There is almost no need to write an introduction for a band such as Mayhem. Unarguably the most iconic and historically significant band in the history of Black Metal, they are a group whose notoriety and level of recognition increases with each passing year, and with good reason.
Their most recent studio album, Daemon, is actually a few years old now, though its life cycle has been curiously extended, the band only this year completed the touring in celebration of its release thanks to delays caused by the covid pandemic. In any case, both the album and the live support for it have proved to be a considerable success, with the two seemingly benefitting from the prolonged De Mysteriis anniversary tours some years earlier.
This Is Black Metal Webzine caught up with guitarist and main songwriter Teloch, a fixture in the band for over a decade and also a highly active veteran of the Black Metal scene since the mid-90s, having also contributed to Umoral, The Konsortium, Gorgoroth/God Seed, 1349, and his own project, Nidingr.
This Is Black Metal: Let’s begin by talking about Mayhem becoming a live band again, following the lengthy worldwide lockdown. You guys have toured a lot in recent years – indeed, along with acts like Rotting Christ and Watain you are probably one of the most heavily touring Black Metal bands out there. This seems to have stemmed from the lengthy and successful Mysteriis Dom Sathanas anniversary tours–do you know how many shows you did for that the end?
Teloch: “Probably a couple of hundred? At least. But it was over some years, at least two or three years. And then it was cool to tour after that and bring [Daemon] out to all our new fans, you know?”
TIBM: You say ‘new fans’ – Do you feel that touring De Mysteriis won you over to a new generation of listeners? There certainly did seem to be an unusually mixed crowd attending those gigs.
Teloch: “I think it was a combination of that, and also that shit movie that came out [laughs].”
TIBM: Ah, so Lords of Chaos really made a difference to your profile you think?
Teloch: “Yeah, I see we got a younger crowd and different people. So that’s new for us. There’re not just the regular old guys standing in the corner [laughs]. It’s not like a massive difference, it’s just we noticed a little bit of a change.”
TIBM: That’s interesting though – I didn’t see the film myself, but my feeling was that it didn’t make the impact everyone was expecting (or feared) it would.
Teloch: “[Laughs] I haven’t seen the film myself either. I tried, but I managed to see like two minutes and then was like, ‘Oh my god, what the fuck is this?’ I was kind of curious, but I just couldn’t deal with it. But yeah, there’s definitely something going on there. Also, there was a spike in our streaming thing, it was going up a little bit. It went up the month the movie came out, and then it went down again.”
TIBM: That’s something I wouldn’t have expected. It seemed like everyone was expecting the film would be in normal cinemas, you know, like a Hollywood production, and then in the end– at least in the UK –you could only see it in one or two alternative cinemas, so it wasn’t likely to reach many non-Black Metal people.
Teloch: “That’s a good thing I think, for us at least. But it is what it is. I guess we’re reaping the rewards from that movie now… in T-shirt sales! [Laughs]”
TIBM: Well, that’s important these days [laughs]. How would you say the whole covid situation affected life for yourself and Mayhem over the last few years?
Teloch: “Like every other band in this period, we went out of work for a couple of years. If we would have been living in the same country, we would be able to work on some stuff, but due to travel regulations, it was hard to get anything done at all. So we kinda took a two-year break. It was okay actually since we have been quite busy in the last few years. Since I can’t sit on my ass and do nothing, and my options were limited, I figured out I wanted to try creating videos on YouTube. I created some sort of community around it together with my own Discord server. Although the earnings on it are very low, it kept me and the community busy and entertained for the whole covid period. I got to create stuff and the community got to laugh at the YouTube attempts of an old man. Great.”
TIBM: Obviously, the tour with Mortiis had been delayed several times due to the pandemic – how was it to finally get it on the road? And how did the decision to tour with Mortiis come about?
Teloch: “It was pushed back several times, yes. Not much to do about it. But we nailed it in the end, and I must say… no way we can do tours that long again. We had a five-week US tour, prior to the six-and-a-half-week EU tour, with five days in between. It was too much for us. But it was good to get back into it a bit again of course. Good to continue on the Daemon world tour that was on hold for a couple of years. Actually, I don’t remember how the Mortiis idea came about, but we were all in for it and it worked out very well!”
TIBM: What about playing all those aforementioned De Mysteriis shows, how did you find that, given that you were performing music from an era before you were part of the band?
Teloch: “It was fucking amazing because that album was the album that got me into Black Metal– like properly into Black Metal. I had already been listening to that album for so many years, so it was a cool experience for me to actually get to play it live. It’s something I never would have imagined when I first picked up the album of course.”
TIBM: Do you find those songs enjoyable to play?
Teloch: “Yeah, those are the main songs that I never get tired of playing actually. They are classics.”
TIBM: Presumably they’re easier to perform from a guitarist’s point of view than some of the newer material?
Teloch: “Actually no, they have this… they have their own way. It’s something else than Blasphemer’s songs, that’s for sure. Blasphemers is very smooth, you know that he knows what he is doing with his guitar, but I think Euronymous didn’t have a clue what he was doing in a way. Everything is kind of hard and you can’t just relax and play it –you really have to play it very hard to get the same vibe out of the guitar that they had on the album. It’s more like going into battle playing the songs because you have to be really necro, really angry in a way, to play it. So that’s a challenge in itself, but I love that kind of atmosphere in songs and also performing them live.”
TIBM: Did you know Øystein [Euronymous] on a personal level at all?
Teloch: “No, I only met him one time. At this Deicide show in Oslo [in 1992 where I stole a T-shirt from him [laughs]. He was selling this ‘Drepde Kristne’ [‘Kill the Christians’] shirt, so I stole that from his merch stand. He was standing there selling them, so I just nicked it. I still have that actually.”
TIBM: You were a bit younger than him, I guess.
Teloch: “Yes, only by four years or something though. But yeah, that was my only encounter with the guy.”
TIBM: You didn’t go to the Helvete store?
Teloch: “No, I was never there I think.”
TIBM: At this point, you’ve almost certainly played all of his songs more than he ever did himself, so I wondered if you feel like you’ve got a sense of his mindset as a musician at all, at least in terms of the way that he constructed music?
Teloch: “I don’t think so. Then again, I never tried to do it either. It would probably be smart and interesting to do it, to get into his mindset. When I started to learn his songs, it was easy to see a pattern, but I wasn’t so sure about how he wrote the songs, his mindset on that.”
TIBM: Do you know Snorre Ruch personally?
Teloch: “No, I don’t know any of these guys.”
TIBM: Ah okay, fair enough. I was asking because he obviously had a big influence on Euronymous songwriting, and he still has a very distinctive writing and playing style. I mean, now it probably doesn’t sound so revolutionary to younger fans who now listen to Thorns or De Mysteriis because there are a million bands that copied that style later on…
Teloch: “…yeah, and that’s another issue with trying to get into someone else’s mindset when it comes to songwriting – then you’re just trying to copy someone, and I think that’s kind of not very exciting in a way. Even though both of their [work] is fucking great, and it would be nice to make songs like that, but then we’d just turn into a copycat. As a musician, I don’t think that’s very interesting.”
TIBM: That appears to be something Mayhem has always steered quite consciously away from. It would have been very easy to do ‘De Mysteriis Part Two’ back in 1996, but since the band returned it seems like there has always been a desire to do something new with each release. I’ve always been kind of interested in the way Necrobutcher and Hellhammer have allowed the guitarist and vocalist of each line-up to direct the band’s direction. That seems quite unusual.
Teloch: “Yeah, but I think that’s the way they like it, because then they don’t have to do any work. They’re fucking lazy [laughs]. What can you say?”
TIBM: When you’re writing, does Hellhammer work out all the drum patterns with you, or are you also involved in some of that?
Teloch: “Usually I write the drum guide actually. So I write the drums, the bass, the guitars and the vocals. And then I send it out.”
TIBM: Do you think that touring De Mysteriis for so long might have influenced the songwriting of Daemon?
Teloch: “I didn’t think so at the time, but I hear everyone else is saying that it did, so maybe. These are things that I never think about though.”
TIBM: I guess it’s hard to be objective when you’re in the middle of it…
Teloch: “Yes, plus I don’t really give a shit.”
TIBM: So that hasn’t changed.
TIBM: Whatever the reason, I do feel like the new album is the closest thing to De Mysteriis since that album was released.
Teloch: “Could be. It was unintentional though [laughs]. All we wanted to do was to write some more simple material, because of being able to perform it live properly and also for the atmosphere of it. All this technical stuff gets very boring – for me, at least – very fast. So now we tried to make more atmospheric music and I think we did that. Tons of people say it’s like the De Mysteriis album, but we ourselves don’t hear that at all actually.”
TIBM: In terms of your favourite Mayhem album that you didn’t work on, what would that be?
Teloch: “Oh, it’s definitely DeMysteriis. The other albums kind of went under the radar for me actually. When I first started playing in Mayhem there were so many songs I had never heard before, that I had to learn, because I wasn’t a big fan of Maniac’s voice. Kermit voice, Kermit the Frog [laughs]. So yeah, De Mysteriis is still my favourite album from Mayhem.”
TIBM: That’s handy that you toured that album then – if the band was doing a two-year tour of A Grand Declaration of War, that might have been harder…
Teloch: “Then I’m fucked [both laugh]. Then I have to start playing the guitar for real.”
TIBM: Have you ever spoken to Blasphemer about playing guitar in Mayhem and the songs he wrote?
Teloch: “It’s not very often, but if we meet outside in real life we have a chat, and we also chat a bit on social media and stuff. I was actually talking to him a bit before I started writing [2014’s] Esoteric Warfare, and he gave me some pointers and also listened to some of my stuff. So that was a healthy experience for me I think.”
TIBM: Quite a few fans commented, and I would agree, that Esoteric Warfare sounded like it was somewhat inspired by Blasphemer writing style.
Teloch: “Yeah, that was my idea behind the whole thing, because he shaped so much of Mayhem in the later years, so it would be weird just throwing me in there with my Nidingr riffs. But it was also an important album for me to do because I kind of wrote myself into the band. So now I know what works and know what doesn’t work. I know what the guys are capable of and stuff like that, so it was a really important album for me. I didn’t want it to sound like my album in a way, I wanted it to sound like a mashup of all the Mayhem albums. The different composers.”
TIBM: Did you feel more confident on Daemon to be yourself?
Teloch: “Now I didn’t give a shit about anything, so…”
TIBM: I’ll take that as a yes [both laugh] The general reception to Daemon seems to have been stronger than to Esoteric Warfare…
Teloch: “Yeah [laughs]. That was a little bit more difficult to like, I guess. Because people… I guess people were expecting a Black Metal album and they didn’t get a Black Metal album, so… [trails off]”
TIBM: Well, they got a type of Black Metal album, I think.
Teloch: “Yeah, it’s got roots in Black Metal, but it’s not a Black album, that’s for sure.”
TIBM: How do you feel Esoteric Warfare and Daemon compare personally? Do you have a preference?
Teloch: “I think Esoteric Warfare was more interesting for me to write as I did it alone, and it was a challenge. [On Daemon] we tried to forget how we were writing songs and start over – like when you first start out writing music, just try to forget all the rules and just simplify things all the time. Where the other album was the opposite, and just tended to be as fucked up as possible, in a way. But it’s two very different albums, that’s for sure. That’s just something that happens to Mayhem when writing albums – you get something different every time, and I think that is expected from us.”
TIBM: But as a listener do you like listening to the songs more on Daemon than Esoteric Warfare or vice versa? I mean a song can be boring to play but interesting to listen to, or interesting to play and not so interesting to listen to…
Teloch: “I’m kind of done with the albums. As soon as I’m done with the recording and when I get the vinyl in the mail, I listen to that for the first time, and then that’s it. Move on.”
TIBM: You mentioned that Esoteric Warfare was written by you alone. How much input did the other guys have on Daemon?
Teloch: “Charles [Ghul] wrote three songs, and I wrote seven.”
TIBM: Which three did he write?
Teloch: “‘Bad Blood, ‘Malum’ and… ‘Black Glass Communication’ or something, is it?”
TIBM: [Laughing] You tell me!
Teloch: [Laughing] I forgot now. Ah, ‘Black Glass Communion’ it’s called.
TIBM: Who took care of the lyrics?
Teloch: “I think I had about seven lyrics as well. Or six, I don’t remember. Attila had one, Charles had two. Necrobutcher had one and Hellhammer had one. So this was a joint effort, everyone just throwing things into the pot. Originally Attila was supposed to write all the lyrics, but his father died, so he didn’t have time to do anything. So I just jumped in and started to write whatever shit came out of my brain.”
TIBM: When you’re writing the lyrics, is it a similar process, or are there artists or inspirations you get particular influence from?
Teloch: “Normally I don’t write lyrics at all, but I wrote lyrics this time just to kick Attila’s ass actually, I also wrote the lyrics for his vocal guide. So it’s nothing special, it was very quickly done. Taking inspiration from everywhere, just get it down on paper, and as long as it sounds metal, I don’t care [laughs].”
TIBM: Is there a concept that runs through them?
Teloch: “Yeah, actually. Conceptually, the album is about different daemons, but you can’t ask me deeper questions about the lyrics, because there aren’t any deeper meanings.”
TIBM: That might disappoint some fans…
Teloch: “Well, well! [Laughs] I don’t care.”
TIBM: We’ve done three or four interviews over the years and of all the people I’ve interviewed in the Βlack Μetal scene you’ve always had quite a casual or at least unpretentious view of your own work. Do you notice that compared to other musicians?
Teloch: “Yeah, I think people are taking it too seriously, trying to make big words about the work that they are doing. Instead of just doing it. There is no point in complicating things when they’re not really that complicated from the start.”
TIBM: If I remember correctly, you told me that the last time you worked on an album, which became Esoteric Warfare, you ended up deciding with Necrobutcher to scrap everything you’d done and start again?
Teloch: “No, that was mostly Hellhammer, I didn’t speak to Necrobutcher much about the last album actually. But we went to Budapest to write stuff for a month – we rented this venue actually and went in every day and tried different riffs and stuff. And at some point, we had almost the whole album, but when we came back home I listened to it and I was like, ‘What the fuck is this?’ It wasn’t good at all, so I just sat down and wrote the album by myself.”
TIBM: So why do you think the group effort worked for Daemon, and not the previous album?
Teloch: “I think more transparency towards each other. We just communicated much better this time, I guess, on where we wanted to go. Instead of just me and Hellhammer talking. So yeah, it was much better and much, much easier to work like that.”
TIBM: Is it nice to have Charles playing a bigger part, to have another guitarist involved? Or does that make it harder, to have to mix these two different styles?
Teloch: “If I could decide, Charles could write the whole album and I can just sit back and relax. That didn’t happen of course. But it’s very cool to have him on board in a composer role instead of just being a live guitarist. So it’s definitely going the right way on that front as well. Still to this day we haven’t written any songs together, but I don’t know, I think personally that our styles are so different I can’t really see it happening that way. What do you think? Can you separate our songs from the album?”
TIBM: I have to listen now I know which ones are his songs. I certainly didn’t think that those three songs stood out as being radically different from the others, but I will be interested now to listen to them again and see if I can locate something different within them. I guess the two of you have somewhat different influences, when you’re writing do you ever notice any particular inspirations coming through? Or have you got to the point where you have done so much work as a musician that you influence yourself almost?
Teloch: “For me, it’s very hard to hear stuff like that. And I never heard anyone saying anything about it either. I’ve always been afraid of being influenced by other people, so that’s also one of the reasons why I don’t listen much to metal, especially when I’m composing stuff because I wanted to be more original.”
TIBM: So what do you listen to when you just want to listen to music for pleasure? You don ever listen to metal?
Teloch: “No, no, it’s very rare I do that actually. I listen to all kinds of crap. Sometimes some good songs show up in my Spotify ‘discover weekly’, or whatever the fuck it’s called. But metal has become so much my work that I want to come home and relax with other stuff, just to get away from it a bit. So, it’s country, drum and bass, well the good stuff.”
TIBM: Right. And if you listen to metal what would it be? Do you listen to the stuff that you used to enjoy or are you still picking up on new bands?
Teloch: “No, never new bands, it’s just going back to the roots. So, Norwegian Black Metal from the 90s, and Death Metal from America.”
TIBM: In terms of the other members of Mayhem, do you sense that they have a particular direction they want the band to push in, or do they just relax and let the guitarist take care of that?
Teloch: “It works very strangely because you can send out sketches and you don’t hear anything at all from any of them. And that means they don’t like it, and instead of trying to guide you in the right direction for what they want, they will just keep quiet, so you end up sitting and making thousands of sketches. But we all want different things, so it’s kind of hard.”
TIBM: Okay, so, for example, what does Hellhammer want usually?
Teloch: “Hard to say what, because he can say one thing one day and then change his mind the next day! And that is for all of them actually.”
TIBM: Do you think the fact that Daemon was more of a team effort was part of the reason that there was this big stylistic shift?
Teloch: “Yeah, and it also started before we started writing the album. We had the idea of actually making a team effort instead of one guy doing everything. Try to act as a band, for once [laughs].”
TIBM: Whose idea was that?
Teloch: “It’s just something we mutually agreed on. To actually try to get that band feeling, instead of just hating each other every day [laughs].”
TIBM: Would you say there is a lot of friction in the band generally?
Teloch: “Yeah, every day there’s some new bullshit. But I think I like it when there’s something that keeps this ‘nerve’ in the band – that also reflects in the music, I guess. I think it’s important to have that, especially in a band like Mayhem… I think that’s one of the things that creates the thing that Mayhem is, these internal arguments and hatred all the time.”
TIBM: Would you say that beneath that there is a friendship there as well amongst everyone?
Teloch: “Naaah… only at a professional level.”
TIBM: ‘Professional’ is a word I don’t usually associate with Black Metal…
Teloch: “[Laughing] I mean we never hang out or anything, we only talk when we have to and only meet when we have to.”
TIBM: Okay, that seems a bit unusual.
Teloch: “I think it’s the only way to survive this.”
TIBM: Do you think part of that is because Mayhem is one quite a ‘hard living’ band on the road? Does that drive the friction perhaps?
Teloch: “I don’t know. Touring is one thing, but when we’re off tour I think it’s more stressful, with different people’s bullshit. When you’re on tour, you’re on tour, and then that’s okay, but when you’re off tour, it’s like people are just sitting, trying to find something to bitch about, trying to find something that can cause problems within the band [laughs].”
TIBM: I’m guessing there must be a certain level of good chemistry because you guys manage to survive in a bus together on these long jaunts and, you know, a lot of bands literally split, simply because they can’t survive together in those circumstances.
Teloch: “Yeah, you know, when the heat is on, we are standing together you know?At the worst times of course. Now we’re getting older, so it’s getting a bit more mellow these days. Of course, as soon as I say that, someone will call me in one hour with something [laughs].”
TIBM: ‘Mellow’ also isn’t a word I associate with Black Metal… [both laugh].
Teloch: “Not mellow… but you know, it’s mellow in Mayhem way.”
TIBM: Would you agree that Mayhem is quite hard living on tour?
Teloch: “Aaaaaah…used to be, but I don’t think now, it’s quite easy these days.”
TIBM: There still seem to be quite a lot of ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’ type stories coming from the camp…
Teloch: “Oh really? Well, I can’t say anything about that…”
TIBM: No comment?
Teloch: “No comment [both laugh].”
TIBM: Is it fair to say that certain members clash more than others? There are a lot of strong personalities coming together in one band to be fair.
Teloch: “Yeah. It’s just that we all want to do this in our own way I guess, so it’s bound to crash at some point. And it crashes every day, and we’re used to it.”
TIBM: But the rewards outweigh the negativity?
TIBM: Your silence speaks volumes! [Both laugh].
Teloch: “No it’s definitely a hard band to play in, and it’s not for everyone to play in this band, but for me it’s…I just take it on as a challenge, something that I can grow on, and it teaches me what not to do in my other life. So I’m happy to be here. To take it by the horns, you know?”
TIBM: I would guess that the financial side of Mayhem has at least improved a lot in the last few years?
Teloch: “It’s better now than it has been, but it’s not like we can buy houses and cars and stuff like that. We’re still renting apartments, shitty apartments. Depending on the next pay-out and stuff like that. So it’s better, but it’s not like Slayer or some shit like that.”
TIBM: But probably better than for the average Black Metal band I guess…
Teloch: “Yeah. It seems like it’s going the right way. But I think it’s deserved because the band has been doing this for 30 years, so it’s about time that people make a living from it. Everything was mishandled heavily when I started, so the first thing I did was just take over the social media, and got that up and running, and also took care of the web stores that we have, and still do actually. So, yeah, there was just a big mashup of bad business decisions going on, like old deals that they’ve been fucked on, and stuff like that.”
TIBM: The band has also taken more control over merchandising it seems.
Teloch: “Yeah, basically everything is covered now, but the bootleg stuff is very hard to get on top of. It’s impossible to win that battle, I guess, but uh, when it comes to official channels, I think everything is going our way now.”
TIBM: And the shows are getting bigger i think?
Teloch: “It’s getting bigger and bigger. This is a good thing. I think this is a by-product of, again, the movie a little bit, but also because we’re doing things the right way these days, instead of drinking away and just don’t care about anything. We’re just doing things properly and we’ve been doing that since 2016 or something now. So, I think that helps a bit, doing it the smart way instead of the stupid way.”
TIBM: Why wasn’t it done in a smart or professional way before 2016?
Teloch: “Just because people were lazy, and nobody wanted to take charge of doing it the right way. I tried to get them to hire a manager since I started in 2010. But it was fucking hopeless. It was a big battle for me just to get them to agree to start a company. ‘Why don’t you have a company?’‘ We’ll have to pay tax [laughs]. So it took five years for me to get them to start a company, with shitloads of arguments. I mean, doing it properly with tax, doing it properly with the promotion, doing the correct interviews and all that stuff, being smart about things instead of being a Punk Rock band. Because Mayhem has always had this punk attitude towards everything in life.”
Review: Mayhem – Daemon – This Is Black Metal Webzine
TIBM: Speaking of which, you guys managed to surprise us all a bit with the collection of punk covers you released on the B side of Atavistic Black Disorder / Kommando. Of course, early Mayhem had roots in punk and used to cover bands like Dead Kennedys and so on, but this was long before your time in the group. What is your relationship personally to punk music and how did the band decide on this release?
Teloch: “Never been a fan of Punk, I find it utterly boring. I’m more into the old hardcore crossover really. But this happened when we recorded the drums for Daemon. Suddenly we had three or four days of extra studio time. We had already paid for the studio and Hammertime [Hellhammer], Ghul and myself were at the studio. Hence we found we would make the best of these days. I started an email thread with the band and provided a list of suggestions and we did a quick discussion and recorded a bunch. There are even more songs recorded than we released now. Don’t remember what’s left, but there’s probably a reason why we didn’t use them.”
TIBM: What else are you up to musically? Can we expect a new release from Nidingr for example?
Teloch: “No new Nidingr planned as of now, I don’t feel like writing Nidingr material at the moment and I don’t want to force it. I’ll just wait until I feel inspired. There is no stress from any record labels or anything now, since we are without a deal, so it will come when it comes. I started working on a solo album just before the US tour, Vestfold. I wrote the album in 30 live streams, showing people my workflow and hoped to inspire other people to go out and be creative themselves. People were really into it, and that’s cool. Right now I’m waiting for the drummer to get the drums recorded and I will continue when that’s in my hands. This is more of a generic Black Metal project, like old-school Norwegian Black Metal, a bit Depressive and Atmospheric. Theme-wise it’s inspired by where I’m from, Vestfold, Borre. Looking forward to continuing on this one on the streams. And I have to tell you, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done! Writing music in front of people is horrible! But I wanted to do it as an exercise for myself, to push myself a bit instead of being so damn comfy all the time.”
TIBM: Is Nidingr something that you can kind of work alongside Mayhem or…?
Teloch: “Well, the thing is that Mayhem has been keeping me very busy, not only the live thing but running the Mayhem company and running the social media, and I’m the band contact with the label and all that shit so… there’s not much time to write stuff.
When I’m away the band just doesn’t do anything. They just relax. So that kind of sucks, but it is what it is.”
TIBM: Do you hear a big difference between your playing style on Nidingr material and Mayhem? Do you ever end up writing parts for Mayhem and then listen back and think, ‘This doesn’t sound like Mayhem, I better stop now?
Teloch: “I hope it’s a little bit different, my mindset is totally different writing for Mayhem versus Nidingr. With Nidingr there is more freedom, I can do whatever I want, but for Mayhem it has to sound like us, certainly. There were some sketches on the Daemon writing process that was totally Nidingr instead of Mayhem, so I just put them to the side. But it’s hard to say when you’re sitting there, I think there’s not always the bigger overview of what the fuck you’re doing. Usually, it helps just put it away for some time and get some distance to it, and maybe try some vocals and stuff to see how it’s going to be.”
TIBM: You have always stayed active within Black Metal over the years, so I assume you still have a passion for that style.? It’s not like your other bands are a completely different style to Mayhem for example.
Teloch: “I have some opinions on how Black Metal should be, but you know, it’s not something I think too much about.”
TIBM: Sure. But I mean, it’s surely not just a job, because if so, you could certainly get an easier job and have a more stable and less stressful lifestyle.
Teloch: “Yeah, I wish I went to school, that’s for sure.”
TIBM: But you wouldn’t want to work a normal job really, would you?
Teloch: “No, I think is impossible for me now to do a normal job after doing this for so many years.”
TIBM: You’re institutionalized.
Teloch: “Yeah [both laugh].”
TIBM: I think you must have a passion for all this to keep doing it, even if you like to pretend you don’t…
Teloch: “Yeah, but it’s not like I’m as passionate as other people, or as passionate as other people pretend to be. It’s more about doing my own stuff and not following any scene or stuff like that, I hate these scenes things. I’m more into the individualist side of it.”
TIBM: Are you proud of the stuff you do though? Proud of all your creations?
Teloch: “Yeah of course. It’s a ton of work put down on this, so many fucking hours, and the outcome is always great. It’s just not something that I put in a box and look at and cry down the road later, I am just done with it, and moving on. I’ve not attached to it anymore. But that’s what gets me up in the morning, creating, the process of creating. It’s interesting because you never know what direction it’s going to take or what’s going to happen on the way. What kind of challenges will show up and stuff like that? So that’s the cool thing about it because no album is the same. You know, it’s always something different happening, a different process the whole time.”
TIBM: Do you play every day or is it just certain days?
Teloch: No, I don’t. I wish I could but there’s so much paperwork and computer stuff that has to be done. I have a studio thing now. It’s just like 20 minutes from my house, so I go there every morning and I sit there until five or something, though often I have to do all kinds of computer stuff, so there’s no time to write or play guitar. But yeah, I’m there until five o’clock. Then I leave and I’m done for the day. I go home and have dinner, watch TV.”
TIBM: So in a way, you probably could do a normal job, because that’s quite disciplined really, the way you are approaching things.
Teloch: “Yeah, just something I started quite recently actually, when my girlfriend moved in, I had to move out my gear.”
TIBM: That’s why you got the studio?
Teloch: “That’s why I got the studio.”
TIBM: She didn’t like you playing?
Teloch: “No, it’s not like that, but she had so many dresses and stuff like that, shoes… so there’s just no room for all my stuff. But this solution is so much better, then I can get away all day without having to do stuff, take out the trash and stuff like that. Also if I feel like sitting and writing during the night, after five o’clock, I can do that as well.”
TIBM: I guess it also helps you to kind of separate it from the rest of your life. If you need time away from Mayhem, at least you have your evenings back.
Teloch: “Yeah, exactly. Turn off your phone at five.”
Classic Review: Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom. Sathanas – This Is Black Metal Webzine
TIBM: Did you notice any change working with Century Media instead of the Season of Mist?
Teloch: “There wasn’t any bad blood with us and Season, we just felt like we were going nowhere, so we wanted to try something else. And so far, these guys have been taking good care of us. But the process itself is not so different. It’s just they do stuff their way and Season had another way. And so far, it’s going very good actually.”
TIBM: I guess any label you work with at this point knows that you’ve been doing this for so long that they don’t need to interfere at a creative level.
Teloch: “No, they never do that. Actually, it’s not only me, It’s me and the manager that handles the label, so the other guys don’t have to do this.”
TIBM: There’s a theme forming here.
Teloch: “Yeah. What the fuck? [laughs]”
TIBM: So how is it working with Necromorbus in the studio?
Teloch: “Well he is also our manager. So he knows us, in a way. He knows how to deal with us.”
TIBM: That’s a bit unusual to have your producer also manage the band.
Teloch: “Yeah, but he’s also our sound guy on tours, so he knows what we’re capable of. It works great. We did a try-out, where he was working for a very low percentage. But he’s very good with numbers and he’s very anal about things, so it’s a good match so far.”
TIBM: That’s quite an intense relationship to have with someone though if they’re doing your sound, your production, your engineering, your mixing and then they’re managing the band. It’s a sort of sixth-member type of relationship…
Teloch: “In a way. The sixth member that gets more paid than us [laughs].”
TIBM: That’s probably every manager [both laugh]. Okay, so final words – What can we expect from Mayhem now? Has there been any work or discussion on new material?
Teloch: “We haven’t planned anything other than to finish this Daemon world tour… then we will see!”
TIBM: Thanks for your time!