Interview: SATYRICON
Title: Desperately into triumph

Since 1991, this world-famous band name, together with a certain, often avantgarde appeal, stands above all for a permanent, conscious new beginning.

Comfort, self-doubt, or stagnation were never the thing of Sigurd ‚Satyr‘ Wongraven. With the self-titled 2013 album, the singer, guitarist and keyboardist, who is also very versatile as a composer, dared together with drummer Frost into more progressive Black Metal fields.

On the current successor with the mysterious title „Deep Calleth Upon Deep“ the songwriting journey of the two Norwegians leads even more evenly in this direction. And Satyricon, unexpectedly as ever, can remind of the recent effusions of the genre-collegues and countrymen of Enslaved.

As Frost, in real life known as Kjetil Haraldstad and part of the band since 1993, reveals, he is still very fascinated by the new material, even in the meanwhile existing distance to the songs.

How are you, how is your back? Did you reduce your exercise insanity of the past to an healthier level meanwhile? 

„I am fine, thank you, but that back does hurt a bit. I exercise quite a lot to keep in shape - I believe my back would have been much worse if I didn’t. I have no plans of cutting down on my exercise regime anytime soon.“

And how is Satyr - fully recovered from all sickness hopefully, musically ambitiously to the blackest bone, while devoted lurking within his loved vine canes?

„He is in good health and feeling sharp and fine.“

How do you feel now, after having finished these new collection of Satyricon songs finally?

„Listening to the result of almost three years of work, and now preparing the material for live performances, I get a profound sense of reward, pride and respect for the songs that we have created.“

What can you report mainly about the development in general for „Deep Calleth Upon Deep“?

„There is an abundance of everything that Satyricon has ever been about on ‚Deep Calleth Upon Deep‘, and then it is all propelled further into new dimensions. I experience the album as being creative, vibrant, electric, powerful and magical.“

How was all the cooperation with Satyr for the new release?

„We worked very tightly together, we jammed a lot and we never gave in until we found common ground and a shared understanding of the nature of each different song that we made.“

The songwriting process itself, what is to tell about in general? Any changes to the past?

„We based the songwriting and arrangement process even more on jam sessions than we have ever done earlier, the entire work was very dynamic, involving and happening.“

Who wrote the lion’s share of the new songs - and how long was the work in total for all the material?

„Satyr is the band’s creative source and our very own Beethoven, so he writes the music, of course. We spent almost three years going through several different stages working with ‚Deep Calleth Upon Deep‘.“

What have been the hardest respectively most difficult passages of the done songwriting-work?

„On my part, I believe understanding the essential qualities of each different song and finding rhythmical solutions that preserved those qualities was truly demanding and at times incredibly difficult.“

Years ago I did an interview with you for 1349, it was pure pleasure to read your fully honest words. You are deeply dedicated, that’s for sure. Therefore I am pretty curiously about your further development within the last few years as a personality, character and musician through the bands in which you play.

„Trying to tell about my own personal development feels a bit awkward, but I can say that musically I have truly gotten more open and gained a wider range of expressions. What I do on record or on stage is what matters at the end of the day, though.“

„Deep Calleth Upon Deep“ - who or what is meant with these named ‚call‘?

„The songs spring from the very deepest recesses of our beings, and communicates to the depth of the listener.“

What is the most important artistic self-realization for you on these new release of Satyricon?

„Possibly that I have managed to bring more life and air into my drumming, and brought up the precision level. Not to say that I am in any way where I aim to be - but I believe I have taken steps in the right direction.“

What is more difficult to play for you - devastating, crushing, blasting-speedy Black Metal attacks as with 1349 or the differentiated, punctually, rather moderate sound as with Satyricon?

„Those are different types of challenges, and can not really be compared to each other. It has dawned upon me over the years, though, that everything comes to a great extent down to control and presence.“

The new output is of immense, ‚serious' power and (progressive) identity … with a wonderful, psychotic Rock'n'Roll factor, but still upcoming with typically devilish Black Metal attitude - fits very productive to the songs itself. How do you see the whole?

„I understand your point of view. Given the diversity of ‚Deep Calleth Upon Deep‘, combined with its power, you will find a huge spectrum of qualities. Actually quite typical of something that is truly alive and full of force. The album is a living and potent organism for sure.“

Which noteworthy (small) differences or elements to all so far known music of Satyricon are waiting now for the curious listeners?

„Deeper, higher, further, more …“

„To Your Brethren In The Dark“ is one of the grand, emotional monsters which know to touch my mind immediately, with it’s marvelous simply, but hellish catchy structure and the hypnotic appearance. What do you like to tell about this favorite track of mine?

„Your description of the song is as good as everyone else … I too feel that it has a profoundly dark, ghostly and mesmerizing atmosphere.“

Btw, what special kinds of emotions dominate the new creations?

„Loss and despair, achievement and victory - and everything in between.“

Allowed to ask about any special musical influences which led to the new songs?

„You are always allowed to ask. But whether you will actually get an answer, that’s another story.“

I guess, the main lyrical content of the new tracks turns fully around epic anger and spiritual hate. Please bring it a bit closer!

„Deeply existential thematics tend to come up, but there aren’t really any red threads, main theme or concepts. The lyrics are as diverse as are the songs themselves.“

© Markus Eck, 07.09.2017

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