November 2nd, 2005, The Behemoth Tour Bus, Vancouver. The first date of the Canadian Behemoth/Necronomicon tour. As I say to band leader Nergal in the interview, Canada will remember Behemoth for this extensive tour, as we get skipped over by Metal acts often, particularly the smaller towns, which they are playing...It is quite an honour from this challenging, extremely hard-working, and creatively ingenious Extreme Metal/Death Metal band from Poland. Behemoth prove themselves to stand out from the pack not only for their artistic originality, but for their sincere dedication to the fans. That night was a stormer, the best show I've seen in Vancouver since Ozzfest with Black Sabbath in ‘99...No small praise. It is deserved in every respect...All hail BEHEMOTH!
VILE ENT : So this is the first date of the tour then.
NERGAL : It's the first date of the tour and the first time ever in Vancouver for us. So it's pretty exciting!
VILE ENT : Totally, welcome to Vancouver and welcome to Canada!
NERGAL : Thanks so much.
VILE ENT : Fucking totally man, awesome!
NERGAL : Yeah!
VILE ENT : Throughout your music, including the new album "Demigod", there is much imagery of totalitarian, oppressive societies in Man's history. What parallels in today's world would you say exemplify the tendency of human societies to dominate one another?
NERGAL : Well, it's pretty much a total global thing...I don't think of it as tolitarian so much as seeing, when I look at the policies of the United States and some other countries, a war-like mood all around. It's all about conquering the world, one way or another, it's always been like that. The world is fucked up right now because it's always been, you know what I mean? Since the very beginning. So it's music, you know, that's not really about peace and love, it's never been. It's not like flower power shit or something, it's not Pop. It's always supposed to be brutal, it's always supposed to be massive and uncompromising. These kinds of themes kind of match with our attitude, as who we are as a band, and us as individuals. We just wanna do it on a smaller scale, and on a music dimension. But it works, with this kind of music it works. That's why pretty often we refer to the ancient mythologies, ancient empires, because these are the kinds of emotions I get while playing, performing, and creating this kind of music. So, it just comes so naturally to me.
VILE ENT : Right on. Do you foresee the further addition of extra instrumentation in future releases, like the incorporation of a male choir into "Sculpting the Throne ov Seth" and the brass orchestration in "Demigod"?
NERGAL : Probably, yes, I'm already thinking about this you know. There's going to be just slight touches here and there, it's not going to be like...Our instruments are always the basic ones, the drums, the bass, the guitar, the vocals. So it's not going to be like some extra instrument is going to dominate it, not at all. But yes, there's some more ideas I've got in my head, for the next record, you're gonna definitely hear some things here and there, for sure. Just to make the music with more spice, you know, just give it something extra, I like that, you know.
VILE ENT : Yeah...It helps to tell the stories I guess of your lyrics, and the message in them...
NERGAL : Oh yeah, definitely.
VILE ENT : Right on. How did the collaboration of Karl Sanders of Nile's guest solo on "Xul" come about?
NERGAL : I just wanted a guest on that song, I wanted a friend of mine, an awesome person that I admire and respect as a musician and as an individual to be part of that song. I had some other names, to do a vocal collaboration on some other songs, but it didn't happen. Then Karl came to my mind, we've always been in touch, we've always been friends over the years now, since our first tour in Great Britain years ago. So I dropped him a line and he was right back with the solo track, two days later I got it back. So it was a super-fast job and it's amazing, I love his power. It definitely added something extra to the song, definitely.
VILE ENT : Yeah, he is excellent. How important are radical rhythmic, tempo, and harmonic changes in the music of Behemoth?
NERGAL : It is important, if something is there, then it's important. If something is not important I just don't put it in the song, you know what I mean? With a song, first of all, Behemoth is all about the songs. It's not about fucking being progressive, or just showing off how much we can shred drums or guitar, it's never been anything about that . We still appreciate The Beatles, the old school thing, it's all about the songs, the refrains, things repeating, good melodies you know. If something fits the song, if it's needed there, it's there. There's bands, they just fabricate songs, they just fabricate tracks, they go "Okay, this should be like this. There should be a lead in the song," but some songs don't need leads, so if there's no lead in a Behemoth song, it means a lead is not needed, simple as it is. It's all about the structure, it's all about the quality of the song as a whole, you know. If you need that, it's there. So some songs, they start with a little bit of blasting, all the crashes starting from the very beginning, some other songs, they kind of develop, some songs, the vocal part starts in the middle, because you need this long developing intro, to get into it. I can tell you about the synthesizer, everything, ever instrument that goes into the song. Do we need that in that song, that's the first question.
VILE ENT : Cool. Canada will greatly appreciate this extensive Canadian tour, particularly because we're often passed over by Metal acts. What justifies your faith that Canada will respond to this tour?
NERGAL : Because since day one, from the very first show we ever played in Canada, we were blown away by the awesome welcome. And the people who were so friendly, such diehard fans, so totally down for the band. Man, we had fuckin' Polish flags flown in the audience you know, I mean....I shouldn't be saying this but, when people ask me, "Hey, what's the best place in the U.S. that you've played?", I say it's Canada. (Laughs)
VILE ENT : (Laughs) That's funny.
NERGAL : You know that's a joke, but it's very refreshing to be here. We somehow sympathize with this country, for some reason, I don't know, we just have good memories, it's good food always, it's like not oversized people, nice ladies in the streets, nice buildings, the architecture pretty much reminds us of Europe. So I don't know, it's just cool, I just like this I mean let's see how this show goes, you know. We're going to be playing bigger markets like Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, Quebec and some other places. There's going to be a couple hundred people, 300-500 people hopefully, and in some places, there's going to be like, 50 people, but of course we're perfectly aware, in some places it's going to be like this, but they need to get a chance to see music there too you know what I mean, and let me tell you, we don't mind if there's 50 or 500 people in the crowd you know, because we always give our very best, and let me tell you, people do appreciate it, so let's see what happens, let's do this tour, I hope I won't be fed up with the country. Let's see, I am excited about being here, and I'm excited about being in Vancouver for the first time ever, we really didn't have much time to do any sightseeing today, we had time for nothing, because we just arrived, but it is exciting you know, because Blasphemy comes from Vancouver, and if it wasn't for Blasphemy, there wouldn't be the band probably. Because Blasphemy is among very few bands that made me start this band. I called it Behemoth because I wanted my band to start with "B", like Blasphemy and Beherit are my all-time fave bands, so it's like fuck, it's sounds like an oldschool Black Metal band. And even the song "Cursed Angel of Doom", it was pretty much a rip-off of "Fallen Angel of Doom", actually "Demoniac" from our first record, we actually have much in common with Blasphemy you know, so it's pretty exciting to be here and yeah...This is my band that I'm really proud of.
VILE ENT : Oh right on, fucking A! Blasphemy!
NERGAL : Oh yeah, fuck yeah, man. So, it's cool.
VILE ENT : And Infernal Majesty is now based in Vancouver too...
NERGAL : Oh cool!
VILE ENT : Are you familiar with Infernal Majesty?
NERGAL : Yeah, "None Shall Defy" yeah. I love that record. I don't really like the newer stuff they made, but I love that one a lot, fuck yeah.
VILE ENT : It's a classic.
NERGAL : Oh yeah man..
VILE ENT : Yeah I played with them so that's my claim to fame.
NERGAL : (Laughs) You played with this band?
VILE ENT : Yeah I played drums with them for a little while.
NERGAL : Okay, which albums?
VILE ENT : I didn't play on any of the albums, the band wasn't doing anything at the time. But they still needed a drummer so...
NERGAL : Oh, okay. (Laughs).
VILE ENT : So I'm always happy when people introduce me as "Vile, who played with Infernal Majesty."
NERGAL : It's good, though.
VILE ENT : Behemoth gives the impression that you put an extreme amount of hard work into your music, touring, presentation, and communications with the public. How is the work process for you? Exhausting? Love every minute of it? Something else?
NERGAL : I don't really have much time to reflect on that, because I’m always working (laughs). I don't know what to say , it's fulfilling, it's very satisfying. This band has been a hobby for 10 years, it's been my work for the last 4 years or something. I mean, it's the best payoff, the best gift I could get from the loss (of time). I feel very fortunate that we can do what we do, with people buying our records, coming to the shows, I think of this category of hard work, it's hard work, of course it is, but no pain no gain you know? I mean this lineup, we perfectly know, we're aware of the fact, why we're here, why we're put on this bus, why we've built this, it's all clear, there's no bullshit here.
VILE ENT : What inspires and motivates you to keep progressing at such a high pace?
NERGAL : I don't know man, it's just in us, it's in us, we just never stop, we just keep on fucking going, keep on trying to develop and improve, make it better, play bigger tours hopefully, I don't know, we've got drive, we get it somewhere, hopefully from BEYOND (laughs). It's part of the spirit, the band spirit, you can't deny it, because it's massive.
VILE ENT : I think your fans appreciate it, because you're always producing so much for them, and there's more Behemoth for them to consume.
NERGAL : Yeah we try to attack them on every possible dimension, not just music. We don't just stand there with jeans and sports shoes and look boring you know...Fuck that, I like to leave a package, on every possible level you know, to do things that fit each other so well, I wanna hear the record, I wanna see the video, I wanna see the show, and always see the link between them all. It's good, it also makes people think about the music. It's not just fucking releasing the energy which is always a very primal feeling...For many of them (bands) it's just about "let's do the show, let's get drunk, let's release some energy so we feel better, let's ease our pain;" (ours is) a mind stimulating thing, the process, it's not just about being brutal, being Death Metal or whatever,it's about thinking, being intelligent, just improving your mind, it's very important, that's why we pay so much attention to the lyrics and all the symbolism in the band, there's so many symbols used in the band - we never limit ourselves to one and only one doctrine because it's multi-faceted.
VILE ENT : Speaking of that, how do you feel about the label of "Satanic Metal Band?"
NERGAL : I do respect them and I do appreciate them...Oh, you mean...
VILE ENT : ...If it were applied to Behemoth.
NERGAL : It's fine, are we Satanic? Fuck yeah, you know. But man you know there's millions of things that go on in my head, that I can also relate to......
VILE ENT : It's not limited to that.
NERGAL : It's just one of the levels we definitely can relate to...
VILE ENT : (Oops...I was going to ask Nergal if he got this question a million times before, because it seemed like one of those obvious questions, but I forgot....Damn - Vile). - How did Death Metal become the musical focus for Behemoth over Black Metal?
NERGAL : I'm the wrong person to ask this question man, I don't know...
VILE ENT : Have you been asked this question a million times?
NERGAL : Yeah, every interview, I should...
VILE ENT : I was going to say that first, I should have...
NERGAL : I should warn people to stop asking that question because it is boring...Well, it is not boring for you, it is not boring for the fans because they want to know, but I'm like well, what should I tell you...
VILE ENT : No, I don't want to drive something into someone's head that they've been asked a million times before...
NERGAL : It's like as if you asked me the same question, "How did you go from being age 15 to age 28? How did it happen?" "Well, year by year I got older, you know what I mean, and this happened, it's all a biological process, and I couldn't do anything about it, but killing myself, but I didn't, and I'm 28 these days..." So it's exactly the same. I just play my riffs you know, and I try not to label myself. People want to hear that you know, but I'm bored with that, what can I tell you? I'm just all about energy, I'm happy with the songs, which I hardly ever am you know...
VILE ENT : In another interview I read that you listen to more kickass Rock bands like Iggy Pop and AC/DC...
NERGAL : Anything, I just bought a bunch of CDs in L.A., anything from Satyricon to ZZ Top, pretty much anything you know what I mean, it's like I'm so into music like any music, it's like I'm just swallowing it, my collection is at 1000 CDs and a couple hundred LPs, it's still not that much, but I just keep buying. I'm discovering old artists and some new ones, that’s killer!
VILE ENT : But you find that Extreme Metal comes more naturally for you to play yourself?
NERGAL : It's just in my blood. It's there, I just do it. When I get my guitar I just play it.
VILE ENT : So it just comes out.
NERGAL : Yeah.
VILE ENT : That's cool. Do you still play any of the...Oh, I'm not going to ask you that.
NERGAL : Go ahead, what's that?
VILE ENT : Do you still play any of the early Black Metal numbers live?
NERGAL : Wait and see.
VILE ENT : Okay. (Laughter). Well, I guess I'll wrap it up there unless there's anything more you want to say.
NERGAL : Just stay Canadian!
VILE ENT : Thank you, yeah, I appreciate your view on Canada!
NERGAL : Just stay so different than the (U.S.), just be who you are, it's going to be fine, we like this place, it's a good vibe, it's different, it's refreshing, as I told you, you know...
VILE ENT : Cool, I really appreciate that. Well I wish you the best for the entire tour...
NERGAL : Thank you, thank you.
VILE ENT : ...And thank you so much for bringing the perfect support band with you as well,...(Necronomicon).
NERGAL : Yeah, it's a good band, I've got a CD, it's a fucking good band.
VILE ENT : ...And for bringing the True Extreme Metal of Behemoth to Canada.
NERGAL : Fuck yeah. Enjoy the set man!
VILE ENT : I will! Thanks a lot!
- Vile Ent, November 2nd 2005, Vancouver