– Hello, lots of thanks for answering our interview. What’s everything going right now into the MAYHEM’s camp?
No problem. Mayhem is just back from a 14 days European tour. All is good, we are doing shitloads of interviews and promotion.
– You have just released «Esoteric Warfare», which is your first album with the band. What are your feelings on this release? And how did you get to join them?
To me it’s a album that I needed to get out of the way to see how the guys work and what they are capable of and also what I am capable of together with them. As with any albums I have recorded I have mixed feelings, it’s a love hate relationship. In a way I think it started with Blasphemer liked a Nidingr album, and invited us to do a warm up gig for Mayhem in Oslo. Since then I got to know the guys a little, and it didn’t take long before Hellhammer helped me out with drumming on two albums with Nidingr and Umoral. Hellhammer became a close friend and we started hanging out, so when Blasphemer quit, I was a natural choice for at least Hellhammer. I also heard that Blasphemer named me as his successor, but don’t know if that’s true or not. I haven’t asked.
– You joined he band replacing Blasphemer, did you feel much pressure about it? And did this line-up change have something to do with the 7 year gap between your two last albums?
Not really, I wasn’t stressed cause I figured out early that there was no point of trying to top that guy, if you know what I mean. He is the best at what he does, period. He does his thing and I do my thing. My only concern was playing his damn songs right. I’m not a big fan of practicing with my guitar, but since I had to learn his shit, I had to spend “some” hours getting it right. I think I´m pretty close now. The 7 year gap is self explained of course. Blaspehemer quit, they had to find a replacement. And it wasn’t until last year I started writing the album.
– And how has the songwriting process been? It has never seem like line-up changes have affected the band’s sound in that way, every composer seems to get the spirit.
I started on these songs that ended up on the album almost exactly 1 year ago. Before that, 2 years ago, we had a month in Budapest where we borrowed a venue called Red Hell from a good friend of our, Balazs. We spent our days in his club jamming out and learning these songs, and the week before we went back to Norway we recorded the songs in a studio down there. Actually we even performed one of the songs live in Budapest the same period. I got back home, listened to the songs and thought “ no, this is not the right album to release after Ordo” Also everything sounded very wrong compared to how the material was, guitars, bass, drums, and the overall sound, it felt fucking wrong. So I got angry as fuck and scrapped the everything and started over, the first half of the new album got written on that feeling, the other half I wrote when I stopped listening to what the guys wanted, they all wanted different things from this album, and it was hard to fulfil their needs, and I almost got paranoid from trying to please them, so I thought to myself “ fuck them, I do what I want instead”.
– The album’s concept deal with experiments during the cold war. Would you mind to elaborate a little bit on this (how did the idea arise, the research you did, etc.)?
Its more of a Atilla question, but the basis is mind control, secret societies, cold war etc etc
– Musically I find the album like a mix between «Ordo ad Chao» and «Chimera». Did you follow some kind of pattern or were aiming for a special kind of sound when creating this new opus?
Not really, I just tried my best to create a follow up on ordo. I didn’t wanna introduce only my way of creating just yet, so I made this album as a big mashup of all the mayhem albums.
– Anyway you also throw some new things, like certain Thrash vibes, as we can hear on «Psywar», your first single. What could you comment on this track?
Thrash vibes? Not sure, im not to picky about this whole genre thing. But I used to play thrash metal back in the days, so that might explain it.
– All this about «Esoteric Warfare»; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
It is Mayhem
– You have been and are still involved in several bands so, what does MAYHEM provide you the others can’t?
Fame and gloryhole. Havent really thought about it, I have never had any plans playing in famous bands, I was happy with just making music and record demos to give to friends. I just go with the flow.
– And finally, wha are your near-future plans after the release of «Esoteric Warfare»? This year is the band’s 30th anniversary and the 20th anniversary of «De Mysteriis dom Sathanas» so, anything special planned?
Yes, Mayhem is doing a 30th year tour all over the world with a extended set list.