SAMOTH of The Wretched End – A Metal Odyssey Interview!


The Wretched End, above, from left to right: Nils Fjellström (drums), Cosmo (guitar, bass, vocals) and Samoth (guitar).

SAMOTH – When Metal legends come to mind, they are usually of the household variety. The mainstream variety. There are those Metal legends that don’t come pre-packaged and red carpet ready… they are of the underground variety. SAMOTH is a Metal legend of the underground Metal community. As a Black Metal influence, Samoth carved out his very own piece of Rock Music history, with his pioneering Extreme Black Metal band he founded with Ihsahn and Mortis back in 1991 which the world will forever know as – Emperor.

Being a founding member of an internationally acclaimed Extreme Black Metal Band the likes of Emperor, all those years ago as a teenager, was a building block towards Metal immortality. Samoth later co-founded the Blackened Death Metal band – Zyklon, which after thirteen years of Metal existence they disbanded in 2010. His musical affiliation and membership with many other Black and Extreme Metal bands are many, including SCUM and Satyricon.

Samoth reflects on his days with Emperor, touches on balancing a career and family, speaks about his influences, horror movies, his very own Nocturnal Art Productions and of course his newest Metal project, The Wretched End and their new Death/Thrash studio album of Extreme Metal intensity – “Ominous”. While I spoke to Samoth, I realized very quickly there are many sides to this legend of Metal. Samoth is all about Metal, through a do it yourself attitude, coupled with a business savvy awareness that has made him a success for twenty years and counting. Samoth is a multi-instrumentalist, a songwriter and a self-made record label owner, who speaks more fluent than most college professors that stood before me lecturing.

Every answer from this enormous figure of Metal History made legitimate sense to me… there was never a dry tone nor a sense of arrogance or self righteousness about Samoth. A man such as Samoth, has been to the top of the mountain (and actually lives on a mountain too) and considers The Wretched End a new beginning for him. I walked away from my interview with Samoth with reaffirming Metal respect. Here is what Samoth had to say:

Stone: What’s the story behind The Wretched End coming together?

SAMOTH: After the decision to split up Zyklon, I decided on forming a new band with Cosmo. We both worked together with Scum (Deathpunk Band). Cosmo also did live bass for Zyklon on tour as well. We live close by to each other, so we talked about doing this project together. In 2008 and 2009 we wrote all the material for the “Ominous” album and recorded in the Summer of 2009. Nils Fjellström (drums) joined on with us in the Summer of 2009.

Stone: Ominous has become for me, one of the high points in Metal for 2010. Are you pleased with all of the initial positive response?

SAMOTH: Yeah we are! I’ve just been doing a lot of press as of late for it. The people and fans really seem to like it. I’m pretty pleased with the album. We knew we made a great album.

Stone: How did the lyrics to Human Corporation evolve?

SAMOTH: The lyrics are about how everything is very monetary in our society, especially in the Western World. It’s about how free we are, yet in reality we are influenced in our everyday life… we’re told how to act, what to eat, what to look like, what to buy and what to wear. It’s all the horror of human corporation. Human Corporation is about how man is being removed from nature.

Stone: Will The Wretched End be touring North America in the near future? Any tour plans?

SAMOTH: Unfortunately, no. The Wretched End is a studio project. Still, we’ll see what happens for the future. I want to go ahead with another album. I’m already in pre-production for the next album. I’m happy with the working relationship of this band. I’m more active with the song writing process now. There are those long periods on the road, where I miss making music. I’d do writing on the road and try to motivate myself on the road, still, it started to feel too long, these periods between making music. I started to think about making a new band and The Wretched End came together. The Wretched End is a new beginning for me, even though the band name says otherwise.

Stone: You mention urban decay and factories as influences on your myspace. Can you elaborate further?

SAMOTH: It’s more like a nature influence. I live up on a mountain, in a beautiful setting. Urban decay is atmosphere of the world crumbling, being ruined by man’s hand. It’s all the self destruction of mankind.

Stone: Is the combination of Death, Thrash and Black Metal the ultimate Metal sound for you to capture?

SAMOTH: I guess it is. For the past twenty years it’s what I’ve been doing. Death, Thrash and Black Metal, compared to Zyklon, these are obvious similarities with the music. This is the music I’m most comfortable with. This is the music I’m influenced with and the foundation of my being a musician. It’s more interesting to me. I do draw more influences into my music, I like to become experimental at times. If it fits, I use it.

Stone: I see you list Tangerine Dream under your music influences, right in the midst of Slayer and Iron Maiden!

SAMOTH: Yeah, I listen to them. I do like ambient and electronic music. I find it to be inspiring. I prefer to listen to this music on a personally inspiring level.

Stone: Did you ever have a mentor?

SAMOTH: Not completely, no. I’ve always like to walk my own way and push myself to succeed. An artist inspiring me as I was growing up, that all took place.

Stone: Who inspired you?

SAMOTH: The classics are what inspired me. I liked KISS, W.A.S.P. and Judas Priest. My mom hated Blackie Lawless and that made me love him all the more!

Stone: Did you ever share the stage with W.A.S.P.?

SAMOTH: We played with W.A.S.P. in Finland, back in 2007. W.A.S.P. was larger than life when I was young, only when I got older, it’s not like that anymore. I like keeping my art dark, with death. It doesn’t mean my everyday life isn’t as dark.

Metal Odyssey Note: Emperor and W.A.S.P. shared the stage at the Tuska Open Air Metal Festival in Finland, on June 30, 2007. This Metal festival took place in Kaisaniemi Park, in the middle of Helsinki, Finland. Tuska Open Air Metal Festival has been an annual event, since 1998.

Stone: How was your Nocturnal Art Productions conceived?

SAMOTH: I started Nocturnal Art Productions back in ’93. I decided to start an underground record label, with no experience. A seven inch (vinyl) Emperor was the initial start. There was a lot of limited edition stuff. As I became more serious about it, I put more money into it, began to sign bands and created distribution. I did mail order for a period of time, still I needed a proper network. It takes up a lot of time and it took balance with being in a band. My main priority then was always the bands and Emperor. Through my relationship with Candlelight Records, Nocturnal became an imprint label with them, run by me through their network. This equals freedom for me. I always like to keep the Nocturnal name going, it makes a lot of sense for me as an artist.

Stone: It sounds so easy, the way you tell the story, only it must have been a great deal of work.

SAMOTH: I started from scratch, with a do it yourself attitude. I’ve always had a business sense and liked both sides of the music spectrum. This has helped me as an artist, to create contacts.

Stone: Who is the one musician Samoth wants to create music with still?

SAMOTH: That’s a tough one. You know who intrigues me is Devin Townsend. He has done some interesting stuff. He is a guy I would use for a producer. That’s the one for me to choose, Devin Townsend.

Metal Odyssey Note: Devin Townsend is both a musician and record producer, widely respected amongst Extreme Metal and Metal fans, musicians and the industry. Devin is the founder, vocalist and guitarist for Strapping Young Lad, which disbanded in 2007. Devin is carrying on his incredible career as a successful solo artist and producer.

Stone: What is your favorite Horror movie?

SAMOTH : I hardly watch them anymore, I hardly have anytime to watch them. When I used to watch Horror movies, it was the Omen trilogy. These movies inspired me. The soundtrack, the music itself is what really inspired me. I did enjoy Hellraiser, it was very dark. The first Evil Dead is a classic. On Blu-ray, these movies are not the same though. Watching the first Evil Dead on a beat up VHS, with the screen flickering, you can’t beat that.

Stone: You’re old school Samoth!

SAMOTH: I’m caught up in the digital chaos at my office though! Atmosphere is key to Horror movies. If there is no atmosphere, there is nothing. Today’s Horror movies are all caught up in special effects, there’s no atmosphere.

Stone: You have been a key member and a huge part of many bands over your career. Which band would you say was your proudest experience?

SAMOTH: Most definitely Emperor. We formed Emperor as teens. We had such an energy and were dedicated to the lifestyle of Black Metal. We all put everything into that band and built it into an international Extreme Metal influence. Emperor emotionally is my proudest experience right into my older life, it has led me to the musician I am today. It’s been twenty years already, since Emperor formed, holy crap! Before you know it, your an old geezer! I’m only thirty six years old and I’m talking like I’m ancient.

Stone: Well, the life of a Rock musician will probably have that affect on you, it must be grueling, with the lifestyle of touring and meeting your own recording deadlines.

SAMOTH: It’s because I started in my mid teens and had success in an early part of my life. Emperor did a fair share of touring and Zyklon toured much more. I like my home life, I’m a man at home. I strive for balance, between being a musician and my family.

Stone: If Metal took over the world, would you want to be it’s leader?

SAMOTH: If Metal took over the world, I like that. Sounds really stressful! It would be way too much stress. I have way too much stress on my plate already!

The Wretched EndOminous, was released on October 25, 2010, on Candlelight Records.

* For more info on The Wretched End and SAMOTH, click below:

The Wretched End – myspace music

SAMOTH – Official Myspace Music

LONG LIVE SAMOTH AND HIS METAL.

Thank you, Samoth.

Stone.

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