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Interview by Jeger

Black Metal has come a long way since the days of old when the threat of violence and the reality of Devil worship filled Norwegian hearts with fear. It has – thanks to brilliant artisans and visionaries the world over – evolved into the most artistically explorative genre of music that the world of extreme metal has to offer. Contemporary artist, Maxime Taccardi, has proven to be a champion of both its visual and sonic realms.

For me, the most amazing thing about visual art – aside from perception versus actuality, which is something you’ll get a taste of here – is how it goes hand in hand with music. Maxime understands and sees both, not as separate, but as joined entities that when synthesized create a melding together of the senses; resulting in the most immersive experience possible. To explore his art is to explore the altar ego, afflictions, death, grief, the daemonic, the Satanic and of course Black Metal… During this exclusive interview, Maxime Taccardi goes in depth about his art, his music and the things in life that have inspired him the most. He also provides some insight into his many black metal and BM-related musical projects including his most active endeavor, K.F.R.!

This Is Black Metal: Greetings, Maxime and welcome to This Is Black Metal. I’ve been following your work for some time, and it was your Dead piece that initially grabbed my attention. We’ll get to that later, but I want to ask you first about your background. Are you formally trained or is your work strictly the product of natural talent?

Maxime: Hello, Thank you for the words, that means a lot. I’ve been drawing and painting since I was like 2, but I did get a master’s degree in art and also one in teaching. That being said, I don’t think it is relevant in terms of art as anyone can delve into it. What’s most important to me is passion and sincerity.


TIBM: What was it that inspired you to want to explore the darker side of art?

Maxime: I’ve always been attracted to the dark side of things, even as a kid, but I can say my art became even darker after my parents passed away from cancer. Painting was a way for me to cope with it. I did one entitled “Cancer” as a tribute to their memory, and also to show what they went through in terms of suffering. When you see someone you care about deteriorate day after day, it does something to you.



TIBM: Your collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures is quite eclectic. You’ve even created some pieces in book form: The Book of Demons and The Book of Death. They almost seem as if they were inspired by Evil Dead’s Necronomicon in the way they’re put together.

Can you give us some more insight into these volumes? From what evil were they inspired and how do they differ from one another?

Maxime: I am really into the concept of total Art initiated by Wagner, and I love to touch every medium from painting to music, videos, sculptures etc. I do think it is important to experiment in all fields. Life is short and we are permitted to do so for only a small amount of time. I published 4 books so far, The Book of Death, The Book of Shadows, The Book of Demons and Beyond Khaos.

I can see why you would mention Evil Dead because my books are also manuscripts, but the comparison stops here because I see them as some sort of diaries filled with my poems, essays and illustrations. The Book of Death is the first one, and I did it over the course of three years. I’m currently working on a new one entitled The Book of Satan and this time, it is entirely written and illustrated with my blood. It will be published by Heavy Music Artwork who already published my previous books.



TIBM: There’s also a series of paintings that you’ve done over recent years that depict – quite accurately – the dread associated with specific mental health disorders such as depression. These disorders are depicted as shadows looming over their victims. These pieces hit home for me as someone who suffers from mental health issues. How are you able to capture the essence of suffering and the malevolence of these afflictions so profoundly?

Maxime: Thank you, I can say there is a little of me in all my pieces. Art is the easiest way to put my thoughts together than just talking. I used to work in a mental facility some years ago, and talking to patients was really eye-opening and interesting. I always felt outside of the box in terms of society, and I can somehow understand the pain and struggle of others.

I had some dark moments in my life, and I do know I’m different than the common beings, even though I haven’t talked to any therapist since primary school when teachers thought I was crazy and sent me for medical examination. They realized I was hyperactive and had trouble concentrating in a classroom, which resulted in me being a bad student. The irony of it all is that I became a teacher for over a decade, but I quit to focus on my art.



TIBM: It seems we’re men who share similar irreligious views and it shows in your work. But it’s not so much the real Satanic or blasphemous stuff you do that speaks to me the most. It was the lonely man on the church pew under the cross that really got me. He just looks so broken, confused… unfulfilled. As a reformed Christian, I can very much relate to it. There are similar pieces to this one in your collection that cast faith in an appropriately dark shadow. How do you view Christianity and what drives you to challenge it through your art?

Maxime: This particular piece is actually a portrait of my father at the funeral of my mother. I remember him sitting in the church looking like he was somewhere else. He was already sick then, and he knew he was condemned. This is not a cross-referring to Christianity or any religion but more about the idea of death. He told me he couldn’t wait to die and see my mother again.

To me, Satan is just an idea; a concept of freedom – the one who does not submit and goes on his way. This is deeper than the common evil imagery you can see here and there, especially in Black and Death Metal. Real evil lies within men, within us all…



TIBM: Now, let’s get into some Black Metal. BM is one of your passions. How were you led to it?

Maxime: I was never really into music growing up, because nothing would hit home except for movie soundtracks, but one day I bought an Iron Maiden CD when I was on a school trip in Germany. I was like 12, the cover attracted me and from there, I looked for more obscure stuff, and the first Extreme Metal album that had an impact on me was “Morbid Visions” from Sepultura – a perfect album in my opinion. After that, I came across Mayhem and the Norwegian bands and got hooked ever since.


TIBM: You’ve done some very impressive paintings in your own blood of more than a few of Black Metal’s most notorious artists: the aforementioned Jon Nödtveidt (Dissection), Dead (Mayhem), Satyr (Satyricon), and Quorthon (Bathory) to name just the ones that I’m familiar with. But it’s Per Yngve “Pelle” Ohlin (Dead) that seems to have the most influence on you as evidenced by the fact you’ve painted him more than once. I have to ask, how do you feel about Dead’s legacy as it stands today?

Maxime: It has to do with the fact that I feel very similar to some of his experiences regarding the other side when he described – in his own words – what he saw with the blue light engulfing him. I’ve been experiencing sleep paralysis since I was a kid and saw shadow beings way before I even got a chance to see any horror movie that could have led my mind to it. The cut is also something we have in common.

There is something pleasant and appealing in self-destruction because I create from it. It’s like destroying the old to build the new, and pain is a very interesting feeling. It shapes you as a human being, it teaches you who you really are. Being able to endure pain and survive it, whether it is emotional or physical makes you stronger. Going back to Dead, his vocals were something else and the same as for his live antics. He was the definition of Black Metal, lived by it and died for it in a way.



TIBM: Naturally, you’ve also ventured into the realm of recording and creating BM of your own. Let’s talk about your project, KFR. This is some really expressive and intense material. Influentially, It’s difficult to tie it to any school of Black Metal that I know of. What inspired it and what is its purpose?

Maxime: I created K.F.R. for the sole purpose of giving a soundtrack to my paintings. They are almost like partitions for some of them, and when I look at them, I can imagine their sonic translation. I mentioned having sleep paralysis prior, and sometimes I hear music during strange music that is not of this world, and I also try to recreate these moments with my music.

I also wanted to go deeper in terms of Black Metal and forget the convention to mold something of my own so I would say it became more than a genre.


TIBM: “The Mouth of Vices” is one video that grabs my attention. Downright fear-inducing stuff. This is subjective of course and coming from the mind of an individual who has struggled deeply with past addictions, but I’ve always equated the screams to the agony of addiction; the nightmare of needing to get my next fix.

And the images of you wielding and intently posing with your sword without any perceived purpose – for me – has always been an interpretation of someone like myself who – once he’s gotten his fix – Is just lost within his own world and oblivious to everything around him. But I’m probably way off. Can you tell us about the video from your perspective?

Maxime: I can understand the analogy even though I don’t do drugs nor smoke or drink. I actually have a strict way of life, and I trained most of my life in kickboxing which I taught for years and fitness. I would say this is my drug of choice. I always loved boxing and being able to build your own body like a fortress no one can penetrate.

Perhaps it is also a way to mask my own demons. Like you said, I do live in my own world as well, and the characters I portray in my videos are all different versions of my alter-ego. I’m also glad you can relate to it and interpret it in your own way.


TIBM: What does the future look like for KFR?

Maxime: I have a new album which is my most personal one entitled “Pain/ter” coming soon. Kvarforth from Shining is a guest on it, and I will reveal soon two videos I did for it.

There will be also a split with Shining in the near future. K.F.R. has always been a quest to reach true darkness for me, so each new release is darker than the previous one, and this new album is by far the craziest. I started to record some parts using frequencies known to cause anxiety and distress since Pure Evil. It is subtle but it is there, engulfing you.



TIBM: Are you involved in any other Black Metal bands/projects?

Maxime: Yes, I do have a bunch of other projects and also collabs. Saturnian Tempel is Black Metal as well, but focused on the cosmos both in terms of sound and imagery. The latest album from that entity was “Kronos” back in 2020.

Griiim is a mix of Black Metal, Electro, Dark Hip Hop Beats and whatever I feel like adding to it. I would recommend the album “Pope Art” which came out via Purity Through Fire to get an idea of what it stands for.

Kyūketsuki is a project that started as Ambient on the Demo, but evolved progressively into Black Metal influenced by Japanese Folklore and played with Japanese instruments, especially regarding the rhythm parts. I think the albums “Seppuku” and “Himitsu” are the most evocative of that oriental horror feel, and I’m very proud of them.

Lamentum is my Dark Ambient/Dungeon Synth project. The latest album, “Anneliese” came out on vinyl only via Purity Through Fire, and I would say it is a dark experience for the listener. It is a concept album about Anneliese Michel who was supposedly possessed and died of exhaustion after repeated exorcisms.

I also have Necröse as a Black Ambient project and some other bands now on hold like Trinity, Mentïs Morbüm, Djinn and De Vermiis Mysteriis.


TIBM: Do you find Black Metal to be a better conduit for expression than painting and sculpting?

Maxime: No, they go together. I don’t know if you are familiar with the concept of synesthesia but that is something I’m trying to convey with my work. Melding all human senses into one.



TIBM: What was once censorship is now referred to as “cancel culture”. I feel like it’s a very real thing as evidenced by its impact alone on the Black Metal scene: Shows canceled, visas denied, protests outside of concerts, defamation, false accusations etc. It appears more and more people are becoming indoctrinated into PC culture as the years go by. Do you fear for the future of art and Black Metal?

Maxime: Art has always been a target of censorship and I’m no exception. I’m permanently banned from being able to monetize my videos on YouTube because of my art, I get stuff removed all the time on social media and this is frustrating and infuriating.

This cancel culture bullshit just makes people angrier. They want a soft world full of happiness but it will never be the case. The world is a dark place and always will be. Trying to camouflage what’s considered abnormal by society is going to divide even more. 


TIBM: What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned through your art?

Maxime: It is a good question. I would say that art is an extension of the self, and it brings truth to what we really are, so we can learn from it. I always thought Art was more than just a visual outlet; it is a stand and a way to make people react, and move things. It is a revolution and a necessity. Life would be even more miserable without it.


TIBM: Do you have a message for your followers?

Maxime: I’d like to personally thank everyone who showed support and interest in my work.


Thanks for your time Maxime!

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