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Prior to the gig with Dissection at Kolingsborg, Stockholm Sweden on the 30th of December 2005, Michael and Max got the opportunity to question Nergal from Behemoth a bit about the current situation with the band. The following is what he had to share......

Metal Covenant: Tell us about this show, do you feel any special about it as it's not part of an ordinary tour?

  • Nergal: Yeah, it's very special actually, first of all we've never been to Stockholm. We've never played here, we just drove past with the bus you know to Finland, Tuska Festival, just switching ferries you know. That's when we went through Stockholm, and all I've seen is just a beautiful city, but we didn't even have chance to step out of the bus, you know, fuck, you know, every tour we miss Stockholm, we just played for the first time in Gothenburg a few months ago on the Demigod tour and then that was it, so when I got this offer to do this show then I just got to know that the initial idea came from Dissection and then I got contacted by Christian who was an organizer who was in charge of the show, you know, I was honoured to be asked to be a part of it, you know, and I knew it was just going to be great. And fuck the time not staying in Poland for the new years eve, every year it's always the most irritating, the most boring place to stay in and hang out, I'm like "fuck, let's fucking do it" you know. Here we are.

Metal Covenant: So you are celebrating here?

  • Nergal: Fuck yeah, we're staying here and… you know it's also special because you know what? The funny thing, I'm gonna talk about it on stage, at Sweden Rock, a few months back, I was celebrating my 28th birthday. Tonight, Inferno's celebrating his 27th… if I'm correct so it's kinda special, you know, it's a funny coincidence you know, it's cool.

Metal Covenant: Your latest release, Demigod, received lots of attention worldwide, how would you compare it to your previous album, Zos Kia Cultus?

  • Nergal: We're just more intense, more in your face, more professional, more diverse record. It's also more melody there too you know, but at the same time it's even more aggressive than anything we've done in the past you know. We spit it up so much on this record, it's amazing, I'm still in love with it all, usually I'm way more critical and it's been like one year since it's been out and shit, I should get more critical at this stage, but it didn't and it kinda worries me, it worries me about the future.

Metal Covenant: The production is different on this one, especially the song production, why did you choose that sound?

  • Nergal: Actually the mixing is done by Daniel Bergstrand, your friend from the neighbourhood, was kinda essential to achieve that kind of sound. Mit Malta, we are working on that album for two months, tracking down the songs, and believe me, dealing with the songs pretty much 15 hours a day with the same songs, same riffs, after two months you get the right to be confused you know, about anything. You may loose your main idea, your vision. I was just having a vision of a fresh and in your face sound on tht record, and I knew, I mean, we could have done this ourselves you know and we could have done this well, I'm sure, but we needed fresh air to breath on this record, on this particular album because. This record is just like…

*Michael's cell phone interrupts*

Michael: Sorry...

  • Nergal: What the fuck is this? Sounds scary… anyway, we just needed some refreshment on this record and we got it with Daniel, I mean, Daniel was a person from outside, he wasn't involved in the whole recording process, so it was also fresh for him to look at the band and he got all the ingredients, the whole point was just to mix it !

Metal Covenant: You seem to put a lot of effort on your lyrics…

  • Nergal: Yeah, I'm working really hard, you know, when the album is done I'm already working on the next album, you know, all life experience, it's all there man. Wherever I go and wherever I can find some experience and some influence, anywhere pretty much. I'm just looking for new sources of inspiration. So I'm already thinking about the next record, making notes, just working on it already.

Metal Covenant: Have you written anything?

  • Nergal: Just something here and there, nothing really like this yet, no lyrics yet, just parts of it you know. I wrote down some ideas and I'm getting into some books now, I always go to London, to this library, I read whatever I like and I just get new stuff and go through it you know, just trying to find inspiration. So yeah, I'm pretty intensively thinking about it now actually.

Metal Covenant: What kind of books?

  • Nergal: All kinds, mainly occult books, all kinds of research, science and poetry, lost of poetry, lately I've discovered this guy called Shelly… his second name is Shelley (Percy Bysshe Shelley - MC), I don't remember his name now, I just got this book called Prometheus, and man, it's one of the best things I've ever read in my life. It's like very Blake and Milton inspired poetry. It's very luciferian in a sense, you know, and it's all written nice, in old English. I use many of these poetic ideas in my lyrics and I'm totally digging things like that.

Metal Covenant: As for musical inspiration, do you feel that there are any bands that have meant a lot for your music?

  • Nergal: Yeah, there are lots of important bands, I mean, there wouldn't be a Behemoth without Blasphemy, Beherit, Samael, Morbid Angel and Slayer of course. And I can tell you about growing up, and I was seven or nine and I was getting into metal but it's probably boring, whatever, these days it's still a lot of good music around you know, there aren't really many newcomers that are astonishing or anything, but still there's good music and I'm still looking for good music like pretty much everyday. You see, I work for a magazine in Poland too, Mystic, I get lots for free, you know, promos and shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, good one! Shit, shit, shit, so it's lots of shitty records or records that I find. Well, shitty is the wrong word, somebody has put lots of effort into the music and I don't want to say that it's shit, but it's not inspiring music you know. Well, it's not doing anything for me, I'm looking for a certain vibe in music, if I don't find this vibe it's just worthless to me. Music has to speak to you, say something you know.

Metal Covenant: Behemoth has progressed a lot over the years, do you see that there is anything more to it?

  • Nergal: I hope there is, I mean that's why we are here tonight, if everything was said, we wouldn't be talking tonight. I'm always looking to the future, to what the future might bring. Going into the studio for the next time to explore myself again and again and again to see when I drop you know what I mean? It's all about forcing and challenging myself mentally and physically. And I think we are reaching the limits right now, but still, it's great. All this experience of exploration is just thrilling every time. But in the end, as long as you just love your music and your band is your passion, how can you question and how can you doubt? This music feeds me, it gives me love, inspiration and motivation to go on. Just like every earthly and unearthly inspiration that you know… you can get.

Metal Covenant: Do you have any planned releases in the near future?

  • Nergal: Yeah, we just released a new EP, it's called Slaves Shall Serve, it's just a limited tour edition EP, I think we're gonna reprint it because it's sold out now. Now I'm working on a compilation, called Demonica, it's gonna include our first demo tapes, "From the Pagan Vastlands" and "Return of the Northern Moon", "Return of the Northern Moon" was the first one and "From the Pagan Vastlands" was the second one. With lots of extras, it's gonna be a really nice package, digipack with like a 40 pages booklet, it's gonna be great, but just for diehards. If you like Satanica and Demigod and that kind of records just forget it man, but if you're interested in exploring what was before that, it might be interesting for you. All the people that are really into the band as it was in the old days, not the technical stuff we do today, they will love it.

Metal Covenant: You put out a DVD recently, did it turn out the way you expected?

  • Nergal: Pretty much yeah, this far people love it, it's so provoking. It was risky putting out this DVD, man I can tell you, did you see the DVD?

Metal Covenant: Yeah yeah, I have seen it.

  • Nergal: Did you see the documentary?

Metal Covenant: Yeah.

  • Nergal: So then you know what I'm talking about. It's not everyday extreme serious black metal bands put out stuff like that. In most cases they don't have balls to do things like that, they do it of course, they fuck, they get drunk, they get into troubles, but they never film that, they are afraid their mommys or girlfriends or wives or dogs or whatever to see it. I don't give a fuck, we did it and you know, it was so much fun and people love it, everywhere people just love it and I'm surprised. And hopefully we did something refreshing for this market. And I get all these DVDs too and they're boring. I want to have DVDs like Slayer, Pantera and that kind of DVDs that kick ass. To see a real band there with all the craziness behind it, not just, you know, a live show, which is nicely manipulated so it's done in a studio probably, at least 50% of it is done in a studio. And that boring interview with no spiciness or anything, it's just, well, fuck that.

Metal Covenant: You've been touring a lot in the United States, what are the main differences between the U.S. and Europe?

  • Nergal: Getting into the US market at this stage, after what? 12 or 13 years, because Zos Kia Cultus was out in 2002 or 2003, I don't remember now, and we had been around for like 12 years by that moment and hadn't got our asses to US and it was getting frustrating more and more. It was great to finally get to the United States because there was a new market for us. People didn't see Behemoth there and I was like "shit, how come?" We've been fucking everywhere in Europe, we've played in every fucking shithole and getting to the US and playing, it was like, man, a huge country, like Europe and bigger and it's like discovering a world for the first time ever. And it's good, we just like it. And the sales we've been working on in Europe, it's good sales, but we did the same in three years in US and it's already topping the European sales. Behemoth is now bigger in US than it is in Europe. So man, you work harder and you gain. You see the facts and it's working, and that's what I like, when things increase.

Metal Covenant: Do you feel that you are using all your creativity in Behemoth or are you thinking of any sideprojects or something like that?

  • Nergal: I try to, but I just have a lack of time for anything. I don't even have time to sleep you know. It's just these last few days that I had 10 hours sleep every night and it's like… man I don't know, I just don't have any time. Maybe I'd like to, doing other stuff. I'm really into this Turbonegro kind of music and I like fucking Johnny Cash you know. Rock and roll, and I might even do rockabilly stuff you know. If I knew how to sing [laughs]. But anyway, it'd be cool and challenging and refreshing to do something on the side. But it's like, I'm 28 now, and this band is just increasing and developing with every fucking record, we're just growing bigger and bigger. When I retire, when I'm old, 40, 50, 60, when I'll be lame for black metal, then I might do something on the side, but there's no time now. I better just put all my effort in Behemoth now and kick ass, just do my best and work hard you know, because, what we do now is gonna pay off with the next record. What we do with the next record is gonna pay off on the record after the next record. And when the bad years come for this music, and they will come in 2, 3, 4, 5 years, when no one want to go and buy black or death metal albums, go to the shows, I want to remain one of these bands that people still get out and check. Like with Slayer, you know what I mean? It's like they've always been around… and Pantera and that kind of bands, they really never went down, they were always on the top you know. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.

Metal Covenant: You use a lot of Hebrew letters on your albums on album arts…

  • Nergal: (interrupts) I'm Jew…(laughs) No, I'm not..

Metal Covenant: So, what's the reason for that?

  • Nergal: If you check Satanica, Thelema 6, if you check Zos Kia and Demigod, check those records and you're gonna see lots of different cultural clash. Lots of different things, we just mix and try to give it a new quality to see things from a different prospect, you know what I mean? Using Hebrew letters, man, Hebrew is like, the whole western civilization is based on Hebrew, you know, I'm talking about the Christian civilization we're part of, you know, the Christian world. And even if we want or don't want it, we're part of it. It's 2005, almost 2006, it's all Christian roots, it's based on Christianity. It's so essential and so rootish for our culture. I just want to incorporate some of this influence in our music, that's what makes it funny, to play with it, to play with signs, you know what I mean? It's not saying we're jews, we're not, we're far from being that you know, we're just about the clash of different cultures you know, it's something that makes it more spicy and interesting, something that would kick your mind, just stopping your mind to make you think "what the fuck are they using on the album now?". Everyone is using English now, some bands use Latin, but Latin is so overused you know. Let's go for Hebrew, let's go for fucking Numerology, let's go for Enochian, let's go for Greek, you know, ancient Greek you know the famous recording from Satanica from Decade of Therion you know. And different stuff go through albums there's more than this. We've been using some French here and there, you know, some words, just anything man. Polish too, just anything that gives it a nice… bland you know, makes it spicy, more colourful.

Metal Covenant: Ok, thanks for doing this interview.

  • Nergal: Thanks.

Nergal of Behemoth sends his greetings....
Read an earlier interview with Behemoth »

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