Dimmu Borgir 2003

Another find from the archives is Dan's interview with Silenoz.

11/17/20038 min read

Conducted 11/16/2003 by Dan Barkasi

It was kind of a rainy day on Sunday, November 16th. If you think about it, it’s kind of good for the mood of a concert I would be attending that night. The kings of black metal themselves, Dimmu Borgir, were in town for a show! This was easily one of my most anticipated shows of the year for me. To top it off, I had been able to set up an interview with Silenoz (guitars) himself! I sat down with him before the show and chatted with him for a while. He’s a really cool guy, and the interview was fun! I hope you enjoy it.

Dan: To start off, how have the sales of Death Cult Armageddon been so far?

Silenoz: It’s been overwhelming. Probably close to 250,000 copies already. So, it’s huge!

Dan: How did the making of the video for "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse" go?

Silenoz: Ah, it was a pretty new experience. We spent 3 days shooting the stuff. It was a lot of hard work, but we worked together with a professional director and he had all the visions we needed to get what we also wanted from the video, so it’s a great, new experience.

Dan: How was it working with the orchestra of Prague?

Silenoz: It was the same as when we worked with the orchestra last time. They basically get the notes served on a silver platter and then they play through the songs a couple of times, and then they nail it down to tape. So, it was done in 1 to 2 days.

Dan: Is there any kind of process that you guys go through when you write a song?

Silenoz: Eh, not really. We just sit down and whatever we think sounds good, we try and arrange it from different angles first, and then we find one version that we all think is best. Sometimes it can go quick, and sometimes it takes weeks.

Dan: What are some of your biggest musical influences?

Silenoz: Mine are pretty much heavily plastered in the 80’s. But I listen to a lot of different music, ya know. Everything from classical soundtracks, metal. Anything.

Dan: What do you think the key to your bands longevity is?

Silenoz: To not give a fuck about what other people think and expect. Ya know, we’ve always done what we want, and that should be the main key for any band that wants to succeed. And even if they don’t succeed, that’s still the main priority. To prioritize your own band instead of thinking about other stuff, so that’s how I think. A lot of hard work, and of course a bit of luck as well, being in the right place at the right time. Continue what you think is right for you.

Dan: What do you want to portray with your lyrics?

Silenoz: Hmm, I guess religious independence.

Dan: To me, your music is very complex. Are there any kind of complications you guys have playing it live?

Silenoz: Well, we do it as we’ve always done it, live. Everything is live when we play. We could of course have done stuff on tape, ya know. But it would take away from some of that brutality and aggression away from the live sets. We’re a band that has 2 sides to it. One that is on the records, and one that’s live. It’s two different things.

Dan: In what ways do you think you guys have progressed from your previous album? (Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia)

Silenoz: It’s basically like night and day. I don’t want to compare us to Judas Priest or anything, but if you listen to their first album, and then you have Painkiller, which is two different bands, ya know? I guess we also become harder and harder for each year, even though some people think we have become softer. I don’t know what’s wrong with their ears, but you can easily hear the huge progression.

Dan: What was it like working with Abbath? (ex-Immortal who did guest vocals on Death Cult Armageddon)

Silenoz: He’s a very professional dude. Immortal and Dimmu have this mutual respect thing going on for a couple years now, and it just was simply awesome that he was interested in guesting on the album! He was totally up for it.

Dan: Do you think he’ll be used on any other future recordings?

Silenoz: It’s hard to say. I don’t think so, but maybe on the next album we’ll have some other guests. You never know.

Dan: Do you have any plans after this US tour is done?

Silenoz: Yeah, we’re gonna have January off, basically. Then we’re gonna go to Japan and Australia in February, and then South American in March or April sometime, and then we’re looking for maybe to do another tour here in May sometime, before festivals.

Dan: If you had to describe every band member in one word, what would it be?

Silenoz: Excessive! laughs

Dan: What do you think of today’s metal scene?

Silenoz: I think it’s a lot broader and wider than it was some years ago. A lot of new bands coming out everywhere. Of course not all of it is sort of good. I think it has a very wide spectrum of different kinds of bands. I always tend to look for the bands that have something different, something special. There’s a lot of, especially the American so called “nu-metal” bands sound all the same. That’s bad. That’s where you have to try and find your own sound, which is really hard. Really hard to capture the originality of your own sound. That’s where you have to work hard.

Dan: You guys are definitely one of the best at it!

Silenoz: Thanks man!

Dan: You’re welcome!

Dan: How long have you been playing music?

Silenoz: Ah, about 12 years.

Dan: Where do you see your band in the next few years?

Silenoz: Doing the same as we do now. If we manage to stay successful, that’s fine, but as long as we’re happy with the product that we do in the studio, that’s all that matters to us.

Dan: Making it the music industry is pretty tough, obviously. Is it worth all the struggle?

Silenoz: Yeah, I would say so. I mean, when things go bad. A lot of negative things happening very often, but at the same time, when you play in front of crowds that really get into your music, and you see that they’re happy and satisfied with your work, that makes up for all the bad things.

Dan: If you weren’t a successful musician, what do you think you’d be doing?

Silenoz: I’d probably be an unsuccessful musician! laughs I don’t know. It’s hard to say. I’ve always been into creating stuff, so something in that area. I would definitely not have a 9 to 5 job, that’s for sure.

Dan: How do you enjoy life on the road?

Silenoz: It’s a lot of waiting and sitting around. So, that’s where alcohol comes into the picture! laughs But it’s the same when things are negative. When you play shows and they go well over, then you don’t really think about all the negative aspects of the touring. I fucking hate flying, so I rather like it on the bus than flying to every show.

Dan: What do you think the weirdest thing you’ve seen a fan do?

Silenoz: Ah, a lot of different stuff. I can’t really come up with anything...

Dan: Too much stuff? laughs

Silenoz: laughs Yeah, there’s too much! We have different kinds of fans at all ages, basically. Parents bring their kids and paint their faces. Some people want their bodies to be signed here and there laughs. It’s all different kinds of stuff.

Dan: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Silenoz: I don’t really have much spare time, because I take part of a little of the administrative part of the band, which is also a lot of work. Apart from that, I enjoy fishing and trips to the woods and stuff. Apart from that, it’s just probably the same as anybody else…party or watch TV, or whatever.

Dan: What do you think is the difference of European metal crowds and American metal crowds?

Silenoz: I think the American crowd, at least our kind of crowd for this kind of music is less spoiled than the crowd in Europe. Especially in parts of Germany, parts of mainland Europe. They have a lot of bands touring all the time. I believe for this kind of music in the States it’s less bands like us coming and playing, so you can see a big difference between the two of them.

Dan: If you could tour with any band, past or present, who would it be?

Silenoz: We would have liked to tour with W.A.S.P. in 84 when they did their first tour. That would have probably been something really killer. Right now, we’re trying to maybe get a support slot for a huge band next year. I don’t know which one yet. Judas Priest is going to have their reunion tour. If we could get a part of that, that would be fucking awesome!

Dan: What’s your opinion on the whole MP3 thing?

Silenoz: It has its good side in a way, especially for bands who don’t have a deal or anything like that. It’s basically the same thing as…I don’t see the difference in going into a store, nicking a CD, or nicking it from the internet. Same thing, really. You don’t support the band, and that’s why I always buy CDs. I’ve never downloaded anything from the Internet. I just have a few burned CDs. I always make sure I get original albums. I want to support the bands.

Dan: Like me personally, I’ll get some tracks to see what it’s like, and if I like it, I’ll buy it.

Silenoz: Yeah, exactly!

Dan: What is your favorite place to play?

Silenoz: Certain places in the states that’s really good for us. L.A., we played in Columbus a 2 years ago. South America is usually really good. There’s parts in every continent that have really good crowds.

Dan: Do you have any favorite TV shows or movies?

Silenoz: I used to be totally into Seinfeld and that kind of comedy. Conan O’Brien is a good talk show, I think. Movies, I love Casino, Goodfellas, more like the mob movies, ya know? I’m still into that.

Dan: Are there any kinds of music that your fans would be surprised that you’re into?

Silenoz: Well, I just bought a second hand vinyl of German Calvary marchers! laughs So I guess that’s something that people wouldn’t think expect I’d be into.

Dan: What attributes do you think make your band stand out from the rest?

Silenoz: Basically that we have our own sound. We have borrowed a lot of different sounds and made it into our own kind of soup. You can hear the 80’s influence in our music. You can also hear the traditional black metal roots. You can hear hints death metal, and stuff like that. So it’s just how you make it sound your own that’s important.

Dan: Is there anything you’d like to add?

Silenoz: Umm, not really. I hope we’ll be doing a better show here in Pittsburgh than we did two years ago, because that was really bad. So I look forward to playing tonight and I hope that people show up too!

Dan: Thanks for the interview!

Silenoz: You’re welcome!