Satyricon’s Satyr: “Metal is the most vain movement I know”

(Image credit: Kevin Nixon)

Armed with their recent, remastered reissue of 1999’s genre-defining Rebel Extravaganza, Norwegian black metal legends Satyricon finished 2019 with a reflective celebration of their legacy. But then was then: right now we’re challenging frontman Satyr to answer your burning questions, from Nickelback and fine wines to mellow music and takeaways.

You’re relaxing at home with a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning: What’s on the stereo? What’s your mellow mood music?
Jo Fleischer (Facebook)

“We could change that around for a Saturday evening because most of my Saturday evenings are spent at home trying to get hold of good food. That’s when I listen to Klaus Schulze, 70s analog synths, ambient music, 70s rock but not the most energetic type. I listen to The Doors, some of my old favourite records from the 90s like Massive Attack, plus down and mellow gypsy jazz like Jimmy Rosenberg.”

I’ve listened to quite a few black metal songs and I’ve always wondered, Satyr: why can’t you write and sing a nice song like those Nickelback boys?
Steve Sowerby (Facebook)

“I don’t know if I could do a Nickelback song but sometimes I really try to see if I can make stuff that has a happy vibe to it, to see if I can even do it. Some people can write music they don’t even like themselves – songwriters for example, people who aren’t connected to a band but write for other artists. They’ll write music like others bake bread but I’m not an all-rounder, so I’m not really able to. I can just write my music, that’s all.”

Did you ever think Rebel Extravaganza would be getting a big, important 20th anniversary reissue? How does it feel being something of a ‘legacy’ band?
Bethan James (email)

“The most important thing for me is to make new music so I’m not sure it gives me the same pleasure as making new music, but then again I’m an artist who’s preoccupied with all the music I still haven’t written. Having said that, a lot of 2019 went into this Rebel reissue because we had time after the Deep Calleth Upon Deep touring cycle. Eventually we’ll do The Shadowthrone and Dark Medieval Times as well and they’ll be big projects too; I have to make sure we have time to do it thoroughly without being a conflict of interest with making new music. We knew when we were making Rebel it wasn’t just another record; it was a record with ambition, there was nothing like it at the time, so I’m glad there’s still interest in it.”

How do you like your Sunday roast?
@DavOakMus (Twitter)

“Sunday is a big takeaway day for me! I had this one favourite Indian place that I’ve used for the last 15 years and it was so consistent, really good and affordable. I enjoyed it up until two or three weeks ago when we all got food poisoning – there were three people in our house taking turns throwing up and I thought to myself, ‘There goes my 15 years!’ It’s probably a mistake but I can never eat there again, so I have to start all over again and find a new place now.”

How did you grow your hair back so quick after Rebel Extravaganza?
Jake Rider (Facebook)

“What’re you insinuating?! I don’t think it was that spectacular, my hair grew for a couple of years. If you look at my hair blowing out in the wind in the wilderness of Iceland on the photoshoot for the Volcano gatefold LP, it isn’t very long – on the contrary, it’s medium length. I think it’s funny metal people really care about this stuff because metal people look like they aren’t vain, but this is the most vain movement I know! I find it amusing how often people comment on the way I look on social media, so I go and check their profile and I think, ‘Wow, you’ve got some nerve going out there talking into that echo chamber about how people look!’”

How do you feel about the evolution of black metal and how a lot more bands are now making that type of music from countries you wouldn’t really have associated with the genre in the past?
@CAJ_310 (Twitter)

“I’m not sure there’s been a wave of bands coming from other countries when it comes to black metal. The way I see it, it’s the bands that we’ve been listening to for the last 20-25 years that are still the most significant bands. I’m rooting for new bands and hoping someone wants to generate that way of creativity that the black metal scene of the 1990s was all about. It goes to show the style turned out to have some longevity: how many people still go and see bands like Emperor that haven’t released an album in a long time?”

Will your label Moonfog ever become more active again in the future?
Jeremy Saffer (Facebook)

“If you’re asking if Moonfog will sign bands and release records like we used to in the 1990s and 2000s, the answer is unfortunately no. We have reactivated Moonfog since 2014 in the sense that I bought back various master rights to put myself in a position where we can re-release them, for example the Rebel Extravaganza reissue and the last studio album, Deep Calleth Upon Deep, which have been released under licence to Napalm Records, but the actual owner is Moonfog. Moonfog now and in future is not going to be what it used to be but it will continue to be the company that owns Satyricon’s music.”

Ribbe or Pinnekjøtt at Christmas?
@Bartelomeooo (Twitter)

“Pinnekjøtt, which translated into English is a piece of skeleton with some meat hanging onto it. It has a tendency to be rather salty, served with cooked potatoes on the side, sometimes smoked but mostly not. I’m not a huge fan of the holidays and all the stuff that comes with it but I also got tired of arguing with family and relatives about this stuff so what I’ll do now is just fake it; I eat what they eat and let them do their thing. I sit there and quietly dislike all of it but try to do so without ruining their fun.”

How do you feel about ‘Christian’ black metal?
@eldontara (Twitter)

“I can’t say I’ve heard any successful religious metal bands, the whole idea just doesn’t work. It’s not the right motivation, it’s the wrong foundation to make heavy music. You can’t make horror movies for small kids and you can’t make religious metal music, that’s the whole point. It’s about being free of religion and also politics, an escape from our daily lives and not something that will enhance the focus on these things. I don’t have anything against bands like Rage Against The Machine – they can do whatever they want and some of their stuff might even be listenable – but to me, the idea of a band feeling like a political movement or protest act makes it less musical to me.”

What’s the best and worst wine you have ever tasted?
Tania Richson (email)

“In general, the very best wines are from Piedmont in north-west Italy, Bordeaux burgundy and Champagne in France. I’ve been served Dom Perignon from 1969 on two occasions – the second time I told myself it couldn’t be as good as the first bottle but it was even better than the first. The worst are really diluted wines with really low concentration. Hopefully it’s improved since but 10 years ago I tried an American wine called The Prisoner and the amount of new oak was shocking – that means any taste or smell of grape variety, soil, climate or vinification methods gets lost in a sweet coconut vanilla from the oak barrel.” 

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