Mayhem interview done with Necrobutcher in June 2010-06-26 via telephone after the Brazil-Chile football game (World Cup 2010). Local time: some minutes after midnight. This interview is never published before (in full). Done by me.
Me: So how did you like the football game?
N: Yes… Brazil over Chile 3:0, it was little bit boring but…
Me: Too much predictable?
N: Yes, little bit predictable. I think Brazil has the best team, or maybe Argentina… or maybe Germany also. I do not have any favors, I just like to watch good quality games, so…
Me: So lets start with our interview. Mayhem will be back for the 3rd time in Estonia. Do you remember anything from last two gigs?
N: Yes, of course. First of all we are excited to come back to Estonia in 6 years since the last visit. Both times we have been there we have worked with Kaido, his band Manatark opened up for us on European tour in 2004. He put up a show with us… or was it earlier, I do not remember anymore. At least it was Kaido both times. Unfortunately in the middle of the set somebody put on some tear gas and we had to cut little break inside the set to air out the tear gas before we could continue with our set.
Me: It was in 2001, first time in Tallinn.
N: Yeah it was ok. We were refused on the Russian border the day after so we had to extend our stay 2 more days in Tallinn which was nice. We had good time. In 2004 I remember we had some problems because the trailer of our bus was not good, they confiscated our trailer and equipment on the port, so we were able to do the show later in small club that I think Kaido was responsible of. Small club, it was ok experience.
Mayhem with an unidentified death-head in 2001
Me: But what inspires you to continue with Mayhem? You started in 1984.
N: You know, music is my life. I started to play in a band when I was 12 years old with a neighbour kids around. And couple of years later we replaced the people who could not play, with more dedicated musicians, and in `84 I met Oystein – Euronymous- and brought him into the band and we changed the name from Musta – Finnish word for black – to Mayhem in ` 84. And I have been going from there. .. and what inspires me to go on… is that I do not know anything else. This is my life and I am responsible for this position playing in the band and stuff, it was natural for me and I can not think any other life. I am still happy with it, I still enjoy it. I feel actually little bit privileged to be able to work with my main biggest hobby. Not many people are able to live from exactly what they want to do, so…
Me: By the way your stage name Necrobutcher is very brutal. Did you have it from the very early days or when did you find this name?
N: Yes it was in 1984 when we started with Mayhem. All the other bands they had names, synonymes, so this name Necrobutcher is put together. Its not the right grammatics, you cant actually put these two names together… so I was thinking that it was bad. First of all Necrobutcher is on the limits, on the edge and putting these together, which is not correct grammatically gives it even more sinister feeling to it. I thought that was good back in the day. I do not mind today, lot of people call me Necro, Necrobutcher, Butcher… I do not think about it anymore in this way. It’s a name I have been living now with 26 years…
Me: But the other band members they were influenced by Hellhammer demos I think? Maniac, Messiah, Euronymous…
N: Yeah, that’s correct (laughing)... and then Hellhammer . We were heavily inspired by Hellhammer back in the days. Actually the first time I heard about Hellhammer after they had changed the name to Celtic Frost.
Me: So did you read about Hellhammer in Metal Forces magazine because they had an article about Hellhammer back in `84?
N: I read an article about them but I did not know the music and what was going on. It was later when I heard “Morbid Tales”.
Me: It came out June `84 I think.
N: OK, so we found Hellhammer right after that. We were heavily inspired, so… had all or at least some demos they released. So yeah you could say we were inspired by them with the names, synonymes… that’s correct.
Me: But their demos were recently re-released 2 years ago (“Demon Entrails”). So do you have these also on CD or vinyl?
N: Yeah, I think what I have on CD is a bootleg. I do not have the release from the label that Thomas Fisher gave out himself….
Me: Speaking about old tapes. Do you still have those tapes from 25 years ago?
N: Oh yeah. I never sold or gave away anything that had any meaning to me in my life. I have a lot of – people would call it – junk, but…. Some people collect newspapers, some collect sport cards, I collect Mayhem. I do not buy all bootlegs I see, If I see it on vinyl then I buy bootlegs of my own band unfortunately.
Me: This is what I wanted to ask. There is so many Mayhem bootlegs released on the market. What do you think of this? Which is your fave?
N: In the beginning I thought it was some sort of tribute to the band. Over the years now I see that some bootlegs are made only to earn profit for people who make them, not fans because hey misspell the tracks, use wrong info, bad sound quality and shit. Those I do not care too much about. The bootlegs that are completely identical to our newest CDs, is also something that I think is bad, bad for business. But the bootlegs that fans have released , have original posters, good pictures, that has something to do with the release, maybe some old photos, maybe they go to the studio and clean up the sound a bit, those bootlegs I think are ok.
I know the reason why this has happened. Back in the days after Euronymous and Dead died there was a problem with the rights to the songs. Since these rights were not fixed, lot of people took advantage and started to sell bootlegs. I was not able to stop it immediately. We did not have all the paper works in order, we never cared about paper works. When Euro and Dead died it was big problem to register all the songs and stuff. Now 17 years later after Euronymous has died we can register “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” and” Deathcrush” albums properly and finally get the rights back. I think Mayhem is like every band that gets screwed with the first record deal...
Me: About those bootlegs. Maybe you have noticed that some the bootlegs have information “last rehearsal with Dead”, but do you remember when was exactly your last rehearsal with Dead singing and did you record it?
N: Let me think… last rehearsal must have been in November 1990. It was when we left to the small tour in Germany and Turkey… and we rehearsed before that tour. And then January, February, March, April…. 3 first month of that year (1991) do not know if we rehearsed that much, I can not right now remember if we rehearsed , we probably did but we did not tape it. We did not tape rehearsals in November. So the last rehearsal with Dead is not taped, recorded, so if any bootleg claims it, then its wrong.
Me: Dead was from Sweden, but how did you speak with each other? In English or is Swedish and Norwegian so close that you understand words…
N: Yeah, language is so close that we can understand. Same goes with Denmark. So in Norway, Sweden and Denmark we all understand each other.
Me: So in the band you did not speak in English?
Me: So speaking about old times do you still have old contacts from 80s?
N: Absolutely. If you have good friend you keep in contact. The same way with me. All my friends from all over the world, I still have contacts with shitloads of them. Alex from Agressor (French band), Mammarella Roberto from Monumentum, some of the Swedish people, some of the German people like Sodom guys, Destruction guys…
Me: Actually I have one foto with you, Euronymous and Angelripper in Essen in a pub. Its from `86.
N: That’s correct it was in `86, we hanged out with guys from Assassin, we met with Kreator and Sodom and some other bands back in the days. Lot of the people we had contacts in 80s we still are in contact., like Bob Bachus from Asphyx, people from Australia, some new friends… some cool people you keep, some go another way, quit the music business. And some people come back again. Lot of bands reform like Killjoy with Necrophagia, Asphyx is back…
Me: …with very strong album. Martin van Drunen is doing great vocals. I really love this last Asphyx album (“Death… the brutal way”)
N: Ok, good. We played together couple of times, last time we saw them last April when we did tour there.
Me: About your “Live in Leipzig” live album. This was recently re-released by many different labels in Europe and in America, so I was wondering who got the original master tape nowadays?
N: It was Roberto Mammarella from Avantagarde Music back in the days when he had label Obscure Plasma records. The deal was that he could print 1000 copies and he would pay for that by sending some copies of his band Monumentum. Then in 90s he released it on CD on his new Avantgarde Music. Then about 3 years ago I got letter from Roberto that he sold the rights to Snapper Music in England which again sold rights to different companies.
Me: But what about these two studio tracks from 1990? Are these also included in this master tape?
N: No no. I think I have them somewhere.
Me: This is a black gold in the business… these two tracks. This is very good stuff.
N: He he yeah …its safely in my place.
Me: About promo pictures of Mayhem. In the old times especially you paid a lot of attention to visual side. I mean you had interesting outfits and corpse paint. I was wondering if you still have those photo negatives left? Or are they disappeared?
N: Yes, I have. All the photo sessions that we had with photographers that we hired ourselves, they all left their negatives to me. Then in newer days like in 2000s there is more professional photographers and they and record companies keep negatives and stuff like that. But the old photos from the 80s and 90s I have maybe 90% of negatives.
Me: But back in 80s and early 90s did you make photos from original negatives or did you copy them?
N: Original negatives, yes.
Me: Because I have seen different photos and some seem to be photocopies.
N: Of course. All the people then photocopied because they did not have access to negatives.
Me: Its like a black market.
N: I have shitloads of videos, tapes, some video with Dead rehearsing…
Me: What about lyrics that Dead wrote?
N: Yeah I have some, some are given away to National Rock Museum here in Norway because they have big profile on Mayhem there. They have made replica of the rehearsal place we had in 1989 inside of the museum.
Me: You have another museum also in Oslo and its called Neseblod.
N: Yeah yeah.
Me: I haven’t been there but I have seen pictures and it looked nice.
N: Yes, they copied the idea that we had back in the days when Oystein opened the shop Helvete. It’s the same type of idea of recordstore. They buy collections from people like Metallion, its very expensive there…. Personally I do not sell anything to them. They have enough already… (laughing)
Me: ok, now Necrobutcher as metal fan. How big is your collection? And what is the holy grail in your collection?
N: Well, I started to collect vinyl, cassettes, tapes in the beginning of 80s. So I bought everything I came over which was interesting in more extreme music. I would say from Motorhead, some hardcore, some punk, some crazy electronical stuff and stuff like that. In late 80s I actually stopped buying lot of albums, so I have maybe 350-400 vinyls which is not so much but I have what is essential. Then the CD showed up in late 80s. I was one of the last within my friends who bought CD player. I did not like the format. I liked more vinyl format because its more to look at, its more personal. So I did not like CDs too much but of course I had to buy CD player myself…
Me: So what is your top record in collection (fave or rare or hard to find)?
N: Hard to find… that’s a tough one… I have shitloads of albums that mean lot to me. 7” “Another Beer” from Bulldozer, that’s very rare. The 1st single of Canadian band Slaughter “One foot in the Grave”. That’s one of my favourites… let me think…the 1st Bathory with yellow head, that was first 1000 copies with yellow head…
Me: What about Venom?
N: Venom, I really loved them back in the days, so I got everything that came my way... I have complete Venom collection when it comes in terms what they have released officially through Neat records and through licensing (Roadrunner to Banzai to Metal Blade and Italian label called Magma or something)… so I have 8 versions of “Black metal” on vinyl, all the colours and small variations of the vinyl itself, 1st edition with lyrics and poster. I have complete 7” collection, which means all the 3 “Warhead” 7” versions, all 12”, all maxi single EP`s.
Me: I think “Die Hard” is the best.
N: Yeah I like “Die Hard” 12” with “Acid Queen”.
Me: It’s the best from Venom I think.
N: I would say actually the best from Venom is the 1st demo.
Me: Yes with the old vocalist…
N: No, well… I do not remember the different vocalist, I remember it with Cronos actually. It’s a studio recording they made I think around the time… around 1980, could have been 1979 too.
Me: “Raise the Dead” was one song off this demo I think…
N: That could be, I do not remember… “Black Metal” album and “Die Hard” single that came after that are the highlights of their career. Cool thing is that we played with Venom 3 weeks ago in Bulgaria.
Me: So what was the event?
N: It was just a concert. Venom was headlining and we opened for them.
Me: Last week there was this satellite connection with big four from also Bulgaria: Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth.
N: Yeah I saw the posters….. so I never sold anything (from Venom collection), so I have all the…
Me: …also old T-shirts?
N: Yes of course all the T-shirts that have holes and are worn out. I put them into trash cans but I still keep them.
Me: Because Venom had very good merchandise list with scarves, T-shirts…
N: Me and Euronymous went to see them live in Hammersmith in 1985.
Me: Really to London?
N: Yeah, so we were 17 years old, went to England.
Me: I read somewhere that you had the biggest Venom collection in Norway in 80s. Any comment?
N: Yes, I agree (laughs)… and I still probably have because most of the stuff is almost impossible to get. If you were not there, when it happened when Neat records gave out albums… to find them today is probably impossible.
Me: Financial suicide to buy all this…
N: Yeah that would be true.
Me: Lets go back in time again. In 1990 you recorded in studio 2 tracks: The Freezing Moon and The Carnage. These are very good songs but you only recorded two tracks. Your memories from this session? When was it happening? Exactly which studio?
N: Yes we went to studio where we recorded “Deathcrush” , its called Creative Studios. Its about 20 km south from Oslo., about 5 km from where I live, still in the same area. We picked the studio since we knew it and I remember it was Swedish compilation album called “Projections of Stained Mind” , they wanted 2 tracks. So because of that we went into the studio and recorded these 2 tracks. Dead brought dead bird, that he had found couple of weeks before, in the plastic bag so he could sniff into the plastic bag before singing… so its kind of funny. I remember right after the session I told Euronymous that guitars were too low, but he disagreed. But of course two days later he also found out that guitars were too low… but then we did not have any more money.
Me: So there is only one mix of it?
N: Its only one mix.
Me: Did you photograph the session? Did you take photos there? I never saw any.
N: I have never seen any photos from that session. So we probably did not take any photos.
Me: I ask this because DSP released Merciless album and you Mayhem guys visited them when they recorded album in studio and I saw pictures where you Mayhem guys are sitting in the studio.
N: Yeah I saw it too, its on the inner sleeve of “The Awakening” album.
Me: In 80s you partied with bands from Finland and Sweden. I heard that Mayhem guys did not allow to take any photos in those parties. Can you comment it?
N: (laughing)…. I think this is not in general because we took shitloads of photos. .. so I do not know where and who said such things. But it could be right, maybe we were parting somewhere, heavy partying, we had girlfriends and there were other girls there or something like that. Maybe this how rumour came later. To give me this question now 20 years later … that’s the only thing I can think of. We never had any rules not taking photos in the parties.
Me: It was not so serious question, just a side note. Actually I heard this story from Finnish band Abhorrence who visited you in `89 I think. So this is the source of the information.
N: Alright, I do not know. Maybe.
Me: But now we are reaching the end of our small interview and I have some little bit personal questions. Have you visited Osterhaninge cemetery after 1991?
N: Yes I have. I have been to Pelle`s grave 3 times actually. Of course in the funeral., then 3 years later I was in Stockholm with a car so I went there. In the end of 90s I also went there. In these days I am in contact with his brothers.
Me: But his brother is also doing some kind of metal band? Or did some years ago.
N: Yeah that could be, I do not know too much about that unfortunately. I met 2 of his brothers in November last year. Very nice guys.
Me: Thank you Necrobutcher for sharing all this info with Estonian metal fans.
N: Its my pleasure. If you have more question we could meet up in festival for a small chat.
Me: I do have. I can not ask all the questions for this interview. It will be too long…
N: I understand that you know what you are talking about. Its always pleasure to talk to people who have strong interest and are able to ask so much interesting questions. I appreciate it. Its cool to talk to somebody there who has so many information… you know… to fill in the blanks. Just a pleasure.
Me: I find this very interesting also. Pleasure is on my side.
N: The way you ask the questions I understand you do. It’s the kind of interview I do with most pleasure.
Me: Ok, that’s very good. But now this part will not go to the interview ( well… ). I ask about old tape trading. In an old interview I read you like one band called Krieg. Its like a German word for war. But I never heard anything about this band…
N: There is an explanation. I recorded this demo from friend of mine called Metalion (Slayer magazine). And he had written the name Krieg on the cover. But it was not the right band. It was American band called Deathstrike.
Me: Deathstrike I know. Master / Deathstrike.
N: Exactly, it was before they became Master they were called Deathstrike. And their demo was actually an album “Fucking Death” .
Me: Yes, yes I know this.
N: So I said in interviews we liked band Krieg , but it turns out it was not. It was Deathstrike. And I still like Deathstrike a lot.
Me: That’s surprise because I was wondering what is this band. I have read many fanzines, have also collection of bands and I never saw this Krieg anywhere.
N: So that’s the explanation for that…( laughing )
Me: But do you have some kind of list what do you have in collection?
N: No, I never made a list. But I think I have something like… not so many… 200 tapes. That was the way we did back then.
Me: There were no CD-R nor MP3s back then.
N: Exactly, nothing like that. And to produce a vinyl album required a lot of money.
Me: Speaking about vinyls… did you check your basement very well? Is there left any…
N: ( laughing )
Me: You know what I want to ask?
N: Yeah yeah…I do not have any boxes with “Deathcrush” laying around, or anything else. I have some extra copies of some newer stuff Season Of Mist had released. But I do not have anything for sale anymore.
Me: But not this ONE?
N: No, but I have number 001.
Me: Yes, this you told last time when we met in Tallinn 9 years ago.
N: So I do not change that much, after so many years I still talk about number 1.
Me: Ok, thank you again for this small interview and see you in few days here.
N: See you on Saturday. Bye!