He was sitting in his room quietly reading a book, when I approached him. Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski is a warm, down to earth person who makes you feel good when you are around. Having been active for over two and a half decades or so with BEHEMOTH, the man talks about life, music, getting back on track after the surgery and lots more in this special interview we did, just before their set at Deccan Rock- IV- 2016. Excerpts from the interview:
MJM. Hello Adam, thanks for taking time out from your busy schedule and speaking with us. How you doing?
Nergal: I am just a little bit off you know. I am just tired as I have been travelling since morning from Varanasi to get to this show. I am okay, I’ll be fine. I’ll just take a nap and I’ll be perfect for the show.
MJM. How was your recent trip to Varanasi? We did see some pictures as well.
Nergal: Varanasi was very inspirational! It was crazy. It was super intense. A lot of things, you know, at the same time, moving in all directions (laughs). Its been two days, so I am still processing everything!
MJM. Behemoth is undoubtedly one of the biggest extreme metal bands to come out of the Polish region. Up to 1998 the band had a very raw sounding, black metal edge to it. When ‘Satanica‘ released in 1998, the band moved towards a heavier sound, incorporating Black and Death metal elements, which was very different compared to the earlier releases. What was the inspiration behind this musical direction?
Nergal: Well, you know, I don’t see it that way. We’ve got ten records under our belt and we just form our art and that’s it. I leave all these definitions and labelling and stuff you know for the fans. You need it, I don’t (laughs)! I write my music to express myself. I don’t really mind whatever tag people put us in. Whatever works, you know what I mean? It’s certainly metal, it’s not white metal but it’s gotta be dark or anything from dark to tyrannical or extreme stuff! But then again, it’s all definitions, I don’t give a fuck hahaha!
Picture by- Tim Tronckoe Photography
MJM. Talking about the album ‘Satanica’, do you think it laid the foundations for the future albums?
Nergal: I think every album is a brick in a wall. Every record is like a piece of a puzzle it just builds the whole big picture of what this band is all about. So yes, same as Grom and The Satanist. It’s got to be there to build that antecede that Behemoth is.
MJM. So how different was the scene back in the 90’s to how it is today? How do you see the way heavy metal has evolved over the last two decades or so?
Nergal: Everything is evolving continuously due to the internet and just spreading the information like that! Thanks to the social media. I mean there was the internet in the 90’s but hardly any one had it in Poland. But today it’s on a whole new level, you know what I mean? It just refers to everything, including music, business and anything like that. I mean in our case, it didn’t really change much. You know, I just start with me and my guitar and just jam and come up with ideas in the rehearsal room and then we jam it again. We do it exactly the same way, as we did it in 1991/ 1992, that’s when we started. So with the internet and stuff, I am pretty keen on social media, it’s a cool weapon but our formula hasn’t changed ever since. It didn’t start like all of a sudden, contacting each other and making music through whatsapp. No, we are still old school, the organic way, like a bunch of guys just gather in and just create magic.
MJM. Lets talk about your personal life. Tell us about your family and how they have been supportive of your career. How have things been for you over the years?
Nergal: It’s been good man, I mean like I have an amazing family. Very supportive. They never charge me, they never try to convert me to become whatever or pick up a different profession and stuff. No, it was never like that! Its just a bunch of cool people, who are very loving that give me full support. I think the fact that the upbringing allows me to do what I want to, the way I want to because there was a lot of love in my family.
Nergal (left): In his hotel room where we interviewed him.
MJM. Do you listen to any other styles of music? Any artists you listen to off the record?
Nergal: Yeah (smiles)! You know like, there’s plenty. there’s hundreds of artists you know, no matter what I love to listen to. Yeah, its all far from metal but its all antique!
Listen to Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel–
MJM. Was there a lowest point in your life that you had like to share with us? How did you get through it?
Nergal: You mean lowest point? Well, there has been. I don’t know if its the right place to talk about but in the end of the day, I am just happy with what I have, what I have achieved and what I am now, you know. Obviously, my life has been through a lot of ups and downs and billions of mistakes but that’s something that constituted this persona and brought me to this place. Its all good! (smiles)
MJM. You also opened a ‘Barber shop’ in Poland. What provoked you to start this?
Nergal: I think it’s a very manly thing. It feels good you know, it’s all about aesthetics and the spirit. I know you got plenty of Barber shops in India but there were not very, I mean ten years ago, there were none in Poland. So, it’s like a growing culture. I think its cool, very inspirational, I like it; to do something good for the society, that’s how I see it than just making money, I mean I can fully stand behind and say hey, “this is cool”, “this is honest”. There’s a more well dressed, more good looking ‘man industry’ you know. That’s always good. (smiles).
MJM. Getting back to the music. The Satanist released after your surgery. How did it feel like getting back on track and be mentally and physically apt to the direction you were heading towards?
Nergal: I had to do a lot of work you know. It didn’t happen just like that. When I left the hospital after the transplant, I felt like shit, man. My muscles were all atrophy you know. I just wasn’t able to do anything other than just laying down and breathing. It took me a while to learn how to stand, how to walk, well, I am exaggerating now but I was super weak! I remember when my muscles were down in mass and the whole process was six months long. I just laid down and didn’t do much of movements. After six months, I had to learn how to run actually. When the first time I started running, I just fell off. I was just building up and building up, I knew that I would come back eventually but it was just a matter of time and I was super determined to just get back on track and I did.
BEHEMOTH– Live in India at Deccan Rock! Picture taken by Behemoth’s crew.
MJM. So you are playing in India for the first time at Deccan Rock, tell us about how you feel?
Nergal: It feels awesome! Its cool. It just feels good to be here in a first time. I mean like, Behemoth has been around for like 25 years or something. I have had that impression that I have played and been there everywhere and then that comes up, you visit a place, India is a pretty metal oriented country, I had say and we still haven’t played, which is a bummer! I was like ‘fuck’ it should have happened like years ago! But its happening for the first time and its super exciting because it keeps us going, it’s awesome! I just hope there’s a few more in the future that we haven’t explored and been to. Whether we are playing in Egypt or Morocco or anywhere, you know that you can play there. Just to expand and to explore and have other territories checked (smiles). That’s it, it’s like an invasion just to go invade a country and infecting people with our music, that’s how I see that.
MJM. What’s your set list going to be for tonight?
Nergal: It’s going to be full The Satanist and some encore that Behemoth ever dreams. You’ll recognise and will love it!
MJM. Well, thank you so much for speaking with us.
Nergal: Pleasure! Thanks!
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Camera by- Manmeet Singh