Michael Toland of the Austin Chronicle recently conducted an interview with bassist Orion (real name: Tomasz Wróblewski) of Polish extreme metallers BEHEMOTH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Austin Chronicle: Let’s talk about “The Satanist”. It’s your first album in five years and you put a lot of hard work into it. Are you pleased with it and the reception it’s gotten so far?
Orion: Oh, yes, definitely. We’ve never been happier with a record. It took us a long time to get to this point. During Nergal’s [guitar/vocals] hospitalization and everything — this whole hard period — we weren’t really sure if the next record’s gonna happen. But it did happen, and we’re truly happy with it. In our honest opinion, it just represents us to date. It’s the best record we’ve ever done as a band, and it actually feels great. We all feel that.
Austin Chronicle: The deluxe CD version includes a DVD documentary on which there’s talk about how emotion should power the music. One of you even said it should just yell. Although there’s a high degree of craft, the band wanted to keep it very organic. As you put it, “Open the wounds and let the blood flow.” How do you balance all those things?
Orion: Well, I remember this theory after “Evangelion”, when we started touring. We were trying to talk about a new record, which was gonna happen at some point. We didn’t really know which way we should go, or where we should move from this point. We had no idea, because we didn’t really feel that we can compete with the 200% of our abilities that we’ve applied up to this point. Then we sat down to write “The Satanist”. We went through this whole dark period of Nergal being sick, and I feel like we all learned to appreciate what we have and who we are much more. So, at some point, we started talking about the new album, and it was just flawless, fluent, very, very smooth. Because we sat down to write the music, and it was just going. We quit asking questions, for some reason. I really don’t know why it happened, but we just wanted to have us and our blood on this record — and we didn’t want to edit it to the very edge. We wanted to be very human. We’re imperfect as people, as musicians. So we just let this record be imperfect. And somehow we managed to do it the right way. Even the recording process itself was very much different from what we used to do before. Most of the tracks recorded, the parts are the first take. There’s not many overdubs on it. It’s just us, as imperfect as we are.
Austin Chronicle: Something else mentioned in the documentary was a general dissatisfaction with the state of extreme music. That you felt like the word doesn’t mean anything anymore.
Orion: There’s more and more bands everywhere in the world. They’re also starting to sound exactly the same. Even the older bands, it seems like they’re re-recording the same record again and again, and all these new metal things — I just don’t get it. I listen to all these bands, and… We have this saying in Polish, “It’s going through your left ear and going out of your right ear, and you don’t remember a single thing.” It seems that the thought in it, the idea, is just missing. There’s a lot of great players. There’s a lot of great musicians, shredders. But they just race over the fretboard and there’s no heart to it. That’s what we basically think about metal music. There’s a lot of good bands these days that I do enjoy listening to, and we’re trying to keep up with what’s happening in metal music.
Read the entire interview at Austin Chronicle.