Interview partner: Maniac (vocals, bass, guitar)
Questions by: Claudia
Time: December 20, 2007
Place: Salzburg, Austria "The cave" club/ before the show

Claudia: What do you think about the club here? Did you really expect a cave when you heard ‘Cave Club’?

Maniac: No, not really. But actually there’s a place in Norway, that is almost the same.

Claudia: What is the place in Norway called?

Maniac: ‘Hulen’ in Bergen. It’s inside of a mountain.

Claudia: Is it that place, where Gorgoroth made their video-clip?

Maniac: Yeah.

Claudia: This is one of the last gigs on this tour. Are you happy to go home again or would you like to play more live gigs?

Maniac: Both I guess. I mean I could play many more shows, but it’ll also be good to come home. But we’ll have to spend Christmas Eve in Amsterdam. We couldn’t get tickets for the plane. So I, Niklas, the merch girl and Spacebrain are staying in Amsterdam on Christmas Eve.

Claudia: What are you doing there on Christmas Eve? I think everything is closed and all people are at home with their families…

Maniac (laughing): We’re getting really drunk there!

Claudia: Niklas of Shining is also playing in Skitliv. How did you get together?

Maniac: We live together actually.

Claudia: He’s living in Norway?

Maniac: Yes, and when we first met many years ago we hated each other. We couldn’t stand each other, we really hated each other. But then he moved to Oslo and now we’re the best friends in the fucking world. We live together in the same apartment. And he’s a very important piece of Skitliv, he’s really important.

Claudia: Who else is playing in the band?

Maniac: It’s Spacebrain on bass, Wedebrand on drums – he used to play in Shining before – and Ingvar on guitar.

Claudia: Are these members also playing in other bands?

Maniac: Of course Niklas is playing in Shining, the other members are not playing in other bands. 

Claudia: When will your album be released?

Maniac: We will record it in February. I guess when I come home now first I will go to Japan in January and I will stay there for fourteen days to visit my girl-friend. When I come back home then we’ll record the album in February. I have still not signed a record contract, but I think it will be signed when I come back home. We have offers from different companies, but I think it will be an English one. 

Claudia: Have you any material out now?

Maniac: Yes, we have a mini-CD out. It’s called ‘Kristiansen and Kvarforth swim in the sea of equilibrium while waiting …’ We just recorded two songs before the tour and we had to do it ourselves so it’s just a CD-R. But it will also be a single out on Cold Spring Records with one more song and they will also release some of the songs that we did live in London. Hopefully that will be out quite soon. But I think, if we record the album in February than probably that one will be out in April or May. Me and Niklas have most of the material ready, so it will be six or seven songs, because the songs are so fucking long. The more we play the longer the songs get.

Claudia: What are the songs about? 

Maniac: Oh my god! I was in London for three weeks and I wrote all the lyrics there, and they are so long – it’s like a fucking book. They are really long it’s gonna be hard to remember them live. I think it’s a mix of nihilism and misanthropy, but also actually some of the titles are inspired by ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. They’re called like ‘World’s end’ and ‘Set sail’ and stuff like that. So it’s very difficult to explain what they’re about, because it’s like a mix of philosophy and really strange religions.

Claudia: Will the lyrics be in the CD-booklet?

Maniac (laughing): Yeah, the booklet will be very big.

Claudia: I saw photos of you wearing a pink jacket with cartoon animals. Is that jacket part of your live-outfit or was it just a gag?

Maniac: No, I used it a lot, because I don’t care about make-up and all that shit anymore. It’s just a part of the music actually to fuck up people’s minds.

Claudia: Where did you get it? Normally it’s for children I think. 

Maniac (laughing): It’s from the merch girl!

Claudia: You were on tour with Gallhammer a few months ago. Why did you play only one gig in Germany?

Maniac: I don’t know really, because the promoter just set up six shows. Gallhammer were doing maybe twelve shows or something. I don’t know why we didn’t play more shows, but actually the show in Berlin was very good. Now I think we’re doing about six shows in Germany.

Claudia: What do you think about Gallhammer or women in the Black Metal scene in general?

Maniac: I don’t consider Gallhammer as a Black Metal band. They’re so much more than a Black Metal band. They have inspirations from Joy Division, Industrial, Crust, whatever.
I think the Black Metal scene has become very – how should I say this – very strange in many ways. Now it has become so big, a lot of stuff is considered as Black Metal, which I think it’s not Black Metal. I mean Skitliv is not a Black Metal Band. For me the last really, really, really good Black Metal album that came out was ‘Filosofem’ of Burzum, and that was many years ago. We have of course a lot of inspiration from Black Metal, but there’s so much more as well like from the Industrial scene and everything. 

Claudia: Do you regret the fact not to be in Mayhem anymore?

Maniac: No, I’m very happy I’m not a member of Mayhem anymore. Thirteen years in hell!

Claudia: Really? Was it that bad?

Maniac: No, no, sometimes I miss playing in Mayhem of course, but I do not regret it. Now I can do whatever I want to. Playing in Mayhem was very good, but in the end it was really fucked up. I mean we basically hated each other so we couldn’t really go on.

Claudia: What do you think about the latest Mayhem album ‘Ordo ad chao’?

Maniac: It’s very good. I love it. It has some really great vocals and it’s a really good album. It’s very dark – maybe the only thing I don’t really like are some parts of the sound. It sounds like it’s recorded inside a fucking oil tank or something. But I really love the album. And Blasphemer is just getting better and better on doing songs, but still I don’t miss playing in Mayhem.

Claudia: I was at the famous Mayhem gig in Bischofswerda in 1997 where you were cutting your chest and your throat. Are you still doing something like that on stage?

Maniac: No. I think when people started to expect it and coming to the Mayhem shows just because of that than you just quit doing it, because it was never a plan of the stage show, you never plan to do that. And I think it’s the same with Kvarforth. When people start to expect it, you just don’t do it anymore, because then people come only to watch that. Shining and Skitliv is so much more than that. Kvarforth is probably the best musician I’ve ever worked with. I can’t say, that it will never happen again, but it’s not something that you plan.

Claudia: On photos you’re often sitting in a room with Christian crosses on the wall or you’re having Christian symbols around you. Do you believe in God?

Maniac: No. Those are pictures from my own home. Everyone who comes there is really stunned, because there are Christian crosses and icons everywhere. But no, I don’t believe in God. I believe in: Know your enemy. I know a lot about Christianity, but also other religions, but if you really wanna know how society works, you have to be aware of how everything works. Christianity might be washed out now, but it’s still such a huge part of western civilisation. Like every modern rule and everything comes from Christianity. I think I read the bible maybe ten times just to know all about it. And I also read the Koran and stuff like that. But no, I’m not a Christian, I just like to have myself surrounded by my enemies. To quote Nietzsche: There’s only been one true Christian and he died on the cross.

Claudia: There are many pictures with German subtitles on your myspace-site. Some of the words are spelled really funny! Do you speak German? 

Maniac: No, I speak a little German. But if there’s something grammatically wrong it’s his fault (Maniac pointing at Spacebrain), because he is German, but he can’t write German. He’s been living in Norway for too long, but he’s actually German.

Claudia: In Mayhem you were only the singer, now in Skitliv you play also guitar. What du you prefer on stage?

Maniac: Both actually. I mostly make noise on stage with my guitar now, but I have to play the guitar, because I make the songs and then Kvarforth develops them. But I really enjoy having a guitar on stage to make a shit lot of noise. But tonight I will play the bass.

Claudia: You have many tattoos on your body. Would you please explain the meaning of a few of them?

Maniac (showing his arms):  Where do you wanna start? … Everything is shit … this is Christian, it’s from a prayer: ‘Holy mother of God pray for our sinners now and in that hour of our death’ … ‘Alle Idole müssen sterben’ from Nietzsche … ‘Killing not to win, but to ensure a loss’ … let’s see, this is Japanese and it says: I’m a drug addict … this means ‘guilty’ in Japanese …this one is my favourite ‘I love Meg White’ she’s the best drummer in the world …I have the name of my girl-friend here …and here’s the best one: (Maniac is showing his right leg with Kvarforth’s name on it) He’s got my name! (Niklas is showing his leg with Maniac’s name tattooed on it) We are in love! ;-)

Claudia: O. K. that’s all, I wish you good luck for the show tonight.

Maniac: Thank you!

Maniac on stage:


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