Listen, we do OK in the readership department, but Christ knows, we’re no Metal Injection. We probably don’t even have as many readers as Hell Furnace. So when we hit up Mayhem‘s label, Season of Mist, to see if we could interview the band around the release of their latest album, Esoteric Warfare, we weren’t really expecting a response. But dip us in honey and feed us to the bees, cuz the Season of Mist folks not only wrote us back but hooked us up with Teloch, the band’s still-sorta-new guitarist. We’re not worthy!
Teloch answered all our questions via email, which is admittedly lamer than phone or Skype or in-person…but, it does give us the opportunity to tell you this: Teloch uses emoticons. He gave us the fucking winky sign at the end of this thing! And he didn’t even put devil horns on it! This changes my entire impression of black metal forever.
Anyway, we got the interview back a few days ago but decided to wait until Friday the 13th to post it, on account of it being the day of ultimate evil and all. Teloch answered all our questions except one that was specifically about Euronymous, which is fair enough, I guess. Nobody likes to talk about the dead guy they replaced.
Oh, did I mention that Esoteric Warfare is out now? Yep, it finally dropped on June 10th here in the States and everywhere else on June 6th. If your life seemed a little more miserable than usual this week, it’s probably because there was just a little more darkness in the world. You can stream the full album exclusively on Terrorizer…another site that probably gets more traffic than ours. Bastards.
Weirdest Band: You’ve worked with drummer Hellhammer for many years on other projects before you joined Mayhem. How did the two of you first meet?
Teloch: We first met when we where doing a warm-up gig for Mayhem with Nidingr [Teloch’s previous band]. But it wasn’t until later we started hanging out.
WB: What was your first-ever show with Mayhem like? Where did you play?
T: It was strange, we played here in Norway at a place called Jessheim, where Mayhem had played a gig maaaany years ago. Of course since it was my first gig with them there was some nerves involved, as it always is performing the first gig with a new band.
WB: Were those early Mayhem records an influence on your band, Nidingr?
T: Haven’t really thought about it before but I’m pretty sure it was one of the influences, together with the rest of the Norwegian Black Metal bands, but we have never tried to sound like Mayhem, that’s for sure.
WB: How does Esoteric Warfare compare to the rest of the Mayhem catalog?
T: It’s hard for me to say, ’cause the only Mayhem albums I have listened to top to bottom is Mysteriis and Ordo, the other albums went completely under the radar for me. Also I have only listened to the songs they wanted me to play live.
WB: What guitars and other gear (pedals, effects, etc.) did you use during the recording of Esoteric Warfare?
WB: The first song released, “Psywar,” talks about how modern society brainwashes people into submission. Is that what the title of the album is referring to: that our governments have declared war on people’s ability to think for themselves?
T: In a way, it’s more like there is this constant secret war in the world all the time. Also it’s about mind control and military control, secret societies.
WB: What do you think about the black metal scene these days? Are there any bands doing work you admire?
T: I have no idea, I don’t follow the scene at all and have no idea what’s going on. I would say there is probably nothing worth following, since most albums released is shit.
WB: What do you think about bands like Deafheaven and Amesoeurs that use elements of black metal but mix with them different styles like shoegaze and punk? Do you appreciate bands that like to experiment with black metal, or are you more of a purist?
T: Don’t know the bands you mentioning and have no idea what shoegaze is, but sounds like a fucking mongoloid looking at his shoe for no reason. People can do what the fuck they want, I really don’t care as long as I don’t have to listen to it, really. To me, when you say experiment and black metal together in a sentence, it’s no longer black metal. To me black metal has strict rules and codes to follow for it being black metal, but that’s also the reason why I quit playing/listening to black metal years ago, not that fond of rules, especially when it comes to music, it constricts you. But that’s just my opinion, and it’s not important.
WB: Mayhem’s early history has been sensationalized in the press. Do you find that some of the band’s fans are more into the mythology surrounding Mayhem than the actual music?
T: Yup, and looks like it’s going to be like that forever. A solution would probably be if the other members stopped talking about the old days and start focusing on what’s in front of them. 😉