Metal-Rules.com recently conducted an interview with Swedish multi-instrumentalist Snowy Shaw (real name: Tommie Helgesson; THERION, DREAM EVIL, KING DIAMOND, MERCYFUL FATE, MEMENTO MORI, NOTRE DAME) about his short stint as a session musician for DIMMU BORGIR and his eventual return to THERION. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal-Rules.com: It surprised many people when it was first rumored you were joining DIMMU BORGIR but it was even more surprising when, just a day after you officially announced you had joined the band, it was reported you had left DIMMU and rejoined THERION. DIMMU has said nothing officially of your involvement with the band despite a promo picture being released and the only statement came from Christofer Johnsson of THERION that you were back. Can you clarify to fans of all parties involved exactly what happened with DIMMU and the chain of events that led to you leaving so quickly? Was it an amicable split, the proverbial "musical differences" or what…?
Snowy: I'm fully aware that people must be wondering just what the hell happened between DIMMU and I that made me quit the way I did. I wish I could openly talk about it, but I'm sorry, I'm not allowed to really discuss or give out any details in the matter, so for the moment let's just say that there were major misunderstandings and a severe lack of communication that eventually led to my departure from DIMMU BORGIR. I've been extremely upset and sad that things took such an ugly turn, when at first, it seemed to be the most perfect spot for me. But… well, no use crying over spilled milk, as the Swedish saying goes. I guess everything happens for a reason and I'm just delighted to be back with my THERION family and to start the world tour for our new album in just about two weeks' time.
Metal-Rules.com: Did you pursue the vacant bassist position in DIMMU or did the DIMMU camp ask you to join? When did you actually start working with the band?
Snowy: I think it was in February this year, I knew the guys and had previously been working with them making props and stuff for their videos when I was working with my friend Patric Ullaeus of Revolver Film Company, and we would bump into each other every now and then playing festivals and so on. Then you could say there were a number of incidents coinciding, Silenoz wrote me and shared some comedy link on my Facebook page. I was temporarily playing bass and singing in a rock/metal covers band who'd be off to play in some ski resort in Lillehammer, Norway the following week. I saw on Blabbermouth that DIMMU was in the middle of doing pre-production for a new album and was a keyboard player and bassist short after having fired Mustis and Vortex, so suddenly it just hit me… Fuck! No one could be more perfect for this band than me. So I sent a mail to Silenoz and a few days later they called me up. Besides I had heard they contemplated hiring me to design and supervise stage props and visual designs, so I thought it'd be both convenient and idyllic to keep it all in the family, so to speak, if they could hit two birds with one stone, just like I'd previously been hired to do with THERION, on the side of my singing duties.
Metal-Rules.com: Having now heard the track and seen the video for DIMMU's first single, "Gateways", you are seen mostly in the background. Agnete Kjølsrud seems to have taken over what, in my opinion, would have been the clean vocal part that Vortex — or in this case, you — would have sung. Any idea why the band chose to incorporate female vocals in place of clean male vocals?
Snowy: I love what Agnete did on this track…sounds like some wonderfully insane witch! Like I tried saying before, they didn't expect to be so lucky as to find a bass player who could also do clean vocals, so before I got into the picture, they decided to have a guest vocalist on a track or two to keep that style of contrasting voices they had before with Shagrath and Vortex, I suppose.
Metal-Rules.com: The other members of DIMMU play in secondary active bands. Galder has OLD MAN'S CHILD, Shagrath splits between OV HELL and CHROME DIVISION and Silenoz just debuted his new band, INSIDIOUS DISEASE. Why did you first decide to leave THERION instead of playing in both bands?
Snowy: Believe me, I had every intention of continuing playing in both bands but there couldn't possibly have been a worse case time-wise. Both bands release new albums in September — and on the same record label — and will be touring at almost the exact same time. I mean, it's not like I could pick and choose what tours I want to do, and tell DIMMU, "OK guys, I'm going to sit out the tours this year to tour with THERION instead and then get back on the train after the Christmas break, OK?" Either you're in or you're not. So, what the hell could I do? I was left with no other choice than to make a choice between the two.
Metal-Rules.com: I suppose an obvious question is...why did you return to THERION again after leaving just a few months earlier? Did Christofer approach you to re-join or did you seek him out?
Snowy: Like I just explained, due to the circumstances and the way things developed, I was forced to choose between DIMMU and THERION. Unless I could quickly come up with a way to clone myself, I obviously couldn't be in two places at the same time. One day I spoke with THERION singer, Thomas Vikström, who confided to me the difficulties they've had finding a replacement for me and he said, "Listen, Snowy, just so you know, in case things doesn't work out with DIMMU for one reason or another, you are more than welcome back — ANYTIME." Look, I have no intention of starting any shitstorm here and I'm not going to violate the contract I've signed which prevents me from revealing any further details about all the events and incidents. For now, all I can say is, I think my actions speak for themselves. I'm back to the original plan and will be touring all over South America and Europe with THERION until Christmas.
Read the entire interview at Metal-Rules.com.