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I recently had the pleasure of accompanying the SLAMtv crew to a show in Seattle, Washington while they collected footage for their new cable program called "Plutonium U.H.A.". Associate producer for SLAMtv Gina Dufrain conducted this interview with Nergal from Behemoth. The text included is used by permission from Stephen Austin and the SLAMtv Broadcast Group. The pictures are courtesy of Kerry Simmons, a local live photographer in Seattle specializing in metal. My thanks to all involved for allowing me to compile and edit this material. //Ogg The Barbarian

Gina: So how do you defy the boundaries of death and black metal? How do you think you do?

  • Nergal: I don't really care about all the definitions, really. I don't like to label our music, to be honest. You know for me, it's all about expression of certain kinds of feelings and just release of energy and I like to call it just extreme metal music, extreme metal art or whatever-you know black and death metal these days is just so mixed up together, it's kind of difficult just to put the boundary in between this and this genre, it's kind of difficult you know. And like the tours this-bands like Suffocation, which is like pure death metal and like Behemoth which is beyond anything, and then Cattle Decapitation which is more avant garde kind of more grindcore music-whatever you know-it's cool because it proves it's all about having fun you know, just releasing the energy I was talking about-you will see tonight, probably like every night so far, you know-people just enjoy every band equally-it's good, it's good you know-there's a feeling, there's an energy in the air you know, and it's all about this.

Gina: So what album do you think stands out as your trademark?

  • Nergal: Oh, I don't know (chuckles) I'm the wrong person to say if-um, I've never thought of us being an original band or something,you know, all I do is just-I play my guitar, I just play my riffs and just try to transform some feelings, you know, and some emotions that are in me you know, into the music, and I feel fortunate that people get it, that people buy it, you know, that people attend the shows and just want to see us. I've never really thought of Behemoth being something really special, it's people who judge it, it's people who decide it, so it should be fans you ask this question.

Gina: So who are your influences, personally?

  • Nergal: Well, Slayer is probably like the best band around, you know and Morbid Angel and all the thrash metal bands from the eighties like Kreator, Destruction, Sodom-they were great, you know, like forefathers of the music we play these days. There's many great bands these days that come up with extreme metal, but do it their own way like Nile, or like lately Mastodon, I've discovered this band Mastodon--I've just found them very entertaining although it's not really like the kind of stuff we play-it's great stuff.

Gina: How successful was your European tour?

  • Nergal: It was very successful, actually, especially these days when there's so many bands touring-actually everybody's just overtouring these days, you know-so in Europe there's just too many of them, just too much of it, and people get like too many opporyunities and not that much money to spend on it, so if you get like two-three hundred people each night, it's already a success, so I must say that our European tour was a success, it was a good one and yeah-the whole tour our support has been like, really good you know and this U.S. tour so far it's definitely the best one that we've done. And we did like-the one on the east side was the first one and we did some shows with Halford and Testament and we did Blackest of the Black with Danzig, and we went out with Six Feet Under-but this tour is like-higher on the bill, you know so we are like a bit more "important", you know so people pay more attention to who we are and so we've built some kind of foundation, I must say and it's great-it's the best U.S. tour for us so far.

Gina: What would you say to those bands who are now the openers? What kind of advice would you give them?

  • Nergal: Just keep on playing, keep on thrashing, keep on-keep it metal you know, and never give in because you never know-I mean the moment-it might just click one day, you know and you might become like-huge. Just look back in the past at like-Guns n Roses opening for The Cult and then Guns n Roses becoming like the biggest band on the planet, and then Slayer opening for Venom and then Slayer being like the biggest band of the genre-you never know, the positions might switch. The bands that open for us in many places have been just really good bands you know, I see so many talents around.

Gina: How's the reception been down in South America?

  • Nergal: It was great, it was nothing but great, I mean-it was like the first experience for us, a life experience and I'd never been there personally, so it was just great. It was very exotic for us, we'd never met that kind of people, I mean it's crazy fans, you know. Most of the shows-pretty much all of them were just great, and we just want to come back there soon as possible, 'cuz it's just-it was just unbelievable, really. I mean-all the shows-Bogota was just crazy, all the people running up to us-it was dangerous, you know…

Gina: You were like The Beatles…

  • Nergal: Yeah, almost, you know. It was good to feel like that, it's a good experience-although it was dangerous. But it's a pleasure, it's a pleasure to have that kind of people to come to the shows and just treat you like gods, so-it's good, it's good. And then you come back here and it's like-"er, can I get some water?". It's great, I love it.

Gina: What band stands out to you that you have toured with?

  • Nergal: Um so far? Like the best bands we've played with? Well my favorite bands-well like Danzig was probably like the highlight of our career, to have shared a stage with Glenn Danzig, I mean he's one of my like idols from when I was a kid and I still admire his works, so it was great. Rob Halford, too you know to meet that guy and he's just an amazing vocalist and what can I say? Hmm-there's been many, actually, too many to mention.

Gina: So where do you see yourself in two years?

  • Nergal: Um-in the U.S., again probably-with the next album. I don't know, in two years-yeah in two years we might be back with the next record, hopefully. It depends how much we-yeah we'll see, we'll see-lets see how this album goes, you know. So far it's going really good so I just can guess it's going to lead us higher and higher, kinda step by step going somewhere.

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