Finland and we know that a lot of people from Finland are very dedicated to Immortal. So, it was about the time to play over here. When this offer came us about playing in Finland, it was very easy to say ´yes´ to it. We haven´t played in Sweden either thus far. Maybe that´s because I think people from Finland think along the same way like us because they have also used to winter; used to those natural conditions in winter time – and overall the prevailing climate in the Scandinavia. Maybe that´s why we didn´t play in Finland before because it´s somehow ´so close´, y´know. So, we are thinking like we could play in the north in Norway, it would really be the same, ha-ha! You know what I mean (not really -Luxi)? With all the expectations we have, we still have to do this job and go and make fuckin´ hell known.
Sounds good to me. Anyway, after Tuska, you´ll also travel to the States for two shows; one will be in New York on July 13th and another will be in California on July 15th. Seems like the so-called ´big wheel´ has started rolling for the band very smoothly again…
We have really noticed that Immortal have become a huge thing over there. We really noticed that based on all the feedback from the fans over there – and how interested people really are there about us. So, in a way we were like a little fortunate with having this break, and when things were going like this. I wish it was a strategy; then it would be a really good strategy for us, ha-ha! But anyway, it feels good. It´s good that the show we´ll have in New York, is sold-out already, it´s good that there´s a big interest toward us, but I honestly think we really fought for it, really hard for many years. It was like we were digging a really big hole in the ground. We were really working hard for Immortal since day one. We took this from the fuckin´ basement and we were nothing back then. We were just one band amongst thousands of other bands. Everybody was basically telling us that “you won´t be going anywhere with this type of ´music´. Fuckin´ Black Metal people! Are you crazy?” Me and Abbath were maybe the only guys in Bergen back in the day who had a long, black hair, bullet belts, etc. with sort of ´fuck-everyone´ -attitude. Today all those (pathetic) people are like: “They fuckin´ love your band, man!” It´s a little pathetic, but it´s been 17 years since we have been doing Immortal. It´s a long fuckin´ time. Let´s see where we will be in 10 years with this band, he!
On August 25th, you´ll play at “Holy in the Sky” festival in Bergen, and that show will be a really special show for you since it´s your home town and it´s been 7 years since you played a show there last time…
Yeah, it´s gonna be a real special thing for us to do. But in Bergen we have been to “Holy in the Sky” before, y´know. Immortal was the first band to open “Hole in the Sky” -festival, when the festival was arranged for the first time, I think. It´s also the fond of Erik who was a drummer and “Holy in the Sky” was made as a foundation to him. And it will feel good to be back there and do things in your hometown.
THE IMAGO OF IMMORTAL
How important is the band´s imago for Immortal? I mean, how your lyrics, music and the band´s imago come through in public?
Well, there´s no coincidence with anything really. Everything´s thought-out – every detail and I think we are more aware of that now than we were before. So everything is in a setting. It´s natural for us; we invented our own style in a way. Of course we are inspired by a lot of other bands, but they were different; they didn´t like us, y´know. And it was like we started something that only we can do in the right way for ourselves. It´s really hard to fully explain it to you, but it´s like in our blood. We cannot stand up and play Black Metal like…(*making noises*) – and pretend to look spooky or whatsoever! It´s like in our bodies, in the spirit and it´s like in our own identity what we are. We have our own thing going on. We have our own understanding about certain things that a lot of other people do not understand. We have a different understanding and we can laugh at things that other people don´t do or understand why we do so. When I speak about metal, I speak about a metal way – and rock´n roll way. We have these things going on that are natural for us and we do whatever we want because we simply don´t care what other people may think about it. Just like we did the “Blashyrkh” -video, we did it up on the mountains, it´s always like… it´s grim, y´know. You can see Abbath under a fuckin´ daylight. He looks like a fuckin´ demon, and he smiles and grins. It´s like pleasure; it´s about power – it´s about the power to run, y´know. What I want to bring to people is our fans feel fuckin´ the power when they listen to Immortal. I want to be like they really enjoy listening to us. It´s not a negative energy; it´s a massive and powerful energy – and it´s a dark and aggressive energy, and it´s demonic. It´s also above us all, y´know. In my lyrics I try to be like I am inside my head because I feel like I don´t look down at people if I don´t know them. I will never do that. And I do not bring a negative energy to them, or make anybody suffer from what I do. But don´t come in to ring without being honest, you know what I mean? Because a lot of people are slaves to this society or they are brought down by a lot of people. It´s all about identity, signature, being yourself and having the power to show that to others, too. Like I said, we really don´t care what some people may think about it, so f**k them! We are really dedicated to our fans. I give you an example. There was once this guy coming after me, all the way from Spain to Bergen. This guy had this sack in his back – and he comes to garage, I´m sitting there and enjoying my beer. Then he comes to me and says: “Hey Demonaz! I don´t want to disturb you, but I have all Immortal CDs with me, so would you mind signing them?”. I signed all his CDs and the guy said to me: “You know, I love your band so much! I LOVE Immortal! I really do, I´m a really big fan”. I was like: “I love you, too”, he-he! What can you really do in that kind of situation except to show some gratitude toward a guy like him? This guy has loved Immortal for all his life. He traveled so far away all the way to Bergen. The guy looks at me and ask where Abbath is as he can´t find him. Then I called Abbath and he comes by and signs all his CDs, too. And he did all this, just for this guy. And this guy was like he was so thankful and he said to us: “This is the greatest day of my life..!” He was so dedicated – he loved us so much that it´s very easy to like this person, y´know. I felt like I would give him more.
NORWAY: THE CAVE OF EVIL BLACK METAL
Now if we go a long way back – actually going back in time to the early ´90s when Black Metal bands really started to make themselves known worldwide musically, but also by a number of different things. First off, Norway has always been known for its very strong Black Metal scene, but also these ´ugly things´ what happened there in the early ´90s with church burnings, murders and killings and so on. Anyway, how would you say the Norwegian Black Metal scene has changed over the years from your own point of view?
I think it really became more like a regular or common thing amongst people because people have now opened their eyes and seen the quality of the bands that come from Norway. And they have seen that this is actually a music style that is in common with a lot of other things. And it was a rebellious thing for us because we felt like we wanted to come out from this certain society´s mould, y´know. At the time we wanted to have this aggressive thing; we just wanted to get out and do it. We had so much different things inside of our chests and back then we were also very dedicated to this Black Metal scene. With Venom, Celtic Frost, Possessed, Bathory, etc. – almost every mean-sounding band. It was like “Ok, they are all fuckin´ cool, but we want even darker things to come out from us”, y´know. We wanted to shock other people with our own thing – and it became the identity to make these songs and we developed our style further and we wanted our things to be different from others. I think that both me and Abbath knew back then already that we are gonna be a big band some day just because we were doing something unique that no other band had done before. We knew that – back in the day when we started together, I played in some bands and he played in some bands, there was something special in our minds back then already. Everybody could see that from us. It was like: “Well, of course you and your friend have plans to form a band. You are fuckin´ psychos, so you have to do it then…”. Because we would be the ones to stay at a fuckin´ rehearsal room until it was the night. We would be the people who sit together all the time, and speak about doing things with Immortal, and working and working in order to achive those set goals. We wanted to do this so badly. And we had a few like goals of your own like, let´s say: “Well, we are gonna go on tour, we are gonna get a record contract and we are gonna… Well, do whatever it is needed to have this band going. He, the Morbid Angel -thing was one of the goals that happened for us, y´know. It was like David Vincent called to us and he wanted to get Immortal on tour with them. It was easy to say “Yes, we´ll do it”. I think it´s been like in the blood for us. It´s really difficult to explain our relation because I think you have seen it, in a way. You´ll see that it´s like a natural thing for us.
As the fact is that Norway is nowadays best known for its quality Black Metal bands – and many of these bands have also gained a huge success for themselves over the years. Especially bands like Dimmu Borgir, Emperor and you (Immortal) are probably the three biggest names coming from Norway these days that every label would like to get snapped for their own labels…
What is really good is that the guys from Emperor, Dimmu Borgir and Immortal are really good friends to each other as well. We really respect each other. I know Shagrath from Dimmu Borgir personally and he loves Immortal. I also love Dimmu Borgir what they do – so does Abbath. There´s no competition going on between each of these three bands. We are all the same family, y´know. And it´s really a great thing because there´s a lot of respect involved between each of these three bands.
Talking about a bit more about the past Norwegian Black Metal scene. What about this guy named Oystein Aarseth aka Euronymous as most of us remember him? How much do you believe he, as a single individual, has had an effect on the whole Norwegian Black Metal scene; of things what he represented and did when he was still walking among us?
Well, Mayhem has always been an important band because they are probably the oldest Black Metal band coming from Norway. They were like an inspiration for everyone when they started, with black album covers and stuff. It was a big thing at that time, and let me mention that f.ex. Hellhammer has also played with us, for one tour. He´s a great guy. But anyway, Mayhem did mean a lot to us. I think they have meant a lot to every Black Metal band – all those things they started in Black Metal.
PERFECT VISION… AND ABOUT MEETING YOUR INSPIRER
What about Perfect Visions that you have together with Ice Dale, Abbath, Armagedda and you on vocals? How would you describe the band for all those curious parties who wanna get a hunch how it is musically?
Well, I´m doing it now. It´s a solo project and I´m in a studio to record my solo album. Abbath will do the bass when we come back home on Tuesday 3rd of July. It´s my music; I made all the riffs, all the songs and Ice Daly plays guitar in this solo project. Armagedda does the drums and Abbath kicks in the bass parts. There´s four songs ready now that will be finished by this month. Well, what else could I say about it? What people say to me is like, it´s fuckin´ hard to describe it musically. But it´s like inner heritage coming from me; inner heritage like Immortal, Tendencies – inner heritage like atmospheric, cold, different and so on. It´s a thing that I really worked on for a long time. But I couldn´t make it a priority and put it out as a project before now. So it feels really good and we have plans to record a full-length album this year if just everything works out the way we have planned. But so far I´m really satisfied. We have been working in the studio now for it. I went to the studio with Abbath to listen to it, and he was like: “Wow… fuckin´hell! This sounds really good!!”. Also we did have a good feeling about it and it´s really great to finally record and get started with it. But how it sounds like, well, a lot of people ask the same thing from me. I think that the songs are really different. It´s really timeless music – and it´s metallic, but with lots of atmosphere, y´know. It´s a little inspired by bands like Fields of the Nephilim, W.A.S.P., Immortal, Led Zeppelin ansd some other bands. Me and Abbath went to London to see a Fields of the Nephilim concert some 6 weeks ago – well, I think it was 6 weeks ago. There we met the band´s Carl McCoy and it was fantastic because he also likes our music. I´ve been into this band for so long time. It was really great to see them performing at Astoria; a really great band and they have a really great, fuckin´ dark atmosphere. They´ve been a huge inspiration to me. McCoy has lots of these ´dark things´ that I´m really heavy into, y´know. What I love about this band, they are so different to anyone. Field of the Nephilim is different; nobody sounds like them and they sound like no one else. Maybe that is how my project Perfect Visions is too, I think. It´s like you cannot put it into one certain category and say this is ´Black Metal´, or ´Atmospheric Metal´ – or whatever! It´s definitely not emo, I can tell – ha-ha!!
That´s a relief to hear, ha!
But I have all the songs ready for an album, and it´s original, I think. I really think that those who have heard this stuff already… I put out some shitty demo stuff with an instrumental to Myspace –site, but it doesn´t represent this project well enough yet. I had to put out something just to trick myself to get the songs finished some day, y´know. So when people start demanding something from it, so I can try to set some more focus on it. The response for it has been extremely good so far which is a nice thing. Anyway, we´ll see. I think it´s really good to have all these ideas coming out from me finally.
BACK IN THE DAY WITH AMPUTATION AND OLD FUNERAL
If we go even more way back to the times when you were starting your musical career in such Norwegian Death Metal outfits as of Old Funeral and Amputation? How much do you miss those times?
Ha-ha! Not so much actually. It was a start for me and huh… that was a really long time ago. But I think we were like we wanted so much to play in bands, playing that type of music and getting these bands started. There was a really big enthusiasm involved with all of us back then, like: “Wow, you also like this kind of metal… wow!”. It was like this basically and we´re only kids, y´know. So, it was a good experience and that´s how I met Abbath because of these bands. It was like a timeless stuff, and Abbath had a really big charisma even back then already. Whenever he´s onstage, he´s like a very charismatic person there. I saw that already when we played with Old Funeral – and it was at one concert, and we had already met him and I was with him because he was going to play with Old Funeral. I was in the audience and said myself: “This is the guy that I´d like to have as a frontman for all of my ideas”. The same with Abbath, he was like: “Wow, we have the same taste, the same ideas, etc.”. Anyway, we are really different in mind for all of things, but there was still a really strange bond between two of us there like I could say something, and he could fill up a sentence with the rest – or the other way around, for example. Or, Abbath called me at 5:00am in the morning and said: “Demonaz! You know what? I have this brilliant riff, an arrangement for a song”. The he starts improvising through phone how this riff goes, making of course noises at the same time. Then I was like: “Yeah, I know because I already recorded the arrangement for this song”. And he was like: “What did you just say…?!” I continued: “Yes, I already recorded it. It sounds nearly the same like yours…”. I was then telling him it´s on CD, and it´s laying there in the rehearsal room. Then he goes there and finds out how I´m thinking about. So, we are really think likewise.
So the connection was already there since the day you met each other…
Yeah, the connection was there immediately. When he comes up with an arrangement for a song, it´s so easy for me to understand where he took it from, and it´s easy for me to write the lyrics on the top of a song because we both know already how we want the song to be like. That´s how we work. It´s like… you know what I mean, it´s like a strong bond between two of us. We always agree on things. If it´s artwork, or if it´s a T-shirt design or anything else. We are both really critical to everything and I think we can be really hard guys to work with sometimes because some people just don´t understand us. But our minds are really the same and it´s like people can tell to you that´s Abbath and Demonaz, ha-ha! And they are like: “Who the hell are those guys really? Whatta fuck are they doing? They are strange…”, y´know.
IMMORTAL at the backstage of Inferno 2007 – From L to R:
Abbath, Apollyon, Horgh, Demonaz and Håkon (Photograve Management)
So, what do you expect from next year regarding Immortal?
To get a new Immortal album released, of course! That´s at least what I think that we´ll have a new album out sometime for the next year. We are gonna work for it hard so that we could get it released next year. When the freezing winds hit us after the summer, we´ll start working with the songs for it, and focusing completely on it. I think it´s gonna be so great to write this next Immortal album – and also, it´s great to work right now because we are like we were 17 years ago, y´know – like little kids full of enthusiasm and passion. We are really caring about what we do and it´s like, let´s say when Abbath´s calls and tells me that he has got this fuckin´ great riff again for a song arrangement and I should listen to it right away – and then start doing some lyrics for it because he would be coming over to my place soon and would like to get the whole piece together real quick. I mean, we both are really enthusiastic about everything again now. We have got the same spark back that we used to have before, y´know. And that´s how it should be in the first place, I think. You need that special spark in order to get your things delivered the right way, y´know.
Ok, I guess we are finished, so thank you Harald so very much for talking to me. All the best for your gig for tomorrow!
Thank you, man! This was fun… very good.