DISSECTION - Final Interview With Jon Nödtveidt Available
May 23, 2006, 17 years ago
Jon Nödtveidt, mainman for Swedish black metallers DISSECTION recently answered questions from fans at the Official Dissection Forum. Billed as An Interview By The Fans For The Fans, the following is said to be his final interview:
Can you explain the idea about the Rebirth of Dissection being over, and this being a new phase? How is it a new phase?
Nödtveidt: "It's a new phase since it is the beginning of the end… and the hungry end is coming soon…"
The Rebirth of Dissection tour was a great success for you with sold out concerts all over Europe and additional gigs in South America and Mexico. It was also the largest tour so far in your career with something like 60 shows and 20 countries or so. How was the feeling to finally meet the fans again after more than 7 years?
Nödtveidt: "We could never have imagined that the interest and demand for Dissection's return would be so high out there after seven years of absence. I think it was all like some kind of shock for all of us. Before the first concert in Stockholm on the 30th of October 2004, the gig had been sold out twice already before being moved a third time to an even bigger place, but it wasn't until we faced the crowd that it all became clearer to us. For me personally this moment, walking out on that stage at Arenan in Stockholm less than a month and a half after my release from prison, is one of the most surreal experiences in my life. That feeling lasted for the entire Rebirth of Dissection tour that followed. Waking up every morning in a tour bus instead of a prison cell, just hoping it would never end. By the time that we came back to Sweden at the end of the tour we were all really sad that the tour was over, but we knew we had work to do. We started to rehearse intensely for the upcoming recording of Reinkaos and entered the studio a little bit more than one month later."
How was it to headline the last day of the mighty Inferno festival in Norway last year? And tell us about what happened at the end of the show when you performed Elisabeth Bathory "unplugged"!
Nödtveidt: Nödtveidt: "Ha ha… Well, what happened was that when we had played our set, which was rather extensive by the way – almost two hours, the audience was still demanding an encore after we had left the stage, and they wouldn't stop screaming for it. So we decided that we should give them a last song. So we went up on stage again just to have the stage manager showing up going all crazy saying that we absolutely couldn't play more and that they had to close the place. I told him that with all the respect I didn't think that the audience would agree, seeing that they wouldn't leave, and they would surely not be happy if the guards would try to force them out of the hall. The venue had been totally lit up by the lights in the roof and they had shut off the PA, so we just kicked off the song 'Elisabeth Bathori' without any other sound than the amps on stage and the drums themselves and since we didn't have any sound from the microphones we had the audience sing the lyrics for us! The voice of the audience would almost lift the roof alone! The stage manager went out of his senses of course, but what can we do? What a memory!"
Dissection is a band that really seems to care about their fans. I really appreciate that. What is your honest opinion about bands who don't care about their fans and think, that they'd be successful even without them?
Nödtveidt: "I don't know about those bands… For Dissection, apart from writing and performing the music solely out of our own need and creative drive, the fans have always been the priority. We do say fuck off to the music industry in general and the media too, since what we have experienced most from it is dishonesty and disloyalty. But we acknowledge and appreciate the support we get from our loyal fans and allies. They are a part of Dissection and what we do."
According to MLO philosophy the members of the Order are the elect and the rest of mankind are sheep/clay born or simply lower beings. Therefore does the band hold contempt for most if not almost all of the Dissection fan base and how does it make them feel when having to exchange in social interaction with the fans or playing to them?
Nödtveidt: "We don't see misanthropy as a symbolic thing when we state that this world is our enemy, and in this world of enemies, we do appreciate those few who actually are on our side and we treat them accordingly, like allies. You will know yourself depending on which category you belong to – if you are for or against what we stand for."
There is this incredible aura and buzz about Dissection that one can't deny (Slayer is another band that comes to mind with that aura about them), and one that has lasted through the years from during the first phase of The Somberlain and Storm Of The Light's Bane. What do the current members attribute this to? And also - is there a reason Jon chose not to recruit any of his former band mates into the current incarnation of Dissection? How did you come in contact with Set and Tomas?
Nödtveidt: "It was a long process and there were quite a few obstacles in the way… too numerous to mention but my goal was to find a line up that would share the same visions as myself in terms of using the music of Dissection as a black magical tool. So, therefore I only wanted Satanists in the band… and consequently the old members were out of the question. And having set up this goal, I didn't make things easy for me. But this was the only way to go and I was convinced that it was just a matter of time until I would find the right members. Anyway, I came in touch with Tomas in the beginning of 2004. He had heard that Dissection needed a drummer for the new line-up so he contacted the persons running our website. I called him up and we decided to hook up on one of my leaves from prison. I had just moved to a more "open" prison where I would spend the last half year of my sentence and there I would get short leaves every second weekend. We met up at one of those leaves at a restaurant in Stockholm and talked about everything from his personal convictions, ambitions and visions of being a Satanist as well as being a musician and how to make this merge in a band, to connect the powers of something as unique as a complete "all-Satanist" line-up. We had both had previous bad experiences playing with people who didn't take things seriously and who didn't share the same convictions for working with the powers of the dark side in a serious way as well as lacking the ability of putting the proper dedication into a genuinely Satanic musical project. We obviously had a lot in common and we both knew what we wanted. So we soon started to rehearse at Tomas' studio, only the two of us, and continued to discuss the concepts of using the band as the Satanic tool I always wanted it to be. Musically I had never met a drummer as skilled and with such a professional approach to his craft before. Ranging such broad realms of music, everything from the fastest and most brutal blast beats to progressive rock and the groove and steadiness of hard rock and heavy metal. I guess it's partly a well earned result of determined dedication to drumming for over 25 intense years. He could basically play anything and everything. The old Dissection material was no match at all. I knew I had found the right man for the job! It was however more difficult to find the right guitar player. We searched for months and months without finding the one that we were looking for. It wasn't so much that it was difficult to find talented guitar players; we had many of them applying. The problem was to find someone who was a killer guitar player and a Satanist! After auditioning several guitarists in the summer of 2004 we finally found Set. When he finally came over from Italy we knew immediately that the search was over. The energy and spirit he radiated at the rehearsal as well as personally made it all very easy for us; he had to be in Dissection! I had been in touch with him for quite some time via mail but it wasn't until he came over to Sweden that we got to know each other for real. Set has proved to be one of the most determined persons, as well as coolest, that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and we have been standing by each other as brothers since. As a guitar player, he channels the current like no one else and has been evolving immensely! With Set joining Dissection the line up was finally complete and the band was getting ready for the Rebirth. We just had to await my release from prison to take place. So in the meantime, the line-up rehearsed intensely without me on a daily basis for the next two months, with me joining in on my short leaves."
The bassist issue… It is unclear to me and I think many others. Is there one? Session or permanent member?
Nödtveidt: "Erik Danielsson is our current bass player, however only live. He is the only one so far that has on a personal level been working out in Dissection and he fully stands behind our Satanic concept and the spiritual aims of the band."
We heard that shortly before you were imprisoned an album was going to be recorded and the band had even fixed a studio date for it. What happened to that album/material? Is Reinkaos the same album with some changes in it or is it totally different?
Nödtveidt: "This material was not even far from finished at that time but was still the seed to what has now blossomed into Reinkaos. The material was constantly growing and evolving during the years in prison, as the songs for Reinkaos manifested. But it took years of nurturing before the seed could come into full bloom in a way that I was satisfied. Not until the album was finally arranged and recorded with the complete line-up, actually."
Can you see any difference from writing music in prison from writing music in freedom? Do you think the prison-time had a big effect on the new Dissection-music that you wrote "inside"? Do you think it would have sounded different if you wrote it outside?
Nödtveidt: "I think the only thing that matters is the time, effort and dedication you put into what you do. But the situation I was in for sure helped a lot, in terms of having time at least! And to create "Reinkaos" I also needed a state of fanatic focus, which was something that I found inside the prison walls."
When you where in prison what kept you occupied to pass the time? Any incidents with other inmates, or maybe you met someone with similar thoughts in there to discuss with? I don't know the situation in Swedish prisons?
Nödtveidt: "My first time behind bars, 11 months to be exact, I spent in custody due to the trial which means that I was in isolation because of the ongoing investigation. Some time after the trial I was transferred to a regular (maximum security) prison. I would spend the first six years in high security prisons like that. Initially I didn't have the possibility to have a guitar in there, but with time I eventually got access to both my acoustic as well as my electric guitar. In prison I would work in the prison industry and study. I was writing music, studying the occult, working out in the prison gym, going for endless walks around the prison yard and making my acquaintances with the local environment and its inhabitants… I met a lot of interesting people in there and we had some great times too, no matter being in prison. In 1999 a brotherhood was formed which consisted of people with very long sentences and a strong sympathy for the "outlaw" mentality and many of the spiritual ideals of the MLO. In the end we had grown into quite a strong force with brothers on all major prisons in Sweden. After a while the prison authorities did their best to split us up and send members to different places but we managed to have a good time anyway."
Did you have any spiritual revelations while in prison?
Nödtveidt: "I really had the time to connect on a deeper level with the internal force guiding me on the left hand path."
I understand that you consider 'Reinkaos' your best album. What is your opinion on your earlier works, especially Storm Of Light's Bane?
Nödtveidt: "I regard both of them to have captured a very strong essence and sinister atmosphere and I'm very satisfied with them both. Both of them have been standing the test of time, I guess. At least if you go by their popularity."
What is the bands reaction to such complaints that the new Dissection sound is too far from that of the older Dissection sound?
Nödtveidt: "Our aim has not been to copy ourselves. The old albums (which I'm very proud of by the way) are still available for everyone who wants to listen to them, so there's nothing to complain about unless your CD player doesn't work. It would be a sign of retardation if we would be standing on the same spot for eleven years… Those who don't evolve will perish."
When I compare the lyrical concepts of the three studio albums, I notice that the nature and core of your beliefs seems to have remained unaltered in over a decade. What is it that gives you the conviction and insights to actively hold on to these beliefs?
Nödtveidt: "The essence beyond the forms."
I’ve read a lot of information on your website regarding the MLO’s beliefs. What I’ve read seems to be based primarily on Sumerian religion/mythology. There are references in your songs to Gods/Goddesses from other religions such as ancient Egyptian & Hindu. Can you explain how your beliefs tie into these religions? Are there any other early religions that are incorporated into the MLO’s principles?
Nödtveidt: "Certain elements from ancient Sumerian religion play an important role within the belief system that exists within the MLO, as for instance the creation myth of Enuma Elish, but the Sumerian system in itself is not the main focus. We put focus on all traditions that work with the powers of the nightside and which lead through the left hand path towards gnosis and spiritual transcendence. Like you mentioned, different esoteric currents from ancient Egyptian, Persian, Sumerian/Babylonian, Vedic, Nordic and Hellenic spiritual practices are of great interest and are given focus within the workings of our Order. Some of us also work with traditions deriving from Afro-Brazilian Quiumbanda and South American cults of the Lord of Death."
Could you explain for us very briefly what your religious believes are? What is the MLO? Who is Frater Nemidial?
Nödtveidt: "Frater Nemidial is the Magister Templi of MLO. As for the other part of the question I have answered it so many times before and the information about the MLO is out there for those who have the will to search for it."
What symbolizes the reincarnation of chaos for the members of Dissection?
Nödtveidt: "I take it you are referring to the title "Reinkaos" and it's meaning. But Reinkaos does not mean "reincarnation of Chaos", it means "return to Chaos" and is the opposite of reincarnation (which means "return to the flesh"). Reinkaos is the fifth stage of the Forbidden Alchemy within the teachings of the MLO and is part of the Atazoth process that through the increasing of the Acausal power of the spirit makes possible the transcending of the world of matter and the returning to pandimensional Chaos."
Are there any special books or writings that have inspired you at the work
Nödtveidt: "The concept of Reinkaos is based on the book Liber Azerate and the teachings of MLO."
Dissection has always been about striving for improvement (perfection), progression and evolution. Your music is a true representation of your inner spirit and Will. Can you tell us why these things are so important not only to Dissection as an entity but to each of you individually as Anti-cosmic Satanists? Do you view the qualities as an attainment that all Anti-cosmic Satanist should seek?
Nödtveidt: "Improvement, progression and evolution are part of the road to liberation and therefore could be viewed as qualities that all Satanists should seek."
What advice (if any) would you give to anyone who has an interest in Anti-cosmic Satanism?
Nödtveidt: "To study everything they can get their hands on connected to the tradition and to put in practice what they learn."
How important do you consider physical condition for the serious Satanist?
Nödtveidt: "What should be most important for a Satanist, is the spiritual condition."
What exactly does the formula in the song 'Starless Aeon' mean: Dies Irae, Dies Illa, Solvet Cosmos In Favilla. Vocamus Te Aeshma Diva!?
Nödtveidt: "The day of wrath, that day, will dissolve/reduce the cosmos to ashes. We call upon Aeshma Diva! (Aeshma-Diva means "The God of Wrath" in Persian)"
Does Dissection play a large role for the MLO, why?
Nödtveidt: "The MLO plays a large role for Dissection. And even though Dissection is the sonic propaganda unit of the MLO, the MLO in itself has got nothing to do with music."
Do you have any special way of making your music? Since it's supposed to be "magical"?
Nödtveidt: "The song writing process has for me a spiritual function on a personal level since they are hymns to the different powers and principles, Dark Gods, which are a central part of the 218 current. Lyrically the songs are based on invocations and formulas that have been linked into the lyrics to evoke the powers that they represent. Occult musical theory has been applied in the song writing process as a means of symbolically charging their structures. They have also been written inspired by scientific ideas such as string theory etc. The songs have all been written with the intention of using sounds and vibrations as an Anti-Cosmic tool and they have all been consciously created to be the vessels for these powers."
What do you have to say to people that don't believe in "magic" or the occult?
Nödtveidt: "Nothing. People can believe or disbelieve what they want. I couldn't care less."
Can you talk about your own label, Black Horizon Music?
Nödtveidt: "We formed our own label Black Horizon Music out of the need of taking charge of our own business and making things our own way, without compromise."
What do you think of the black/death metal scene? Dissection seems to follow its own path apart from this scene? Is it really so and why?
Nödtveidt: "You are right, and this is simply because we play "Satanist music". We follow our own path in that aspect and we don't have a need to be a part of any music/metal scene. Actually we distance ourselves from it to the highest extent. For us, there is no scene to be part of, nothing we identify with. What is there? "Death metal", as far as I'm concerned, has got nothing to do with worshipping death, as it according to certain people was meant to be about, and nobody of those who started out the "black metal" thing were Satanists either, and just like the bands of today it was just a gimmick with it's lyrics and imagery. As the members of Dissection both belong to the cult of Satan-Lucifer and the necrosophic cult of the Lord of Death we have chosen to label our music "Anti-Cosmic Metal of Death" to show the spiritual direction of our work. We don't belong in the current music scene."
How do you view the reception of your actual music after almost 11 years of silence?
Nödtveidt: "I'm very pleased with how the album has been received so far, both by those who like it and understand it as well as those who don't. As for those who do not understand it, the album was never meant for them. With the music as a ritual tool, we aim at reaching out only to the ones of the same spiritual blood as ours. Those who can find the essence behind the forms of the music. For all the others the music will still just be sounds that they can either like or dislike."
What lies ahead for Dissection, even in these early days of Reinkaos' release?
Nödtveidt: "Every journey has its end and we are now reaching the end of the line with Dissection, but we still intend to leave our final mark, by performing the material from Reinkaos live."
I have such a strange feeling lately, that Dissection will quit after the Midsummer Massacre. I mean, what else after Reinkaos, what else after the great comeback?
Nödtveidt: "What we have in front of us now are a few extremely select concerts that will mark the end of Dissection, out of which the Dissection Midsummer Massacre in Sweden on the 24th of June will be the only European concert, as well as the last. We will also make our first and last concert in Israel, as well as two final concerts on the American continent.
I have reached the limitations of music as a tool for expressing what I want to express, for myself and the handful of others that I care about, and I will now move along to other realms of practice. Reinkaos has been our only focus for such a long period of time and all the work and fanatic dedication put into the band by each member has been directed into this album. With Reinkaos finally recorded and released I also realize that there is nothing left for me to do with Dissection. We have succeeded with our task to manifest, in essence, a truly Satanic record blessed by the dark gods and we have succeeded with our goal to manifest a truly Satanic band! My goal was to bring back Dissection with full force and to make it the Satanic unit I always wanted it to be and the tool for completing the personal black magical work that was started many years before. With Reinkaos this has all been achieved and I'm very, very pleased with the result. It wouldn't even be desirable for me to follow it up since everything that I ever wanted to express is in there. That's why we now have decided that this is the time to move on and where Dissection no longer will be an active band. So it's a great victory for me to move beyond this phase of personal becoming. With "Reinkaos" we have reached the ending chapter. Dissection's work is done and this is our legacy. I want to thank my brothers in battle, Set and Tomas for making this possible. Salve Satan! Salve Azerate 218!"