An Interview With Erik Danielsson Of Watain

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Erik Danielsson is the leader of Sweden's Watain, a Black Metal band earning attention for their seemingly incompatible approach of applying innovative songwriting techniques within the realms of "traditional" black metal and their uncompromisingly brutal live shows, which usually end in the audience being soaked in animal blood/remains.

In earlier interviews, Danielsson has stated that Watain formed because there "weren't really any bands anymore that took anything seriously." On the eve of Watain's US tour with Black Metal founding fathers Mayhem, Danielsson spoke to Empty Lighthouse about the band's philosophy and being a "cultural terrorist." Read the full exchange below.

Q: In a June interview, you said the following:?"From now on I think we're only gonna work with people that are willing to sacrifice a little bit ...because we have a complicated show." What can we expect out of this US tour with Mayhem? Have you only booked with venues tolerant of your live show?

We do not seek "tolerance". What a horrible word, "tolerance"! We are a not some group of children seeking acknowledgement from grown ups.

To put it briefly, I am quite sure there will be just as much hassle as every time we've gone into the United States with this band.

And just like every time, we will return home victorious. Just wait and see...

??Q: Is the purpose of a Watain show to evangelize Satanism? Or is it just a heavy metal show? Or art to be interpreted by an audience?

If these three were the only alternatives by which to measure the nature of our work, I guess the latter would be the one to go by. But then again it is not that simple. Because on one hand, of course it is a Heavy Metal show.

And because it is a Heavy Metal show, it also evangelizes Satanism. And however the audience's interpretation goes -or my own for that matter!- it still does that.

You can interpret a switchblade knife in any way you want, but when stabbed in someones face it does what it does.

??Q: It goes without saying that Christianity has often been the target of metal lyrics, but much of the metal community also rejects spirituality on intellectual grounds. Do you consider yourself a "theistic Satanist?" Are theism and true freedom compatible?

Whatever relation the "metal community" has to religion is of no concern of mine.

To me Heavy Metal is undeniably linked to the same freedom, force and ferocity as that of Satanism and its Gods. Make of that what you will.??

Q: In past interviews, you seem reluctant to discuss much about your spirituality, but it's an unavoidable part of the "Watain experience" so to speak.

To compound problems, Watain is a lightning rod for press attention - whether its from the uncompromising live shows or the critical acclaim - does it become tiring to do things like an interviews and all the other day-to-day things that go with being in a band?

Yes, it does. But wether or not such work is tiresome is of no relevance compared to what it achieves. It serves a higher purpose, and that is all I need to be sure of. Ora et Labora.

?Q: Speaking of that critical acclaim, does Watain have any sort of "responsibility" now that you could be considered a "gateway" band to Black Metal?

?If you think you can perform Black Metal without responsibility you are very fucking wrong. Our responsibility is to, while upholding the most important traditions and codes of this cultural terrorist movement, have the young and eager understand that this is good, that they should come, that they should go into the gates of darkness and in doing so give up on the life they leave behind.

Give your lives to the Devil instead of becoming a lifetime prisoner in the machinery of society. Open yourselves to the powers of the adversary, and let them overcome your ever sense.

Of course when you are operating on such a large and broad scale as we are, you will have tons of people/sheep/idiots or whatever they are called fall off the wagon on the way.

But there will always be a few left at the end of every ride. And they will never be able to go back.

?Q: What does 2015 have in store for Watain??

"The Future" is a disturbing concept for people with a linear approach to time. We are here. Now.

?Q: Thanks so much for talking to me today! Feel free to add anything. ?

See you on the road fuckheads...

Photo credit: HM Magazine