Denial Of God
Interview taken from the Cross Of Black Steel magazine Issue # 2, done by Mirgilus in August 2006.
Hello Azter! Let’s start this interview with not ordinary questions. Are you ready?
Hell-o Mirgilus! I am ready!
When and where you born? Tell me something about your childhood. Are you a good boy?
In Sønderborg in 1974. I have nothing to tell about my childhood, something must have gone terribly wrong there! And therefore I am not a “good” boy...
What is your real name? What does your name Azter mean and where come from?
I will not reveal my real name to anyone in an interview. The name Azter comes from a spirit which Ustumallagam (another spirit name) had contact with at a very early age. A frightening experience I can tell you! Supposedly Azter means “hate” but who knows what tricks the spirits played that night?
Have you a brother/sister? What they think about your music?
Yes, I have a brother and he is seriously into what I am doing...
Your qualification (school)? What kind of job do you have?
This is quite irrelevant, isn´t it? I am full time Metal & Horror!
When get in touch with metal music first time?
This was in 1986. The first Metal band I heard was Iron Maiden but I did not like it initially (although I got into it shortly after). What really changed my life was Venom´s “Black Metal” album. I was deeply fascinated by the brutality and mostly the Darkness of this album. One might wonder why I got into this at such an early age with the terrifying power of Darkness this album burst out of the speakers with...But maybe it really WAS the Darkness that captured me...
First real metal concert in your life:
King Diamond in Copenhagen 1990. Horror make-up, theatrics, blood, a flaming goat skull...Free entrance – those were the days!
First metal album in your life:
I really do not recall which was the first Metal album I owned, I wish I did! But I already loved music and listened to my Kraftwerk “Electric Cafe” LP all the time. It still rules. But probably I would consider Venom´s “Black Metal” LP as my first metal album, even if I did not own it as the first one.
CD or LP?
When you starting to play on guitar? Is DOG your first metal band?
I started playing guitar in late 1990, before this I played some bass (and still do occasionally). And indeed, Denial Of God was and still is my first Metal band and my first band at all for that matter!
Where come the band’s name Denial Of God? Why was this chosen as the name of the band?
Ustumallagam invented this name. We wanted a Satanic name and therefore Denial Of God was most fitting. It is the denial of any holy dogma.
What are your thoughts on the nowadays black metal scene comparing with the early ’90?
It is getting worse and worse, like any other music scene!
What are your views on the use of corpsepaint?
Too many bands have used their so-called corpsepaint without really knowing why and just because it was the “right” thing to do. Do not say you use corpsepaint if you do not look like a corpse, corpses do not have nice artistic drawings on their faces! The word “corpsepaint” has been totally abused for 15 years now and I prefer to refer to our own make-up as Horror make-up.
What would you say your main influences are? (musically and non musically)
Musically we were influenced by Alice Cooper, Death SS, Mayhem, Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Infernäl Mäjesty, Hellhammer, Bathory etc. to name a few of the most important ones. I think these were some of the most important ones because they were all not only great bands/artists but also all of them had an evil edge to them (to say the least). But I am sure there are more influences than those because we all listened (and still do) to Dio, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, W.A.S.P. and so on. And let us not forget bands like Satan´s Host and Ripper! Non-musically our main sources of inspiration have always been any kind of Horror (movies, books, comics), occultism and just a general fascination with “the unknown”. Take a trip down memory lane on the cemetery...
Do the members (past and present members) of DOG see much of each other outside the band?
This depends on how busy we are with other things, but not so much currently since only I and Ustumallagam live close to each other.
What are your opinions on Steve Sylvester?
A true original and a very inspiring person! Very charismatic on stage! Vampire supreme!
What are your opinions on Ustumallagam?
Extremely dedicated, original, insane, fantastic singer and best friend! 50% of DOG!
What are your religious views?
How can one answer a question like that? Let´s just say I like to learn and evolve...
Which one song would you like played at your funeral?
Mercyful Fate´s “The Oath” – how amazing it would be to have this particular one played in a church!
What is your most treasured possession?
Without doubt my music collection!
Which one band would you most like to support?
Denial Of God is not a support band.
Which three albums would you choose if you were stranded on the proverbial desert island?
This is one of the hardest questions you could ever ask me! 3 would not be enough! Right now I would probably say Death SS “In Death of Steve Sylvester”, Mercyful Fate “Don´t break the Oath” and Mayhem “De Mysteriis dom Sathanas”...but then what about all the Alice Cooper albums???
Which one song do you wish you had written?
It is impossible to name just one song! But let´s say it would have been pretty cool to have written “Black Sabbath”, right?
What are your views on drugs?
My views on drugs are very mixed. I have done them and they have done me no harm. But I have seen them do harm to others close to me.
What was the atmosphere like during the recording sessions of “The Dawn of Aemizaez”, one of my all time favourite demo tape? Did you drink, etc. or do you stay sober?
It was an exciting time, recording in a studio for the first time. The engineer was not used to extreme music and he thought we were quite insane, but I think he ended up getting the point of the songs. We made many mistakes during this recording but one always learns from mistakes.We did not drink, we never drink when recording! Or when playing live for that matter!
A lot of bands are using female vocals for speeches, etc. What are your thoughts on this?
People should do what they feel is right. I surely don´t like most of it, but I can assure you, there are a lot of “we hate female vocals” bands who are just as bad or even worse. It all depends on the band and especially the song in question, it is as simple as that.
As DOG are a Horror metal band, what are your thoughts on Satanism? Does it bother you?
It does not bother me, I live it. And it is a part of DOG as well, that is for sure.
What would you say DOG stand for?
Metal, Horror, occultism...
There is a lot of talk about being “true” in the scene at the moment…what would you say is a “true” black metaller?
I am not a part of that so-called scene! Because I am Metal!
How would you describe your character?
Humorous, cynic, pessimistic, depressive, dark....but maybe you already got this by now?
What do you consider your best gig to date?
I do not have a particular favourite show, they are all great experiences in their own way! But of course I would have to say one of the recent ones as we are a much better band now than in the past and the show is getting better all the time.
What is the next saga of DOG?
This is definitely the “The Horrors of Satan” album which has been recorded recently. It will be released to haunt the earth on October 31st on Painkiller Records, a monument of Satanic Horror! Before this we will release the “A Night in Transylvania” single and when the album is out we are planning to go on a small European tour. After this we will record new material for a couple of split releases and for 2007 we are planning a tour in Australia and hopefully other places as well. So, there is really something happening now and we will have a lot to do for the next long time!
If you could choose to have your way with any woman in the world who would you choose?
The Scarlet Whore of Babylon...
Who would you most like to kill?
Noone in particular, but what about all the people poisoning Metal with their shitty bands, labels and releases?
How do you deal with nu metallers and trendys, etc?
I do not deal with them at all! Let them all fall into desolate oblivion!
What is the worst band you have ever heard?
Too many shitty bands that I always forget the names of because I rather think of all the GODLY bands! But, probably some Hungarian wanna-be Black Metal!
How many Alice Cooper and Death SS records do you own?
Approx. 30 of Death SS (this is pretty much all there is) and around 180 of Alice Cooper (I´ve still got a long way to go). This number does not count tapes, DVDs, CDs and such. This would increase the number somewhat. Some very rare and interesting releases in there, but I am always expanding when possible...
What’s the maddest thing you’ve ever done?
Founding Denial Of God and keeping it alive for 15 years so far!
Do you believe in ghosts/spirits? Have you had any experiences with them first hand?
Yes, I do believe in them because my experiences tell me they do exist. But this is not something I wish to share with anyone in an interview, sorry.
What is your definition of pain?
Could you please talk about the early activity of Horror Records? When was it founded and with what intentions/aims?
I started Horror Records in 1997 with the intention to release vinyl of bands that really deserved it. At this point in time vinyl was often being ignored by other labels and also most labels around only cared for commercialism and quantity and neglected true quality. Needless to say the situation for vinyl is better today but the labels around today are even worse and everyday there are millions of new releases that never should have seen the light of day! Quality just isn´t there and I have no idea what is going on in all these people´s heads with all the worthless bands they are trying to hype as the next big sensation – and this goes for both major and underground labels! Another aim with Horror Records was to do a distribution of hard-to-find releases because there were no labels /distributions in Denmark who did anything like that. So starting a distribution was natural, also because it is hard to spread your releases only through retail or wholesale. Trades are necessary to get your releases out in the world.
You had mostly LPs and MCs released. I have no knowledge about you getting released CDs. Don't you like CDs?
I strongly prefer vinyl over any other format and so far I have not released any CDs on Horror Records. Everything has been released as vinyl except Sodomizer´s “The Dead Walk” which was a tape-only release. This was because tapes are extremely cheap to produce compared to vinyl and this release was meant mainly as a promotional tool to make Sodomizer more well known before I will release their second album “The Dead shall rise to Kill”. This will be released on LP and right now the plans are to have this one released on CDas well to further the band as much as possible. But I think this will be the only CD release for quite some time as I have no plans for other releases to come out on CD format.
Are you satisfied with your releases? Do you like them? Do you often listen to them at home?
I am very satisfied with all my releases. If I had not been happy with them I would not have released them in the first place! They all mean something special to me and this is the only way to go as a label. I have listened to all releases many times of course. Actually I listen so much to the recordings before they are released that I do not listen so much to them right after they have been released. But all of them are picked out and listened to again from time to time and they still never seem to disappoint me! I love all releases on Horror Records, it is as simple as that!
Which album released by Horror Records do you consider to be the best and the worst?
There are no “best” or “worst” records because as I just said, I love them all. Every single release has its own unique character and this is what I treasure about them! No release is like the other. Actually I think the releases I do all come to mean more and more to me as time passes by, because they all have stood the test of time for me and this proves that I was right in releasing them in the first place.
What are the main criteria when deciding to enter into a band on a contract?
If I would have to say one thing it would be that they simply have to have “it”. If a band evokes feelings and emotions in me and the material does not wear out after a few listens, then I know they have to be on Horror Records! This is the real criteria for me. Of course I love occult and horror bands, but basically I will release anything that gives me a true kick in the head! Music that makes me obsessed with it and makes me listen to it again and again. A band has to be original in some way and give me something that has not been done a million times before! And you mentioned the word “contract”, but so far I have not used written contracts with anyone. This has not been necessary so far.
Which one your released materials was the best selling and which was the worst selling?
I still think the fastest selling release was the NunSlaughter/Grand Belial´s Key “Satan is Metal´s Master”/”Sperm of the Antichrist” 7” EP I released in 2001. Because it was one of my biggest editions (999 copies) and it sold out in almost no time. This can be traced back not only to the musical quality of that release but also because it was at a time where I was expanding a lot contact-wise and also the market was not so overcrowded as it is now, 5 years later! Of course these bands were also not totally unknown by the time I released this record which made it easier to get rid of. I have no “worst” selling records because all past releases are sold out by now. Furthermore not all editions have been of the same quantity so it is hard to compare the sales really. Naturally it takes a longer time to sell out of a release by an unknown band than the slightly more well known ones, but so far all my releases have sold out sooner or later except for the last few ones which are still available for the time being. But these will be sold out in the future too, so no flops here!
The Horror Records materials are of high level not only musically but as far as the outlook is concerned, too. Do you like when somebody gives attention to the outlook of the releases? What do you think about those, which came out on the market with a simple black and white xerox cover, which contain minimal information?
Yes, I think it is important to care about ALL aspects of the releases! But this is again a very individual thing. Some layouts can be very fancy while some are just plain black and white covers with almost no information, and sometimes this works for some bands. But in general I must say labels and bands are very sloppy with their covers and artworks! The first two releases on Horror Records were indeed just plain xeroxed fold-out sleeves, but when I look at them now I still think this artwork and way of doing them suits these particular releases well. At least I must say xeroxed covers often add a bit to the “obscurity” of the record. Nowadays my sleeves are all done professionally and many of them come in gatefold sleeves because this is a great thing that also looks impressive. But, I always decide together with the bands what should be done, after all I do consider the releases to be their releases and they should be able to tell me what they want. I am a musician myself and I have also hated it in the past when labels did not release Denial Of God records or CDs the way they were supposed to look! It is a matter of respect for the artists in question! But to come back to the art of covers – I still prefer black/white artworksd with almost no information over any computer-generated crap with thousands of pictures and colors blended together. This not only kills the overall impression – it also kills the band´s individual identity from a visual point of view!
Horror Records offers distribution services, too. Is this necessary for keeping the record label alive?
Yes, it really is. I started the distribution because I wanted to make some of the obscure releases around available in Denmark as noone else was carrying them. But, I soon realised that it was also necessary if I wanted to keep Horror Records alive. It is just impossible to get rid of bigger editions if you only do retail and wholesales because almost no distribution dares to buy releases from unknown bands, even if their quality is superior. This is sad indeed, but true! This is not really a big problem if it wasn´t for the fact that most of the stuff I am offered in trade is of such lousy quality that I do not care to trade with these labels! Another reason why it can sometimes take some time to get a release spread well. But I refuse to fill my stock with generic shit because I neither like it nor can I get rid of it!
How much time of a day does the work at Horror Records take?
This varies from day to day, depending on the number of emails, orders, trades, packages received etc., but it sure as hell does take a lot of time and sometimes I really wonder why I keep on doing it!
What Hungarian bands do you know except the mighty Tormentor? Is there a chance that you enter into a contract with some other Hungarian band, too?
I treasure Pokolgèp a lot, especially “Totális Metál”! I don´t think there is a big chance that I will get into releasing a new Hungarian band because the recent demos and albums I have heard from there have ALL been minor – and sometimes major – disasters! Totally useless “music”! But, if a band from Hungary would be able to REALLY deliver the goods then it could happen of course!
What are your near future releases? Could you recommend them to the readers?
My future release schedule curently looks as follows:
Satan´s Host “Metal from Hell” picture LP – a true and outstanding Black/Power Metal classic!
Sodomizer “The Dead shall rise to Kill” LP + CD – their second album of catchy and unrelenting Satanic Speed Metal!
Death SS “In Death of Steve Sylvester” picture LP – classic Horror Metal album, one of the best ever!
Furthermore I will release picture disc versions of the 7” EPs of Impaler, Abysmal Grief and NunSlaughter/Slaughter. And there are some other releases being planned right now, all of them will be outstanding!!!
Thanks for your answers and good luck for Horror Records and Denial Of God in the future! As a conclusion, is there anything you would like to add?
Thanx a lot for the interview, the first one in a while for me. I am looking forward to your new issue! Ghouls should check out our websites at www.denialofgod.net & www.myspace.com/denialofgod + www.horrorrecords.com & www.myspace.com/thetruehorrorrecords because music speaks louder than words!