Watain's show in Athens is dangerously approaching. And I do not use the word "dangerously" lightly.
Although the band is in the middle of a tour right now, key figure & frontman Erik Danielsson had no hesitation to shed somewhat of a light on their -otherwise- dark path.
Rock Overdose: You're in the middle of a european tour right now. How are these first shows going for the band?
Erik Danielsson: We started the Eastern Eclipse tour last weekend in Finland and Russia. It was a good start with dynamic, wild and powerful shows. Now we keep focusing ahead and are more than ready to take on the rest of the countries we have lined up... We have been touring for more than a year with "Trident Wolf Eclipse" so I can say with confidence that what people will experience at a Watain show now is on another level than what they have ever seen before.
Rock Overdose: On this tour, you've been playing a lot of songs off of “Sworn To The Dark”. Do you feel that “Trident Wolf Eclipse” shares a lot with the spirit of that album?
Erik Danielsson: We change setlist more or less every night so that is not entirely true, but yes "Sworn To The Dark" relates well to "Trident Wolf Eclipse" in many ways. The way we put a set list together has to do with many different factors, and we rarely give much thought to which albums the songs we choose are from. The important thing is that the set list will evoke tremendous power and shake the foundations in the soil on which we perform.
Rock Overdose: The “Black Metal Terror” 4 way split with Triumphator, Ofermod, Malign -and Watain of course- was released earlier this month. How did your participation in it come about?
Erik Danielsson: I actually haven't seen that one yet, but I am very proud to have Watain on it. The other bands on that release were highly influential to us when we started in the late 1990s. Split releases to me are things you do with bands with which you have forged a strong bond, or share spiritual or artistic values, which can be said about all the bands that are a part of this "Black Metal Terror" box.
Rock Overdose: Your latest album “Trident Wolf Eclipse” was released over a year ago. When you put out “The Wild Hunt” people criticized you for experimenting too much. Fast forward to “Trident Wolf Eclipse”, which is a straight up black metal record and you hear complaints that the band is “playing it safe”. Do you ever get tired of people having all these expectations and bogus views of what Watain should be, instead of focusing on what you are actually offering to them?
Erik Danielsson: From the bottom of my heart, I piss on such shallow and boring opinions. I was not raised to approach music in this kind of childish way and I have a very hard time to relate to people that do. If I would focus on what people think about our life work, I would listen more to people with a bit more intellectual capacity. But the truth is I don't really focus much on what people think. I believe that if you do that as an artist, you are entering upon a path that will only lead to stagnation and death. Always follow the fire of your own will.
Rock Overdose: There's been a lot of controversy surrounding the “Lords Of Chaos” movie about Mayhem and the early Norwegian Black Metal movement. Have you seen the film and what did you make of it?
Erik Danielsson: I am a good friend of Jonas Åkerlund so I’ve been seeing this movie coming together from the start. I’ve always been 50% skeptical and 50% intrigued by what he was going to do, since the subject is of course very dear and close to me. In the end I think it ended up a bit too far from my own perception of the atmosphere and emotional spectrum that I relate to these events. It is clear that Jonas had a different approach to the whole thing that someone who was deeply involved in, and cared deeply for, Black Metal, which should be quite obvious. But I know that he worked very hard to get many things right and I know he was very emotionally involved in the whole project, so it’s still interesting for me to watch. He was also in close contact with the families of both Dead and Euronymous and that is to me a very important thing to take into consideration.
In any case, I definitely do not think that it will do any damage to Black Metal that has not already been done. I also think it’s very embarassing with people who are so against this movie for whatever reason but were not even born when these things happened.
Rock Overdose: You've been around since the late nineties. How do you think Black Metal has evolved through the years? What's your opinion on the state of Black Metal nowadays?
Erik Danielsson: I have nothing good to say about the evolution of Black Metal as a whole. I like Black Metal when it meant burning down churches, obscure fanzines, tape trading, crime, passion, revolutionary ideas, secrecy, real and genuine darkness... It is with these things in mind that we keep on doing Watain, while not caring much of what is going on around us. Then again, we have always been in touch with the good and relevant parts of the contemporary scene, and always will be as long as there are interesting ones around. But while Watain will always have Black Metal at the core of our being, I like to think of the band as a culturally unbound phenomena that walks its own solitary path.
Rock Overdose: Watain is infamous for its live shows. It's been five years since your previous gig in Athens. What should we expect this time around?
Erik Danielsson: Pure fucking Black Metal Magic straight from the bottomless pits of Tartaros. A mad celebration of raw power and force which will leave no one untouched.
Rock Overdose: Dead Congregation and Thy Darkened Shade will be opening your concert on May 4. I heard through the grapevine that you personally picked these two bands to serve as support acts. How important is it for you, to play with bands that you respect?
Erik Danielsson: Yes we did ask them ourselves. The Greek scene still has a lot of great things to offer and these two bands are phenomenal examples of that. I am very proud to have them on this gig and I think it will be a legendary night in honor of the ancient Black Death Metal cult and its inherent powers.
Rock Overdose: Erik, thank you very much for your time.
Erik Danielsson: Thank you for the interview and for supporting Watain and our cause! Massive hails to our Greek followers, see you in Hell on May 4th!