Sounds (Mostly taken from The Beast of Attila Csihar)
Aborym – Out of Shell
Plasma Pool – Chanceless Religion
Tormentor – Heaven
Korog – Worshipping Current
Anaal Nathrakh – Atavism
Mayhem – Cursed In Eternity
Plasma Pool – Story of Flying
Emperor – Funeral Fog
Plasma Pool – False the Saint
Aborym – Here Is No God
Tormentor – Trance
The Best of Attila Csihar
The Vocal Range of Attila Csihar
Sunn O))) – Kannon
With Sunn O)))
From Anti Hero Magazine (http://www.antiheromagazine.com/interview-attila-csihar-of-mayhem/)
“ANTIHERO: Extreme music is synonymous with Mayhem. In your opinion and in your perspective, what has been the biggest change since 1984?
Attila: For me, it’s kind of the same, at least I remain in this. From my perspective, our music, but to look at the scene, of course, back in the days it was just a few bands and there was no different era like especially in the 80s or 90s too. There was not even computer in that sense. You couldn’t record with a computer or do any stuff like that. We had demo tapes. There was no internet. A few bands, it’s hard to make a deal, especially from countries like Hungary. Even it was like the end of the whole political system shit. The album couldn’t be released.
Tormentor, my first band, that was fucking different and there were no festivals as today or anything like that, you know, especially talking about Europe. We have shit lot of festivals which is so good. Eventually, we were right because when we were kids we didn’t know. We just followed our instinct and now it’s growing. It’s got bigger and it’s more solid and well, we have these big festivals and we can still tour around. It’s still more underground and it’s definitely not mainstream music.
Somehow the world changed too. Everything got more open and more extreme. The boundaries have been pushed. To compare like an old horror movie today normally it’s like back in the days which I also like, I don’t want to say it’s better or wrong, but back in the days it’s more about the spirit or mentor message and today it’s so graphic. But that kind of shows how it evolved like everything even sports are more extreme. Everything is growing a little bit more and pushing boundaries.
ANTIHERO: There are too many sub genres.
Attila: Even covers now the Folk which I think it’s fine. It’s okay. It’s music. You don’t have to listen if you don’t like it. I don’t mind it and of course the coin has the other side back in the days that’s for sure. Then I started to play extreme metal, only the most fucked up and crazy kids were into it because that was so extreme and blah, blah, blah. It was few and everybody was a bit afraid of it and it was kind of scary. Also, like what happened in Norway, then it went the other end like it flipped over or some of us at least did that.
Anyway, it was very clear. Now it’s of course along because it’s much more bands and the whole scene is so big and it’s more accessible so it’s not so crazy anymore. Not everybody of course but still it is what it is. I don’t see it’s a bad thing because we try to keep on our way but it’s all about music and that’s okay I think. In general, music is so accessible today and bands, you hear a band you just Google it on your phone and you know all the story and you can listen to records and shit. Back in the days it was so different. I remember I saw the first picture of Bathory of Quorthon years after I was completely into the music. The same with Skinny Puppy and shit. It’s like totally different stuff. But it is what it is. It’s okay.
ANTIHERO: After touring is done are there plans to record a new Mayhem album?
Attila: We have some ideas. We will see. It’s hard to see with Mayhem. Nothing is solid and complete. It’s we always follow our instinct and motion and it’s like strong democracy in the band. It’s also like of course sometimes like that time someone is leading the ship or go running a ship. Anyway, it’s still like a democracy and they all agree on something. It’s unique. We don’t have a management and strong agenda and stuff. We completely stick to our own freedom or whatever the fuck we want to do kind of stuff.
I guess we have some creative force too. It’s still working and still we are inspiring. I have some new writes and it’s interesting. It’s something a bit different from the last thing but that’s okay I guess. We’ll see.
ANTIHERO: And it’s seems like it’s a bit more spontaneous, whether you do a tour, record or something completely different.
Attila: Yes, many times it’s spontaneous. We just like it that way I guess and I don’t think we could function in any other way anything. It’s been like that and it’s hard to say exactly what’s going to happen with this band. But one thing is for sure that we are still in a pretty okay-ship. Especially we can do this tour now. I think it’s going to be almost two months with Europe and US. There’s going to be the end of this De Mysteriis thing of course. It’s a good vibe too. We have grown for sure.
ANTIHERO: You’re also a part of Sunn O))), a band that I’ve discovered on a personal level about three years ago. I like Stoner Doom metal among other things. Somehow in my search for newer bands I discovered Sunn O))) and I’m just like. Attila from Mayhem, how did that happen? But how has being a member of Mayhem and being in a band like Sunn O))), how did it influence each other and does it from time to time?
Attila: Yes, it’s tends to discretion anyways. I’ve been involved with Sunn O))) since really like 2002 maybe. That’s kind of a long time ago. I was in Mayhem in ’90 to ’93, ’91 to ’93. But then when they started all over it was with Maniac, so I didn’t have a band. I had some other bands of course like Plasma Pool and Aborym from Italy. Then it was like in early 2000 or 2001 something like Stephen O’Malley approached me. We made an interview before so he knew me.
He approached me and at that time I was also looking for a label for some release of some of my compilation record and then he introduced me to Greg and we talked about the bands and they said they had this very experimental band. At that time, it was really like an idea. For me it was even like more experiment than music. First it reminds me more like doom and drone than metal somehow. It was very experimental and I love experimental music. Plus, I loved the name and I loved the concept.
We ended up I did a recording for them in Italy in Rome. I was there with Aborym and I made this Symptoms of Kali Yuga the first song on the way to record, the first song I recorded with them. I sang in Sanskrit and I sang from this Hindu Indian Book like 5,000 old about Kali Yuga. The Kali Yuga is not so important now but it’s like they call the Iron Age like a Dark Age whatever where we are supposed to be now. Anyway, it’s like an old scripture in Sanskrit. I knew a little about Sanskrit, so I was singing in that language… it was fucking unique.
They played first time in Europe I met the guys in Austria and that was the first show I had with them that was in 2002 maybe. I don’t know early 2000s. Then gradually in 2004 I joined back to Mayhem. Then actually I got busy with Mayhem so I hold it back a bit. I was not sure what to do. Then it was like they did some different stuff but I’ve never been totally like a member, or now more like in the last years I became a member finally but I even didn’t want to. I like this collaboration. Both side like this way.
I ended up playing most of their live shows with them because I fucking loved it. Here’s the thing. It turned out to be a perfect balance for me with Mayhem because it’s so different music but it has a lot of similarities like all the Sunn O))) guys love Mayhem and I love this experimental psychedelic thing about it. That Greg and Steve they are so great metal, really fucking cool metal heads and you can really hang out. I love those guys. Actually, that band is just fucking amazing. I don’t how to … It was a great idea but I think it came slow that we thought a lot what we were doing. Just being so crazy.
The first show I played with them it was like seven people in the audience. That was like pretty underground. But then gradually it went up. The next show was 70 in Vienna and through the years it’s beautiful actually. So much loading, loading of amplifiers in and out of venues and fucking great experiments actually on stage.
What I learned I can try so many things because it’s so free. It’s got a lot of free elements in Sunn O))) in the lives. Whatever I experienced there I can use in Mayhem and what I experience in Mayhem of course I put in Sunn O))), that’s of course. For me it’s a beautiful balance actually.”
“Could you talk us through the three tracks on Monoliths & Dimensions for which you provided vocals and lyrics? First, the album’s opening track, “Aghartha”.
“I was honoured to be asked to compose the lyrics for a whole Sunn O))) album. I had already worked with Sunn O))) back in 2002, when I sang on White2, the Sanskrit text in “Decay2 [Nihils’ Maw]” and on a couple of live CDs. I played a lot of shows with them, then there was a break around the Black One album, because I was busy with Mayhem and we were not sure what was going on, so Malefic from Xasthur took on most of the vocals instead. But the concept of “Aghartha” was to go under the earth and beyond the sky, beyond our perceptions, in a way. I had heard many legends about this underworld continent called Aghartha, that’s the best known name for this legend. I’ve never been in the Earth, so I can’t comment on whether it’s true or not [laughs] but it’s a very nice legend which appears not only in India and Tibet, but also in America. In North America the Native Americans talk about these underground tunnels, and I think all around Central and South America, some of this legend exists in folk tales about the underworld. Even in our culture, in Christianity, it exists. Aghartha is supposed to be inside the hollow Earth, and some people believe that not all of the Earth is spinning, only the surface, and that’s why we have the lava; or it’s all spinning, but not necessarily at the same speed. Anyway, I was focusing on this legend, it’s like a journey to the centre, through the poles, and the people who believed in this, they thought that when you approach the poles, to the North Pole and to the South Pole, that there is a hole at each point. According to the legend, if you imagine a hole about the size of 100 km or something. They say that in the centre there is a sun, an inner sun. But you know, I think it was very fitting to what the music means to me, with the drones, this gravity. It’s always down. It’s about the mass of sound. So I thought this theme of what lies under the Earth was a good fit.”
The legend has appeared in literature as well. Elements of it surface in Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s novel The Coming Race and Alexandre Saint-Yves d’Alveydre’s posthumous Mission de l’Inde en Europeä.
“A lot of people believe that a different race, or some kind of alien race, lives there, and that it’s a continent about the size of the USA. That there are different creatures there, and maybe even giants. I did a bit of research and I found about about expeditions where these explorers were supposed to find the North Pole, but of course, they got lost for six months, because if you don’t see the stars, and you don’t have a compass, you have problems. Still today, actually. Their compass stopped working there, because as you get closer to the Poles, they stop functioning – let’s say they get fucked up. And that’s the reason why people got lost there. I don’t know, it’s very hard to find the position of the North Pole because of this. The Earth is pretty big, you know? It’s hard to find one point there.
“The people who believe in this – and some crazy people still believe in this – say, ‘Of course the compass isn’t working because you’re already going in.’ Of course, I’m not saying I believe it. But I have also found out about another expedition, where people were flying to the North Pole, and this time the guy didn’t disappear, but he lost his way and talked about seeing strange things and picking up strange signals. If I remember well, you’re not really allowed to fly above the North Pole, because of the magnetic forces, and it’s not happy for the airplane, either, y’know, when it fucks up the machinery. So it’s a kind of mystical thing and I thought it would make a good lyric because it’s very surreal and abstract. I found some interesting points there. I think the Poles are very mystical and I would love to stand on the North Poles, in the stream of magnetism, just for the sake of it. The others loved this idea as well.”
The next track to benefit from your involvement is “Big Church”. What is the origin of its subtitle, ‘megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért’?
“It’s a Hungarian word I first heard when I was a kid. This is one of the longest words in Hungarian, it contains 44 letters and the reason why it is famous is not really because of its meaning, but because it shows how you can play with the Hungarian language. It’s pretty different from most other languages, I think. We have not too much connection to Latin or Slavic languages. People relate our language to Finnish. This idea is perhaps only 200, 100 years old, I don’t know where it came from, but I have a lot of friends from Finland, and we agree on one point, which is that it makes no sense that people think we have the same language. I couldn’t even find one word which sounds similar in Finnish! But it’s still the official line. One of the things that is unique about Hungary, one of the first things I would pick up on, is the language. The others loved the idea that I would sing in Hungarian. It shows the Hungarian grammar, how it is possible to pile meaning upon meaning. The root word would be ‘consecrate’ and you put before and after that word a lot of additions, creating this complex meaning. It can go up to 44 letters. With the Hungarian language, of course, you can create your own words.
“The meaning of this word is also kind of cool, because it’s about consecration and deconsecration, and that someone is acting like he would be not the one who could be deconsecrated, and he got this thing as a consequence. It probably sounds strange to you, it’s not a word we use daily, it’s more like a demonstration. But I picked up on this because although we have a couple of other words like this, this one suited the message of Sunn O))), you know? I also thought it was lovely that the guys got a female choir involved. I’m always fascinated by the sound of the female voice. I think today, in this style of music, extreme music, it’s very rare that women appear. Okay, there are some of course, like Jarboe or Diamanda Galas. But to get the whole thing, a nice balance of all the energies in the music, because music is such a strange complex language, it’s very nice to have the female polarity included, the lunar aspect. I always support that. The choir was set up in Vienna, so I went there to help them with the language.”
At Metal Archives
Anti Fashion Ov Attila Csihar
p.s. Hey. Through a very lucky strike, the mega-wattage writer, novelist, and distinguished local of this blog aka Grant Maierhofer has concocted a swell guest-post about Metal/Doom/Drone living legend Attila Csihar for us this weekend, and your enjoyment is hereby assured. Please check out its wonders and give a shout or feedback or a hey or something to generous, hardworking Grant please. Thanks a lot. In less important news, I have an early morning meeting on Monday, so no p.s. that day, and I’ll catch up with everything on Tuesday. ** KeatyRoggers, I semi-see what you did there. Ha ha. Thanks for braving the podcast, which sounds like it wasn’t even braving, and that’s cool. I dress like Phish’s manager, but I don’t mean it. I love you like heat. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. ‘The President’s Analyst’ was something like my favorite movie when I was 14 or something. Misanthrope addressed your question just below your comment, as you probably saw. PGL will have some kind of very, very limited release in the US. Probably a tiny run in NYC, and some unique screenings elsewhere, and I’m not sure what all. Our distributor is setting up whatever will happen as we speak. Last I heard, streaming/DVD will likely happen/come out in May. We tried the New York Film Festival last year and got rejected. PGL did not set the film festival circuit’s hearts aflutter, unfortunately. Or not unfortunately. I really don’t care about being in festivals. It’s fun when it happens, but the festival circuit seems like mostly an overrated racket to me. But I digress. Thank you for the optimism. ** Corey Heiferman, I liked ‘The Great Escape’ as a kid too. I don’t think it would float my boat now, but who knows, really? It’s so nice to see/read so much talk about ‘Out 1’ here. My boat is floated. Everyone, If by any chance you’d like to read the seminal critic Jonathan Rosenbaum’s thoughts on the great Rivette film ‘Out 1’, you can do so courtesy of Corey Heiferman! Thanks, man. Excellent weekend. ** Sypha, Hi, James. Good, yeah, I mean, I think that should work. Give a shout about how it goes when shouting out seems appropriate. ** Jeff J, Hi. Yeah, it’s sweetness incarnate that ‘Negrophobia’ got the big legitimisation of NYRB’s imprint. I’ve always loved that Coburn quote. I have avoided seeing ‘First Reformed’, and everything, including you, tells me that is the appropriate strategy, which I will continue to employ. I hope the opening went well. And you and Scott McClanahan together in ‘concert’. That’s gigantic! Say hey to Scott for me if you remember. Monday or Tuesday should work, yeah. Write me, and we’ll sort it. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Very nice cover, and very cool about the excitement re: The Call at the workshop. Are you due to compose a speculative fiction thing now? ** Misanthrope, Thanks, man. Yeah, I’ve been warmer. I’ve never appreciated the sun so much. What’s your weekend? ** Steve Erickson, We’re trying not to buy a space heater because we’ll never need it again, but it’s definitely potentially in the cards depending on how the temperatures go in the next day. The last time I was in Japan I accidentally burned my hand really badly, and I had to get painkillers, and I bought an over the counter thing, and, holy shit, it was sweet and helpful to a degree that would require one hell of a prescription anywhere else. I have not heard the Default Genders album, no. Hm, you make me curious enough to try a taste. Thanks, man. ** Kyler, Aw, the Ninth Circle. Probably my all time favorite bar/hang out. It and cocaine were like soup and sandwich. Thanks for the kind words on the podcast. Have a glorious weekend! ** Right. Grant has you squared away, so enter the square, or, rather, stay in the square for as long as you can handle it, I guess. The blog will see you on Monday, and I’ll pipe in again on the following day.