DIMMU BORGIR have been active for around 25 years and are still going strong. The year 2017 is their official year of comeback with two back to back releases. The DVD- Forces of the Northern Night and the upcoming new album. We managed to get hold of Silenoz, the band’s founder/ guitarist/ writer/ lyricist for this special interview to get a sneak peek of their upcoming albums, tour life, the problems that they have faced so far with the releases, the friendship that he shares with other band members and much more. He is a man of many laughs and has adapted to changing times, musically and personally. Excerpts:
MJM. First of all, thank you so much for having us do this interview today amidst your busy schedule! How are you?
Silenoz: Thank you! It’s all a pleasure! Things are going pretty good! A lot of promotional activities at the moment but its all good to go because of the DVD. You know, it’s really great to hear people’s feedback. It’s very positive, so far.
MJM. The new Live DVD ‘Forces of the Northern Night’ has garnered a massive response over the last few weeks. How does it feel now?
Silenoz: It feels great to come back in a way. I guess you can call 2017, a comeback year for us. Yeah, it feels great to have something to show even if the DVD in that sense is old material but at the same time, I justify the release because they are two biggest shows we have ever done and if we are not allowed to document and release that then I don’t know what you are supposed to do, hahahah!
DIMMU BORGIR– Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse (LIVE – FORCES OF THE NORTHERN NIGHT)
MJM. What was the reason that it took so long for the band to return with this release? Any particulars for having this long gap?
Silenoz: Well, I can give you tonnes of reasons for this, really. This is really going to sound like excuses to some. So I am going to refrain from that. But no, I mean, the Oslo’s show was supposed to be out on the same year as the DVD of course but things took so long. All different types of bureaucracy, paper work, legalities, logistics, you name it. Before you knew it, we already had done the Wacken show and then we decided that we should include both in the special release and we started working towards that. Then we had some more hang ups and some of us became fathers for the second and third time and time just flies by, you have some touring between. See now, I am already trying to come up with excuses right? Hahahahaha!
But I mean, the main thing now is that we found it, got it out and once we got the idea of the time frame for the new album release, we figured that it was okay to keep the DVD release a bit closer to the release of the new album, so that we don’t have the bigger gap as we already had. It’s also a stretch but we are trying to find out and working at our best. I guess there is no really given answer for that these days in the business.
MJM. Was it pre-planned to have the two releases consecutively or did it happen as time passed by?
Silenoz: Well, it a bit of both I guess, since we had the idea that 2017 would be the year which the new album would be out and so we moved the DVD release to this year as well. So we started as a way to introduce us back to people’s conscience.
After existing for so many years, we have gone through so many ups and downs within the band!
MJM. The DVD focuses primarily on two of the most epic performances- one shot in Oslo, Norway with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and the other in Wacken Open Air- 2012 with the Czech National Symphonic Orchestra. How did the idea of having real orchestra for these performances come about?
Silenoz: It came in early 2009, when we were working on the Abrahadabra album. The orchestra from Norway approached us actually about this idea of doing this show together and of course that’s a great opportunity because it’s usually the other way around. But they had a couple of initiatives in the orchestra and also in the company and about doing a huge show in Norway and then we said, “Wow, that’s a great opportunity”. As a matter of fact, we were working on the new album now and we were thinking about incorporating the orchestra again. They were interested in that too. So we did swap things there you know. So that’s how it came about hahah! They came and played in our album first and that’s how the planning of the show in Oslo happened. That’s how it all started basically.
MJM. You and Shagrath are the only original members in the band so far. How has the change of line ups affected you as a band?
Silenoz: First of all, I have to admit that it of course sucks to change personnel’s within the band and it’s not something new for us but after existing for so many years, we have gone through so many ups and downs within the band. To me personally, sad to say that it’s a normal thing but I think you have two ways to approach it, either you sit back, mourn and complain about it or you take the bull by the horns and to make the best out of the situation. I always try to do the last option, I think it has made the band better in every possible way and I feel that we are stronger, even if we haven’t been touring and playing live for several years now, I feel that as a band, with what we have accomplished so far, we are going to be stronger and better. So, yeah haha!
MJM. Besides, ‘Dimmu Borgir’ is turning 25 years old next year. How excited are you?
Silenoz: I feel excited and at the same time, 25 years sounds so old and at the same time, I don’t feel that old. I know that I am old but it doesn’t feel that long. Not many artists are that old, doesn’t matter which genre that you play. Especially after going through so much bullshit that we have gone through. It’s just a testament to our perception, consistency and stubbornness I guess, haha!
We feel really confident about the new album!
MJM. So let’s talk about the new upcoming album. Apart from the live DVD, the band also announced a brand new album post summer. What’s it going to be like?
Silenoz: It’s going to be our best. You might have heard this a 100,000 times but yes! If I didn’t say that people will assume that it might be a good album but maybe not as good as some of the other albums, and then it just wouldn’t sound bad, would it? Hahaha! It’s not a lie, I honestly believe that we have done our best album to date and I think also if we don’t have that approach to it, the confidence and belief that you have done your best performance, the best song writing etc.,
Then I don’t see any reason why I should release the new album because then you would be faking it. It wouldn’t have the same impact so yeah, we feel really confident about the new album and it’s really close. We had already been working on the new material already, we are still not tired of the songs and that’s a good sign, isn’t it? Hahaha!
DIMMU BORGIR – Mourning Palace (LIVE – FORCES OF THE NORTHERN NIGHT)
MJM. Can we expect a new single any time soon?
Silenoz: Well, we are still in the early process of marketing schedule idea, I suppose. We still haven’t agreed on which single or video to put out but we are coming to this very soon. The release date is of course too early to say but of course it’s early/ late fall. The wait looks good now anyway. Yeah, there are a lot of stuffs that need to be done but still the main thing is in the vault and that is the recording.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be negative but it’s about exploring the stuff internally….
MJM. What is the concept behind this album, as most of Dimmu’s lyrics are highly philosophical and carry a deep meaning to it?
Silenoz: Yes, I feel that talking about the lyrics in depth would not make sense for anyone else but me. So, I would say that for each album, while writing the lyrics, it’s a deeper dive into the rabbit hole. Once you have opened the lid to the rabbit hole, there’s no turning back, really. So, it’s hard to describe in the sense really, in the sense I would say that we have great lyrical content this time around too and I am proud of it. I feel that the main topic of it is dealing with your darkness and your inner self and everything else that’s dark around you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be negative but it’s about exploring the stuff internally within you that excites you that scares you, and I don’t if you have this perspective on reality as well but you know, once you go back and forth, between different dimensions and parallel worlds.
We have different worlds to see and we have the unseen worlds and if you accept this fact, at some point, everybody I think will do that even if you are 90 years and lay on your deathbed. Some people will wait until then to accept that. I feel that this is the way that I am trying to describe this dynamic. You know, going back and forth, exploring, discovering, things within your own darkness, stumbling around and understanding yourself and what’s going on around you.
MJM. You do realize that you just gave us a good insight of the album, right?
Silenoz: Hahahahahahah! Yeah, I guess I did (laughs).
MJM. Are there any special features or guest appearances to it?
Silenoz: Yes, not major I guess. We still used the same choir that we used on the DVD and we have of course, used choir samples as well, mixed in. We don’t have a live orchestra playing the orchestral parts but we do utilize real orchestral samples. I think, certain parts on the album would sound even more orchestral even more than they did on the previous album. That would give you idea.
MJM. Musically, the band is primarily Symphonic Black Metal but unlike most Black Metal bands, Dimmu Borgir has used various styles into it. Was there a particular reason for implementing such styles?
Silenoz: I think, it wasn’t really a previously planned thing; it wasn’t even a conscious decision at all. The only thing that we felt we needed to do, when we started the band was to name it unusually. We needed a band name that sticks out, sounds mysterious and that has a mysterious meaning, that has a background and that describes the feeling that we started out, making our own themes and songs and parts. We need a band name that could compliment the sound that we are creating. So that’s how it came about really. We are obviously inspired by the Black Metal background, in addition to that we needed to find our own darkness and try to find our own way and self.
Even the haters, I am really grateful for them. They keep mentioning our name all the time, you know hahaha!
MJM. Since the ‘Puritanical’ album, the band was known to have a lot of experimentations, which also gave way to a lot of fans and haters. How did you deal with this sort of a diverging reaction back then?
Silenoz: Well, of course it’s frustrating to see such comments on social media from people who have no fucking clue, whatsoever but then again, are you going to let those people steal that kind of energy? At least, not now when you are getting older. People are entitled to their own opinions, whether it’s based on literal ignorance or not. It doesn’t really matter because you know what you are doing and you know what’s going on. I mean, we are the members of the band for fuck’s sake. We know what’s going on at all times, hahaha! We don’t have to justify anything to anybody. I am really proud actually, that we seem to be one of those bands that people cannot be indifferent about. Either they love us or they hate us. Even the haters, I am really grateful for them. They keep mentioning our name all the time, you know hahaha!
MJM. So I guess, it all comes back to the same point then.
Silenoz: Exactly! Hahahahahah!
DIMMU BORGIR- Gateways (LIVE – FORCES OF THE NORTHERN NIGHT)
MJM. As a band, how do you deal with criticism? How has it played a role in changing your approach to music?
Silenoz: It just makes us more stubborn and more confident in what we do as artists and song writers because for me the new album, is going to be released in few months from now but it’s already a success, you know because we are happy with the album. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it when people love our newer albums but when people don’t, that’s fine too. I know what I have been part of and that we have done our best and we couldn’t have done it better. It makes certain arguments, invalid in a way hahaha!
MJM. So let’s talk about the tours and shows lined up for this year. Tell us about it.
Silenoz: It feels great to go into that part of the band again to be playing live and also to places that we haven’t been to, like India. We have got offers though but I guess it comes to the fact that we are also not a typical plug and play band you know. We also want to put on a proper show because we are not a heavily touring band, so when we do something, we really wanna make sure that we do something big. The DVD release is a good testament you know. I am really looking forward to exploring other countries and Asia especially and other parts of the world as well. I think that’s going to be a possibility now with the new album.
MJM. Would you like to say anything for your fans?
Silenoz: I am grateful for their patience and support! They have been waiting for a long time. So have we. It’s just been really frustrating, in the sense, we know, what we have been working on and we just can’t wait to reveal it. They just have to wait a little bit longer and then we can celebrate the new album and before that we can definitely have the DVD! Looking forward to meet everyone!
DIMMU BORGIR– Dimmu Borgir (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)
MJM. Well then, thank you so much Silenoz! It was great to interact with you. All the best for your upcoming releases!
Silenoz: For sure man. Thank you so much! Will see you in India, soon!
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Harsha Vardhan (Metaljesus Magazine– Owner/ Chief Editor)