DIMMU BORGIR's session drummer Reno Kiilerich has spoken exclusively to BLABBERMOUTH.NET about landing a job with what is arguably the most commercially successful black metal band in the world.
Kiilerich, who hails from Denmark, was previously a member of several acclaimed death metal groups, including PANZERCHRIST, EXMORTEM and VILE. His first rehearsal session with DIMMU BORGIR, which took place last Friday (March 26), went so well that by the weekend, he had already been told that he got the gig (as exclusively reported here last Sunday).
The following is a short transcript of Kiilerich's first interview since being named the official "session" drummer for DIMMU BORGIR:
How did you end up auditioning for DIMMU BORGIR? Did you contact them or did they contact you first?
Reno Kiilerich: "I think the deal was, actually, that Peter [Tägtgren] from HYPOCRISY, he called [the DIMMU guys] when we [VILE] were on the U.S. tour [with HYPOCRISY], and he said… I don't know [exactly] what he said, but I guess he said [something along the lines of], 'We've got a guy on this tour that can do the job for you guys.' And then the tour manager called me, and that was it [basically]."
Were you a fan of DIMMU BORGIR before you went to audition for the band?
Reno Kiilerich: "I'm a really big fan of the 'blue' album — I can't really remember the title — the one with the naked chick on the cover [referring to 2001's 'Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia' — Ed.] I'm really a big fan of that album."
Did it take you a long time to learn the songs before the audition? Did you have an idea of which songs you would play with the band once you got out there?
Reno Kiilerich: "I just figured that the new songs were the hardest ones [to play], so that's what I practiced. And yeah, they were kind of hard [to learn]. I didn't get all the details, of course — I just wanted to practice a lot, or at least be able to play a couple of songs when I got out there. But it was some hard music to play. I think Nick has done a really good job — he's a really awesome drummer."
One of the first tours you will be playing with the band will be this year's Ozzfest festival, where you will be sharing the main stage with OZZY OSBOURNE, JUDAS PRIEST, SLAYER, SUPERJOINT RITUAL and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY. Any particular bands you are looking forward to seeing?
Reno Kiilerich: "Of course I'm looking forward to seeing SLAYER. JUDAS PRIEST with Rob Halford, that's gonna be fun to see them."
Are you a longtime fan of those bands?
Reno Kiilerich: "I think I started a little bit late, so I didn't really get into SLAYER that much, but I liked the first records. 'Hell Awaits', 'Show No Mercy', and the two albums after that, 'South of Heaven' and 'Seasons In the Abyss'. And I'm also looking forward to seeing BLACK LABEL SOCIETY. I think that's gonna be a cool one also. Also the singer from PANTERA's new band [SUPERJOINT RITUAL], I am looking forward to seeing those guys."
Before hooking up with DIMMU BORGIR, you had recorded and toured with several bands, including PANZERCHRIST and VILE. What was your last "main" band prior to landing the DIMMU gig?
Reno Kiilerich: "I haven't had, really, a main band for a long time — not since I moved to Copenhagen. But I played in a band that was pretty serious, it was a band called STRANGLER. We just recorded a demo, maybe half a year ago… eight months."
What kind of music was that?
Reno Kiilerich: "It was fast death metal. I think the vocalist guy / guitar player, he wanted it to be some kind of 'gore' band, 'mass murder' band. It was more like fast, straightforward death metal kind of music. I also did a record with a band EVIL MORGAN that was pretty cool."
There have been various reports on the Internet that you won a drum competition in California for "fastest feet in the world." Was this a legitimate competition?
Reno Kiilerich: "It was at a convention down in L.A. (NAMM convention). I'm not sure that any artists are allowed to take part in the convention or the contest [for that matter]. Yeah, it was true [that I won], but I'm pretty sure that if Tony [Laureano, NILE] or Derek [Roddy, HATE ETERNAL], or any of those guys showed up, I would have had my ass beat. [laughs]"
So you were competing against a bunch of guys that weren't necessarily in any established bands?
Reno Kiilerich: "I think a lot of the guys actually were."
But not necessarily playing this kind of music?
Reno Kiilerich: "I think they were playing something heavy, death metal style, but I still think some of the guys from, for example, NILE, Tony, and HATE ETERNAL, Derek Roddy, they would've kicked my ass. That's at least what I think."
So what's next for you now? When are you due back in Norway to rehearse with the band for the upcoming South American tour?
Reno Kiilerich: "I'm gonna practice here in Denmark for three weeks, approximately, and then I'm gonna go to Norway and practice with the guys for a week and then we go to South America."
Click here to see a Windows Media clip from the Danish TV program "Boogie" featuring a short drum "solo" by Reno. An MP3 of the track "Tomorrow" from PANZERCHRIST's 2003 release "Room Service", featuring Kiilerich, can be downloaded at this location.
DIMMU BORGIR South American/Mexican tour:
Apr. 23 - Belo Horizonte, BRA @ Orion
Apr. 24 - Sao Paulo, BRA @ Credicard Hall
Apr. 25 - Rio De Janeiro, BRA @ Clara Hall
Apr. 26 - Santiago, CHL @ Teatro Providencia
Apr. 28 - Bogota, COL @ T.B.A.
Apr. 30 - Monterrey, MEX @ Bar Iguana
May 01 - Mexico City, MEX @ Circo Volador