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Interview with Quorthon


Still Bathory is known as one of the most obstinate acts metal is worth. Everything is about one man, the mysterious Quorthon, who has made his sphere of work out of the studio. He has always refused performing categorically. Besides without any negative consequences for his career. Bathoryīs early works are ever worshiped by black metal followers, while the wagnerian music from later opened a gateway to a bigger metal audience.

The last years even the loyalest fans sometimes donīt know what to do with Quorthon and his chimeras. Two years ago he released a solo-album under his own name. It was a CD full of accessible, but poor recorded hardrock. īīI was in need of a liberal record - away from Bathory for a while,īī as Quorthonīs explanation runs. A year later Bathory appeared at the horizon again and reverted with īOctagonī to his black metalroots. īOctagonī disappointed at all fronts, both in the way of songs as production and was by few taken serious. īīI had spoken about my first albums in a couple of interviews. It inspired me to record such a record again.īī Quorthon reverts also with his new album to the past. In the most literal sense. This eleventh CD, īBlood On Iceī, is the album that for the greater part was recorded in 1988 and 1989, but never saw daylight.

īīI recorded the material between the sessions for the CDīs īBlood Fire Deathī and īHammerheartī . When this project was almost ended, I wasnīt convinced of the quality for hundred percent. It gave a somewhat incoherent impression. My attention was soon absorbed by new records and the tapes from īBlood On Iceī were found again on the shelf. A lot of information about the songs was already filtered through, and consequent that I got in a lot of interviews questions about this never released record. All those questions brought me to dig up the old tapes again and submit the recordings to a new opinion. I was enjoyable surprised. It was all still in its priming, but the essence - the songs - appealed to me. After long weighing the pros and cons I decided to take up the thread again.īī

In the comprehensive and most readable intro, that Quorthon wrote the CDīs booklet, the musician reveals how he went to work. How old pieces partly got replaced and supplied by new ones. Moreover a part of the tracks still had to be provided with vocals. It has become a good CD, that fits in the sphere of records like īBlood Fire Deathī, īHammerheartī and īTwilight Of The Godsī. īBlood On Iceī is a concept-album, where the spirit of the classical composer Wagner walks emphatically once again. All the stops are pulled out. And of course there is no one who with bombastic metal, soundeffects and broadly staged choral singing knows to achieve such fine results as Quorthon...

īīI realise that itīs old and thus dated material, but it would be a pity to let everything rot away at a dark spot. Again, for that are the songs too cherished to me.īī

īBlood On Iceī deals about the vicissitudes of the īman of ironī and the story is, according to Quorthon, based upon old Conan adventuries, as written down by the author Robert E. Howard at the beginning of this century.

īīItīs a story that I have read in my youth. Unaware elements from those sagas prevailed. Donīt ascribe a special sense to it. Itīs just a ībullshitī-story. I use elements from the past because history is a passion of mine. Besides I want to get rid of all satanic and occult rubbish.īī

Itīs rather unusual that an artist provides his CD with a personal statement, that covers six closed written pages. First in English, then in German.

īīI get a lot of letters from fans who ask why I never do any interviews. I donīt understand anything from those questions, because I cannot help feeling that I do at least threethousand every year. But come, to reveal the story from īBlood On Iceī once and the rest of my career, I have written this piece.īī

The writing of this short biography appealed to Quorthon so much, that he in the mean time is thinking about a bigger job. īīI consider to write a book about the evolution of metal throughout the years. You know, the origin, the subgenres and the red thread. Iīm still saving for a powerful computer. When I have one, I get to work.īī

About his own place in the history of metal Quorthon is striking sober...

īīOf course I know that my bandname often falls in interviews with black metal artists. Should I feel flattered? Most times itīs about young guys, who are just a few years in a band. Bathory exists for thirteen years. So they didnīt even witness that glorious beginning period. I think they are talking crap. I donīt set any value on it at any rate.īī

In your face! If required Quorthon confirms that there is still much more unreleased material in his archive...

īīIn two years I can celebrate my fifteenth birthday as īrecording artistī. I want to make something special out of that, just like back then with my tenth, when the two anniversary-records came out. I have this thought to compose an album full of rare and unreleased tracks. īī

Of course it doesnīt release Quorthon from the fine task to think about a new CD. The plans are still vague. A new solo-CD is an option, but that counts for an album under the Bathory banner too...

Whatever it is going to be, it will surprise the people. The best record that I have heard in ten years is that one from the Foo Fighters. Itīs a complete rockalbum, no fault to find with. I want to go that way.īī

Who cherished a gleam of hope ever to see Bathory once live, can better drop that...

īīLive I will never be able to prove what I have in sight. I just donīt make the music for that. While the expectations will only be very high. A Bathory tour would be a goodlooking present, that once unpacked disappoints terribly.īī


BATHORY - Coming in from the cold

Interview conducted by Gregory Whalen - Terrorizer Magazine, July 1996 - issue 32

Transcripted by Eric Massicotte for RADICART entertainment - March 1998 (just check out how many times the name Bathory is mentioned here...- EM)

Never let it be said that Bathory have not paid the price for being among the most influential Metal bands ever. Anything Quorthon does is guaranteed to disappoint somebody, or so Gregory Whalen reckons. Can the release of the long lost epic 'Blood on Ice', taken out of the freezer after 8 years, change all that? Learned and profeshnul hack wot I am, I assumed that interviewing someone like Quorthon would be 'nar brother', as we like to say here north of the border. Ha bloody ha! In actual fact, when the man called me up from Stockholm one bright Saturday afternoon to talk about his latest release, 'Blood on Ice', it was all I could do to stop myself from dropping the receiver, jumping up an down and shouting 'I'm talking to Quorthon! I'm talking to Quorthon! I'm tal king to Quorthon'! I'm talking to Quorthon!' repeatedly in a rather excited manner. Because, and I am not alone, Bathory means one helluva lot to me. They were the first - and so far only - band that has ever scared me, and I am not afraid to admit it. Having someone tell you that it is actually life-threatening to listen to 'The Return' more than once a day tends to have a strange effect on you at the tender age of ten, or whenever it was that I first encountered that fateful disc, and I've been an avid fan ever since. 'So what?', I hear the more furrow-browed and evil among you cry, 'I was listening to Bathory before they even existed!' or something along those lines. Frankly, I don't give a damn. You don't have to have been there to enjoy those old recor ds today, and their influence on the modern Black Metal scene is undeniable, but how does Quorthon himself think his music is perceived by the average Nineties Metal kid?

'I don't know. Sometimes when you get in touch with all these Death and Black Metal bands, you realise that the average age of these guys is somewhere between 18 and 20. And I formed the band 14 years ago, so they must have been around five or six. That's a big generation gap. You don't want to piss them off saying 'Okay, start practising your guitar and take that fucking grease paint off your face!'. There's a stage for every one of us where we wise up. I mean, I was wearing ridiculous stuff in pictures ten years ago too! As far as Bathory and the Nineties kids are concerned, we have a legendary status, and that's what we live from, basically. But when someone talks about Bathory as the originals, the godfathers, the forefathers, blahblahblah, it can have a negative effect. Because whenever I release an album today people write me letters and say 'Hey, why do you release these albums? Why do you use the name Bathory ? Bathory are gods!'. And it's like 'Hey c' mon, fucking asshole, I AM BATHORY!'. They make out Bathory to be some kind of legend and that I'm someone unworthy of dealing with Bathory. It's so stupid!'.

Stupid but not unfounded. After all, it was quite a blow to be bombarded by two back-to-the-roots Speed Metal albums after four years of silence on the recording front, especially since the last real Bathory record, 'Twilight of the Gods', was such an epic. However, now that 'Blood on Ice' is finally with us, there can be no complaints. It's like 'Requiem' and 'Octagon' never happened...

'Well, 50% of all the records-buyers, or potential Bathory album-buyers, are into the epic type of shit, and 50% are into - I don't want to call it Satanic - but at least the death/hellbent type of shit. So regardless of whatever type of shit you release, you will have 50% of your fans disapointed. After 'Requiem' and 'Octagon', which was if not Death so at least thrashy, aggressive, older type of shit, I figured those of our fans into the epic stuff deserved 'Blood on Ice' because they knew about the album'.

They certainly did. In fact, the thing has been the basis for years of rumour and speculations among Bathory fans. How come it took so long to be released?

'Although it was something ready for release, I was holding it back because I knew how much work we had to do in order to release it. I had to put down at least half of the lead vocals, add an extra guitar and a bass to the old ones, change the sound of the drums and remix everything, spending five weeks last summer. So although it's not a new album, it's a new release. It's great because it was a technical challenge, not a musical challenge. I could never write that kind of stuff today and it would be shallow if I tried'.

Apparently, Quorthon also felt that Bathory fans would have been confused if he had gone for an all-out epic soon after 'Blood Fire Death', which in itself took some getting used to for a lot of people. However, when I put it to him that people will probably be even more confused by the fact that he has come out with two best-of compilations, a solo album, two simple Speed Metal workouts and now a fifty Norse Rock Opera, all within the space of four years, his blunt reply is 'You need to shock people every once in a while'. That's all fine and well, but isn't it worrying, given the current musical climate, that most of the press will probably hate 'Blood on Ice' for being the wonder ful Spinal Tap-meets-Tolkien record that it is?

'Well, who the hell cares about journalists and their reviews (and he's having a point here-EM)? The guy sitting down making a review of an album it is, he is living with his girlfriend or his mom and he's 2 8. He hasn't fucked his girlfriend for a week and a half, his dog ran away, his mom burnt his toast this morning...his day is ruined! And even if he was going to review the 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' album it would be an appealing review because his day is ruined. If you have 200 readers believing in and following one man's mind about something then we have the Führer principle all over again (magazine editor comments removed for lack of interest value-EM). And we all know what that leads to, when people start to concentrate on someone who can actually play an instrument and record music...'.

And let's face it - journalists are just failed musicians themselves...Ahem. But enough of that. Could it be that 'Blood on Ice' is perhaps the missing link from 'Blood Fire Death' to 'Hammerheart' that everyone is looking for? Because a lot of people felt there was a drastic change between those two, especially vocally and lyrically. 'There was a drastic change between 'The Return' and 'Under the Sign o f the Black Mark' as well, and 'Hammerheart' and 'Twilight of the Gods', and 'Twilight of the Gods' and the solo album, and the solo album and the 'Requiem' stuff. We change from one album to another. Even though the album was recorded between 'Blood Fire D eath' and 'Hammerheart' (and also partly during 'Hammerheart'), it is of course very easy to slot the album in there and say that is where it belongs. But you have to remember that 50% of what you hear on 'Blood on Ice' was actually done last summer, so musically, it represents an era, not a specific file in between two albums, or a space'. After 'Twilight of the Gods', a lot of people wanted a return to...well, to 'The Return'. So they got two basic and brutal Bathory albums, yet still they weren't happy . 'That is because they have an idea of 'The Return' in those days, and never, ever am I or anybody else going to be able to reproduce their sentimental memories of those days. The music is there, so they can just listen to 'The Return' and the first album is that is what they want. They're both shit albums, if you compare them to the stuff that's released today by not just Bathory but any band, but the atmosphere was very original for the time. Even though I don't like any of the albums - it's just work for me, I'm never allowed to to sit down and enjoy them as a fan - I must accept the fact that they have meant something to people back then in those days. Venom, Slayer, Metallica, Bathory, Celtic Frost...everything today came from those five great bands, pretty much. But if the first albums of those bands would have been released today, nobody would have cared'. Ironically enough, though, there are plenty of albums being released today that sound exactly like them... Finally is there any particuliar reason fo r the enigma that has kept the fans interest all this time? Surely it must be doing the band more harm than good. 'For eight years now, I have been telling the truth - it's me and a friend of mine doing the drums - yet still people come up and say 'So how are you and your drum-machine doing?'. It's like it doesn't matter what you say in interviews or when you meet people, as long as you say something that will ruin their image of what Bathory is all about for them, they will say 'Uh uh, I don't wanna hear this! Don't ruin my image of what you guys are, you're part of my childhood, blahblahblah, I wanked off the first couple of times to your second album...' Whenever we release an album nowadays, people go 'Don't you do this with Bathory!', and I say 'Fuck you. I am Bathory!'. Bathory to them is part of their childhood. I remember vividly once when I was asked what sort of stuff I listened to in my spare time and I said, 'Okay, I enjoy Kate Bush and The Beatles', sure enough I received two hundred thousand million letters two weeks latter from people telling me 'Why did you say this about Kate Bush and how the fuck can you listen to The Beatles?!'. I just said, 'Wise up and broaden your horizons!'. I mean, who the hell do you think I am? Do you think I sit in my basement wanking off to Venom all day long? Fuck Off!'.


Maria Eriksson interviews Quorthon. 

Itīs Friday, the phone rings. "Hi, itīs Quorthon. Whatīs the weather like in Stockholm?" I hear a voice saying. Well, the weather wasnīt very good, but the interview was all the better. In this interview you will read things about Bathory you probably have never read before. THANK YOU Quorthon for taking time even though you had so much to do and and for the long and great answers.

Tell us in a few words how it all started!

We started 13,5 years ago, in February 1983 to be precise. The band was formed when I was 15-17 years old. Me and the other two members at that time were kicked out of school so we started to devote ourselves to music. The music was a mix of Motörhead and old Black Sabbath since it was those bands we listened to back then. With time, many albums came and we were called anything from satanic vikings to god knows what. If you have released a couple of great albums you get a certain mark. You donīt have to make a great album and it doesnīt matter what it sounds like, it will sell anyway.

Ten years ago nobody admitted to listening to us, but nowadays a lot of bands are influenced by us and there are a lot of people who say they listens to us.

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

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

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

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

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

The goal was you werenīt supposed to know what song you would play when you came to the rehearsal place since you knew so many songs. If the band could play three songs and it turned out great you were overjoyed. We had no plans to release an album. We just went step by step.We made our debut on a compilation album, but you sort of make debuts all the time. When we released our first album that was a debut. And if you change style you make another debut.

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

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

What is the worst reviews Bathory has recieved?

I have no idea. I donīt read reviews or interviews and noone who has interviewed me has dared to give negative criticism directly to me. If I ever recieved really bad reviews I think I would remember it, but I canīt recall recieving any.

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

Ha, ha! Where did you here that? (I heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend and so on /Ed.) No, I donīt. I donīt even have a driverīs licence. The only engines Iīm interested in are airplane engines. I have a flying license. Iīm not even intersted in motorcycles.

A lot of people ask me if rumours about me is true and sometimes I wonder if they have made them up themselves just to have something to ask me about. Last week I was interviewed by a guy who only had these kind of questions. For example, he asked me if itīs true that I walk around wearing a Nazi uniform and if it was true I drink blood diluted with gasoline. Those kind of questions are absurd and unnecessary.

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

It took a whole eight years to make that album. We had songs for many years that were only half-finished. The summer of 1995 I worked on the songs and among other things recorded the lead vocals for four songs and changed a couple of things here and there I felt needed to be changed.

"Blood On Ice" is a concept album, one long saga. With the album comes a booklet where you can read most of the stuff about us, from when we started till now.

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

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

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

To be honest, I havenīt been listening to any new band exept when I hear them on TV. Shows like "Striptease" and "Norra Magasinet" (Swedish society debate programs /Twilight) have been discussing the "problem" with the satanic hardrockers. The youth becomes satanists because of the music, they say, and people accuse them of being all sorts of things. Itīs unbelievable! People can dress and act the way they like. Nobody should bother about it. Anyway, these shows sometimes invites some little band from like Finspång to play in the studio. Thatīs about all I have heard from the new Metal scene. Someone sent me a Burzum record, but Iīve never listened to it.

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

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

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

We have been on Black Mark for seven years and we are completely satisfied with them. First we were on a company called Noise Records. The only thing they cared about was releasing as many albums as possible and threw out records constantly, they didnīt seem to care how the bands sounded.

We wanted a company that knew Death, Speed and Black Metal and thatīs exactly what Black Mark did. We were a couple of Swedes and Germans who wanted to start Black Mark so we put our heads together and formed this company. We could have signed with a really big company but on big companies you rarely have contact with the big heads and thatīs not how it should be. On Black Mark you can sit down and talk to the top head as if you are the best of friends and thatīs exactly how it should be. Thanks to this, weīre definitely going to stay on Black Mark.

What does music mean to you personally?

Music means everything to me, itīs all I have. Iīve been involved in music since I was nine years old, thatīs when I started to play instruments. Music is the only thing I always have been really interested in.

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

"Octagon" and "Requiem" were released only six months apart and I guess noone were really prepared for that. The records were released without us promoting them. They recieved some bad reviews, especially in Germany and they didnīt sell very well there either.

Whatīs the current line-up?

The line-up today are as follows; I handle the bass, guitar and vocals. (Wow, thatīs a lot /Ed.) A friend of mine since ten years are also in the band and has played on the last four albums. (Unfortunately I didnīt catch the name of this mysterious man /Ed.) We have also got in contact with a very competent Jazz drummer. Yeah, I know it sounds odd (You bet it does! /Ed.) but he can play heavy Rock if he wants to so weīll see what happens.

How many members have you had?

From the start in February 1983 till January 1984 we had the same three members. And then for about four years we tried out 4-5 bass players and 5-6 drummers. It was very hard to find the right people since we had nothing to reffer to when we wrote the ads. People who looked like Joey Tempest him self and wanted to play the same music as Bon Jovi could turn up. A guy like that only got to stay for a week or so, to see if you could change him.

You had to keep members come and go because all of them werenīt perfect and maybe not ready to concentrate on it as much as the others.

How come you choose the name Bathory?

When I was 13-14 years old I read books on magic. In them Elizabeth Bathory, among others, were mentioned. (A witch that was burned at the stake. The last one I believe /Ed.) (Actually she was walled into a chamber where she died in 1614 after three years of imprisonment /Twilight) The name Bathory got stuck somewhere in the back of my head and I didnīt think about it for a couple of years. A few years later I went to London with a friend and we visited a chamber of horrors. There we saw Elizabeth Bathory in a bath tub. This was at the time we had formed the band and we needed a name for it. At first we had Nosferatu and Elizabeth Bathory in mind but it sounded like some band playing dance music so we shortened it to just Bathory. For those who are interested, there is a great story behind the name and itīs also easy to remember. Thatīs why Bathory were and are such a great name.

Was this your dream when you were small?

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

How many fan clubs have you had?

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

Why were you kicked out of school?

I didnīt really do anything wrong in school, I rarely started the fights. I was almost half a meter taller than all the others and had long hair even back then, Iīve had long hair since I was a kid. In those days you were supposed to have short hair and preferably wear a shirt, tie and have a attaché case. It wasnīt exactly what I was wearing, I always wore leather clothes. I didnīt care too much about school either, I just wanted to play music. I canīt say I attended too many lessons either and in the evenings I took the train to the city and stayed there till the middle of the night, then I went home. The school management thought I had no business in school and told me to leave. That was in 1981 and after I was thrown out of school I tried to make money in all sorts of ways. I saved money to be able to buy a real guitar and while I did that I played in a Punk band.

If thereīs nothing more to add, Iīd like to say goodbye!

A tip: donīt eat minced meat sauce with field mushrooms. Itīs no good if youīre gonna have anal sex. I think youīll understand why! (Yes, ha ha! Thanks for the tip! /Ed.)

Typed and translated by the Twilight Webmaster.


Interview by Doru Atomei.

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

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

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

2. The BATHORY history started at the end of 1982, when three guys decided to set the grounds for a band who wanted to play original music. Two years later, you broke off with the bassist and the drummer and went on your own. Why the split? How do you see Quorthon of ī83-ī84 now?

A few corrections first... The band was formed in February of ī83 and in March of ī84 we went seperate ways because of musical differences and the fact that the other two guys in the band had no idea about writing songs and they asked of me to write stuff in the line of IRON MAIDEN and DIO etc... also they were never to hot for rehearsals or to actually make this a band all together... How do I look on myself of ī83-ī84... well that was 12-13 years ago so I guess I can feel very little kindship with myself as a teenager...

3. You stated in an interview, a couple of years ago, that BATHORY started with Death Metal, then Gothic & Doom (ī86-ī87), and the ī88-ī90 period was influenced by the Viking mythology. Should I understand that "UNDER THE SIGN OF THE BLACK MARK" is a Gothic album? Give me some details concerning the other albums.

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

4. Let us pass on to "BLOOD ON ICE". The album is dedicated to the fans and based on a legend written by yourself many years ago. The tracks were recorded/conceived in ī88-ī89 and rearranged last year. You said you released this album because your fans kept asking you about the "BLOOD ON ICE" legend. More or less persuaded, I am prone to believing that the failure of "REQUIEM" and "OCTAGON" have made you unleash the new. Is there a grain of truth in what I have just said?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I donīt feel offended simply because MANOWAR and BATHORY were the only bands out there to be able to put across a truly barbaric atmosphere...MANOWAR really didnīt mean anything to me personally but I respect them simply because they never compromise and always keep their own identity.

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

The ī90īs really seem to be the century of revival/reunions etc... first Sex Pistols, Eagles, The Beatles (anthology), Kiss and then Venom and now we see Van Halen reforming...strange...

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

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

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

Of course the reason why we picked the name BATHORY was because of Elizabeth Bathory...I donīt quite understand your question about the connection between her name and the Nordic or Viking style of our albums of the mid ī80īs...

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

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

14. Written between ī88 and ī89, "BLOOD ON ICE" touches, of course, the Viking issue. Will you explore this matter further in the future? Have you found any other themes to develop (the idea of the end of the end in "TWILIGHT OF THE GODS" was excellent; afterwards just Death Metal and nothing more)?

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

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

In 1986 I said about live stuff: "To hell with it" simply because there wasnīt any places to play in Stockholm... I find music so much more interesting than concerts...

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

I am recording the second solo album right now simply because the first one sold so well and everybody (well at least a lot of people) have written me and asked me to do a second solo album... The whole idea is to explore different styles as far away from BATHORY as you can come...And it is truly far away from BATHORY with almost ī60īs styled lyrics, acoustic guitars and strings... some unplugged feeling to it and harmony vocals..I donīt know exactly when it will be released but hopefully it will be out at the end of the year...

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

I wouldnīt mind at all if BATHORY was considered a classical band but not a classical band because we donīt deal in classical music but metal...

18. Is it true that BEATLES is your favourite band?

Of course.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think 100 % free hands with anything we do is convenient enough, donīt you think!?

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

No I donīt believe in far as what the future is all one knows and who really cares...have fun and enjoy life as it comes day by day. Take care and good luck.

The normal questions = The normal answers. Without divagation. Only too much "...". Thatīs all.


Originally done by Lennart Larsson. Translated by Andreas Pelli []

The legend lives on...

As I today look back upon my thirteen years as amateur reporter, it's not without a certain amount of pride I can claim myself to be one of the first to notice really brutal metal. I actually think I was the first in Sweden to write about bands like Slayer and Exciter.

I was already in an early stage into Bathory, our Swedish precursors within the brutal metal scene.

Bought the V/A LP "Scandinavian Metal Attack" when it was released 1984. Ever since, I've followed their whereabouts with interest. Quorthon is a true hero!

Should almost believe that I am the Swede who has interviewed him most. Did the first int. as early as in 86, then for various Swedish and foreign hard rock bibles, a year after that we first had talked. Now, when Bathory releases the theme-album "Blood on Ice", is there nothing I can think of, that could be more appropriate than ending my career with another int. with one of the metalworld's most fascinating musicians.

All of our earlier chats had been via telephone, but his time I want to meet him in person. In true glamorous hard rock spirit do I then take the bus the approx. 400-km to the royal capital, where Quorthon greets me at the City terminal. Something that makes me recall a familiar jungle-speech. We succeed after ca. 45 minutes of walk (no limo here) stalk to a café that can be suitable for a nice little talk. Four hours, a few cups of coffee, soda water and pies later, with a pair of C-90 cassettes in my pocket, are we finished with Bathory's history. The result: The longest interview ever in Backstage, and for certain one of the longest ever made about the band. I hope you can make through it!

Re-used theme album

Since we have written about Bathory many times before, I'll try not to repeat too much of the things faithful readers already know. Instead, prepare yourself for one and another exclusive exposure.

We begin from the end, of course, with the new album "Blood on Ice". An album which was mainly recorded in 1988 and 1989. The recordings were never finished though, i.e. until now.

- If we ever would leave that album behind, we also could try to make something decent of it. Was surprised myself that the songs were as good as they were when we listened to the original tapes, Quorthon explains.

- With the technology of today, you can change the sound on everything, i.e. on a pair of toms or on a snare drum, which did it fun to work with the original material. We used the old drums as signals, but changed the sound on them via computer. If there i.e. was any un-tight snare beats, we simply moved it with the computer. We also recorded another guitar and new bass, and I added new vox on four songs. One reason to why we had to remake that much was that if you record on a very old tracker and then are going to use it in a modern 24-channel studio certain things can leak on 3-4 channels. A guitar could i.e. lie on channel 14-16 and then we had to move it to one channel on another tracker. According the vox, it was ok mostly, but here and there the snare drum leaked from the channel next to, and if it wasn't possible to separate them, we had to redo the whole thing.

- We have done a lot of cutting too, the intro is one example, it was very long and complicated. It was 5-6 minutes in the beginning, but we shortened it to only one. The last song was about 20 minutes long, but we removed a monotonous and boring part in the middle, as no one would stand listening to it. Now the song "only" is about 10 minutes.

The most expensive recording

It's very clearly written in the booklet about the long and complicated history of the album, but I still can't help wondering why it's released now.

- We have different categories of fans. The ones who like the speed thing, and the Viking fans. Since the material already was recorded, we thought we could please the later category. For the speed-fans had we made "Requiem" and "Octagon".

- We dared to do a theme album now. We would never have dared back then, because it laid too close in time to the old stuff we used to do. We are much freer now, and may do what we feel for.

It took all together 1,5 months to clear the tapes and re-record it. That means "Blood on Ice" is the recording which have cost Bathory the most.

- It's a certain difference against the first album, which cost about 2000 bucks to record (ca. 250 $).

As on the latest three-four recordings, they have worked with Rex Gisslén. The used to hang around in Montezuma, but as that studio is closed these days; the guys worked at many different places, among others in Hellhole Studio. Can this be Heavenshore's descendent?

- I won't go into a studio where 8 producers, 15 technicians and 98 secretaries roam, and the clock's ticking. I rather go down in a basement where they have some recording equipment; it doesn't matter that much these days anyway, since everything is digital.

The album was mixed in Soundtrade Studio in Solna where some guys called SAE are.

- There was something wrong with one of the DATs when we mixed a song, so we went to their class and asked if someone could give us a hand. Today, they get everything served instantly, which is really fun. When we started you had to try how things worked, which button made what, we really didn't know shit. Now they have complete education from the start when they enter the studio to work.

Not suffering from idea-draught

Many with me might wonder if the real reason they're releasing his album now, is that they've run out of ideas, or that they just want to cash in as much as they can.

- You really don't earn that much, 'cause you need to sell at least 100.000 records to do that. On the other hand, we don't spend any bigger sums on tours or videos. Since I write all the songs myself, it's obvious most of the money drops into my wallet, but it normally takes like 5-6 years before they come. They money I earn today is for the albums I made in the late 80's. When I get lists today, it's about the sales of the second, third and the fourth album. In fact, it's not until now, I can call my self economically independent.

- As for lack on ideas, I can tell you that I have 30 songs for another solo-album. We were going to record that one in May last year, but we choose to concentrate on "Blood on Ice" instead.

Talking of solo-albums tells us that it was during the work with the first "Quorthon" album, the idea of re-animate "Blood on Ice".

- It was when I did the promo work for the solo thing, before I made "Requiem" or "Octagon" that is. When I returned from the promo tour I had a great urge, that I wanted to play the speed stuff again. So I wrote "Requiem", and when that one was released all songs for "Octagon" were finished. After this, we only worked with "Blood on Ice".

The music of "Blood on Ice" is a bit in the same vein as "Hammerheart", though I personally think everything is slightly different from that album. There is a lot of Viking in it though... almost sounds like some laid-back Manowar partly. Quorthon also sings (!) And really good too.

More unreleased stuff

As the talk continues, it's unveiled that there still are lots of unreleased and unofficial songs recorded. Some where awakened for the two Jubileum Albums, i.e. "Crawl to your Cross" and "Burnin' Leather".

- "Burnin' Leather" was recorded during a period when we planned to make a double album, containing up to 25 songs, of which one album should have been in the heavy-Viking vein, and the other in the speed-vein. We wanted to show that we really could vary the music, as we had done pretty successful on "Blood Fire Death". We thought of calling it "Valhalla", and I wrote a song with that name; later featured on "Hammerheart". That song was recorded over a year earlier the other songs on "Hammerheart". We also recorded "Bond Of Blood", which later ended up on "Twilight of the Gods", in speed style, doubles and all those things. It is the same song, but with different lyrics.

Some speed songs for an album called "Requiem" were also recorded, but that name had nothing to do with the album released later, only the name was similar.

- Things were a bit fuzzy during that period, 'cause we had a lot of projects, we wanted to make experiments. It was hard to tell were one project started and another ended.

- There's also lots of material that is recorded, but not complete. We have for example 10 songs on 2.5", but there's too much Motorhead over those songs, almost carbon copies. "You don't move me (I don't give a fuck)" is from that recording.

The first tune

So, what's the name of the very first Bathory song made?

- The first song we finished, with lyrics and everything, was "Satan is my Master" and it sounded like "Symptom of the Universe" by Black Sabbath. The lyrics were totally hilarious. We made a song called "Witchcraft" the same week, and shortly after "Sacrifice", thus it's one of the very first songs we ever made. We also had a song called "Living in Sin", but it was a tad too similar to Iron Maiden's "Transylvania". The two other guys in the band were into bands like Saxon, Whitesnake and Iron Maiden, and asked me if I could make a song like that, and so I made one, Quorthon groans.

- "Satan is my Master" and "Witchcraft" were never recorded, but they were on one of the first tapings from the rehearsal place. Unfortunately, many of those old tapes are gone today, among others a 90-tape filled to the rim with early recordings. A friend of mine borrowed it, and the next day he said he had lost it.


- I got furious, but I did never think those recordings would be funny to listen at later, since we only could play those songs back then. Today there's only a title in a notepad or perhaps a stanza written somewhere, but nothing more. I don't have the slightest idea of how they sounded.

Old and new drummers

It was only during the first year Bathory had a somewhat steady line-up. After, the staff changed constantly. The longest staying member except Quorthon is the drummer Vvornth, who played on all albums from "Blood Fire Death" to "Octagon".

- His brother was supposed to be our bass player two years before he joined himself, but his parents give him a declaration of war. His parents promised to pay his education if he got his hair cut and stopped with music, so he choose to. Today he's got short hair, suit and everything. Sometimes when you meet old members you realise they're in their middle ages. That's why I decided to be 15 the rest of my life.

- We had a drummer who doubted about what he should do, he was about a year younger than we were. He was going into military service, and was not at all sure about what to do, but finally he decided to do that and educate himself. When he quit in the end of 1985, we suddenly needed a new drummer desperately, so I called the Sodom drummer, Witchhunter, and asked if he was interested to come up to Stockholm and help us do an album. This was when we still were thinking of touring around, and we tried to figure out which bands we would like to play with. Sodom was one of these bands, so I thought we could score two in one shot.

- I called him and asked if he could come to Stockholm and make some songs together. While we were playing we suddenly understood that it maybe wasn't such a good idea after all, not for them, not for us, nor for the fans. They had just finished the recording of a new album, but something went wrong with and they had to record most of it again, and Witchhunter was forced to return home. Nothing ever happened of the planned co-operation, and after that, but he taught me some Sodom songs while we were rehearsing. I've never had any contact whatsoever with Witchhunter after that.

The story with Witchhunter is probably familiar to many of the readers, but something you maybe don't know is that Carsten Nielsen, drummer in Danish Artillery, was bidden to become Bathory drummer the year before this, but he choose not to, since he thought Artillery would become bigger than Bathory. So much for that!

Today Quorthon is in contact with a drummer he's hoping to work together with in the future.

- He is very technical and good, so if there will be any album this year, I'm hoping to have him in with on it. He is interesting even though he isn't hardrocker. He has mostly been into experimental jazz. Since he is a pro musician, I probably have to pay him to get him with, but I'm prepared to pay the double to get him anyway. If this works out we'll have to rehearse some week before we can record, but time shall tell what this ends up like. There might even be a jazz sound over the next Bathory album, Quorthon jokes.

Satisfied with "Octagon"

Which of the albums is the best, and which has been sold most, and in how copies?

- It's a tad misleading, the first album has existed for 12 years, and it's still selling. It belongs to the 5-6 best selling records ever on the label. If it's not that one, ‘tis either "Under the sign of the Black Mark", "Hammerheart" or "Twilight of the Gods" that have sold most copies. I think at least one of them has sold over 100.000 ex. I am pretty sure it's not "The Return" since that on is a bit too extreme. "Jubileum vol. 1" has also sold a lot. I know the solo-album also is among the best sellers on the label, that one has gone for 30.000 ex.

When it comes to "Requiem" and "Octagon", the rates hasn’t been that good.

- They have received very bad criticism. It's not that you can skip wondering about the clientele who's sitting and making reviews in the magazines. They are very aware of trends. Some paper nominated "Octagon" as "Der ausbomb der monat". You die to get that kind of reviews. If I were 15-16 years old, I wouldn't want to buy the records that get 3-4 stars, I'd like to have the one that gets 15 crossed stars instead. You can't make a record for critics. Those two albums haven’t made that well, but they satisfy me more, and that's what's important for me.

In which way have they done it?

- There are no errors in the playing, it's not untight and the lyrics are a hundred times better.

Even though those records aren't among my faves, I think they're totally ok. Although it's a little bit too much "biscuit tin" sound over the drums in "Octagon".

- We did those during one day. Played through them pretty fast, thinking, "we can do that later", but when we got that point we didn't really care enough to fix it.

- If it's something I am less satisfied with, it's as usual my singing. I never dare to sound natural, 'cause I know people will yell and shout and wonder what's wrong. I read a fanzine where they said that it sounded like I've taken helium on "Octagon". In that case it's just to face it that those dudes who are sitting and writing the papers are half as old as me. When they sit at home listening to records, they always hear singers who have used extreme harmonizer on their voices. Then when they hear a vocalist singing with his normal voice, they think it sounds like a faggot.

Censored by the label

Something that surprised me was that they on "Octagon" for the first time included a cover. The reason that cover was "Deuce" isn't as much surprising, for Quorthon is an old Kiss fan.

- We have probably played about 20 covers in the studio, but never before released anything on an album. There has been everything from "Like A Virgin" and "She Loves You" to "Overkill". We actually recorded "Ace of Spades" once, and we were also going to release it, but another band did it before us, thus we dropped the project.

- When we had finished "Octagon", there was over one week of time left in the studio, so we decided to do some covers just for fun. We chose songs, put up some mics, to hell with soundcheck and then we just played. We did five or six covers.

- The purpose was not at all to include them on the album, but two of the songs were censored, we couldn't include because of the company, and that of several reasons. If you look on the lyric sheet you see that two songs are missing.

The names of those songs are something he doesn't want to unveil.

- I said their names somewhere, but I regret it, thus you can figure out what the songs are about. Won't tell the names before the band has quit, I don't want to cause any of the label people damage because of them. When they asked me to, I excluded the songs, since there is 30 employees who would have to receive shit for it.

- The album would be very short without those songs, so we wanted to have one or more covers on it too, but the only one that was somewhat decent was just "Deuce", we had just recorded them for fun. We also recorded i.e. "Electric Funeral", "I wanna hold your hand" and "Jailhouse Rock".

Many things to handle

Going back to Quorthon's solo album, he is expecting to release another one in the future, but when is something he doesn't know. There is material enough anyway.

- I was totally surprised when it sold that very well. Thought it would sell about 200 and that it would get thumb down everywhere, but I haven't got any bad criticism. Maybe the sound was a bit too kind, but the purpose was not to sound like a pro band. ‘Tis my private project.

- I have many side-projects running, I don't know how to get time for them all. I write five songs a day that has got nothing to do with this. Rex and I went to the studio last autumn and recorded for a new album, which is light years away from anything I've done before. No one would believe it's we who's doing this, but it's do damn funny. It's just for pleasure. Rex has got lots of own ideas. He's got a big local where he can work around the clock. If I get any ideas I go there and if he gets any ideas I'll go there to help him. It doesn't necessarily have to get on record. Yesterday I wrote two more songs. During the summer we'll probably go there and record about 30-40 songs just for fun.

- Shortly after "Blood On Ice" was completed we did ten songs in the studio but deleted it and left it only on usual tapes. This was because no one would be able to neither listen to it nor use it.

Regrets the video

During the conversation we slip into mistakes that we've done in the career, which on my behalf are pretty many. When I ask Quorthon if there is something in his career that he's regretting he surprisingly replies that it's the video for "One rode to Asa Bay": The only video the band has ever done. I get even more surprised when Quorthon says he has never seen this particular video himself.

- We threw a whole lot of money into that project. There was a tremendous staff and we were shooting for about 2.5 weeks. I didn't sleep more than 5 hours, I lost 5-6 kilos and I wasted ca. 4000 $ which were my own. We had 50 litres of gasoline in a lake and lit it up, walked around in caves with torches, wore Viking outfits, horses - yes, everything. We had 14 hours of film when we were finished. For some strange reason were the films given to the one who took care of the whole thing. And when the video was going to be completed delays appeared. A week passed two weeks, a month and two months. He didn't keep in touch and we couldn't reach him. The we had to go on a promotion tour down in Europe and we had to bring us something to be shown on MTV, Super Channel, Spanish and Portuguese television. Finally we got hold of him and he promised to do a mix. The day before we weīre on our way we received a tape containing something he called a "raw mix". The purpose was never to show it officially, cause we assumed we'd get back in Stockholm in time to make a real video to send around, but...

- We couldn't find him when we got back to Stockholm. One month passed, two months passed, a year... I haven't seen him yet actually. Everything's gone with him. The money, 14 hours of film and what we now call the video is nothing but the raw mix he did for us. I haven't seen anything of the 14 hours we made, or the so-called video. I refuse to watch it since I know it could have been better, a lot better.

You don't have to be Einstein to understand that the video was awesomely expensive, surely around 40000 $.

- It was expensive, expensive as hell. A 30-man staff was involved, so it must've been a giant production. Only to drive the crew from the shooting places demanded a lot of work and they had to eat and drink too. We rented a quarry and filled it with fog machines and copper pipes that were filled with gas, giving us 20-m high flames. Horses, knight's armour and floating islands with drumkits.

Plays because it's fun

As we talk about Bathory's future Quorthon says there is definitely a continuation. He hasn't written much new stuff but he believes there will be another release in 97.

- We have released perhaps a bit too many records lately. It wasn't more than six months between Requiem and Octagon and then one year later "Blood on Ice" came. I believe a lot came through after the solo album. Earlier we had done black metal, death metal, epic- and the Viking stuff. With "Twilight..." there was really no exit except repeating ourselves. That's why we luckily celebrated 10 years anniversary and could make the Jubileum compilations. I hadn't got a single clue about what I was supposed to do by then. But the solo album came in between and now everything's just enjoyable. It used to be a work, finding the exact sound, fit into certain moulds but after the solo thing it's more fun. I've felt quite a lot freer ever since.

So what's Bathory got to offer that no other band has?

- I suppose we've got nothing that someone else haven't, Quorthon says honest and without fuzz. The competition is total, and there are plenty of bands releasing records now. That's why I'm glad we sell at all. It doesn't matter who you are, what band is called or what you done before, because there is never a guarantee of high rates. I am doing this now because I think it's fun. There is a dividing line around 5000 ex though, and if you can't overcome that border, it's better to spend your time on something else. But if you still think it's fun, and at the same time is the band that is selling best on the label, I can't see any reason to stop.

Several tributes?

In these days of tribute albums there been some rumours about a Swedish Bathory-tribute, with many of the heavy names within extreme Swedish metal. When it's released is still not sure. Quorthon surprises me by telling that he knows at least 3 more ongoing Bathory tributes. One from a Belgian label, one from a Norwegian one and one with amongst other French and German bands. He has also heard rumours about an English/American tribute. Necrophobic's new MCD "Spawned by Evil" features a very good cover of "Enter the eternal fire" and a Norwegian band had "Born for burnin'" on a CD.

Talk about a Bathory-revival.

- If they choose the right songs and do them well it's ok for me. It can't get worse than what we did because they have got a different technique; they have grown up with double bass and thrashing guitars. It sure will be nice to hear if they can use the same chords as I do, Quorthon comments and explains the secret behind his special sound.

- I don't tune the guitar as usual, but I tune them in a way that you can take the chords with only two fingers. It sounds like an 8-stringed or a 12-stringed axe. It sounds as two guitars because due to the twin octave, and it helps me making fewer add-ons in the studio.

Do you still tune in the same way?

- Yes, at least on slow songs. Sometimes I tune from normal E. I did it on some of the "Octagon" songs. The other tuning can be somewhat frustrating when you have to add the bass, cause you have to down tune the E-string to C minor. Which makes it extremely loose. You can sometimes hear how it tunes out.

Returning to the tributes, the fact is that Quorthon he isn't totally against appearing on one himself.

- It depends on what band it is and in what context. We've done many covers, so why not?

I don't know if anyone has given it a thought, but Bathory hasn't been on any compilation album since the mid 80-ies.

- I realised that Beatles never were on any compilations, it's not until now they've started to release Beatles song for advertisement jingles. I thought if Beatles can, we could too. We made a deal to never appear on compilations and we still haven't. We don't have it written, thus most of our deals are oral.

Continuing on the book

The last time Bathory was in Backstage, # 24, Quorthon told us that he was working on a book which would contain the biography, the discography, lyrics, pictures and facts from the different recordings. A colossal project which he hopes to finish to the 15 year anniversary.

- I've written notes, i.e. exact dates and strikes of the clock when things happened. When Bathory was founded, when we had the first rehearsal etc. The notes cover all the years and I've checked them through. The first chapter is more or less finished, and the description of the rehearsal place is very detailed.

- In the end of the book I'll have all the lyrics plus a comprehensive discography. We'll have every recording date, which day and which month. There will be a chapter on each album, where everything is going to be told in detail. Most of this is already written, but the things I can't remember will pop up if I listen to the albums again.

About photos and pictures, here is some exclusive material to show, but not as much as you could wish.

- We shot some pics in the studio when we recorded "Under the sign...". Above that we've got only 5-6 private photographs from that period. People have always circulated so there has never been a real use of pictures. Almost every picture is of me and Pålle, and perhaps on some old bassist or drummer.

I wouldn't get too surprised if one or another special picture appeared.

Except the book, some other things in the same direction are maybe going on.

- I've got a pal who's keen on computers, and we're thinking about making a Bathory homepage, where you can find the latest news and info about the band.

The longest thanks-letter ever

During the 80-ies, Quorthon received tons of mail from all around the world.

- I replied on practically every letter until 88. I wrote thousands of letters during that period, and I always tried to include something as memory: An autograph, a plectrum or something similar. We don't get much mail at all now.

Quorthon tells about sick letters they got, and he pulls one example after the other of which none suits in the magazine. Perversity and blood. Some really fine letters has also come throughout the years. If you study the thanklist in "Under the sign...", Yoshiko Yamashita is acknowledged for the longest fan mail ever.

- It was a Japanese girl who sent it. She had used really big sheets of paper, the kind you use for lectures. She had linked 20 of them and rolled it together to a tube, and it was at least 20 metres long. It must've cost a fortune to send it all the way from Japan, and we just had to thank her.

Dissociates Satanism

A couple of years ago there were a lot of fuzz about Satanism in music, due to the return of black metal. It all escalated when several Norwegian churches were burnt. Now the subject has been put into spotlight again, newspapers have written about it, and there have been actualised on TV. I am quite curious on Quorthon's opinion; after all he is reputed as a guru in these associations. Does he feel any guilt?

- I remember that the Norwegian security police was involved. It was because of the murders and the arsons. Then someone said in some interrogation that we had served as inspiration. It was said that the security police studied our lyrics, and they surely expected to find anything inspiring. But they couldn't because there is nothing. The first time I even talk about church arson is on "Requiem", and then as reaction against all this.

- I'm personally against anything related to Christianity, but it's a personal matter, and we live in a free country. You should have the same right to worship any god you want as to have long hair. The problem with those Norwegians is that they mix the concepts, right wing extremism, populism, heathendom, Satanism, which are contradictions. If you're a Satanist you can't accept Odinism, since Satanism is as fundamental as Christianity, and if you're asatruar you can't burn churches because Odinism means freedom for everyone. If you're right extremist you can't have long hair and play heavy metal at all, everything is just straining for effect. The whole story is a bit sad because other bands also are blamed for this. If they say we've served as inspiration it's nothing I really care about, because we didn't intend to.

I don't know much about this, but Quorthon seems to be quite informed in this matter.

- Now I am, but I weren't originally. I was into the black stuff around 84-85 but I pulled the conclusion that Satanism is a fake. Satanism and Satanists are not older than Christianity and are just invented to scare people. I thought it was a good subject for our lyrics. I've written a tad about in the booklet for "Blood On Ice" and I'll also do something about it in the book.

Black Army

When I ask Quorthon to describe himself, he immediately retreats because he thinks his not objective enough.

- Music is the only thing I know. I began playing the drums when I was 7-8 and later on the guitar and bass. Today I actually find it funnier to play the bass than the guitar. I play the bass 3-4 hours a day and only the guitar when I'm composing songs.

What most people don't know is that Quorthon is interested in sports. Mainly ice hockey and AIK. He hasn't missed one single home game with AIK since 1977 (!). The truth is that he has been seriously involved with Black Army.

- About 15 persons have grown up on the standing room, and have stood there since the end of the 70ies. It means you've got a special position in the cheer section. You know everyone, know the talk, what and where things will happen. It's pretty obvious that you get involved then. But when people reach their ages they move from standing room to the chairs and get children.

I don't get much from Quorthon about his private life, except the fact that he's got cats. He used to have real rats for pets, of which one was named "Råttis". On "Hammerheart" ‘tis written: "In memory of Råttis 1987-1990. Now you're eating from under the tables of the great warriors of Valhalla".

Keeps his name a secret

Something, which never stops to fascinate me, is that Quorthon has managed to keep his real name secret for all these years, and that no one who knows it has revealed it. The means of exposing this have been quite a few during the 13 years. Many international journalists and Swedish too, have tried in vain. Personally, I do respect him and I won't be the first one who prints it down. The secret probably is that he's succeeded to keep his music career apart from his private life.

- That's something I never talk about cause it's terribly frustrating. I wouldn't be able to get buddies if they knew who I am, because the view on me would be totally different.

I still think it does astonish that no old school mate or band member has used the opportunity to cash in some extra money.

- I quit school the year before we created Bathory, or more precisely: I was kicked out. I haven't met anyone of them ever since. If I hadn't started playing in punk bands around 79-80 I'd probably ended up on the street with a fix through my arm. Fortunately I never got any friends like that, and I got into punk, inspired by bands like Exploited and G.B.H, Quorthon explains before he says that there actually once was an old member who tried to gain fame of his past Bathory membership.

- It was an old drummer we had who told a lot of stuff, but never revealed my name or something that could have been an obstacle for us. He lives in London since 10 years. There he tried to put together a band, a pretty good band, and to start up the punk wave again. They had a couple of good songs but split shortly after. He asked me if we couldn't do something together and he sent me this demo tape which contained a real hit tune. It was so fucking good that if they ever had managed to do something of it, it would have been a bigger hit than "Smells like teen spirit" and "God Save the Queen". I was tempted, but I never jumped on that train.

Inspired by Yngwie

Considering the cult around Quorthon, he should have been asked at least once to appear as guest musician.

- Some Black Mark band asked me if I could come down and sing on their record, and another band on the label asked me if I could make some solos. Some dude in the band was both a great Bathory and Kiss fan and he thought that I sounded like Ace Frehley when I play leads. I can't make black metal nor heavy metal solos; I play rock solos. He said to me that it would be quite hard to get Ace Frehley down to the studio, and that I could come down instead. This never happened because it felt kind of silly as we were on the same label. These mentioned occasions should be the only times I've been asked.


- I never practise solos and I always improvise. If it doesn't stick the first time, I'll make another, and if it still doesn't fit, we'll take the first one anyway. The only album I rehearsed the leads for was "Twilight...". Almost all the songs are in D minor, and basically it's the same solos in all of them. I got an Yngwie-record from a friend. Yngwie's technique is a gift from the gods, but he's quite boring in a longer row. I got some inspiration and I decided to see what I could manage myself. I never rehearse, never ever, but then I sat and played the solos for almost a month before we recorded. You can hear that the leads are arranged, the turns and stuff are better.

Humble though his success

What's the greatest memory Quorthon has from the years with Bathory, except those who aren't printable?

- Things you recall easiest is like when you for the first time heard yourself on radio, saw your record in a store, saw a fan with your T-shirt, got your first fan mail or when you did your first interview. I don’t react if I see anyone with a Bathory shirt today, but 12 years ago I did, and that's when we'd done our first shirt. It looked obnoxious. It had the logo in yellow and lots of blood. We paid for in ourselves and it was printed in 100 examples.

Even though Quorthon isn't the temperate type, he's rather humble for his band's success.

- I'm still really grateful when I hear that an album is pre ordered in 20 000 ex. When we recorded the first album, we did it under the condition of selling 1000 copies. That was also the number of the first pressing (the one with the yellow cover). It was sold out pretty fast so we pressed another 5000. When we went to record "The Return" we were told that is was already pre ordered in 5000 ex, but we couldn't understand how people could order it before they had heard anything, or even before we've recorded it. We felt like really big boys and did a lot of partying.

- We recorded in Elektra's big, nice and expensive 24-channel studio. Just to have more than five mics in the studio was unbelievable. When we did the first LP we only had two mics, and we couldn't record everything at the same time. We had to reverse the tape and make add-ons, and we did this for 36 hours and it cost us 250 $.

Now afterwards, you can really say that it was worth the money.

- An album like "Blood Fire Death" was recorded during a whole year, a week here and a week there, but it still didn't cost more than 800 $, non-taxed. When we did "Twilight...", we used the Montezuma studios, and it meant real bills, technicians, expensive amplifiers and everything you could wish. The price tag was 100 $ per hour. Even though we recorded during only three days, it became much more expensive than all the other albums together.

Burning interest

Going back to memories, it's clear that Quorthon apparently has experienced one thing and another.

- I remember when we were in Los Angeles. We'd an awesome party the night before and we were on our way to miss the plane, had to run to get there in time. Some girl, who carried my bag, lost one of her heels and fell. My bag got open and all the things therein slided across the floor, big pieces of flesh, chains and leather underwear. People just stood around and stared, and a narcotics dog started chewing on one of the meat bones, Quorthon remembers.

- One other memory is from when I stood on top of a skyscraper and breathed some fire. The police came, but there were two elevators in the building so when they were coming up with one we went down with the other one, jumped in our van and drove away.

Quorthon has been doing fire breathing for 20 years, since 1976.

- I saw pictures of Kiss and of course I had to try myself. We tested everything from gasoline to paraffin oil. We saw that chocolate drink is great, cause it's damn explosive.

This is nothing we recommend ourselves, breathing fire that is. Quorthon himself has been injured some times due to this.

- Once in a time you should have spray in the hair to look like Nikki Sixx or Blackie Lawless. It happened several times that my hair was put on fire, some times really badly. I've burned myself many times, but I quit this around "Hammerheart" because it wasn't only me who was doing it anymore.

Quorthon can live on his music today. He doesn't earn any fortunes, but enough for surviving. He lives a sparse life, never goes to the bar or to the cinema, he doesn't buy clothes or furniture. He hasn't got any real vice except the music.

- I only buy new strings when I'm to record. I still have the same set of strings on the guitar and the bass from when we recorded the album. It is possible that I sometimes replace a string if it breaks, but I don't care about tuning and such. I buy new strings when I'm going to the studio though. You always get surprised of how good it sounds, he laughs.

Temporary vocalist

The dialogue gets on the early years of Bathory here and there, and Quorthon uncovers one "secret" after to other. For instance that they once had a vocalist, even though for only a short moment.

- In the winter 83-84 the contemporary drummer thought that my singing wasn't much to celebrate, and he wanted me to sound like Bruce Dickinson. And without asking they got a new singer. When I came to the rehearsal place one day I found out that this had happened. I can’t remember his name but he sounded like something between Ian Gillian and Ronnie James Dio. The only real memory I've got of him is that I traded a bullet belt for a Dio record with him.

- I even have a tape on which he sings three songs. If I'm not wrong the titles are "Dirty women", "Die In Fire" and "The Return of Darkness and Evil". Imagine them with falsetto, he laughs. It sounds terrible, but it couldn't have been easy for him to just get into the band and sing songs he had never heard before.

Influenced by Exciter

I was myself into the underground scene between 82 and 89. I traded a lot of demo tapes, I probably have around 2000 demos recorded during these years.

- We also got plenty of tapes from bands that wanted us to produce their albums. I think they mainly were after the special Bathory sound, but it wouldn't have been right if many bands had the same sound.

When we're discussing the "good ol' days" I can point out that not many bands have survived since. Two of Quorthon's three hate-bands are still alive, though, namely Kreator and Destruction (re-formed). The third one was Celtic Frost. Another band Quorthon thought he didn't like was Voivod.

- I threw a lot of shit at them 84-85 when I didn't know better. Some years later when I listened to their records I understood how genial they were. Then I regretted what I had said about them, because I had never really listened to them before, but it was the time when you were supposed to be the biggest, the best and the most beautiful.

One of my fave bands from the early 80ies are the Canadian Exciter, whose debut "Heavy Metal Maniac" is a landmark. Also Quorthon's been listening to them, more than enough.

- We tried to get the same sound on "The Return..." when we recorded it. They had such a brutal drum sound that really caught me. The vocals were never something I liked, though.

- It sounds a bit like me when I'm singing. It becomes two notes higher than when I'm talking. The only record I ever tried singing bass on was "Twilight...", and I make some narrating singing on the solo album. I refuse to use harmonizer like everyone else's doing. I have only used one twice. Partly in some reversed thing on "Scandinavian metal attack" and the other time on some refrain on the second album.

The first album

For myself personally, perfectionism has never been the most important part of music, but what I value and respect is feeling and authenticity. Quorthon seems to be sharing these opinions, but he has an extreme self-criticism.

- When people listen to an album they only hear the final result, they don't know all the work that lies behind it. When we did the first album we didn't mix it, and we just rigged the equipment up and started playing. We didn't know how to control things and we turned all knobs to 5 and jammed. There was always a tune out in the beginning and the end of the songs, for we didn't know how to open/end songs properly. We plugged the bass and the guitar into my tiny 20 W Yamaha amplifier.

- We had a deal which gave us free access to the studio for 250 $ during four weeks. We had to do it during the summer when they weren't at home, because they didn't want to hear it. That's why it's recorded during vacation time, in July. We had no soundcheck, no mixing, and we played it right into the reels, on one or two takings.

- We weren't even planning to make an album out of it, and we were just hoping to get enough material to show around, and then become signed for real recordings. It wasn't sure that you would be given a record deal back then. But after we had been on the "Scandinavian metal attack" we were the only band that received letters, and we decided to press the first album anyway.

The first album is very short, only 28 minutes.

- And we even wrote a song in the studio, "Hades". It shows, because half of the song is instrumental. Additionally we had a 3.5 minutes long intro. There after, everything we made began with long intros, even the demo tapes. The intro is listed as a song, and I get money for it too. It's called "Storm of Damnation".

I'm very fond of the very first recordings, especially "Sacrifice" and "The Return of Darkness and Evil" on "Scandinavian metal attack". I've always wondered why "The Return..." wasn't on the debut, but on the second full-length.

- I reckon it mainly depends on the fact that our present drummer back then couldn't play double bass. I think we recorded it once, but we didn't feel satisfied. When you were in that age you were strict and conservative; double bass at any price. Actually, not many drummers could use double bass back then.

Hidden "messages"

As for the lyrics there are for every album except Requiem.

- On that album there were some parts the label wanted me to change, but we chose not to include the lyrics sheet at all. The lyrics aren't available in every country either. We can't control that to a 100% because they are pressed and sold through licence. They have also changed the layout of the lyrics, which has removed some points and meanings.

- When we were to do "Blood Fire Death" there was a lot of talk about Satan here and Satan there so we decided to do an album where Satan isn't mentioned one single time, but still would be present. If you take the first letter on each line on "The Golden Walls of Heaven" and read from the top down it reads "Satan, Satan, Satan, Satan, Satan". If you do the same thing on "Dies Irae" it says "Christ the bastard son of heaven". Many things like that have been destroyed when they've chosen to display the lines in a better way. The whole meaning with it is ruined.

Quorthon would rather forget some of the early lyrics.

- There were many grammatical errors. Only in "Sacrifice" there must've been around 5-6 simply grammatical mistakes, some of them really embarrassing.

Didn't want to show their breasts

There are many things you would want to have undone or remade. My own stumbling attempts of a music reporting career was on a Swedish that would make me blush all over, but it still isn't too great. Something it did was, was fun.

- One good example if the cover for the first album. We made it in 5 minutes. We thought that it was something labels were supposed to manage, but they gave us a call and said they needed one, and fast. I went through my old horror magazines and found a suitable monster. I added a pair of horns and a pair of long ears, which we pasted on the picture. And then we magnified enough to show the screen. Oh, it was so cheap. We also did a poster, 1 x 1 metres. We had to magnify the head even more until the screen was big as dollar coins and you had to stand 20 metres away to see what it was supposed to look like. It was the first and only poster we've done.

An album cover I've always been wondering about is that on "Under the sign of the black mark". It shows it too has got a history of it's own.

- It was originally meant to be called "Nocturnal Obeisance". On the cover the four daughters of the winds would sell their souls to the devil. They would have lain around an altar with a butchered angel and the figure with the Bathory mask was meant to stand with the angel heart plus some sacrificial dagger.

- When I searched for an altar I amongst others asked the Opera. When I got there I saw the mountain massif from Carmen, which was played right then. I liked it from the beginning and I wanted to hire it, but it was impossible because it was French and from the end of the 19th century. It was insured for enormous sums and was going back to Paris two weeks later. They needed 2 hours just to build it up so they could push it in and from the stage between the acts. We finally managed to bribe a stage attendant to use it between the first and the second act, when everyone was sitting out in the hall waiting. We had 20 seconds to take the photos while the curtain was lowered. The guy we hired, one of Sweden's best body builders, ran up to the cliff, and the girls laid in place and the photographer too. We got about 5-6 pictures before we had to remove it all.

- When the girls heard that they were going to be on an album cover they didn't want to show their breasts, so we had to cut them away, but the image got narrowed. We had to remove even more and the whole effect disappeared. That which you see on the cover is actually the centre of the image, there was as much above, under, and on the sides. The girls were lying on the floor beneath him and there was smoke, fire and lot of effects.

Have done live performances

For all these years you have been told that Bathory never has played live, but Quorthon says it's not quite true.

- We did 6 to 8 gigs between 83 and 84 with the original line up. It was in theatres in front of 30 pals. The last time we played live must have been in January or February 84. After that we did a concert together with two punk bands and another hard rock band. We rented the Smedslätten cinema and all the bands played on the same gear. It was the original line up, but we didn't call our selves Bathory and everyone had fake names that evening. It ended with all the musicians on stage. Playing Sabbath or Motörhead songs. There was no organisation back then.

- One month later we went and recorded "The return of darkness and evil" for the "Scandinavian metal attack" compilation. They day after they asked us if we could make another song, and we did "Sacrifice".

Quorthon was using the moniker Ace Shoot by then.

- I had another name before that, Black Spade. It wasn't on any record, only on the very first biography. The drummer, the same guy who went to London, was called Vans MacBurger. He always wore tennis shoes of the brand Vans and always ate hamburgers and the name suited him perfectly. The bassist called himself Hanoi something. The last time I saw him was on an Iron Maiden concert in Stockholm 1986. He had short cut hair, coat, shirt and tie. It would be funny to meet some of the old members again.

Quorthon was later on chosen from a list with important demons.

- It was impossible to pronounce, it had a background, and it was phonetically similar to Bathory. I never imagined it would last for 10-12 years, so we did mainly as a cool thing.

By now, after four hours, my freestyle dies at the same time as we've run out of questions, the coffee, the pies and the soda water. I follow Quorthon when he says he's going to Mega and see if they have got any interesting records. Now this is an ultimate opportunity to check out what the legend plays in his stereo. Gladly I can tell that he i.e. bought "Overkill" (Motörhead) on CD since his vinyl version is played to pieces. Still the "old man's" going strong! Just before we say goodbye he shows me to another place where I have an appointment. When I see his back disappear down the street I understand that I've experienced something very special. I will cherish this memory as much as my 7,5 years with Backstage.


Satyr chats with Quorthon. No further introduction is needed!

-"The English man who did that documentary interviewed me in London in 1987. He asked precisely about that since he is a syndicalist, a communist, it's the same. I believe I had just released "Blood Fire Death" and he asked why I was doing this Viking thing and if I didn't believed that this would lead to Nationalism and such. Then I said "it is a fact, it is a historic fact". For us it is a historic fact and a way to get an identity and those who don't know their history cannot manage the future. He commented on symbolism and then I pointed at his arms where he had a red star and a black arrow. The black arrow is the syndicalist's symbol and the red star is Marx, Lenin. Then he said that it was not interesting about what people stand for, but that is an ideology that too. The communism in Russia was not communism, it was fascism. It depends on who you talk to. He did this "The Devils music" and they are idiots, playing records the wrong way and "another one bites the dust" and such".

Yeah, a bit out in that documentary we have "another one bites the dust" backwards and you just can't make out no meaning of it, and then "it's fun to smoke marihuana" comes and especially that Judas Priest thing, "I asked her to get a peppermint".

-"It's funny! We have ever only used backword messages on one song and that is on the first version of "The return of the Darkness and Evil", where I recorded alot of things backwords, but it is so low that noone have heard it. But simply because people got into this stuff, so on the LP "Blood Fire Death" I don't believe I mention "Satan" one time. But if you take the first letter in every sentence in the text of "The Golden Walls of Heaven" and read it from the top to the bottom it becomes "Satan, Satan, Satan, Satan, Satan". And the same with another track, "Dies Irae". Do the same with that one and this also holds a message (the message is of course great, by the way -ED)".

I have read these lyrics many times and I also think they are extremely good, and it is not only Bathory's music which has inspired many bands, it is also the lyrics. Then we can ask, where did you get your inspiration to write the lyrics?

-"It was more a picture in my mind of something extremely unreal. Just take a text like "The Golden walls of Heaven" and try to do a picture on that, a cartoon or something, then it would be very stupid. Demons flying on leather wings from Hell up to Heaven, raping the angels and wanking on god's throne. And the scalp of god is hanging on a spear and the World is burning, it is in a way stupid. The art is in a way to try to make it exciting, artistic, a sort of painting. But this is not something one wants to do. One time I was sitting in Los Angeles when I had a contract with New Reniassance Records In California. I was doing. interviews and then I get the message that the next interview is with a radio station and that is live. About 30 sec. before I am broadcasted I get to know that there are about 20 million people who are listening. And then the people can call in and ask question's, and than there are alot of people who has a hobby just listening to Hard Rock programs so that they can criticise it. So they call and ask if I have read the bible and so on. Then I say that if you read the bible, Matthew chapter 7,8 and 9, it says that if you commit a sin, if you get horny or touch yourself, you must cut off your a hand, if someone else commits a sin you must cut off that person's hand. This is the ideology! Hardrockers or Death Metal Fans have never started a World War or killed a man on the bonfire either".

We have the rights on our side, but to get others to understand it is alot harderl

-"It takes pioneers to get people to accept and understand what historic facts has lead to, plus that we shall justify our Nordic culture and our Nordic history so that it doesn't die out. If all people think in the way the government want us to think then everything we fight for and like will disappear very fast.

It is a pity that there is always someone who have to suffer in order to get attention to it.

-"Yes. We have no authority".

It is the pioneers who have to suffer for it, most of the times.

-"Yeah, like Beethoven for instance. He was the World's first Hardrocker. If you listen to his music you understand that people in his time, when he was young, for instance, thought it was too violent. It isn't that bad today. Today you can turn on every fucking radio channel, they are used to it, it is fashion. People find Grunge to be very nice and so".

When you say that I start to think about how things develope, video came into the market and you did a video for a track from "Hammerheart" but it was also the meaning that you should do a homevideo for Bathory. What happened?

-"In the middle of the 80's when all bands started doing it, it became cheaper and more accessable, The thing that all bands should do a video was because this Noise label in Germany did video's to all their bands, no matter how bad the bands where or the concert or the public sounded and so on they released a video. The only video's available back then was with Whitesnake, Iron Maiden and those usual ones, and when Black Metal and Death Metal grew up it was natural that we wanted to do a video. In Sweden it was no culture for this, no places where you could play, no public and when we tried to get concerts in Stockholm in 83/84 and we showed them picture's of ourselves and how we sounded, they just said that we weren't allowed to play when we showed up in leathertrouser's, spikes and crosses. It was no chance2 for us to do a tour in Sweden or in Europe. The only chance was simply to:do a video and a theater, use alot of money on effects and everything. So wherever you lived you would have a possibility to see us. The negative side with that was that there where no organization behind Bathory. Whenever Bathory did anything it was I who had to book the studio, get a rehearsal place, everything. So if I had a bad day and only wanted to take it easy, Bathory had a bad day. Everything depended on what I did. If you don't have en organization, lots of money and people who can help you with things, then nothing happens. That video didn't become anything. But then we started to become very. big in the U.S.A. and we sold many records there when we were doing some Viking music to this "Pagan History", the Pagan cult in the U.S.A. is quite spread out with mysticism and Nordic romanticism, symbol's and so. It fitted doing a video, but then it should not be a tucking live video with a band who was just standing there and looking into the camera. It should be a story and the only story which we wanted to tell with our new music and lyrics was "One Rode to Asa Bay". We did a video on that track, it is not a good track to do a video for, it is long, slow and nothing happens; but it had a history which we could stand behind. I invested more than 20.000 SEK of my own money to buy film, a new camerateam, costumes, armor, monkcapets, horses, arrow's, food, lighter effects, everything. When we had done everything, filmed for one week at different places, we did alot of things like pouring alot of gasoline into an ocean and put that to fire so that the whole ocean burned, using that in slow motion. We had people dressed as Vikings, a real Viking picture and everything. We had 14 hours of film and we started to get very little time since I was about to travel to do some promotion for "Hammerheart", a promotion tour around Europe, The person who kept these film's, he who had filmed everything and promised to fix this quite fast and cheap and do it good, he never got back to me, his telephone number was blocked, it was impossible to get in touch with him, so I had to go on this promotion travel and was forced to used a rawcopy of some material which he had done. It was no video but just shoving some scenes which we had gotten a copy of so that we could see what we had on film, so it was not the material that was supposed to be on that film. I became so extremely pissed oft since I had invested so much money, I hadn't slept for a week, I had been both infront of the camera and behind it, carried things and done everything, so I was very pissed off and sad when this video came out. When you pay 25000 SEK and have 14 hours of film and have worked constantly for a week, and you can't even be present when it is done and the other films just disappears, and the only things that still exists is then about 11 minutes filmmaterial, which partly was without colour, some of it were done with a cheaper videocamera just so that we could check things. Then that video came out I was very sad, and I have actually never seen that video and I still don't want to see it if I get the chance".

Why not?

-"Because it hurts alot. It is~ like you have written a diary and write alot in that diary and then it is published in a newspaper. It is something very personal, and especially if you invest all of your money and hundreds of hours working and you are really hoping this will be good and you really it, you have alot to tell and then it is suddenly being published. But luckily just a very few peuple have seen that video, I on the other hand is one of those who have not seen it, and will not see it either".

200 liters of gasoline! How did you manage to light that without nothing being damaged?

-"We poured it out on a sea. We rowed out in the middle of the sea and poured it out. I think we had 4 or 5 cans. It takes a while before the gasoline evaporates, it build a thin membrane on the surface and it spreads on the water. When we pour 200 liters out on a sea it fills the whole sea and then we threw a torch into it and it burned for about one and a half minute, then the gasoline was burned. It must have been a a. great effect, we went into caves dressed as Vikings with torches and had sun cresses painted in blood on the walls, we had Viking graves. We had managed to get an old movie, probably done in Norway, it was a documentary film about how the Vikings lived before when they had a real Vikingship and not this theater, Hollywood thing, we had filmen runestones, lots of Vikings on horses, monk which came with swords, a big war between christian knights and the Viking people, we built a church and such but nothing of that were in the film, in the finished video It hurts extremely much that this film was released at all, and how that came out I have no ideas nor who sent out the work-copy".

It would of course have been extremely interesting to see it all!

-"I think that too. We had done a manuscript and everything. We had travelled around and filmed the best runestones and Viking graves, we had filmed gold treasures which was in museum's after permission from the government and we had filmed thunder and lightning and big black skies that cross the sky. I had managed to get some real Viking armor's from a theater which I worn and on a horse a road up on a top when it was fullmoon and I blew fire, we had Viking fights and actors who were soldiers and knights, it was enormous. Half of the people who played a part here where people I knew, my neighbours daughter and so. She was blond, blue eyed and beautiful. A Viking daughter in a way. However, the reason why she got to play here was because I was going to screw here later, but half of the people who played a part did it for free. They just thought it was nice to do it. The other half was actors and people we had found in a register in a theater".

What about the album cover of "Under The Sign Of The Black Mark"?

-"Yeah, it is a interesting history about that one too. "Under The Sign Of The Black Mark" should have been called "Nocturnal Obeisance". It should be four naked women which should represent the daughter of the North, East, South and West, the four winds daughters which one midnight meet the God of the Earth. That is Deonychus or Pan or when the christianity came it was Lucifer. They meet at an altar by the end of the World and they give their hearts there and they fuck and drink blood and they fertilize the Earth. Then we should have a man who was half goat and half man, strong muscles and goathead and everything. We arranged all this and we thought we needed some mountains and such, so I went to the theater departement of the Swedish radio and ask them if they had some mountains or so we could borrow. I looked at what they had to offer and it was just things used in programs for children. Then I called to the Royal Opera in Stockholm end asked if they had any mountains which we might could rent. He said that just now they had the Opera "Carmen" in Stockholm. In the second act of "Carmen", Carmen will be up among the mountains with the bandits. He said that I could come and take a look, he thought I was a professional producer and then I came there with long hair and and a leather jacket so he said that I could take a look but he didn't think this was something for me. I got to look at it and it was so unbelievable, it could have been 30 meters width and 12 meters high. I asked if it was possible to rent some of the pieces. He said that it was impossible since it was insured for more than 4 million Crowns and it was from France and from the end of the 18th century. It was not real stones, it was material who had been painted very beautifully. But then I bribed him and asked if it was a possibility that we could use it and perhaps build it up afterwards. He said that it was difficult due to alot of organisations but he said that we could come there an evening when the audience were present and go in on the stage and take the photographs. I call a bodybuilder and put on him a goathead mask, I call four girls that I know, very beautiful girls, they undress. They enter the stage, he goes up in the mountains on the stage. The audience does not see anything since the curtains are hiding us and we get 30 seconds to do this. This bodybuilder weights 120 kilo's and he must go up some steps which designed for Carmen which weights about 60 kilo's, so the whole shit almost fell apart. While he was standing there and shows his muscles, blood and the goathead, these girls is on the floor, so we takes as many pictures as we can and then we must rush out from there the fastest we can. When the pictures were produced they were great, this was really going to be on the cover. The problem was only that two days later two of the girls called me and said that they wanted me to cut them off the picture. They were doing some modelling and this was the wrong connection. They had gotten paid, but I thought ok. I cut them off the picture. It is definitely not a painting. We had to center the picture in the middle, take a piece in the middle of it since it is four times bigger than you see on the cover. I have some of the dias at home and they are gigantic".


BATHORY - The Legend Never Dies

Now hereīs something fucking fantastic, an interview with Quorthon of the almighty BATHORY.

I was quite sure it would never come back and made it very short although I had much more to ask. But Quorthon surprised me with maybe the longest and greatest answers ever seen in the pages of KILL YOURSELF!!! Magazine and with a good attitude.

Now when I look at todays underground and see these new Black metal fans who consider EMPEROR and BURZUM as "good bands" , Iīm really pissed off, BATHORY was around in early 80īs and is around now and has made albums that are absolutely master-pieces among this giant ocean of shit quality trend bands.

People & Zinemakers who call themselves metallers but do not recognize a song of BATHORY should not be taken seriously.

So letīs hear it from Quorthon...


Quorthon: Hi Timo, well Iīm great. We have just finished the mastering of "Blood on Ice" and are starting to build up a schedule for the promotion of the album (to be released end of April).




Quorthon: Well, the first album cost us some 2000 SKR to record and it took us about 36 hours including the soundcheck and the mixing, so I guess there arenīt too much on that album to really sit down and analyse - except for the raw energy itself and of course the fact that it has meant a lot for Black and Death metal ever since (Even though itīs not a great album at all on itīs own).

If our first album, the first albums of, say VENOM or SLAYER or any other of us "old" bands, would be released today - I am sure nobody would care. But one has to put each album into itīs own "time perspective". Of course I am aware of the fact that BATHORY has been a long time influence to so many bands within both Black and Death metal - just as MOTORHEAD was an influence to us when we started BATHORY.

I should say that I havenīt listened to the first album throughout since maybe in ī85 or ī86. Iīve listened to a few songs from the first album when in ī93 we worked on a couple of tracks from "Bathory" when we did "Jubileum vol. 1" and "Jubileum vol. 2".


Quorthon: Correct me if Iīm wrong but isnīt "The Return..." (from January ī85) our second album !? (Fuck, I know that but when I made these questions, the computer fucked this one up! -Ed.) Never mind, I think no band in history of recorded music has been able to write and record a completely great album. There are albums with a handful of great stuff on them but thereīs always some stuff on every album that isnīt too good.

Not even THE BEATLES, my all time favorite band, managed to record a whole great album even if they are the greatest band that has ever been. When we did "The Return..." in January ī85 and "Under the Sign of the Black Mark" in ī86 (I donīt remember which month we did that one) I think we were at a certain stage in our lives as people and as musicians just as we are on a different stage and level today. You develop and expand all of the time and if you stay on the same spot all your life as a musician you are gonna die.

Therefore I think itīs unfair to the material on old albums to sit down 10 or 11 years later and criticize it from the standpoint youīre on at the time. I leave the criticizing bit to other people but I never bother about reviews. One persons idea about an album can never reflect another persons view on the same material.


Quorthon: Actually I never thought about it. If thereīs anything in "Odens Ride Over Nordland" that resembles of Sibelius "Finlandia" then maybe it is the basic melody using A" and A minor, but one must understand that stuff like that is never done intentionally and not until you now told me I started to think about it myself, so you see I never stole anything or tried to copy "Finlandia". I didnīt even have it in mind at the time.




Quorthon: Well I donīt know if "Hammerheart" is a "viking" -album. I would call it a Nordic album because we werenīt too specific about vikings as such anywhere in the lyrics.

We really needed something else to write once I came to the conclusion that the whole dark or occult act was a hoax created by the christian church. The prechristian Nordic scene seemed just a natural thing to pick up for your lyrics for a couple of albums. And now tons of bands have mixed both satanism with the Nordic-cult to become something extreme also saying that BATHORY worked as influence there as well.

"Viking" -stuff from Spain !? Are you kidding me? That just canīt be, man...




Quorthon: It may be true for the first album that I wrote down whatever shit came to my mind at the time that sounded good enough to make it as a lyric for a song. But when you grow as a musician and as a lyric-writer you start working a little bit more on the ly rics. By the time we did "The Return..." I had already started to think about lyrics in a much different way. Today lyrics is an effort that takes two or three times the amount of time compared to when writing a song. You can say a lot more with your lyrics than with the music so I guess itīs only natural that it should take some more time doing lyrics. Not to say that the music isnīt any important, just that music seems to come natural.


Quorthon: "Born to Die" is not an "old song" as your friend stated but it was written and recorded in January ī95. I am surprised that anyone could call it a rock-song. (I donīt dare to classify it to Rock-category, itīs just to that way from "Twilight..." -Ed.)

Thereīs tons of 16th beat double-bass drums in there and hysterical vocals as well. Nevermind, I think one problem with BATHORY is that people tend to bother too much about style than actually sitting down enjoying the stuff. People compare stuff we did in ī85-ī86 with one particular song off a record today etc etc...

We know nothing of what BATHORY may sound like in the future just as little as I knew back in ī85-ī86 how BATHORY would sound today. One can not think of a band as a specific sound or beat style or image . People change, sounds and styles change and lyrics will change just as images come and go. Only people and bands who can not invent something of their own; their own sound or their own style will criticize others for wimping out, for not being true satanists, for being too slow or for being commercial.

I have been in this business for 13 years now, I have done 13 albums. I have done TV, Radio, and thousands of magazines and fanzines. I have fucked close to 400 girls in the ladies-room at clubs, at the toilets at Boeing 747īs (A proud member of Club 10 000 meters !!! -Ed.) and in the back of limousines. I must have signed a million autographs during these years. I can safely say I have received well over 100 000 letters over the years and to a great extent answered most of them. In other words... I have been through stuff that most bands only dream of. I am at a point today where I can just sit back and enjoy working with BATHORY as something that is really great fun and not as something that means a lot of p ressure or image or stealing influences from others. I can safely say, though, that I take it as an insult if you say that "Born to Die" means the end of evolution for BATHORY as a band or for me as a song writer. I hope that was just a misunderstanding or a result of lack of knowledge of English from your side. (Now listen, that was simply some dramatization from my side as I wondered was this latest product from you the kind of stuff you might want to play in the future too. I never claimed that it will be it. And how could I have after every Lp BATHORY has ever made has been different and I believe it will continue that way. So do not take that as an insult for it certainly isnīt so. -Ed.)

You wanted a few words regarding the "Album" as well. It was great fun thing to do. It never was a BATHORY album, it truly was a solo effort. I did everything on it myself: guitars, bass, drummachine and percussion plus of course vocals. The strange thing was that even though we expected a lot of shit reviews for it we did receive some strange criticism but never really any bad ones... and "Album" actually is one of the better selling albums at the Black Mark label... and other bands tour, make videos and produce endless piles of line-up photos and bioīs... I have received tons of mail from people who ask me to do a second one.

Up until now I have always said "No" , because the priority since the first solo-album has always been BATHORY. Last year, in May, I was actually supposed to do a second solo-album but "Blood on Ice" took all the time and was really number one priority. Now that "Blood on Ice" will be out at the end of April, maybe I will begin to do a second solo-album.
I hope youīre gonna like that one better than the first one.



Quorthon: I am really the worst possible person to ask about the Underground or new bands or even what is happening at all out there or in Sweden. I know absolutely nothing. I only know the ones that are in every magazine every fucking day, but if youīd play on me one band I could not tell you who they are or what their style is all about.

I know no bands, no new styles or images, this whole cross-over scene has really taken metal in so many different directions I have lost track. I think itīs good though coz you can not go around sounding like everybody else too long. Just look at us, we created Black metal 13 years ago when there was only N.W.O.B.H.M. and Death metal around. Then we picked up the Nordic sound and lyrics and created a whole new scene. I know that metal will always be around forever. The only thing is we can not just sit where we are and pretend we know what metal should sound like or not. The type of metal our kids will listen to in 25 years from now will be different from stuff thatīs around today, just as metal today is different from stuff you and I grew up listening to respectively.

I grew up with THE BEATLES, MOUNTAIN, LED ZEPPELIN, old KISS, MOTORHEAD, SEX PISTOLS and BLACK SABBATH. Today we have a million different bands out there, the market is flooded with styles and sounds. Ultimately the ones who will get the best out of this are the fans, they only need to pick up their favorites. The shit bands will disappear and the good bands who have anything to say or who can prove themselves to be innovative will remain.

Look at the bands who were around about 13 to 10 years ago. POSSESSED are gone, HELLHAMMER/CELTIC FROST are gone, DESTRUCTION are gone, VOIVOD are gone, DEATH are gone, AT WAR are gone, SODOM are gone.. and the list could be miles longer.

The only ones left from the start are really BATHORY, SLAYER and METALLICA, and I think maybe that is because these bands have always had their unique style and have always given the fans what they want. I know that VENOM may re-unite, but since they havenīt sounded any good since ī84 or something I see no reason why they should re-unite.




Quorthon: When not working with BATHORY material, I guess Iīm just a normal guy. I am into reading stuff, great books about great subjects, I listen to very little music on a whole, I paint a lot and write a lot, itīs been about 10 years since I went out to any clubs (I find it degrading to lower yourself to a level where you are drunk).

I canīt even stand the smell of beer (???! -Ed.) and prefer a bottle of fine old wine or very clean and pure Vodka. I used to take any type of job (mostly untaxed work) but for three years now Iīve been able to live from BATHORY totally. Itīs been taking many years for a lot of people in more than 30 countries to collect all the figures and to have all the paper-work concerning royalties and copyrights done.

And to wrap up your question; No, I think drugs are for people with low intelligence and no self-discipline.



Quorthon: Even though I have never heard their stuff I think itīs safe to say that itīs impossible to claim that MAYHEM pioneered any scene or style simply because they were not around when we made our first bunch of albums.

Nevermind, I didn\rquote t know anything about all that stuff that had happened in Norway until some English journalists jumped me with the issue when I was in London for a promo-tour for "Album" (whenever that was!?).

I really donīt bother about any of that. If a metal fan in Japan sets fire to his school or the director of a fanzine in Argentina eats his own shit or whatever... there is no fucking way you or I are going to bother about it simply because these actions have not anything to do with metal as genre or us as individuals. Whatever has been done in Norway by whomever is not important at all. I couldnīt care less. They can burn down every church in Norway and I still can not care at all. I canīt defend it but I can understand what they are trying to do, itīs an act of defiance against the christian faith... a church is the house of God... christianity is a fascist religion... Norway is a very conservative country and the church has a lot to say.

Fuck christianity and fuck the church... wipe the whole shit out of Scandinavia I donīt care...but donīt confuse it with metal and donīt mix the actions with the music...





Quorthon: Well we used to play concerts in Stockholm back in ī84 and ī85. But there was no metal scene back then and no places for metal bands to play.

(Yeah, back then METALLICA played in Finland in front of 70 people. -Ed.)

If you wanted to play in the city at some big club you could not look and sound the way we used to and consequently those concerts were some really small club shit.

When we became big and touring seemed the most important thing to do we of course wanted to tour Sweden, Scandinavia and Europe. But the band EUROPE was very big in Sweden in those days and everytime we had put out ads for a new drummer or a bass player the guys who would come down the rehearsal place would smell of perfume, their hair style would look like that of a pudeland, they werenīt too sure if they wanted to sweat on stage or wear leather and studs.

It was really hard times trying to find people to a band like BATHORY. They may have been able to play pretty fast and brutal and consequently would end up on the records, but they would never stay in the band long enough for BATHORY to have a solid line- up and therefore there were never any tours and concerts after ī85. In ī86-ī87 sometime, we were supposed to tour with DESTRUCTION and CELTIC FROST in the United States of America. But they could never agree on anything and I felt that our music by that time had developed so much it would have been virtually impossible to reproduce on stage what we did on record. People in both Europe and the U.S. have sent me letters and faxīs telling me that if we come to play here or there they would guarantee us to get one million kronor.

Personally I am not interested in concerts and feel that it would be wrong to go on stage after all these years. I feel very comfortable with the studios and hence there will be no BATHORY tour in the future.



Quorthon: Itīs not all too wrong actually, I was very much into occult those days and at that age (I was 16-17 when I started BATHORY) you really donīt have that kind of view on life as I may have today. Our stuff in those days were really more horror type of shit than any serious attempt to be true satanists... we didnīt have a clue.





Quorthon: Itīs really up to the fans to decide whether BATHORY should continue or not. We sell more records today than we have ever sold before. BATHORY is such a big name that everybody it seems wants to hear a new BATHORY album when we have released so mething, and it seems not everybody care too much about how it sounds, if itīs fast or heavy or satanic or nordic or whatever... it would be really stupid to stop right here just like that.

I will certainly not be the one who decides when BATHORY should lay to rest... that will be decided by fate...

That was Quorthon of BATHORY.

Thereīs something unique in every album of BATHORY and we have to remember that Quorthon and his first albums (which got far too little respect at the time) showed the way for Northern Black Metal being ultimate raw, dirty and evil! And Quorthon wasnīt even born and raised in Norway! Howīs that possible ? Ha ha...

Black metal turn into "Heathen metal" or to some other "great term" and bands wimp out to sing about some stupid dwarfs, but BATHORYīs Unholy Trinity "Bathory" , "The Return ..." & "Under the Sign of the Black Mark") shall stand as a monument of wrath forever. Hail & kill !

Interview by Timo Sitomaniemi

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