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Interview

Behexen – “…It took years and years, blood, vomit and sweat to complete and we never compromised anything”

Eventhough I am into the underground blackmetal for quite a long time already I never really took the time to take a listen to Finnish Behexen. And shame on me for that. Behexen proved with their latest output “By the blessing of Satan” to belong to the best bands in the real underground blackmetal. This is music spawned by Satan himself. Because I didn’t knew anything about Behexen I decided to ask them some questions about the past, present and future. Horns (H) is responsible for all answers except for some which are answered by Torog (T). (MarcelB)

Hails, how are you guys doing?
Apart from the grey daily routines I guess we are doing quite fine as there are not any major problems on our way at the moment. We are right now working with our new material which should be out before the end of this year but that deadline is quite optimistic, so we have to wait and see. We just recorded 6 new tracks and we still have to mix them and add some vocalparts here and there. These tracks are for the special limited-edition box-set release and they are quite unique as they are compiled of some very old material as well as some new. So things are ok.

In the beginning of this year you released your latest album “By the blessing of Satan”, what can you tell about the album? Where it is recorded, by whom etc.?
We are very satisfied with BTBOS as it took years and years, blood, vomit and sweat to complete and we never compromised anything. The whole process of creating that album took 4 years, we seemed to have problems with everything. Sometimes we had no place to rehearse because the places were closed down or rented for another purposes, and then we had to get rid of our shitty old label, which released our debut “Rituale Satanum”. And then we had to find a new label to release the BTBOS and we did.
It was like when you had one problem solved, the next one was already lurking behind the corner…it almost felt that someone had put a spell on us. But in the end we survived as winners and finally got that album out. So it was not an easy-going trip but rather a hard spiritual and physical experience.
Musically BTBOS is quite different from RS, as the tracks are longer, and there are more variation in the songs like tempo-changes and other hooks. BTBOS was recorded at Fantom studio which is located in Tampere, Finland by the guy called Henkka.

And are you completely satisfied with the album? And how have the responses been so far from both press and fans?
We are very satisfied with the album, but it is always the same thing that some little things could be done differently. I personally am not too fond of drumsounds on the album, but we did our best then and that is the way it is, so it is no use to complain now. And there are some other little things as well that we are not completely satisfied with but I think in overall we all are very satisfied with it. We got very praising responses about the album from both press and people which we never suspected, because our first album was totally crushed by the press, but we never cared. And we still do not care about such a mundane affairs, if people like it, great, and if they don`t, it is their problem. We just do what we feel and we are not doing it for the sake of good feedback or to please some worthless criticians.

The album is released by Finnish Woodcut Records. Are you still satisfied about the cooperation and is it easier to be on a Finnsih label as Behexen being a Finnish band?
Things have gone fine with Woodcut so far and there has not been any big problems, but as always there are those little things that could be worked better out. But Woodcut seems to invest in us and support us which is good of course. It is easier to be on a Finnish label, because then it is easier to communicate and negotiate with, and it is not so easy to rip us off.

To be honest, “By the blessing of Satan” is my first introduction to Behexen but I’m quit impressed with the album so can you tell a bit more about the past from Behexen as well as introducing each member to us?
We started in ’94 under a different name (LOTLH) and our first demo “Reality is in evil…” was released in ’95. The first line-up was Torog, Horns and Reaper. With that line-up we did our 2nd demo “Eternal Realm” (’97) and 3rd demo “Blessed Be The Darkness” (’98), which brought us a deal from Sinister Figure. And then Reaper left the band and we found Gargantum for his replacement in guitar, and not so long after that Lunatic joined in on bass. With this line-up we recorded a promo (’99) and our debut album “Rituale Satanum”, which was released in 2000. On those releases there are mainly same songs. In those days we started doing liverituals. After that the troubles and bullshit started, but we survived and at some point Veilroth joined in the 2nd guitar. With this line-up we recorded the material for the split-lp with Horna and later BTBOS. Lunatic & Veilroth are no longer in the band, but Reaper is, so the current line-up is;
Torog (litanies); heavily into satanism & occultism, rituals, alcohol and underground. Dedicated and tattooed. Responsible of the lyrics.
Gargantum (razors); heavily into gore, kickboxing, guitarplaying, drinking and metal. Real metalhead with awesome playingskills and inclination to violence.
Reaper (saws); heavily into guitarplaying, metal, alcohol and computers. Thin and ugly.
Horns (bloodbarrels); heavily into esoterics, satanism & occultism, porn & drinking. Retarded and demented. Responsible for the music.

What was the main reason to start with Behexen back then and are things going the way you wanted it for Behexen and what goals do you still want to achieve with Behexen?
T: Attraction to Satanism and extreme music. Those were the accomplishing and uppermost reasons to start Behexen. From those times we nevertheless have developed musically as well as mentally, but the meaning of Behexen still is the same, that meaning being the cultivation of Satan and death!

Behexen exists for a decade now, so are there any special events or releases planned to celebrate the first decade of Behexen?
Yes, the special release I talked in the first question is also to celebrate our first decade, and like I mentioned earlier, those tracks are quite unique and by this I don´t mean they are very original or some ambient. They are different, special, and they have a sort of haunting atmosphere. There will also be something special in the edition itself which will be limited. No gigs are planned at the moment, but there has been some interaction with organizers and we will have to wait and see if anything concrete will come out of it.

Where do you get your inspiration from when writing both music and lyrics and can you tell the contents on each track on the “By the blessing…” album?
T: Inspiration for the lyrics comes from many things. From our own emotions and experiences. But the greatest source of inspiration is myself though. “By the blessing of Satan” tells about how we are blessed by Satan to walk this dark path, and how black metal found us from amongst thousands. United us together to establish the cult which spreads the black evangelium. It could be said that we are blessed by Him and that is what the songs of the album are dealing with. I am not going to start to tell from all songs one by one. Read the lyrics from the album or ask me to send them for you.
H: Inspiration for music comes from our occult experiences. Sometimes I feel that I am just a medium for Him, that something or someone else is emanating through me into existence. Almost like automatic, but musical, writing. And sometimes I just start playing guitar and something may draw my attention, the dark aura or something and then I just know. I hardly never intentionally think that now I am going to write a song but that can happen too. And I guess we are inspired by hundreds of other bands wanted we that or not.

The Finnish blackmetal scene is getting stronger and stronger and more and more bands deliver high quality albums like Calvarium, Horna and Behexen. How do you see this and what do you think of the Finnish scene nowadays? And what other bands are worth paying attention to?
Here are a few good bands and shitloads of crap bands like elsewhere, but the group that plays actual black metal is very small, very mariginal. Many talented individuals play in several bands, so circles here are small and introvert. And that has its benefits and disadvantages. We are doing our part here in keeping things pure and without outside influences, without things that have absolutely nothing to do with black metal.
Warloghe, Diaboli, Enochian Crescent, Torturium and Musta Surma came first in mind but there are other promising acts as well.

Does Behexen play much live gigs and what can we expect from a Behexen gig?
We play live but not often. You can expect dirty, disgusting and primitive performance with intensity. In one of our gig we offered dead rats to our audience, but that is just an example of what might happen. Our gig is more like a ritual which it actually is. Black metal gig is never made only for the sake of playing, there has to be other elements as well. We stick to traditions with leather, spikes, robes, corpsepaint and blood, and we may use whatever we might find stimulating.

Is Satanism an important way of living for you guys or is it merely an image that goes hand in hand with the music? (By reading forementioned answers I already know enough about the importance).
T: Pretty foolish question when we are talking about BLACK METAL. Satanism is the whole foundation of my life and the most central source. It comes forth from me every place and it follows me to the grave. Music is what is of lesser importance. Music is only there to strengthen our Satanic message. When the time comes when we are not able to perform music anymore, then the most important part of the Black Metal still remains for us, Satanism!

What is to expect in the near future from Behexen?
In the near future there will be a cd-edition of our split with Horna, and then there will be a very limited pic-lp edition from it also. Then that earlier mentioned special-edition box-set (3 x 7″), and right now we are also working with the lp-version of BTBOS. T-shirts are now on print and those should be available soon from us or Woodcut. We have some new tracks under work at the moment for our next album but it is too early to say anything concrete about it.

Thanks for the interview. Anything else you want to mention? As usual the last words are yours!
T: Thanks to yourself. Better interview than usually. Out soon Behexen 3×7″ box- set by Woodcut rec. T- shirts also available. Hail Satan!