Hayley Leggs conducted an interview with frontman Erik Danielsson of Swedish black metallers WATAIN at this year's Hellfest, which was held last month in Clisson, France. You can now watch the chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the band's current European summer festival run:
Erik: "Festivals are always quite chaotic for a band like ours. We have a quite massive thing going on onstage as far as the fire and so on goes, so it's long days and long nights and 60 minutes of pure, sacred chaos. It is what it is. I love it. I think it's a very good thing to do what we do here at the festivals, but, at the same time, we started this year off with releasing the new album and going on tour, on our regular tour for about two months. Coming from that, which is quite… you get into the routine. At the festivals, you have to forget about all of that. It's a mess, but it's a good mess."
On why WATAIN's lineup has remained stable for over 20 years:
Erik: "It's hard to come up with an answer for that without coming up with clichés. In all honesty, I think that at a very young age, we realized that the three of us who formed the band: Me, Håkan [Jonsson, drums] and Pelle [Forsberg, guitar], we shared not only a passion for black metal, but we had a sacred approach to black metal in general, I think at an early age. We always took it for something more than just music and entertainment. For us, it was a cult. It was a movement that we were very, very proud to be a part of and that we took very seriously from day one. I think maintaining that approach, not abandoning it, but rather feeding it and being proud of having that approach among countless bands that might perform and are easygoing about playing extreme music, we have just always been sincerely devoted to what we do and kept it as not only as a hobby or as a job or anything like that, but rather as something sacred, a brotherhood, if you will. That's really the reason why we are still so tight. When you hold the thing you've created so high in regard that it almost transcends the personal relations within the band, if you have those parameters set in that way, you're going to rid yourself of a lot of unnecessary personal differences or whatever because we always know that there's something more to it, that it's just too important to fuck up with the regular kind of bullshit that people usually fuck up bands with, like getting older, getting families. We don't let things like that get in the way. We try not to, at least."
On the status of touring guitarist Set Teitan, who stepped away from WATAIN earlier in the year after a photo surfaced of him giving the Nazi salute:
Erik: "I want to clarify: There is no bandmember having to leave or anything like that. We haven't gone out with any official statement regarding that situation whatsoever. People should just take a step back and enjoy the music and whatever the fuck they do. What you're talking about is personal band business, so we leave that aside."
On the response to the band's recent "Trident Wolf Eclipse" studio album:
Erik: "I don't know if I'm the right person to ask. I meet people who are very enthusiastic, obviously. We meet them at shows and they bought the ticket, so I guess they like what we do. I don't really read so many reviews and stuff like that. I don't know… I don't really need that kind of encouragement or whatever. The relations for me as a member of WATAIN to whoever that takes in what we do, a listener or someone who goes to our concerts, they're there, they come to the shows, hopefully they give something, some form of energy, but other than that, I don't really step into specific people's own personal opinions. There's as many as opinions as there are people, right? If you start to dig into that, to me, there's so many things to do with this short time that we have here and reading reviews and finding out exactly what other people think about what we do, is not one of them."
On whether he would do a WATAIN show in his street clothes in the event the band's stage costumes were unavailable:
Erik: "We have been through countless situations where we have to solve things at the last minute. Performing in our regular clothes has not been one of them, but similar kind of situations, but, I think it's interesting and kind of reassuring to realize that the fire that WATAIN is about is within us, no matter the circumstance. That's a beautiful thing to know and realize and to live with that inside. So, yeah, we've overcome everything so far and I'm sure a situation like that would feel like quite a small overcoming by this time."
"Trident Wolf Eclipse" was released in January via Century Media.
The band will headline an autumn European tour with ROTTING CHRIST and PROFANATICA in support.