MetalSickness.com conducted an interview with Sigurd “Satyr” Wongraven, renowned vocalist/guitarist of the Norwegian black metal band SATYRICON, at this year’s edition of the Hellfest festival, which was held June 15-17 in Clisson, France. You can now watch the chat below.
When asked what he has been doing since SATYRICON announced in 2009 that it was planning to take a long break, Satyr said, “Personally, I spent a lot of time pursuing my interest in wine. I’ve been working on making wine with three differernt winemakers. I made two wines together with a winemaker in Italy. With a champagne house, I made an organic champage. And I made a white wine from the southwest of France. And I went and visited a winemaker friend of mine in Burgundy, and I did a wine harvest there. I’ve also been working a little bit on a small wine-book project. So again I went back to Burgundy and visited many, many producers to talk about organic and biodynamic winemaking. And I’ve been working on my wine education. So it’s a very, very different world.”
He continued, “I am the person, I can be really obsessive about my work. So, for me, to do something which didn’t have any sort of target or big goals, but was very sort of… pleasure only, was very important for me on a personal level. But most importantly, I felt that the cycle of SATYRICON had become very something different from what I wanted it to be. It became like this: write, rehearse, record, promote, tour, finish. [Then again] write, rehearse, record, promote, tour, finish. And again and again and again. And I came to a point in 2009 where I went, like, ‘What’s the point of this? Is this why I started [playing music]? Definitely not.’ This was never my goal to come in a situation like this. It’s not like I dreamt about living on a bus. It was not my goal in life. Or to live my life in a suitcase. Or in a backstage. It was never my plan. My plan was to write music, record music and release music and then do the occasional show and tour, but this became like a clusterfuck of events — all the time something going on and all this pressure all the time, especially from everyone around us. Plus, I also think that when you’re working so intensely, there’s sort of this tear-and-wear to people on a personal level. And also, as the leader of a company or a sports team or a metal band, you also have a responsibility to make some decisions that might be popular but unnecessary. And for those who just want to go on the road and play all the time, they don’t want to have a break, and our agent and record company, they certainly didn’t want any break. But for me, it became almost like a choice between quitting as a band or taking a break. And I think that if we continue now, we can push ourselves for two or three more years, and then we will quit. Or we can take a break… It just goes to show how right I was, because I was thinking that one year was more than enough, and after one year, I still felt that, ‘I’m not ready. I want to have a longer break.’ So we had one and a half year… We started working on the new album last summer. So it was very necessary.”
He added, “Put it in a different way… Let’s say you’re a 40-year-old guy and you’re dating a 20-year-old girl. It could be difficult talking to a 20-year-old girl, because she wouldn’t even know who was the president of America during your youth, because she wasn’t born… You know what I’m saying?! But what a 20-year-old girl could do to a 40-year-old guy is make him rediscover a young man inside of him. And for me, I’m using that parallel, because I think I needed to step outside to find back the same feeling as when we were challengers. ‘Cause where we were at, we were sort of one of the big guns. But I wanted to find back the feeling inside of me when going to rehearsal was a lot of fun because it was an opportunity to play music. And after 20 years, going to rehearsal is more like a duty because you have to be prepared for the next tour or something like that. But now, it’s more like going to rehearsal is going to rehearsal because it’s fun to play. It’s as simple as that.”
SATYRICON‘s latest album, “The Age Of Nero” (2008), entered the German Media Control chart at position No. 73. It also landed on the national chart in Norway at position No. 5. This was SATYRICON‘s lowest chart entry in the band’s home country since “Rebel Extravaganza”, which premiered at No. 32 in 1999. “Volcano” (2002) entered the chart at No. 4, while 2006’s “Now, Diabolical” came in at No. 2.