So Metalion, at which point did you find interest in music and metal in particular? What did you find captivating in this music?
I started to listen to what you would consider as hard rock back in the '70ies, why this music appealed to me is hard to say... It is always hard to explain why you like something.
Do you have older sisters or brothers who introduced you in the world of metal or did you discover it by yourself?
||In the beginning I was of course very influenced by what my older brother was listening to. He had a lot of classic hard rock from that era. Eventually I developed more and more my own taste and started to buy my own records. And especially with the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal I got more and more into that and especially the more obscure stuff.
What about your nickname Metalion?
Well, my real name is JON and I was into METAL so people started calling me METAL JON, so I changed that to METALION, that was back in '83 so I guess I'm stuck with it.
Were you always into the known, popular groups or were you rather into the underground scene? I mean, did you start immediately listening to thrash/speed, death etc. materials
I was listening to a lot of mainstream stuff early on because that was the only stuff I could get hold. So in the '70ies it was the stuff you could find in the record stores. Like UFO, THIN LIZZY, CHEAP TRICK, JUDAS PRIEST, LED ZEPPELIN and so on. I got more and more into 'underground' bands like VENOM when time passed and you were able to buy those records. And it was a great time when Metal become more extreme in the '80ies.
What were the first records, bands what you started listening with?
It was the more traditional stuff, and among my early faves was bands like mentioned above as well as VAN HALEN (1st LP), JUDAS PRIEST......
What were your first thoughts when you heard this style of music?
I think it just clicked with me, I really can't remember any big Revelation or something, it was just perfect for me. A natural thing.....
What was the 1st metal concert you saw and what are some of your favorite concerts that you have seen over the years?
But the biggest classic Metal band we had back then was TNT who released their first stuff in '82/'83. There wasn't even much of a Metal scene back then here..... It wasn't until the Black Metal scene exploded here things got really big.... But of course we had some good releases here and there before the Black Metal things. We had ARTCH and on the more heavy side we had EQUINOX and CADAVER for instance.
||I seen a lot of shows over the years and the first big gig I seen was IRON MAIDEN with ROCK GODDESS as support back in '83. That was really a great experience. It is always hard to say which was the best ones in retrospect, but I am happy to have seen SADISTIK EXEKUTION twice in '96, that would probably be my fave gigs. And also happy to have seen SODOM around 10-15 times, they always kill live.
How was the status of metal in Norway back then? Did you have a strong, healthy scene?
Back then? I assume you mean like the early '80ies or even earlier? Back in the '70ies we had some good prog/heavy rock bands like HØST for instance but I didn't really know about them back then.
Was it so big and interesting, like in Germany, in England or in Sweden was? I mean, was in Norway a great underground buzz?
Absolutely not, even Sweden was so much ahead of us when it come to Metal. I was and still am heavily into Swedish Metal like OVERDRIVE, AXE WITCH, MINDLESS SINNER, TORCH, SILVER MOUNTAIN... It is obvious that those countries had a much bigger Metal culture than we had in Norway. Of course there has always been fans here but it took some time to develop a scene here. I guess Metal always was massive in Germany.
Was it hard or easy to get, to buy records and tapes in the stores in Norway those times? Were you into vinyls, into tapes or it was equal for you?
I mostly bought vinyl and the selection was not to good, the shops only took in one records of each so you had to be lucky to pick up the good stuff. But I started pretty early on to order records from Sweden. There was some good mailorder companies there so it was easier to get stuff there. I remember I bought my first VENOM stuff from Sweden for instance. But of course being a youngster it is hard to buy everything you want.
thought it was so great to be a part of something like this. Especially since I had no talent whatsoever to play any instruments this was was of course a great way to be a part of the Metal movement, so in this way SLAYER was born. I think that later some coming fanzine editors was inspired by SLAYER. Especially I could see that in the layout department in other 'zines. Either if it is true or not I really don't know but I always thought so.
||At which point did you decide to begin a fanzine? Do you think, that you influenced a lot of fanzine writers that started doing fanzines in the 80ies and/or in the 90ies? Did you create a fanzine, because you wanted to declare your tribute to the underground scene?
1983 I joined a few of my Metal friends in school and we started a magazine called LIVE WIRE. We released three issues of that... We mostly did reviews of albums from our own collection and made articles ourselves based on what we read in KERRANG! for instance. But I really liked it, so when the interest of the others died I decided to create something on my own so those thoughts were created in my mind since the summer of '84. Especially after I discovered METAL FORCES and started to write bands etc. I
Slayer was Norway's first fanzine, is that correct? Weren't any other fanzines in Norway back then?
I think that SLAYER was the first extreme Metal 'zine that was born in Norway. We had LIVE WIRE as I told you about and there was also something called METAL EXPRESS which was kinda like LIVE WIRE but earlier, so that was a big influence on us. A bit later than SLAYER (if I remember correct..) there was two magazines called METAL STORM. One was more extreme and one was more mainstream. Of course later there was much more to come.
How did you end up naming the fanzine Slayer?
I was going through a lot of ideas and some that were close was INSANE and METAL DAZE. Luckily I ended up with SLAYER. The name is more or less taken from the horror movie "THE SLAYER" which completely scared me back in the day! HAHA! But of course it was the band SLAYER which I totally loved, but it was mostly because of the movie. Also I liked the fact it was a short, brutal and somewhat catchy name.
Did the fanzines have any tradition in Norway? I mean, was it a well-known thing running fanzines?
Long before me I'm sure there was a lot of punks doing DIY fanzines in the '70ies. I really didn't have any contact with that scene as I was much to young..... But later one I really liked reading all kinds of 'zines even if I wasn't too interested in the music. It was always interesting to see how other people put their magazines together.
Which fanzines have had the biggest influence, effect on you? Which papers did you know or like back then?
Well, I always liked the more heavy stuff but in LIVE WIRE for instance the focus was traditional Heavy Metal.... So when I got onto creating something on my own it was pretty obvious that the focus should be more on the extreme side. Still, there was commercial acts in SLAYER early on (because I didn't have enough stuff to just write about extreme acts....) But as my interest laid within the more extreme acts it was natural that I wrote more and more about that kind of music.
||One early fanzine I really liked was HEAVY METAL MASSACRE from Sweden. I started to write to one of the guys making it and he was a great help to me. His magazine was a big inspiration to me and he was one of the first guys I started to trade tapes with, his name was Lennart "Phantom" Larsson and he is now doing some sort of management things. It was also inspiring to read METAL FORCES (especially the demo section...), and a bit later it was especially a magazine called DEATHFUCK I really liked because that was more crazy.....
Was it clear for you right from the start dedicating the fanzine to the thrash, speed, black, death scene, with a word, to the underground scene?
Did you start running it alone or was a staff behind the paper? How did you divide the tasks among each other?
You must know I didn't really know how to run a magazine, and that was the beauty of it. It was like learning by doing. I didn't know what the fuck to do it....HAHAHA! When I started the magazine I didn't even own a typewriter. I had to 'rent' one from school which was completely fucked up......I did get someone to help me here and there but it wasn't something that was planned from my side.
The first issue of the fanzine was released in February 1985, what did you feel having the paper in your hands? Were you proud of it?
Of course I was proud!!!!! For me this magazine was the best in the world!!!! I reached my goal and no matter how shitty SLAYER 1 was I reached my goal and I did everything myself! Even if it did not have any impact at all I knew this was the path I was going to follow - and so I did......
How did you do the issues of the fanzines and how much did take to do each issues?
The first issues was pretty small so they were pretty easy to put together. I really did not understand the concept of the layout and that point, I just glued everything together in a way I thought looked good.
||Did you do the issues with typewriter? What about the production of the fanzines as a whole?
Yes, it was always done with a typewriter, then I shrinked everything through an old copy machine to fit in with the size of the papers. I completely made every issue ready to print.... I always enjoyed those parts the most. To put everything together. For sure I didn't know much about the layout stuff in the beginning but that was something that become more and more important as time passed. And his is still how I always done it. Eventually I changed into writing on a computer but the basic ideas were always the same. I never used any other programs than word.
Could you tell us detailed about each issues?
Ohhhh, that would take far too much energy to describe every issue.... I decided to give you a certain timeline instead. The two first issues were pretty small a5 'zines, both in Norwegian photocopied. The 2nd edition also had a poster of SLAYER. The the issue 3/4 it was much bigger, it had our first proper interviews and was partly in English. This issue had a great poster of Quorthon in it too and it was reasonable populear. The next one was SLAYER 5 and the first in full size, this was proffesional printed and you can see that as a breakthrough issue. Not many people at that time printed their 'zines like that. Then you can look at issue 6, 7, 8 and 9 with similar eyes as it was more of the same concept. More of the traditional layout which become typical for SLAYER. Layout was for instance very inspired by the EVIL DEAD movie.....DEATH MENTAL UNDEGROUND! SLAYER 10 was the BIG BLACK METAL issue with all the important Black Metal bands of that time. This was also when SLAYER got a lot thicker, and this was the issue I sold the most of so far - 2500 copies I think...... After that it was a break again as I went to Australia..... Then I decided to do 11, skip 12 and went straight to 13, 14 and 15. All those were pretty big and similar in looks.... I released them through my record label as it was easier to finance them like that..... Then, I left the record label and did 16, 17, 18 and 19 on my own, those were of less pages. 16, 17, 18 and 19 were released pretty rapidly according to myself so I think that kinda led up to the overkill and my little break....
What were the early issues like and how were the responses to them? How many copies did you print and was it hard to get rid of them?
The response was not overwhelming I must say, haha! As I said I really didn't know what I was doing.... One thing was to make it, a completely different thing was to sell it! I think the two first copies had a print run of 2-300 so it wasn't that many. I did send away a lot for free to whoever I could afford. Then I sold a few locally at one record store. But nothing serious..... What really helped was the METAL FORCES magazine. They had a section for fanzines and they printed an advert for you when you gave them a fanzine. After I got mentioned there I got more sales and more people started to write me.
||The first two issues were released in Norwegian, issue #3 and 4 Norwegian and English, at which point did you decide to continue the fanzine in English? Why were the first two issue released in Norwegian?
Because I didn't know any better, I thought that English would be more complicated for me to do... So I thought that Norwegian would be the best. Around 3/4 there was more serious and more interviews were done in English and it was mostly foreigners that wrote me. So there really was no other option I think. But those two first issues were pretty shitty so you were not missing much. The first issue to be completely in English was SLAYER #5 and that was a big issue.
Were they xeroxed, printed or photocopied?
SLAYER 5 was the first to be printed in a professional way, the earlier ones was just photocopied but in an OK way. I did have a job or whatever it was in '87 so I decided to invest almost all in the money in SLAYER #5, the rest of the money I had I gave to Euronymous as he needed money for the "Deathcrush" pressing. All the issues since then have been printed professional.
What do the issues cost back then? Did you also change, trade with other fanzine editors?
I can't really remember how much the printing was, but I remember it was always TOO MUCH and it was always a big hassle to get all the money together... always this big cash stress. I did send out a lot of free copies and of course I traded with other 'zine publishers around the world. But in the end I felt it was all worth it. All my money was spend related to the magazine one way or another.
On what did the contents of your fanzine demand? How did you pick up those bands, with whom you wanted doing interviews?
Just my personal taste and whoever I would be in contact with. The normal way to do interviews back then was to send a list of questions to the bands. Some would give quick replies and some times you had to wait almost over a year. It was always a waiting game and always very exciting to inspect the mail. But it was easier to do interviews with a band that send you a demo first as the contact was already established.
||Because those times weren't any Internet, I think you got in touch with the bands via snail mail, correct?
Yes, everything was done by snail mail and that showed that you had to have a serious dedication to it. So many years spend by writing letters. You read about the bands in other 'zines and you eventually gained a international network of 'zines, bands, tape traders etc. It was really easy to live in this world and I guess it is the same way people live through Internet today. The letter writing thing become so huge, I spend hours and hours every day just writing. You could say it was an obsession, and the reward was to get mail back.
Were you aware of the newer bands via flyers or...?
Of course for every new band or whoever wrote you you got flyers and you would always write to who seemed interesting. It was interesting to get letters especially from Bill Steer/CARCASS (who also did a great fanzine) and Mick/NAPALM DEATH. Those people had all information you could think of, and they send me tapes of different stuff. They always had good music.
Did you also try to get in touch with labels as well? Do you still remember what were the labels that you got in touch with?
I mentioned METAL FORCES and I think a lot of record labels just read those fanzine sections and send promo stuff to whoever was published there as it was a genuine fanzine. I got stuff from a lot of labels, even bigger ones like NOISE, ROADRUNNER and METAL BLADE used to send me stuff. I wasn't really in personal contact with those labels so a lot of packages just arrived from them. I didn't actively try to contact that many labels... It was just an bonus. A bit later I got in good contact with PEACEVILLE and EARACHE which was very supportive and then the contact was on a bit more personal level.
Did they start sending you promos? On what kind of format did you get the advance or promotional stuffs?
A lot of those labels send promos here and there, and in the beginning it was just vinyl so that was great. Just imaging getting MORBID ANGEL, BOLT THROWER, TERRORIZER on vinyl when it was just released. I also got a lot of promo advances, but that was mostly tapes... And also every once in a while something completely strange would appear. I can for instance mention I got a "Can I Play With Madness" one track promo tape from IRON MAIDEN. And even STRYPER send me albums. But you could always expect to get the strangest stuff.
Were the labels supportive for Slayer at all? In your opinion, which labels were the best back then respectively which labels did have the best releases?
connection with penbangers from all over the world?
||Of course EARACHE was the greatest label at that point. Of course there were other labels who put out great stuff. But I really wasn't much contact with the labels. But EARACHE, with all those great bands... ENTOMBED, CARCASS, TERRORIZER, MORBID ANGEL, BOLT THROWER, NAPALM DEATH... And PEACEVILLE was great too, especially for bringing out AUTOPSY!
Were there bands, labels they never answered you?
Hmmmmmmmm, probably there was a few but I can't really remember... I was more concerned about contacting the bands directly.
How did you distribute, spread the fanzines? Were you in
In the early days it was just me selling one and one copy in the mail... spreading flyers and so on. Also there was a few friends here and there who sold for instance ten copies to their friends. And yes there was a lot of penbangers around the world. It was really nice to have this network and doing everything ourselves. Of course in later years there was much bigger distros who took in a lot more copies.
What about promotion of Slayer back then? How and how much promotion did you make for Slayer?
It was actually most word of mouth, a bit later flyers become very important, too. I guess it is hard to understand today that those small sheets of paper actually meant something and it worked very well. Also, as I mentioned the occasional mention in METAL FORCES or other 'zines.
the paper to those bands, which were interviewed in the fanzine?
||What about adds? Were the bands and labels intersting in buying adds in Slayer?
I was never really interested in selling adds in the old days, I have some funny stories tho'... I published a full size advert for SLAYER's "Hell Awaits" album because I thought it was so amazingly cool. I did it for free without even asking the label. I also had an advert for the 2nd WARLOCK album "Hellbound". The management contacted me and promptly paid 50 Deutche Mark in advance for an full size advert. When the printing got more expensive and the magazine got bigger I took in some adverts, that was never a problem and as far as I remember everyone paid promptly...
Were each issues available in record stores? Did you send from
Some of the people who bought the magazines would put them in record stores where they lived, so the magazine was also in many stores I didn't know about because of this. So I'm sure you could find the magazine in the strangest places. Like, MODERN INVASION in Australia always bought A LOT of copies and they distributed it to other stores all over Australia and New Zealand. I always tried to send out copies of the magazines to bands that were interviewed because I always liked to get feedback from the bands. I tried to send the magazine to bands with just articles too but that was a bit more difficult because of the lack of money, but I tried my best. There was also several cases where the bands would also offer to pay for their own copies.
What were your plans considering publishing Slayer? I mean, did you want to an issue in every year?
I never planned anything like that, it was just a thing that happened. The issues released later was a bit more frequent, but it was always taking so long to collect all the money to pay the printer up front, so that was a great part of the reason for it. And it was also good for me in a way... Because of this labels were not so much interested in advertisement for instance. So we were never a part of this being 'friendly' with labels in order to go to listening parties or whatever. I did the magazine always on my own terms. Eventually the labels would come to me to ask for ads but that was always on my conditions.
everything the way I wanted and to please myself. What other people thought was not too interesting, but it was always flattering when people said they liked my work. I guess those who didn't like it didn't tell me either back then.
||Did you have enough material for each issues?
There was never a shortage of material after SLAYER #5. The problem in the later years was rather the opposite, there was simply too much stuff and simply it wasn't good enough for me. In the old days it was always fascinating to get big envelopes with exciting bands.
Would you say, that you developed issue by issue?
I would like to say that it got better and better but it is pretty hard to say that when you are in the middle of it all. But I thought that things were getting better and better at a point. But if other people thought different that was of course OK, I must say I did
Did any people influence your writing style?
Not really, I never considered me much of a writer. I was much more a fanatic of the music so the dedication to the music was bigger than the noble art of journalism. I tried for a while to create funny questions and tried to a certain degree to be original. I was more inspired by actual fanzines than writers. But one called DEATHFUCK I really liked.
Did you reach all of your goals what you wanted to achieve with Slayer?
It was clear early on that SLAYER was never meant to live a normal life. I always wanted to have SLAYER independent, not relying on anything but myself. So I was never a part of the mainstream..... Whatever I achieved I'm happy with. Of course if SLAYER led a more commercial life I could have achieved other things. But I'm proud of staying independent. And featuring the bands I liked and not too concerned on what other thought.
As far as the fanzines, they are/were done with a DIY (do it yourself) approach, how was it by you? What do you think about DIY at all?
was who created the DIY movement. Of course I respect the DIY spirit more now...
||That was the only way to do it when I started. It is a great thing to do everything yourself, and to have everything sold by people who think similar. It is great to not having anyone deciding for you what to do or not to do.
Would you say, that without the existence of the punk fanzines, wouldn't have came the metal fanzines into being?
When I started I really had no idea of the punk fanzines so it is hard for me to say if Metal fanzines wouldn't exist without Punk fanzines. For me it was not important, but also I must say the first fanzine I was involved was much more in the mainstream when it come to the written content. I guess the punk movement were more aware and involved in the actual bands, So I pay much respect to whoever it
Do you know something about the forming, developing of the fanzines, about their history? Did you know, that the very first fanzine was released in 1930?
I guess I'm pretty ignorant when it come to the history of fanzines. I did think in the beginning it meant FAN *ZINE as a magazine written by a FAN. But it comes to the term FANTASY, right? Not completely sure about that... Maybe you can inform me? (mhhh, take a look on Wikipedia, but if this the only origin of fanzines??? - Leif)
Talking about the 80ies, did you take part in the tape trading scene? Can you tell us more about it?
Tape trading was a great part in spreading the music. Because not always it was possible to buy every demo, and certain bands it would be impossible to get hold. I remember for instance MASTER being so obscure and no one really know anything about them. But their demos were heavily traded. So people had this massive lists and it was also live recordings etc. etc. And many tapes we would record actual albums because of the financial matters. It was also hard to figure out what was what on tapes. Imaging having a tape with 90 minutes of music with muddy sound and trying to figure out which bands was which. But I think tape trading was important. I think bands like MORBID ANGEL could blame their success on the tape trading, at least to a certain degree.
Would you say, that in the '80s were broad casted more metal videos in the TV and were more metal radio programs than nowadays? Was Headbangers Ball a great support of metal?
I think it is much more Metal in the media now than back then. Now we have several shows on the radio here which plays a lot of Metal and more extreme stuff, but I don't really listen much to radio anymore. I never really saw the point in listening to the radio to have someone else decide what I should listen to. I rather decide myself... I remember HEADBANGERS BALL from back then and the TRIPLE THRASH TREAT for instance. The bands they used to show was usually a big on the brighter side for me... Now especially here after the Black Metal explosion you can hear Metal everywhere. MAYHEM and SATYRICON in the normal top charts for instance, some thing I never expected over 20 years ago.
Both the tape trading scene and running fanzines were very popular in the '80s, they were at their peak those times, would say, that running fanzines was a chain reaction back then? I mean, the editors draw inspiration from each other?
who got the latest NECROVORE interview and things like that. I guess that competition was pretty healthy so we could outdo each other or whatever. I was in touch with so many people doing 'zines, I can mention DOD, BLACKTHORN, NOT, TO THE DEATH, DECAYING MAGGOT, PEARDROP, DEATHSCHYTE, ULTIMATUM and so many others, the list could be endless... People would be amazed by how much work it was to make a 'zine.
||Yeah, I would very much say so. It was pretty common that people started with tape trading would eventually start a band or a fanzine for instance. And it was always interesting to check out 'zines and of course you got influenced by others even without admitting it. And there was so many who wanted to start 'zines and never got to issue 1... And so many only made one issue. I guess a lot of people never really realized how much work it was and just gave up.
Was a competition between the fanzines editors or was a unity among them? With which fanzine editors were you in touch back then?
I think there always was some sort of 'friendly competition' among the 'zine editors, like who got the last MORBID ANGEL reh. tape or
In my opinion legendary compilations, such as Metal Massacre, Raging Death, Beyond Metal Zone, Speed Metal Hell etc. helped introducing new bands for the fans, they played an important role in the underground, how do you view it?
I would prefer albums as METAL MASSACRE and RAGING DEATH for instance who had mostly unreleased stuff on it. Also with SPEED METAL HELL who was the only place you could find NECROVORE and DEATHTASH on vinyl for instance. So since this was proper releases they reached a bit bigger audience than the die hard underground. I was never a big fan of the SPEED KILLS series for instance because they were mostly albums with racks from albums I already owned, so that was not so interesting.
What have been your favorite interview so far to date and your most disappointing?
I think the most disappointing one must have been with EXPLICIT HATE from Brazil as I never got a reply! HAHAHA! But some of those South American bands were pretty short and in shitty English so it could be quite a challenge to read them. Besides that, I wish I could have done another NECROVORE interview. I wish I could done a more serious one. Picking faves is always difficult, but I go for one of the early SADISTIK EXEKUTION interviews - so funny and senseless.
made more money than I did. I think I broke even with it but not much more than that.
||At which point did you establish your own label Head Not Found? Can you tell us more about the activities and about the releases of this label?
That was the next natural step! After the fanzine this seemed quite natural, much inspired my friend Euronymous and his DEATHLIKE SILENCE label I went to it with full force. I was in touch with Masmiseim of the band SAMAEL and he introduced me to the band ALASTIS. A basic deal for 1000 vinyls was figured out and away I went... I managed to borrow some money to fund this release so that was another great thing for me. You have to remember this was 1993 and vinyl was as dead as it could be, still I was pretty insistent on my first release should be on vinyl - so it was not a big success. The band remained the right to do the CD version so I am sure they
Is it worth to run a label alone? Do you think, that is very hard to run a label alone?
Well, it depends. If you are doing it small time with understanding bands I'm sure it can be OK. I did for instance EMPEROR - Wrath Of The Tyrant demo LP on vinyl with Samoth and that was an easy and fair deal - not complicated at all. But anyway, after I did ALASTIS I was quick to discover the band THE 3RD AND THE MORTAL which I am extremely proud of. I was so happy to have them on my label. And with this release I signed a deal with VOICES OF WONDER who took away a great deal of responsibility from me. They were in charge of manufacturing the albums, they also helped out with budgets and so on, and people could find the records in stores and so on. So I think to do a label alone it must be a small basis. I think that I signed far too many bands as the economical responsibility was not only mine, so we released far too much stuff. And some of the releases was perhaps not the best in the world...
Why and when did you stop running the label?
It was a lot of reasons for starting the labels but it was more reasons for stopping it - especially for my own sake. It become far too much stress with all the bands and all the money. Some times a record wouldn't sell at all and the band would of course think they would be ripped off because there was no profit at all on certain releases... And I being the anti social person I am was not easy to get hold of so a lot of people were pissed off with me. So, figuring out I was not a business man I had to leave. I can't remember exactly when I left but in the early '00ies some time. So VOICES took over all legal activities concerning the label and I was set free sort of say. I think there are still a few albums coming out on HEAD NOT FOUND, but I haven't heard it... But I did some great releases so I'm proud of that.
in touch with the underground? Did you keep an eye what's going on in the scene?
||The last issue of Slayer came out in 2003 or so, have you had enough of doing any papers, the scene was over saturated, you lost your interest, it was lack of motivation or...?
It was in early 2004 if I remember right, the plan was to release SLAYER 20 in 2005 at the latest, but of course that never happened. I guess I come to the point where I was so sick of everything and I wanted some other input in my life. That was all I did for so many years, there was no time or money to do anything else - and that is what I wanted to, travel for instance... Also the fact there was not so many new interesting bands to me, so I was just sick of it all... FUKK METAL - that was the name of the last issue I did.... HAHA!
What did you do after issue #19 was released? Did you remain
The most important thing I did was to take up photography on a more serious level, so I spend three years in a photo school here in Sarpsborg to learn the basic skills and develop my own identity as a photographer. So for me that was very interesting and I think that worked out pretty well. I have several projects going on in that field, so hopefully there will be a photo book or two in the very distant future - that is what I work against at least. I did some pictures for DARKTHRONE for the "The Cult Is Alive" CD as well as promo pictures. The same with GORGOROTH - I did some promo pictures for them. Besides that I was involved in a gallery showing in New York in the summer of 2007 at the LEO KOENING GALLERY. This show was curated by BJARNE MELGAARD and also LYDIA LUNCH was in the same show so that was great. I also helped Peter Beste with his photo book where he also used images from my earlier magazines as well as I wrote an intro to that book.
I never left the underground or whatever but as time passes people lose interest so I never got much things in the mail for instance. So that was nice too to actually go out and buy records instead. So obviously I followed it, but I could not buy everything...
Now my priorities are still photography and most of it is not related to Metal (mainly portraits) so that is what I do. I also try to take GOOD live pictures whenever I feel like seeing a band... I'm pretty picky with my photography so there goes some time where I have free time, so that's why I wanted to re-start SLAYER 20 to be released this year. More details will be announced...
Did you have a lot of reviews, interviews which were never released, because you stopped doing the fanzine? What did you do with them?
This was also a problem, my old computer died so a lot of stuff disappeared because that. Among other things was one of the last interviews with Jon Nødtveidt. Luckily something was saved as I printed out certain articles. So some of the stuff I can still use and will be used for vol. 20 as they were more historic interviews - so that's all good. Some will be slightly updated and some are fine as they are, but I feel that some lacked the true spirit of SLAYER MAGAZINE so I dropped a few too... However all reviews are lost, but I don't think anyone cared for my reviews anyway... hahaha!
How big is your music collection? What are your most rare items?
Over the years I sold a lot of stuff as I don't really see the point in keeping so much stuff. I still have far too much vinyls... At most I had around 5000 or so now I am down to 3500-4000 or so. So I sold stuff to travel and so on... Dunno about the most rare item, maybe "The Magus" with SADISTIK EXEKUTION on green vinyl or the yellow goat version of the BATHORY debut. But what I seem to treasure most is the classic vinyl releases of KREATOR, CELTIC FROST, MERCYFUL FATE, SODOM, SLAUGHTER, VENOM, DESTRUCTION, DEATHROW, HOLY MOSES and so on. Nothing rare about them but that is what I like the most. Also, I have around 1300 CDs I think...
What do you think about bootlegs, about bootlegging? Are they really for die hard fans or are they a kind of money making?
I think that bootlegs really suck nowadays... In the 80ies it was different as you could have great bootlegs with METALLICA and SLAYER for instance... Nowadays I seen so many shitty bootlegs with inferior sound quality. Like all those shitty bootlegs with HELLHAMMER from Brazil instead. I am so happy the band released the demos in a proper way so people can stop buying those cheap bootlegs.
Did you have the opportunity to meet with your favourite musicians, patterns etc.? Do you also nowadays go on tours or concerts?
I still go to concerts here and there, not as often as in the past maybe, but still a lot. I know that this spring I will see a lot of concerts. Like, I am going to see the legendary OBSCURITY at least twice and others... It is also interesting for me to do concert photography of certain bands that are visually appealing. So I met a lot of musicians over the year, and I come to full circle last year when I met Martin Ain and Tom Warrior, very nice people I must say. Also another nice experience was when we organized with HOLY MOSES to play at my birthday party. that was extremely cool... But meeting SADISTIK EXEKUTION, SODOM, KREATOR, DESTRUCTION and got to be real good friends with NIFELHEIM for instance. But so many I met, especially at festivals and so on. I still want to meet Martin Missy...
Your first ten a. all time classics (songs, records, covers), b. your favourite bands and musicians?
Always a complicated question, there are so many to chose from, and there is also so much stuff besides Metal, so to put a list together like this is impossible for me. Stuff besides Metal I can start with (not mentioning albums here) DIAMANDA GALAS, COIL, DEAD CAN DANCE, EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN, NICK CAVE, KATE BUSH, TORI AMOS, and I also have a special interest in 70ies heavy/prog/kraut rock. Of extreme Metal I can mention a ton and still forgetting another ton, but here is some: BATHORY - "The Return..." (I love the four first ones but to pick one I picked this), SLAUGHTER - "Strappado", HELLHAMMER - "Apocalyptic Raids" 12", CELTIC FROST - "To Mega Therion", DESTRUCTION - "Infernal Overkill", SODOM - "Obsessed By Cruelty", SADISTIK EXEKUTION - "The Magus", NIFELHEIM - "Devils Force", POSSESSED - "Seven Churches", VULCANO - "Bloody Vengeance"... Impossible to pick 10. To tell you the truth I am not big fans of lists like this. But I tried...
What would be your all time band?
I'm going to say LED ZEPPELIN here just for the hell of it.
How do you view the terms: thrash, speed, death, black and power metal? Did you never like glam rock or melodic (AOR) metal?
Call it whatever you want, I'm not really interested in discussing if METALLICA is Thrash or MEGADETH speed Metal or whatever. It just gets annoying in the end. Remember METALLICA and EXCITER calling themselves Power Metal??? So whatever you call it doesn't matter to me. The only thing that I find annoying is when people don't consider VENOM as Black Metal because it doesn't sound modern. Some times I think it would be better if BLACK METAL was just that album with VENOM. Ohh, I liked some early glam like SWEET, SLADE, MOTT THE HOOPLE and so on... But if you refer more to the glam Metal scene I guess some was OK, like WHITESNAKE, but not really a big fan. I like a few more commercial bands like JOURNEY for instance.
What are your thoughts on some of the old bands getting back together? Are you for something like this or do you think the bands should just let sleeping dogs lie so to speak?
This is a subject that there is no proper answer for, there are plenty of things to think of. But I do think that there is too many bands doing it now. Like, even bands who people never cared about in the first place are coming back and claiming to be cult or legendary or whatever - that makes me smile. And I think that people are coming back for cash is a lousy option too, there is a certain limit how much a band can generate... I think it is just a thing that people are at a stage in life where they found peace and feel eager to play again. And I am of that opinion that people should not interfere in how other people should live their lives, let people live their life. It is no one forcing you to buy shitty comeback albums or go to reunion gigs. I like some and dislike more probably, but it is not for me to judge. But I can see the reasons, if it has been a part of your life at some point it is always a part of your life... I was happy to see CELTIC FROST coming back with an outstanding album for instance, and it was great to see them live especially as I missed them before... And I am releasing SLAYER 20 so what the fuck can I say?
In the last few years were re-released a lot of thrash metal stuffs, such as REDRUM, TOXIK, ATROPHY, BLESSED DEATH, MASTER, SACRED REICH, SADUS, SACRIFICE etc., do you consider a good idea to re-release the 80ies classics these days? Do these re-releases serve the goal to draw more and younger fans attention to these bands?
I like that, some of it was released on CD in a very poor way originally so it is good to have some of it on a proper CD version. So some of them I buy on CD just for the hell of it. I also experienced some really bad re-releases where the masters have been taken directly from the vinyls... Like you can hear vinyl scratches and so on. So generally I am pretty much for all that... There is also bands I never picked up in the first place so it's good to get them in cheaper versions. Maybe some younger people will pick this up, I wouldn't know...
How do you view do present scene compared to the 80ies as whole?
I think the scene today is too many bands, too many shitty bands sounding the same... I think that maybe the musicians today are better than back then, but that doesn't mean you make good music... I also think that people before had more distinctive ideas of their music and put more thoughts towards creating fresh music. Also the fact there is so many people into extreme Metal is annoying. If you saw someone with a SODOM shirt back in the 80ies you knew that was a great person. Now there are so many sheep followers... And everything is so easy to get. We had to fight so hard to get our stuff. I remember trading with people in Brazil and it would take months to get the stuff. It was all worth it because you got stuff like SEPULTURA, MUTILATOR, SARCOFAGO, HOLOCAUSTO etc. Now you can log on to the 'net and find whatever you want. Makes people of today more lazy and less creative. We were more on the barricades, fighting for everything, making the roads as we walked them because no one been there before.
You have witnessed the evolution of the Norwegian scene from death metal bands like OLD FUNERAL (2 first demos), AMPUTATION, PHOBIA, CADAVER, THOU SHALT SUFFER, MORBID (with some Swedish guys too), to "the second wave of black metal" with bands like MAYHEM (from "De Mysteriis..."), DARKTHRONE (from "A blaze..."), SATYRICON, GORGOROTH, BURZUM and the list goes on, how did you judge this evolution at that time, and how do you see it nowadays?
First of all, MORBID was a Swedish band - no Norwegians were a part of that. But this was an exciting time, as I talked about earlier Norway really had a proper Heavy Metal scene back in the 80ies, only a few bands here and there, nothing compared to Sweden. So when the first extreme acts popped out it was really interesting. I think a lot of those bands had their own identity and I found some of those early releases to be among the best. I do think that MAYHEM - "De Mysteriis...." is one of the best Black Metal albums ever and also DARKTHRONE - "A Blaze In The Northern Sky" is awesome... Those band pawed way for a lot of things that happened later. So many bands took inspiration from this wave. Granted that most of it sound like shit but you can't deny the impact they had. Nowadays I really don't care about many of those bands still doing records. GORGOROTH being the best and DARKTHRONE being still good...
How big was the Euronymous influence on the scene? What do you think about the Inner Circle and about their commitments?
Euronymous had such an big influence on the Norwegian bands back then. I don't have to tell you how many bands changed from Death Metal to Black Metal because of him, right? He was very charmastic and he would talk to everyone about his believes and visions... And it was interesting because so many changed to the better and creating something that people still try to copy. And, what about the inner circle? Not as dangerous as you might think, a bunch of people into extreme music with slightly different views on society. Of course things went too far in the end...
What do you think of the internet and places such as MySpace? What do you think about downloading music files? Are you into or against it?
The Internet and MYSPACE is not stupid, the people using it are stupid. I have a site for SLAYER MAGAZINE on MYSPACE for instance, and I decided to just add everyone in the world for the hell of it... So I see a lot of bands I really don't care about. You see young bands putting out their music after being together as a band only a couple of months. People really need to practise more and craft music. There is no point in publishing everything so soon. And I think that's the shitty things, people just want feedback after being together for five minutes. That I don't like. Still, I have re-connected with some old bands because of MYSPACE so that's been good. I don't download music so I have no opinion on that... I listen to samples but it usually take a very brief time to figure out what is worth checking out.
Would you say that downloading files is killing the music industry or can they mean to be a kind of promotion of bands?
I say that talentless people is killing music. If you complain about lack of record sales you might consider writing better music. But I really have no opinion on it... Personally I buy the LP or CD...
A lot of fanzines are existing nowadays as web zines, do you like reading them or do you prefer rather the printed ones?
I for sure like the printed ones better but it's getting rarer and rarer I see something. I like it because more thought and depth are put into printed publications. The main concern with web 'zines is that they usually want to publish everything as soon as possible. And when there is a important release coming a lot of premature reviews will be published, because they want to have it out before anyone else... It's always about the latest and the greatest.
Didn't you think about to do Slayer as a web zine? Was it a popular, well know fanzine back then?
I think that SLAYER was pretty well known back in the day, but I don't think any youngsters really care for it, of course there are someone interested, but in the sense of popularity I think our time is long gone. I did make a website once, but I quickly lost interest. It was nothing personal to see the writings on a computer screen, so that was nothing for me. I decided to make one on MYSPACE but only to have some basic information and getting hold of certain people. But for me, it must be on paper to be real.
Are nowadays fanzines still popular and aboded the test of time? Which fanzines, magazines do you like these days?
To a certain extent I think that fanzines are fairly popular, I think there is still some interest. But you must do it like SNAKEPIT for instance, to have outstanding in depth interviews and not only about the last releases... I really don't see much fanzines these days so I'm afraid I don't have any faves.
Do you often read early fanzines, such as Metal Forces, Kick Ass Monthly, Whiplash etc.?
That's another sad chapter, I lost so much over the years, so I really don't have any of those left - I know - it sucks. I was lucky to get some photo copies of old KICK ASS MAGAZINES which was nice It would be nice to have some of those magazines again, but at least I have the memories.
Unfortunately Bob Muldowney (Kick*Ass zine) and Sam Kress (Whiplash zine & vocalist in HEATHEN) passed away...
It is always sad to see when pioneering journalists go away. Shit, it's always sad when someone worthwhile in your life goes away. But let's treasure and honor their memories.
What are the differences and similarities between fanzines and magazines?
For me, a fanzine is something published by a single person who does everything himself/herself. Also distribution and so on. I think that a magazine is something bigger often released by some sort of publisher and also funded by advertisement, that is hardly the case with fanzines. Still think that people at big magazines can be equally big fans of the music.
What about you these days as a whole? Are you a family man with children and stuff?
My main priority at this stage in life is photography, I'm well on my way and that is all I want to share with you concerning my private life. (Only that it is very private...)
Are you still in touch with dudes, with whom you were in touch 20-25 years ago?
Not many, a lot of people seemed to progress in a different way than me when they get older, so it's not interesting for me to stay in touch with them. Only because you had a few things in common back then doesn't mean you are friends for life. But I stay in touch with some, but I wouldn't call them deep, spiritual friends... (I demand a lot in a person to be called my friend)
Would you say, that metal is in your vain forever?
Of course it is, when it has been in your life so long you can't really turn your back on it. But I think there are also more interesting music than Metal out there, and it is also more to life than being a drunk useless Metal head. I been there done that. Variation is the key, then you can enjoy everything to the fullest all the time.
So Metalion, thanks a lot for this feature, any closing words?
It might be silly of me to release another magazine, but I really don't care, I feel that I owe it to certain people to have at least SLAYER MAGAZINE 20 released in a proper way... Thanks for reading this!
Interview: David Laszlo (March 2008)