DIMMU BORGIR need no introductions. They are the absolute Gods of symphonic black metal and one of the most well know metal bands on the planet. They recently released a double DVD named “The Forces Of Northern Night” which is 2 performances with full orchestra and choir. Needless to say, it’s ridiculously good. As for this interview, I just couldn’t believe I was talking with such an influential person and recognizable figure. We talked about the new DVD, their upcoming album and the shows the band has performed with full orchestras.
DIMMU BORGIR has released the “Forces Of Northern Night” upon the world in April 28th. Can you share a few details about this release?
I don’t know where to start, it is definitely a highlight of (our) career and the two biggest shows we’ve ever done, this was also recorded in 2011 and 2012, but it’s really great to finally get the results and take off the plastic. Finally we have released it upon the world and we can share it with the people that were not part of the two shows. It’s definitely a great achievement for us as a band and I’m very proud of this, and to me is also a power statement of what DIMMU BORGIR can do. So yeah, I’m really proud of it, it turned out great and it seems that with all the different additions that are released, I think that the feedback I’ve seen so far is (overwhelmingly) great. So, yeah!
If I may say so myself, the result is absolutely glorious.
Thank you very much! I appreciate that so much, thank you. I think also the limited air book edition it’s a really great product. It includes both of the shows, including the blu-rays and also the audio CDs including a 48-page booklet. So it’s something really special for the fans that have been waiting for a long time, so hopefully people will like it.
I’m sure they will. “The Forces Of Night” was something that DIMMU BORGIR has been working for about 5 years now. What caused that big delay?
There’s many factors involved here. It was originally meant to be released after we did the concert but due to our contract with the label and also the commitment DIMMU BORGIR were doing at the time, all live concerts we were booking, it was meant to be delayed. Time is flying, we have other stuff to do. Yeah, it took a long time to take this out to be honest, but at least the final result is great. It’s many different factors why this delay happened.
While watching the DVD, I noticed some of the orchestra members were having the time of their life.
Others, not as much. A lot of people including me have this question. What do the orchestra members you’re working with really thing about DIMMU BORGIR’s music?
I think that some of the people are very conservative and maybe don’t like this style of music and they are going out of their comfort zone to do something completely different. Some people like it and some people don’t, but yeah I agree with you, it was really funny to see how some of the people in the orchestra reacted to being a part of this live show and they seemed to really, really enjoy it. Also, after the shows we have done with them we’ve had people come to us and be like “this has been a GREAT experience, this is something totally different from what we’d normally do”. In general, I think that most of them really enjoyed it but as I said, there are still some people who are very conservative.
What is it like to work with people of such varying ages, music tastes… I mean an orchestra has, what? A hundred people? What is it like to work with such variety of people?
It’s definitely a different experience, we first used this orchestra in the recording of our “Abrahadabra” album. Yeah, there were different ages, old people to young people, but as I said before it’s great for some of them, but maybe not for all of them. At least we have a really good conductor who converts all our ideas into orchestration notes and it’s really inspiring to see how they play music, because they play music by notes and DIMMU BORGIR as a band we play by memory. It’s like a combination of two different worlds coming together as one, you know? It’s definitely a different experience but I’m really humblee… To make this achievement for the band after working hard and disciplined for over 25 years and we have dedicated our lives to DIMMU BORGIR. It was of course a really special moment for us to be on stage and also to work with such professional team with all these people involved. (There were) of course over a hundred people on stage but there’s also a lot of people behind the scenes to make such a big event happening. It’s probably a 150 people involved in the process. I have to say that I truly admire but the orchestration and also the choir for their discipline and professionalism.
Is that kind of huge production something we can expect in the future from DIMMU BORGIR?
*With a playful, promising tone* Well with DIMMU BORGIR you can expect, the unexpected. That’s how we want it to be and that’s how it will be in future, so it’s really hard to predict exactly what we’re gonna do and what we won’t do, but this might happen again actually and we’ll come up with something different, maybe even bigger next time. We’ll see, time will tell!
What sort of media besides music influence DIMMU BORGIR. Books, movies… Are there any specific works you wanna mention?
Inspiration for DIMMU BORGIR can be so many different things. Everything from daily life to reading a newspaper, to watching a movie to see what’s going on in the world. Every album is also very linked to a certain time period of your life and what you make there and then is something totally adjustable to the time you are in. But there are no limitations for our inspiration it can be everything.
What’s your opinion of today’s black metal scene? Any cool black metal artists that you are fond of right now?
Yeah, I try to keep up with what’s going on the scene and for me it seems like the black metal scene is stronger than ever before. Also, the underground scene surprisingly, after all this years is still quite big which is even for me a very big surprise, you know? I’ve been into the scene for almost 30 years now, so for me to see (the black metal scene) it’s still going strong is nice. I’m probably more related to the older bands. I always keep supporting bands that I have followed for many, many years, for instance, DARKTHRONE. I always follow bands that I know deliver great records and yeah I’m a big fan of all kinds of different things. Also bands like WATAIN and TRIBULATION’s was the last cool black metal album that I bought, also the latest MASTER’S HAMMER album that came out last year was really great. Yeah so I still try to pay attention to what’s going on in the world of the underground, but it is no secret that I also enjoy to listen to a lot of different styles of music so, I also find inspiration in a lot of different styles of music, not just black metal.
You’ve announced that a new DIMMU BORGIR album is in the works and it was been that way for a while now. It’s gonna be the longest gap between studio albums yet. Again, can you give us a little bit of context in what caused that big delay?
We can only be at one place at a time, you know? We cannot be everywhere, and when you are a band as (big) as DIMMU BORGIR, there’s a lot of work to be done. You either make music or you’re out touring, or you do the business side of the band or you do the creative side of the band, it’s A LOT of hard work and for this time, we didn’t want to rush anything. We want to do good products and when we release an album we want to be satisfied and to release something authentic and great. It has to come naturally, you can’t force inspiration. You cannot force to be creative, it comes naturally. We do what we want to do and if people like it, that’s great, if they don’t then, whatever. So yeah, it’s been a long since the last album you have to take into consideration that after we released “Abrahadabra” in 2010 we’ve been touring the world non-stop. Europe, America, summer festivals, South America, Japan, Australia… There’s a lot of things to do in a connection of an album release, time is flying, we have other priorities. We have families, we have kids, and you have to kind of find a balance that works. Today after being around for all these years we are not in a hurry to do anything, we do what we want to do. It has to came natural. It’s been 7 years since our last album If you think that we have been lazy then think again haha.
So how close are we to the release of the next DIMMU BORGIR album?
I don’t wanna give away too many details, but I can tell we have been working on it for two years to complete this new album, it’s ready right now and it will be out on 2017. I don’t have the exact release date right now, but it will be released at least in fall, I think. That’s the plan we have right now, we are working on all the plantings for the future so it’s a lot of work to be done but hopefully we will have it out at fall. (At the background you can hear me almost whispering “awesome” with a tone of disturbing excitement). It’s also an album that we are very, very proud of, it includes elements from our whole history throughout 25 years, musical riffs that are very much linked to our previous albums. It also has a lot of symphonic, emotional, dark elements, and it has also a strong presence of primitive black metal, so it’s a good combination of what DIMMU BORGIR is known for and I think the fans will not be disappointed this time. It turned out really great and I’m very, very proud of it.
I am delighted to hear that! Last question, is there any chance we might see you guys in Greece in the upcoming tours?
Yes, I hope so, I really hope so. We were also working these days to put up a plan for 2018, so hopefully sometime in 2018 we’ll be back in Greece!