Is it worth to run a label alone? Do you think, that is very hard to run a label alone?
- Well, it depends. If you are doing it small time with understanding bands I'm sure it can be OK. I did for instance EMPEROR - Wrath Of The Tyrant demo LP on vinyl with Samoth and that was an easy and fair deal - not complicated at all. But anyway, after I did ALASTIS I was quick to discover the band THE 3RD AND THE MORTAL which I am extremely proud of. I was so happy to have them on my label. And with this release I signed a deal with VOICES OF WONDER who took away a great deal of responsibility from me. They were in charge of manufacturing the albums, they also helped out with budgets and so on, and people could find the records in stores and so on. So I think to do a label alone it must be a small basis. I think that I signed far too many bands as the economical responsibility was not only mine, so we released far too much stuff. And some f the releases was perhaps not the best in the world....
Why and when did you stop running the label?
- It was a lot of reasons for starting the labels but it was more reasons for stopping it - especially for my own sake. It become far too much stress with all the bands and all the money. Some times a record wouldn't sell at all and the band would of course think they would be ripped off because there was no profit at all on certain releases...... And I being the anti social person I am was not easy to get hold of so a lot of people were pissed off with me. So, figuring out I was not a business man I had to leave. I can't remember exactly when I left but in the early '00ies some time. So VOICES took over all legal activities concerning the label and I was set free sort of say. I think there are still a few albums coming out on HEAD NOT FOUND but I haven't heard it..... But I did some great releases so I'm proud of that.
The last issue of Slayer came out in 2003 or so, have you had enough of doing any papers, the scene was over saturated, you lost your interest, it was lack of motivation or…?
- It was in early 2004 if I remember right, the plan was to release SLAYER 20 in 2005 at the latest but of course that never happened. I guess I come to the point where I was so sick of everything and i wanted some other input in my life. That was all I did for so many years, there was no time or money to do anything else - and that is what I wanted to, travel for instance... Also the fact there was not so many new interesting bands to me, so I was just sick of it all... FUKK METAL - that was the name of the last issue I did....HAHA!
What did you do after issue #19 was released? Did you remain in touch with the underground? Did you keep an eye what's going on in the scene?
- The most important thing I did was to take up photography on a more serious level, so I spend 3 years in a photo school here in Sarpsborg to learn the basic skills and develop my own identity as a photographer. So for me that was very interesting and I think that worked out pretty well. I have several projects going on in that field, so hopefully there will be a photo book or two in the very distant future - that is what I work against at least. I did some pictures for DARKTHRONE for the "The Cult Is Alive" Cd as well as promo pictures. The same with GORGOROTH - I did some promo pictures for them. Besides that I was involved in a gallery showing in New York in the summer of 2007 at the LEO KOENING GALLERY. This show was curated by BJARNE MELGAARD and also LYDIA LUNCH was in the same show so that was great. I also helped Peter Beste with his photo book where he also used images from my earlier magazines as well as I wrote an intro to that book.
I never left the underground or whatever but as time passes people lose interest so I never got much things in the mail for instance. So that was nice too to actually go out and buy records instead. So obviously I followed it but I could not buy everything....
Now my priorities are still photography and most of it is not related to Metal (mainly portraits) so that is what I do. I also try to take GOOD live pictures whenever I feel like seeing a band....... I'm pretty picky with my photography so there goes some time where I have free time, so that's why I wanted to re-start SLAYER 20 to be released this year. More details will be announced....
Did you have a lot of reviews, interviews which were never released, because you stopped doing the fanzine? What did you do with them?
- This was also a problem, my old computer died so a lot of stuff disappeared because that. Among other things was one of the last interviews with Jon Nødtveidt. Luckily something was saved as I printed out certain articles. So some of the stuff i can still use and will be used for vol. 20 as they were more historic interviews - so that's all good. Some will be slightly updated and some are fine as they are but i Feel that some lacked the true spirut of SLAYER MAGAZINE so I dropped a few too.. However all reviews are lost, but I don't think anyone cared for my reviews anyway...hahaha!
How big is your music collection? What are your most rare items?
- Over the years I sold a lot of stuff as I don't really see the point in keeping so much stuff. I still have far too much vinyls..... At most I had around 5000 or so now I am down to 3500-4000 or so. So I sold stuff to travel and so on..... Dunno about the most rare item, maybe "The Magus" with SADISTIK EXEKUTION on green vinyl or the yellow goat version of the BATHORY debut. But what I seem to treasure most is the classic vinyl releases of KREATOR, CELTIC FROST, MERCYFUL FATE, SODOM, SLAUGHTER, VENOM, DESTRUCTION, DEATHROW, HOLY MOSES and so on. Nothing rare about them but that is what I like the most. Also, I have around 1300 Cd's I think.......
What do you think about bootlegs, about bootlegging? Are they really for die hard fans or are they a kind of money making?
- I think that bootlegs really suck nowadays.... In the '80ies it was different as you could have great bootlegs with METALLICA and SLAYER for instance..... Nowadays I seen so many shitty bootlegs with inferior sound quality. Like all those shitty bootlegs with HELLHAMMER from Brazil instead. I am so happy the band released the demos in a proper way so people can stop buying those cheap bootlegs.
Did you have the opportunity to meet with your favourite musicians, patterns etc.? Do you also nowadays go on tours or concerts?
- I still go to concerts here and there, not as often as in the past maybe but still a lot. I know that this spring I will see a lot of concerts. Like, I am going to see the legendary OBSCURITY at least twice and others..... It is also interesting for me to do concert photography of certain bands that are visually appealing. So I met a lot of musicians over the year, and I come to full circle last year when I met Martin Ain and Tom Warrior, very nice people I must say. Also another nice experience was when we organized with HOLY MOSES to play at my birthday party. that was extremely cool...... But meeting SADISTIK EXEKUTION, SODOM, KREATOR, DESTRUCTION and got to be real good friends with NIFELHEIM for instance. But so many I met, especially at festivals and so on. I still want to meet Martin Missy.....
Your first ten a. all time classics (songs, records, covers), b. your favourite bands and musicians?
- Always a complicated question, there are so many to chose from, and there is also so much stuff besides Metal, so to put a list together like this is impossible for me. Stuff besides Metal I can start with (not mentioning albums here) DIAMANDA GALAS, COIL, DEAD CAN DANCE, EINZTURZENDE NEUBATEN, NICK CAVE, KATE BUSH, TORI AMOS, and I also have a special interest in '70ies heavy/prog/kraut rock. Of extreme Metal I can mention a ton and still forgetting another ton, but here is some..... BATHORY - "The Return..." (I love the four first ones but to pick one I picked this), SLAUGHTER - "Strappado", HELLHAMMER - "Apocalyptic Raids" "12, CELTIC FROST - "To Mega therion", DESTRUCTION - "Infernal Overkill", SODOM - "Obsessed By Cruelty", SADISTIK EXEKUTION - "The Magus", NIFELHEIM - "Devils Force", POSSESSED - "Seven Churches", VULCANO - "Bloody Vengeance"...Impossible to pick 10. To tell you the truth I am not big fans of lists like this. But I tried.....
What would be your all time band?
- I'm going to say LED ZEPPELIN here just for the hell of it.
How do you view the terms: thrash, speed, death, black and power metal? Did you never like glam rock or melodic (AOR) metal?
- Call it whatever you want, I'm not really interested in discussing if METALLICA is Thrash or MEGADETH speed Metal or whatever. It just gets annoying in the end. Remember METALLICA and EXCITER calling themselves Power Metal??? So whatever you call it doesn't matter to me. The only thing that I find annoying is when people don't consider VENOM as Black Metal because it doesn't sound modern. Some times i think it would be better if BLACK METAL was just tat album with VENOM. Ohh, I liked some early glam like SWEET, SLADE, MOTT THE HOOPLE and so on..... But if you refer more to the glam Metal scene I guess some was OK, like WHITESNAKE, but not really a big fan. I like a few more commercial bands like JOURNEY for instance.
What are your thoughts on some of the old bands getting back together? Are you for something like this or do you think the bands should just let sleeping dogs lie so to speak?
- This is a subject that there is no proper answer for, there are plenty of things to think of. But I do think that there is too many bands doing it now. Like, even bands who people never cared about in the first place are coming back and claiming to be cult or legendary or whatever - that makes me smile. And I think that people are coming back for cash is a lousy option too, there is a certain limit how much a band can generate.... I think it is just a thing that people are at a stage in life where they found peace and feel eager to play again. And I am of that opinion that people should not interfere in how other people should live their lives, let people live their life. It is no one forcing you to buy shitty comeback albums or go to reunion gigs. I like some and dislike more probably but it is not for me to judge. But I can see the reasons, if it has been a part of your life at some point it is always a part of your life..... I was happy to see CELTIC FROST coming back with an outstanding album for instance, and it was great to see them live especially as I missed them before..... And I am releasing SLAYER 20 so what the fuck can I say?
In the last few years were re-released a lot of thrash metal stuffs, such as Redrum, Toxik, Atrophy, Blessed Death, Master, Sacred Reich, Sadus, Sacrifice etc., do you consider a good idea to r-release the '80s classics these days? Do these re-releases serve the goal to draw more and younger fans attention to these bands?
- I like that, some of it was released on CD in a very poor way originally so it is good to have some of it on a proper CD version. So some of them I buy on CD just for the hell of it. I also experienced some really bad re-releases where the masters have been taken directly from the vinyls...Like you can hear vinyl scratches and so on. So generally I am pretty much for all that... There is also bands I never picked up in the first place so it is good to get them in cheaper versions. Maybe some younger people will pick this up, I wouldn't know....
How do you view do present scene compared to the '80s as whole?
- I think the scene today is too many bands, too many shitty bands sounding the same..... I think that maybe the musicians today are better than back then, but that doesn't mean you make good music...... I also think that people before had more distinctive ideas of their music and put more thoughts towards creating fresh music. Also the fact there is so many people into extreme Metal is annoying. If you saw someone with a SODOM shirt back in the '80ies you knew that was a great person. Now there are so many sheep followers..... And everything is so easy to get. We had to fight so hard to get our stuff. I remember trading with people in Brazil and it would take months to get the stuff. It was all worth it because you got stuff like SEPULTURA, MUTILATOR, SARCOFAGO, HOLOCAUSTO etc. Now you can log on to the 'net and find whatever you want. Makes people of today more lazy and less creative. We were more on the barricades, fighting for everything, making the roads as we walked them because no one been there before.
You have witnessed the evolution of the Norwegian scene from death metal bands like Old Funeral (2 first demos), Amputation, Phobia, Cadaver, Thou shalt suffer, Morbid (with some Swedish guys too), to „the second wave of black metal" with bands like Mayhem (from „De Mysteriis..."), Darkthrone (from „A blaze..."), Satyricon, Gorgoroth, Burzum and the list goes on, how did you judge this evolution at that time, and how do you see it nowadays?
- First of all, MORBID was a Swedish band - no Norwegians were a part of that. But this was an exciting time, as I talked about earlier Norway really had a proper Heavy Metal scene back in the '80ies, only a few bands here and there, nothing compared to Sweden. So when the first extreme acts popped out it was really interesting. I think a lot of those bands had their own identity and I found some of those early releases to be among the best. I do think that MAYHEM - "De Mysteriis...." is one of the best Black Metal albums ever and also DARKTHRONE - "A Blaze In The Northern Sky" is awesome..... Those band pawed way for a lot of things that happened later. So many bands took inspiration from this wave. Granted that most of it sound like shit but you can't deny the impact they had. Nowadays I really don't care about many of those bands still doing records. GORGOROTH being the best and DARKTHRONE being still good.....
How big was the Euronymous influence on the scene? What do you think about the Inner Circle and about their commitments?
- Euronymous had such an big influence on the Norwegian bands back then. I don't have to tell you how many bands changed from Death Metal to Black Metal because of him, right? He was very charmastic and he would talk to everyone about his believes and visions.... And it was interesting because so many changed to the better and creating something that people still try to copy. And, what about the inner circle? Not as dangerous as you might think, a bunch of people into extreme music with slightly different views on society. Of course things went too far in the end........
What do you think of the Internet and places such as MySpace? What do you think about downloading music files? Are you into or against it?
- The Internet and MYSPACE is not stupid, the people using it are stupid. I have a site for SLAYER MAGAZINE on MYSPACE for instance, and I decided to just add everyone in the world for the hell of it...... So I see a lot of bands I really don't care about. You see young bands putting out their music after being together as a band only a couple of months. People really need to practise more and craft music. There is no point in publishing everything so soon. And I think that's the shitty things, people just want feedback after being together for five minutes. That I don't like. Still, I have re-connected with some old bands because of MYSPACE so that's been good. I don't download music so I have no opinion on that..... I listen to samples but it usually take a very brief time to figure out what is worth checking out.
Would you say that downloading files is killing the music industry or can they mean to be a kind of promotion of bands?
- I say that talentless people is killing music. If you complain about lack of record sales you might consider writing better music. But I really have no opinion on it..... Personally I buy the LP or CD......
A lot of fanzines are existing nowadays as web zines, do you like reading them or do you prefer rather the printed ones?
- I for sure like the printed ones better but its getting rarer and rarer I see something. I like it because more thought and depth are put into printed publications. The main concern with web 'zines is that they usually want to publish everything as soon as possible. And when there is a important release coming a lot of premature reviews will be published because they want to have it out before anyone else...Its always about the latest and the greatest.
Didn't you think about to do Slayer as a web zine? Was it a popular, well know fanzine back then?
- I think that SLAYER was pretty well known back in the day but I don't think any youngsters really care for it, of course there are someone interested but in the sense of popularity I think our time is long gone. I did make a web site once but I quickly lost interest. It was nothing personal to see the writings on a computer screen, so that was nothing for me. I decided to make one on MYSPACE but only to have some basic information and getting hold of certain people. But for me, it must be on paper to be real.
Are nowadays fanzines still popular and aboded the test of time? Which fanzines, magazines do you like these days?
- To a certain extent I think that fanzines are fairly popular, I think there is still some interest. But you must do it like SNAKEPIT for instance, to have outstanding in depth interviews and not only about the last releases... I really don't see much fanzines these days so I'm afraid I don't have any faves.
Do you often read early fanzines, such as Metal Forces, Kick Ass Monthly, Whiplash etc.?
- That's another sad chapter, I lost so much over the years so I really don't have any of those left - I know - it sucks. I was lucky to get some photo copies of old KICK ASS MAGAZINES which was nice It would be nice to have some of those magazines again, but at least I have the memories.
Unfortunately Bob Muldowney and Sam Kress passed away…
- It is always sad to see when pioneering journalists go away. Shit, its always sad when someone worthwhile in your life goes away. But lets treasure and honor their memories.
What are the differences and similarities between fanzines and magazines?
- For me; a fanzine is something published by a single person who does everything himself/herself. Also distribution and so on. I think that a magazine is something bigger often released by some sort of publisher and also funded by advertisement, that is hardly the case with fanzines. Still think that people at big magazines can be equally big fans of the music.
What about you these days as a whole? Are you a family man with children and stuff or…?
- My main priority at this stage in life is photography, I'm well on my way and that is all I want to share with you concerning my private life. (Only that it is very private....)
Are you still in touch with dudes, with whom you were in touch 20-25 years ago?
- Not many, a lot of people seemed to progress in a different way than me when they get older so it is not interesting for me to stay in touch with them. Only because you had a few things in common back then doesn't mean you are friends for life. But I stay in touch with some but I wouldn't call them deep, spiritual friends........(I demand a lot in a person to be called my friend)
Would you say, that metal is in your vain forever?
- Of course it is, when it has been in your life so long you can't really turn your back on it. But I think there are also more interesting music than Metal out there, and it is also more to life than being a drunk useless Metal head. I been there done that. Variation is the key, then you can enjoy everything to the fullest all the time.
So Metalion, thanks a lot for this feature, any closing words?
- It might be silly of me to release another magazine but I really don't care, I feel that I owe it to certain people to have at least SLAYER MAGAZINE 20 released in a proper way..... Thanks for reading this! http://www.myspace.com/slayermagazine