After winning his battle against Leukemia, Behemoth frontman Adam “Nergal” Darski’s return to the stage took him across the world, and most recently, to the Commonwealth of Australia for what feels almost like a victory tour to usher in a new era of Behemoth. Contributor William France spoke to one of metal’s most controversial frontmen to discuss the group’s upcoming album The Satanist and their long-awaited return to Australia.
Firstly I just want to thank you for the opportunity to chat with you today. So, Behemoth is set to tour Australia with Hour of Penance next month, can fans expect to hear anything from The Satanist during the tour?
Well, first of all, man, we are super proud to be coming back for the third time, to Australia. It feels so good, you know? We came there for the first time working with Soundworks Touring, then working with another promoter, and now we’re reunited with Soundworks; it feels great. I know for a fact that tickets are selling well and crowds should be packed. The fact is, Australia and New Zealand are not a huge market for us, but it’s big enough that we can come back with every new record and play for some of the most loyal and devoted crowds that we’ve ever played in front of, you know? We always put out a new record and they’re like “We like this record in Australia!” which is a great occasion for us to come back there and reunite with our friends and our fans. It’ll just be great. I mean, we are a doing this tour prior to the release of the new record, but we’ll definitely be playing some of the new stuff, so sit tight and we’ll be back there with a really strong set list and uh… Fuck yeah, man.
On the subject of The Satanist, this will be Behemoth’s tenth album. How does a band continue to tour and write new material after such a long time? How you do you avoid getting sick of each other and keep the inspiration flowing?
Well you know what, the band is like marriage. Like an old marriage, in this case. It’s like a family almost, you know? It’s far from perfect. All the band members; we are so different from each other and we have our hard times communicating or expressing ourselves. When I do or say things, I want the other guys to read me the way I want to be read, and they do quite a lot of it; that’s where the conflict occurs. This record is super vital, and challenging, and very adventurous. It’s far from being boring. That’s the whole point of us, you know, sticking together; we know the chemistry and the consideration of the people; the members in this band has such a huge effect. That’s the point of us being in this band; to bring a new quality, a new sincerity to the world. Man, that’s one of the main purposes of my life, and I think the other band members would definitely share my opinion on that. We’re definitely on our life’s mission. Keeping in mind that we’ve made thousands and thousands of devoted fans all over the place, it just makes it that little bit more exciting. This is the most exciting thing I have ever been a part of in my entire life.
How did the “The Satanist” come to be the title of the new album?
Uh, it was accidental, it was awesome. I remember sitting on a plane, coming back from Finland and I sat next to some businessmen who were reading a business magazine. I looked at it, and the more I noticed the title; I had this, illumination [laughs]. The magazine was called “The Economist”. I saw the name and I fucking shouted on the plane. I remember I said something like “Fuck yeah! We’ve got the title of the record.” It was like a year or two back and there was so much time spent before we even started thinking about the music, but I realised then that it was the shit, you know? Like, eureka!
I told the guys about the title “The Satanist”, and how it was so obvious, and so predictable but so unpredictable at the same time. I can’t think of any band that has used it even as a song title. So it’s going to make such a strong fucking statement, and it’s going to be devastating. People are either going to love it or hate it and that’s the point of being an artist for us, so we all went for it. Now as I’m sitting here in my car, because I’m driving, and I’m listening to the newest master we got from the studio, I have no shadow of doubt that it is the most appropriate title for this album, and for this band. No question about it.
What kind of gear will you be bringing with you on the Australian tour?
We just bring our guitars, man. It’s all arranged according to the rider. Australia is not a third-world country, so everything should be quite top quality. The sound should be great. More important than our gear is the sound guy. He is the shit, man. The best guy in business. Sometimes we’ll play in shit holes and he’ll make shit holes sound like fucking professional places, and that’s the whole point of having a great sound guy.
I understand that your drummer, Inferno, won’t be joining you on the tour due to his surgery earlier in the year, and ex-Decapitated drummer, Kerim Lechner, will be filling in for him instead. How did you guys come to that decision?
Well the initial plan was that Inferno would be back in shape by this tour and we wanted to go on with everything for this tour in December, but because his appendix surgery was more complicated than it originally appeared to be, and is healing much slower than it should be. So it’ll be another few weeks before he can even hold sticks again, before he even thinks about making a bigger physical effort. It will take him a few months to get ready for the next tour.
In the mean time, we’re still using Kerim, ex Decapitated. You know, it’s awesome but he is a different drummer to Inferno. It’s been good, he’s a good guy and we can rely on him. He’s also a young guy, but he’s very inspiring and motivated and he has big shoes to fill, but he does his job well. He works hard and we are happy with the guy. I’m sure that people will love his drumming, you know, it’s different. Obviously it wouldn’t be fair to expect him to re create Inferno’s style because that would be impossible; Inferno is Inferno, but he’s good, he’s good. We’re very happy with him.
If you could give one piece of advice to young musicians who want to get their foot in the door, so to speak, of the music industry, what would that be?
Always read very carefully your contracts [laughs]. Yeah, read contracts, hire lawyers and don’t get yourself screwed because it’s a murky business. That’s it.
That’s great advice. It was great speaking with you. Thanks a lot for the opportunity and good luck on the Australian tour.
Thank you so much, man. All the best.
The Satanist will be in stores February 3rd on Nuclear Blast Records. Photos from the Brisbane stop of their Australian tour can be viewed here.