This phone interview with Nergal of Behemoth was done by Vincent Eldefors on September 27th, 2004.

Having formed in 1991, Behemoth have grown alongside Vader to become one of the leading bands on the Polish death metal scene. Band founder and leader Nergal speaks to us about their latest album and other things.

How are you?
I'm doing good.

First of all, congratulations on a great new album. What kind of expectations do you have on it?
Thank you. Well, we payed so much time and energy to it. We invested so much you know that it would be great if we could get some more recognition this time. Nothing I can complain about though because we did ok with the previous albums but it seems that with this album we doubled it you know. We have way more tour dates and more splendour I would say so let's hope for it.

Yeah, what do you think separates "Demigod" from the previous albums?
This one is just way more fresh, more intense, no fucking compromise here.

Are you completely happy with the new recordings?
Well..., give me a few more weeks. I can not tell yet, you know. At the stage I am at now I can not say much because I am so burned out and I have no distance to the record. People say it's just quality and it makes me really proud and I feel flattered and I just hope that it's true. There is no objective view though as everything depends on the musical taste of everybody, right? But people love the records and media already gave it like really high scores. I just found out that in the German Legacy magazine we got No 1 in the soundcheck which feels great.

Where do you think you have most of your fans? In Poland?
We sell the most records in Europe. We've got a pretty huge following in Poland too and it's getting better and better in the US lately so I'm pretty sure that "Demigod" will do great in the US.

You mixed and mastered the album in Sweden with Daniel Bergstrand, was that the choice of the label or was it your own choice?
No, no, absolutely it was me trying to search for a guy experienced in extreme metal who at the same time would do a very professional thing. Extreme metal is probably one of the most difficult productions because it is very difficult to mix stuff that both has fast parts and slow parts and make both sound good if you know what I mean. It is easy to do stuff that just sounds slow because then you don't have these dynamics. I think the guy who did a great job with Scarve, Meshuggah and Strapping Young Lad would be the perfect guy. He brought in a lot of freshness to this album. He said that it's the fastest band he has ever worked with but I think he did a great job for sure.

Karl Sanders of Nile does a guest appearance on the album, how did that happen?
We are long-time friends and I just asked him while in the studio if he wanted to be part of that one and he said like 'sure, man, I'm free for you'. I tracked down the song on his server and the night after I got the solo back. It was really a fast job.

Will you be doing a guest appearance on the next Nile album do you think?
[laughs] I don't know, I doubt so. It would be stupid.

You have recently released a double DVD as well, is this something you have planned for a long time?
Yeah, I have planned it for a long time and people keep asking me what is going on with the album and finally I had some time and earlier this year we started working on it, February or something. It took a few weeks to mix it but there's lots of stuff that are really worth checking out. The response from the media has been great which makes me really proud. But at the same time it's kind of a risk to put it out because there is a lot of private stuff, parties and some porn and stuff too, it's just crazy.

The song "Conquer All" has resulted in a video also which was produced by a well-known Polish producer. Was she a fan of the band?
She just heard the name from somewhere. I didn't in the first place say 'hey, we're a satanic death metal band' to scare her but she was really into the idea and really wanted to do this because she had never worked with a death / black metal band or any metal band. She has just dealt with the huge Polish rock and pop stars. I really liked the way she did the job. She also does it full analogue, not digital which is great because I am a huge analogue fan. And thanks to Regain, Century Media in the US and a Polish label called Mystic we got the right budget because it's a high budget film and the first really professional video we have done.

Why did you choose that song?
It's mid-tempo so people can follow.

You will soon be out on tour with Krisiun and Incantation, are you looking forward to this?
Yeah, definitely, man, I've been home for so long. I just got sick, I love my home place but too much is not good.

Is touring the best thing about being a musician?
It's one of the great things, that's for sure. It's not easy, we are not a top band and can not have demands you know. We just get on and do our best performance but it's a lot of sleepless nights, the shittiest food, the shittiest beer and all the travelling and waiting. There's no fun but believe me, it's really worth going there because people go there and buy tickets and its the best payoff you can get as a band. Their reaction and the way they treat you, it's just fucking unbelievable. I love it.

Which tour are you most happy with so far?
Well, there are many great tours we've done. Satyricon was good, the one with Deicide in the US was great, both tours we've done with Nile were good. Many great tours.

You recently did a show in Israel as well?
Yeah, it was great, playing in front of 2000 people was a blast.

Was it strange playing in a country like that?
Well, it's kind of exotic in a way, you know. We went down Via Dolorosa which is kind of thrilling to be there and witness all these things you can see there. The waning wall and all is just amazing. I think everybody should see that and just witness it, it's really worth seeing before it bursts.

Do you have the time to see anything when on tour or is it just being in the tourbus?
It depends but thanks to touring I went to Colosseum, I went to Akropolis, I was to Jerusalem you know and 50 more places like that. If there is time, and usually we try to pick times so there is some to spare so we can go and have some fun.

Who will be in the band on the tour?
We are three people, me, Inferno and Orion and then we've got a session guitarist Set.

If you could tour with any bands in the world who would you choose?
Slayer. We would have a great audience.

You are now on a new label, Regain Records, for how many albums have you signed?
It's a license deal for two albums.

Are you happy with the work they have done so far?
So far, so good. I believe that it is a very supportive label and people who work for the label are not just businessmen. They are music fans, heavy metal fans. It just feels great to work with that kind of people, it's amazing. They are so determined to bring your band to another level, that also feels great.

Would you sign with a major label if you had the chance?
No, it has been proven several times with Cradle Of Filth, Carcass and Satyricon that it never works out.

What are the biggest differences between Regain and your old label Avantgarde do you think?
They put more effort into their promotional activities. Avantgarde was good but they weren't good enough at a certain stage.

That was about it, do you have any final comments for the readers?
You're from Sweden right? I am very happy because we are going to play Gothenburg and Sweden for the first time ever in about a month which makes me feel really enthusiastic. Everybody who is into extreme shit should be there. Krisiun, Incantation and Behemoth are going to deliver the most crazy shit ever. I can't wait, man.

Thanks a lot for this interview.
Thanks a lot, man.

Links of interest:

Regain Records