First, tell us the history of your involvement in the scene.
I have been into metal music since the early 80's. It all started when I first listened to Motley Crue & W.A.S.P.. I was obsessed by their Satanic imagery, blood and perverse videos. Since then I have been listening to heavier and heavier music. Around '86 I started writing to Bathory, Destruction, Sodom and Kreator and other underground speed and thrash bands. I think my main interest with metal music was the occult and aggressive music styles.
How is Petrified 'Zine doing these days? It was mentioned in the book Lords of Chaos, yet FMP wasn't, how do you feel about that?
Lords of Chaos was a decent book for people who know nothing about the scene. Basically Petrified was the first neo-black metal magazine and Full Moon Productions was the first black metal record label to emerge from the US, and everyone in the scene (who means anything) knows that. Petrified 'zine is now dead. I have no time to work on the magazine, plus I have lost interest with so many false and weak bands in the scene today. Too many people try to act evil and dress extreme, meanwhile they have been into the scene for a couple of years and just barely listened to bands like Emperor and Cradle of Filth. It seems a lot of these bands are more into imagery than style or originality.
You were the official label of Burzum merchandise a few years back, tell us how that came about and your experiences in doing that.
I first got in contact with IT of ABRUPTUM and EURONYMOUS of MAYHEM back in '89. The reason for our contact was one reason only- Satanism and underground music. Euronymous told me about Varg and Burzum around '91/'92 and how his style was that similar to Bathory and he also told me about all the 'things' Varg was into. I wrote to him immediately in blood, and responded quickly. Varg's ideology was very extreme and true. He was one of the only people in the scene I knew that not only 'spoke' about evil but actually acted on it. I thought he deserved the recognition, so I supported him by making t-shirts and promoting Burzum. After Burzum was signed to Misanthropy records, everything went to shit. Diamanda had a very big problem with me and my promotion of Burzum because I wasn't in it to make money, but to promote his beliefs. We were hurting her sales, so she asked Varg to stop writing me.. The story is much longer and much more detailed than I am telling you. Basically, money talked at the end...
You mentioned that you and Euronymous used to talk, and one of the reasons you set up FMP was because of your talks with him. Could you elaborate on this?
Euronymous had a lot of control on the Norwegian scene. Every band that played metal music was forced to play black metal or suffer the wrath of Euronymous and the Black Circle. A lot of people feared him, and no bands were allowed to sign to foreign companies. They wanted to keep Norway united and strong. I talked with Euronymous about starting a record company and signing Norwegian black metal bands... And he gave me his full support. That was one reason bands like Mysticum and Hades were signed to Full Moon Productions.
What were your experiences with Varg and Euronymous? How do you remember them?
Euronymous seemed to be very serious but always had financial problems personally and with Deathlike Silence Productions (DSP). Varg was very serious, prompt and believed what he did 100%. That's what was so great about being in touch with him, however, once he was arrested for the murder of Euronymous his beliefs changed. I had nothing but good experiences with both of them. Varg and I ended in bad terms because of Misanthropy.
People will talk about the killing of Euronymous for many years to come in the metal scene, while a lot of people say it hurt the scene badly, it also gave it tremendous exposure worldwide, not that that may be a good thing. What did you think the first time you heard he had died? What about when you heard he was murdered, by Varg? How do you think this has effected the scene?
I was told by Samoth of Emperor that Euronymous was murdered the next day. I could not believe it! I first thought it was someone from the Finnish or Swedish scene that killed him, then later I thought it might have been some stupid Christian. When I was told it was Varg Vikernes I was extremely surprised, but then understood why it all happened. I think it effected the scene more than anyone really understands. After his murder the scene was very chaotic and the extremity was lost. Norway suffered the most. Young bands like Emperor got the spot light because they were original members of the black circle while other bands like Mysticum lost the exposure they deserved. Bands that followed the ways of the Black Circle started changing their styles of music from 'Satanic' to 'Nordic' and 'Viking'.. etc.. etc..
Recently you've signed a lot more bands to your label (INDUNGEON, LORD WIND, CENTURIAN, ACHERON, PILEDRIVER, etc.) how is that avenue coming along? Are there any bands you plan to sign in the future?
Indungeon and Piledriver are no longer on the record label.. However, bands like Lord Wind, Centurian and Acheron are unique, strong and very talented bands. FMP is no longer just a black metal record company, but I feel that we are more of a satanic metal company because we no longer just sign black metal bands. Centurian is a very aggressive black/death metal band in the vein of Krisiun, Angelcorpse and Morbid Angel.. While Acheron is a mid paced satanic ritual full of melody and unholy feelings.. Lord Wind is in a category of its own.. It's a form of Aryan/pagan folk music. The only new bands we have signed are Hemlock and Monumentum (only for 1 CD).
What state do you think the scene is in currently, would you say it's picking up?
I think the scene has never been bigger, but I think it's mainly because of corporate companies such as Century Media, Nuclear Blast and Osmose releasing black metal and promoting the hell out of them. I am not sure whether that is positive or negative for the scene.
Being a distributor, what bands and styles of metal seem to be selling the best?
That's a good question. It seems that there is a style of metal for every individual. A lot of people buy the symphonic black metal style (ie: Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth and Emperor) while others like melodic black/death metal (ie: Dark Tranquility, In Flames, Dissection) and raw black metal (ie: Graveland, Hellfire, Black Funeral). There is a large mixture of sales, but I think we sell a little bit of everything.
A lot of the music scene is saturated in anti-Christian feelings... you yourself use inverted crosses and other symbolism. Does this reflect a belief in Satanism or...? What are your feelings toward Christianity? How about Paganism?
I was not brought up in a religious household. My father is a complete atheist. I think early in my life I realized that Christianity and most of these organized religions are a form of population control for the weak. I am definitely anti-religious whether it's Christianity (any form), Jewish, Muslim, whatever.. Darkness is my future..
Are you going to be at the Metal Fest this year? Will any of your bands be there?
I will not be at the metalfest this year but our band Centurian will be there. I basically have no interest to make friends and 'hang-out' with other people. I am a true misanthrope, not a fucking social person. Fuck that.
You've also just released a 2-CD compilation "Tribute to Hell," all of its tracks are either previously unreleased or exclusively recorded for it... was it difficult to organize this? It has many bands involved...
Tribute to Hell was the most difficult project I have ever worked on. Bands were the biggest problem with their recording delays.. It took me several years to compile this double CD and it fell short of what I expected it to be. Tribute to Hell is still a good compilation and it covers all forms of Satanic metal.. From slow to raw to melodic to symphonic. You will not find another compilation supporting the underground Satanic black metal scene.
You had some problems with Bill from the Grimoire 'Zine in the past I understand... mind telling us about this?
Yes I did. I never really found metal to be funny. I have always taken music very seriously and the Grimoire was like a knife in my back twisting constantly. After speaking to Bill and understanding his idea and personality, I no longer have any problems with him. He supports metal and is successful at what he does. He is like a fucking thorn under the skin to most labels, but that's what's good about his magazine. He can push the right buttons to piss people off.
Alas, any last comments for the reader?
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