Satyricon Interview

Marius Viken

The legendary Norwegian black metal duo Satyricon are back with a new album. Deep Calleth Upon Deep is their first studio record in more than four years. Drummer Frost gives us the scoop on the album, tour plans, his other band 1349, the evolution of black metal and other topics.

Chad Bowar: Was there anything unique about the songwriting process for Deep Calleth Upon Deep compared to the typical Satyricon album?
Frost: We had very many jam sessions, and very often open jam sessions without the intention of creating anything in particular. That helped us open up musically and stimulated creativity in a more general way. We also took other steps in order to make creativity and inspiration thrive.

Satyr has said this album is a new beginning. How so?
Deep Calleth Upon Deep has a different life, a different sound, vibe and feel than any other Satyricon album. It is an album with a very particular and severe spirit, it is musically deeper, wider and more open than previous works. A beginning of something… or possibly the end. Who knows?

What led you to work with Mike Fraser again on this record?
We knew quite a bit about Mike Fraser’s abilities as he worked with us on Now, Diabolical, and we felt that his kind of skills could be just what Deep Calleth Upon Deep needed: an organic, direct and raw sound that also would have lots of power and punch. The result tells he was a wise choice, I believe.

What will be your strongest memory of the recording of Deep Calleth Upon Deep?
How it all felt like coming alive when attitude and feeling was properly expressed in the performance during recording. It was of paramount importance for this album that the spirit of each different song was reflected in the attitude and expression of the performance of those respective songs, and found a way on to the recording.

How did you come to sign with Napalm Records for this album?
They presented us with the best offer for the album, and demonstrated belief in it. Nothing more magical than that.

How has what you expect from a record label changed over the years?
We observe how the whole music industry is changing and how music is approached and consumed in a different way than only a few years ago, but we basically need and look for the same things in a label. A company that can take care of business and practical matters and provide support so that we can work with our music.

How much attention do you pay to reviews?
Rather little; I never seek them up and basically only see those that are presented to me in some way. I might be content about a good review, especially if it communicates that the reviewer has truly understood or got moved by the album, but I don’t moan over bad ones.

You have European and South American dates scheduled. Any plans for a North American tour?
Yes, that seems to be coming up in late spring 2018 from what I know now.

With so much material to choose from, how do you approach putting together a setlist, and does it change from show to show?

It is Satyr who’s in charge of putting those together, and I know he’s concerned about which songs to choose. We will always play quite a bit of material from our latest album, given that we’re touring with one, because we’re not about old hits and in need of excuses to tour. Then it is about feeling the place and the crowd, and about keeping the band stimulated and seeing to it that we never fall into boring routine. So we do have dynamic set lists when we tour.

Last year you played Nemesis Divina in full. How was the experience, and do you enjoy playing a full album like that?
It was both interesting and rewarding to feel the type of youthful energy and wildness that the Nemesis Divina album has, and it was enjoyable doing that as a different kind of experience. It would have felt weird if had been going on for long, though, so just a short string of Nemesis shows felt just right.

What’s the status of the next 1349 album?
It is in the making. For the time being I am obviously very occupied with Satyricon, so work with 1349 will have to wait until there is room for it.

Black metal has now spanned several decades and many generations of fans. What’s your take on how the genre has evolved and expanded?
I don’t think or mean that much about it, it has simply evolved somewhat like you should expect. I think it would be healthy for the genre and its future if evaluation happened at a greater pace, but at least we have Satyricon to put our own mark on the development.

What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
Music encompasses nearly everything that I do, and most other things I do to support my work, unwind and relax, sometimes to enjoy myself, and to stay alive.

(interview published September 21, 2017)

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