Ellen Gager of Midwest Excess recently conducted an interview with DIMMU BORGIR guitarist Silenoz. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
Midwest Excess: "In Sorte Diaboli", as a whole is a very interesting album concept, your first concept album. Between the Middle Ages setting of the music, the fact that it's an epic, the feel of the cover art, even the title being in Latin, it's so well thought out. What was the process that got all of those little pieces together?
Silenoz: It took shape over time, you know? When I started with the idea of the story, I really didn't have anything specific in mind; it just took shape on its own after a while. And we had decided that the Dark Ages would be a good setting for everything, but symbolically, it's a story that might as well have happened in current times, definitely so. That's the good thing about the concept behind it, it's not a conclusive ending, it's something that you could describe in these times, too. Very much so. I mean, over in Norway, the leading Bishop, he doesn't tolerate, let's say, other people with…he doesn't tolerate lesbians and homosexuals. And, I mean, come on, we're in 2007 now, not 1507. So, it just still shows that still some religious figures are, you know, detached to the real life. So, that's something that also, the main idea behind the concept is that this person, after working for the church and the local bishop, he suddenly had like a spiritual change, you know? And he kind of reconnects with what he believes is the direct bloodline to the Devil, and of course, he suffers for that because he is a different person, and he is almost like an outcast and a scapegoat in society. He basically has to suffer because he is different, and it's still like that in many parts of the world, and it's most[ly] by religions.
Midwest Excess: It seems that the anticipation for the album is very high, and according to your website, the video for "The Serpentine Offering" was the most viewed video on myspace the week that it came out. What are your expectations about the record sales and the album's reception by fans?
Silenoz: Well, of course, I'm not going to deny and say that we don't care, because we do, just hopefully it will go well. So far, our job is done, because we're done now, and we're satisfied now, and it seems like already people that have heard the album agree with us, so I think it's a good start. And judging by the presales in both Europe and in the States, it's gonna be good, so…but everything that comes after we're done in the studio, it's a bonus, because we have done our job. Now it's up to other instances to do theirs, so I think it's gonna be good. We'll see on this tour, how it goes. But we haven't been on tour for a while either, so we have to get back into that kind of environment and routine, so we'll see.
Midwest Excess: Do you think the majority of your fans are going to understand the concept behind the album?
Silenoz: Once they dive into it, I'm sure they'll recognize a lot of references from the lyrics and stuff because [of] the way I write lyrics. Obviously, there's…you have to read between the lines to read the different meanings to one sample, get the double meanings, and the people who are interested in the lyrical aspect, they'll probably recognize themselves in many of those situations. Of course, the musical aspect is what people hear first anyway, and they judge from that, so we'll see. It's always cool to hear people say, "Well, I really liked the lyrics and they made me realize certain stuff. I feel stronger as a person now, so thanks for that." That's a really good feeling, that it means something to somebody else.
Midwest Excess: A lot of bands just see dollar signs when it comes to a new album, are you guys really hoping that people understand, rather than just buy the album because of the name?
Silenoz: Actually, I would rather have people either love the album or hate it, instead of being indifferent. As good as it is to be loved, it's also great to be hated, because it shows that you're doing something right. You are still controversial in one way, and you get to piss off some people and there's not really that many bands coming from our genre still that do that. So, I'm glad that we can still shake some ground.
Midwest Excess: Do you think that you will attempt another concept album, or does it kind of depend on how this goes?
Silenoz: I mean, never say never, because we're really happy about how this album turned out anyway, and maybe in the future we'll do something close to this. The previous albums weren't really pure concept albums, but they all shared the same thought and sense, and this is straight to the point, but around the same story, so we'll see in the future. It all depends. Maybe on the next album, we'll include more of the regional lyrics again, so you never know.
Midwest Excess: That was one thing I was going to ask, is how the decision comes about when you're deciding whether to do English lyrics or Norwegian lyrics.
Silenoz: It all depends on the situation, because on "Death Cult" when we had those two [with] Norwegian lyrics, it was just something that happened, actually. To me, I was just writing sentences and before I knew it, I had enough for a lyric story, and the other guys just thought it was cool to include it, and that's how it happens. We don't analyze too much when we do stuff. I think it's good to keep some part of spontaneity in both the music and what we do, so that's the way this album came out great, because we were less prepared. This album, compared to the previous one, we didn't make any demos or anything for this one, we just basically had most of the material ready, and went to the studio, and just nailed it out. So, I think the album sounds more direct, you know? And with a good production team this time, it's a good sounding record.
Read the entire interview at www.mwerocks.com.