Metal-Rules.com recently conducted an interview with DIMMU BORGIR vocalist Shagrath. A couple of excerpts follow:
Metal-Rules.com: What will happen for DIMMU BORGIR in 2008 touring-wise? What kind of plans have you already set for 2008 as far as touring is concerned?
Shagrath: First of all, we are gonna try to complete the plans we have for this year, y'know. We've done the U.S. tour, we did the festivals and then the European tour, starting from September, and ending in November. And then we are gonna have December off, and then we are gonna have a little break in the beginning of next year, I think. Then we may head to South America, Japan, Australia and maybe we are even going back to U.S.A. again after all those tours, maybe as a support band for a bigger band. But nothing certain has been set down on the table yet, so we'll see later what happens for us touring-wise. Next year is still pretty much open.
Metal-Rules.com: DIMMU BORGIR has been considered as the most leading group of so-called modern black metal these days by many. I honestly don't think the term "black metal" fits in to describe DIMMU BORGIR's stuff well enough. What do you think about this matter?
Shagrath: I really don't categorize us as a black metal band anymore either. It's like the tone "black metal" is so watered out today; it's hard to say what's real black metal these days and what's not. We just do our own thing and if people want to relate us to black metal, that's completely OK with me. For us it's still an extreme music and that's it.
Metal-Rules.com: Can you tell what kinds of things is all of your success based on from your point of view that you have traveled this far from a relatively unknown underground act to one of the bands in this "big league?"
Shagrath: I think that of course the quality of the music we create is one of those reasons. And also it's been a lot of hard work from us to reach this position where we are nowadays. It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll, ha-ha! Basically I think if I compare us to some other Norwegian bands, we are the most hard-working band in the scene in our own home country. You just have to tour and you have to work hard to be able to get somewhere. And naturally you have to release quality music that people are interested in. One other thing is that we combine a lot of different styles of music into the sound of DIMMU BORGIR, which I think somehow tends to appeal many different types of people. You don't have to be, for example, a "black metal" guy to like DIMMU BORGIR. We have so many different audiences, so probably that's why we also sell more records than some other bands from the similar genre. Then we have a good record company behind us that has been doing a lot of great promotion for us and that really helps to get us further basically.
Metal-Rules.com: It's a real blessing if you get a chance to work with good people that really work hard for their bands, as they should do in the first place…
Shagrath: Absolutely. It helps a lot! For promotion, for record and when they put a lot of effort and money into these things, they really believe in us which is always a good thing.
Metal-Rules.com: What kinds of things actually keep you motivated and inspired from one year to another so that things could be kept on that level of interest that you don't get bored or frustrated to be a part of this band?
Shagrath: It's like a circle, y'know. The same thing happens almost in every year. You release an album, you tour and you always come back; start making new music and release a new album — and then you tour again, ha-ha! It's really like traveling around this circle over and over and over again. As things what keep me motivated, it's hard to say. It's a lifestyle, y'know. A good thing is that I can do exactly what I want to. I don't have any bosses telling me what I should do. I don't have to work that hard to earn my (Norwegian) crowns. All that keeps me more into doing the thing than I'm actually being able to recollecting other things that I'd like to do most.
Metal-Rules.com: I gotta assume also that there are times when you may ask a question from yourself: "Why am I actually doing this?"
Shagrath: Yes, I think about that — well, if not almost every day, but very often anyway… Absolutely! Sometimes it's very hard to stay away from your family or if you have children or girlfriend or wife or whatever. Being away from home and being on tour mean a lot of waiting at airports, lack of sleep, a lot of partying, sleeping in a hotel room, etc. it can get really boring many times. It's not meant for everybody, y'know. Being on tour for a long time it also very tough. You get to used to it though, but sometimes I need to ask from myself: "Why the hell am I doing this?" There are days when I really hate this to the utter guts, ha-ha!
Metal-Rules.com: Partying must be that cool part, but you cannot do it like every night after the show…
Shagrath: Exactly! I can't drink so much before the show. If I have hangover when I'm singing, it's gonna be bad, so I try not to drink so much.
Metal-Rules.com: You did this video called "The Serpentine Offering" with the Swedish director Patric Ullaeus who actually directed your previous video "Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse" as well. What makes Patric such an ideal director for DIMMU BORGIR as he is, in your opinion? Do you think that he's got the best understanding and vision what DIMMU BORGIR is all about visually?
Shagrath: Well, I think he's really interested in us; he's the fan of the music and he brought more effort into the video than he actually got paid for doing it. He's a great and professional guy from every aspect really.
Metal-Rules.com: How will your cooperation continue with him in the future? Have you already some other plans to shoot a video for some other song off this new album with him?
Shagrath: We continue use him, but I think for the video we are gonna use somebody else anyway. We have to get a different theme because you may easily get stuck in one style and one of doing things. We don't wanna repeat things too much, y'know, so maybe we are going to have some other guy's opinions about directing a video.
Metal-Rules.com: Do you have any further DVD plans? I mean, it's been five years since "World Misantrophy" came out…
Shagrath: We don't have so much material ready for it yet. We haven't been filming new footage so much at all.
Metal-Rules.com: Do you have a film crew with you on this tour?
Shagrath: No, not on this tour; just a personal camera, but we'll see if we get some new material after a while, after the tour has been done. Maybe we'll release a DVD in the meantime 'til people wait for the next record from us. When we stop touring — who knows, maybe we'll release a DVD, and after that we start making a new album. Nothing has been planned concerning it though.
Read the entire interview at Metal-Rules.com.