Satyricon Interview

Napalm Records

Satyricon’s first two albums, 1994’s Dark Medieval Times and The Shadowthrone, are black metal classics. They have recently been reissued. We caught up with drummer Frost, who looks back on the band’s early days, and also lets us know what he and the band are up to these days.

Chad Bowar: What do you remember most about the writing and recording of Dark Medieval Times?
Frost: Probably how quickly it went from being a dream and an ambition to actually being realized, and how exciting it all was. I wasn’t even sure that I had it in me to be a drummer or if I actually wanted to be that, and in a matter of months I went from that to finding myself in a good band and entering the studio to record an album. It felt almost as If I had been caught by a whirlwind somehow, but it was definitely a fine experience. Satyricon was truly a very happening place to be in 1993/94.

What led you to go the route of releasing it on your own label?
Black metal was certainly a genre for the specially interested in the early nineties, and it was really difficult to get a decent record deal for our debut album. Satyr was a man of action however; he didn’t want to spend an eternity trying to get a deal and managed to hook up with a small independent label here in Norway that specialized in progressive music and avant garde rock – Tatra records – and he made his mailorder company Moonfog become a subdivision of Tatra. Through that sublabel we could then release Dark Medieval Times, and I believe that proved to be a very good and right solution for the band.

How has the opinion of it evolved over the years?
To be honest, I am not sure. Dark Medieval Times was surprisingly well received as it was released, and quickly turned Satyricon into one of the leading Norwegian black metal bands, and we notice now, as it is being re-released, that there is still a lot of interest in it.

How did Samoth come to join the band for The Shadowthrone?
Samoth was a friend and colleague of ours, and as we felt Satyricon needed a good and solid rhythm guitar player, Samoth felt as the right man to ask. We knew him, we knew he was interested in Satyricon, and he had that type of qualities that we were looking for both as a person and a musician. Since he wasn’t too busy with Emperor at the time, he was happy to join forces with us.

How did his addition change the songwriting and recording process for the album?
Samoth didn’t write material for The Shadowthrone, but with him in the band we could rehearse as a threesome, and that gave Satyr more freedom to try out combinations of lead and rhythm guitar lines and the whole rehearsal situation felt more dynamic and inspiring. That did probably help to take the band further.

Do you have a favorite among your first two albums?
They are so incredibly different, so comparing them feels quite impossible and also unfair. But there is something to be said for the very first studio album you record, of course – there can be only one first time experience.

What led to the decision to reissue your first two records?
The albums have basically been impossible to obtain for a good while now, and we do naturally want them to be available. But since they were released on Moonfog, and that company does no longer exist, we needed to find a new home for them, and that’s a process that we haven’t really prioritized until this year.

What was your involvement in the remixing and remastering process for the upcoming reissues of those

Satyr is the one in the band that truly understands production and is also the one that knows what he want to achieve, so the remastering process was led by him.

How did the pandemic affect the band, and how did it affect you personally?
It has led to lots of cancelled shows and a good deal of frustration, but we have decided to carry on rehearsing regularly in order to keep in touch with our material and our work as musicians, and that has certainly been a wise move and good for discipline.

You have Satyricon and 1349 shows on your calendar. How confident are you that they will happen?
I now actually start to think that they will happen, as more and more people are getting vaccinated and the society tends to open up again at a quite rapid pace.

What’s the status of the next Satyricon studio album?
It is to be released in the spring of next year, and it will be one truly exciting and intriguing piece of music.

What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
I try to indulge in life; being that enjoying nature, a glass of good wine, good music or life at home. And I see to it that I get a good deal of exercise.

What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Black metal classics and great hard rock albums from the late sixties and early seventies, for the most part.

(interview published June 2, 2021)

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