Interview with Silenoz of Dimmu Borgir
Dimmu Borgir, whether you like them or not, are a band that all extreme music supporters should know about by now. And if you do not know who this band is, then what rock have you been hiding under?
Not supporting their satanic message (or art work) that they express within Dimmu Borgirís image, I was still curious what excellent composer Silenoz had to say about his open and dark philosophies that Dimmu preaches to the masses. We all have the same unanswered questions (all the WHYís!?); we just react to the outcome differently. I may not support what they stand for, but I do respect them as individuals, as artists, and of course for playing metal.
Interview and live pictures by Michael F. Coles, Conducted on May 23, 2007
The Outcast: So how has the tour been so far? How long does this tour have left?
Silenoz: This is close to the end. We have a week left. We started on April 20th, so....
The Outcast: What are you going to do after this tour?
Silenoz: Weíre going to go to Europe and do 7 or 8 festivals.
The Outcast: Sounds like you are a very busy man. So who is in charge of writing the lyrics?
Silenoz: I am.
The Outcast: Good. Besides anti-religious subjects, what exactly inspires you to write the lyrics that you write? Do you believe in God and Satan as actually beings?
The Outcast: Then are you guys atheists?
Silenoz: Well, for me personally I can only speak for my self, and to call my self or to classify my self as an atheist would be too easy. Iíve experienced a lot more in my life that involves the spiritual world that it wouldnít make sense (to call himself an atheist). But I donít believe in a godly being or anything like that, I just believe thereís something else that we donít see. At the end of the day, you are in charge of yourself. Itís only yourself that can make changes.
The Outcast: When did you deicide to accept and walk this darker side of life?
Silenoz: I didnít really decide it because it came naturally to me. Itís always been like that ever since I was a kid. I always liked stuff that all the other kids didnít, you know? I have been into stuff that other people may have looked upon as something negative and frightening or whatever, it just comes natural to me.
The Outcast: When did metal come into your life and do you think it influenced your beliefs as far as the satanic bands are concerned?
Silenoz: Oh, of course. I always sought out the more extreme metal bands in the late 80ís, when I was...... I was into the regular heavy metal bands for a while because I didnít know there was anything more extreme. There were bands like Slayer, Exodus, and Possessed, they came around and then a lot harder and it just took off from there really. Iíve always been into bands that have more than just music, you know? If they had an image or a look or whatever that goes hand in hand with the music, then that is what Iíve always been interested in. Thatís also why we look the way we do to, you know? I want the band to have something more that goes with the music.
The Outcast: Were you ever forced to attend church growing up?
Silenoz: Actually, I went to Sunday school momentarily because I grew up in the "Bible belt" where I live. So the only way to hang out with other kids my same age was to take Sunday school. We had Bible hour every Sunday, but it wasnít really anything major (not really sure what he means by "major" - Mike). I realized already then at the years of 6 that religion was fucking phony. There was something really itchy about it, so luckily I discovered that at an early age that it was bullshit and that that it is up to each and everyone to find their own better way, you know? So I guess in many ways I can thank the Bible belt for my success to some extent.
The Outcast: Would you consider the theme on your new album a fictional story, or non-fictional?
Silenoz: Itís both in a way because the symbolism in the story symbolizes my own upbringing in many ways. But itís of course a fictional story because I wanted to portray the dark medieval times (Great album!! - Mike), because that is an era in history that had a lot of significant changes world wide, especially when it comes to religion to. Symbolically I guess we can also say that it compares to current times as well because we see around the world thereís a lot of bullshit and war happening because indirectly or directly caused by religious conflict. It all comes back to the same thing that religion is the cause of it.
The Outcast: What do you think of George Bush and his dictatorship like actions with this war going on?
Silenoz: Itís hard to say because Iím not into politics so I wouldnít be the right person to talk to about politics, especially not other countries politics. If you fuck up, admit that you fucked up.
The Outcast: Thereís a documentary that I watched called "Freedom to Fascism" that my friend Chris "Brutalizer" introduced me to. A lot of it has to do with the IRS and how they are an illegal operation that the American government supports due to also collecting profit from what the IRS takes by force. The last 20-30 minutes they show some current documentation taken from CNN showing how scandalous Bush really is (you really have to watch it folks) and where they introduce the RFID chip. This documentary states that this chip could be used against the human race and where all freedom will cease to exist. What really surprised me and frightened me was when they made one biblical reference; Revelation 14:17 - "And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name." Whoís to say that the barcode on this chip isnít 666? Some Christians believe it will be the beginning to the mark of the beast and whether you are a Christian or not, there will be a revolt by the people if this one world government tries to insert this chip into us. What do you think of the Christians thinking this chip will be the mark of the beast?
Silenoz: Itís a typical Christian mentality. They fear what they donít know. But me personally of course I wouldnít walk around with a chip in me, you know?
The Outcast: So if your government said that you have to have this chip in you.....
Silenoz: FUCK OFF, you know? Yeah, yeah, you can control up to a certain point, thatís why we have police, governments, and rules and whatever. If you lose that free thinking and the freewill, then itís all over, people are going to fucking tear the place apart.
The Outcast: Wouldnít that be weird if this chip thing happened and you had these Christians who wouldnít accept this chip, and you had on the other hand the satanic mentality that wouldnít accept this chip and actually unite and......
Silenoz: Actually have something in common (laughing)!? Yeah, that would probably be weird. I totally believe in free will you know, but beware of the consequences. Thatís how Iíve always basically lived my life and itís been working so far. Iíve fucked up a lot of times to, but itís like you have to move on.
The Outcast: Going back to the consequences thing, do you think that since you personally do not believe in the devil as an actual being......
Silenoz: I take part....... I side with the symbolic devil, if you know what I mean? Through all of the years heís been looked upon as an outcast and as something really negative, but if you think about it, you read in the Bible or whatever, or other Christian books and what they say about the devil. To me itís more common sense to side with him than with God. Thatís probably just me, but it makes more sense to me.
The Outcast: Saying that, do you think that heavy metal is the devils music?
Silenoz: Um.... Yeah I guess (laughing).
The Outcast: A lot of other bands say it is, but others say it is not.
Silenoz: I mean if it makes people think twice then why not?
The Outcast: What do you hope to find after your life has ceased?
Silenoz: Something refreshing (laughing). Iím not complaining at all (about his life) itís just that none of us know what happens after you die. I try to live by the notion that to try and do the best that you can, for yourself and for anything that is close. That is all I care about.
The Outcast: What is your #1 philosophy in life?
Silenoz: I used to have, um..... Before I stopped drinking, I used to have; "Too much is never enough." But I guess now I have to find something else. Itís weird to be on tour sober.
The Outcast: Do you do any substances?
Silenoz: No, no, no, no, totally sober. Itís weird to see the other guys get drunk; "Was I like that!?"
The Outcast: Was it a personal choice to go sober?
Silenoz: It was for health reasons because my body was starting to deteriorate physically. If I would have continued down that path I probably wouldnít be sitting here right now, it was that bad. Itís been working so far. I donít really miss it, I miss getting fucked up of course, but you know, I donít miss the 4 days of hangovers and the alcoholic craps and puking blood.
The Outcast: That would suck.
Silenoz: Believe me it does suck, donít try it.
The Outcast: You are walking down the street and a Christian walks up to you and hands you a flyer that reads; "Have you accepted Jesus Christ into your heart?" and begins to talk to you about his beliefs. Do you calmly tell him sorry but you have different beliefs and begin to talk about each others beliefs over a nice hot cup of coco? Do you walk away and say nothing? Or tell him to fuck off and die!
Silenoz: Um, probably a mix of all those things. I donít question Jesus Christ existed, he probably existed. But even back in those days there were magicians and con-artists as well, but, um.......... Itís weird that something that supposedly happened 2000 years ago still has that impact on people today. That really amazes me. But at the same time it is not surprising when you think about how certain peopleís mentalities are.
The Outcast: A lot of people have died because of their faith in Christianity, and a lot of people have died because of Christianity due to bad people using it as a tool to kill a lot of innocent people. Some people say that what better way to destroy something good than for evil to use that good in evils name to destroy the goods name. If I were the devil, or evil, what better tool is there than deceit to destroy Christianity, or anything else that I wanted to destroy? That makes sense to me, you know?
Silenoz: Yeah, yeah, it does.
The Outcast: Do you think that listening to satanic lyrics, death, or anything dark and maybe negative can influence someoneís state of mind in a negative way?
Silenoz: If you fuck yourself up and you fuck other people up, you would have done that anyway without any help (from the music), so.....
The Outcast: What do you think about Christian heavy metal? Do you think it is a contradiction?
Silenoz: Yeah, it is a contradiction. I mean, especially what they call Christian black metal. It even gets embarrassing to even talk about it.
The Outcast: No, no, no; Christian un-black metal.
Silenoz: Where is their motivation for that, you know?
The Outcast: They are trying to reach kids that are into the black metal style but I think in all honesty it doesnít really work. Most of these bands really suck and are just copy-cats (but then again there are a lot of copy-cats in general in the music scene). There are a few Christian bands like Saviour Machine or Believer that are original, but for the most part they all suck.
Silenoz: If you consider your self a Christian why would you even be remotely close to that type of music? Why would you be into it anyway?
The Outcast: Well man, I donít want to take up any more of your time, thank you. Do you have any closing words?
Silenoz: Itís cool to be back in the States because we havenít been here since Ozz Fest, so..... Time flies by and um......
The Outcast: How was Ozz Fest? Did you get to play on the main stage?
Silenoz: Yeah, we did. It was great. It was killer exposure for us. You get to see Slayer, Priest, and Sabbath for over 30 shows in a row, you know? I donít have to get paid to do that!