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Mayhem | Grand Declaration of War | interview | Necrobutcher | metal | Lollipop
Grand Declaration of War (Necropolis)
An Interview with bassist Necrobutcher
by Scott Hefflon
Grand Declaration of War is your first full-length available in the U.S. in some time, and it's your first for Necropolis; how long has it been and what happened?
It's our first full-length album in seven years. Since De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Our guitarist [Euronymous] was killed in '93, we spent a year searching for a new guitarist, then spent three years making the EP, Wolf's Lair Abyss, and now, a little more than two years later, we have this full-length.
Where are you? On the road or kickin' back?
I'm at a friend's house, about 35km outside of Olso. I quit my job in '96, and since then, I just work for Mayhem. When we're not touring, we're rehearsing and things... It's been 16 years in this band, and it took 12 years to go for it proper, but it was worth it in the end.
This isn't "the end" though...
Well, it's the beginning of the end... You never know... But we have a long-term project completed, Grand Declaration of War taking us three years to write, rehearse, arrange, and record, and we're now quite... relieved. Now we're getting ready for the World War Tour starting in July in Florida.
Have you played many of these songs live already ?
Yes, because it takes so long to finish the songs, we've played some of them here and there over the past year. But this'll be the first time we'll really go on the road. We'll be playing five of the new songs in our set. I think they sound even better live than on the album.
The songs are much more complex and dramatic, do you think they'll be harder to pull off live?
No, not really. But we divide our tours up so we only do three or four weeks at a time. We kind of overdo it and burnout, and that's a problem. So we're doing two tours of the U.S., one on each coast. We'll be on the road, here and there, from the summer until February of next year.
Tell me about writing and arranging this record.
Well, to start out with, the last guitar riff on Wolf's Lair Abyss is the first riff on the new album, so it all links together. Mostly it's all about the concept... Wolf's Lair Abyss was part one. It was violent and chaotic. Part two is the declaration of war and the war itself, and part three is the aftermath, the ruins. Part two and three are this album, Grand Declaration of War.
What is the war over, what's it about?
It's a war against the good ol' enemy, religion, the church. TV controls people, the government controls people, and it's a wake up call for all the people who are going to die when the supermarket closes. It's a complex story, and a rather long one, but the lyrics are printed in the record.
Where in the war is our culture right now?
We're at Defcom 4, just before the war. Amidst the chaos and just at the start of the war. But the war is not only literal warfare, much of it is an intellectual war, a philosophical war. It's not easy to understand or communicate, but I hope people will take the time to read into it.
Where did the idea for this concept record come from?
When we started coming up with concepts after Wolf's Lair Abyss.
What do you see the next step being?
I just spoke with Blasphemer [guitarist, main conceptualist and songwriter] and he said he already had ideas for where to take it from here, but after we're on the road for six months or more, we'll know more. We need to concentrate on what we need to do now, and see where we are later. We probably won't be ready for another studio album for another two years. Making a good studio album takes time. You have to try out different things within the songs... I think two years is a good amount of time to arrange and rearrange songs for a full-length.
Who are you touring with this summer?
Well, we're playing quite a few festivals, so we'll be playing with a lot of different bands, but we're touring with Hate Eternal, and as a death metal fan, I'm greatly looking forward to it.
What other bands are you looking forward to playing with, or do you just like?
I have very diverse musical tastes. I like Turbo Negro and Six Feet Under, Rammstein, and late '60/early '70s Rolling Stones. Here in Norway, not so many bands come here, but I try to catch the shows of the bands that interest me.
Do you stay in contact with -- or are you friends with -- others of the original black metal bands?
Norway is a small country, so everybody knows everybody. But I wouldn't say I really hang out with many of them, but I know them. I know Darkthrone and Emperor, and the bands Hellhammer is in: Kovenant and Arcturus... But I don't really hang out with them, but I buy their albums to check out what they're doing.
Are you a quiet, solitary kind of guy, or do you and the rest of the band go to clubs and parties and stuff?
I like going out, drinking, somewhat of a social animal. I like hanging out, going to shows, seeing what's going on. It's better than sitting at home and wanking off. Well, I do that as well, of course, but not all the time. All the guys in the band like to go out and have a good time.
Funny cuz your music isn't exactly what one'd call "feel good music."
Well, I don't see it like that. If I didn't let out all my aggression a few times a week in Mayhem, I think I'd be really fucked up. I'm a pretty well-adjusted person, I think, because I let out all my anger and aggression in the band. It's not that playing is a happy feeling, but it's a good feeling and we have a good time doing it.