Lord Belial

Interview with Hjalmar Nielsen (guitars) / April 15, 2006  
questions by Twilightheart

H = Hjalmar
T = Twilightheart

(( comment of Twi > as usual, I left away the warm-up and goodbye parts of this interview... it´s boring anyway!))

T > How is the tour going?

H > Well, the first 2 gigs weren`t that good actually because there were not many people. But the gig we had yesterday was really really great.

T > Wich city was it?

H > It was in Graz. And it was really cool, because we had some audience. I don`t know how many people came but it was a really great crowd. And all the bands played at their best. So it was a really great evening.

T > How do you like the other bands musically?

H > I like especially „Born of sin“ because it´s more my kind of music. When I´m listening to music I like more Death- and Thrash- Metal. But Dark Fortress are doing a really really cool job I think. I really like their style of playing Black Metal. Because I think their style of Black Metal is more Nordic than German. So they`re doing great.

T > What do you think is the reason for the lack of visitors at this tour?

H > I think so far it´s about promotion. No doubt about it! Because we`ve looked everywhere, when there were no people, we ran around and …. for instance Wien, it a big city, there should have been a lot of people, but they actually changed the place just 1 week before the gig. And I think nobody knew about it. It was only a small notice on their homepage. And we hadn`t heared about it until just a couple of days before the gig also. It´s all about promotion. So actually it´s been a bad promoter so far. Let´s see what happens.

T > I also heared there are more problems than that. For instance 21 people on tour, needing to sleep, but only 18 beds…

H > Yeah, that´s true. And we have to thank Bruchstein Tours for that. And they have been doing a really shitty job for this tour, I think. We´re not pleased at all with Bruchstein. And we want people to know that. But our tour manager, who´s just hired by Bruchstein, he´s a fucking great guy. And he does everything he can. He´s both, sound engineer and tour manager. And he´s backliner. So he´s doing 3 men`s job, and he´s doing great.

T > Could you not clarify those things before the tour in the contract?

H > Yes, but the thing is, in the contract everyone was supposed to have a bed. So they`ve actually broken the contract. And there are several things that they have broken actually. So we´re not pleased. We`re gonna make sure that what the bands have actually payed for the tour, that they get some of the money back. Because they payed for a bed, you know, and several other things, they payed for it, too. So we have a little fight ahead I think. That is fucked up. But we`re lucky that there are only good people on the bus, we get along very well, so that keeps the spirit going.

T > Was it your choice to take a band from Israel along on this tour?

H > Actually they were the guys who started this whole thing, Azamoth. So thanks to them the tour is going. Because they contacted us and asked if we want to go on tour, they as a support act and Dark Fortress and Born Of Sin. So they started the whole thing and contacted Bruchstein. And then Bruchstein took over and made all the arrangements and stuff like that.

T > How do you like Azamoth´s music?

H > Well, they play old-style Black Metal. So it´s really raw and tough. But I like it. They´re doing the old-school kind of thing and they`re doing it quite well, so… they have a future. Especially in Israel where there are not that many bands yet, they play BM, so I think they`re gonna go far. At least in their own area.

T > I heared you badly cut your finger recently, exactly the most important finger that you need for playing guitar. Does it still cause problems?

H > No, it´s fine. It was just a bad flesh wound. But it´s healed.

T > Did you cut it while playing?

H > No, it was from work. I´m working as a demolition man. I´m tearing things down. I had to switch a blade, so I took off my gloves and I slipped and I cut finger. It didn´t get into the bone or something, but it was just in the area where I pushed this ring. So I pulled the piece of meat over the hole. So it did hurt a lot to record the solos for the album.

T > I just see you`re wearing a Necrophobic shirt. Are you friends with them?

H > I don`t know them personally, but we met at Party San Festival, and the other Lord Belial guys already met them some years ago, I think. They are really cool guys who play really really good music. So we traded some stuff. They got records from us and we got T-shirts and records from them. Yeah, it was a really great time at Party San. I like to support the bands that I like.

T > About the missing visitors on this tour again: what was the lowest number of people that came to one gig?

H > Actually I think the gig we did Thursday was the lowest number. There were like 15 people in the audience, but it were all the band members. It was only 4 people that payed a ticket and saw our concert. There were a little bit more when Dark Fortress played because they had friends there. They came to the show and then they left after Dark Fortress had played. It was in Vienna. Yeah, it wasn´t a great gig, but I mean there at least were 4 people who payed to see us, so you always have to try to do your best. But it´s of course tough. It´s tough, it´s really hard. That´s why it felt so good yesterday when actually came quite a lot of people and watched the show, headbanging… it was really cool.

T > Did moments like this  (when only 4 visitors came) or other moments ever make you want to give up the whole thing? You know, making you ask yourself “Why am I doing this!? Whom for!?”

H > You ask yourself that all the time with everything, but at the same time you know that when a moment comes and you have a lot of people standing there liking what you´re doing, then everything is great again. So you`re always searching for that moment. Of course, if it would be always like at this one gig, that there  was no people, then of course I would get tired of it. I think we will never give up MUSIC, but maybe you´ll change the style or the band or whatever. But I don´t feel like doing that right now. Because I think it´s going really well. And I like the guys. So I´ll stick with them.

T > How exactly did you get to the band? I mean, you were not there since the beginning.

H > No, no, I have been with Lord Belial now for 2 and a half years I think. And they asked me if I want to join. Because they`ve seen me perform. I knew them a little, because we´ve always met at parties sometimes because we live in the same town. But they`ve seen me perform with my other band Enthralled, and they liked what they saw. So they just asked me: “Do you wanna play with Lord Belial?” and I said: “Yeah, of course. I can give it a try.”

T > So you´re not another brother of the family, haha...

H > Haha, no, Micke and Thomas are brothers. And Anders is the cousin.

T > As Regain Records do not support us with promos, I couldn`t review your new album yet. So here and now is your chance to tell the readers of Sheol Magazine about your new album, why they should buy it.

H > Okay. Well, the „Nocturnal beast“ album is a natural development from the “The seal of Belial” album, but at the same time going back to a little harsher sound. And there`s no female vocals. It´s trying to create a feeling of the nocturnal hours. That`s what it is about, because all songs were written during the nocturnal hours. That´s where it´s gotten its name from and the feeling that it has. I think it´s a really great album because it puts you in a meditive state of mind actually when you listen to it. So check it out. The lyrics are about the usual stuff. It´s just fiction as usual. It´s always been fiction. So it´s about the nocturnal beast and beasts within and about the dark side, as always. And Thomas writes the lyrics.

T > The appearance of the band in the public (with all the adversory symbols) might cause the impression that some of you are satanists.

H > We´re against all religion actually.That`s the statement we make. Because we grew up in a christian country. It´s christianity that got the toughest beating. But then, as people always think “Purify Sweden” is a racist song, it´s just about that we hate all religions. No matter what.

T > You wear inverted crosses…

H > That`s actually not about religion. As Satanism is not a religion, but an –ism. And that`s a big difference. It´s just an idea, it´s a common thought. The inverted cross stands for that instead of believing in god, that you believe in yourself, or believe in doing what´s best for you. You don´t leave your faith in the hands of an unknown entity. It´s that you take your faith in your own hands. And that´s what also Belial stands for. Creativity and own thinking, you know. I don´t connect it to the devil, because that´s part of the christian belief. So Satanism was from the beginning just to mock christianity and its beliefs. Another way of living.

T > The seal „The unholy cult of Belial“, you said about it that it´s just symbolism. So what do you think about bands who don`t use it as symbolism only, but are also part of real luciferian groups who use the music to channel their beliefs?

H > It´s up to them. I don´t give a shit about it. People can think what they want about anything anyway. So if they wanna do it, they can do it. But I´m not gonna listen to it, because I have my own beliefs. But it´s fine. I´m not saying you´re stupid motherfuckers because you wanna spread your message. But I´m not personally into that at all with my music. I only want to create feelings with the music. So of course the lyrics have to follow the music to be in the same state, to be in the same dark place as the music, otherwise it wouldn´t fit.

T > Have you ever thought about doing a solo album?

H > Actually I´m thinking about starting up my own band „Enthralled“ and maybe that becomes a solo project, because I don´t know if the other members are still into it. And I was the one writing almost all of the music. So maybe I´ll start that up again and make it a solo project.

T > At Party San last year I remember you guys giving every fan exactly what he wanted, even that one boy who disturbed you for a photo while you were eating in the backstage area. Other bands would have told him to piss off, as this is a private area. But you didn´t…

H > Yeah, we´re doing a gig there to give them the Lord Belial stuff. So we should give them ALL of Lord Belial. We have a privacy at home or in a hotel room. But when we´re at the place where we play, then of course we give them what they want. Also for promotion and for always being there for the ones who  always wanna have all the Lord Belial stuff. But of course we only give them what we want to give them. Especially myself, I don´t realise that Lord Belial may be bigger than I think. We´re just ordinary guys playing music. So we think it´s just fun if somebody wants something from us. It´s like “Wow, cool. Somebody likes us”.

T > But where is the border concerning fan actions? When would you say “Stop! It´s going to far!” ?

H > I don´t know. We´re quite crazy ourselves, so… I can`t say it. But of course, you always have your private sphere. So if somebody comes to close, as long as it´s someone you don´t know, you don´t let him to close of course. But if it´s just a guy who wants to chat a little or have an autograph or whatever, or just talking about the gig or the music in general, of course … no problem!

T > Now to a little game. I tell you band names and you tell me in 3 or 4 words what comes to your mind first about them.

H > Okay.

T > Celtic Frost.

H > Oh, cult! Starters of an area! Cool band!

T > Cannibal Corpse.

H > Oh, excellent musicians, to long gigs…

T > To long?

H > Yeah, they play way to long. Death Metal gigs should be only 40 or 45 minutes at the most, because then it loses ist impact I think. It gets to much. Because it´s mot that impressive after that time, it gets to much. But Cannibal Corpse they are legendary. Great band.

T > Now it´s getting mean. Cradle of filth.

H > Yeah. I don´t know what to say. The only thing that I can say except that I don´t like the music at all, is that they are really good at what they`re doing, because they know what promotion is. They cash in the money. And that you have to give them credit for. I don´t think you should spit on them. But appearantly a lot of people do.

T > Finntroll.

H > It´s fun music. Kind of fun...

T > Vintersorg.

H > Actually I like some songs with them pretty much, because they have a spezial sound, I think. And sometimes they are really really brilliant.

T > Darkthrone.

H > Well, they are sticking to what they`re doing. They`re doing good I think, but it´s not a favourite band of mine because it doesn´t give me anything really. They are staying the same all the time.

T > Bathory.

H > Bathory. Quorthon… may he rest in peace. Actually I don´t have that much relationship with Bathory because for me they have never been that great or big as they have been for others. But I respect what he did. And the cool thing is that he always did very much in very small means. But I mean he couldn´t really sing. Some tones sounded really aweful. But Bathory will always be Bathory. Of course they were unique. They did a lot for the music scene. You have to respect them for that. As with many other bands that may not have been good when it comes to musicianship, but they opened up a new way in making music. I always had respect of that.  


Hjalmar in the tourbus before the gig in Munich, April 15,  2006:

(click HERE to see photos of the Munich gig)

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