Here it is: Behemoth, the mighty Biblical monster that is nowadays impersonated by a blackened death metal band from Poland bearing the same name. The Behemoth guys are systematically and obstinately haunted by the Catholic Church but they just wouldn’t stop troubling the trouble.
Tearing the Bible on stage and making provocative videos in which church-related symbols and people look like the images of somebody’s worst nightmare. The last thing we heard from Behemoth was their 2009 album Evangelion. We managed to get together with Behemoth singer and songwriter, Adam Darski a.k.a. Nergal, in the middle of the tour and had a talk about the new Evangelion ov Behemoth.
You started your Evangelion Tour already last year and the tour will still continue after 2010?
Actually, this tour is different. We used to tour more intensely in the past. We are planning to tour in support of Evangelion for the next 2 years, three hundred shows more or less is the plan. Three hundred shows in 3 years is not the same as three hundred shows in 18 months. This time we just want to make sure there is a break for us. Like playing a few shows in Australia and then having a week off, then some more shows in Japan and then again time off. We just want to keep it that way. We want to have time to recover and recharge batteries, and so on. So yes, this is how we do it.
Immediately after releasing Evangelion, you said that you couldn’t be any happier than after finishing the album recording in the studio, because you felt it was very good and considered it to be the top of your music career so far. Usually when someone feels as though they’re achieving their goals, the next question is: What’s next?
I can’t really tell you now. I’m just taking it as it is, day by day. We are touring for this record now. We are trying to make sure we show that Evangelion is the biggest and the most splendid record and once we are done with the project, we’ll sit and have some time off. Maybe then we’ll realize there is no reason to continue. But I’m a pretty determined individual and I’m very ambitious too, so I guess I will at least give it a shot.
The album is quite angry, so where did you find all that anger, since you were in such high spirits and so positive during the recording?
Well, I was mostly happy with the recording process, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t struggle in my personal life. When I was doing the record, I was just going up and down. There were some bad things happening… but all this was pretty motivating too. So, as long as I can find motivation, I don’t give a fuck. And if you want you can turn such things into the worst experience but you can turn them into a driving force too.
After recording Evangelion with British recording engineer Colin Richardson, who is famous for his work with Slipknot, Carcass, Fear Factory, Cannibal Corpse, and many other bands, are you planning to work with him again in future?
Oh, definitely! I’m really happy with how he mixed Evangelion and I’m really hoping to work with him again. Bad mixing can totally destroy an album. You have to do it in the right way; to have the right taste and balance and everything.
Your lyrics have always been full of symbols and allusions and one has to dig through a lot of books to get their meaning; so are you also trying to educate your fans by that?
I know, you have to read a lot to understand… but then again, no. It’s like yes and no. Let me give you an example: I’m a Rammstein fan but I don’t know a shit in German but for some reason I sense the spirit, I can feel it. I don’t know the lyrics but I know what they are singing about. And I hope I get the right feeling – it is just my interpretation of it. So I mean, you don’t have to read the whole text. I don’t expect a 15-year-old metal follower to do that and sometimes even we don’t understand what we are singing about. It’s just a stream of energy and words and actions. We just put it in a very poetic way. Sometimes these are only various impressions. It’s not mathematics. It’s feelings, it’s emotions. Remember, we speak about feelings here so it’s really easy to make up wrong interpretations.
You have a picture of the Harlot of Babylon on the cover of Evangelion… she is stepping on broken stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments. Is this a metaphor for offering new commandments and a new evangel, a.k.a. Evangelion?
This image is a universal message that we always had – it says to stand out from the crowd, to get your own gods; staying truthful and faithful to your own spirit. So anything we use in our graphics or our lyrics, it all pretty much gets to the same point – the theme of freedom and liberty. The Harlot stepping on the broken commandment stones is not about winning a fight with God. It’s the manifestation of our attitude, freedom, philosophy, and that’s it. It’s just my opinion and I’m not really trying to force it upon anyone.
If we talk about you and your attitude toward religion, what are you fighting with? Are you more anti-Pope, anti-Church, or anti-Christianity in general?
We are anti-stupidity. We are against any kind of limitations. Just be yourself, show yourself, just fucking fly! Just drift away from anything that holds you down and limits you and suppresses your abilities, your potential, your freedom. I know it’s very general, but it’s the way we feel.
So you are much more after Aleister Crowley and the power of will philosophy, aren’t you?
Well, it’s quite clear he means a lot to me and his writings are very inspirational… but I don’t think I’m anyone’s or anything’s follower. I just use my intuition and that shows me the right path in my life.
You had problems with the Polish Church and the Conservative Party back in 2007 and now you were officially charged with insulting the Roman Catholic Church on March 8th. What kind of danger do you pose to the church that they are always after you?
It is all just about keeping people in control. Poland has been enslaved by regimes for decades. So for us, gaining democracy is something totally new. Some people just freak out when they see that the individuals can go out and speak out for themselves, just being who they are. In Poland, things are very schematic and square-ish, so they are afraid when anything stands out; people are going out of the way, it’s getting out of control – their control. But you cannot control people. As I’ve said, I will always be an individual, ‘cause there is freedom within. You should be able to do whatever you want. I’ll be facing a new court trial. I will stand for what I say and I will go to the court.
Having such things going on in Poland are you still comfortable with living and working there?
Yeah, kind of. I was born there, my family is there, my fiancée is there, my band is there, so it’s my place. I can see myself living outside of the country. I can see myself living in another country part-time. We’ll see, I don’t know yet.
You sound like you are not afraid of anything in this life. Am I right?
I’m not afraid of anything. I thought about it several times. I don’t want to sound like a hero, it’s stupid. I don’t know, maybe there is something I should be afraid of and I’m just not aware about it. Some people are afraid of solitude, of loneliness. I just know that in our lives, we get what we deserve. As long as you are not disabled and you’ve got two legs, two hands, and a brain, you are pretty much able to get anywhere you want. That’s how I think.
And you obviously enjoy ruining a lot of the metalhead stereotypes: you started dressing quite fashionably, you keep a healthy lifestyle, and are dating a pop singer.
I don’t give a fuck about other’s reactions. See, I’m pretty sure there is not a single fucking person who left this venue unsatisfied [after the gig]. So this is my proof and my lifestyle has nothing to do with music. The world is full of bullshit and shitty opinions anyway. So I don’t give a fuck. What can I say, I’m just doing what I’m doing. It’s the main principle of heavy music and black metal – it’s all about being free and doing what you want. If people think that I’m ruining these rules, that’s their problem. I’m not here to be a part of the society or a group of people. I don’t really feel like looking like those guys. I have nothing against it, I just don’t really like that look. That’s it.
You have always insisted on having make-up and costumes on stage. So you couldn’t deliver the same message to the audience wearing jeans and a T-shirt?
We have been doing that pretty much since day one; we just developed, evolved. We got to a place we have never been to. I think it was very unique and original. That’s what I think about what we do with Behemoth; we are not like any other band. And the passion – the passion about what we do – is the key to success. And it keeps us going. For example, last days were terribly intense for us and I’m just hoping for a few hours of sleep tonight. And we will have to wake up around 4:30 to catch our plane. But when we go on stage we just try to give our fucking best and make sure that show is the greatest ever, and just be passionate about it.
Text: Victoria Maksimovich | Photos: Xeniya Balsara | Ed: Amy Wiseman