SATYRICON – Evolution is in our nature

by Alessio Varini

During Satyricon’s tour to promote “Deep Calleth Upon Deep”, we had the chance to interview Frost before the gig in Bologna. Enjoy!

Hello and welcome on MetalPit. This evening you’ll be playing here in Bologna to present your new album “Deep Calleth Upon Deep”, which was published just a few weeks ago. What are your fans’ first impressions?

You ask me what they feel… It’s certainly not easy to answer. What we can tell by the reactions we have so far, is that people seems to appreciate the album a lot, like we do ourselves and we are very happy about it. Songs seems to work very, very well live and there are very promising signs. It’s an honour to go touring with the album; both Satyr and I feel very, very strongly this is the most important album we have ever done: we always expect to get better album by album and in this one we have dug in the bottom of our souls to bring out all our spirit and power and it resulted in a very spiritful and soulful work. So far, it seems that our fans seems to understand what an energetic, soulful and magical album this one is. If it continues this way, I think this tour will be a very very good one for Satyricon.

Personally, I appreciate a lot the evolution you’re bringing into the Black Metal genre, also because I usually like innovations. From your point of view, what motivates you to always look for new solutions?

I think that to develop and have a constant evolution is something that occures naturally, because it’s in the band nature. Satyricon was founded on a genuine passion for music, especially Black Metal. We’ve always tried to find an expression of our own and we’ve wanted to grow with our project and get better at what we do. I think that if you have a true passion for something you’ll really put your heart and soul into it and eventually you will also improve and develop as a result. It’s not in our nature to find a specific formula or a set of expressions and it’s neither in our nature to be commercial, to be entertainers. If you aim to please people you’ll try to deliver what they expect from you, but that has never been the nature of our work. We are into it for art’s sake, because we mean it, mean this seriously. And for as long as Satyricon exists we will continue to evolve, will continue to observe, learn and improve as a result of that; it all goes together, we don’t need any particular kind of motivation or inspiration to do that.

Listening to your album, I can’t find a real common theme in your lyrics, but I can find it in the songs as a whole and in their placement inside “Deep Calleth Upon Deep”. Do you feel the same way?

I feel there’s no particular theme on the album, not musically and not lirically, but perhaps it feels like there’s something quite profoundly existential, an existential feeling in what is going on, at least lirically. Most of all, it’s an album full of spirit and attitude and it feels gravely serious. That’s what this album is most about.

Songs such as the title track and “The Ghost of Rome” are probably the most melodic ones you’ve ever written. Could you tell us how they were born?

All the songs on this album have taken a lot of effort and musically they passed through different stages as well. I remember very well how the chorus for the the title track came out, for instance: Satyr had been up all night waiting his wife to give birth to his second son. There was a complication but everything went fine. Still, a very very special and dramatic night, obviously. We were there in the rehearsal place the next day and he came directly from the hospital, so obviously he didn’t really come to have a rehearsal, that was impossible, but it had been such a dramatic and strainful night that he actually wanted to sit down with his guitar and just “be in the song” with it. And all of a sudden, without his intent, he just started to play those notes. I don’t know where it came from, he didn’t know either, it was just a situation, a moment completely detached from anything happening in the world. It kind of made the foundation for it, so it started to come and eventually we started to play along and there was that thing. A lot of the other parts of that song were ready, so we kind of built around it and adapted to that chorus because it instantly felt like a very very essential part.
“The Ghost of Rome” is actually one of the first songs that were written for the album and it seem also to flow quite freely. The major part of the song is something that we had already like a couple of years before recording, but the very last bits, it’s something that, like, came much closer towards the end. I think the melodies on that day, they came without trying to make any particularly songwriting, they were just the result of an inspiration and we just build on it.

Could you tell us some anecdote about the recording process of the album?

I don’t know if I have a particular anecdote. I mean, there were obviously a lot of stuff going on but the recording was all about making the performances right. The album feels very much alive and organic and all of the songs are very different. We think at them as individuals, they have character and spirit on their own. So, when we performed them in studio, we needed to express those different characters with our attitude, energy and feelings. It really came down to that.
One thing I can remember is how I tried to get in the right sound for each different song and stay there, paying respect to the nature of the different songs.

After over 20 years of career, how do you think Black Metal music has changed?

It has simply evolved. I mean, this is a living organism, it is something that needs to happen or else it will stagnate and die. That’s how it is, so I don’t really think much about it. Satyricon is our very own expression, how we like it to be. We are pioneers of this genre, so I think it tells our position much more than words, right?

It’s all for now, thank you for this interview. Is there anything you’d like to share with your fans on MetalPit?

I’d like to share it from the stage, so I hope they’ll be all here!

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