Interview with Belfagor vocalist and guitarist for Nefandus done by Patrick
1.Hails Belfagor When did you first become interested in forming a band? You and Blackwinged formed Nefandus in 1993 what gave you the idea to create the band?
I was involved in a few bands since 1989, since the age of 11, with a few of the friends I grew up with and who were into Metal. In 1991 I started playing pure Death/Black Metal with satanic influences with some of the same guys. In 1993 myself and a couple of these friends founded what was to become known as Nefandus. Later the same year, or if it was the year after we were joined by Ushatar, my now long time companion in Black Metal blasphemy. and our vocalist from back then, Athalwolf, was out of the band within a year from when Ushatar joined, so that was when the first classic line-up of the band was formed. I handled both drums and vocals in the beginning, Ushatar delivered the thunder of the bass guitar and Demogorgon, who later changed his alias to Blackwinged, played the guitar. The idea to create the band just grew from our fascination with satanism/devil worship and the occult in general, wanting to portray these kind of ideas through music, and of course all the members having a solid background listening to Metal.
2.How did you guys come up with the name for the band? How would you say Nefandus's music has changed over the years?How would you describe the music who are some of the influences for the band?
The name of the band was the idea of Morgan of Marduk when we were looking for a name that would suite the concept of the band. The word was actually taken from the lyric to the song "De Mysteriis Dom. Sathanas" by Mayhem. From the beginning I think we were influenced by most of the BM we listened to. Nowadays we are still influenced by what we have been turned on by spiritually throughout the years, everything from Black and Death Metal to other kind of dark and bizarre music. Ushatar, who nowadays writes the major part of our material is really into weird stuff like Woven Hand and such. Thus, our Black Metal has influences from music that is very far from Metal but works out fine when Nefandusized in the hands of Ushatar. We are all fanatic Morbid Angel fans, each and every one of today´s line-up of the band, so I guess that in a way they are an influence, even when it´s not heard. We try to create material that is Nefandus and nothing else, but an artist is always in one way or another influenced by what moves his heart to a loftier state, thus we are influenced by everything we have listened to in the past and listen to in the present. Also, the dark side of occultism is an obvious influence, Nefandus still being an audial incarnation of the sinister forces of the Left Hand Path, although in a more sophisticated way today than when we started to create BM in the nineties as teenagers.
3.Nefandus has just released their third cd "Reality Cleaver" through Daemon Worship rec. how did you all come in contact with the label?
I´ve been co-operating with Daemon Worship ever since the release of our album "Death Holy Death" back in 2008-2009 through a label I had back then called Left Light Emanations. They helped out with the distribution of that album. When we were in search of a label to release "Reality Cleaver" it all just fell into place quite naturally that the album would be released by them. It´s a good label with a few very good bands under their banner. I must admit though that I haven´t had the opportunity nor time to listen to every band the label collaborates with, but I´ve come across a few very dark acts via them.
4.How long did it take to write the music for the new release? Does the whole band work on the music or does one or two members write everything?
"Reality Cleaver" was written basically 60% by Ushatar and 40% myself at home and perfected in the rehearsal room by the entire band, especially with our new drummer putting his touch on the percussion. The whole album was written within a few months. After we became a full band there seems to be no end to the creative flow we now are caught in. Other than performing on stage, appart from personal occult experiences, there is no grander feeling than getting into the zone of feeling possessed in the rehearsal room while trying new variations of newly written material.
5.Who usually writes the lyrics?Where do you all get inspiration for the lyrics?
I´m the main lyricist of the band. The words either come from visions I get when listening to new material, from the gathered occult information I have in store after years of having a burning interest for the subject or a subject we discuss together as a band that would be suitable for a specific song. On "Reality Cleaver" we had three guest lyricists as well, Grim Vindkall from Domgård/Snakeskin Angels who wrote "Redeemer of Fire", J.K from Ofermod/Mortuus who wrote "A Single Second of Clarity" and a guy who goes by the pseudonym Vaerulv with his contribution "Qayin´s Hunt". All brilliant lyrics, fitting very well into the occult concept of the album.
6.How has the response been from the fans? What about the press?
ANSWER: I haven´t really taken part of what the majority of the fans have to say about the album. Those few comments I´ve heard have been very positive though. The press in which it has appeared this far has been unanimously positive.
7.Does Nefandus ever play live or do you prefer the studio? Who are some bands you have shared the stage with?
This far we have played live merely once, at Speyer Grey Mass 2014, simply because this is the first time since the nineties that we are a band with a complete line-up. Some of the bands we shared the stage with there were Acherontas and Diabolicum. This experience made us of course hunger for more, so you can expect us performing live in the future as well. I personally like all things connected to being part of a BM band: creating dark music, rehearsing it with likeminded individuals, recording the material and finally performing it in front of an audience. It is a lifestyle connected to the sinister forces/dimensions Black Metal is supposed to represent or be an audial portal to.
8.Nefandus comes out of the mighty Swedish black metal scene what is your opinion of the Swedish metal scene?
Sweden has some of the greatest Black and Death Metal bands in the world, wheather they still are active or have seized to exist. It´s undeniable.
9.Who are your all-time favorite bands from Sweden? Are their any new bands you feel the readers should check out soon?
Some of my favorite Swedish bands throughout the years are Dissection, Marduk, Ophtalamia, Malign, Funeral Mist, Abruptum (the track "De Profundis..." is one of the best ever recorded), Mortuus and a few more. A band you should watch out for is Mephorash. What I´ve heard from them this far has been really good.
10.What does black metal mean to you?
Dark occultism/mysticism, even satanism, however you want to interpret that word, and foremost metal music with a feeling that is over the top zealous with the potential to mesmerize and possess the mind of the listener, serving the purpose of dark magic.
11.Belfagor you handle the vocals for the band when did you first start singing/screaming? Do you do anything special to keep your voice/throat healthy?
As earlier stated, I started singing in the band sometime in 94 with a short break when Demogorgon took over the vocals on our debut album in 96. I usually warm up before recording vocals by singing a few lines from some of our songs ´til I feel that I´ve reached the pitch sought after.
12.Who are some of your influences/favorite singers?
Not that they are influences as I try to do my own thing with my voice, but some of my favorite vocalists ever are David Vincent of Morbid Angel, Dead of Mayhem, Attila of Mayhem, Nord of Malign, Glen Benton of Deicide, Nocturno Culto of Darkthrone and Mortuus of Marduk to name a few. Each of the mentioned vocalists have been groundbreaking and unique in their vocal styles, taking the singing style of the extreme bands of the 80-ties and further demonizing it to perfection.
13.Belfagor you also handle the guitars for the band when did you first start playing the guitars? Are you self taught or did you take lessons when you were younger?
I am officially the vocalist of the band and that is where my place is in Nefandus: in front of the microphone. Of course I play the guitar when I write material for the band, but I´m the band´s singer these days. As guitarist I am self taught though. The only lessons I´ve had is when a bandmate has shown me a technique I previously have not known of.
14.Who are some of your favorite guitarist? Do you currently play any other instruments?
Trey Azagthoth is my alltime favorite. Right now I don´t play other instruments. I sing in Nefandus and play the guitar in Ofermod.
15.Are you currently working/playing with any other bands or solo projects? If yes please tell the readers about them
As I said, I play in Ofermod as well. Any other projects will have to wait for now. My unholy grail is filled with Nefandus and Ofermod at the moment. One never knows what the future brings though.
16.Thank you Belfagor for taking the time to do this interview.Do you have any final comments for the readers?
ANSWER: Lo and behold, hearken and hear: Nefandus are back with an unholy knock-out blow in the jaw of the god of Abraham!