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Another classic interview for you - this rather short conversation with BATHORY mastermind Quorthon took place back in 1994, right around the time of the release of the "Jubileum" compilations. It was originally published in our third issue, but due to the fact that there's only been 500 copies printed of it, not too many people will probably know it... and the quality back then wasn't that great either. So, here it is again - enjoy!

What have been the reasons to put out two BATHORY compilations at one time ?
"Well, the reason was that we first of all formed the band ten years ago and I think that is a very good reason enough ! And the reason why it was two was because we were moving from one type of music to another, you know, Speed Metal or whatever you wanna call it, to what we're doing today. And we wanted to be able to cover ev ery kind of aspect of what we have done on our records in these past ten years..."

Don't you think that it would've been much better just to put out a single album, with a couple of unreleased songs, remixed stuff etc. instead of two albums? It would've been much cheaper for the kids.
"Yeah of course, but that's the priority... if you want to have the history of BATHORY on record, you go and buy one of the two "Jubileum" CDs , or you can buy SATAN'S PENIS MUSIC or something like that. And also some of the songs on our al bums last about ten minutes, so if you want to put some of those down, you were only able to come up with seven or eight tracks."

Are there any songs left from the BATHORY history that haven't been covered on one of the two albums? Unreleased stuff?
"Yes, there's about ten or something. The reason why we have not released them was simply because that material was hea vily combined with a sort of a theme or they belonged to an album itself and they wouldn't do good on their own. And also, once you've left some material behind you or you have headed in a certain direction you don't... ehh, it's kinda like you pick-up your diary, trying to re-live your days. It doesn't work, you know. You have to move on, both musically and lyrically... you don't wanna look back."

Were the two tracks from the first "Scandinavian Metal Attack" compilation, the first BATHORY tracks on vinyl?
"Ehh... yes. In January 1984..."

So, what about the rumors that BATHORY was only a project of yours and that you've done everything on your own in the past?
"Everytime I was telling, that this isn't the case, people refused to believe that in one way or another - since autum of 1984! That was never the intention... The intention was to do have a band together! Once you realize how the musical situation was back in those days in Sweden, it was hard enough to try to find one who wanted to play rough Heavy Metal... and also they had to look very good (???? - Ed.), they had to be totally dedicated you know, they had to be into the dark side of life and everything and also be able to contribute to the songwriting. But back in those days, you weren't able to find guys like that in Sweden. They came down to the rehearsal place, heard the music and said: "Ok, don't call me - I'll call you!" They looked like POPies, you know, it wasn't the easiest thing. One day I called up Christian from SODOM, he tried to do some work with me, but it didn't work out and I had a lot of other people coming up as well. From Malmö, from the United States and everywhere, but it did not work out. When the early albums had been finished, none of the guys, who did it, were in the band anymore, so there was no reason to put their names or photos on it, cause it would have confused the fans all the time."

Why has Chris not worked out?
"He was up here for a month or something and the reason was I had a tour lined-up in the United States in the end of '86 beginning of '87, so I talked to him about that and he was very positive about that, cause SODOM wasn't too active at that time, and we had some great ideas combined... So, he came up here, we rehearsed for a month but then he had to go back to Germany, cause they had to re-record some of the stuff to one of their albums at that time, I don't know if that was true or not, but anyway... So, we discussed the whole thing once again and came to the point... both of our fans could be confused in the end and also SODOM and BATHORY are the two bands, that received the most shit because we sound the way we do and we were very early and we started this whole Death Metal thing, but we were not having those huge organizations behind us, like many other bands have, so we are still in the underground, both of us..."

Was it a kind of pleasure for you to work with Chris? Cause I do remember that you've been a big fan of SODOM and DESTRUCTION in the early days...
"Oh nonono! No way! Certainly not DESTRUCTION anyway...! (funny - I do remember some letter of yours, telling the opposite in 1984 / '85! - Ed.) No, that was not the case at all! When I started making interviews back in 1984, SODOM also started making interviews and the underground scene was much bigger (??? - Ed.) and better (! ' !- E4. ) ,1t was more fanat1c in tlloSe days, lt was more like, hey - this is our thing! And there were no big Heavy Metal magazines around (c'mon - what about KERRANG!, METAL FORCES, ENFER, AARDSCHOK etc. - Ed.). The BATHORY and SODOM stories were lined together in the same magazines all the time, so of course you read a lot about eachother and it seemed that our careers were going hand in hand more or less. But there was no real fan situation... of course not! I'm a couple of years older than those guys. There's respect of course..."

Your early stuff was heavily influenced by VENOM, even your bandname was, but you always denied your roots in the past. Why?
"Well, they were the first of course, if you want to get rid of MOTÖHEAD and ANGEL WITCH and aII those bands, but they never preceived any of the attention those Newcastle guys did. But nevertheless, that does not have to mean that you have to be a fan! What it needed is a kick and someone to do something that makes you realize, yes, you can do this. And unless you did not want to do this before, prior 5 or 6 years before I formed the band that was really what you wanted to do, but it was a very big problem to persuede a lot of guys, drummers and bass players of this kinda music... What happened was, when "Welcome To Hell" and "Black Metal" came out, you could provide these people with proof, that yes, you can actually do this... But there was never any fan situation! If there's only one type of beer to drink and you drink beer, it doesn't mean you like beer (??? - Ed.), I mean, who have asked fishes, if they like water or not...? They have to be in the water. And at that time the only thing around, at least for a year or something, until some small bands came out, was VENOM - of course! Although the name didn't come from the song, it came from the countess herself. I read a story about her, when I was eleven or twelve years old. We were called SATAN, DEATH, NOSFERATU and everything and three weeks later we changed the name to BATHORY!"

But don't you think that BATHORY would have sounded quite different if there wouldn't have been a band called VENOM?
"If there wouldn't be the band VENOM, there wouldn't be any underground movement that would turn to Death or Black Metal anyway! The people who are doing those magazines and the people who are playing in bands today, were young kids, thirteen, fourteen years old, into VENOM in that age, so of course you have to give a big respect to them for having started it, but they didn't treat people very nicely and

they turned out to be dickheads in the end anyway. There have been hundreds of bands that have influenced Death Metal in millions of new directions since them, so you have to look forward. Of course they were the first, they've been the pioneers, but..."

But don't you think that BATHORY would have sounded quite different if there wouldn't have been a band called VENOM?
"If there wouldn't be the band VENOM, there wouldn't be any underground movement that would turn to Death or Black Metal anyway! The people who are doing those magazines and the people who are playing in bands today, were young kids, thirteen, fourteen years old, into VENOM in that age, so of course you have to give a big respect to them for having started it, but they didn't treat people very nicely and

they turned out to be dickheads in the end anyway. There have been hundreds of bands that have influenced Death Metal in millions of new directions since them, so you have to look forward. Of course they were the first, they've been the pioneers, but..."

How did you get the idea for your "nickname" Quorthon then?
"There's a list in the Black Bible and one of those guys was called Quorthon. It was a joke to begin with, cause anybody had a nickname, you know, Ozzy Osbourne, Gene Simmons, Lemmy or Nikki Sixx or whoever. So it was just a joke, cause in Sweden we don't have the "th" (just like in Germany - Ed.) and they would have huge difficulties to pronounce the name. We never had the intention to become the greatest band in the world so at least we had a laugh for ourselves."

Have you ever seen BATHORY as a Black Metal band?
"I don't know. When the whole thing escalated in San Francisco, everyone called their own music for something different... Black Metal, Speed Metal, Thrash Metal, Crossover, Hardcore, anything you know. Today you have millions of terms for it... bands are also changing their styles from one album to another. If you look at the evolution of our music, you can see that it wasn't an overnight change... we built something over the years and it's hard to put a label on it that lasts ten years."

Are you still interested in the Black Metal scene of today?
"I think Black Metal itself is more close to my heart, cause that's what the whole thing started. Today bands concentrate too much on playing a little bit too fast and sounding alike. I know a handful of these Black Metal bands, but I can never seperate them from eachother and I've never been in touch with them personally. But it's good though, cause once in a while they give a little credit to us."

What do you think is the reason that you've become such a big influence on the Black Metal scene of today?
"I guess the first thing is, that we're Swedish, that we haven't to go in the same direction as American, German or English bands.The second reason was possibly that there were no pictures around and the third thing was that there were a lot of rumors going around in interviews that made us more interesting and we were very early. We put out our first stuff on vinyl in January 1984 when most of those guys were still in junior school. The fifth reason was that people couldn't grap us, cause we've always changed our style from one album to the next and we were couragous enough to try different sounds as on the third album, where we used synthesizers and we were trying accoustic guitars and stuff like that."

Could you imagine that all that made BATHORY a kind of a cult band to some people?
"Yeah, l mean that's the whole thing.There's nothing more than a cult thing, but that's nothing you can put on your bread... you can't live from cult (unless your band is called THE CULT - Ed.). It's just a way people look at you, the way they treat you and your music. That can make a band, that didn't tour, that put out an album every twenty months survive..."

Have you ever played live?
"We did at our rehearsal place in Stockholm, but that's of course not in front of a paying audience..."

When did you get your first real line-up together and how has the band developed from there?
"The very very first line-up, ehh... I was putting an ad in a Stockholm musicpaper, telling that I wanted to combine the energy and speed of MOTÖRHEAD with the evil sound and heaviness of BLACK SABBATH and that I wanted a drummer who's able to play very fast double-bass and a very heavy bass player. The only answer I got on that, besides some who called just for fun, were two guys, who already knew each other from a hobby band. They had a rehearsal place and a lot of equipment, so I thought, it might be a good idea to meet and exchange some ideas. So we met in the first week of March in 1983 at their rehearsal place in Stockholm and played some cover songs... Then I started to touch a little bit about writing stuff for this band, we were talking in which direction we wanted to go and then I started writing three or four songs, I believe 'Sacrifice' was one of them and the whole thing went on, but only for about one year. We had a leadguitar player coming down to the rehearsal place and he stayed for three minutes... And after seven months, we had a vocalist coming down, cause the other guys did not like my style of singing and he stayed with the band for three weeks, then I gave him the boot a couple of hours before we went into the studio to record the tracks for the compilation album. As we received a lot of fan mail on the sampler, I decided that I wanted to go in that direction and that I wanted new members..."

Why have you changed the typical BATHORY style from the Black Metal stuff to a more fantasy type of thing?
"If you write songs and play an instrument and you're interested in coming up with some lyrics, you can not define that yourself as long as it's a natural behaviour or something. And also, if you eat Pizza everyday, you'll get tired of Pizza and you'll be looking for something different from one day to another. It is not a challange anymore. If you play songs with threehundred beats per minute for two or three years you're not interested in it anymore... you have to grow with your music!"

There was one song on the album "Under The Sign Of The Black Mark", called 'Of Doom', which you dedicated to all loyal fans around the world... Do you think that you still have the same following as in the beginning or have your fans changed with you?
"I don't know... In the beginning I read a lot of fan letters from very loyal fans, who were very enthusiastic, who bought all the records and magazines and all that and they were totally into the lyrics and stuff, but I don't know, if those kids are still sticking to the band these days..."

The two demo tracks on the compilation albums, were they the only demo songs from BATHORY?
"That was not correctly labeled on the albums, cause those tracks were never intended or recorded to be used as a demo. The reason why we used the term "demo" on the album was because we didn't wanna confuse the people. Actually it's just a rehearsal recording, that I did with the second BATHORY line-up. It was recorded at our rehearsal place basically in a live situation on two tracks. We only added the vocals and lead-guitar to it. If we would have used the term rehearsal it also could have been from 1990 or something. We have remixed it a bit, what we can remix, cause it was just on a cassette, but we thought it would be a good idea for the "Jubileum" CDs."

Have you ever put out an official BATHORY demo in 1983 / '84 that you sent out to labels and mags?
"No, never! The only official release back then were the two compilation tracks."

Can you already tell us something about the next BATHORY album? Will there be a new album?
"Probably not! We have decided, that we should take an enormously long break... We already have since the "Twilight Of The Gods" album, but it's very difficult to come up with something new right now. If you've released an album like "Twilight", you can't go back and write some simple Speed Metal tracks, you know. So we really painted ourselves into a corner and we can't get out of that anymore... But I have a project, that I'm working on right now, that'll feature some music which won't fit under the BATHORY umbrella, so to speak. It'll be released under the name QUORTHON!"

Frank Stöver

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