One of the élite scene leaders in Norwegian Black Metal bands,
SATYRICON was formed in 1990 by Czral (Carl-Michael Eide) and Wargod.
Haavard (Ulver) soon joined them. Satyr took over lead vocals in 1991.
SATYRICON's current drummer, Frost, who joined the band in 1992.
The band's first album ‘Dark Medieval Times’ showed off the fascination
SATYRICON had with the Middle Ages and featured raw black metal
blastbeats produced by Frost, mixed with acoustic guitar and flute. On
their next album, ‘The Shadowthrone’, this medieval spirit was
continued. Satyricon’s third album, ‘Nemesis Divina’, contains Norwegian
black metal influenced by medieval metal and was released in 1996.
‘Rebel Extravaganza’, SATYRICON’s fourth album, was released in
1999. It contained more industrial metal influences than the previous
albums. SATYRICON’s fourh release ‘Volcano’ resulted in a total
of 4 Awards for ‘Volcano’ being, the Norwegian Grammy for "Best Metal
Album", an Alarm award for "Fuel For Hatred" in the category for "Song
of the Year", as well as The Alarm Award for "Metal Album of the Year"
and The Oslo awards for "Best Overall Album". In 2006, SATYRICON
released ‘Now, Diabolical’. The album was somewhat controversial among
black metal fans due to its somewhat “radio friendly” take on black
metal. ‘The Age of Nero’, SATYRICON’s latest effort was released
So when drummer Kjetil-Vidar "Frost" Haraldstad was available at this
year's Fortarock festival, which was held July 11 in Nijmegen, Holland
we took our chance to ask him some question. So, here you can read what
het has to say to the readers of Metal-Experience.com.
First of all, thank you for meeting up for this
interview. How are you doing?
Ok, as we’re on tour, we’ve been sitting in cars and planes for days,
you get tired with just sitting!
It’s been more than half a year since ‘The Age Of Nero’
came out, can you give us a little update of what has been happening
with Satyricon since then?
We’ve been doing lots of touring, we decided to step everything up as
far as this album goes. We’ve put more work into the process of making
the album itself, using more resources, touring and promoting it. We
feel like this is a true achievement and it demands our full support but
we also feel that it is going down very well with our audience. We
started to see that with the album because there were a couple of songs
that seemed to have like a classic status among our fans, even if the
album was, you know, two weeks old or something. People were getting
into it which a very good sign because it means more than any good
review. What we have been seeing here is basically a consolidation of
what we felt during the first weeks. Everywhere we go, whether it’s
Europe or Australia or the United States, this album really works for
our fans and we feel that we want to share something with them because
we ourselves feel that this is a great achievement for us. The album
presents a highlight in our career sofar and we see that the fans have
beared with us as well and we really have something strong going on and
Was there any special element that you wanted to include
on the album?
I cannot really say that we had any deliberate plans for expressing any
particular atmosphere. We wanted to make it muscular, to have size and a
really deep sense of darkness to it. I think the pieces just fell into
place as we were working on it. And I guess that the spirit of the album
during the creating process was important for bringing us further for
the first time in ten years, perhaps more. It was just really fun to
work in the rehearsal place. We had this thing that was working with us
and we had faith in ourselves and even if we were struggling really hard
to find solutions, we felt that we were on the right path all the time
and that we were ready to put everything into the album, we could trust
ourselves to fulfill the work and take it all the way. We brought our
entire spectrum of abilities, our capacities into the album and we felt
that we really could do it without trying to do something, it just fell
into place. We could bring in the aggression and the intensity, we could
also use grooves and epic themes and everything worked together
seamlessly. That’s a good starting point I think for taking the whole
thing further because that’s when you feel that you’ve grown up to a
level where you really understand the composition of songs and you can
make them work without trying to push yourselves into a certain
direction or feel that you have to struggle with obstacles.
So you kind of grew into this album?
Did you take into account your old school fans when you
wrote the album?
At the moment I’m starting to think that we are doomed to lose. You
cannot think of what the fans expect or how they are going to react,
that is commercial. It can never work for a band that is so strongly
based on creativity and musicians that have devoted their lives to this
musical project. We have to stay focused on that and we need the fans to
just trust us to do good work. Sometimes there might be albums that
certain groups of fans find difficult to deal with, perhaps some new
fans will come from this. But we cannot really have our minds there
because that would harm the entire process and it would be a huge
disturbance factor. At least as of today, we feel that we can trust
ourselves to make the kind of album that we ourselves would want to
hear. With us being devoted fans of music there is every reason to
believe that others are going to feel the same because we share musical
taste and understanding with many other people. Bringing it out there is
the job that comes afterwards, we take that very seriously as well. When
we are working creatively, it’s about us and how we feel about it. We
need to fulfill ideas exactly as other artists do. They work with ideas,
they don’t think about pleasing an audience or making a commercial
Even though you guys have been evolving as a band,
Satyricon has always had its own recognizeable sound. What is the most
important ingredient for a Satyricon song?
There’s not one ingredient in particular I suppose. It is difficult,
really to approach that subject without being a little airy and speaking
about the vibe of the band and the spirit and all that, but somewhere in
that picture I think the band’s spirit has a huge place.
How important is it to you that people actually pay
attention to the lyrics of your songs?
Satyricon really does have good lyrics. Especially on ‘The Age Of Nero’
there is a strong sense of coherence between the lyrics and the music.
As for some of the songs, the lyrics tell the kind of story in words
that the music is describing in tones, in sounds. I think there is a
strong poetry in those lyrics and the great thing about them is that
they have huge room for interpretation. With some bands I really like
the music but I don’t really know the lyrics and I know I never will,
but that doesn’t belittle the experience to me. I still enjoy the music
fully although I don’t know the lyrics but sometimes it can be a great
bonus to read or actually hear the lyrics. And also of course if you
read really bad lyrics that could take it down a little, I mean bad
lyrics can make it difficult to enjoy the songs.
‘The Age Of Nero’ has been out for a while now, are you
already in the process of writing new material?
We have material written. It’s basically material that we started to
write while making ‘The Age Of Nero’. Great material. I think Satyr has
made a couple of new themes already that have not been put into any
context yet but they are excellent themes by themselves. But we have
started to discuss what we want, we want to look back a little and see
what we have achieved and what our strongest assets are, I think we are
going to try to cultivate them. We want to bring all kinds of
ingredients into our next album and make it work. We can integrate
furious beats with grooves and slow epic themes. That is where we have
to put our mind into it so we can start to pick out some kind of
atmosphere that we can express very well and in a very signature way and
make it a very strong emotional piece of music. That is what it is going
to be once we start focusing on certain core atmospheres, because these
are the sort of trademark things that were there on our first album and
that are still there on our last, they have been expressed differently
on those albums.
Satyricon has worked with different musicians from
numerous genres in the past. Are there any musicians that you would like
to collaborate with in the future?
That might happen again but we haven’t come as far as to be thinking
about anyone in particular. I rather think that as we start to work with
songs, we might feel that certain songs will need something that we
cannot accomplish with just a couple of guitars and a bass and the
drums, perhaps it will need something that we ourselves haven’t mastered
fully. Perhaps then we will go searching for certain masters in their
own fields, it is very possible.
What is your opinion on the black metal scene these days?
I think that there is a problem with too much opinion. There is so much
talk about categorization, there’s a lot of analysis going on and too
much judging without really getting into the core of it, the experience
of music and playing it and listening to it. I feel that many people are
unable to take in what a piece of music really holds because they feel
that it belongs to one kind of category and hence they are unable to
feel the atmosphere. With a lot of people it’s like they have to find
out whether it’s true. It’s stupid and childish. What black metal needs
to do is to bring the focus back to the music.
You’ve been with Satyricon for a long time now, how far
has being in the band surpassed your initial dreams?
Our entire environment is totally different now. We couldn’t understand
where things would be heading. We were quite ambitious from the start,
the first ambition was to get a record deal, that was a big thing for
us. It was much more difficult then than it turned out to be a few years
later. Everything just kind of exploded and every Norwegian band would
get a record deal just by asking. But at the point when we started it
wasn’t like that at all and we had to go through some rough times
actually, getting a record deal and making our first album. But we felt
that somehow we could reach further with this band. We realised that we
had something strong, something with great potential. We didn’t know
exactly where we would end up or which possibilities would come on our
way but we just knew that somehow we would put our hearts into this and
we would just see how far we could take this without compromising or
stepping away from the core idea.
Are there any particular bands that have influenced you
in your drumming?
Probably not. I mean, I started listening to others’drumworks in later
years, basically I started listening much more to the guitars and the
sound of an album, I didn’t care too much about the drums as long as
they functioned well.
But you must have had some sort of reference from the
Obviously I have but I haven’t been influenced directly, I listened to
things and I understood the basics of the genre but other than that
there weren’t any direct influences. But as of today I listen to many of
the eminent drummers, also of the late sixties and the seventies, I
really got into that, the power and the musicality. I listen to metal
drummers too but perhaps it’s even more inspiring to listen to some of
the hardrock drummers, they have such a ferocious approach to their
playing, that’s something I like to bring into what I do.
Can you tell me a little about yourself and the things
that motivate you in your music?
We have an instrument like Satyricon to unfold ourselves and express
ourselves musically and it is a great inspiration. We know that we have
developed this strong machinery.
How do you guys come to a musical agreement in the
It’s pretty easy, I regard Satyr as the best composer in this genre
today, period. And I also have the due respect for his way of working
and his arrangements and all that. I take part where it is natural and
where there is an opening for it. He sometimes composes entire pieces of
music, including the rhythm section. So then I follow the ideas and just
try to carry them out in my own signature way. Other times I myself will
come up with the ideas, try out different ones and see what works best
and perhaps eventually bring in some small details and something that
brings a little deeper intricacy to it.
What can we expect from Satyricon in the near future?
Obviously we still have work to do for ‘The Age Of Nero’, touring for
example. And then we want to give ourselves the time that we need to get
a certain distance from the album because it is in our blood, we breathe
‘The Age Of Nero’ these days, we have to get it out of the system a
little. I think it will be healthy to clean it out a little and to bring
ourselves into the mode of inspiration. As I said, we have a couple of
ideas that we can get to work with and we can trust ourselves to make it
go from there. It will start to roll as soon as we meet up in the
rehearsal place and start to play a little of those themes that are in
the make. I’m sure these themes will just continue by themselves and we
will record and evaluate and take it from there. I think it’s going to
be great, I feel strongly motivated to start that process. I feel so
certain that a strong beast of an album is going to be the result of the
Thank you for your time!
Satyr (Sigurd Wongraven) – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Bass
Frost (Kjetil-Vidar Haraldstad) – Drums, Percussion (1992–present)
Steinar „Azarak“ Gundersen - Guitar
Victor Brandt - Bass
Gildas Le Pape - Guitar
Jonna Nikula - Keyboards
Kveldulv (Ted Skjellum – also known as Nocturno Culto of Darkthrone) –
Lemarchand (Håvard Jørgensen) – Guitar (1990–1992)
Samoth (Tomas Thormodsæter Haugen) – Bass, Guitar (1993–1996)
Wargod (Vegard Blomberg) – Bass (1990–1993)
Exhurtum (Carl-Michael Eide) – Drums, Percussion (1990–1992)
Studio albums :
(1993) Dark Medieval Times
(1994) The Shadowthrone
(1996) Nemesis Divina
(1999) Rebel Extravaganza
(2006) Now, Diabolical
(2008) The Age of Nero
(1999) Intermezzo II
(2008) My Skin is Cold
(2006) The Pentagram Burns
(2008)Black Crow on a Tombstone