VARG VIKERNES: Controversial BURZUM Leader Speaks From Norwegian Prison

May 12, 2005

Former BURZUM leader Varg Vikernes (a.k.a. Count Grishnackh),who is currently serving a 21-year Norwegian prison term for the August 1993 murder of MAYHEM guitarist Oystein Aarseth (a.k.a. Euronymous),recently spoke to about his controversial political beliefs and the possibility of future album releases. Several excerpts from the interview follow:

Q: To quote a recent article you wrote, "In a sense it was the Golden Age of BURZUM — that had its natural end when I was imprisoned in August 1993." Why did the spirit of BURZUM change so much when you were imprisoned?

Varg Vikernes: "You probably misunderstand what I wrote in that article. The spirit of BURZUM never changed, but my ability to make music changed dramatically when I was imprisoned. It is more or less impossible to record music in prison, and the only music I could record was electronic music, when I was allowed to have a synthesizer for a few months in 1994 or 1995 and in 1998. After a few months with a synthesizer in the cell in 1998, I had to choose between my synthesizer and my laptop computer, because the prison authorities didn't let me have both at the same time (for 'security reasons'),and I chose to have the computer in the cell, believing I could make music anyhow, by using some music program. But the prison authority had other ideas, claiming I didn't have an 'extraordinary need' to have a music program enabling me to make music on the computer. So without a music program I couldn't make any more music from then on. That is actually the main reason I haven't released any records since 1999; to install a music program I need a CD-ROM, and all CDs are banned in this prison (for 'security reasons').

"Anyhow, since I have a guitar, at least I can make music now, but I have to wait until I get out before I can record anything.

Q: What made BURZUM different from the rest of the Norwegian bands at the time?

Varg Vikernes: "A lot. The motivation was certainly different, my background was different, my lyrics were in Norwegian, while the others had English lyrics, and of course I was alone, while the other bands were real bands. I don't know what to say about this really. Maybe you will find the answer to this question in the different 'A Burzum Story' articles that will be published on"

Q: What have you been doing in prison to occupy yourself lately and do you have an idea as to when you might be released?

Varg Vikernes: "According to the Norwegian constitution and international law I should be released on probation in April 2006, but I don't know what will happen. My experience with the Department of Justice is not particularly good, so I am not very optimistic. I don't think they like me very much... and unfortunately it is more important to be liked by them than to have the right/law on your side.

"When it comes to your question regarding what I have been doing in prison to occupy myself 'lately', I can tell that lately I have been mostly reading, corresponding with different people, writing articles and sending different applications to the prison authorities — that they usually turn down (apparently letting me have an encyclopaedia on the computer is not possible, for 'security reasons' and because I according to them don't need an encyclopedia...?!) or occasionally grant (for instance, I was, like I have already told you, allowed to have a non-electric guitar in my cell last December).

"Apart from that I jog in the cell — back and forth on the floor — and have some plastic bottles filled with water that I use as weights, I take some push-ups and sit-ups, and in general try not to rot away.

"There is always something to do, and I have never had any problem keeping myself occupied. The biggest problem is when the prison authorities force the prisoners to 'work', and we have to sit some place all day long, like in a workshop, and do absolutely nothing (because there are twenty people 'working' but only work for one or two people),but 'luckily' new police and law reforms and the building of new 'temporary prison barracks' in the yard have caused the prisons to flood with prisoners, and the prisons are not given the resources to cope with this situation, so only a few prisoners are given a 'job'. The rest are simply stored in their cells all day long, left to figure out what to do on their own. To me and many others it's no problem, but especially to the poor bastards who don't even know how to read (and they make up 1/3 of all the prisoners!) it can be rather destructive, and when they occasionally break down and set fire to their cells, crush the interior of the cells and smash the TV, cut off of break their fingers or other limbs (one guy in Ila prison cut off his own balls! *Ouch*...),swallow forks and knives, punch a guard or another prisoner on the nose, or something like that, they are punished for that too, because they don't 'behave' well, and the minister of justice or warden come up with some new rule for 'security reasons', and tighten the screw even more, something that naturally only makes even more prisoners break down or become anti-social and dangerous. It's a very intelligent system..."

Read the entire interview at

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