1349 interview (12/2007)
|With:||Archaon and Seidemann|
|Conducted by:||Baz Anderson (in person)|
After an epic uphill walk, guided only by a print off from Google map, I finally find the venue with no other than Archaeon outside on his mobile phone hunting for a "Barry Anderson of Metal Storm". We go inside to the bar, he orders himself some coffee; "black, like my metal" and purchases me a pint of beer for the interview. We sit down at a table in the corner, joined by Seidemann and off we went to talk about corpsepaint, Satanism, church burning and all the other interesting points of black metal.
Barry: Good to meet you, do you want to introduce yourselves, who you are and what you do and everything
Archaon: Archaon, guitars
Seidemann: Seidemann, bass
Barry: Right then - three albums released in '03, '04, '05 and there has been a bit of a gap. this year you have been touring, playing the festivals and everything - what are your plans for the future?
Archaon: Well the future involves - next month we will be rehearsing and getting ready to enter the studio in December with new material. it is time for our next effort, and then hopefully early next year it will be...
Archaon: Yeah, however before that we have a re-issue coming out of "Hellfire" with special packaging, new sleeve and everything but it's not like "sell more of these" - basically a live album we did with five tracks of the last European tour with the line-up featuring Tjalve as well, all the guitarists - so that's going to be a double disc, extra disc with five live tracks and that will be released before the new album
Barry: Is "Hellfire" the album you are most proud of then? Do you have any preferences?
Seidemann: Actually my favourite is "Beyond The Apocalypse" - of course I am happy with all the albums I have done, but somehow "Beyond The Apocalypse" is the album closest to my heart.
Archaon: I see exactly what Seidemann means there, it is a giant leap, I mean the first album, to put it straight about the gap between albums as you might know - the line-up started approximately 1997 and then rehearsal tape for demo, and...
Seidemann: A couple of early demos, but nothing really happened until Frost came along and Archaon as well in '99, 2000 - and then we recorded an E.P. of sorts which was basically a demo that got released by Holocaust Records
Archaon: Yeah, a mini CD released on Holocaust, and then... it's still out there but we don't like it, we're not very proud having that as an official release, just forget about it.
Seidemann: It's in the past. But the thing is we recorded "Liberation" in 2001...
Archaon: In February and March, so in March we were ready to release with the same label, Holocaust Records, but because of different reasons we had to separate from that label and go on something stronger... and a long way after looking for labels we found Candlelight and we released the album in 2003, so you see there is already two years working on material for the next one, so we had a lot of time working on "Beyond The Apocalypse" - 2004 we could release this album that had been lying around, and then we were in a different situation because of the 2004 release of that, we didn't have ready material, not much for "Hellfire", but we worked it all out - in one year we put out the next album "Hellfire" and very proud we are, speaking for myself I am very proud of the way it sounds in terms of songwriting, songs and the production - but I have a hard time choosing that one in front of "Beyond The Apocalypse" - because "Beyond The Apocalypse" had a rawness to it and I think the song structures, they suited the album very well and where we were at that time, and that is something that reflects in all out albums - "Liberation" is good for what is was back in the days, but it was a giant leap up to "Beyond The Apocalypse" and again - that is evolution, it should be like that, progress every time.
Barry: The first album, production-wise sounds very different...
Seidemann: Yes, that was also intentional - because it was a giant "fuck off" to all the overproduced crap - so of course here you have "Liberation" a trebly album, lots of treble and drums and it is an enormous "fuck off" to everyone, but to repeat that with "Beyond The Apocalypse" would have been stupid, because we used that affect once, and to use it again would have had no impact at all.
Barry: How did you come to the decision to use a cleaner production with the second album then?
Seidemann: Well basically the material became more complex as we evolved as musicians, so if we had stayed with the same production as "Liberation" all the details would have been lost, so that is why we needed a "cleaner" sound I guess - it's not "clean" it's still fucking dirty.
Archaon: You still hear the rawness that was in "Liberation" in "Beyond The Apocalypse" as well, it's just that it is a better band both musically as well as production-wise, songwriting, everything has been taken to a higher level.
Barry: So on the stage you've got the corpsepaint on and all the rest of it...
Barry: Does that mean anything? Is it a tribute to anything, what is that about? Because not many bands these days do that, well, there are actually quite a few, haha.
Archaon: It takes all the hassle out, putting all the... haha
Barry: Haha, yeah - but not every black metal band these days does that...
Archaon: Well it is needed for us to set the mood, it's more ritual that we feel it's needed to present the way that 1349 should be, should be perceived - the visual side, when you watch a band it should not just be about the music, else go and listen to the album because I think we play as close to the album as we can - but with that you want something visual to hit you hard - and that is what we aim to do, to deliver the whole... a night of a different experience - and using corpsepaint as relation to the dark side of things, it's like it just sets to mood to make the effects of the music and what we do to 100%.
Barry: Obviously black metal is probably the most controversial sort of metal with the "Norwegian black metal" and the Satanism and the church burnings and all the rest of it - how do you stand with Satanism?
Seidemann: That's of course a question of definition but if Satanism is worshipping Satan as in worshipping God, then we don't go there basically. A more in the vein of LaVey were it is a sort of self, worship of the self and doing your own thing and going your own way, then of course we are in that tradition, I would say philosophically we are Satanists, but religiously no. We are anti-religious - 1349 has always been pretty hard on no religion, no politics.
Archaon: As Seidemann pointed out earlier it is a matter of definition because a devil with horns that runs my life would have nothing to do with it - however you know, let's face it, all rock 'n' roll back in the 50's with Elvis was claimed to be Satanic and you have that following with Rolling Stones, sex drugs and rock 'n' roll, it was the devil's music and it has been like that all through the 70's with Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, you have it in the 80's with W.A.S.P.
Seidemann: They even had it in the 1920's with Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil at the crossroads, it's an old thing.
Archaon: What you get now is heavy metal music that is heavier than anything, but also I'll give it that black metal has something spiritual to it.
Seidemann: It has a darker spirituality sort-of-speak...
Archaon: It reflects the philosophics of the individual. There is all things aside, there is a thinking side far from all black metal bands, but I know a lot of the bands that originated on the scene - they pretended to be able to face up with, face their fears... no, face the truth which is every person has more sides to yourself, they don't necessarily like that in every day life that we are realising that you have an evil side in you as well, it is the nature of man.
Seidemann: Yes, and Christianity and all other sorts of religions deny the dark side in you - but if you can't accept that then go to church and live your little lie.
Archaon: It is much easier to live in a narrow-minded path I think.
Barry: So what about the church burnings in the early '90's in Norway, how do you sit with that?
Seidemann: Well basically it was a strong statement at the time, but it did not help the war against Christianity because only made the Christians stronger by gaining the support of the public - so now church burnings is stupid basically - but of course it made promotion for the Norwegian scene at the time.
Archaon: In a marketing sense.
Seidemann: Yes, in a marketing sense it was a stroke of genius, but I would never go burn down a church now.
Archaon: Yeah, I mean it is difficult to take a stand to such a thing because it was a marketing thing at that time, you know it might have evolved and become different things than it was intended to be the first time it was done but there is always a first time for everything and the first time is never the same as the second time, you've got to have that in mind. I wasn't present in the black metal scene at the time, in the metal scene yes but not the black metal scene - I was outside looking at it in the first years, in the mid-90's when I entered the black metal, I don't despise it's past but I won't go to the extent of defending it - today is a different era.
Barry: Black metal is obviously very important to you then, could you imagine playing any other sort of metal?
Seidemann: Oh, yes.
Archaon: Yeah, we all play different styles...
Seidemann: But black metal is the one that is closest to my heart. Like everyone else when I was younger, in the 80's I started listening to metal, and then I started listening to death metal and I was like "ooh, this is something different" - but it was something different, but it didn't give me anything, you know I was just like "yeah, it's good" - and then I heard black metal and something resonated very deeply something inside of me.
Barry: Which bands got you into it all?
Seidemann: The first bands that brought me into it all were, Burzum of course, Mayhem, the early Enslaved stuff, Emperor, yes back then with the tape trading, I would get something and be like "what is this?" - "just listen to it".
Barry: Yes and now there is downloading these days, people say metal is becoming so popular because it is so accessible now - do you encourage downloading?
Archaon: It has both positive and negative sides...
Barry: Or is it something that you don't really bother thinking about really?
Seidemann: Downloading, I mean it hurts sales but it also spreads the music to people who wouldn't necessarily have heard it, but there are pros and cons so I can't be arsed to take a stand basically.
Barry: I downloaded your three albums... hahaha
Archaon: You fucking did didn't you...
Barry: I did, hahaha
Archaon: [In a joking way] Where's my money!
Barry: But then I did buy them all afterwards...
Seidemann: And that's the thing!
Barry: And the shirt and the wristband...
Seidemann: A fan, a guy that would actually buy a 1349 album - when he downloads a 1349 album and thinks "this is the shit", then he go buy it - a guy who downloads a 1349 album and doesn't like it would probably not have bought it in the first place.
Archaon: At the state we are... I mean if a band such a Metallica, you would have a different thing because that affects them a marketing, business side more than a band that's like 1349 because we more, we are on a totally different level with what doing this for, most probably one similar - one same - the reason is passion for the music, if they still have that, but also I mean the marketing thing, they have a big economic machinery that needs the turnaround, so we are not in the same way at all.
Barry: What do you think about bands like Satyricon and Dimmu Borgir that are trying to push into the mainstream with their "black metal"?
Seidemann: Good luck to them.
Archaon: I actually like a lot of the Dimmu Borgir stuff, it's very professional, very good heavy metal, but that's what it is, heavy metal...
Barry: You don't see it as "true" black metal then?
Archaon: "True?" - I don't think it is black metal as such anyway - you have bands like Nightwish to take it really far, but not that I would say they are similar to Nightwish, but it's a dark form of heavy metal - but they are very professional with what they are doing. Satyricon... doing more rock 'n' roll-ish stuff and...
Seidemann: If that's what they want to do then let them do it... I mean if there has to be a sense of individuality which is a big thing in the black metal scene then they should be allowed to do whatever the fuck they want to. You can like it, not like it, a lot of it is about jealousy - a lot of people play in very very bad bands and never sell anything, never play gigs - "ooooo, look at Satyricon selling out, selling more records" fuck you guys - do some rehearsing and get a good band and maybe you'll get somewhere - but it is all up to the individual...
The guys now went off upstairs to do the soundcheck for the show later, and like they said they returned to do some more of the interview a while later. Upon return we had a little talk about the Hellfest and Wacken shows, and how they prefer to play smaller, more intense venues and how the sound changes - and it was back to the interview.
Barry: Do you ever get fans coming to shows with the corpsepaint on themselves?
Archaon: It's funny you should say that, we had the weirdest thing happen on the last U.S. tour - our sound tech. of the tour came onto the stage during the set - after the show he was like "Archaeon! There's two guys that are made up with your make up on" and I had never experienced that before so it was really weird, that was a funny experience. I ran out to try and find them but they had left by that time.
Barry: You put the corpsepaint on just before the show then?
Seidemann: Yes, it is all part of getting ready and getting in the mood for the show...
Archaon: The material world, down to earth life, we have to get rid of that and prepare to be a completely different mode, a completely different mindset and during that process, this ritual we alter ourselves to a higher state of being.
Barry: Was Frost not drumming on the last tour then?
Seidemann: We had Tony Laureano doing drums on the U.S. tour...
Archaon: He used to play in Nile, Angel Corpse...
Seidemann: Amazing drummer...
Archaon: Really good, and he was the one that I wanted the most, and the one that Frost wanted so he was clearly the choice.
Seidemann: It was funny in Germany, this guy came up to me [adopting a German accent] "where is Frost?" [answering] "he is in Japan" - "no! where is Frost, I heard him playing tonight." - "noooo, that was Tony Laureano" - "where is Frost?!"
Barry: Like with Dimmu Borgir, everyone is like "Hellhammer, Hellhammer"...
Seidemann: And it's Tony, hahaha.
Barry: Most people probably only see you very extreme, you know with the corpsepaint, that's all they see -so you obviously do have a sense of humour and you like to do things outside of 1349...
Seidemann: Of course
Archaon: If we didn't we would be like [pretending to be a zombie] achhhhhhh!
Seidemann: "We're just evil, necro, death!"...
Archaon: Obviously we have personalities, on stage we are five different individuals but we have teamed up to do something together, or four now, and because we all contribute towards something that turns out to be this band and we did it in the past just for the hell of it kind of thing, for our own pleasure, and now it has expanded but it is still for our pleasure, at the moment when it isn't, and I am not kidding you, this band will cease to exist. But I don't see that coming very soon. There's going to be an album, that's for sure.
Seidemann: It's been ten years with 1349 so we should last some more years.
Barry: Has there ever been any points where you haven't had any money and you have just thought about giving it up?
Seidemann: Giving up 1349? Of course, once in a while when you've been on tour for four weeks and you've slept in a twelve seat van with all the band members on top of you, of course you wake up some mornings and just hate everyone. But the point is you don't want to give it up because that's what you do, that's what you are, if 1349 was no more - that would be such a huge adjustment to me life.
Barry: What makes a show a special show?
Seidemann: Well there's the mundane details like everything just seems to work, you play it right, you have a good feel, but the main thing is the crowd, if the crowd responds - because it is very intense music and you expend a hell of a lot of energy playing, and when the crowd responds you get energy back from them.
Barry: So how do you get time off work to tour?
Seidemann: Well that's the thing
Archaon: It's borderline now where we have to look at that very soon, because that's the hard part before a band can break into the next, not into the mainstream, but where we can do this as a job. We just need enough so we can live off it, it's not easy - we just aim for a regular year salary, if you get that then you can just quit the job and do it.
Barry: And when you can live off the music, you can put more attention into it...
Archaon: Absolutely, you become better in all ways - so it is ultimately the ambition, the dream...
Seidemann: Yeah, it would be nice, but in the meantime there's jobs to be do...
Archaon: But of course we are ambitious, as a band and as individuals, we are going to work towards it. Some things help, you like practical stuff - your equipment to get the endorsements and so on, we've got some stuff. I just got a call yesterday from ESP guitars, so that was nice!
Barry: At Hellfest you was originally set to play on the Gibson Stage during the afternoon, but apparently you changed because you wanted to play while it was dark, is that true?
Barry: It is also getting the reputation of one of the most disorganised festivals in Europe, was it as disorganised backstage as well as for the fans?
Archaon: Yes, that is right, that is truth, they sorted it so we could do it, but barely...
Barry: We ended up with a good show anyway...
Archaon: Yeah, that's what matters most in the end.
Barry: So presumably, you must listen to a lot of black metal...
Seidemann: No, I never listen to black metal - I don't listen to it because I hear black metal every day, I come home after playing concerts and the first thing I want to listen to is not black metal.
Barry: Haha. I can understand that, so what do you listen to? Power metal? Haha.
Seidemann: Only as a joke, only when I want to laugh.
Archaon: Naturally you have to check out what is happening, to a certain extent and also a bunch of other things because we are exposed to so much extreme stuff. I mean Rush...
Seidemann: Progressive, 70's progressive stuff, yeah it's all good...
Archaon: I went to see Rolling Stones in August and that was good, really amazing, good gig, and those are fucking old fossils and they can still do it you know, it's crazy - 60, 70 year olds people.
Barry: Bands are getting older and they are still going...
Archaon: They were running on stage instead of crutches and wheelchairs...
Seidemann: As long as the music is played with feeling and passion and a certain honesty to it, then it doesn't matter what genre it is - as long as it is proper music so-to-speak, if there is passion then I can listen to it. I can't listen to pop music, I mean the shit they put on the radio because it has no soul, it just goes through your ears like the thing you have in elevators.
Archaon: Interesting music is all we are looking for, something that engages you in some way.
Barry: So you go around in your tour bus, do you have any interesting stories?
Archaon: You want the dirty stories?
Seidemann: You want the dirt now?
Barry: Yes! Hahaha.
Archaon: Hahahaha this guy must have so many secrets on his back. Hahaha. I tell you what, if you tell us one, we will tell you one...
Seidemann: Well basically we should come up with a story now that glorifies ourselves...
Archaon: We're quite uninteresting people actually...
Seidemann: Yeah, we're pretty boring - you know we get drunk and puke... but basically we are kind of boring. I mean one thing the black metal scene has too little of is groupies...
Seidemann: I demand more woman
Barry: They probably are there, but just... hidden...
Seidemann: They're not as visible, they don't throw themselves at you. Black metal and metal as a whole is generally a male thing I have noticed.
[A few innuendo later...]
Seidemann: I remember last time we played in England with Zyklon and Enslaved, I remember one Sunday morning me and Samoth went to church
Archaon: Did you?
Seidemann: There was this huge Catholic Church and we were like "hey! lets go inside!"
Barry: Was that in London?
Seidemann: No, it was the last... last day...
Seidemann: Yes, it was Manchester and they had this huge thing and we just walked in a they gave me the program and I was like "shit, this is a proper thing with sheet music as well" - "thank you!"
Archaon: [Asks in a cheeky way] Were you converted?
Seidemann: Naa, of course. That wasn't really interested though, we were just curious, well I don't have any good stories as such - not that I want to share anyways. Hahahaha. Keep the wall of mystique around the band, hahaha.
Barry: Hahaha, alright then.
Seidemann: So does that mean if someone reads this interview they will be like "aah, they are just boring people" - if I'd said "naa, I can't tell you because then I would have to kill you afterwards" they would be like "ooh, they are the guys!"
Barry: I watched a film; "Metal: A Headbangers Journey" there's an interview with Gaahl on there...
Seidemann: [Adopting an almost overly nerd-ish, funny Satanist voice] "Satan!", "Freedom!"
Seidemann: And the funny thing is that you can see if you know him, that that is so deliberate, he knows exactly what he is doing and he knows exactly how to say it and how he can get most publicity - and if you listen to what he is saying, it is really intelligent - but if you just listen [adopting the same voice] "oh, there is a Satan!" then you misunderstand the whole thing.
Barry: And the interview with Mayhem on there. Hahaha.
Seidemann: Yeah, hahaha.
Archaon: They are fucked up people...
Seidemann: Necrobutcher is... far away...
Archaon: Fucked up people, [but] cool people...
Seidemann: Oh yeah, great people...
Barry: [Impersonating Necrobutcher] "We are the best"...
Seidemann: [Impersonating Necrobutcher but sounding a little more Scottish than anything else] "Fuck you, fuck you, fuck all of you"...
Seidemann: Really a heavy Norwegian accent as well [with the same voice] "fuck you, fuck all of you..." - yeah, that's, that's, hahaha, that's priceless. Yeah, we're not very good at creating controversy - we should do better at that.
Barry: When doing the firebreathing you should set fire to someone in the audience...
Seidemann: We almost set the roof on fire several times! [to Archaeon] Was that the Rosenkeller in Germany? Haha
Archaon: Yeah! That's a good story.
Seidemann: It's just a cellar, it was probably a dungeon some time not long ago in Germany...
Archaon: Down some stairs, down below the ground
Seidemann: Steep down the stairs and you have to carry an eight times ten amp and big cabinet down there - struggling... and of course on top "hey, lets make this a metal pub where we have concerts and no elevators" and basically we had to build the stage out so everyone could fit - I could reach out to the bar and grab a beer - and anyways, so me and Frost were doing the firebreathing and it's a really tiny room with a hot roof and everything - so when everyone else comes out it looks like there are no people, because everyone is on the floor ducking and covering.
Barry: Hahaha. So then, do you have any last words for the people of Metal Storm?
[They fall silent...]
Seidemann: Do something Mayhem-ish... no, that won't work because Mayhem already did that.
Archaon: We'll be back with a heavier, darker album...
Seidemann: Next year...
Archaon: So hopefully we will see everyone out there - we will be touring America again, and the U.K. and the whole of Europe basically - so it is going to be great to get out there again, on a proper tour, and raise some hell, spit some fire, drink some shit - drink shit.
Seidemann: Hahaha, of course - if the plague doesn't get you this time around, there is always the next time!
Barry: Thanks a lot, it has been fantastic!
Barry: I will see you on the stage...
Archaon: Hope you enjoy!
The band stayed downstairs eating their chilli tea, even as the people started entering the bar for the show, and funnily enough no one recognised them as the members of 1349 due to the lack of corpsepaint. The show went forward and it turned out to be a very intimate and close show, performed by one of the most extreme black metal bands around today. The review for the show can be found at this location.
Many thanks go to Archaon and Seidemann of 1349 for your time and the great interview,
Conducted and transcribed by Barry Anderson
||Posted on 04.12.2007 by Member of Staff since 2006.|
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