DIMMU BORGIR: 'We Have Put Up With Unprofessionalism And Bad Live Performances For Years'

September 2, 2009

Norwegian symphonic black metal band DIMMU BORGIR have issued the following statement regarding the recent departures of keyboardist Mustis (real name: Øyvind Mustaparta) and bassist/clean vocalist ICS Vortex (real name: Simen Hestnæs):

"Man, what a shitstorm response!

"Too bad all the shit is thrown in the wrong direction.

"Oh, well, what else could we expect?

"We don't blame you as you still haven't heard the other side, the band's side.

"We have put up with unprofessionalism and bad live performances for years. This couldn't be ignored anymore as we firmly believe the fans deserve the best on both records and shows.

"First of all, a big thank you to those who still have their own mind intact and believe in the music of the band and not only judge by what is falsely accused in statements posted online by recently fired members based on their ignorance, bitterness and greed. A quite normal human response when being disappointed, but we hope you kept in mind the saying that goes: 'Those who scream the loudest have the most to hide…' but: 'Only when we're calm we'll be able to listen.'

"We have a feeling, judging from some of you and your 'jump-to-conclusion'-type of comments and responses, that some of the reasons that are about to be explained might as well end up as too much for you band member 'fans' to grasp the magnitude of, or to handle. We'll give it a try.

"The true fans of the band and its music already have shown their support and understanding without us having to explain it to them in detail. But for the rest, anyways, here goes:

"Let us give you a few things to chew on — perhaps especially to those of you that have already taken sides. Some of it concerns both Vortex and Mustis collectively; some of it is separately based issues. And yes, it might come as a surprise to some of you but they were fired with a reason.

"To make it seem less of a soap opera and less embarrassing, if this is even possible at this point, for those it concerns, we'll keep things simple and straight to the point.

"On a side note and in comparison, just keep in mind that people have been fired for way less in this and other bands before. So for those of you who think we didn't try and make this work and did this out of anything else but what we thought was best for the band, please think again and consider the following written words below carefully. At the same time, as we hate to ruin the idea of how some of you guys perceive this band and its members both in a positive and negative way, those of you who care deserve to hear the truth and here are a few excerpts, out of many, we might add.

"Let's put things in perspective for a second: For someone to be in a band, on any level, first there's got to be commitment and dedication, a drive and urge to do what you do, whether you're part of the songwriting process, planning the touring part, business part, the administrative part or simply just the performing part — doesn't matter which one you're mostly involved in. However, you need to be involved in some of it to a certain extent to be considered and treated as a member and you have to show some sort of level when it comes to responsibility, not only for yourself but for others around you as well.

"Over the course of 10 years period, there's also something you either develop the comprehension of or you don't (most develop this basic approach way sooner),called 'understanding of how things are run.' We know it sounds blunt, but it's important that this is being enforced on behalf of everyone involved within a band and its working partners. After time, you've got to know and accept your place and what role you have taken and your ability therein; the sooner you do this, the better. Remember, you still — at the same time — have to continue to earn your place and work for it, respect it and nurture it like a child, even after years of success. It doesn't come for free, it doesn't stay for free and it doesn't leave for free either. We're all replaceable.

"Are you part of a band for the right reasons? And do you really want this? What are your thoughts on the aspect of being away from home over shorter and longer periods of time performing for your fans? Are you aware of the sacrifice you have to still do after all these years to be able to continue this and are you aware of the workload and the sacrifice not only the other members have done and still do, but also people working with the band in other areas have done over the years, while you haven't?

"You need to do your part, or at least do an attempt to be given a fair chance of survival, even if it's not as much. Certain simple basic things, which are spawned out of common sense, those are the things we expect from you. That's if you want to be looked at as a member of a music group and be taken seriously.

"The things mentioned above are all obvious factors and basic principles you need to be square on and aware about; if not, you're wasting yours and other people's valuable time.

"Further down is a couple of things Vortex and Mustis simply 'forgot' to mention in their previous statements respectively. Also the fact that Mustis' statement(s) not being written by himself but by someone else means it is false accusations and have been registered as such by our lawyers.

"Lesson number one, the obvious one: Don't forget to bring your instrument when you're about to play a festival in which you're going to perform in front of thousands of fans that have travelled far and paid money to see you play. Maybe you haven't been into it so much the last couple of years and it's — on top of that — an early flight; you feel things are a bit tedious — no worries, we all experience this from time to time but we know the deal by now after so long, and so many years. Or, so we thought. But we shouldn't have to remind you to bring your own instrument to a gig. For that there's no excuse, neither will we accept one.

"Lesson number two, a less obvious one and can easily be forgotten while under the influence but still: Don't hurt yourself in an alcoholic rage smashing a glass to your forehead, putting yourself, your band 'mates,' crew, not to mention the show(s),in jeopardy. Remember, the money you care so much about getting, compared to the minimal of effort you put in won't be paid out to you or anyone else in the band if the show(s) doesn't happen. You have responsibility. We suspect this weren't part of your calculation, obviously none of us are perfect but as a grown up person, we expect more. Luckily for you, the makeup covers the cut from the smashed glass on your forehead onstage.

"You did manage to get away with general bullshit, classical cocky, rock-star attitude and carelessness — this time too. You wouldn't get away with it at home around your family so what makes you think it's fine to behave like an asshole around your band members, your family away from home? On-stage equals posing, off-stage it's a no-no. But, contrary to other times in the past, there simply won't be another chance and you know so goddamn well why you're not given yet another. Suddenly we're the bad guys because you expected another shot out of mere habit, just because we were too nice in the past to grant you another one and another one.

"Your stage sound and set-up we won't bother to address anymore. Your stage performance lately we won't bother to mention either. You know why you're not part of this band anymore, don't make excuses and make it look like it's someone else's fault when you very well know it was you alone who put you where you are right now.

"Now, auctioning off your band's most recent album on eBay, only signed by yourself, can't be looked upon in any other ways as pure greed, not to mention mockery, towards the rest of the members of the band that you're still in, AND the fans. Attempting to sell a CD of the last album (which you can still get hold of in shops) with only your signature on it for the highest bid is a remarkably low act.

"Instead of getting hold of some work to do, if money is what you so desperately seem to be needing (while you actually maybe rather should be considering working on ideas for a new album if you're so concerned about being credited correctly),you rather believe the easiest and fastest way to money must simply be to start a blackmailing procedure against the other members in the band holding important files as ransom — files that are the band's property which we need for future projects that would bring you money later eventually, in one way or another. Now it won't. Not a very smart and thought out thing to do. Not to mention the fans now have to wait for these special releases because your ego for some odd reason is hurt and in total control. These files, which we handed over to you in good trust over a year ago as a band member and what we'd consider a brother despite your lazy ass, not surprisingly you haven't even touched it as part as bonus features special of a re-release campaign including certain albums. Instead, you threaten to sue your fellow band members for neglect and not treating you right monetary-wise.

"Isn't it typical? You both want to harvest the fruits, but putting labour into it yourself is not so important. See how long that'll last in real life. Ironically, it lasted this long with the band, finally now that time is over.

"This shouldn't be acceptable. So what do we do? We don't accept it. After all these years wiping people's asses and feeding their mouths, we're forced to take on another strict angle, like you do with kids when nothing else works. To be forced to almost constantly spend energy on dragging someone to practice for instance and be part of a unit — a force, is tedious for the rest of us. Always an excuse not to do what's expected of you.

"To the best of our efforts, we've tried to explain over and over, again and again, how the business side of things works, but when ignorance is bliss and the people it concerns fail to even meet at band business meetings, later not understanding and realizing because of the obvious fact that they weren't present, the deal is then suddenly we're 'hiding something' and 'I must get ripped off, there's no other logical explanation!'

"Sounds familiar to some of you readers?

"But on the contrary, we've not been afraid of encouraging the use and exploration of talents of other members elsewhere while still being in the band. We have even handed over major projects on a silver plate but to not even bother replying to such offers speaks volumes. We can't do that job for you too. What about the talk of a certain 'solo' project for the last 10 years? Where is it? Talk, that's what it is. Talk and no action.

"Still complaining, not trusting your partners for the last 10 years when receiving a pay check, worth way beyond your song'writing' ability and what you're already credited for is fair in your eyes. It's amusing and at the same time sad to see how little reflective and humble grown people can be sometimes; or in this particular case, most of the time.

"Stop acting like composers and songwriters until you have written and released something on your own that's worthwhile and we'll see how well you do.

"To quote Vortex in his very own statement: 'I have really enjoyed the ride!' Sure you have, it's been for free! Either because of lack of interest, dedication, understanding and capability or all of those.

"So a word of advice: For those of you who'd wish and would want to work with either of these guys in the future, please be prepared to discuss business first since the art of music comes secondary.

"We believe there's no need to go into further details; it'll be highly embarrassing. It already is for the rest of us and most sane people get the point by now. If you feel you haven't been appreciated, this goes for both, then why did you accept the large sums of money all these years that has been handed out to you? It was convenient, wasn't it?

"For how much longer should we accept a service on stage that has slowly deteriorated over the last few years which we know other bands wouldn't tolerate, seeing as your performance simply wasn't good enough and your self-critical view was like zero. Explain that. But you wanted the cash, pretty typical. Give someone something even if they don't deserve it just to keep everyone happy and they want more of it. Don't take credit for something you haven't written.

"If you knew how to arrange and write a song, you would have already, just like the rest of us. But no, your lazy ass is too 'busy' complaining about not getting what is 'rightfully' and 'legally' yours. Funny then, how the new album is halfway finished written already by the rest of us without any of these guys' input, still having all those elements we're known for. Even having obligations and work with other bands simultaneously on the side. But those who still believe in the band and its music, and not in recently fired members' bitterness, greed and fear of what's around the corner, will understand this when the next opus is out.

"We could write a book about previous members and their separate reasons why they're not in the band anymore, but we believe you don't want to hear most of it by now.

"This wasn't an issue of the typical 'musical differences' bullshit statement either. Other bands cover up their shit with that worn-out excuse, but musical differences is exactly what makes this band sounding unique. Sadly, some of the members lost the focus along the way; some people close to the band will say they did that a long time ago, and for that there was simply nothing we could do anymore. We can't force people to do something they obviously don't want or care about. We tried — but they didn't. Our patience and goodwill is not everlasting.

"So for those of you who still think we owe them more than a phone call or an e-mail letting them know their 'services' are no longer wanted and needed, think again. We just had enough and for that we're not sorry. We're only sorry it didn't work out in the end.

"And to those who think greed played a part in this, so absolutely, and now you know whose careers are run by it and whose isn't."

Last year's "Blackest Of The Black" tour with DANZIG helped support DIMMU's latest DVD titled "The Invaluable Darkness", which debuted at No. 5 on the Top Music Videos chart in mid-October. It was also the band's last North American tour promoting their eighth studio album, "In Sorte Diaboli", which debuted on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart at No. 2, and on The Billboard 200 chart at No. 43.


ICS Vortex:

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