Watain remains one of the few heralds of the dangerous sickness that floats from the righteous BLACK METAL temple. In the sixth month of the third year, the band once again entered the infamous Necromorbus Studio to record their second fullength masterpiece, which after three years of composing finally had grown into it’s full abominable shape. The end result became "Casus Luciferi", eigth gospels of impurest BLACK METAL fanaticism. After this release in the end of 2004, the "Rebirth Of Dissection Tour" was done throughout Europe together with mighty Dissection and Hungary was for sure on of the better gigs on the tour!!
Hello Erik, this is your first interview for a Transylvanian zine, so let's start at the beginning. I have read in your biography, that ”Watain crawled out from Satan’s cunt in 1998”. Tell me something about the early years, who was the charter member of the band, when did you get in touch one with the other? Had the band suffer any line up changes through the years?
Watain was born nearly seven cursed years ago, out from the coalescense of two underground bands from the city of Uppsala, Sweden. Ever since we embarked on this burning path we have had the blessing of Darkness to move onward victoriously. Each stone and each nail in the structure of Watain has been forged and placed with determination and a constant yearning for the higher. For each day we grow into something more gruesome, stronger and dangerous, constantly feeding on the restless fanaticism chanelled through our work… Watain is the spawn of the snakes inside us, both it's exhalation and it's nourishment. It is a destructive circle of orobourian kind; constantly breeding, constantly dying and constantly resurrected, maintaining the cycle with ONE wish as it's fuel; to channel and honour the powers of Satanas, to grow like cancer into the tissue of this disgusting scene. Regarding the line-up, the trinity of Watain constitutes the three poles of an inverted triangle, throughout which the energies of our art manifests and take form. Each pole is of equal relevance, as their respective characteristics uphold the demoniac cycle of recieving, adjusting and manifesting. Blom was kicked out at an early state, as soon as we realized that it was this Trinity that actually was Watain, and that we could not work as a real band with a permanent fourth member. We have however borrowed session members from Funeral Mist and Malign for live-performances.
I know the name „Watain” came from a classic song of the legendary Von, but what is the meaning of this word? This is not an English word, is it?
”This wicked child lay in shallow, crowded graves. This unholy place is where the black sacrifices are performed. Here is where He kills…”
The first Watain release was the “Go fuck your jewish God”, rehearsal demo. Tell me all the necessary info about this tape. How many copies were sold out?
This tape was just spread in some few copies to close allies and tapetraders, it contained 1 track recorded on a 4-channel homestudio (“When stars no more shine”) and 4 rehearsal tracks (On horns impaled, Spawn of Black Fire, Midnight Possession, The mightiest of maledictions). Out of the five songs of the tape, just one -On horns impaled- survived to the present day.
After that, the band came out with a live tape called „Black Metal Sacrifice”. How many copies were sold out? When and where was it recorded? This release includes a Bloodsoil cover, „Sons Of Fucking Hell”, which appears exclusively on the BM Sacrifice tape. I’m a great fan of Bloodsoil, do I have the possibility to hear this song on any Watain re-release stuff as bonus track or in live performances?
The “Black Metal Sacrifice” tape was just as “GFYJG” meant to be spread in our circles, not really as an official release. The recording was done on a gig we did together with Malign and Dark Funeral in Uppsala, 1999 I think… Strange to hear you are a great fan of Bloodsoil, since that was the very unknown band I played in for some years before Watain, and never released anything with. (I have some bootleg rehearsal tapes…, -ed) I do not think we’ll play that song live again, no.
The first official release was „The Essence Of Black Purity” Ep by Grim Rune Prod. I don’t have your first 3 releases in my collection, is there a possibility that you'll re-release the first 2 tapes and this 7” Ep in any format in the future??
The old releases will stay what they are; monuments of the past, remembered by some, unnoticed by others. We do not intend to re-release any of these outputs, as we believe our new material is far more interesting. But who knows…
The first full length album, „Rabid Death’s Curse”, was re-released in 2004 by Drakkar. Tell me all info about the re-released version, how many copies were put out? Why was the Sabbat cover(Curdle the Blood) put as bonus on the CD, which originally appeared in LP version?
The new edition of Rabid Death’s Curse is not limited whatsoever, it is meant to be available at all times. The reason for the reissue was that we originally thought that the 1000 copies that it was first pressed in would be enough, but after a while the demand got much greater and we decided to let the curse spread further… The Sabbat cover was only featured on the vinyl that End All Life released in 2000, while the new CD version features a cover of the old Dödheimsgard track “When heavens end”.
I know you are a great worshipper of Sabbat’s art!! Which Sabbat release is your all time favourite, and is there any Sabbat release which you don’t have in your collection? What is your opinion about nowadays' Sabbat release torrent?
Yes, Sabbat is a great example of timeless black/death metal magic. I am not a fanatic collector of Sabbat myself, rather a fan of the music, but from my letter exchange with Gezol I of course got some nice items. My favourite Sabbat albums are “…For Satan and Sacrifice” and “Live at Blokula”, perfect compilations of the finest Sabbatical art. I don’t really care about this release-hysteria that some kids seem to be so much into with Sabbat, I myself prefer the real fullength albums on Evil Records and Iron Pegasus.
You have made the artworks for two great Sabbat tape releases (each released by the Hungarian tape label Stygian Shadows), which look great. Is making layouts, artworks your hobby or serious job?
I work with layouts quite regularly, so far for Dissection, Antaeus, Malign, Sabbat, Slayer Mag, Damnation and others… To do the Sabbat-stuff is of course a pleasure, especially since most of their releases today are made by labels that are completely fucking incompetent when it comes to good artwork and just do some cheap fucking shit on computer…
Watain is a trio, but in live rituals you have an old comrade in your line up, Whorth, who played on bass. If I’m not wrong, he is a member of the mighty Black Metal cult band, Malign. Is this so?
Yes, Whorth was recruited from Malign, one of the blackest metal bands ever for me… But he will remain a live-bassist only, we do no want to disturb the divine energies that floats inside the trinity of Watain.
In February you played in Vicenza together with Celestia and the Italian cult Mortuary Drape. I heard that you have had some problems in Italy, tell me the details! What is your opinion about Mortuary Drape?
This gig was done almost a year ago, but sure, it was a great experience to play with the old necromancers in MD. The liveritual itself was very successful, with some minor fuck ups. Mortuary Drape is one of the few bands still alive from the old days that I care about and support fully…
You often play the Transylvanian Hunger cover by Darkthrone. You surely heard the band's new album, Sardonic Wrath. What is you opinion about the Darkthrone’s latest albums, about their „live performance” on Wacken Festival and on the Moonfog's 10th year - anniversary party?
I basically stopped caring about Darkthrone after Panzerfaust, there are much more interesting bands active today so why should I waste my time?
I saw some great pictures about your live performances, repulsion with blood, cadavers, spikes, fire and mould and I saw my own eyes at Budapest that you are a crazy madman on stage. What kind of feelings, sensations do you have when going up to stage for a live ritual? Do you use some “stimulating drugs” (alcohol, etc) before the gig, or do you only sit silently and concentrate on the gig? You play live very often and spread the plague on stage, which was the best and the worst Watain gig from your point of view?
We have always valued our liveperformances, that is for sure. The gigs are the most righteous manifestations of the forces behind Watain, and we will always see them as a kind of ritual, where the inner spiritual darkness is chanelled... Everyone who attends a Watain gig must expect nothing but blood, fire and blackest death! It is the true magical power of Black/Death Metal incarnated… Most people, if unprepared, simply don’t understand shit during the first songs, the average BM concertvisitor is probably mostly used to a couple of guys with a clown-like look playing as good and fast as they can… We are far from such garbage! We belive in what we do and have no problem whatseover with performing live. We piss on those who think Black Metal should be kept off the stage, they are just degenerated teenagers whose incapability of delivering anything of value makes their dicks shrink when thinking of performing their worthless joke-music in front of an audience. The best countries we played in so far have been Slovenia, Czech Republic and Hungary, in Eastern Europe people still burn for real metal, and they are not as blasé about having bands playing there as in the west. But of course we also did succesful rituals in France, Italy, UK and so on as well…
Is it important for Watain to participate on tours, and play as often as possible on European stages?? Have you ever played live outside of Europe?
Let's talk about the latest album, “Casus Luciferi”, which was a great milestone in the Black Metal's history! I have read only good and very good reviews about this great release in all the metal press from deep underground to the mainstream! How do you see Casus Luciferi in today’s perspective and what is your opinion about this release compared to the other Watain releases?
Casus Luciferi is without doubt the greatest and most immense musical effort we have ever been a part of. Black Metal is above all music for the spirit, and when I say that Casus Luciferi is our strongest release up to date, this means that it is the one with the strongest and most destructive spiritual content. This very fact is indeed reflected in the songwriting, as well as in the lyrics and artwork as well. When feeding the flames that constitutes our very core, obviously the cykle strengthens, the path gleams clearer. „And we enter a phase of completeness in direction, as his angles take definite position“. Three years of dedicated composing and receiving is what lies behind it’s enormous (yet also simple) pattern, and the final outcome was just what we had prayed for… A great darkness coming down from the heavens, devouring all in it’s way!
I think this album will appeal -and even come as a fresh breeze- to anyone whose heart pounds for honest Black/Death Metal glory, as it unlike most other crap that is released this days actually has an incredibly strong spiritual nature as well, something deeper, more sinister and dangerous than the actual music. It’s far from the one-dimensional nuclear blast releases that people simply forget after a week, and that seems to be an opinion shared by many. The response has been overwhelming, and our strife goes on… Evil has no boundaries!
I do not really see any real relevance in comparing Casus Luciferi to our older works, but if I have to, I would say that Rabid Death’s Curse was based more on impulse, wrath and flesh, it had a quite raw and violent feel to it. These descriptions are rather common when it comes to debut albums within this genre, but I dare say that the Rabid Death’s Curse was based on far more than the simple will to create a heavy debut album. Our liveset still consists of 50/50 from both albums, so the material on the debut is for sure nothing we consider less valuable, just different in some ways. The foundation of Casus Luciferi lies more in spirit, mystery and demonic permeation, it contains an openly religious, epic nature. This was just a natural step of progression, a result of following the call of the beyond…
Do you know that the Swedish legendary BM band, Abruptum, came out with a new album and the album's title is Casus Luciferi?? Do you know the guys behind Abruptum? What is your feeling about the title of their release being the same as yours?
The use of the title was something neither of the bands knew about until the albums were out. Anyway, it’s of no importance. Casus Luciferi was a title I had in mind even before we started Watain.
Where was the infamous Necromorbus Studio established? Was T. Stjerna the producer? How much time did you spend in studio and what is your opinion about the sound of Casus Luciferi in today’s perspective?
All of our official releases have been recorded in Necromorbus studio and turned out just how we wanted them at the time, so we will most likely continue to take usage of Stjerna and his capabilities.
Studying the lyrics I know that Casus Luciferi is a complex story about the fall of Lucifer. Is this so? And what is the end of the story? Some lyrics were written by famous underground warriors like Necromorbus (Funeral Mist), Scorn (Katharsis), and the guy from Antaeus. Did they get the musical parts and wrote the lyrics, or they had already have some lyrics which were good for the story of Casus Luciferi?
The lyrics of Casus Luciferi deal with a rather wide spectrum of topics, yet all in relation to the religious reality of Satan. Many things are hidden therein and nothing will revealed here. The ink with which they are written is the black blood of a pillaged heart, a serving soul and an illuminated spirit. It is truely the closest I can come to put to words the fathomless mysteries which have been unveiled to me through hours, days and years of Satanic enlightment. The reason for using guest-writers for the album does not have to do anything with lack of inspiration for our part or such bullshit. When we began composing the structure of Casus Luciferi we realized that this work could become something really immense and giant if we really did everything we could in trying to make it such. As a result of this thought, we asked these three brothers to compose one lyric each, in order to add even further dimensions to this work, still of course staying within the strict frame of our temple. The result became very special I think. We respect these persons standpoints fully and it’s an honour to praise with them. It should also be pointed out that they all have a very strong connection to the Norma Evangelium Diaboli, which was of high importance as well.
There was written in the booklet that all music was composed by Watain, but I’m curious, who the main songwriter of the band is. How often do you practice? How is a Watain song born? Did you play the bass parts of Casus Luciferi in studio?
All music is a an outcome of the combined force of the three poles of Watain, it floats through each of them before being manifested. This is how we always have worked and how we will continue to work. I play the bass on Casus Lucifer, yes, but we always considered the ”who does who”-matter to be quite irrelevant in comparison to the final outcome!
Your unique vocal performance is smashing, full of power and strength! Did you use any amplifiers when recording the vocals or all the pain and power came out from the inside of your body?
The voice on the album is the voice of the servant and demon who abides in me, no effects where use to manipulate them.
Some slow parts of the song The Golden Horns Of Darash (standstill with bass) remind me of the Mayhem’s Freezing Moon classic. Your comment:
One can always compare music with other kind of music, for me it does not really matter what other bands we may be reminiscent of, as long as we are able to create something that is genuinely Watain. But sure, Mayhem is perhaps one of our main influences and the cursed memory of this long dead band lives through our art, always have, always will.
Are you satisfied with the promotional work of Drakkar? Your contract with Drakkar expires with the Casus Luciferi release. Will you work together on the new album or do you want to find a new record label? Are great, individual record companies (Nuclear Blast, Season Of Mist, etc) interesting in Watain’s art!
Everything worked fine with Drakkar. Now our two-album deal with them has run out so we are currently negotiating with a couple of different labels. People will get to know what is happening in due time.
In 2004 Casus Luciferi came out with a different cover on a very limited tape, diffused by 2 different ug Black Metal labels, Orthodox Records for Russia (and ex-Sviet Union territories) and Mirgilus Siculorum for Europe (and North America). Are you satisfied with these releases? I haven't seen the Orthodox version, does it look like the MS version? Which format do you like more, CDs, MCs or LPs? Is it important for Watain to release the albums in all formats? What do you know about Transylvania/Romania, about the Szekelys, Hungarian people on this territory? Do you know bands, zines, labels from Transylvania/Romania? There was a dedication to the followers of the Szekely’s ancient spirit in the booklet of the CL's tape version. My friends and old comrades in Transylvania were very satisfied and proud that Watain dedicated this release for the ancient spirit of the Szekely’s!
The cassette-releases of Casus Luciferi was done just for Russia and for Eastern Europe, partly as a tribute to the great support we have recieved from these parts of the world since the beginning, and also because many bands focus mostly on the materialist hysteria of the western society and neglect the east, which we certainly do not.
The two editions differ slightly from each other, we have messages in Russian on the Russian version and in Szekely on the Romanian version. The ancient tribe of the Szekely, guarders of the gates to the east and upholders of the Transylvanian legacy, is of course inspiring to anyone interested in the darker aspects of European history.
What is your opinion about zines (I know you edited a great zine -Hellish Massacre- in the past), webzines, webpages? Watain has a very cool and informative website. Is it important for Watain to appear on the internet? And what is your opinion about the MP3 format, the shitty made bootleg releases, Cd-r releases?
I don’t really give a fuck about anything like that, a good band is a good band no matter if they release their demo on tape or on mp3, but if I see to my own personal taste I of course enjoyed the underground far more when tape-circulation and letter-exchange where the most important catalysts. Everything was far less accessible, which led to a stronger movement in many ways. Anyway, now these days are over and there’s no reason to sob about it. Internet serves it’s purpose as well… People just have to realize that it is not behind the computer screen that the true foundation of Black Metal scene lies.
You will be touring through Europe with the legendary black/death metal band, Dissection, this autumn/winter. What do you know about the new Dissection line-up, new songs? All new info about Dissection are welcome here!
Yes, the tour is over now and it was a fucking great experience! Two victorious months of Blackest Metal Magic! It went on through 18 European countries, bleeding and burning. Great as well to be able to tour with a band that shares the respect for the spiritual aspect of the movement, we indeed achieved alot just because of this mutual understanding. The soil of Europe still trembles! Hungary was for sure on of the better gigs on the tour, especially the magic moment when Attila performed ”Freezing Moon” and ”Elizabeth Bathory” together with Dissection, one of the strongest live-experiences for me ever! About the new Dissection, just wait and see. Judging from what I heard of the new material; expect nothing but pure satanic metal brilliance… What I heard so far crushes most stuff that is released today, and surely puts them back in their rightful position. Hail Dissection!
Ok man, that’s all for the moment, I wish you strength and health. At the end of this interview, please give us your future plans. See you in Hungary at 17 November!
Thank you Mirgilus for the interview! Hail the Transylvanian spirits of evil, and to all East-European warriors who supported the legacy of Watain so far! For those interested: t-shirts and both of our CDs are available from firstname.lastname@example.org. HAIL SATAN!