Gaahl - Gorgoroth

October 9, 2003

I listened to your CD last night and that was my introduction to black metal.

It must be a shock then.

No, actually I got into it. It was something new and different.

It's always refreshing to have someone who is not into the genre to give feedback.

How old is your average fanbase?

I don't know. Maybe 22. I think it has quite an appeal to older people which explains the large possible age difference. The extreme metal and the goth thing. I think when you look at some individuals, they are around 35 years and some are around 20 maybe.

The black metal scene started in Norway about 10 years ago. Can you tell me how you guys got involved in that type of music?

I've always had a fascination for extreme metal after some magical things that happened back in 1986 when I was subjected to cruelty and some other things back then which really shaped me when it came to later. I'm very much narrow minded when it comes to music so I guess the extreme metal thing also had a certain appeal on me. If I understood the question right, when it came to 1982 and I was that old that I was able to perform as a musician myself, at the same time I was a self-proclaimed satanist already at that point of time and I was into the form aspect of black metal. It all came down to all metal.

I was going to ask about that. I'm not a Christian myself being a Choctaw Indian even though I live in a country where there are millions of them. What exactly is the attraction to this biblical character Satan? Is it because they don't really touch a lot on him in their Bible and he's something of a mystery?

No, I would say that I'm a satanist from a neo-agnostic perspective. It gives meaning to have an idea of Satan as a part of a whole in which I have a concept of a god which is not synonymous with a devil or Jehovah. I am a satanist which is also intent on worshipping and fearing a god beyond Jehovah. This means in what I already said, Satan represents something as easy as everything. It represents resistance towards everything that is weak and perverted and ugly in man. Satan knows no mercy. He represents with power, survival of the strongest. Thus it has an appeal to us. The perspective that can call all us satanists.

I never really got into Christianity because it just isn't my thing.

It's universal principles. It's the study of the basics of at least Norwegian state Protestant esoteric Christianity. You can find parallels in the social democratic systems of politics. How we have it here in Norway in a secularized form. The universal principles are really about in the end how very many phenomena can get different ways of expressing themselves so if it even is Christianity or a truly Moslem way of presenting it, it should have value even though you are an Indian who has been growing up amongst Christians because you're dealing with universal and timeless precepts.

I've always found Christians to be very interesting people but the way they practice their religion is a little bizarre sometimes.

People can be bizarre so I don't think Norwegians can be blamed for it. Some people have an ability to end up perverted and distorted and then of course they can use religion as an excuse.

Or something to hide behind when they're doing some really fucked up shit.

Yes, of course. Of course. You have a problem in San Francisco. The Catholic community in San Francisco. The media here the last two years have been writing about this. The Pope has been commenting on it.

Some of the priests have been fondling children. It's been in the newspapers all over. You get these problems when priests are denied any sexual contact. That's a totally unnatural human state. Everyone needs social contact, love, and sexual relationships.

At least people should have the ability to choose themselves. People fail to see that they actually have the ability. The priests can of course at whichever point of time step out of this situation and live another life. It's just when humans fail to see that they have a choice in this situation, then they can become desperate and dangerous. I guess this person was a failure before becoming a priest so he would have lived another messed up life even if not being a priest. Maybe.

I guess a lot of people go into the nunnery or priesthood because they can't exist in a normal society.

Yeah, or maybe because of some inbuilt or some expectations which they have been building up and internalizing through childhood and through parents and other people figures in their early years.

You guys have a pretty healthy discography. You've put out six albums and Twilight Of The Idols is the latest one. Tell us a bit about the album.

It's pure Satan worship put in a metal form.

When you go to record an album of this nature, where do you go to record it? Do you go to an area that lends itself for a certain mood?

No, the foremost to take into consideration is that if the producers are competent enough. If their early productions have been giving a hint about the potential. We take into consideration the studio and the equipment and then of course where the studio is. Not like we need black cats and candles in the studio to perform but of course it's a good thing for some period when you have someone being in prison that it's a lot better that the studio during the process is not located so far away from the prison for instance. Other times for instance, Incipit Satan, that was a good thing for us then just to leave Norway and be in Sweden and be 100 percent focused and work in a shorter period of time and be able to get it done and go back. Now we worked from May to January. I went and left Sweden in January after spending seven or eight months.

Is this where you recorded the latest album?

No, we recorded in Bergen because we had problems with a person being in prison and we needed also to be able to work a long time on this album at the same time. Then we did the mastering process in Polar Studios in Stockholm.

The prison actually allows people to work on albums while they are doing time?

No, it's different from the USA I guess in many way when it comes to how the courts condemn people. For instance you can't get three times 99 years here. That is anyway unreasonable and a double standard. I would vote for that we would have a more Iranian/Saudi Arabian/American with things. Some people should be put to death and far too few people here are. I think it's better to of course kill people than giving people three times 99 years. You don't get three times 99 years here either. The basic summary of what I'm trying to say is that in the court system, things run a bit different here than in the USA.

Here in the USA, when you go to prison they will give you 20 life sentences because I don't know if you have parole in Norway but we do here. If you spend so many years in prison and behave yourself, they can let you out early and you serve parole. We seem to have the highest crime rate in the world and have more people locked up in prison than anywhere else. Because of overcrowding, sometimes they let out dangerous criminals out early. Sometimes they give multiple life sentences so the assholes never get out.

We're not able to kill people but there's more of a high focus on therapy. For instance people who get the hardest convictions, they more often have done a particular kind of crime for instance like mutilating children and then they focus very much on the ability to record dialogues with psychiatrists if there's a problem.

I'm not a big fan of the death penalty.

It raises some basic ethical implications of course.

The problem lies in sometimes executing innocent people. The justice seems some serious improvement before they continue executing people.

Yeah and there are things here in Norway which could have been different as well. The construction of the court. How it's built up and et cetera.

Are you guys doing any touring in support of the album?

It depends. We are dealing and we have had lots of requests. It's very many lousy offerings we have gotten. The thing is that everyone here has lots of things to do. They cannot leave the country. It would be kind of wrong for us to leave the country and lose money at the same time. We have reasonable demands but if the foreign people can't meet these demands than we won't do so. We're constantly in dialogue with people about touring but we do some festivals now and then. I think we're going to East Berlin in March and we do Austria and some things. They're requesting a tour but it depends if they can meet our demands. Then it will be something from the 9th of November but we have to see.

You got your band name from Tolkien.

Yes, that is correct.

Did your nicknames arise from that as well?

That came from some imperative voices, it was not from Tolkien that we came up with our names.

So you guys are fans of Tolkien's work.

I used to be into these things for some time years ago. I don't have time for such kind of literature.

You don't have time to read anymore.

I do but I'm not sitting with 1,000 pages of Tolkien and fantasy things. I don't have time for it. It's not really bad but I have to prioritize.

Do you get your lyrical writing inspiration from social issues or things you read?

Yes, both. This is of course things which are social issues and religion timeless and universal questions. Yes, of course things which interest us obviously. But where we get the inspiration is a difficult question.

Well, thank you very much for the interview. It was very interesting.

Good luck with your magazine. Take care and hail Satan.