Today, I have the immeasurable pleasure of asking one of my favorite drummers, “Frost”, a few questions regarding Satyricon and their 20th anniversary re-master of “Nemesis Divina”.
JON - “Nemesis Divina”, though your third album with Satyricon, is heralded worldwide as being pretty well the most influential album of the nineties with respect to the evolution of Black Metal as a genre. To begin with a question I've had myself about the original album, were there any major events or traumas that inspired the immense evolution of sound between “Dark Medieval Times” and “Nemesis Divina”? I mean, what was the emotional or spiritual basis for such a complex and magnificent group of compositions?
FROST - - I believe that Nemesis Divina was the result of a fortunate amalgamation of factors; one being the will and determination on our part to work hard, another being the inspired state we were in at the time of making the album, and a third factor being the progress we experienced on a technical and musical level. Combined, these factors propelled us forward and made it possible to conjure all that power and rawness that constitutes Nemesis Divina. I find the album to display a strong conquering spirit, which reflects the attack mode we were in at the time.
JON - Now when the news came out that you would be re-mastering the sound and packaging for the 20th anniversary of it's release, a lot of fans on the internet speculated that there would be parts re-recorded, or that the overall production quality would be brought up to modern melodic industry standards, like what could be expected out of a band like Dimmu, but to me it sounded more like an amplification of the atmosphere of the album. What are your and/or the bands thoughts on how it was done/turned out?
FROST - - I think that you truly got it right there. We basically wanted to stay very close to the original, but make it shine just a little brighter. What we celebrate is after all the album just like it is, and the zeitgeist that is captured on Nemesis Divina is no doubt a part of the magick. A re-recording or totally new mixing would take that element away – rather did we want to amplify what was already there, just like you pointed out.
JON - A little off topic, a a lot of well wishers, myself included, I'm sure are wondering how Satyr, and the group in general, is doing, in light of the news of September 2015?
FROST - - Satyr is doing much better now and has returned to full working capacity again, even if he is necessarily battling a very serious condition. It says a lot about his will and determination to carry on the work, and how much it means to him. Satyricon is doing better than ever, and we shall soon be ready to record a new studio album. It’s going to be a very inspired and creative piece of work.
JON - In previous interviews, we've heard yourself and Satyr speak of not really being a retrospective band, and always wanting to push the creative boundaries and accept various new directions in order to challenge your listener. With that in mind, this whole re-release affair seems a fair bit of a surprise. I've read a few comments made by Satyr on the subject, but from your point of view, what circumstance arose to lead to this epic and fan-appreciated decision?
FROST - - Nemesis Divina was the album that manifested Satyricon’s move to a more ambitious and professional level and also the album that brought Satyricon to a larger audience. There are several reasons that it holds a particular significance both for us and for very many of our fans, and it simply felt right and reasonable to honor that fact now on the album’s 20th anniversary.
JON - On the original release, I know that Fenriz took a creative part in the track: “Du Son Hater Gud(You, who hates God)”. How did this come into motion?
FROST - - We have always been fans of Fenriz’ poetic and hard-hitting lyrics, and we had an idea for a very direct and hatedriven song that would fit his lyric style like a glove. So we asked him if he wanted to write the lyrics for this one song, which he was more than happy to do. Like we had hoped and expected, he came up with some lyrics that were perfect for the song and the album.
JON - Did Fenriz take a part in the re-mastering of that track?
FROST - - No, that wouldn’t really have made any sense.
JON - Right from “The Dawn of a New Age”, through to “Transcendental Requiem of Slaves” the album tells a philosophical story. The artwork chosen for the album I've noticed symbolically aided that a lot, and was pretty innovative for the genre, at the time. I haven't been able to see the new art and packaging, but how will the repackaging and any new or updated art vary from that of the original?
FROST - - The artwork isn’t really tampered with, but now looks a little bit more classic and timeless and a little more stylistically wholesome. You will understand when you see it.
JON - Will this definitely be the only re-issue we can expect from Satyricon?
FROST - - I imagine so, but I see noe reason for giving guarantees. What I do know, though, is that we will always be a forward looking band.
JON - To go along with this I noticed there are a set of Europe only dates where you play through the whole album to commemorate it. I'm sure a lot of your fans abroad are a bit curious as to “why no where else?”
FROST - We are in the process of making a new album, and as have been mentioned several times in the interview Satyricon is not really a retrospective band, so even if the anniversary of Nemesis Divina is an event we have chosen to mark, the new album is still a more important matter. Simply having a few shows dedicated to performing Nemesis Divina live feels like the right way to do it, as we don’t want to interrupt the creative process we’re in too much. When the summer is over, we need to focus entirely on the new album and get ready to record it.
JON - Satyricon, as a band, has had a huge impact on Black Metal as a global genre and scene, always invoking more the spirit of the artist, than just “Satan”. I know a great many musicians in a vast age range that will instinctively cite your works as a creative influence. Is there any advice you would have for such artistic fans as far as how to keep on, stay true to oneself, and laugh triumphantly in the face of adversity?
FROST - Yes, I believe that Satyricon is to a large extent a manifestation of the spirit of innovation, courage, integrity, individuality and determination. My advice to people seeking guidance is to always question their ways and find out what the nature of their work is. For those that want to make a difference, ignorance most certainly is not bliss. You must be aware and present in everything that you do.
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions, and I know I speak for us all when I say that we can't wait to see and hear what the future holds for Satyricon, as a group, and as individuals. Hail!