Interview with bassist Necrobutcher
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: January 7, 2020
Norwegian Black Metal pioneers Mayhem (or The True Mayhem) opened Pandora's box of all things evil when they first formed in 1984. It took 10 years to release their debut album, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, on founding member Euronymous' (R.I.P.) own label, Deathlike Silence Productions (and it has been released, both officially and unofficially, on many other labels since). This album is still considered one of the true cornerstones of the whole Black Metal movement. Everyone who has ever followed Mayhem knows how they have influenced not only the Norwegian extreme Metal scene but the worldwide extreme Black and Death Metal scene and is well acquainted with the band's reputation, both good and bad.
Fast forward to 2020. The band's sixth full-length studio album, Daemon, is the closest thing to capturing the evil and sinister vibe and feeling of their debut these Norwegians Black Metal legends have recorded, something noted by fans all over the world. The band seems to be more successful than ever before due to the hard touring they did for the De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas album in 2017-2018 plus all the positive reaction to the new record.
The band's Daemon Over Europe MMXIX tour reached Helsinki, Finland, on November 27th, and The Metal Crypt had the pleasure to meet bassist Necrobutcher, who had barely slept for two days but was still very friendly while chatting with some media people, including yours truly. While Necrobutcher was enjoying his meal, he was also keen on talking about a few things related to touring life, the new Daemon album, dress codes and stage settings while performing live, etc.
Thanks to Elise Aranguren from NBS Audio Prod for setting up the interview with Necrobucther.
Luxi: First off, could you explain what it is like to be on tour?
Necrobutcher: Well, when you're on tour, you're on the bus and it's like you're in a trapped world, where if you get hungry you can't eat, and if you have to take a shit you can't do that. If you want to take a shower, you can't do that. If you want to sleep, well, some people can sleep on buses but I am not one of them, unfortunately. When the bus stops outside the club and the driver turns off the key, this is when I go to sleep.
Luxi: That must be a tough life if you can't sleep on the bus.
Necrobutcher: It's tough for longer tours like this and the driver has to stop regularly due to all the regulations for safety these days. They have to stop sometimes two or three hours here and there. For me, when the bus comes in for loading I have about one and a half hour. That's one and a half hour every day for 30 days, it does something to you. I normally get just tired, you know.
Luxi: Now it's also damn chilly and wet outside and it's easy to catch a cold.
Necrobutcher: Two days ago I also woke up with a little snotty nose. For me, I'm a Scandinavian so I'm used to that. When the year changes from summer to winter, I get a light cold and the same thing happens during the spring time actually. When I'm doing my boat stuff or things, the weather is getting hot. It seems like that period when it's getting hotter and all the flowers and the trees sprout. I'm maybe allergic or something, but I never found out what it was.
EARLY FINLAND MEMORIES
Luxi: Alright, first off, welcome to Finland and thanks, of course, for keeping the spirit of Mayhem alive for all these years!
Necrobutcher: Thank you and "kippis", as you say here in Finland. I could say a couple of words about Finland. The first time we were here was in 1998, or maybe 1996 or 1997, I cannot remember anymore, but that was our first time playing in Finland. I don't remember much of the show, but we were told that the bar was going to close immediately, so we jumped in a taxi, came downtown, ordered four drinks each, and got really smacked.
Luxi: That's what every band does when they come to Finland; get wasted either before or after the show.
Necrobutcher: Haha! I guess that explains it as it was our first time playing in Finland.
Luxi: Good times, I guess.
Necrobutcher: Yes, good times. Since then, we have been here many times. This is, I don't know, our fifth time maybe playing here at Tavastia Club.
UNDER THE DAEMONIC POSSESSION
Luxi: Secondly, congrats on your excellent new album, Daemon, that was released on October 25, 2019.
Necrobutcher: Thank you.
Luxi: It's clearly a "back to the roots" album from you guys, back to the same feeling and vibe that you had on De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas album. In my opinion, this new album sounds very dynamic, more direct and organic and less experimental as some of your previous albums, like Esoteric Warfare and Ordo ad Chao, for example. Do you think this new album turned out the way it did musically has a lot to do with the fact that when you were touring and doing the De Mysteriis album so many times in its entirety, it sort of gave you a spark to write similar stuff that has a more direct and to-to-point approach?
Necrobutcher: I think you picked up on the right things there. We have now just finished the world tour on De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, which we played in full. There were about 200 gigs scheduled for us and it took about two years on the road. Some of these ideas that Ghul had for the new album were presented to us seven years ago, when we did the pre-session of the Esoteric Warfare album.
We were in Hungary trying to put the album together and he had written some songs. When it came time to record, he and Teloch had written eight great songs. He fell out of the writing part of the Esoteric album. Also, Attila had a strong idea of how he wanted his lyrics to be on Esoteric Warfare; all the conspiracy theories, hieroglyphs and all that weird, unexplained stuff.
So, on this album, first of all, we must introduce Ghul as a songwriter for Mayhem. Four of his songs are on the album, out of 12 total tracks. It also opened up for lyrics, meaning that all the people in the band who felt creative could contribute to the lyrics because it wasn't a concept album. When I say that, I mean for the rest of us because I know that Morten (aka Teloch) had the concept, the Daemon. That was his concept. Daemon had more room for it. Daemon had room for four new songs and three cover songs as extras. We can get back to that later.
I'm very happy that he is now included as the fifth member full time. It's good in many ways and now he will have to be one fifth of the band, pulling together with us in a different way because now he has more responsibility for the product, being a songwriter. We can put money into some stuff like that.
Also, I'm very pleased to announce that Necrobutcher is back as a songwriter again for Mayhem for the first time since the "Cursed in Eternity" song.
Luxi: Cool. "Kippis" for that, too!
Necrobutcher: Yeah, "kippis". I wrote all the lyrics in the '80s and then Dead, Per Ohlin, came in. I wrote one lyric that he liked. He wanted it to be included on De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, and that song was "Cursed in Eternity". That was the last song I actually wrote for Mayhem. After that, all the albums have been concept albums. I had lyrics all the time, but as I said they were concept albums. Maniac said that it didn't fit his concept. Same with Attila. They were all okay.
I'm happy at least to start to contribute to some songwriting again. My song is very personal one. It's called "Bad Blood", but I don't really want to go too much into it. I want people to listen to it and make up their own mind because there's many meanings for many people. Sometimes a songwriter and a listener have two different meanings of what they're listening to. That's the beauty of the lyrics where you can relate it to yourself. Well, it might not have been exactly intended.
Luxi: Many fans are really pleased with the direction you have taken on this new album. Do you believe it will be the direction you may well follow in the future or would you rather keep all doors open, so to speak, regarding the band's future stuff?
Necrobutcher: Yes. First of all, I can tell you something which is for sure. One of these things is that we have to tour now to cover about 60-65 countries we want to visit. In the United States we will play fifteen shows. There are smaller countries like Brazil, we play eight, France eight, or nine, Germany eight-nine, four in Norway, three or four in Sweden, four or five in England and I'm not even counting the festivals. Added up, it should be over 60 countries and it should be over 200 concerts. There are some logistic involved, especially in the United States, Japan, and New Zealand, places that requires work permits. This is also a process. We have to start dealing with this process a long time before, like for the USA, you have to start a half year before. In between, you have to pay the first bus payment. You have to be serious.
Luxi: That's very true. There's always a lot of pre-planning to be done whenever you intend to go out touring.
Necrobutcher: Yes indeed, there is. Back to your original question, the history of the band tells us that we're going to be on the road for three years and then it's going to take a year to come up with some new music. Then, maybe another year to record it. That means five years. If this interview would have been conducted with my guitarist, Teloch, he would say that he would be ready with a new album next year.
I'm glad that the guys are being creative. If they really have a killer album in one year, fuck, then we release it. It's not worse than that. If it's not good, then we will be inspired enough to just jump on it like, "Woah... Fuck! This is cool." I haven't presented any tracks yet. This is our first tour on the Daemon tour and we have over two and a half years left. So, we will see... I predict that you will see the next Mayhem album out about four years from now.
Your question is if we plan to go in the same direction with the next album. That's where I think there's a red thread going all the way from the first demo, the Pure Fucking Armageddon demo, the Deathcrush EP, De Mysteriis, Wolf's Lair Abyss, Grand Declaration of War, Chimera, Ordo, Esoteric Warfare, and now, Daemon. There's a red thread going the whole way.
We're going to follow the red thread. We're not going to jump off the red thread. It's going to be on the thread somewhere. We don't go backwards. You said something about going backwards to the De Mysteriis album. I would say that I think since we did this De Mysteriis tour thing, it might have bled something into the songwriting process. It may have not bled in unconsciously maybe, or also even on purpose a little bit—who knows? You have to talk to those guys about that.
VISUAL SIDE OF (THE TRUE) MAYHEM
Luxi: Do you think it is important that the band looks a certain way on the stage or is it just a secondary thing to you how you guys dress up on the stage, except maybe for your singer, Attila Csihar?
Necrobutcher: I have always thought it was a little bit too much to have all these costumes. I saw people are wearing skirts and stuff like in this SM-style, porn, just rubber...
Luxi: Spandex and all that stuff.
Necrobutcher: Yeah, spandex and rubber and stuff, yes. Again, I thought they had gone a little bit too far. It's good for Marilyn Manson and some other bands, but not for Mayhem and certainly not for me. I've seen some of the other Mayhem members have had some costumes over the years. When we started this Mysteriis thing, everybody got these cool robes and stuff and then they said to me, "Hey, you stick out." I'm like, "Why?" Because I've always been what I am, but the three others have changed into these robes. I had to get myself a robe and was lucky enough to get sponsored by one of the coolest people in the business who sews clothes for people. Her name is Kim Dyla. She sews for Machine Head, King Diamond and shitloads of other bands, too.
Anyways, she wanted to do something for me, so she did the robe. Unfortunately, I lost it after a gig. Well, actually I'll leave that to be a secret where I got that new one from.
Everybody's got their costumes. We look uniform because it's essential for the visual side of the band. We have these things, banners and stuff. We'd like everything to be as uniform as possible so it fits together as much as possible. We have come up with this solution now for the Daemon tour, at least for now. We just did the first run of the tour, twenty-six gigs all in all, and this is the twenty-fourth gig. We changed the stage three times. We come out like a demon, have this demon backdrop. Attila is the demon and the rest of us are in, like if you think of us like a little bit more elegant style like Eyes Wide Shut but not with the suits, or just plain black long-sleeve arms, black pants.
Then we go offstage one more time, then it's the Mysteriis concept. We bring the Mysteriis concept back with the robes. We have that element in our show; three, four songs of that, and then change the backdrop to the church. Not the church itself, but the inside of the church, with two pieces of that [*clicks tongue*]: You are inside the church suddenly.
And in the third set, we drop that backdrop and then the big black and red logo comes up in the back and that means Deathcrush, obviously. We come out and finish off with some good old tracks. That also means different costumes for the show. We swing off our robes and come out sweaty as we are and give them hell.
Luxi: Sounds like an amazing performance, which I am fortunate to witness this evening, too. Well, thanks for your time, Necrobutcher, and all the best for tonight's show as well.
Necrobutcher: Thank you.
|Other information about Mayhem on this site|
|Review: De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas|
|Review: Live in Leipzig|
|Review: Ordo Ad Chao|
|Review: Wolf's Lair Abyss|
|Review: Pure Fucking Mayhem|
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