Immortal’s Abbath and Demonaz Discuss Their Friendship and Why They Never Disagree
Norwegian black-metal legends Immortal are currently on a four-date North American tour, playing Brooklyn, tonight. Since we’re excited about this tour, we have been posting a lengthy interview with frontman Abbath and the band’s lyricist and former guitarist Demonaz (read part one here and part two here). For this installment, the duo discuss their relationship, which they’ve both called almost psychic and which as been the band’s foundation since the beginning.
REVOLVER You’ve often spoken in interviews about the connection you guys have, you just described it as telepathic. When did you first kind of start feeling that connection with him?
DEMONAZ When we started this band and when we started to work together. I think that when we work together I know his shit and he knows my shit, in a way, ’cause we never disagree. When we did this album, I think we never disagreed on anything… I really don’t understand it myself, ’cause I work with a lot of other people, too, but with Abbath and me, it becomes Immortal; it becomes this kind of thing, which is very crucial to us.
ABBATH Maybe that’s a problem: We agree too much. [Laughs] But we have Horgh, he doesn’t always agree with us and that helps.
Well how are you different form one another?
DEMONAZ Well, I’m more like ummm… thinking through things. Abbath is more impulsive, and he is a live character. As persons, we are different but we agree on everything. I understand his skills, and he understands my skills, you know, and together we have the skills. It becomes a two-headed monster.
Since you’re talking about the close bind you guys had, what was it that actually led immortal to disband after Sons of Northern Darkness?
ABBATH The band’s spirit was not there. Me and Horgh, we were out, we did the studio, we did the music, the touring, everything, and Demonaz only did all the lyrics. He wasn’t that much involved, just the lyrics, and we didn’t have a permanent bass player. [Touring bassist] Saroth, he was good onstage and all that, but we didn’t feel like a band at the time you know. So the band’s spirit was not there, so we just took a break and now and also because we were kind of fed up, especially me. We could have continued and made more money, but that’s not the first issue in this band. Immortal is about the brotherhood; Immortal is a sacred thing, you know, it’s not only for the money.
DEMONAZ I think that there wasn’t an issue between me and Abbath or Horgh or anybody else; it was more like everything around us wasn’t right at the time. We didn’t have proper management, and the industry was more interested in us for the money side than the musical side. We felt like it was maybe time to say, “Well let’s put the band on ice for some time and do some thing else ’cause we’ve been doing this for a very long time and we had several issues which happened to us.”
What brought you two together as friends again, what rekindled that?
DEMONAZ Two weeks after we put the band on ice, we didn’t stop seeing each other. Me and Abbath hooked up on doing a project together, ’cause even if the band stopped, we didn’t stop writing music or writing things. Abbath came with his riffs and I came up with this idea of a band name: Instead of making a new band name and trying to make a new band, it will be different. We just want to make “I,” like a monument. He came with his riffs and arrangements, and I came with some ideas and he also worked a little with [guitarist] Ice Dale for the preproduction. Even before the I album came out me and Abbath started to talk about doing immortal again, ’cause during this process we saw that well, I told Abbath, “We have to do Immortal in 2007 and we have to go for a new album.” And he said it to me or I said it to him. We just hooked up on that. It got us back together.
What is it that you learned about Immortal when looking back at it objectively?
DEMONAZ I learned that the band was much bigger for everyone than it was when we were in it. I also realized how much the fans really understand what we do, the die-hard fans, they really understand Immortal much more than I ever was hoping for.
Abbath, what did you learn most from the I project?
ABBATH Maybe that now we can do anything. I found out that my way of writing music is kind of paramount for what this is all about.
Below, I (Abbath is second from right)
Interview by Kory Grow // Immortal photo by Peter Beste