Patrick Douglas of The Culture Shock recently conducted an interview with BEHEMOTH mainman Adam Michal Darski (a.k.a. Nergal). A few excerpts from the chat follow:
The Culture Shock: Tell me what you're feeling right now with the new album set to come out in the U.S. in a couple of weeks and the start of Ozzfest coming up. Do you feel like this will be a huge step in taking over the U.S. in terms of gaining new fans?
Nergal: Yeah, man. It seems like there's no turning back. This is the only option now. (laughs). We're in such a position that we just have to bite the bullet. We have to make it happen right now. With this record, I'm pretty sure that we can definitely launch everything to the next level. Different things have been going around this record. A different excitement. I'm very positive actually, especially after talking to all these journalists and getting first reviews on our MySpace site from activity on the new song, man. I'm nothing but positive. I think it's gonna be totally awesome. In upcoming months, we'll be touring for another six months, so it's gonna be just awesome. Very fruitful. Yeah, awesome period, you know. It's gonna pay off, all the hard work and all the effort that we put into this record.
The Culture Shock: What's your number one goal when you sit down to write an album?
Nergal: To overcome myself. To fuckin' do it better in any possible terms. To do it better than before. Big production and songwriting and lyrics. To be sincere. I wanna be sincere when I write songs. I just talked to this guy a few minutes ago, I'm like I wanna make sure that these words, these lyrics, these songs, these themes mean something, there's a deeper meaning. I have this impression that these days, the whole music genre, not just metal, but metal too, is like everything is about numbers. How many hits on MySpace, how many albums sold, how many fuckin' … how much was the budget? How many people are at the show? Everything is about the numbers and I think that people miss the point and the point is to get into the music. To make this happen, you have to make the music that will intrigue people. I really wanna make sure that BEHEMOTH isn't just about being brutal or whatever. I want to make sure that the fuckin' different factors that will intrigue people and to make this album unique and to make this album last longer than two months. Time shall tell, right?
The Culture Shock: The death metal crowd is very passionate about what their bands are doing and who they're associating with. Was there any kind of hesitation on your part to accept the Ozzfest invite knowing that some die-hard BEHEMOTH fans might look at it as a bad thing?
Nergal: You know what? You can't really satisfy everyone and I'm not here to satisfy everyone. I'm here to make myself happy in the first place and if a band like BEHEMOTH gets an opportunity to be part of this absolutely amazing and probably the biggest festival tour on the planet, I'd be an idiot to say no (laughs). We're one of the very few bands that are actually fortunate enough to have this opportunity to bring this kind of music, to bring dangerous extreme metal music to the masses and I'm gonna make my fucking best to impress people. To show the kids that 'hey, the stuff that you see on the MTV and the stuff they tell you that this is metal, that's not entirely true.' What is metal is what we are doing. All this emo, Christian-inspired bands, that's not really what metal is all about. This is the main reason why we're there. I'm sure we're gonna scare the shit out of the kids in the first place, but I'm sure by the end of the set, when we do 'Chant for Eschaton', everyone is gonna fuckin' have horns up and chanting along to the song, so I'm positive about it.
The Culture Shock: Have you gotten any negative feedback from fans?
Nergal: To be honest, not even one. It's kind of suspicious you know. I'm like 'what the fuck?' David Vincent from MORBID ANGEL once said, 'you are nobody until someone hates you.' I really like that. Actually it makes sense of course. For some reason, we get so much support and so much faith and so much credit. When people read about this Ozzfest, all the comments I read on the Internet, and I'm not talking about my friends because, of course, they'll be supporting me, but all the fans are like 'man, it's awesome! Kick their ass.' Everybody's just freaking out that extreme metal's BEHEMOTH is part of this, uh, let's use the term mainstream tour. I don't like these kinds of categories, but I'm like, I'm happy they like the idea that we are there.
The Culture Shock: Once you got on board with Ozzfest, how happy were you to be a part of this festival that usually draws quite a good crowd in the states?
Nergal: First of all, we got a great spot. We play before HATEBREED every day. And this is awesome. I'm speechless. It feels sometimes kind of abstract. Until I'm up there onstage and looking at these people, I'm not gonna believe it. Yeah, we're making our preparations, man. We're gonna make sure we have a full production. Everything's gotta be ready. We're totally overwhelmed. It's awesome. We're flattered to be a part of this deal. What else can I say? Everything sounds cliché anyway. It's cool.
The Culture Shock: First of all, what do you think of this free admission, and secondly, do you think this will easily bring in capacity crowds at all venues?
Nergal: I think it's already sold out everywhere. I mean, it can't be 'sold out' but it is (laughs). It's gonna be packed. Man, I think it's a great idea. It's a historical event, man. Just think of any other festival like that. There's so much money involved and everything and it's free. I'm not talking about all the commercials and stuff. There's gonna be lots of money anyway but the fact that kids can just get there and enjoy all these bands … Sharon did an awesome job with that. It's great.
The Culture Shock: What's going on with the Polish government? I just read the implications that they may start banning bands in your home country.
Nergal: I don't know what to say. It's just embarrassing. I'm sorry. You know what? I'd love to sit here and say 'hey, man, my country's a really good country. They support us. They're proud of what we've achieved so far and they're fuckin' looking forward for BEHEMOTH to conquer the universe.' But it's not like that. We live in a country that's not proud of what we do and we are less and less proud of being Polish. It sounds sad, I know, but that's how it feels. We have a government that for some reason wants to fight people like us. I don't know. Maybe because we are the only real ambassadors of this country. I can't think of any other Polish artists whoever, who have gone that far. It's like 'they have a negative influence on the kids and we need to stop them.' I'm like 'man,' I haven't seen a single fuckin' guy going … it's all just crazy energy and everyone's just having fun, but you're never gonna see that because you've never seen us live. What are the categories that they judge us by? Why they do this and why they fight this ephemeral enemy they call Satanism and they never gave me the definition of what Satanism is. No one even approached me about it and I'm like 'what can I do?' What are we gonna do? We're just gonna do our thing. I don't give a fuck. They actually raped the most basic democratic idea by what they're trying to do. I hope it's not gonna happen. These fucks seem pretty determined, so let's see.
The Culture Shock: It's like the mid-'80s here in the States with the PMRC coming out and hitting heavy metal pretty good. Dee Snider was one that came out and defended it.
Nergal: Yeah, I know the story.
The Culture Shock: Is there gonna be a chance for you to go in and sit before somebody and defend yourselves?
Nergal: The thing about (being) a public enemy is there's no media and no one really has interest in promoting guys like me. It's not like they're gonna put me on TV and let me speak. I doubt that. I've done some interviews in Poland, no TV, but some magazines. They seem to understand our position. They seem to be very sympathetic about us because there's no logic. It's just stupid, what they're doing. I'm not expecting people to love my music. I'm not expecting people to understand my ideals, but fuckin' let me live. Let me fuckin' do my own thing. Let me fuckin' express myself. That's it. I'm not here to fuckin' offend anyone. I don't enter your house and offend your wife, or fuck her (laughs). We have our shows and all the people and the kids who buy the tickets and go to the shows, they are perfectly aware of where they're going and what they're going for. It's stupidity, man.