Victoria Maksimovich of Music-Photocalypse.net conducted an interview with MAYHEM frontman Attila Csihar before the band's November 20, 2009 concert in Helsinki, Finland. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
Music-Photocalypse.net: A year ago MAYHEM longtime guitarist Blasphemer has parted his ways with the band. He told that among other he wasn't satisfied with his role in the band. How do you think, what made him feel like this?
Attila: It is a very complicated story that developed over a long period of time. He was always compared to other guitarists, and to Euronymus in particular. He has had a lot of that shit over years actually: from press, from the fans. However, he had one hundred percent respect in the band and in fact he had the main role in the band: he was the composer of many albums. He is a very good and talented guitarist. But some people didn't treat him as a full-right MAYHEM member, so of course it went on his nerves after a while. He was in the band for nearly ten years. You know, people change. He has different interests now. His girlfriend is from Portugal and he has his own things to do and of course we were scheduled pretty tightly with MAYHEM. So Blasphemer didn't want to be in a band any more. His decision to leave was his choice , not ours.
Music-Photocalypse.net: What about the current lineup which you picked up for the tour: Morpheus and Silmaeth with two guitars. Is it the lineup which you leave for studio sessions as well?
Attila: We'll see how it goes with composing new songs. With current lineup it's much easier play live — it sounds good with two guitarists. Due to that, we can play older songs. But future will show and it's up to that, we'll what is happening and what final lineup we will have.
Music-Photocalypse.net: Have you a worked on new material at least a bit already?
Attila: We have tried a few things, of course. We are not in a rush. And MAYHEM is not a kind of band that comes up with many albums. During last ten years we made just four full-length albums. So I think a new album will take some time. We won't release it until we all one hundred percent satisfied by it. We have tried out one new song already. So yeah, there is some stuff going on.
Music-Photocalypse.net: Now after Varg Vikernes [the BURZUM mastermind who was convicted of murdering MAYHEM guitarist Oystein Aarseth (a.k.a. Euronymous) in August 1993 and setting fire to three churches] is out prison on parole, are you in any kind of contact with him?
Attila: No, not after he got into prison. I just heard some time ago the rumors that he was out of the prison, and now when you say so, it is obviously a fact that he did. I was in a good relation with him back then in the '90s. But, of course, I was very irritated by his acts and I disagree with what he did. But, on the other hand, I think that he has done his sentence now. He deserved his freedom and should go on living his life. I heard he was going to make a new album — it is very interesting! I think he is a very talented guy, a very intelligent guy. Those are my memories about him. He is very polite and kind, too.
Music-Photocalypse.net: You were Varg's friend. Now If you take a look back on his church arsons, what can you tell about them?
Attila: Well, he was 16 years younger back then. That was different scene, a different era. And then he was crazy enough to burn a church or two. On one hand, it's a very good way to show your resistance, but on the other hand maybe it's not so smart to destroy old buildings which are the part of country's culture. I am a little bit confused about this. But then again I am not regretting or denying this thing.
Music-Photocalypse.net: All those church arsons, anti-Christianity, provocative lyrics, using Nazi-like symbols, what is it all about? Are you trying to provoke some certain reaction in people using them?
Attila: I think the only place you can see Nazi symbols in MAYHEM is band merchandise, which indeed is a part of provocation. This doesn't have any political meaning. For a while we thought it was cool: those uniforms and some aspects of World War II stuff. If you dig up into history there is a lot of interesting stuff. I am against Nazi shit and I have nothing to do with politics myself. MAYHEM never mentioned anything political on our records. But I have read a lot about great amount of spiritual and esoteric stuff that was used in Nazi symbolism and propaganda.
There are still a lot of questions to be answered about World War II. For instance, who were behind the scene? Who supported the Nazis financially? But you never hear about that. People just focus on one superficial aspect and that's it. And Germany is suffering forever from this kind of evil country karma. However, they were not the only ones in history who executed whole fucking nations.
To come back to your question, in our merch we have some kind of German symbols, but actually, take for instance a cross. You can go to prehistoric times looking for the meaning of this symbol and find out that it was an esoteric symbol of the sun. Even swastika symbol was taken from Oriental cultures. The core idea of Aryans is Indian mythological idea. So the Nazis or someone who was behind the massively installed all these symbols, but it wasn't something really new: just some ideologies stolen from somewhere. Those are all a bit provocative and they suit well MAYHEM which is all about dealing with chaos and negative aspects of universe.
Read the entire interview at Music-Photocalypse.net.