An Imhotep-ian journey, composed by Stefan Raduta and Roy Kristensen on various occasions! You all know there story, but still people pay attention. As we all know, Blasphemer decided to quit the band. And now, with “Once Upon A Time In Norway” and “Pure Fucking Mayhem” documentaries and the band on tour, the legend lives on. Imhotep pay respect to Mayhem throughout these parts, all online in November 2008!
Rune, how would you describe your life in Portugal these days? It’s gotta be a huge change from what you had going on in Norway…do you have a day job there?
Rune: I live entirely out of music, I don’t have a job on the side…I used to teach guitar but only for a short time, I didn’t see a sense in it. I’m not a money consumer, I don’t need a lot to feel comfortable, to be happy. I live with my girlfriend in a very nice penthouse outside Lisbon, we have a beautiful terrace, I watch the sun come up at six in the morning and come down 12 hours later…I’m here enjoying my simple life with my woman and that’s about it…I don’t have too many friends.. I like most aspects of Portuguese culture, but I try to keep it as less complicated as possible. I have a band named Ava Inferi, it’s a Doom /Ambient kinda band
Do you travel more now?
Rune: I love traveling…it’s one of the things I enjoy most in life…I’m like a kid every time I go to the airport, I always have great expectations about the places I am going to see. Usually I bring my girlfriend with me, it’s a great feeling to share places you’ve once seen by yourself with someone special.
Has the work on this album affected your personal life?
Rune: Well…there would be days when she’d come home from work to find a completely devastated man lying in the corner of the apartment…it didn’t affect our relationship, because she knows that when I’m diving into something I don’t come out of it unfulfilled. I believe that art demands sacrifices.
I’ve always been curious about what Blasphemer enjoys playing live more, the old Mayhem songs or your own? Mayhem has earned its reputation by being a live band, and songs like “Freezing Moon”, “Carnage”, “Necrolust”, “Funeral Fog”, etc will always drive people crazy…
Rune: [laughs] Yeah I know, I’ve accepted it a long time ago. Of course I enjoy playing my songs more, I think it’s normal, it’s who I am, they represent me. “Freezing Moon” is a live classic, it’s boosting a lot of energy on stage. I prefer to hold those things towards the back of the set list…like a treat for the fans.
What’s going on with Aura Noir?
Rune: I’m not playing in Aura Noir anymore, unfortunately. They’re continuing without me, since the schedule with Mayhem didn’t allow me to be on their new album, just like it happened with “Deep Tracks Of Hell”.
I find it interesting that many Black Metal musicians also started these tribute Thrash Metal bands, that continue where Sodom, Kreator, Dark Angel left off...Nagash (Carpe Tenebrum, The Kovenant, Troll, ex-Dimmu Borgir) played in Nocturnal Breed, Abbath (Immortal) is doing Bombers (which is the ultimate Motorhead tribute) Shagrath (Dimmu Borgir) is playing in Chrome Divison, and so on...It’s kind of a return to the roots...is it only for fun?
Rune: For us it was a passion, we loved doing it, a return to the roots if you will, Apollyon and Aggressor [Aura Noir] still love those days. I know Abbath is the biggest Motorhead in Norway…I think every creative artist needs and escape from what he’s doing. You can’t always write the same thing; I’m a very open minded musician, I find influence in so many other styles.
Last time you played Wacken there was a second guitarist on stage, and it made a difference on the sound. Yet you always tour with the main line-up…
Rune: The point is that we have problems finding good guitar players that can commit to this…Necro is against it…I am both for it and against it. I think the sound is better live with two guitars, but it’s a pain in the ass with rehearsing, and the thing is that we’ve playing so much now that we’ve already established a tight unit…I think if we play well and if people enjoy it, why bother, you know? I mean just the four of us coming on stage…that does it…
Do you have any extracurricular activities?
Rune: [laughs] I like to read...I am fascinated by the secrets of the world, hidden knowledge, secret societies even
Sounds like you could be into Erich Von Daniken?
Rune: Absolutely, I know his work although I haven’t read all his books.
Chariots of the Gods?
Rune: Yep, I’ve read it…very interesting.
Where do you stand on this whole Dan Brown issue and his latest book? It sold over 40 million copies, almost turned the whole world upside down…
Rune: I read the book, I thought it was pretty good, but this is not why I’m into the subject. I think that it’s been so well publicized, it got so far, the media impact with this is insane…At least people are discussing it…
They start asking questions…
Rune: Exactly. They’re doubting, and that it itself is important. I don’t know if this thing is true or not, perhaps I don’t care. I think every person should seek its own truth. Everything is relative in the end…
Have you guys ever thought of making a video? It drives me crazy sometimes, I feel like you’re not putting too much effort in making this band rule the world…Hellhammer did two clips with Dimmu in less than 2 years…Perhaps if you met the right person, someone who understands your art and could take it to another level?
Rune: Actually Maniac and myself were in touch with this British director, he was very eager to do it, he did a Cradle of Filth video and some documentaries…we went to London and talked about it but nothing really happened afterwards…quite frankly I don’t care about doing a Mayhem video…our stage decorator keeps pushing this idea, but I don’t know what good it would possibly do…
Jan Axel: It wouldn’t work…we’re not that kind of a band. I mean, we would love to sell more albums, but let’s be honest, Mayhem will never be huge, we’ll never be able to sell hundreds of thousands of records…I would love to see it happen, but I doubt it ever will.
Hellhammer, you’ve played in so many bands it’s hard to keep track, you’re all over the place…Mayhem, Dimmu Borgir, Arcturus, Winds, Shining, Troll, etc. What’s more important, what challenges you more? Do you think you’ll be the new permanent drummer in Dimmu Borgir?
Jan Axel: Everything is important to me. I give the same 100 % whether I’m with Mayhem, Winds, Dimmu Borgir, Arcturus or other projects, and I don’t stop until I am completely satisfied. Tough question on what’s more challenging…I didn’t want to overdue it with Dimmu in the studio, I had to restrain myself. It’s like two different worlds. With Dimmu everything is professional, organized, in control. With Mayhem, it’s the complete opposite, you never know what’s gonna happen, it’s always complete chaos. That’s why I enjoy being a part of both. Permanent drummer? I know the guys for many years now, we get along well. All I can say is that time will tell. We’re gonna tour a lot together so we have to wait and see. After six weeks of being around the same people I guess you’ll end up knowing them even better, at their best and worst. So if it works out, why not? I have nothing to loose.
Arcturus is being put on ice again…lots of people will be disappointed, I know I am.
Jan Axel: Well my touring schedule for this year is insane, I don’t have any free time. We’re all vey busy, and we felt it’s better like this…I know it’s not the first time it happens, I hope it’s only temporary, time will tell.
Where is Mayhem better received when playing live?
Jan Axel: I always feel comfortable in Austraila. Been there twice once with Mayhem and with Arcturus. I always have a blast there. In Europe, I always feel like home in France and England for example. Finland is great, the States were cool too…
Well I think you’re in for a big surprise when you’ll come here in July, because everyone’s talking about this tour….I know the last one was very unorganised, no promotion at all…a close friend of mine saw you at CBGBs playing in front of 15 people at 2 in the morning and he said it sucked...
Jan Axel: Well the first US tour with Hate Eternal was great. I enjoyed it. Then we came back and did this shitty tour you’re talking about, it was total fucking crap. Now we look very forward to playing in the States this year. There’s a huge Black Metal crowd there nowadays, it took a while, but there seems to be a high demand.
You lived in Norway all your life…Ever thought of trying a different place? Blasphemer loves Portugal, he’s walking around in shorts almost the whole year…don’t you envy him?
Jan Axel: [laughs] I don’t know if I’d ever move, but one day I’d love to purchase a vacation house somewhere in southern France or Italy…
I know that for a number of years you used to work in an asylum…Did you enjoy working with patients? You’ve become a very demanded musician, don’t you earn enough out of music by now?
Jan Axel: I do okay, and I actually I still work there. It’s a home for mentally derranged people, I’ve been working there for 12 years. I’ve been cutting it down to 50% due to being so busy. I really don’t have any spare time anymore…but I do certainly enjoy it, otherwise I’d do something else…
What do you do when you’re not involved in music? Do you fish, collect stamps, anything like that?
Jan Axel: [laughs] I hardly have any spare time nowadays… I used to love reading books but I don’t find time for them anymore…I like to work out…
Jan Axel: [he gets a little courage] Yeah. And I’m into video games. I’m still a bit of a play station junkie I guess [laughs]…Yeah, I like Parasite Eve, I like Silent Hill, Resident Evil, you know these kinds of games. I just hate sports games and car games and that kind of crap [we’re both laughing]
I was heavily into Quake II, I’ve spent most of my chemistry/physics classes in the internet café near my High School..
Jan Axel: Yeah Quake was good, I remember it well. I liked The Return To Castle Wolfenstein , it’s similar…
Oh man you just made my day! Back in 1992 when Wolfenstein 3D came out I couldn’t sleep at night because of it, I’d have nightmares with German soldiers, it was terrible…
Jan Axel: I know. I used to be the same…I wish I still had time for these things…
You’re a married man now…do you have kids?
Jan Axel: Yes I do, I have a daughter. We all have kids except for Blassy…
I hear rumors that when you tour you always bring a ton of hair products with you, or send the guys to buy them…
Jan Axel: [Laughs] Well, you know…[completely caught off guard, gets a serious tone]..I try to take care of myself. I don’t wanna look like an ass. It’s good for my psyche. My state of mind affects everything I do…my drum kit, everything has to look good and be in its right place.
Thank you all so much for this amazing interview. I hope people will discover this album for what it is, an incredibly accomplished work. Rest assured, those who are meant to understand it will understand it. Any last thoughts?
Rune: You were right about this interview when we talked a week ago, I should have taken you seriously. Thanks a lot Stefan, it’s been fun. See you in a few months.
Composed by Stefan Raduta (some of these last four parts have previously been printed in Metal Maniacs)
Photos from everywhere on the internet