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Interview with Quorthon
from Power Metal Magazine (1987)

STRANGER THAN STRANGE - Quorthon uncloacks his secrets in an exclusive interview...

Bathory Interview by Peter McManus - Power Metal Magazine / 1987

Bathory thrives on mystery. Let's face it, any group that's released three albums and hasn't yet told anyone exactly who is in the band likes to play their rock and roll cards close to their chest. But we may be at the dawning of a new day for this Swedish Thrash Metal unit. Band leader Quorthon (spelled Quarthon in the original interview-EM) - the only member of Bathory yet identified -feels that with the success of the group's latest LP, Under the sigh of the black mark (the original interview forgot the 'under' before the title-EM), it's time for the band to come out of the proverbial closet and reveal more about their true identity.

"Many people have stated the belief that I am Bathory" he said. "I do not deny that earlier in our career I played most of the instruments on our records and produced much of the material. But now that we are planning to tour, it was necesserary to reveal that Bathory is indeed a band. We have added two members, whose names are unimportant at the moment. But I promise those who have followed our career that when they see us live, they won't be disappointed".

Back in 1983, Bathory - or shall we just say Quorthon - recorded two tracks for the Swedish metal compilation LP, Scandinavian Metal Attack. The Bathory tracks- especially The return of the darkness and evil (this interviewer made some titles spelling mistakes-EM) - made an immediate impression on European thrash followers, and the compilation's owner agreed to finance the group's first LP, simply titled Bathory. That album's unrelenting power and bizarre lyrical imagery made it an instant cult sensation and attracted a great deal of interest in the secretive act. To add to the mystery, Quorthon began doing press interviews cloaked in black, wearing sunglasses and a hat, and revealing nothing about himself or his band. Today, thankfully, he's seen that such an approach is a gimmick that can run out of steam.

"Back in the early days, maintaining secrecy about myself and the band was all-important," he said. "But I discovered that fans were taking my secrecy the wrong way. They were making me out as some sort of divine, mystical character when in reality I wanted them to see I was just like them. I am a very boring person away from the band. Without my music, I'm just a faceless individual who only comes alive as part of Bathory."

Following the release of the band's first LP in 1984, Quorthon disappeared from sight until The Return emerged in 1985. Even Quorthon admits the album lacked the intensity of the group's debut. And though the production on the LP was sparkling compared to the Bathory LP, he now states there's no substitute for quality material - which was missing on The Return.

"I hate to admit it, but one of the reasons The Return wasn't a very good album was that the people involved with the record - most especially myself - were drinking quite heavily at the time," Quorthon said. "We were just trying to playas fast as we could, and in the process we had neither the energy of the first album, nor the power we have now achieved on Under the sign of the black mark".

On their latest album, Bathory has changed their musical philosophy. By elaborating their song concepts and slowing down their basic approach, Quorthon has taken the band out of the thrash camp and moved in a more mainstream (mainstream? really?-EM) metal direction. Songs like the eight-minute opus, Enter the eternal fire, perfectly reflects the band's new attitude where speed is no longer used as a substitute for talent. Today, Quorthon seems determinated to place Bathory's thrash attitudes in a more traditional metal setting. The results, he hopes, will lead the band to the top of the metal mountain (it surely did-EM).

"I reject the term 'death metal' and I don't like being called 'thrash' or 'speed'," he said. "We certainly still play speed metal at times, but there's agreat deal more melody in the music as well. We have a band now, and soon I will lift the mystery as to who exactly is in the group. But for now, fans should content themselves with the music. Bathory is a band that is designed to give pleasure. Our interests are simple - sex, horror and the exploration of the dark side of life. It's just a way for me to let off a little steam, after all, this is supposed to be fun, right?".


Bernard Doe meets the mysterious Quorthon as Bathory rid themselves of their satanic image.

Bathory first came to the attention of the world's metal underground hordes when they appeared on the Scandinavian Metal Attack compilation in 1984 and gradually built up a cult following with the release of two albums, 'Bathory' and 'The Return', on the Swedish label Black Mark, which both sold very well despite only being available as imports and without the aid of any live appearances and very little press.

However earlier this year Music for Nations signed the band for their Under One Flag label and promptly made Bathory's first two albums available in the UK for the first time, and in May released their third album 'Under The Sign Of The Black Mark'.

But to find out more about Bathory let's talk to the band's main man Quorthon whose virtually been on his own since the original line-up split in April '84.

OK Quorthon, since this is the first time you've appeared in MF let's startright at the beginning. Were you in any bands before Bathory?

- Not really, well none that are worth mentioning anyway , because before Bathory I was just playing punk and Motorhead type stuff and it was only just for fun.

So you used to be a punk did you?

- Oh yeah, when I was a kid I was walking around with green hair and safety pins and stuff - I was totally into it. Ha! Ha!

When did you form Bathory?

- That was in March 1983 when I met these two guys who had a lot of equipment and had somewhere to rehearse for free. We recorded two songs for the Scandinavian Metal Attack compilation album in February '84, but soon after that we split up because I wanted to play more faster metal which they didn't - we just grew apart from each other.

- Then a few months later the record company got in contact with me and said they had been receiving lots and lots of fan-mail because of the compilation album and they wanted Bathory to record a full length album. I told them that the band had split up but they still wanted me to do it, so I started to write some new songs and create a new style for how I wanted Bathory to sound, which was very difficult because at the time I was also auditioning a lot of musicians for the new line-up.

You've never really had a stable line-up with Bathory have you?

- No, there has been a lot of different line-ups and that's because I often didn't realise until a couple of months after people had joined that they were not the right guys so I had to kick 'em out. They didn't even last long enough to have our photos taken, so that's why when I've done interviews with magazines we've only given them photos of me.

- It's only now that I've managed to find two guys at the same time that I'm satisfied with. They both have the same attitudes and ideas that I have about the music - they're just perfect.

What are the names of the new members in Bathory?

- Oh we haven't come with any names as yet but I think on the next album we will have pictures of all of the members.

Are the new guys from Sweden?

- Yes they are.

Have they been in any metal bands before?

- That is of no importance at all, the important thing is that they are now the new drummer and bass player in Bathory, and that's all the people need to know.

OK, but have either of them had any recording experience before?

- I think the drummer has, but that's not important either.

Fine, well, we've at least established you've got two new members in Bathory. Will they contribute to the writing side at all?

- No, I'm the one who will be writing all the music and the lyrics.

You've already mentioned punk and Motorhead, but what other influences do you have? I read somewhere that you liked the Beatles!?

- Oh, I listen to a lot of different stuff, from classical music to the most outrageous music you could possibly imagine. I personally think that the Beatles are the best band that have ever lived, but that's obviously got nothing to do with Bathory.

I understand that you're a big Kiss fan as well?

- I used to be a Kiss fan when I was a kid. When you are young you tend to be influenced by everything that is outrageous and at that time Kiss were very theatrical and outrageous.

Why do you use the name 'Quorthon'?

- You have to have a stage name to separate yourself from the private person to the one that plays in a band, and I think 'Quorthon' fits me quite well. It means a prince who's half-human and half-demon.

How seriously do you take the satanical image that you've built up about Bathory?

- I'm not into that anymore, that was something that happened two or three years ago. Y'see once you've read the christian bible and found out about one side you want to find out about the other side as well. But once you've done that you then realise that both sides are just bullshit. So I don't need any of that anymore.

But you're still writing satanical songs on your latest album?

- Well, I do mention the word satan in '13 Candles', but that is the only song, and that particular song is very old, I could have included that on the first album. The only reason that it's on the new album at all is because I didn't feel I had a stronger song at the time.

I take it from your comments that you are not religious at all?

- No.

But in the song 'Call From The Grave' you are actually asking the question 'Is there a God?'

- That's a very good remark from you, because I didn't think anyone would realise the whole point of the lyrics. In that song I scream 'If there's a God in Heaven, hear my call from the grave...' and my point is this: No matter what sins you may have committed in this world, there is always someone to who you can ask for forgiveness and you can enter the holy gate. Anyone would ask for forgiveness if they could, in which case, why is there a hell? Also if God is the almighty then why doesn't he destroy the evil side? So 'Call From The Grave' isn't just about being buried alive or being abandoned by God, it's really questioning the religious theory from both sides.

So really you're undecided about religion?

- No, personally I've decided about religion but I'm still fascinated by it and will continue to write about in the future. I'm really playing with peoples imaginations about the evil and good side.

But you dismiss that you're a black metal or demonic band, which you've been labelled by just about every metal magazine?

- I think it's totally wrong to put labels on a band's music because you should let the music speak for itself and it doesn't matter if you wear chicken bones, studded leather, spikes and upside-down crosses - the way you dress has nothing to do with the music at all. I mean you don't play any better because you wear studded leather or not, do you?

No, but it's the job of music journalists when reviewing a band to let their readers know what style of music a particular band play and the best way of doing that is, to a certain extent, make comparisons with other more established acts. Admittedly that, at times, can be misleading because everybody views music differently, but there are a helluva lot of albums being released every week and metal fans just don't have the cash to buy literally every album that comes out, and rely on music publications like ourselves to give them a guide as to what to buy. So I certainly don't think making comparisons is a bad thing and I'm sure a majority of our readers would agree. Anyway back to the interview.....

Venom is of course a band that Bathory have been compared to on many occasions. What are your views on them?

- I don't think there are any similarities musically between Venom and Bathory at all. But I do think 'Black Metal' - which I heard for the first time 3 months after we formed Bathory - is one of the best albums ever made because it has genuine feeling. At that time there was no speed or thrash around, so Venom were very unique, even though they wimped out later on and spoiled the whole thing. I mean 'At War With Satan' and 'Possessed' are shit compared to Black metal'.

Now you've got an established line-up can we expect to see Bathory play some live shows?

- Well we intend to record a live video as soon as possible to give all our fans, wherever they live, an equal chance to see our stage show. But to go on the road touring and putting on the type of show we have would cost a lot of money which we don't have right now.

Is that going to be a promo video or one that will be available commercially?

- Yeah, the kids will be able to buy it. It will have about six or seven tracks and we will probably incorporate a little bit about the history of the band as well.

When do you think the video will be recorded?

- Probably after we've recorded the next album in the summer.

Did you write the track 'Of Doom....' especially for your older fans?

- Yes that is totally dedicated to our fans, because they've been so patient andvery supportive towards me through the years. They've been totally aware of themember situation and have always kept on encouraging me to carry on. So 'Of Doom....' is especially for them.

Who plays keyboards on the track 'Woman Of Dark Desires'?
- I do.

Now a lot of metal fans say that keyboards should not be used in metal. What are your views on that?

- Well think it's ok if you use them the right way. I know if you mention the words synthesizer or keyboards that everybody goes crazy and says that it's not metal, but that's just bullshit. If you use a synthesizer as an instrument it works quite well, but only as a compliment to the other instruments because the guitar, the bass and the drums will always be the most dominant part of Bathory.

What musical direction do you see Bathory taking in the near future?

- Well I've written six new songs so far and I think I'll probably write about ten more and then decide which ones to use on the next album. But I think the album will contain both fast and slow songs because we want to please the doom metal fans as well as the people just into speed metal.

Well 'Under The Sign Of The Black Mark' (reviewed MF23) is certainly the band's best release to date and should expand Bathory's growing following even further. Incidentally US readers will be pleased to know that the album will, at last, get a US release on New Renaissance Records shortly.


Assault and Bathory

As most of you will be aware, Under One Flag is a thrash offshoot of the Music for Nations label. They've released plenty of products lately, notable albums from Holy Terror and Death Angel.

They're also extremely on the ball at securing licensing deals for LPs that have been out on other labels. And so it came to pass that Under One Flag have been responsible for unleashing not one, not two, but three albums from Swedish thrashers Bathory ...all within weeks of each other.

The band's leader is called Quorthon, a character with a voice like the devil himself. And he recently paid a flying visit to the UK to discuss their third album, 'Under The Sign Of The Black Mark'. He also talked about his intention to slay a lamb onstage, and how he'd take some convincing to buy one of his albums!

The character of Quorthon exudes mystery, or so he would like to think. Clad from head to toe in black leather, and eyes hidden behind an impenetrable pair of shades, the Swede talks slowly and at great length, with great sincerity. He's of indeterminate age and seems amiable, but continue to contradict himself throughout our conversation. Interviews, it seems aren't commonplace and I get the impression that he finds them to be a bit of a trial. Nevertheless he acquits himself admirably in a foreign tongue.

"I'm over here for a second lot of press interviews", he says as we attract glances in a posh Lancaster Gate hotel. "Now we have to release a bit of the image and the reputation, show our faces and what we look like. For the first couple of years we didn't put out any pictures or do any interviews. We like to keep our distance."

"The image is as important as the music I think. But you can't play the image on the radio, so the image is for magazines."

For those unaware of Bathory's reputation, let me explain. They were formed in 1983, when they had two tracks included on a Swedish compilation album. Motorhead influences abounded, and the band played loud and fast, with more than a passing nod to Venom and other black metal luminaries. These two tracks led to a debut album (called just 'Bathory'), and a disappointing second (The Warning), with mass underground appeal. (Am I the only one who has never heard of a Bathory album called "The Warning"? /Twilight Ed)

"What we do onstage corresponds with the visual thing" Quorthon explains. "In our biography you might have read that we intended to slay a lamb onstage. It was an idea I had a few years ago, but now I realise that you can't do that.

" In Britain the RSPCA would have gone bananas if they got wind of such a plan. I wonder if Bathory could get away with it back home? There is no doubting the fact that such blatant opportunism would secure him a reputation in Fleet Street. And it would certainly tie in with the Satanic theme.

"We are not Satanists", says Quorthon somewhat surprisingly. "I was into all that two or three years ago, but then you grow away from it. All that religious stuff is just bullshit. You've got to know both sides. Once you get to know one side - whether it's the dark side or the light side - you realise that our music doesn't have anything to do with religion at all. This is just metal. I make fiction stories with my mind and it turns out to be Bathory. Nowadays I have nothing to do with that at all. But I don't make any apologies for having been a part of it in the past.

"Even so there is a very dark and ominous feel to the third album. "I think I only mention Satan once on it. That's on '13 candles' wich is a very old song", he says. "Satan hasn't got anything to do with Bathory. We're just kids from Stockholm and we don't have anything to do with religion or politics. But we have a very close relationship with our fans, the people that buy the records. They have a very clear perspective of what they want from us. If they tell us to go faster or slower, or touch certain topics, we do."

Quarthon goes on to explain that Bathory don't consider them- selves speed metal, death metal or black metal. Instead he insists that most of his inspiration derived from the radio, and time changes are altered to make them more acceptable. He's hardly a fan of your stereotyped European metal band either.

"I don't listen to speed metal or death metal because most of it's just crap. What we play is just metal. The German invasion of speed metal is crap. Bleeeuurrgghh", he says with a look as though he's swallowed a bar of soap. Does Quorthon take himself any more seriously three albums into his career?

"I don't even take the band seriously", he says. "Onstage I'm Quorthon the almighty, the Evil One. On the streets of Stockholm I'm just anybody. You have to draw a very thick line between what you do onstage and privately.


Cecil Polanski interviews Quorthon.
The man himself, Quorthon of Bathory - Scandinavian king of total death metal. A daunting prospect awaited as I braved all pre-conceptions and tookup the 'phone (in between power cuts at MFN tsk, tsk!) and found myself talking to a very pleasant, vegetarian, Kate Bush fan - no, not me..but that blood-sucking over-sexed Swede.

Quorthon is a bit of a different name from Cecil or Reginald, thinks I. What's in it then?

-Nothing really. I just wanted to break away from all the other Swedish bands who were following the US and taking on that kind of name (like 'Joey Tempest' I suppose - Cecil). I wanted something that was different from anything, so we took our names from a list of demons. In Swedish it was supposed to translate so that it means 'a good fuck', but it didn't quite work. It's more fun really.

A fun Satanist? Surely not, though recent press has been over-emphatic of stating that you're not really a Satanist.

-I've always liked Motörhead, good sex and Power Metal, so it was obvious we'd have an image of Satanism. Back in '83 when we had the first backing band together, people would say that we needed to have an approach that was serious and dedicated, which I was...but not the rest of the band, so I kicked them out.

So the stories of you wanting to sacrifice a lamb onstage are not true?

-It was just something that was said a long time ago which was over-exaggerated. I mean. I'm a vegetarian!

Good on yer Quorth! Bathory has been documented as a joke which became serious. Is this true and why take it to such an extent?

-There has ALWAYS been a band with Bathory. It's just that, until '86, we had no stable line-up which we could take pictures of or name. The band must have total commitment, like me, because I don't want anyone coming to a rehearsal who is more bothered about a sick girlfriend. So there was only me to put on the record sleeves and promo pictures. It was the press who thought that it was a joke, but I've always been serious, totally.

You now have a stable band who you are proud of. Does this mean we'll now get to see you live?

-Everything has been done before that you could possibly imagine, so we could do nothing new. Music is so unimportant live. We want to do something different, not what the fans have already seen, so we decided to do a big video which will cost a lot of money and have everything that we want in it, exactly how we want it!

What songs will you use?

-We've sent letters to all the members of the fan-club, The Bathory Hordes, and asked them to choose their 5 favourite tracks. The most popular ones will do.

A noble gesture. What effects are being planned?

-There'll be a huge stageshow, for all the fans to see the songs the way they want. We'll have bombs...they've been done before, but ours will go 30 feet. We'll have big mountains as a backdrop and horses, naked women...everything.

And nuclear weapons, as you seem to mention nuclear war somewhere on each album. Are you criticising or praising?

-There are a few missiles in the world, and they don't do much. They are boring. I like the way wars were fought a hundred years ago, but not now.

I see Boss helped out on production this LP. Is he still heavily involved with Bathory even now you've left his label, Tyfon Grammofon?

-He's still part of the team. We're with his management still. It's just that Under One Flag can help with distribution better. There was no need to change as it's perfect. There's the 3 guys in the studio and the one behind the space desk who are totally committed.

Personally, I find the production a little too sharp (too much tone, which makes it hissy). Are you happy with it?

-Yes, I'm happy, although I see what you mean, but when you spend 3 months in a studio recording 25 songs, you don't get much time to compare it to anything. That's what happened.

25 songs! What's going on?

-We recorded out LP's together. The next one, "Blood On Ice" is finished as well, and will be out in Spring '89 on Under One Flag.

And to round this off, I have to ask about influences, as Venom immediately spring to mind. But there's also the classic "Odin's Ride Over Nordland",which lies in a more classical vein.

-Well, I listened to Motorhead and Venom. Venom call us dickheads you know, but that doesn't bother us, 'cos we're bigger. The comparison comes from the fact that there are 3 of us, 2 have black hair and one is blond, and we wear leather and chains. But that's because we want to. Anyway, we can't wear jeans and satin shirts and look American. I listen to things that are unlike Bathory. Classical, yes, like Wagner etc. A lot of that stuff is so similar to Heavy Metal really. But my favourite record is Kate Bush's "Hounds Of Love". I told everyone this was brilliant when it came out. Then, because I play it 20 times a day, all these other bands started saying they liked it too.

Well, thanks to Quorthon for a very informative interview. A very well spoken and polite chap, too. I must say that I also think "Hounds Of Love" is the best LP ever, and it wasn't JUST because he likes it! (I never even knew that). So get "Blood Fire Death" now. The new LP "Blood On Ice" should be out about the time you're reading this - the same time as Kate Bush's new LP. Thanx to Mimi for prompting this interview and all the background stuff.



Here is a man that actually needs no introduction. He has many times been criticized for being egotistic, but that is a great way to get things the way you want, right? And as long as he and people enjoy it - so what??? I spoke to Quorthon over the phone while he was in London after his new album had been released - find out what happened...

Why don't you start by telling us a bit about your new album "Blood on Ice"?

-Well, we laid down tracks for 2 albums, because we wanted to do a double album. We recorded 25 tracks and picked out the best ones we wanted to put on the record. We have progressed our sound since "The Sign Of The Black Mark" - and came up with a better sound as well. The album was recorded in a small studio with hardly no gear at all, and then we took the master tape into a studio with computers and all kinds of shit and mixed it and it turned out really well. I did have some problems with my voice but apart from that it went extremely well.

MFN released both your two first albums when you signed them. What was actually the purpose of doing so? Didn't the Bathory fans already have them?

-When we signed to Music For Nations, they had a much better distribution than before, and our records was placed in stores where they hadn't been sold before.

How was the sales figures then?

-Counting all the labels, worldwide, we have sold about a quarter of a million albums. That is altogether.

Now, that New Renaissance Records is currently out of business - how does that effect Bathory?

-Well, we are seeking a US label right now. So far people in the US can only buy the album on import. The contract we had with them is no longer valid as they can't do anything for Bathory at the moment. They have had alot of shit with record distributors and bands I was told, who owes them a great deal of money. It is very sad because the girls that works there are sooo nice.

Now, let us hear the true story about your promotion trip in The States when you were supposed to have been put in jail for blowing fire on top of a building in Los Angeles?

-I wasn't actually put in jail. It was our camera man that wanted me to blow fire on top of this building.When we got up there I started up the fireworks and someone of the 16th floor called the police department and the fire department. Luckily enough for us we managed to get away before they showed up. I did have some problems with the police afterwards but I wasn't put in jail.

What about the one-man-band status you have got from the press?

-It is strange because journalists and people that write to me and never get any answer, makes up stories about that. Or, if I am being interviewed they change my statements. The reason I did "The Sign Of The Black Mark" on my own was that I couldn't find musicians that were dedicated enough to go ahead with Bathory, people who were 100% into the band. Now however, I have found people that are into it and we will take it from there. People that get the one man band status are often the mind behind the music, and everything. They don't even have to be a one man band. They compose, arrange, play various instruments and produce their music in many cases. Therefore, I don't why this should be something negative - the press makes a negative thing about it.

How come Bathory has never toured Scandinavia? I mean you had a full line up a couple of years ago so...?

-We couldn't bring our stage with us here in Scandinavia and still can't. For Bathory it is important to have a impressing stage show so that the audience get something in return for the ticket they have paid for. I think it is boring just standing there with no effects or pyro-technics. We will be doing shows in the US as soon as we get a tour lined up as there are quite a few Bathory followers over there, and then some big places in Europe. Then we will bring our stage show with us and that will cost a lot of money.

What is your opinion on the way big selling magazines treat the satanic bands nowadays? I mean, a couple of years ago it was trendy singing about Satan and things like that, while now it seems like it is trendy NOT to sing about that, and to make those who do, look like shit. Many 'zines have actually started doing it too now.

-First of all, I am not personally into satanism. I have just been interested in the subject for a long, long time and I know a lot about it. To me it is like a protest against God. What makes God and Christianity any better? I mean, the Christians has killed more people in the history than all the world wars together. That is what the title on the new album is about too. I am not against satanic lyrics but I am against satanic worshipping. People that barbecue animals and things like that. I do see he trendiness among the magazines and it isn't right at all.

I heard a Swedish interview with you on the radio where you said you actually screamed into a microphone for half an hour before you do your raw vocals. Do you still do that?

-Yeah, the last time I did that was on the album. It is hard and sometimes I lose my voice if I keep singing for a long period of time.

It has become quite popular making promotion videos now. Where does Bathory stand on that issue?

-Well, we will be making 2 videos. The first one will be a promotion video which will be shout outdoor in a deserted place here in Sweden that looks very Scandinavian. Next up we will do another video that will last about an hour or so, with loads of unreleased material on it - rare stuff. There will also be some live songs with our stage show for people that haven't seen us live. (I guess many people will buy that one as few has seen them live - ed) We want to put out something really special.

I understand you know Pelle Dead of Mayhem?

-No....? (Then I explain about a little guinea pig affair in Stockholm - and he starts raising his voice. Aha, it looks like he knows him very well I think, but since the answer was very negative that part will be cankered. Rather ask Pelle or Quorthon yourself).

You have been accused by Onslaught to have ripped off their idea about a double album, as well as the title. What is your comment?

-Oh, well, we used to be on the same record company, unless now they are too big - ha ha!! They didn't sell records, we did. The record company said, here we have 2 bands, one from Sweden that sells records and another band from England that don't sell records and they want to call their album "Blood Upon The Ice" or something like that, what do we do? Onslaught wanted us to change the title, but with the support from the record company we didn't have to do that. Both of us wanted to do a double album, but we didn't and they changed label so.... Now they are giving us and the record company a lot of shit.

Then I got to know all their plans about taking promotion photos up in the cold mountains of Norway with snow and everything and jokes about Norwegians which I dislike very much because they are stupid (We have just as many if not more (he he) about the Swedish people, but I don't think they are funny either) and some news about the Swedish scene. Me and Quorthon agreed upon that there should be a better relationship between Norway and Sweden when it comes to the underground (at least) - we should help each other out a lot more often. That goes for Denmark and Finland too.



This band doesn't need an introduction!! I am really honoured to have an interview with these death/black metal gods in my zine!! Nothing more to say-let Quorthon speak......

When's the next album coming out??

-If you are talking about the next album and meaning the fifth L.P., that is the one to be out after "Blood Fire Death", well in that case it will be recorded from second half of June onto the whole of July and it will probably be out the end of this summer. The album will be entitled "Hammerheart".

You think you have a stable line-up now??

-Well, yes I think we do. I mean this line-up has been together now for three years this summer and I think it is good. A lot of bands don't last for three years......

Will you always be a real death/black metal band??

-You can label us any way you want to label us. The important thing is that we produce and then I don't care whether people want to label us thrash or speed or black or doom or whatever ....I say Rock 'n' Roll.

Why have you never done a tour??

-The reason why we haven't toured is of course due to the costs. Then you might say that any shit band can tour and do clubs and stuff, and I say well that's ok for them but not for us. We are gonna do a tour when we feel ready and when all of us in the band feel like we want to go out on tour.

You think you will play with a second guitarist some day!!


What did Vvornth and Kothaar do before Bathory??

-Vvornth played in a Stockholm Rock 'n' Roll band before he joined Bathory, then after he left school he studied classical music and he plays in a symphony orchestra (percussions) aside his playing in Bathory. Kothaar has played in a few bands before Bathory and he spends his time aside Bathory mostly in the army since he is a military freak (as well as I am but he is a military full-time).

Can you make a good living out of Bathory??

-Sure, I live in an apartment in West of Stockholm right now. For a moment I was thinking of moving to USA or Germany but I have stayed back home in Sweden for a while now.

When will you have a big record deal??

-What do you mean by a big record deal. Isn't it enough that we have all our albums released in the whole world, that we sell around 100,000 copies of an album and that we make a good living from the money we make. We have the most wonderful fans in the world and people all over this planet support us till death. As far as the record deal, there are bands who could both kill and die to have a deal like we do.

How old are the three members??

-We are all between 20 and 23 years old.

What does your mother think of Bathory??

-I don't know. I haven't talked to her for about 10 years or so.

Are you still fascinated by Elizabeth Bathory and why??

-Well, I named the band after her simply because I thought that the life of Elizabeth (the dark desires of her) was just about I wanted this band to be all about when we started in 1983. Now everybody knows us and there is no use in changing the bands name just 'coz you might not deal with such lyrics as we did at that time six years ago.

You think you will ever stop with Bathory??

-I certainly wouldn't want to go on for fifty years or so. I am not the one to say when Bathory should end. That's up to our fans.

Are you very popular in Sweden??

-I have told the record company I do not want them to do any promotion on Bathory in Sweden at all. This is because I do not want Swedish zines to write about us or radio or TV to concern on us at all. This is because I know Sweden and it would all be taken wrong and it wouldn't do the band good at all.

You know many other bands??

-I know a few but that is of no importance at all. We are friends on a different basis than from what people might think. Bands send me their new LP or demo and ask me to say what I think about them and so on. They want me to produce their next album and so on....

What are your favourite bands??

-I listen to so much different stuff. I don't have any special fave bands at all. I listened to Kiss between 1973 and 1979 or so, from then on I did enjoy Motorhead a lot. I like Ozzy, Kate Bush, Hurricane, early Queen and most of all classical music such as Wagner, Bruckner, Sibelius, Samuel Barber, Beethoven, Chopin. But not Mozart and a lot of other shit, there is shit classical music as well as there is shit metal out there.

How many albums did you sell 'till now??

-I don't know, maybe 400,000 or so, it is hard to say because the albums are sold all over the world and sometimes as import and not all the people in this business are to be trusted. I can never trust a figure of sale I estimate it myself to around 400,000 or so.

You like beer??

-No, I don't drink alcohol anymore and I never drank beer, only konjak or good old bourbon.

What is the future of Bathory??

-A new album called "Hammerheart" this summer, a video to be released with the new album this fall and then some other great stuff for all our fans out there......

Anything else to say??

-Yes, all metals at heart, get a copy of our new LP "Blood Fire Death" ("Hammerheart might be out by the time this zine is released, in that case, get a copy of "Hammerheart") and listen carefully, send me a letter of what you think, what you would want us to do in the future, what you would not want to see us do in the future and what you think is best with our albums. Remember, it is you the fans out there on whom we depend on. We would be nobody's if it wasn't you the fans. We love you, all we do is for you. When you are no more, we are dead. Stay united and may the northstar shine on you all, keep metal at heart!!


No More Mr. Black Metal Bad Guy
by Paul Miller

"I am not a Viking-Satanist thug nor am I a bloodsucking vampire. I have never eaten a small child, although I admit I was once very close to becoming a teenage alcoholic." Shock quotes a-go-go from Quorthon, mainman with Swedish Doomsters Bathory. Paul Miller discovers a 'sensitive artist' beneath all the Black Metal bluster...

Quorthon Seth, blond, six feet tall and the sole visual proof of the existence of primeval Swedish Black Metal act Bathory, is a man trapped by his track record. As the fire-breathing, leather-studded, jock-strapped Neanderthal with an unhealthy interest in Satan and the Black Arts he single-handedly established Bathory as the final word in Black Metal.

But now, seven years after the 'band' spluttered painfully to life on the long-deleted 'Scandinavian Metal Attack' sampler, Quorthon wants to be taken a little more seriously.
Now aged 24, the portrait of Quorthon as the sensitive artist is not one that's easy to stomach. Andit's difficult to shrug off a fire-breathing past when you're fighting against a record company who still market him as some Viking-Satanist thug, a bevy of press photographers who want him to breathe fire for their cameras and a gaggle of writers who desperately want him to make another crack about slaying lambs onstage for their copy.

Yet five albums into his career Quorthon cuts a more relaxed pose. Whereas up until 1988's 'Blood Fire Death' he felt the need to be involved in every aspect of the Bathory organisation - from album sleeve design to approving biographies to handling the fan mail - he's now content to merely go with the flow.

"Before I wanted complete control, " he explains. "Now I don't care anymore. Five years ago I wanted this thing to be big, to stand there smoking fire onstage in leather and chains and studs, playing Heavy Metal. Nowadays it's not important anymore.

"People have this image of me as some sort of blood-sucking vampire living in a satanic cave in Sweden," he sighs wearily. "I don't spend six months of the year playing guitar, trying to write good lyrics and then having to answer questions like, 'When did you last kill a child ?'."

But aren't you your own worst enemy? Your press releases have always played on the Satanic angle and last time we spoke you boasted of how drunk you were when you recorded the second album, 'The Return'.

"That was very sad. 1985 was a really bad year. I was very close to becoming a teenage alcoholic. I didn't realise until after the recording. There were so many mistakes because of our drinking habits and the bass player was taking drugs at the time too. That was the album I wish we never recorded."

Do you get embarrassed about some of the things you've done in the past?

"Not embarrassed, but I wish I had done them in a more tongue-in-cheek way. With Bathory you could very easily get the idea that we actually were serious, that we in fact did eat children."
1990 is very much a fresh start for Bathory. They have a new label (Noise) and a new album to plug. Entitled 'Hammerheart', it's their sixth offering to date and is further proof of Quorthon's new found calm.

'Hammerheart' builds on the slower, epic feel of one or two of the songs from 'Blood Fire Death', their previous album, coming over like the bastard offspring of Manowar's 'Into Glory Ride' and Hellhammer's 'Apocalyptic Raids'.

"I'm really pleased with it," says Quorthon.

"We knew when we recorded 'Blood Fire Death' that it would be the last LP with a major Speed contribution. 90 per cent of the fans wanted us to go a lot heavier and slower."

Quorthon's faith in the new direction looks to be paying off. Noise have recently revised their estimated sales figure to between 150,000 and 200,000 ('Blood Fire Death' sold around 60,000).

Whilst 'Hammerheart' isn't a concept album in the truest sense, much of the lyrics are about, as Quorthon puts it, "comparing the Viking society with modern society".

"'Baptised In Fire And Blood', for instance, is about a Viking just about to light his father's funeral pyre, thanking him for all the things he has taught him," he explains.

"'Home Of Once Brave' is about Sweden from when the country rose up from the ice age until the day when we gave our country away, politically, ideologically, financially. I'm sure the Swedes had a much better life before Christianity came along".

Bathory have come a long way. Is Quorthon surprised to have gotten this far?

"I am surprised because we have all the odds against us. We are Swedes, we haven't done any world tours, we aren't the prettiest band around, we aren't the best musicians, our LP's don't sound the best and we're not on the biggest record company in the world".

"I would be very surprised if I can make my dream come true and put out a Bathory 10 year commemorative record in three years".


Lennart Larsson interviews Quorthon.

The Swedish Vikings in Bathory leaves noone untouched!!!

What Swedish Metal band did first release five studio LPs? The Stockholm combo BATHORY. Many of our readers are probably surprised by this fact. A lot of Swedes have never actually heard about them and many of those who have heard the band have/had no idea that they are actually real Vikings. "Bathory", "The Return...", "Under The Sign Of The Black Mark", "Blood Fire Death" are the names of the first four albums, which when this issue is about to be released have been followed up by the new effort "Hammerheart". The music is not melodic light Metal you can walk around humming on. No, this is fast, heavy and powerful (or brutal if you like) Metal.

Since itīs so popular (and practical) to categorise music, BATHORY can be placed in the Death/Thrash Metal department.

The band has always been surrounded by a certain mysticism, for instance because there were no group photos published the first five years and furthermore they have never played live (!). Sounds strange?

I got in touch with QUORTHON, the former of the band and obvious spokesman, to give you a deeper look into what BATHORY stands for and what they have accomplished so far.

Quorthon, when and how started BATHORY?

-We started in February-March in ī83, three guys who got together with the background that we simply wanted to play Metal. We were ordinary hardrockers, like any other kids. It was just that this was in ī83 and there were no kind of Metal that there are today. The kids of today have grown up listening to this kind of music. When we started there were no music like this. METALLICA released their first LP that spring. When SLAYER released their debut album at the end of ī83 they still wore make-up.

Tell us how you got in touch with KOTHAAR and VVORNTH, the other two members of the band!

-They have been there since August ī86. I had known the drummer (VVORNTH) many years but he was always in another band. They had a record contract and were recording a single when I met him, just when I had kicked out the memebers that were there before, so at that time there were no possibilities. During the summer that went by I met a bassplayer (KOTHAAR) and we started playing a bit together. When I met the drummer again his band had broken up and the record contract was no more. He became a member of BATHORY 2,5 weeks before we started recording "Under The Sign Of The Black Mark".

Tell us a bit about the problems you had with different members before KOTHAAR and VVORNTH joined the band! Many though that BATHORY was a one man band!

-Of course. It was people who didnīt like us who spread those kind of rumours. Those who liked us spread rumours too, but they were a bit different. The reason those kind of rumours started circulating was because it my pictures and my name came up all the time when talking about BATHORY. Of course people got tired, I guess they run out of patience. There were never any pictures and there were never any toures either, but that wasnīt our fault. It wasnīt anything we planned. The first line-up was together for a year, mainly because we were fairly good friends and because they always had access to a free rehearsal place. When things stared getting serious, after we had recorded two songs for the compilation album "Scandinavian Metal Attack" in January ī84, I simply couldnīt keep those guys anymore. Because with a bassplayer who can only play on the E-string and a drummer who doesnīt know what to play thereīs no fun. To get hold of two guys in the Swedish "climate" who looks good, understand what itīs all about and can write music is more or less impossible. Everybody in Sweden has a good education so there are nothing to fight for within Rock. They rather cut their hair to keep their job or stay home with their sick girlfriend than rehearse. Thereīs no use keeping them in the band, so members have been kicked out all the time. There have been new names, new people all the time. We didnīt want to confuse the fans, make them think that this will not last. Thatīs why we never released any pictures. Maybe people thought it was mysterious and became more interested in the band because of that so we played along with it.

So you had a few members!

-Yes, four or five drummers and 5-6 bassplayers. Weīve probably tried all the great drummers and bassplayers in the city.

Where did you get your "artist names"?

-My name is from a saga which was featured in a so called black bible. Itīs the name of - what should you call it - a prince, a warrior, who to gain success in war, in gambling, in love, on the battlefield etc. signed up to the Devil. A pretty tragic but classic fate. The name looked cool so I took it. The others choosed their own names, partly because it was fonetically right - with this th-sound we donīt have in the Swedish language - and because it was equally as corny a name as QUORTHON.

You are now back with your fifth LP "Hammerheart". Tell us about it! You are also on a new record label!

-We changed record company from the English Music For Nations (their Under One Flag label) to the German Noise. The reason we did it was partly because our contract with MFN was out but also because our producer and manager BOSS distributes Noise, SPV and all those German labels in Sweden. His entire business idea is 99% together with Noise. So it was practical for us to go to that label. Now he can work with all the albums he normally works with, and with us too, at the same time.

Tell us a little about the LP!

-The basics were recorded at the end of the last summer. Weīve let them "ripe", we recorded 12 or 13 songs. Weīve choosen seven which will be out on the album. The reason there are so few songs is that we have three songs which are more than ten minutes long. So we have one hour of music although there are only seven songs. The album was recorded in the same old studio, Heavenshore in Stockholm, and was produced by me and BOSS. Weīve mixed everything now and put it out on the metallic pieces and shipped it down to Berlin. The album is planned to be released in about one month (late April).

Will the music differ from what youīve done before?

-The music is a bit different. On "Under The Sign..." we had one song called "Call From The Grave" and one called "Enter The Eternal Fire". Those two were different due to the fact that they were not fast. They were slow and a bit different musically. When that album was released we got loads of letters from fans all over the world who wanted us to continue in that way and asked if we could do more songs like that on the next album. On "Blood Fire Death" we made the title track and "A Fine Day To Die", but we didnīt go all the way, there were actually more speed songs on that LP than on any other LP - to state that here are as much speed as you want. On the new LP, "Hammerheart", we only have songs like "Blood...", "A Fine Day To Die" and "Enter The Eternal Fire". There are but heavy stuff there plus one ballad with acoustic guitar, solo vocals and a 16 channel choire - like "Beth" with KISS. We did it to show that we can do other things too.

The music is very special! What would you say to someone in order to pursuade him to listen to you? Whatīs so great about Thrash/Speed and Death Metal?

-To label the music of a group is like, if not killing the band, at least place them in a certain department from the start. As soon as the band and the members have matured and become somewhat better musicians and started listening to different music itīs hard for them to be accepted if they make something new. To a band like KISS it was an enormous step to after ten years of make-up just take it off. The KISS-guys can still play their music even though they had no make-up. A band who changes musically has a very tough time ahead to be accepted for their new music. Those who listens to the band mature too, hopefully. I think itīs unfair to say that a band who doesnīt play in 180 km/h anymore sold out or are trying to be commercial or something like that. Itīs just ridiculous. If I as a musician, after seven years on album, still would release an album with twelve songs in 190 km/h with a lot of fucking noise, it would be like spitting in the face of the fans. They did write to us and asked for heavier and better stuff. If you look at all the other speed bands today most of them are only singing about politics, war, nuclear weapons, enviromental destruction and things like that. When the Devil isnīt that fun anymore they write about those things I mentioned. There is fashion within lyrical themes too, it sure is.
What are your lyrics about?

We stick to these sagas and stories. There are no bands who deal with history, what once was. There are more than one band who dresses in furs and pretends to be Vikings, but they donīt have it in their blood. It takes more than just muscles and long hair to be a Viking. You are Viking by blood. It would be hard to describe the life of the Vikings in the lyrics because it wouldnīt be accessible for fans in Australia or Los Angeles for example. There have to be a "middle path" in the lyrics, to be able to read them as stories, like Conan stories. Thatīs basically what the "Hammerheart" songs are about, Swedish history. We donīt mention names or anything.

I want to get back to your music. Whatīs special with BATHORYīS music?

-Unlike other bands, a BATHORY song is not a solo instrument and a few rythm instruments, to us all instruments are equally as important. In other bands, no names mentioned, you have very cold hard drums which have only one dimension, then you have a bass buzzing somewhere in the background and a clattering hard guitar in your face. Itīs not nice at all listening to an entire album like that.Sure, itīs fun to listen to when you have a couple of beers and go out thrashing in the city. It gives you energy. But sitting down with headphones and experiencing something visually, get fantasy visions by the music, and that without taking a lot of drugs, is not possible.With BATHORY you have guitar, bass and drums on exactly the same level. You donīt hear a clattering guitar, itīs in the sound picture. Everything has its own place. When everything is exactly balanced you can enjoy it. You can even throw in the sound of thunder or a horse running by and make it sounds as if itīs part of the music. And on top of that a voice telling a story.

Itīs different musically because solo performances are not very important. Itīs proved by the fact that I very rarely, ever, rehearse a solo before I play them. If itīs not good you just take it away.

The vocals are very special. Have they developed?

-On the first LP it was like all Punk bands, be the worst and sound worst. Then you started thinking about the fact that this will be on LP for all future. This is something I should be able to listen to when Iīm an old man and this is something kids should be able to listen to in 50 years and think itīs cool. So you have to come up with your own style and not just copy all the others. Seven years ago, few singers sounded like this, everybody sounds the same now. Itīs fair to move on and find a style of our own, vocally and musically, so my voice sounds more natural now than it used to. What I mean with natural is not more commersial, but you can supply feelings in the lyrics much easier than if you sound like a monotonous fucking monster vomiting the lyrics. I try to modulate my voice more.

You are relatively unknown in Sweden, few people know about you, but itīs totally different abroad. How big are you abroad?

-How big are we abroad? If we say that we recieve between 5-10 letters every day and have so for seven years. Thatīs how big we are. Weīve been in 500-600 magazines all over the world.

How many albums do you sell?

-Itīs hard to say because the information are questionable. But my guess is between 60000-80000 copies of every album.

You will also release an interview album in the Rock Sagas-series. Tell us!

-We donīt know ourselves what will happen. If what we did is good enough. It was supposed to be a radio interview, which would be broadcast around Christmas. The question now is whether we can use it or if we will do a new interview. It was short, very short for an LP release. It was slovenly but the future shows if it can be used or not.

Wouldnīt there also be some unreleased material on that album?

-Yes, we have material for many, many studio albums. I guess we have to pick the 2-3 best songs which represent both the old and the new. We have an album which was recorded in between "Under The Sign..." and "Blood..." which hasnīt been released, almost one and a half album. Then we have a super speed album, among the fastest things ever done - which was recorded at the same time as "Blood..." - which we also havenīt released. We recorded it mainly because we in the band felt it would be great fun to at least give it a try. If we would release that album after this heavy LP, "Hammerheart", people might think that they tried the heavy stuff and it obviously didnīt work so now they are back playing speed, but thatīs not the way it is. This speed album was recorded way before "Hammerheart". We didnīt want to release it because there are 3000 other bands who sound exactly like that. That album is actually speed just for the sake of speed.

You are also planning a spectacular video!

-We are just about now organising all the people that will be involved in it. Iīm checking out places and so on. If we take pictures from a helicopter it will probably be on Iceland or something like that. If you saw the "The Shadow Of The Raven" and "The Raven Flies"-movies + a few Conan movies you might get a picture of what it will be like.

Will it be live or an "acting" movie/video?

-To place something on a stage, do it with playback and have 500 Metal kids in front is like spitting in the face too. We can do something different with the help of pictures of big mountains and things like that. We are making a movie of the lyrics, with a story. The song we will probably use for the video is entitled "One Rode To Asa Bay". Itīs about Christian missionaries who came here 900 years ago.

You have never played live. Will we ever see BATHORY live?

-Sure. A couple of years ago people had preconceived opinions on what kind of persons we were. There were very few pictures until "Blood" was released, mind you. People though I was some kind of vampire living in a cave somewhere. Iīve heard incredibly ridiculous rumours. So if we go up on stage people discover we are three completely normal hardrock kids from Stockholm. Then people would say "Fuck off" and leave thinking it wasnīt particulary special - like KISS without make-up. So for us itīs better if we in the first place are musicians, which we show on the new album. Making something exciting with the music with the help of sound effects. Showing a more serious side of ourselves. Instead of screaming Satan, blood, death and so on in 190 km/h we make something more serious, about what we think of the Swedish history, but we do it in a saga format. When this album is out itīs time to check out what people think of us, as a band. Then itīs time for us to travel the all over the world and show ourselves. Travel around the world sounds like some battlefield tour but it wonīt be like that. It will cost enormous sums, unless you tour clubs - but thatīs something any band can do. Thatīs why we want to make something special. We will rather spend X money on a video which we can show to our fans in Argentina, Brazil, Australia and so on, which they can watch on their TV, because they canīt go to those places anyway. Ten consertes in Europe, England and maybe one or two in the USA will cost just as much as a one hour video which we can sell all over the world. You have to compensate people.

Finally, is image important?

-If we on an album cover is standing in a primeval forest with a lot of smoke and fire, dressed in leather with polished swords, long hair and tensed muscles maybe people will think that we have puberty problems or something like that. Rather that than wearing eye shadow, lipstick, hairspray and god knows what. It is also closer to the lyrics weīre dealing with. We wonīt wear, like all the other bands, skateboard pants, dirty sneakers and whatever they are wearing - funny caps, goatees and skateboards. We would be just another band, besides, it has nothing to do with BATHORYīS lyrics. It would just be following a trend. Look at todayīs Metal bands, what are they wearing? Flowery shirts and Bermuda-shorts. What happend to leather and studs which was such an incredible identity thing to hardrockers ten years ago? They are almost not around at all anymore. If we wait five more years weīll see how many people who actually have in mind that BATHORY is actually one of the few bands that still wears leather and studs. Nothing was wrong with it ten years ago so why would it be wrong today?



With the supprt of the Black Mark label I've got the permission to make an interview with one of the legendary characters of world rock-QUORTHON-exclusively for the readers of Heavy Metal Magazine.

LENTI CHIRIAC: It is said that Bathory is the first death metal band in the world. Let me agree with that but I would also like your opinion on it.

QUORTHON: Yes, that's right.That's because in those times (1983) we were playing a type of metal that later got the name of Death Metal. All the other bands playing at the same time with us were Black Metal bands, so we can be regarded as the pioners of Death Metal.

L.C.: Considering the fact that you were the first, the beginning doesn't seem to have been too easy.

Q.: The beginning was quite modest. Three unexperienced youngsters formed the band in February 1983 in Stockholm if I'm not mistaken. Even from the start we were confused because at that time we didn't know exactly what we wanted, except for the fact that we wanted to make a lot of noise and play as fast as possible. It seems that because of this we didn't stick together for long, so after we recorded two tracks for a compilation (January '84) I parted with the drummer and the bass player and went on by myself.

L.C.: Would it be too annoying for you to go over the entire Bathory discography?

Q.: The first record of the band was called simply "Bathory", it was released in June '84, however, as I said before, our first recordings were the two tracks included in Jan.ī84 on the "Scandinavian Metal Attack" vol.1 compilation. The debut album was record and mixed in 56 hours, so in a quite short time, but still it sold very well and it was considered the first Death Metal record. The second record, "The Return", was recorded in February '85. This time I was influenced by satanism so no wonder that the most record reviews made it clear that this was the most satanic record of all times. The third record ,"Under The Sign Of The Black Mark", was recorded in Sept.'86. On this record I tried to mix speed and heavy parts, so I think it come out very well this also being the first record for which I worked with great attention as meanwhile I had been listening to a lot of classical music and so I noticed that the musical arrangements were not so simple. At those times all the bands had the same sound so my objective was to do something different. The fourth album, "Blood Fire Death", was recorded in Feb.'88. Then again I tried to give the band a different contenance so as a result I orchestrated the tracks with even more attention, I introduced more accoustic guitars, keyboards and all sorts of special effects. Because of this the tracks became longer but in the same time more elaborate. This time the Viking mythology was the main subject. Then came the album "Twilight Of The Gods", which we recorded in April '91. I wanted to record an album which would give the impression that the end of the world and religion had come, the end of the end. After this product we released two compilations "Jubileum 1" and "Jubileum 2". They were both released in' 92 and they had to commemorate ten years since Bathory had been formed. Shortly after the release of the second volume a lot of people asked me why wouldn't I try to make a solo album. One day I asked myself that question too, and I reached the conclusion that I should try to compose a series of tracks totally different from what Bathory was playing. So in Jan. '94 I recorded my first solo album simply entitled "Album". However, it's release created a state of confusion because of the interviews that I gave to the radio, television and press. Everyone had understood that this was the end of Bathory which was not true. So I had to start work all over again writing and recording a series of new Bathory-influenced tracks. To be honest, I didn't work more than a few weeks for the new Bathory album. I recorded these tracks in June '94, which will soon be included on "Requiem". I also worked a bit on the mixing and on the cover but it will be released this month anyway.

L.C.: Could you point out the important events in the whole history of Bathory?

Q.:Between '83-'85 we took up Death Metal. Between '86-'87 we passed to Gothic and Doom Metal and between '88-'90 we were influenced by the Viking mythology. My solo album contains in my opinion, only rock and grunge parts. Referring to the last record, "Requiem", I can say that it is a Death Metal record, brutal Death Metal.

L.C.: Can you give some arguments why so many bands are chainging their musical orientation?

Q.: My opinion is that an artist can afford more than that, he has to experience new things. Just as you don't want to eat the same food everyday, a musician doesn't want to make the same music every day.

L.C.: Which is the best "Bathory" record in your opinion?

Q.: I couldn't say exactly which record can be considered the best and I am not the person to do that because they are all my compositions. The fans are the ones to do that.

L.C.: From what stage did you compose "Requiem" and what is it's level comparing to the others?

Q.: From a superior stage, as better musicians, naturally. I've made a great progress in the last twelve years and I got enough experience in order to put things the way I want.

L.C.: From a conceptual point of view, how can this be record be classified?

Q.: Well, this time the album doesn't have a precise direction. So it has nothing to do with satanism, mythology, death or anything else. It's simply a 100% Death Metal album. There are nine tracks on "Requiem".

L.C.: From what you told me, you've also worked on your solo album.

Q.: Well, I can reveal you that secret, too. I've had quite busy periodlately. I composed twenty tracks for my second solo record but that's not the priority, yet. I still have a bit more to do for it and if things are going as they should it will be ready this year. You might not believe me but besides the twenty tracks I composed five more for a different album which will be released in 1995. I haven't find a name for it yet, but it will certainly be released in May.

L.C.: Do you think that Bathory has influenced any other bands with the time?

Q.: All these years I heard many voices saying that Bathory has opened the way for many Death and Speed Metal bands. It's hard to say at the moment which was and is Bathory's contribution to metal. For me, Bathory means a lot and I could say it means everything. Anyway, from what I noticed, Bathory is a cult for hundreds and thousands of musicians and fans all over the world.

Favourite bands: Unfortunately, I can't tell you which my favorite bands are as I am a great admirer of classical music. However, I think that The Beatles is my favourite band.

Favourite albums: Alive ('75)-Kiss; Beatles (all); "Hounds of love"-Kate Bush; "Ace of spades"-Motorhead.

Favourite musicians: Chris Cornell (Soundgarden); Neil Peart (Rush); Paul McCartney; Ace Frehley (ex Kiss); Leslie West (ex Mountain).

Favourite drinks: Coca Cola, Black Velvet (whisky), Absolut Vodka, water.

Favorite movies: Alien; Back to the future, Battle for Britain; Madworld.

Hobbies: Collecting military outfits. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a Romanian outfit yet.


Lennart Larsson interviews Quorthon.

More brutal and fast than ever before

In connection with the release of the first solo album Quorthon told me, in #22, that there would probably not be any more Bathory albums. It didnīt take many weeks after our chat before the rumours about a new album started circulating. Now, about half a year later, "Requiem" is in the shops. A real back-to-basics album!

Quorthon starts by trying to explain why an album was made at all.

-When I released the Quorthon-album I went around and talked to a lot of people - old fans and journalists - and I met many who complained, and was afraid, that there would be no more Bathory albums. They talked about the good old days and what it meant to them so I thought maybe I shouldnīt disapoint them but try again instead.

-The reason I didnīt want to do anything, or felt that it was no use rather, was that I doubted myself, that I couldnīt make real Metal again. We had painted ourselves into a corner, pretty good, with the Viking stuff, but I guess everyone have to make a "The Elder" album at some point. Two weeks after I got home I had written basically everything for the new album so it went fast - in two ways.

New/old title

After Bathory released "Hammerheart" they went into the studio again and recorded a relly brutal album, which was never released. It was entitled "Requiem", but the only thing it has in common with the new album is the title, which Quorthon felt was established. He explains that nothing of the new material is from that session. Everything is new, written and recorded.

-We went into Montezuma the first week in June and did bass, drums, guitar and solos in three days. Then we had to wait, partly because of vacations, partly because I only had finished half of the lyrics. I spent most of the summer finishing them. The first week in August we went in and did the vocals, and after that we started mixing.

With we Quorthon means, except himself, the drummer that has played on all Bathory albums since "Under The Sign Of The Black Mark" or "Blood Fire Death" (Iīm not sure which one).

-The hardest things Vvornth listens to is Johnny Thunders or maybe David Bowie. But he played Punk in the early ī80s and still has the beat in his body. We are old friends.

-When I did the solo album and told people I did everything on it they were really surprised as they for ten years though that that was the case with Bathory all the time.

Quorthon wasnīt really pleased with the sound on the solo album, which in his mind contained too many echoes. He promised that the next album would sound like if they were standing in a phone booth. Does the new album sound as if it was sponsored by the telecommunications administration?

-When we went in and recorded this album we said that there must not be one second of echoes, anywhere, and I donīt think it is either. Itīs practically recorded live, as much live as it can be when you are two. No effects or frills.

More brutal than ever

Musically, "Requiem" is a step back to the early albums, even though the sound is quite different. Itīs fast, fast as fuck.

-No song is slower than the fastest weīve done before, Quorthon says. We want people to react, they canīt know where they have us. We played as fast as we can. But itīs not speed for the sake of speed. When I explain to people I compare it to "The Return...", but 100% better played, combined with "Reign In Blood", so that they have a clue what itīs about. There are as much doubles as possible and sometimes I scream in a little plastic box, to gain a funny sound.

The vocals are a step back to the old things too. There are a lot of primal screams.

-I never liked that harmonizer thing, when bands use a lot of harmonizer on the vocals to sound like an underground monster or something like that. It might be funny as an effect but not throughout an entire album.

When me and Quorthon talked at the end of ī92 (I think) he said that even if he wrote 300 speed songs it wouldnīt give him anything musically.

-It gives nothing musically because a speed song, if youīre talking about speed itself, is very limited. I was very surprised that we could play so tight and so fast, and still sound so good. But it gives me nothing musically compared with writing a string quartet for example. I write a lot of music which isnīt anywhere near Bathory. Itīs AOR-Rock like Foreigner, early Kiss, The Beatles and even classical music.

Money not important

I canīt help thinking that a big reason to the step back is that Quorthon saw an opportunity to make money. At the same time thereīs a big risk that many might not be able to take them seriously when they after so many years went back to the style that made them successful, and gave them cult status. Quorthon doesnīt agree:

-How much the album sells doesnīt mean a thing because we donīt do it for a commersial reason because we donīt sell that much. We sell 120000-150000 at the most (thatīs not very much - ironic Ed.), without tours, without videos and things like that. The production expences are incredibly low. Weīre beneath 15000 SKR with this album and the cover costed a couple of thousands at the most.

-Money was never imortant. If so, would have bothered to push the right buttons to make money. We would have done videos and even toured but thatīs not our thing.

-The step back to the fast, brutal and a hell of a lot Death Metal doesnīt mean weīre ashamed of the last years, or that weīre trying to go back to gain fans. OK, itīs fast and brutal but it has nothing to do with the early albums because itīs incredibly better played. Listen to the early Bathory albums, itīs so terribly played that itīs regrettable.

But he doesnīt really manage to convince me that the new album was recorded more with the heart than the wallet.

The lyrics on "Requiem" have partly gone in a new direction too. Quorthon tells me that they deal with death in different forms but itīs not a theme album. I wonder where he got inspiration?

Caused big reactions

The hardrock magazine Metal Zone, now unfortunately departed, had a big article about Bathory in connection with the solo album. The interview caused strong reactions because it clearly showed that heīs not a Satanist, something old Backstage readers already knew. Quorthon is very surprised when he learns what kind of reactions the article caused. At the same time he comments on it he reveals something which came as a complete surprise to me.

-If I am a Satanist or not is completely unimportant, it has no importance whatsoever. When I did interviews in ī85-ī86 a lot of Americans reacted because I was a vegetarian, which I actually was for seven-eight years. Thatīs not important either.

He tells me that on exactly the same day as "Twilight Of The Gods" was mixed he started eating meat again.

-I had been bodybuilding for some time, and during boxing workout broken a bone in my left wrist so I couldnīt lift weights for a while. When I was about to start again I needed proteins so it was a completely natural explanation... There was no ideology behind the fact that I was a vegetarian.

-When it comes to the Satanist thing itīs completely bizarre that someone at all cares about it. No matter what religion or political opinions, what football- or hockey team you cheer on, like brunettes or blondes it shouldnīt matter. You wonder what kind of people are reacting. Do they have an altar at home?

-I had between ī82-ī85 but I wouldnīt call myself a Satanist but antichristian. My whole being is antichristian. My way of thinking, my view of life is based on hatred towards Christianity. The sooner that religion disappears the better, and it will, but not during my life time, because itīs a weak religion - compared to Islam for example.

Participates in a new book

All of a sudden Quorthon tells me that he will participate in a book, which should be released - at least in England - when you read this, which deals with the subject.

-The past winter I talked with an English writer named Kevin Bedley (?). In his book there will be a chapter about Death and Black Metal, and I explain that it above all strive after effect, trying to be rebellious.

-There are those who have a more ideological look upon it and study it a lot and thinks Christianity is a big lie. Then there are those who are into it because they think itīs cool with Satan and Hell, or thinks it suits them better than witchcraft and things like that.

-I came to the point where I realised that Christianity is shit. Satanism is a product of Christianity. Itīs not something Satanists made up, itīs something the church made up to convert people from the evil to the good. Itīs a product of the Christians so you cannot call yourself something which is a result of Christianity, if you oppose it.

Refuse to be on stage

When we come to the live part Quorthon is as steadfast as ever. He says they will never play live, at least not as long as he is in the band.

-There are still a lot of people who insists that I should get together with the guys and go out in Europe for 10-15 shows. When they canīt pursuade me with the artistic talk they talk about the financial part. That we could become almost millionares, but thatīs not important. I canīt get anything out of going to conserts, I think itīs terribly boring. Iīve been to five shows the last ten years. Iīm a headphone kind of person, who likes listening to music with headphones where I can analyse sounds. Playing live to me is just as interesting as it would be hosting a talk show.

He promise there will be more Bathory albums though!

-I have written ten new songs so weīll hopefully enter the studio sometime in January-February and record a new album, and it will be even more brutal.

If there will be more Quorthon albums is more uncertain. Quorthon has 30 finished songs but since the first album didnīt do as well as it should have - it only sold 90000 (!) - itīs put on ice.

Itīs more likely that he will realise the plans on a Bathory book. A book which will contain history, discography, lyrics, photos and facts from the recordings. Iīm looking forward to that!


Satanism? Sword and sorcery? Vikings? Things that go bump in the night? Not this time around for Bathoryīs Quorthon. Now he just wants to... rockīnīroll. BRAD SIMS grabs a few words on this and other mysteries from the land of the midnight sun.

Quorthon has to be one of the most respected figures in heavy metal. His place in the evolutionary steps of Nordic metal has been made all the more lagendary for his constant ability to stay a step ahead of the game, shifting his focus from the black, Satanic, excruciating, ear-piercing howl of the early Bathory albums to the huge, sweeping Viking grandeour of Hammerheart and Twilight Of The Gods. With Bathory inactive for the past three years, main man Quorthon has walked free of the bandīs shadow and released his first solo album, catching many fans unaware.

The first Quorthon album will probably be received in much the same way Hammerheart was back in 1990, with many Bathory purists finding themselves alienated by Quorthonīs change of direction. Nonetheless, most of the people who initially disliked the change in style, eventually embraced the evocative Nordic atmosphere of Hammerheart and hailed it as a classic. Therefore, the prediction is the same for this album.

Quorthonīs career has been phoenix-like, as he periodically dies in flames and rises from the ashes of his past with an entirely new creation. So Album has no Satanism or Vikings etc. Quorthon has emerged from myth into reality, and created a new sound so atmospheric itīs almost ethereal. There lies the quality of Quorthon, whoīs always able to surprise and create something entirely new and devastating beyond the realms of tried and tested formulae.

Quorthonīs an odd name, isnīt it? What does it mean and where does it come from?

"When we formed Bathory, everybody was into having stage names. When I realised KISS, Ozzy Osbourne, Nikki Sixx and even Lemmy, had stage names, we thought, "Why shouldnīt we come up with something in the same manner?" Only we wanted to make a joke out of it, so we picked names that were more or less unpronounceable. Also, stage names were meant to have a double meaning, so we picked three names from the Satanic bible. Quorthon is one of Satanīs seven sons, Quorthon is the son of Satan who will fight the Messiah on the day of judgement, so that goes to show how heavily involved in all that Satanic stuff we were."

Did you actually perform any of the black arts?

I have an upside down cross burnt into the skin of my left arm. I was extremely involved in that kind of stuff during ī83 to ī85, but when you come to the conclusion that Christianity is a bluff, then you must also be fair and say that Satanism is a bluff, because thatīs a product of Christianity."

What were your influences when you started playing, and why did you adopt Satanic lyrics initially?

"The reason why we picked those kind of topics up in our lyrics in the first place was because of all these big bands that we were listening to, like Motörhead and Saxon. They were all singing about taking drugs, drinking a lot of alcohol, fucking women and going by motorcycle. We were 13, 14, 15 years old when we started Bathory back in ī83, and we didnīt have any experience with motorcycles, drugs and women, but we had a keen teenagerīs interest in Satanic art and black magic, thatīs why we started writing that kind of stuff in our lyrics.

Then I realised, after reading a lot about Christianity and Satanism, that it had to be a bluff. Thatīs why we picked up this Viking stuff, because we wanted to do something nobody else was doing. Thatīs one of the greatest things with Bathory, we touched upon every kind of image and topic; Satanism, Vikings, sword and sorcery, the dark side of life, everything. We always try to be at least two or three years ahead - arranging music, incorporating a lot of sound effects and stuff like that. With the solo album itīs more or less just everyday type of lyrics, what you see on the TV, what you read in the paper, relationships and people etcetera. Sort of like a diary - all Iīve taken away are the most personal entries."

After years of playing with Bathory, why are you going under the banner of Quorthon now?

"Because itīs a solo album. People have these preconcieved notions of what Bathory is all about, they think that itīs not a group and itīs just me making everything, which is not the case. If I had told them that Bathory for 50 per cent of their career was just a drummer and me playing guitar and bass, they would have been really disapointed. So we just played right along with all this mysticism that was surrounding the group, because we felt that people were more interested in hearing the band when there was a lot of mystique around it. Now Iīm making a solo album and people are really confused about why Iīm changing the name. Itīs actually being the vocalist, guitarist, bass player and drummer making a solo record."

Are there any surprises on the new album?

"There are probably a million surprises because there is no Satanism, no speed, no special effects. There is everyday kind of lyrics, just rockīnīroll."

How did this change come about?

"I used to listen to a lot of stuff nobody into death metal today would know anything about, Humble Pie and Mountain. This stuff has been re-released on CD today, so after having listened to classical music for eight years, closing myself away from the street beat, not being able to rockīnīroll anymore, I needed to buy this stuff when it was re-released on CD to get a rockīnīroll feeling all over again. It was very difficult to be able to play rockīnīroll again."

What about the real person behind the name Quorthon, what is your real name and how do you spend your time when youīre not playing music?

"My name (laughs). Iīm not quite prepared to give all the mystery away, just by not playing epic kind of metal anymore. Of course, people want to know, but itīs like me telling you that Santa Claus is actually your father, or KISS with their makeup off, so if you keep that little bit of suspence, it keeps fresh and interesting. Iīm an addictive hockey fan, of course, being Swedish. I donīt spend any money at all going to movies, hiring videos, going to concerts or going out having dinner or anything like that. Iīm the kind of guy sitting at home playing acoustic guitar, listening to classical music and reading books. I certainly donīt like fiction. I enjoy documentaries and real life. Iīm a very boring person, more or less, I live a very, very slow kind of life."

Have you heard any Australian bands?

"Oh no, apart from AC/DC, no. Thereīs actually very little stuff from that continent over here in Europe, the only thing we know about is you wanting to get rid of the fucking Queen, and I really think you should go ahead and do it. Actually, in ī77 - I was 10 or 11 years old - I was about to move to Perth with my parents."

What countries does your music sell best in?

"Bathory has sold best in England, Germany, South America, Australia and Japan. The USA has a big problem with European sounds and influences, because they really donīt want to recognise that everything they do is an influence from Europe, so whenever they hear a sound or a beat or anything like that, they sort of distort it in a McDonaldīs kind of way, and they produce all kinds of shit. Thatīs really why black metal died out in the first run during ī85/ī86, when US thrash metal came around."

Quorthonīs Album stands out in a sea of stagnant, trendy releases. Donīt expect the main man of Bathory to be afraid of change, as it appears that groundbreaking is becoming a Quorthon trademark. Expect instead a truly significant release, deviod of plagiarism and routine formula. Quorthonīs personal isolation and disregard for metalīs various popular movements has resulted in greatness and a history of musical inspiration for over a decade. With his first steps into a solo career, Quorthon continues to mark the path other shall follow in the future.


by Mike Baronas

Shrouded in mystery, the classic Swedish death/speed/gloom/epic metal band Bathory has used itīs media-given enigma to build what many have come to know as the most evil band on the planet. The groupīs brainchild, Quorthon, has strayed from that devil-may-care path with his newly released solo venture, simply titled Album.
Upon giving it the once through, itīs easy to see that the big Q is not the bizarre half-man/half-demon the press made him out to be in the 1980īs. Thus, I found him to be an easy-going, articulate, and likable individual who, in fact, happens to be an animal lover (we chatted at length about his 2 cats and the rat that he dedicated Hammerheart to).
Appropriately taking place at the witching hour from Swedenīs Black Mark offices (it turns out the 28 year-old is an insomniac), Quorthon shared the following tales in the midst of mixing a now completed 7th Bathory studio album.

G.A.S.P.: Many people, myself included, thought that the Jubileum compilations marked the end of Bathory when, in fact, this is far from the truth.

Quorthon: I thought that way too for a while. Having painted ourselves into a corner musically and lyrically with the satanic topics for a couple of years and then the Viking mythology, we sort of became musical introverts. So, by the time we recorded Twilight Of The Gods, we realized that this was probably about it. Having no ideas or anything, and realizing that we were celebrating 10 years as a band, we put those two Jubileum albums out to keep the name hot for a while until we came up with some better ideas for the future. I wasnīt sure whether we deserved to go on because I thought that musically and lyrically we werenīt what we used to be. So, not having any fresh ideas, I said, "Letīs take a long vacation", and thatīs how the solo thing came about. When that solo album was released in May of this year, I went on a promotional trip around Europe talking to a lot of people, and everywhere I went, no matter who you were talking to, everybody was like, "Hey, when is the new Bathory album going to be out?" Everybody was very emotional telling me how much the band meant and it lit my fuse, so to speak. So when I got back home at the end of May/beginning of June, I sat down and started writing the most brutal music thatīs ever been written before! It was just heaven for me, or hell if you want [laughs]. We went in this summer and just blasted in the studio; itīs going to be released in a couple of weeks.

G.A.S.P.: Wow! I wonder how long weīll have to wait for it in the States because the solo album was just released here.

Q: Actually, I have a funny story about delays and things not being released simultaneously in Europe and the US/Canada: at the time when we released Blood Fire Death in Europe, we went to Los Angeles. We had a deal with New Renaissance Records and they were just about putting out our third album Under The Sign Of The Black Mark. It was quite funny because I kept on having to do promotion for the third album, whereas I just left a promotion tour in Europe for the fourth album.

G.A.S.P.: Could you tell me a little more about the new Bathory material?

Q: Well, to begin with, I didnīt have any lyrics for the songs, so we just went in and recorded all the music. Then we had a break until I came up with the lyrics - it seems to be the way for me to work nowadays. We have 9 tracks and Iīve been retitling the songs a million times over so I donīt really remember the titles, but some that still stand are "Apocalypse", "Blood And Soil", "Requiem", which is the title track of the album, "Distinguished To Kill", and a bunch of others. Like I said, the music on the album is the most brutal thing that has ever been written before. Itīs just what I think people would really want from us after having released a couple of albums that sound just like...shit. If you thought Reign In Blood was fast, go fuck yourself. As soon as I started recording the basic tracks for Requiem, I actually started writing tracks for the next album which has the working title Bathory `95. Itīs about 4 times as fast. I donīt know if the speed is the point really, but we just go full force.

G.A.S.P.: Are there concepts behind any of the songs?

Q: No, they just mainly focus on death. There is no mythology on there and thereīs no God, Satan, or anything like that. Of course, there are a couple of anti-Christian songs rather than anti-Christ songs, but there are no real statements made religiously or politically. Thereīs just a lot of death in it.

G.A.S.P.: Yes, back to the brutality!

Q: But now weīre better musicians. I mean, when we recorded the first 2 or 3 albums I could hardly play guitar. We reached a cult status and I wasnīt even able to play good guitar. Now weīre so much better, or I am, I should say, as well as Paul the drummer whoīs been with the group since 1986. Of course, me playing the bass ever since, as well. Weīre tighter, weīre faster, more technical and everything.

G.A.S.P.: You mentioned a "Paul" as being your drummer. He must be the infamous "Vvornth", right?

Q: Yeah [laughs]. For him, Bathoryī just a hobby and not a band situation, so I said it was okay for him to use his real name. Iīve been friends with him for ages.

G.A.S.P.: Will Bathory continue as a non-touring outfit?

Q: Honestly, weīve gone this long without touring that it would kind of ruin the magic if we did. Actually, the main reason is that Iīm not really a performer and I hate concerts. The only time that I ever enjoyed going to concerts was when I was a teenager and when I was completely drunk. Bad music becomes good music when youīre drunk. A good looking girl was always an ugly girl before you got drunk. Being drunk usually means you canīt play very well, so itīs not a very good combination. I donīt get my kicks out of concerts. Iīm more into sitting at home, writing the songs, going into the studio and recording. Writing the songs is like foreplay and the studioīs like an orgasm, so whatīs after that? Lying down and kissing the girl on the cheek and saying, "I love you"? Thatīs not my kind of stuff.

G.A.S.P.: Now, the solo release, Album, is a radical departure from your work with Bathory. How did it come about? Was it something you needed to get off your chest?

Q: Basically, everything that I ever wrote during the `80īs and the beginning of the `90īs had to fit in under a certain musical umbrella, so to speak. It had to fit in with the Bathory sound. You didnīt have that kind of artistic freedom like a Bruce Springsteen or Madonna because youīre aware of the certain image that you may have. Certainly, with a lot of people who have only seen a couple of black & white pictures and have these preconceived notions about you being a blood-drinking vampire somewhere in a cave in Sweden, youīre bound to keep on having to write music that suits that kind of image. It was sort of like a prison. For a couple of albums itīs okay to stand up there and play at 365 beats per minute and scream "Satan!" at the top of your lungs, but after a while it gets boring.
As early on as the third album we started to arrange our music - longer songs, acoustic and synthesized guitars, harmony vocals, sound effects - trying to develop our own style. That was a time when a lot of bands like Possessed, Celtic Frost, and everybody else was trying to find their own image. Many bands perished and the only reason we were able to make it was because we had this cult status.

G.A.S.P.: With Album are you trying to show a lighter side of yourself?

Q: Well, Iīm the kind of guy that grew up with Mountain, Humble Pie, the early Kiss stuff, Beatles, and Led Zeppelin, and not a lot of these groupsī music can be found in the early Bathory records, or any Bathory record. So, I wrote the songs, recorded, and mixed the album for myself only, and then if anybody else would enjoy it in the least I would be very happy, but that was not my main goal. I wanted to see if I still enjoyed playing rock `n roll. It was like a turning point in my life. I wasnīt enjoying playing guitar anymore and, just out of coincidence, a week before I went into the studio I happened to walk into a music shop and I saw this Gibson Les Paul Black Top from 1957. I always dreamed of owning one of those legendary guitars because of Ace Frehley, of course. The guitar was 11,900 Swedish crowns, which is very cheap. I mean, those guitars cost 25,000 Swedish crowns or something. Anyway, I bought it and playing that guitar in the studio made me feel like going back to the roots, not Satan and speed, but my roots. It was a way for me to come to terms with if I really wanted to continue playing.
So, it turned out a little bit soft, but so did Twilight..., so did Under The Sign Of The Black Mark, and the first album wasnīt a very good one either, but hey, weīre still here.

G.A.S.P.: Thereīs a line in the song "No More And Never Again" that goes, "Iīll never eat pussy again" .Why not?

Q: If you tried, you know why [laughs]! There are certain times in life where you find yourself in a situation you would not want to necessarily end up being in or you would want to travel back in time and do things differently. Not a lot of people would understand that deep, emotional thing, so the best way for a rock lyric would be to take the tongue-in-cheek way out - Iīll never eat pussy again! - which is, basically, Iīll never make a mistake again. It sounds a lot better if you say "Iīll never eat pussy again" because it raises a couple eyebrows. I donīt know if they would ever play it on the radio over there?

G.A.S.P.: No way! Not on commercial stations anyhow.

Q: [Laughs] There are a couple of songs on the new Bathory album which they certainly wouldnīt play because thereīs about 20-25 "fuckings" in the lyrics.

G.A.S.P.: So youīre not really concerned about how long-time fans might react to Album?

Q: Absolutely not. That was the least of my problems. The problem was that a lot of people wouldnīt take me as a normal person. You always have that problem when you go through the normal promotion routines like in-stores and talking to journalists. No matter how hard you try, you cannot get across to these people because they think theyīre talking with Satan. I just want to be an ordinary person, and in putting this record out, I knew that this was not going to be the problem this time. I sort of took off the mask a little bit.

G.A.S.P.: Would you say youīre trying to shed the mystique altogether?

Q: Actually, itīs something that we really didnīt plan - it wasnīt intentional - it just happened. Certainly because we had huge line-up problems. Stockholm in the early-`80īs wasnīt a very good place to find members if you wanted to play music like what we sounded like. In those days, in Sweden, the only thing that reigned within music was Europe - The Final Countdown and that kind of shit. And all the heavy metal guys that went around clubs in Stockholm during those years really looked like girls. All the musicians I came across when auditioning for the band didnīt want to sweat; they didnīt want to wear leather, chains, studs, blood or anything. So the only time that pictures were printed in these fanzines, they were pictures of me. I was the only original member, so I did all the interviews.
From then on came the mysteriousness. It wasnīt something that we created, it was something that the fans and fanzines created. We realized that people were drawing to the band and buying our records because of the mysteriousness, sort of like Kiss and their make-up. We just played right along with it.

G.A.S.P.: As you stated, past line-up problems have always seemed to be a focal point of Bathory. How many people over the years do you think youīve auditioned altogether for the drummer and bassist slots?

Q: Oh shit! Thereīs been a lot more drummers than bass players because I realized, once in the studio, I can always play the bass.
Although, I originally started out as a drummer at the age of 9, so, actually, Iīm a drummer and not a guitar player.
Drummers...I canīt give you an exact figure, but anywhere between 12-15, and bass players, probably 5-8. The longest time a line-up has been together was for 11 months, before we even recorded an album.

G.A.S.P.: Pre-Scandinavian Metal Attack?

Q: That was the Scandinavian Metal Attack. 7 days after that thing was recorded, I gave the other 2 guys the boot.

G.A.S.P.: Due to, let me guess, artistic differences?

Q: I have to tell you this: the only reason why I joined these two guys a year previously to that compilation album - weīre talking February/March 1983 - was because the bass player had a very rich family. His father owned a lot of real estate and we could rehearse in the basements of the office buildings when they closed at night for free. Also, he had a lot of equipment, so I stayed with these two guys for 11 months. During that time Frederick, the bass player, only played on one string, and you bet your ass he never changed strings once the whole time he was in the band. The drummer was only in the group because he wanted to impress girls. They never wrote any music or lyrics for the band. I almost didnīt write any songs myself up until that compilation. We only had 5 songs that we rehearsed; we played Black Sabbath and Motörhead covers. After we went into the studio and recorded that shit, they kept wanting to write Saxon and Iron Maiden kind of music because thatīs what was hip in `83. I said, "Havenīt you guys realized anything? Havenīt you heard what we sound like in the studio? Donīt you know shit about what Iīm writing?" Then we split up and I knew that I was able to do something on my own; experiment a lot with speed and Satanism.
One time, those guys went to London for a weekend and I used our two-track demo recorder with two of my friends - one of those guys was Paul playing drums - and we recorded 2 songs, "Die In Fire" & "You Donīt Move Me (I Donīt Give A Fuck)". Both of those tracks wound up on the Jubileum albums. They were recorded during the time when the first line-up was together, before we even recorded the compilation. So, you see, those 2 tracks are historically very important for the group.

G.A.S.P.: Now, I remember reading a lot of press way back when that your fourth album was supposed to be titled Blood On Ice and that it was going to be a double album. Why the name change and what happened to the other LP?

Q: When we recorded Under The Sign Of The Black Mark, we asked ourselves if we should continue the satanic shit for one more album. If you want to maintain respect for yourself as a musician, you should cover new grounds all the time and discover new sides of yourself. So, I came up with idea to make an album based on the Nordic mythology; not necessarily taking it word by word from books, because people in Mexico and Australia will have to be able to listen to the album not knowing everything about Swedish history and pre-Christian times. We all were pretty up about the idea because Sweden has only been Christian for about 900 years, so they say, anyway. We just sat down and wrote the songs and somehow everything turned out to be a copy of the original Howard story of Conan. Unfortunately, we realized that, first of all, people will accuse us of being very bad ex-satanic Manowar copies; second, people will probably not be able to take it to their hearts because the music would be very different; and third, we were on Music For Nations, the Under One Flag label in England, and on that label there was a British band called Onslaught who had first copied our first album cover on one of their albums. Now they found out that we had an album title Blood On Ice, so they entitled their album Blood On Ice. When we found out, we changed our whole plans for that album. In the end, they didnīt name their album Blood On Ice either.
In the meantime, we realized that putting out a double album so soon and not being very big at the box office was big risk taking. But having recorded 25 songs already, we felt a couple of these songs would really make a good album anyway, so we put out Blood Fire Death. Two of those songs from Blood On Ice actually wound up on the Hammerheart album, which, in itself, was more or less a Nordic mythology album anyway.

G.A.S.P.: Blood Fire Death is my favorite Bathory album, thatīs why I was curious.

Q: Mine too.

G.A.S.P.: Really?

Q: Yeah, because itīs a good mix between speed and heaviness.

G.A.S.P.: Well, Iīm glad Iīm in good company. Actually, I also read that there was supposed to be a home video to coincide with the albumīs release.

Q: Again, that had to do with line-up problems. I actually had a couple of American drummers calling, sending tapes, pictures and everything, and at one moment I was even toying with the idea of moving to the United States or England or wherever to get the hell out of here because here it seemed like you couldnīt get any good members for the band. But, at one time, we actually had the group together; this was the end of `85/beginning of `86. Our management here in Sweden also distributed Noise Records in Sweden. They were lining up a tour with Celtic Frost and Destruction in the US for a couple of months down the east coast and they asked us to be on the bill.

G.A.S.P.: [Orgasmic sigh!]

Q: Are you jerking off while weīre...

G.A.S.P.: Those are my 3 favorite European bands from the `80īs, if not all time. That wouldīve been immense. Anyhow, sorry to interrupt.

Q: When we were just about on the verge to rehearse a stage show, it seemed like we werenīt able to keep the band together. I was never ever pleased with the people who came across playing bass and drums. So, when those 2 bands went away playing with another act, At War or something, we came across the idea of putting on a real big stage show, recording it on video, and having everybody, no matter where they may live, see us the way that we would want them to see us. In the end, we realized that this was going to cost us a lot of money and would take a rather huge organization.
The sad thing was, though, that I went out in press telling everybody about the idea. Great dreams, but it just didnīt turn out to be true.

G.A.S.P.: So nothing at all was ever recorded?

Q: No. Actually, I was contacting a lot of people into pyrotechnics and things; making big bombs for us exploding 100 feet up in the air and stuff.

G.A.S.P.: Ever the image-hound!

Q: Yeah, but if you remember the mid-`80īs, that was the thing.

G.A.S.P.: Oh, definitely. Now, speed was always a driving force behind Bathory. On your song "Pace `Til Death" thereīs a line that goes, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, Iīm the fastest of them all!". Why did you decide to slow down after Blood Fire Death?

Q: There are only a certain amount of ways you can play a song fast, although, who am I to sit here and release an album containing the fastest, most brutal shit Iīve ever written to say that. Anyway, it was just a love of experimenting. We were also into storytelling in those days, and itīs hard telling a story playing at 365 beats per minute. We really wanted to make 10 minute long songs, tell a story, and put a little bit of emotion into our songs and lyrics. Thatīs why we changed.
Actually, that line you came up with from "Pace `Til Death" was me making fun of the competition - who is the fastest of them all? Some people didnīt take it as a joke. They thought we were serious.

G.A.S.P.: Was it a dig at any band(s) in particular?

Q: It was for everybody. Everybody who was releasing records during `85, `86 & `87 was trying to break everybody else as far as speed was concerned. And once youīve been playing as fast as you can play, youīve already made your point. Thereīs only a certain speed that you can play where itīs enjoyable.

G.A.S.P.: You were the master of the atmospheric intro and outro at the beginning and end of your albums/songs. This is now commonplace on many new black/death metal albums. Would you agree that Bathory has had an overwhelming effect on a majority of these bands?

Q: During the `80īs, before we were big enough to be interviewed by Kerrang!, we had demos sent to us from all over Europe, the US, and from as far away as Australia and Japan. So we knew that there was an impact, not to the point where we were an influence to a lot of young bands, but only that we were known. We werenīt thinking in terms of, "Weīre big; weīre famous; weīre gonna make money; and weīre gonna be the main pattern for a lot of groups to come for years.". We were just happy that people knew about us; we didnīt even give a shit whether they had actually bought the record or had a friend tape it. The important thing was to have your voice heard, which was the main issue in the whole underground movement.

G.A.S.P.: What about today?

Q: Although I donīt know that much about the groups, Iīve understood since a year or so ago a big thing has been going on in Norway, which has turned into a bit of perversion - burning churches and killing people. And when being asked about this in England making promotions for the Quorthon album, I was asked about this. I really didnīt know anything about what had happened except for what was in the Swedish press. Of course, it was not until I finished answering all of those questions that I read an interview with a guy who was accused for doing all this shit. He said he never did anything and there was no evidence. I felt bad about myself having answered all those questions about something that I really didnīt know anything about.
Regardless, if we were an influence to what these people were doing or the hundreds of other bands around the world making great records, who, in turn, were an influence to new bands, itīs a give and take thing. We were influenced by other acts and other acts have been influenced by us. We all will have our hangover - Venom are no more; Slayer took their make-up off sometime in `83/`84; Metallica made a few ballads; and I went off to make a solo album - so, here we are again.

G.A.S.P.: Iīve talked to many Swedish bands like Entombed and Unleashed and asked them if they had ever met or known you. They all said no. Would you consider yourself a loner amongst the scene?

Q: Oh yeah! I havenīt been to a club since 1986; I havenīt taken a drop of alcohol since I made promotion for Blood Fire Death; I went to the movies once this year; the last concert I went to see, sort of like for old times sake, was Manowar half a year ago; I never go to places where thereīs a lot of people; and Iīve never taken any drugs. It doesnīt give you anything after a while. You just wind up spending a lot of money. Certainly, a hangover is great, a one night stand is great, but it doesnīt give you anything in the long run. If your flesh craves pussy and alcohol, thatīs okay, but if youīre more interested in sitting at home drinking a nice cup of English tea and reading a good book, which is something that I prefer, you loose contact with reality and the street beat. I only know that there are a lot of Swedish bands out there, and even though they may not admit they were influenced by Bathory, the great thing is that we can give a lot of these bands the attention that they need because Swedish musicians arenīt very good technically, not necessarily musically. I read somewhere where this band Unleashed you mentioned said a lot of shitty things about me, and I never met any of these guys.

G.A.S.P.: What about Entombed?

Q: I cannot answer for them because Iīm really cut off from reality, more or less. During the years when I went to the clubs and when I was in contact with the rock `n roll thing - fucking beautiful girls in the back of a limousine in Manhattan; drinking champagne and breathing fire in the middle of the night from the top of a skyscraper in Hollywood; making out with two beautiful girls in a swimming pool in Milan; being invited backstage at a Slayer concert in Brooklyn and everybody coming to ask me for an autograph rather than Tom Araya - Iīve seen and experienced everything that a lot of kids only dream of. Going to clubs and drinking expensive whisky doesnīt make my cock stand. Itīs much more enjoyable sitting at home developing your mind reading a good book.


Malcom Dome interviews Quorthon.

As someone regarded as one of the forefathers of Black Metal, do you take any responsibility for the current violence the movement has generated?

Look, when the first Bathory line-up got together 10 years ago, we were all in our mid-teens. We didnīt see ourselves as founding a movement. It just happened around us. It was the media who began to lump together ourselves, Venom, Celtic Frost and Sodom, calling us Black Metal. All we were doing was picking up on the Satanic imagery as a way of rebelling against society, simple as that.

Wouldnīt you admit, though, that whilst early Bathory was influential, the albums were also rubbish?

Oh yes. Thatīs absolutely true! When we started the band we had no plans to do anything. We were happy just playing in a garage. Then we got the chance to make a demo, which was beyond our wildest expectations. And then in 1984 we had the opportunity to put out our first album, "Bathory". From there on, it seems things just exploded. But that first album was shit. Iīd have to agree we were rubbish in the early days. Why then did people pick up on us? I donīt honestly know.

OK, but you would surely have to admit that the "Bathory" album ripped off Venom...

Not true at all! It was coincidence. I never really listened to Venom before we recorded our debut record.

If you speak to true Black Metal fans, theyīll cite ourselves and Venom as influences. They donīt regard Bathory as having ripped off Venom at all. We are equally as important to the scene.

There are rumours circulating that you started your musical career in a Kiss covers band! Hardly Black Metal, is it?

That story is true. The band were called Kyss (Swedish for Kiss /Twilight). We wore make-up, platform boots, the lot. Kiss were the very first Metal band I got into. The song that did it was "Cold Gin". Hearing that track made me want to join a band. I gave up on Kiss at the end of the ī70s, but Iīll buy anything relating to them from the early days - whatever the cost.

Black Mark are planning to put out a compilation album later this year, featuring all all the bands on their roster doing covers. If that comes off, Iīm definitely gonna do "Cold Gin". Anyone who says Kiss were never Metal doesnīt know what theyīre talking about!

You have been accused of being a "musical fascist". Is that a fair comment?

That sort of accusations have been leveled at me by former members of Bathory, who claim I wouldnīt let them contribute anything musicallyto any of the albums. That is true, but there are reasons. I have a stronger sense of what works and what doesnīt in Bathory than anybody else. I act as a natural filter for the music we produce.

Iīm also very aware that people want to retain certain myths about Bathory rather than knowing the truth. Would fans really like to know that 50 per cent of the drum sounds they hear on our albums are made with drum machines? Not exactly epic, is it? Would they like to know that you can hear the sound of a lawn-mower at the beginning of the song "Valhalla" (from the bandīs fifth album "Hammerbeat" (That would be "Hammerheart, right? /Twilight) )? Or that at the start of "Raise The Dead" (from "Bathory"), the reason I sound so evil is because Iīd accidentally inhaled paint fumes? No, Bathory has to retain certain mystique, whatever the truth. And if I have to be a "musical fascist" to achieve this, then so be it.

So if Bathory is, to all intents and purposes, your band, why make a solo record?

Precisely because I know what should be on Bathory albums. There are occasions when weīve done things and realised fans of the band werenīt ready for such an approach. We actually recorded two complete albums which have never been released, "Blood On Ice" in ī87 and "Requiem" a year later, for this very reason. Doing a solo album allows me to do things I wouldnīt consider for Bathory.

But does the world really need a Quorthon solo album?

I donīt care if it sells only one copy. Iīve made a record that appeals to me - and thatīs what counts. But this is only a one-off release. My next project is a Bathory record. If people like it, then great. If not, then they can fuck off!

As a person no, Iīm a lot more mature than previously. Iīm no longer making music to gratify my ego. I been through all that Rock star shit - screwing girls in the toilets, doing every drug going and drinking myself into oblivion. These days Iīm quite happy to sit at home and do absolutely nothing for weeks for end. I donīt need other peopleīs seal of approval to make my life complete.



Quorthon, legendary originator of Bathory, and, if I may dare to say, "Black Metal," has emerged from his aura of mystery to grant interviews to a multitude of publications. This interview was first printed in The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds #5. But due to the scarcity of that issue, as well as the fact that that was in the pre-newsprint days of this magazine, I felt that it was necessary to run certain segments again. In addition, the photographs given to me by Bathory fan "Paul Nestarok" have become a great source of envy. Indeed, not even Black Mark (Bathory's label) has these photos. I was willing to share them with the likes of magazines like "S.O.D." and "All That." But it struck me that the interview should be re-printed because it was too odd a piece of trivia to be shut away forever. I have edited the parts that will probably bear similarity to the tons of Bathory interviews that are hitting the streets these days.


In Sweden we have an expression that goes, "Everybody knows the monkey. But the monkey doesn't know anybody" what I am trying to say is that, if somebody comes up to me and says, God man, your music has been such an influence on me and my buddies, and there are two million bands copying your music, and you have such importance on the metal scene for all these years." who the hell am I to say, "Yeah!" because I'm sitting here in my kitchen playing a couple of songs on my acoustic guitar? I go into the studio to record it... having a great time... don't think much about it. Once the album is released - twelve years later you have a lot of people telling you that your stuff was so great and has meant so much. There are no scales by which you can match your influence. We all sound different anyway.


...inner what?


Oh yeah! Those guys! they wrote a lot of letters to me when they were young - when they were big, big, big, big Bathory fans, and they even had a magazine. I don't remember the name. But they were heavily into the Satanic shit that we were doing. Once, a couple of these guys were arrested for the things that they did - you know, burning down churches, killing people. They told the police that they were influenced by my music. So I had a letter from the Norwegian police asking some questions - a truly weird situation. All we're dealing with here is music and fantasy.


To begin with, without mentioning any names or try to mock down on anybody personally, or a group of people - I think there's something completely wrong with you if you mix Odinism with Nazism and Satanism. All of these three things don't have anything in common. If you're a Satanist you couldn't be a son of Odin because Odinism doesn't believe in earthly values in the way that the Satanists are. If you're a Satanist you have to accept the christian way - I mean the whole story of creation and the universe and blah, blah, blah, afterlife, and hell, and all that shit. If you're a neoNazi you wouldn't be able to play death metal and have long hair. So what we're talking about here is total ignorance.


Well, a lot of people have preconceived notions about Scandinavia. Certainly some American people I talked to when I was over there - they think Stockholm is like a suburb of Moscow or something. The thing is, I was fucking a Portuguese girl a couple of years ago, and she had this truly weird opinion about Swedish and Norwegian people. She thought we were the same type of people. The language is basically the same, like British and American English. Norway is very conservative and old-fashioned, and a very Christian country. They're like four-and-a-half/ five-million people, and we're like eight-million people. That's fly shit in the universe, compared to what's out there. Sweden is a very liberal country, and all values are accepted - except neo-Nazi and anti-Semitism. Sure, there are groups like that all over. You have this "New Order" in the United States, and all these church knuckle-heads over there. So I think it's a universal thing. Everbody needs to blame anything on anybody. In Sweden, when Chrisianity came around destroying a lot of the European culture, a lot of the stuff that has been going on for thousands of years... was destroyed. We don't know too much about our own history. If you don't know the past, you cannot master the future. If some young guy is into some heavy music... has the idea "Shit, man! We don't like the church, and we have to get into something that is against the church" and they go into Satanism as well as neo-Nazism because, originally all Christianity comes from a jewish fairy-tale called "The Bible," - Christianity has developed and adapted from modern science. Now we know there are no golden thrones above the clouds, and so on. So I think they're just picking up on anything that's against society and the establishment and, most of all, the church.


Yeah. You need to have a bad guy, to have people come to the good guy.


Sure. I worked as head of the security when they were playing in Stockholm, and they probably didn't know who I was. Two or three Bathory fans recognized me. Nobody else recognized me. So...


Basically, it was very innocent. I don't know if you had it over there, but in Sweden during the early '70's we had a magazine or horror book called "Shock" with Vampirella, Dracula, Frankenstein, and all that shit. We were very interested, when we first started, in the darker side of life, not necessarily the evil side of life. At one point we wanted to make a statement against the establishment, or Christianity, because it's old and dull and square and blah, blah, blah. We didn't know what to write about. In bands like Saxon and Motorhead, they were thinking about motorcycles going down the road at 200 miles per hour, whiskey, and fucking women. We came straight out of school. We just turned to what we were interested in, which was the mysterious. Everbody is interested in that at a certain point in your life. I don't think that we wanted to make a statement except for trying to be upsetting people in a very innocent fashion. We were very far away from the academic in any sense. We didn't know shit. Really. We didn't. As soon as I wanted to get deep down into it, I read the Bible. I read everything about Satanism. I read the Black Bible and blah, blah, blah. All that happened was, I came to the conclusion that it was all bullshit. I mean, we know there are no heaven. There is no hell. There are no golden thrones up there. There is no God. There are no devils. Nothing happens to you when you die. So you're just an electrified organism. when you die, you go back to earth. That's it. Man, from the dawn of time - we invented gods - and old gods became new gods in new religions. Christianity - the only reason why it has stayed so long is because christianity conquered the Western Hemisphere, which technically, is more advanced - and more advanced a thousand years ago than Africa or Asia. the Christian man stood on the moon in 1969. Praise Jusus Christ. Sure.


(long laughter)


That's natural. It's too big a subject for me to discuss in English. I should write it down in a letter. But there's a perfectly natural medical explanation for that thing. If you know how our brain and heart functions - by electricity - and when you're lying there and the surgeons are working on you, of course people are going to say, "There's the light!" To open up a body, you need some big strong light. With your body full of drugs, sure you will see God. You will see Pinnochio.


Well, you should send it to one of the girls I am fucking at the moment. She believes in the experience.




No. I just read scientific magazines.


I didn't mean to sound so cool, you know? I mean, anything I say could be interpreted as the result of reading the works of Fredrich Nietchze, the German Philosopher.


Yeah. that's true. Not all of the work. but most of it. Some of the stuff was published while he was still alive. He was famous even in his young years.


I think a lot of what he did was the result of his mental illness. But if you have a mental disorder, or if you're truly koo-koo in your head, 500 years ago they would be called saints. We had a truly weird woman in Sweden 300 years ago. She's the only saint we had in Sweden - the Holy Birgitta. If she would be alive today, she would be locked up somewhere.


(laughs) You bastard! There's a love and hate thing going on there. I spent between $3,000 and $5,000 on that video out of my own money, and we had 16 hours of film. Once, the whole thing was supposedly mixed together. There was so little time because I was going on a promotion
tour in Europe for six weeks. We had so little time to do the video properly before we went out. So I said, "O.K. Let's wait. I'll take care of all that when I get back to Stockholm." but sometime when I was out there, someone put the whole thing together and just started to distribute it - and it was not meant to be that way. I should say first that I have never seen the video myself. I refuse to see it. the guy who was filming that thing - six months after recording that video, nobody heard from him anymore. He owes us alot of money and all that. I spent two weeks organizing - renting horses, uniforms, armor, swords, people, food, driving people - everything. I paid a lot of money and I wasn't even allowed to be there when the whole thing was mixed. We had 16 hours of film, and I wasn't even allowed to see one second.


It's 50/50. The snare drum, and I believe the "ride" is a drum machine. Then the drum rolls and some of the crashes on the high hat is the real thing. The reason you use most of the time a drum machine for the snare drum is - you never get a real good sound out of a real snare drum (ed.
- Mercyful Fate's "Melissa" album has the best snare sound ever recorded). It's very hard. But I mean, everybody is working with sample technique today anyway. So...


Everything does not have to be attached to the label "Black Metal violence." You cannot blame an entire genre for what a couple of people are doing. We're voting politicians into power for four or five years, and they're the guys who start world wars and build atomic bombs. I've yet to see a death metal fan start a world war or kill six million jews or pollute our oceans.




Well, as far as the blonde shit goes, my hair is "natural." Over there you'd probably call it "blonde." But over here, it's just natural, or golden brown, or whatever you want to call it. 99% of the city's
population have golden brown hair. Actually, I used to dye my hair black because my jackets were black, and it makes a great outfit. I don't know about standing up, playing in a band, making statements to be some sort of "Look at me. I'm in the limelight. I have long hair. I play faster than everybody else." Do you fight all the guys who are doing exactly the same thing? If you are not able to change the information... I mean, we're all individuals. And if you read a lot of literature - books on religion, and scientific stuff and whatever - there is no such thing as a pattern for life, or mind. Does he anywhere explain what the right thing is? I mean, he was just pissing off a lot of people by saying they're wrong. What's HIS philosophy on life? What's the true way?


You said a "skinhead." Is he neo-Nazi or a Satanist or an anti-Jewish guy or what?


Let me make a parallel here. When I was, shall we say, the cock-sucking slave of Satan 15 years back, I would fuck off bands like Celtic Frost and Voivod - Celtic Frost because I didn't like their sound or the way they looked. I didn't think they were enough Satanists, if you know what I mean. I thought that they were more into art and the academic way of it. I didn't like Voivod because they were doing the space shit thing. I was too ignorant. I didn't know shit. It wasn't until years later that I started to listen to Voivod as a professional, realizing that these guys really had something. they were pioneers. I still hate Celtic Frost. Nobody is allowed to mock anybody else down. I still hate them, and I stand for that. But I shouldn't mock down a band because I don't like them. I may not understand it. But there are people who are in love with Celtic Frost's music and people who like my music. There's just one planet, and there's room for everybody here. What goes on in your mind is ten million times bigger than the universe. And my political views and my religious views will not affect anybody as long as I keep it inside my head. But if I don't deal with my values and compare it to what man has achieved as far as science is concerned... and medicine - the way we progress as individual and as a species - all that pressure you have inside your head comes up in a truly weird soup - and one of these days, if you have an ounce of hate in you, all that shit will explode. If you put a bomb in a state building, if you kill a friend - as in Norway or whatever - kill a homosexual, or blow the brains out of a Jew - we shouldn't try to label all these actions as racism or an act of religious defiance. What we should label it as is purely "crime." We shouldn't label ourselves death metal bands, black metal gods, or rock idols wearing jewelry. We should just label ourselves as musicians and individuals. In ten years, nothing of this will even matter. so I think it's very pointless to make comments of something a person says, who,
first of all, has never met me and probably never met any of the other people he was referring to. So it's just pointless. I will answer him in a letter or something, if that's what he wants. But if you make a comment to a person like that, you just give him too much importance.


When we were kids, I grew up listening to KISS, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and the Beatles. I didn't know shit - what kind of drugs these guys were taking, what it felt like to sit down on a motorcycle going down the highway, what it felt like to be fucking girls in a limousine. I've done all that now. I've fucked a girl in the lavatory of a 747. I made it with a girl in a limousing in L.A. I've done live radio interviews for the whole U.S. west coast, having thirty-million heavy metal fans listening. I've done all that, and it's not because I am the son of Satan. I didn't do it because I was the greatest guitar player in the world, or I had the best face, or the longest hair, or whatever. I was able to be a part of something that just happened - the underground movement. Kids wanted a music for themselves. Then someone comes along 15 years later doing something and they lock him up away in jail for life, and he starts to make statements about something he's never been a part of and doesn't understand the situation of working-class kids in Europe. He should just shut up and not make any comments about anybody. And YOU shouldn't make comments about what he has to say about other people! You give him too much importance. The world is full of knuckle-heads anyway.



Petra Aho interviews Quorthon. 

"The Bathory fans can be divided into four categories... those who wants this old ī80s Satan stuff, and they are more or less gone, maybe they are jerking off to the old songs. Then we have those who only wants the speed stuff, and they donīt care what we sing about. Then those who wants the Viking stuff, the heavy stuff, and then that category who likes everything we do just because itīs Bathory..."

Quorthon is not doing anything, he has no job, no occupation. He has the liberty to do anything he likes, but he doesnīt. Why, you ask?

The only times he walks out through the door are more or less when he goes down to the Black Mark office at nights to do some interviews. When this interview is being done Quorthon hasnīt even touched a guitar in two months, they are still in the studio...

But a new album in May this year is at least to be expected for all sold Bathory souls...

Revealed names is something you wonīt find in this story as it is of completely no interest at all, the more interesting I find the Bathory story though, and probably more people than I do.

This journey between heaven and hell in the company of Quorthon should be interesting to all Bathory fans, no matter what category!

Hard to find Bathory

Something that irritated me to the maximum during the early years was that it was virtually impossible to find some sort of magazine where Bathory appeared, so I asked Quorthon why?

-We never did anything in Sweden. It wasnīt until the Jubileum albums we started to do some stuff, we though we should stay calm here because most people who are in this business are someone who you have a relation to in one way or another. You have to keep off in your own country so to speak.

The birth of Bathory 1983

When I ask Quorthon if he remembers the birth of Bathory, from the first rehearsal, Iīm a bit astonished by this manīs memory...

-Oh, shit. Yes, I had to try to remember, because during ī95 Iīve been trying to sit in front of a computer to write a sort of a 500 page Bathory book with all the lyrics and lots of pictures from the studio and so on, almost day by day during these, what is it, 13 years? It was pretty fun, I dug out all my old diaries, which goes back to our first rehearsal. Unfortunately I never wrote down the names on all the guys who was in the band during all these years, because some of them only stayed for 4-5 days when I wasnīt particularly interested in the group, for the first album that is.

But how it all started. I had been playing in a lot of oi-punk bands, sort of like Exploited and that stuff, then moved more and more towards Motörhead. There was no metal in Sweden in those days, the only metal that existed was Saxon and Iron Maiden.

So I advertised in a music magazine where I wanted a drummer who could play double bass drums, fast, fast, fast, and I wanted it to be violent. So I met two guys at the end of February or in the beginning of March sometime. So March the 3rd in ī83 we went into the rehearsal place for the first time at Sigtunagatan by S:t Eriksplan in Stockholm. We had a place about 20x20 square meters, below ground, so we could play during the evenings too sometimes.

We stayed there until August-September something. The two guys I hung out with that first year, the only reason I did that was because one of them, or both, had very rich parents, so we never had any troubles with rehearsal place, loads of amplifiers or things like that. The only thing I had back then was a Japanese copy of a Gibson.

They grew up listening to Whitesnake and Iron Maiden and wanted to play those types of songs, and I tried, but I grew up listening to Black Sabbath and Motörhead, so it turned out a bit odd. Particulary because the bass player couldnīt play the bass, he just used the e-string, so he didnīt change strings at all during that year. The drummer played only to impress on girls and get free beer. You noticed pretty fast that it wouldnīt work. But there are some songs from that first year recorded on a cassette, two of them are out on these two Jubileum albums, "You Donīt Move Me" and "Die In Fire", one song on each album. …thatīs what we sounded like in those days, a bit Motörhead-influenced before we went for the underground things.

"Scandinavian Metal Attack" 1984

Scandianavian Metal Attack is an album that I and probably a lot of other people too would like to get their hands on, but as for now I guess I have to be satisfied with the answer to how come Bathory appeared on it at all.

-In those days, late seventies, early eighties, there was something called adapted course of studies, for troublemakers like me. A couple of days a week you could quit earlier and do something else. I wanted to work with music but there wasn't one company or a studio that wanted to pick up a brat from senior level who failed all subjects but English, Music and Drawing. But I got in touch with a company called Tyfon Grammofon. At it I did anything from making coffee, photocopying, listen to cassettes, sorting books and things like that. Then I heard that they were recording a metal album, and back then there were no hard rock bands on record except for Europe. Wow I thought, I have got to be on this one. So I skipped classes at days and on the evenings I went there and was allowed to be in the studio. Then there was a Finnish band I think, that couldnīt make it, something about military services or something like that. So that band disappeared. They said, damn, we have to find another great band, and I said I had a band... so two days later we brought along our instruments.

Did they know what kind of music you played?

-No, nothing, they didnīt even know our name... well, we didnīt either. So we went in there and did "Return", only half as fast as when it ended up on album later, with doubles.

There were no doubles in Sweden in those days, and we had one meter long hair, black leather jackets, and everybody had black hair except for the bass player who had short curly hair and looked like shit. Anyway, they thought it sounded great so we were allowed to record one more song. Then it came out on record. The funny thing is that we were the only band who received mail, all the other bands were like "Oh yeah, weīre big guys!", and then we found out that the same music we did existed in Europe, in the underground movement.

So you had no idea about the underground that existed in those days?

-The only music magazine in Sweden in those days was Okej and what did they have? Carola (Swedish pop singer... /Twilight) on one page and Mötley Crüe on the other.

We had no idea there were so many bands. It was us, Sodom and Celtic Frost, previously Hellhammer. So I went to a record store were I knew a guy who worked and he said, hereīs a band who sounds exactly like you, he had been with us in the rehearsal place, and he put on an album and it was Venom. I was like, what the fuck, are there other bands who play that kind of music too? So I realised that I might as well break up the band and form a new one, because I couldnīt do anything with those guys. I wanted to play more and more brutal while they wanted to play Iron Maiden-type of songs.

Bathory and Elizabeth Bathory

-I read a book called "Natural & Supernatural". There was chapter in it about vampyrism and Elizabeth Bathory who was the female version. I thought Dracula was so tedious, everybody knew about him then and he was too Hollywoodised. And if people really wanted to find out the story behind the name there was a great explanation and for people who had no idea about it it was a great neutral name. I have been interviewed about that for thirteen years and if you had named yourself Satanīs Penis you would have put a brand on yourself from the very beginning.

Then it had to be gothic and old English writing and this "th"-pronounciation that we donīt have in Sweden, thatīs were we got our artist names. It was supposed to be as difficult as possible to pronounce, because it was a dig at Europe and those guys who didnīt use their real names. We decided to do the same. But in the beginning we called ourselves anything from Satan to Natas, Nosferatu and Mephisto... there was another band already named Mefisto, you know.
Which by the way were big fans of Bathory, Quorthon informs me.

But they never continued, did they?

-No, Sandro was sick I think, he had cancer since 1985 I believe. I remember, those guys came and did an interview with me on a little dirty tape recorder in 1985, so they have been around quite a long time... they were pretty interested in us, that was the first time you noticed that you influenced people around you.

But other than that you were quite alone?

-Yes, there was no way to communicate with other bands. We didnīt know what happened in for example Malmö or Göteborg or other places. So when we invited fellow musicians who played in other bands, for example A.T.C., if you remember them, and what were they called "Epicus Domicus" or something like that (Candlemass, huh? -Ed.), we were great friends anyway. And when they came to our rehearsal place and listened to a couple of our songs they just shook their heads and said youīll never get the chance to do anything with that, you wonīt get any gigs or so... and well, they were right, but anyway.

No gigs

So you did no gigs?

-We did, we played in Alvik a couple of times and in Nockeby, by Smedslätten, at a cinema.

It was a small gig, right?

-God yes, a hundred people at the most, and there were at least thirty other bands. Everybody were drunk and everybody were friends and everybody swapped girlfriends backstage. It was just for fun and it probably sounded like shit too.

There were no places in Stockholm. Hardrock Café emerged after a while, but it wasnīt a place like that. There was Studion too, and they did this black back-combed hair thing sometimes. But honestly, we couldnīt play well enough and we didnīt have enough material. Besides, we had no idea how we wanted to look or perform. And once a lot of clubs emerged we had already been playing for a couple of years and by that time our music had developed so much it was completely impossible to do it on stage. Personally, I get no kick at all going to a concert, I just sort of stand at the end of the hall with my arms crossed watching the lights and things like that.

So in other words, you wanted more of a show, not just standing there straight up and down?

-No, thatīs the most honest thing to do, rather than go up on stage wearing jeans and t-shirt.
I am part of the generation who grew up with KISS, which you discovered... when was it, January ī75 sometime, and back then there werenīt a lot of people in Europe who had heard about them. But thatīs the way it is, you have your dreams and say OK, letīs go up on stage, weīre going to have this and that many bombs... how much money do we have? Nothing! It was all dreams and then itīs very stupid to say in magazines that weīll try to do a tour next year. People get tired of hearing it after a while.

The Bathory cover

Youīve heard different versions about the first album cover, I asked Quorthon about the right one.

-It was a week at the most before the cover was due to be printed, and I had no idea how it worked with covers, I thought the record company would take care of that. But they said we had to make a group photo, a nice cover, front and back, and print lyrics and stuff like that. We knew nothing about that, image and things, as I said we knew nothing at all.

Then in a book I had there was this Baphomet pentagram, but Venom had already done that on their first album, so I thought why not copy this and draw a pair of hornes to make it look a bit different. So I took a picture from a horror magazine or something like that, and put these two pictures together, very amateurish, with glue. Then we photographed it... it looked like shit. I intended to print it in gold, because gold has a special meaning when you are into black magic, but it was as expensive to print as five other colours, so it had to be done in yellow instead... and when I saw it I almost threw up, but thatīs the way it is. I think there are only 900 copies of it, itīs a goddamn collectorīs item today, and I donīt even have one myself, I think I have the jubileum albums and Octagon at home, you never collect that stuff.

You didnīt realise what kind of a cult band you would become either...

-We didnīt realise that until four years ago, when we did the jubileum stuff, about the time for "Twilight...". Then we realised that maybe there are others who like this.

And that you would mean the same to bands today as Motörhead did to you?

-Yes, the disadvantage, or the difference is that Motörhead did a lot of tours and never changed style, but there arenīt as much go in them today, so I think they should have quit sometime in the mid-eighties.

Labelled "Grandfather of Rock"

What do you think about being labelled "Grandfather of Rock"?

-Well, if you are in the centre of it or have connections everywhere and have seen everything from the inside you look at it from that point of view. I think I have met fans when I did these in-stores, signing albums and so on, and people who approached me couldnīt even talk. They were just standing there looking at me, then you realise that these people know nothing about the music business, that itīs just a couple of guys who are in the studio and have fun for a week or two.

It must have been a big fucking difference between the recording of the first Bathory album and today...

-Incredible differences! Today when a band enters the studio they might come straight from the rehearsal place, having existed for only six months. They are skilled musicians who can play doubles and solos three or four times faster than what we could when we started. We had no models, we had to teach ourselves. But today the musicians are grown up with this, they have this music in their backbone. So with a load of songs they enter the studio, which have all the latest techniques, most studios have it because of the competition, and itīs usually digital technique for 24 or 48 channels, itīs microphones, soundproof rooms and the lot, while we were in a garage.

Album numbers three to five are recorded in a garage with technical equipment from ī69. The mixing table had 14 channels, but since that mixing table had no effects such as stereo, choro and echo and things like that, we had to use channels on the table for effects, sort of like The Beatles did in the ī60s. Sometimes we only had 10 channels to record our instruments on. Itīs enough if you are only three guys. There are people who get great sound with a 4-channel porta.

But we had no equipment... I had a crap guitar, a tiny Yamaha amplifier the size of a computer screen, and the drums we used were so poor we had to use a, not even second generation, drum machine to get a good sound. And we recorded it in 26 hours I think, including soundcheck, recording and mix. I think it cost us 2000 SKR, untaxed, so these albums have paid themselves many times.

A sound of their own

In other words, Bathory would have sounded completely different if you had had the same opportunities as today...

-Yes, oh yes. If you listen to albums like Under The Sign..." and "The Return" we use ten second reverb on a lot for example. No bands do that because everything becomes one big mess. The reason we did it is because we recorded in a garage with dirty instruments, crap table and so on, it was so cheap and bad, we had to cover all clips and things like that with a lot of echoes.

Then a lot of bands picked up on that because they thought it would sound like hell, you know deep pits and so on.

A temporary solution became a sound of our own.

Did you ever think you would sell the amount of albums you have?

-Never, never! Itīs like this, when we did the two first songs for Scandinavian Metal Attack in January ī84, it was like wow, weīve been in a studio... now we can die. Then when all these fan letters began to rush in from Europe and the U.S.A. when this album had been released I realised that the people who owned this company wanted us to make an album. But unfortunately the band had broken up just a month after we had been in the studio. Because I wanted to play more violent, more technical and more brutal, so there was no band. I said OK, I have two friends who can help me out if I enter the studio, so I sat down and wrote 10-12 songs. Then we went into the studio for 36 hours and thought thatīs it, now you have done something, but then this album became cult and Kerrang started to write about us. So we did LP no 2, and that was "The Return", and that was the first time we thought wow, this is "The big one..." Unfortunately we were far too deep into these occult and dark things.

Were you really into it or was it just a cool thing?

-Itīs like the punk wave. When you see an aunt whoīs 63 years old with green hair, itīs not that cool anymore. You have to find out new ways to punch the society and the establishment, so you have to do something political or something else that really upset people, and this was something that was completely unknown. I mean, Black Sabbath sell just because of their name although they never said anything about Satanism, and they get lots of free publicity in magazines.
So I can not say we were into it 100 %, but we were interested. And it sort of was our thing.
Itīs like I write in the booklet which comes with "Blood On Ice", that when you come straight from school and are 15-16 years old you have no experience of drinking scotch, and girls and so on.

But today itīs different...

-Yes, itīs different today. When you are approaching thirty years of age you have that experience, you have done everything. You had fun on the toilets on a Jumbo Jet when you went to the U.S.A. to do some things, appear on TV in California with a 14 million audience... you sort of get satisfied and go back to the social issues, like Octagon for example.

The fixer in the band

Seems like you were the fixer in the band.

-It just happened that way because you had new members all the time. Itīs very hard, if not impossible, for a new guy to take over or become equal.
I donīt know if itīs luck or bad luck, but I never met anyone who was capable enough to write songs, it just happened that I wrote all the songs.

Occultism, magic, Satanism and aesir belief

Of course I wonder if Quorthon are interested in magic today.

-No, I write about that in the booklet which comes with "Blood On Ice", that I one day came to the turning point.

The reason we picked up on that in the first place was that it was supposed to be exciting, disgusting and full of contradictions so that people would be taken aback and feel ugh, what is this?

But when you try to form an opinion from an academic point of view on what you are really doing, and you read more and more stuff like the bible, to evaluate different opinions, I came to the conclusion that this whole Satan thing, Satan as a person and Satanism itself, is a product of Christianity. Something Christianity created to scare people, and old religions always become bad religions in a wide spectra where Christianity can pass by.

If Christianity hadnīt had the sword in one hand and the crucifix in the other it would never have had the power it has today. It wasnīt thanks to Christianity that man went to the moon and said prayers in 1969, but because of technical advance, because of the Western world and that stuff.

And all these Satanist articles...

-Yes, it would have been pretty unnecessary to do yet another album shouting about it, because I tried to go further back in history, before Christianity, and then you end up in the Viking age. Not because you are a Nazi or racist like things are today, but because you wanted to be on another cultural level and with other values, when man and woman where equal and society as a whole was better.

Christianity is not what should be closest to the hearts of us North people.

-No, itīs more a hymn to the mid East religion, and the bible is a saga of the Jewish liberation which eventually developed, but it has been censored and rewritten many times.

Because the Christian bible or the Christian writings that existed, letīs say a thousand years ago when the Vikings still believed in the Aesir gods, itīs not the same bible you read today, and the bible five years ago is censored compared to the one we read today. There are pieces that are taken away all the time. Itīs the same thing with the hymn book so that it wouldnīt upset anyone or be misinterpreted. So Christianity today are just christenings, weddings and funerals, nothing more than that.

But there are still Christian fundamentalists and Satanism still scares people...

-Yes. But those who burn down churches and do this and that in Satanīs name, what they are doing is that they are doing Christianity a favour. Like when Hitler during the war, when he broke down the Jews, itīs the worst thing that could have happened to them from their point of view, and Christianity. But those who burn down churches do it as some sort of symbolical act of resistance, because they are so into this thing. But it wonīt help a thing. Burning down a church is like burning down any fucking house... OK, god lives there, itīs godīs house, but thereīs no use in it.

I personally think you can look upon god and the devil as different kinds of principles within us...

-Yes, thatīs something incredibly abstract that we interpret and put values in. Then we try to shout at each other because we have different opinions on whatīs on the other side of the moon, and when we find out that thereīs nothing more than empty space, vacuum and other planets there. Christianity tries to lead us into a certain attitude towards life, death and life after death in their own way, to survive.

"Hammerheart", "Blood On Ice"

A record that touches me completely and makes me a bit sad is Hammerheart.

-Like me, I get depressed just hearing about "Twilight Of The Gods", because at that time we were all depressed, completely depressed.

With Hammerheart we had a very good feeling because we had been rehearsing the whole summer and had found a really good beat, a really good sound. Maybe you know we were doing a theme-album?

Yes, "Blood On Ice".

-Exactly, it will be released in three months.

So it is the same album?

-No, we had the idea back then, I tell the story about Blood On Ice and our development in this booklet which comes with the CD that will be released soon. So to make a long story short...

When we had decided to make this Viking thing we didnīt know if it would be very serious or if we should just play around, like Manowar. So we started out very serious, with Blood On Ice, and then it developed into a saga, very Conan-influenced, because we thought it would be easier for the Americans to accept than if we had done than. If it had been very Yggdrasil-based, which no one wants or has the energy to look into. Being such a narrow band to start with, it would maybe be to our disadvantage if we specialised too much. So it was a compromise, and that is what became Hammerheart. So it is a lot of Viking stuff, but itīs not a theme-album and the songs are not connected.

"Under The Sign Of The Black Mark"

"Under The Sign..." seems to be the album that the Bathory worshippers look upon as the best.

-There isnīt one album I hate as much as "Under The Sign...". There isnīt one second in those songs I like. The sound stinks, I sing like a crow, play solos like a pig and nothing on that album is good, absolutely nothing!

Isnīt there a little story behind the album cover?

-Yes, thereīs a very funny story behind it. I called up the former Swedish bodybuilding champion and asked if he wanted to be on it. What we had in mind to do was to have a gigantic sacrificial stone, sort of like Stonehenge, and a lot of naked girls who would be sitting around it. Light would come from above, and he would have slained an angel and would have the heart in one hand, the axe in the other and wear the Bathory mask. We couldnīt do this the way I had in mind because the girls I got hold of, girlfriends of friends of mine, when they realised that this would end up on an album cover and be there forever, they backed out of it. So I tried to get hold of stones by calling the material store of the Swedish national television and from them got the advice to contact the opera. I did so and he said sure we have stuff but we use it in Carmen right now. This is many years ago, when was this album released, ī86 right? So I called them and asked if I could rent or borrow some stuff. But as I said it was impossible because they were using all of it at that moment, but I was welcome to come and take a look at it. So I went there and saw this big thing, you can only see one third of it on the album cover and it is just as much left of it upwards and to the right and to the left. So I said I want this, the whole set. So he said hey, itīs insured for about 2,5 million SKR and was made in France at the end of the 19th century.

It looked very cheap when you watched it from the side, itīs just painted flat carton pieces. But I gave him a couple of thousand. Then I called that bodybuilder and managed to get four girls and one photographer over there. He put on the Bathory mask and ran up the stairs between two acts, while the curtain is down, the whole opera is packed with dress suit-dudes, and we have about 30 seconds to take ten pictures. The stair he was standing on was designed for a little opera singer, maybe weighing 50 kilos, and heīs weighing about 125 kilos. So while heīs standing there the whole thing was almost collapsing. But we got a great picture.

"Nocturnal Obeisance"

"Under The Sign..." had another title in the beginning, right?

-It was going to be called "Nocturnal Obeisance".

But it was changed because the girls disappeared?

-Exactly. "Nocturnal Obeisance" comes from the English mythology. The four daughters of the Wind; North, South, East and West. They sell themselves to the darkness causing eternal night on Earth, disturbing all balance. The goat would symbolise the evil one, or the darkness, and illustrate the evil side. But no one would understand it anyway.

We had no album contract when we did the first album, so I made up a label called Black Mark, you know this devil sign you make with your fingers, so we thought what the hell, letīs just call it "Under The Sign Of the Black Mark".

That a company with the same name was formed is another story. They bought the name from me.

"Blood Fire Death"

Has "Blood Fire Death" got anything to do with "Blood on Ice"?

-No. We were going to give the album a name, something with ice or blood because we were really into that Viking thing, but not completely. We still had some dark songs, "The Golden Walls Of Heaven" for example, and "For All Those Who Died", was on it too...

But in those days we were on Music For Nations and they had a band called Onslaught. So when I was there in October of ī87 to do an interview I found out that their album was going to be called "Blood Upon The Ice", and would be released a month later, so we had to change the title. Their album had a completely different title when it was released but thatīs another story.

But it was called "Blood Fire Death" and I got the title from an adventure in "The Savage Sword Of Conan".

So you read a lot of Conan?

-Yes, I guess so. When I was a teenager a friend of mine, his father had a shop that had Conan magazines among others. It was almost impossible to find it in Sweden in the ī70īs. Itīs great that it still holds true.

The Hammerheart video

A lot of people have probably heard about it but not many have seen it. I ask Quorthon to tell the tragic story.

-Yes, we did a video for Hammerheart, back then people had been nagging us for years to record a video and I said, itīs no use, it costs too much and no one will play it anyway - back then hardly any of our songs were shorter than eight minutes. But they made got us to do a video... on which I wasted 25000 SKR of my own money to rent armour, horses, girls who would be in the video, clothes, build a Viking village and so on. We poured 50 litres of gasoline into a lake by a big cave and ran around in lots of caves...

Where were you?

-Everywhere. All over Stockholm, Lidingö, Birka, Ekerö, everywhere. I think we had 14 hours of film when we were finished. The problem was that I was going out on a two month promotion tour ten days later to do interviews in practically every magazine there is, and radio, TV in England, Super Channel, MTV, the lot.

So the video had to be finished. We gave all the material to the guy who had filmed everything. He promised he would make a raw copy. The days passed and we called him but he never got back. So if you have air tickets and have to go...

Eventually we had to accept this raw copy and I said I didnīt want it to be sent out, because the things we do for European TV probably will not be broadcasted for two weeks or so, so thereīs time to mix it and then send a copy of it to them. But for some reason this video came out without my knowledge. So I havenīt seen this video and I wonīt do it either, because I spent so much money on it and all those 14 hours of film...

You must have spent a great deal of time on it besides those 14 hours...

-Oh yes, we worked 24 hours a day for two weeks. I lost 11 kilos during that time. I spent almost all the money I had, I sold a lot of my records to be able to afford renting horses and stuff, and food for everybody.

But those 14 hours are lost?

-They are lost. Someone gave them to the guy who had filmed it, and he was a bit shady and had messed up things for others too. He and the film material are gone.

That must hurt...

-What do you think? Every time someone says to me that they saw it on MTV or something, it hurts. Especially because you wanted to make something great of it.

And all the others who missed it!

-Exactly. You think you are in control, then you have the misfortune to do business with a person of that nature.

Ripped off...

Have you been swindled on more occasions?

-On the business level you mean? Yes, we had a distribution contract with a Canadian label called Bonzai, and I know they still sell Bathory stuff, T-shirts, caps, badges and they never accounted for a cent. That was many years ago we had that deal, sometime in ī85. They even sold bootlegs and stuff like that.

You were more or less thrown into the business or?

-Well, itīs not until now with Black Mark that we had a real album contract. We refused to sign real album contracts. We only had distribution contracts before. So we were never ripped off that way.

I know there are a lot of bands, especially when they go out on tour, who think that hell, now weīre going to sell albums and T-shirts and so on, and when you sign a contract you get big amounts in advance. Then they sell maybe 10000-15000 albums, they wonīt get their money back. They know nothing about how it works, itīs handled right but they fool themselves. Itīs better to do it the way we do, youīre friends with someone who owns some technical equipment, and you go into the studio for two weeks and have fun. You produce it yourself, then you travel by tourist class and stay at dirty hotels and then you get all the money, no, not all of it...

Itīs not until two years ago that I have started to make some money out of it.

You have enough to live off then?

-I have now. It takes so long for them to count all the money from all the countries, and they did a lot of blunders. And thereīs a new system in Europe, so itīs not until now that I have received all the money I should have got in the early 80īs.

"Twilight Of The Gods"

-When we did Twilight we knew that it would probably be the last thing we would do. I had no ideas, no idea what we would do in the future, since we had done Black Metal, Thrash Metal, Speed Metal, Psycho Metal, Epic Metal and I still hadnīt managed to find two guys that worked out fine in the band. I still had the same friend on drums, and I had been playing bass on the last albums, so when we did Twilight we said, letīs make a really depressing album, sort of like the Swan Lake, so we went in there and did our thing. We did the title track with no compromises whatsoever. I think itīs 15 minutes long, so people would understand that we didnīt follow any trends, not following Slayer or something like that, we didnīt try to copy Metallica or so. Back then we thought this was the last thing, so I simply quit. I guess people found out, because loads of letters arrived from people who said damn, you canīt quit and so on. But I had run out of ideas, I had quit, started studying and gotten into classical music a lot and a professorship in history and things like that. The music was no more for me.

So we mixed these two jubileum albums until I would get some ideas again, but by the time they were released I still had no ideas about what we wanted to do. So they said to me - go into the studio and have fun for two weeks and call it a solo album, and so I did.

The solo album

How did it feel just having to think about yourself after all the years with Bathory?

-Picture yourself being involved in a band for 12 years, and everything you do, every time you say something, you donīt even use your own name in the magazines. Youīre not yourself on the pictures, and all of a sudden you are standing there with a guitar about to make something that is you. You ask who the hell am I? Because everything you did private, all the songs, I mean I have written all kinds of music; ballads, acoustic, everything, and you donīt take anything of it for granted or serious. So it was really hard. I had to go back and find the influences I had when I was a kid; Led Zeppelin, Mountain and those kind of bands.

But it turned out OK...

-Yes, but I regret not using a real drummer. I had a friend which helped me out programming a drum machine, I simply didnīt have the time to rehearse the songs with a real drummer.


Octagon got bad reviews in practically every magazine...

-Yes, but itīs just here in Sweden we got terribly bad reviews on the two latest. I canīt understand them, but on the other hand you donīt get sulky or negative, you just think itīs fun.

As long as it is an honest review...

-Yes honest, but they write for example "stop milking the legend", oh it is a legend all of a sudden? You have been taking shit for 12 years and then all of a sudden you are a legend! While another writes it used to be better. Oh wow, it did?

You have been recognised here and there, and they contradict themselves.

-What is this brutal stuff and so on, just because itīs fast all of a sudden when it was heavy during the late 80īs. But as I say to all those who ask me "what will the next album sound like?". I say I donīt know.

Iīm part of that fourth category which likes everything youīve done...

-Itīs very hard to accept if someone says that everything youīve done is great.

Of course there are favourites, but thereīs still that Bathory feeling in everything you have done.

-Yes, I hope there is. But I donīt think we are particularly good.

The Best Of...

-When we did these jubileum albums I had to sit in a studio and listen to every album, something I wouldnīt have the energy to do today, for a whole day, and I just sat there shaking my head. What is this shit? How the hell can people like this? How the hell can people buy this, I would never buy it...

But I had to, in order to be able to pick songs for a 32 best of.

You got help from the fans, or?

-Yes, at the end of the 80īs we started to put together track lists. Because people always write that this and that song is the best one. I had two, three pages with all the song titles, so every time a fan had written that a certain song was the best you marked it with a star. Eventually you came to the conclusion that these were the 30 songs that the fans liked the best.

When I was out telling people why this solo album was released and explained that this will not last forever, this is just for fun, like the first album, just to have some fun, simple as that. Like eating fish after you have been eating pasta for three weeks.

I met a lot of people who were in my age group, which I probably had been corresponding with for all these years, and they had tears in their eyes when they told me how much the old albums had meant to them. You get a completely different understanding of it compared to just sitting at home with a letter in front of you. So when I returned from this two-month promotion thing, after the solo album, I thought damn, if you just could get the energy and the inspiration back...


-I got it thanks to talking to all those people, because two weeks after I got home I had all the material to Requiem. So I went into the studio for three days and then everything was finished. We thought that it was probably the most brutal thing we had ever done, and we didnīt have any effects, echoes, nothing extreme, it was going to be naked, raw and simple.

When it was released I was still running on top gear, so I started writing the material for Octagon. Thatīs why these two albums were recorded six months apart and released half a year apart. So they call them the twin albums because they think they sound very much alike... I donīt think they do!

Quorthon II

Of course I wondered if there would be a Quorthon II...

-Yes, I have 30 songs which are finished, but Iīll probably have 50 if I work some more, but thatīs not a priority. We were supposed to have made a "Quorthon II" last year, but the reason nothing happened is because it came out in the American press. We experienced a huge boom in the US with "Octagon" and "Requiem" for some strange reason, and they really wanted, you know how Americans are, they like it exotic, blond women and so on, so they wanted that Viking-stuff. The company thought we should spend this year ī95 with "Blood On Ice" instead and trying to get the tapes straight.

So nothing happened with "Quorthon II", but I could enter the studio tonight and finish it more or less, because all the songs are finished, but I donīt know if there will be one, maybe if there will be any time. The priority is "Blood On Ice", to finish it, and it is finished, we just have to mix the last songs. Then weīll see if there will be a second solo album or a new Bathory album... or a gore movie, anything, a cookbook or something.

No plans for a video then?

-I have to have a complete line-up, itīs not enough calling a friend, saying hello, I have a few songs, do you want to come to the studio and have some fun? Because thatīs what it has been like since the end of ī86, close to ten years. What band could survive that way? Make an album every 20th month, never toured, no pictures, nothing?


-Yes, err, Pink Floyd. Yes, and whatīs that band called who makes an album every 20th year, Toto.

New pioneering music

Do you think there will be more revolutionary music?

-They said when The Beatles came, now the last revolution has arrived, now people canīt dress more extreme or be more violent and unmusical. And then came Jimi Hendrix, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Motörhead, Black Sabbath, Sex Pistols and so on and today you have Nirvana and this alternative wave, so music will renew itself all the time. Someone said in the late 19th century, when Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahm made their music, now all music that could ever be composed has been composed.

We think only in terms of the 20th century and in the time in which we live. But in the beginning of the 21st century, which sounds very far away although itīs just five, six years away, then there will be completely different music. But metal will always be, black metal and death metal too, but in other forms. For example, if Red Hot Chilli Peppers or Faith No More had arrived about ten years ago, the early 80īs, people would have thought it was a reggae band. Then we have this cross over sensation when you take influences and rhythms from different styles, black metal is like that, they took the rhythm from punk and oi-punk and the lyrics from Black Sabbath and the sound from Motörhead. Then it developed with time. So it will always be there but I donīt think something like the Satanism thing will come, thatīs an anti thing against Christianity which has existed for 2000 years, so itīs very old and will always be there, but it wonīt attract the same attention.

But yes, the difference between today and tomorrow, thatīs what we were talking about before? About the bands who enter the studio and release a CD right away. I donīt think we ended up on CD until, I think it was Twilight. And by then we had been going for six, seven years.

Many bands demand to be released on vinyl in their contracts today.

-Yes, but no one sells it today. Bathory is the only band which Black Mark releases on vinyl too. Vinyl, cassette and CD.

So you can get hold of albums you donīt have in your collection then...

-You can. But unfortunately those who make record players have stopped making needles these days so you have to cherish your needles or sort of buy pirate copies.

Pyromania and image

Are you a bit of a pyromaniac?

-Oh, no, but it looks striking on photos. The first times we went over and did interviews with Kerrang and Metal Forces and other big magazines I thought this myth thing had been built up for a long time with, I think the first three albums, yes we had done three albums I think. So this legend made people go like shit, here comes the devil himself. So when I went there I brought clothes looking like a mixture of Blackie Lawless, Gene Simmons and Nikki Sixx, I looked hideous. I even think my hair was black in those days, even back-combed, ha ha ha, and chains and devil shit and big pieces of meat and of course fire breathing too, to make it really striking.

Fiery stories

-The problem was that every time I went to England, the US, Germany or whatever, to do a photo session they said why donīt you put on your leather underwear and breathe some fire. And I come with my solo album and itīs like -sorry guys, I sort of grew up. This fire breathing thing, I can still do it, but I burned myself so many times and it is a thing of the past.

It has gone bad a couple of times in other words?

-Oh yes, oh yes, I should have written down all the occasions when I burned my eyebrows. It was worse in the early 80īs because then you were supposed to use hairspray to impress the girls and have big hair. So you have this mixture which you have in your mouth when you blow fire and hairspray in your hair... not a successful combination.

When did you start doing it?

-Oh, Iīve been doing it since early ī76, late ī75, something like that. The first time you used chocolate drink-powder, because if you have it on a spoon a hold a torch in front of it and then blow it very hard you make a really big flame.

The contents of these mixtures are a secret, right?

-Yes, everybody has their own mixture. I went through some problems because I couldnīt get through customs with it on one occasion when I was going to England.

I use one-third water, and two thirds of something else. And these other two thirds are very explosive, and having it in a bottle on an airplane 20000 meters up in the air are not very good, high pressures and so. It falls under the terrorist law I presume, and it is no use bringing water along, because they have that in England too.

The problem was that I couldnīt remember the names of these ingredients. You know what gasoline is called in English, but I didnīt use it. The closest we came was paraffin oil.

Then I was standing there in the middle of the night in my leather underwear by a fucking closed down vehicle building. We drove there in the middle of the night with the photographer from Metal Forces, and he had no batteries for his flashlights, he had to use his car, so I had a car 2-3 meters in front of me when we were taking the pictures. So every time I was spitting fire not only did I shower myself with it, because not all of it burns up, it drips back at you, so besides from almost setting myself on fire, a lot of these drops ended up on his car. I almost set that one on fire too. -Thatīs cool Quorthon, thatīs cool was all he said.

So he was just standing there waiting for a big fucking bang...

-Yes, my god. The legendary thing is when I was standing on a sky scraper in Los Angeles breathing fire. The neighbours called the police and shot at us with shotguns, and when the police came I ran around with a Bathory mask, oh, oh, oh, I was really drunk, I tell you that.

A morbid drinking story...

-We had a contract with a company called New Renaissance Records in California, a company owned by girls. It was four girls and we had been talking over the phone and they said they had heard so much about Swedish guys, being able to drink a lot and so on, but weīre going to drink you under the table. Ha, I thought, letīs see about that, so I drank a 0,75 litre bottle of Absolut Vodka lemon every day over there, they had it in the US back then, it took years before it came to Sweden.

I was doing interviews at the same time, live and so on, so Iīm sitting with the phone talking to an American when all of a sudden I find out that there are 24 million people in Los Angeles listening to it live and Iīm sitting there slurring my words. I had to say something about "jet lag" and things like that and by then I had been in Hollywood for three days.

Seems like you had a lot of fun though.

-I have done everything that guys who stand in the rehearsal place dream about. Stupid things on toilets on 747 Jumbo Jets as you called them back then, and things in the back of a limousine, death threats when I thought I was going to die.

I was going to do an in-store, on a Sunday of all days, as many as 400 Bathory fans were standing outside this little record store, they were almost destroying the windows, and then I came there in a limousine of course, glaring red and 13 meters long. Back then some guy in Poison, this glam rock band, had received a death threat from some Christian wing over there in the States and that was the talk of the day over there, and we had our Satanist stamp. So I almost had a fainting-fit when a guy approached me just staring into my eyes without saying a word, and he pulled out a piece of paper which said "Jesus". And I thought, in three seconds Iīll look into the muzzle of a 38 special and then heīll blow my brins out all over the room… But then I realised, wait a second, this is Hollywood, 60% of the people here are Mexicans, the guy is Spanish and doesnīt speak English. He just wants me to sign a photo, and his name was Jesus. Thatīs what is was. So what looked to be a Christian lunatic who wanted to blow my brains out it was just someone named Jesus. Thatīs cool.

Yes, sounds fun...

No place for female bands

-Yes, the problem with female bands is that there are no journalist or fans who can look upon female musicians like we do in Sweden, as musicians. Weīll probably have to put up with that for another 100 years. Especially when all female musicians have such bad models like Madonna and Courtney Love and so on. Than there is that fact that when they act like all the guys it feels like they are nothing but addicts and whores, so weīll probably have to wait another 50 years.

The mysticism surrounding Bathory

Bathory was always labelled as a band of "mysticism".

-Yes but hey, thatīs very easy to explain. There is absolutely nothing mysterious about this band, itīs just that is has been almost no information available. There is nothing horrible or very exciting, it has been me a friend on drums for the last ten years, the years before that there were a lot of drummers and guitarists. So Bathory are actually nothing but a big fucking bad sounding failure, which never succeeded as a live band, never succeeded as a video band. We release an album every 20th month, one album is rarely like any other, we are not particularly good musicians, we have a terrible singer, there is nothing. For me this is still a mystery. Because if weīd had the attitude that we are in the greatest band on the earth and this is very serious and weīre going to fuck the world and screw every babe there is and so on, you would have given up long ago. But this is just fun all the time.

Rock Box ī87

Fontander said in the Rock Box (Swedish hard rock radio show which was hosted by Pär Fontander. /Twilight) interview in ī87 that he thought you sounded like the devil himself.

-Yes, you scream until you crack some blood cells in your brains and get a terrible headache, because you have to make your voice sound really wheezing, and it takes a while. You scream and scream and sing and just let the tape roll. And it just might work. You were supposed to sound like that in those days. The disadvantage with a harmonizer is that you canīt strike any notes, you just sound grey, grey and more grey all the time.

Whatīs up next

-Itīs "Blood On Ice", this Viking theme album we recorded in three sessions between ī88 and ī90 but never happened. There arenīt even vocals on all of the tracks, so what I did was take all these old tapes into a studio and transfer them to 24 channels. I added vocals to four or five songs, solos and things like that, and a new drum sound, because you can do that today with computers, you just take the old drums and switch sound. So all I have to do now is to come up with a cover, the rest is finished. It would have been released January the 6th, but the guy Iīm using was busy with another job.


"Blood On Ice", the new album of Bathory, has absolutely nothing in common with their latest releases,vividly reminding of their older albums"Blood Fire Death" or "Hammerheart". You can find out that from Quorthon himself, but also other many details concerning Bathory and this new release.

This new Bathory album has immediately reminded me of "Hammerheart", the one the band released six years ago. Do you think that the style used on this two albums (and not only on them) best represents Bathory?

It's a different style, an epic version of heavy metal, a very well build style. On the other hand I can say that all along our career we met fans with different tastes and hereby I reffer especially to the fans of this epic metal type. Our two latest albums "Requiem" and "Octagon" have been typical death metal releases, so I thought that the fans deserve a new album of this kind.

What should we know about "Blood On Ice"?

Well, I think it would be ideal for you to read the booklet.

I read it, but I would like our readers to find out everything directly from you.

We put that booklet in there so that the one who listens can also read and find out what it is about. Because otherwise it would take about five hours to tell everything. But to shorten the story I can say that at the end of the eighties we started working on a project-to be more explicitit was about a conceptual album,the actual "Blood In Ice"-but in the end we decided that it wasn't the best thing for Bathory.The making of a conceptual album is a very risky business especially for a band like Bathory, I mean one has to make this album in such a way that it sounds like Bathory so we decided to drop this project and continue recording the usual albums like "Hammerheart" or "Twilight Of The Gods". Although our fans knew there is another material that could be turned into a new epic album and actually we also thought that we could resume the work to complete this material, to record a few additional parts on the guitar, and to remake it at 40% with the intention of releasing the album as a souvenir for our fans. And so"Blood on ice"was released.

What can you tell me about the promotion, will there be a live show?

I can tell you exactly the same thing that I have already told all the others who asked me when were planning to play live. I can say that we played live in Stockholm in 1983, '84 and the beginning of '85, then a radical change has come up in our music. What we had decided to play on the record could not be played live. Besides the thing with the gigs, tours seems quite tiring and boring to me, you know how it is ,there are problems with money, the sound is bad, the lights too, and the clubs are not better either. You can hardly wait to go back home! And this fact has been confirmed to me by a lot of my friends who play in other bands. Even the ones from Black Mark were telling us: you are a bunch of lucky fellows because you don't have to tour!

I see, we've reached the last questions and the first of them concerns your solo career. Are we expecting a new Quorthon album this year?

Yes, I have a few plans of making a new solo album, but I don't know whether I'll have the necessary time. For the moment I have to deal with the promotion for "Blood On Ice"; two weeks in Europe and then a week both in Canada and the U.S., so that finally I can spend a week in London. When I return to Sweden in June I'll see whether I have enough time to record the new album. If I do it the album will probably be released in October.

Let's go back to Bathory, what is the "battle plan"?

Considering the fact that we released five albums in only fours years I think it's time for us to take a six-months' break and write an exceptional material for the next album, to do something we never did before and maybe to integrate influences we haven't explored before. Shortly I'd like us to do something different apart from black, death, epic or anything else of this style, it has to be something completely new.

That's all folks.

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