Dimmu Borgir, tattoo art in the rabbit hole

Interview with the Norwegian guitarist Silenoz: «Recording ‘Eonian’ was like working on a beautiful tattoo. And you never have to rush the tattoo artist!»

Eight long years have led the Norwegians Dimmu Borgir to realize their new album entitled ‘Eonian’ (a term that we could translate as “eternal”) available worldwide since May 4th.

To celebrate one of the metallic events of 2018, we met Silenoz, the band leader (with fellow Shagrath) & guitarist, and gave an interview with him full of promotional and philosophical contents. All at once.

It turns out that you become shy when it comes to talking about your own tattoos…
Yeah, it could be. You know, I’m still thinking about some of my tattoos, including a challenging full back piece, and then I do not want to be photographed at work in progress… Then, of course, we’re also discussing a very personal topic, but today I feel like being as sincere as possible with you.

Once you have talked about your tattoos as «a way to exorcise my demons». Were you exaggerating or…?
That’s the whole truth! I believe there’s always a point of contact between what I compose, I play and I tattoo on myself: it’s all part of me. I let my imagination run and, after a while, everything is combined in a sort of magical way.

Dimmu Borgir, by Stefan Heilemann
Dimmu Borgir, by Stefan Heilemann

It happened that way also for the making of ‘Eonian’, I guess…
Yeah. Since we are talking about “messages” that can come through both the music and the subjects that one decides to tattoo, I will tell you that in ‘Eonian’ there isn’t a defined concept. Or a story that combines these ten new songs. It’s more than a shamanic vision able to get you out of your reality and your acquired certainties. It’s like: hey, forget what you are and follow this awesome band in the “rabbit hole” …

Perhaps ‘Eonian’ looks a bit like the genesis of a tattoo…?
Absolutely. First because it took eight long years to finish it and, as you can not hurry to a tattoo artist, you should not even do it with Dimmu Borgir! (laughs) And then this is good music built on sensations, not on big data or mathematical calculations. Exactly like a good, organic tattoo.

You are friends with the great Paul Booth: when did you meet him?
Yes, Paul and I esteem each other and our first meeting took place around 2005/2006 in his New York studio, the ‘Last Rites Tattoo Theater’. As Dimmu Borgir we had just finished re-recording ‘Stormblast’ (their sophomore album, completely sung in Norwegian and originally released in 1996 ed) and we were in the early stages of writing ‘In Sorte Diaboli’ when I finally managed to make an appointment with him.

What do you like about his art?
More than art, I would speak of enormous and brilliant craftsmanship. Paul Booth is not a hyper-technical tattooer at all. And this reminds me of the instinct of those who play black metal. When you’re pulled by something not specified, it’s very likely that you’re doing something unique.

Dimmu Borgir, by Anne Swallow
Dimmu Borgir, by Anne Swallow

Paul Booth already knew Dimmu Borgir and Norway, right?
Exact. That time, at ‘Last Rites’, he told me that he had been in my country a few years before. Like a simple tourist and music lover, trying to capture the malignant energy unleashed by the black metal of the mid-90s. Honestly I really enjoyed that historical anecdote.

What do you preview about the Dimmu Borgir new world tour?
The first dates have already been confirmed (you will find them at the end of this interview ed) and we will debut next June 15 in Canada, at a Montebello festival, located in the Quebec region. We should be in Europe before next Christmas, but nothing has yet been established. Otherwise the appointment is postponed to summer 2019.

Have you already started to focus about the set-list?
No. I think we’ll play most of the ‘Eonian’ track-list and several of our shouted evergreens, but it’s still too early to talk about it. (the interview was held in mid-March ed).

Dimmu Borgir, cover album
Dimmu Borgir, cover album
The upcoming Dimmu Borgir concerts:
2018-06-15 – Montebello (Rockfest) CA
2018-06-23 – Clisson (Hellfest) FR
2018-07-06 – Barcelona (Rock Fest) ES
2018-08-04 – Wacken (Wacken Open Air) DE
2018-08-11 – Kortrijk (Alcatraz Metal Festival) BE
2018-08-17 – Horten (Midgardsblot Metalfestival) NO
2018-08-19 – Las Vegas, NV (Psycho Las Vegas) US
2018-08-21 – Chicago, IL (The Vic Theatre) US
2018-08-23 – Toronto (Danforth Music Hall) CA
2018-08-25 – New York, NY (Playstation Theater) US
2018-09-18 – St. Petersburg (Kosmonavt) RU
2018-09-20 – Moscow (Glavclub) RU
2018-09-22 – Yekaterinburg (Teleclub) RU
2018-10-24 – Osaka (umeda TRAD) JP
2018-10-25 – Tokyo (Liquid Room) JP
2018-11-09 – Sao Paulo (Tropical Butanta) BR
2018-11-11 – Buenos Aires (Teatro Flores) AR
2018-11-13 – Santiago (Cupula Multiespacio) CL
2018-11-15 – Bogota (Royal Center) CO
2018-11-17 – Mexico City (Circo Volador) MX
Total
16
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