This interview has been included as Dani is the interviewer. Becoming as he said above a journalist. Dani is no stranger where Emperor is concerned. Not only has his band toured with the Norwegian four-piece, but he's also an avid fan of their atmospheric music. Dani interviews Samoth, but not without keeping an eye on his lighter!

It has been five years since we first meet. Can you explain what has happened to Emperor in the interim?

SAMOTH: "Quite also actually. When we were here in 93 it was the first time we had ever played live properly, as we d had no live experience whatsoever. After The Nightside In Eclipse, things kind of took off and all that shit was happening in Norway."

Do you think all the activity in Norway helped you?

SAMOTH: "We got some extra attention because of it, but even if that hadn't happened we would still be recognised for our music today - not as being some loonies from Norway."

Do you still keep in contact with Bard?

SAMOTH: "I have been in contact with him the whole time. I have been to see him two or three times in prison and he is getting his leaves now, so he can come home for the weekend."

In Norway the laws are quite loose. Bard is a murderer and murderers are allowed home leave during certain parts of their sentence. This is unheard of in England.

SAMOTH: "In Norway you get sentenced to a certain amount of years which you serve in three parts. You can apply for leave after serving one third. So if you behave you get the leave. Grishnakh doesn't get leave as he doesn t behave."

Does Faust think the murder was the price he`s had to pay?

SAMOTH: "Well, he has ruined ten years of his life, and if he hadn't been arrested he would still be in Emperor and have a future with us. he told me he was so glad he played on In The Nightside Eclipse because he feels at least he did something. He doesn't go around regretting it, it just makes everyday life harder if you go around regretting what you have done."

What was it like being in prison?

SAMOTH: "You're put into a box and forced to live by certain rules for a certain period. You don t have to work or go to school, you just sleep and watch TV all day. You have to be up at 7am and some times you had to go for a urine test to see if you are on drugs. It is totally boring and totally meaningless. But now I am back to living an ordinary life again."

Editor: Why did you have to burn down a church to prove a point?

SAMOTH: "It felt right at the time. It was an extreme statement not a religious one."

DANI: "People are always say why did you do Jesus is a C**t? but who do you attack? Jesus and Christianity is the most accepted form of Western doctrine."

SAMOTH: "It has become the average way of living."

DANI: "You could be born in the scummiest city and burgle cars, but Jesus would still be a part of your life. Look at all the rap artists born in Brooklyn who say they re born to nothing but still wear crosses and they won`t go against Christ, even though it is just a word, even thought they go against the police force, their country, and black and white people. He s not even a real person, just a dogma."

SAMOTH: "I probably despise society in general rather than Christianity. People should concentrate on their individuality."

How far have you come since the Wrath Of The Tyrant EP in terms of maturity?

SAMOTH: "Pretty far. We ve had our fair share of trouble and that made us work harder with what we do. Anthems... is a much more aggressive album than In The Nightside Eclipse because of all the struggle we had to make the fucking album. We had a horrid label manager, I was in prison for 16 months and we didn t find a drummer."

Some people have remarked that Emperor don t do enough for the scene in terms of violence, but look what you are doing now through the music and the message of the music.

SAMOTH: "Music has always been the main thing. I d rather make music the rest of my life than sit in a prison cell for the rest of my life just to please a few stupid people."

What is the scene like in Norway?

SAMOTH: "It is purely about music. There is nothing else going on. People are discovering this thing a couple of years later and thinking that this is what they have to do to be true black metal. These people are just pure idiots."

It is a strong scene which has made tidal waves across the world. You recently played Milwaukee Metalfest, but did your arson record make it difficult to get into America?

SAMOTH: "No, we flew into Chicago. There were some problems but nothing about the criminal record. it was about, Are you going to play a gig? , permission to work, visas and that kind of thing..."

People say that we have sold out because we are selling records. But my argument has been, well, I don t have to work a second job to make money to do a band...

SAMOTH: "I do this for a living and it s my job. It`s what I have striven for my whole life. I have accomplished that and I don t consider it to be selling out."

Is there any truth in the rumour that the new Emperor material is more experimental, more mainstream?

SAMOTH: "I would not call it mainstream at all. There s some material that I have been writing which is death metal. I am getting more into death metal again. Black metal for some people is purely Satanic, all shrieking with fast guitars, but a black metal band should have a dark foundation. I don t think it has to be Satanic but is should be a dark thing."

Is Ihsahn using more clean vocals?

SAMOTH: "He is using more anthems as before, but on the new LP I think we re going to experiment a bit more. We don`t have a limit to what we do. We play extreme metal and that is what we do. A lot of people we disappointed after Nightside... thinking Anthems... should have sounded a bit more like Nightside... It s silly to try and make an album which sounds like another one. We`re booked into the studio for October and plan to stay there for two or three months."

Having read the book Lords Of Chaos, I found it very sensationalist and targeted towards an American audience. When you were interviewed, you expressed a disgust about black metal hype. Did you feel at ease being in that book?

SAMOTH: "I felt that if I didn t say something it would have been left to people like Count Grishnackh to explain."

There has been no other metal movement which has drawn so much attention to itself, and at the same time been so nationalistic. Where does all this Viking stuff come from, as it was so long ago?

SAMOTH: "It s part of out heritage."

Why is it so relevant to young people?

SAMOTH: "I don t know. They find attractive. I am not following Viking mythology as a way of life but I know what was going on Norway 1000 years ago and I find it fascinating. Everybody should have a pride in their own country. It s not political or racial as I think that s very bad. Being a nationalist shouldn`t be looked upon negatively."

TRYM: "Usually if people hear that you are a nationalist they think you are a racist but that is not true."

There is also this idea of propagating the Aryan race...

SAMOTH: "Once again I will leave Grishnackh to his fantasies. He is not in the black metal scene. He fucking hates black metal and he hates Emperor and he hates all the Norwegian black metal bands, he would like to see us all wiped out. As for his Aryan theories, he can have them by himself."

So you re not homophobic?

SAMOTH: "It doesn t bother me."

Does music move you as much as it did ten years ago?

SAMOTH: "No not at all. I have heard everything now."

TRYM: "It s not like the first time you ever heard Kiss."

SAMOTH: "Kids today are not discovering Iron Maiden, Kiss, WASP. They re discovering extreme metal bands."

TRYM: "If people could have that same feeling about our music it would be great."

Bands like Emperor are atmospheric, but are broader that just straight ahead metal. You get letters from fans saying that they`ve read the lyrics and seen the artwork which has inspired them to go onto other things.

SAMOTH: "If you compare a band like Cannibal Corpse who are brutal music, with Emperor, who are also extreme music, you ll find we offer a broader horizon from which people can get a vision of many things. We see our music as artistic expression rather that just playing brutal music."

Is image still important?

SAMOTH: "We don t really use the proper corpse paint and we don t dress up in baseball caps either. But of course we have an image, it s important that you have everything - music, lyrics and imagery all have a connection and everything is a whole."

The fact that you haven t toured here extensively has added to your mystique. Is that deliberate?

SAMOTH: "Not really. The fact is we had such a huge line-up problem for a while that we weren t able to play live. We played four shows here in 93 with Cradle Of Filth and we didn t play live until 97. That was all due to problems with the line-up. Touring has never been Emperor`s main priority. We ll never be a band that goes on tour for five or six months."

Editor: What do you think about that Dani? Cradle Of Filth never used to tour that much either. Do you think that that added to COF`s mystique?

DANI: "It goes for any band. This whole Lords Of Chaos thing is going to add mystique in America. It s like looking for God, if people can t see you. People are always looking for an answer to death and an answer to the afterlife. But because people can`t find it, it will always be mysterious. If it was plainly laid out, and some one discovered the mathamatic answer to death, it would lose all its mystery, and religion in particular would become obsolete. It would be a bad thing if religion became obsolete as people like us would have nothing to keep our fire alive."

Why is Christianity within the Norwegian music scene such an issue? Why can't you just get on with what you want to do and ignore religion?

SAMOTH: "For me, Christianity isn`t such a big threat. In Norway, Christians never bother me."

What point of that belief are you really opposed to?

SAMOTH: It s obvious. I find Christianity to be an enslaving religion, with the rules people have to follow and there`s no room for individual freedom. Muslim religion is more of a threat than Christianity, it`s the most enslaving religion ever. I don t understand why average people can`t see that religion is a very bad thing."

Where you brought up with religion?

SAMOTH: "No. Both my parents are artists who embroidered carpets. I had a really free childhood and I was allowed to do pretty much what I wanted to do."

Did you listen to much music when you were growing up?

SAMOTH: "My father was a musician as well, so I was brought up with it. I always wanted to be a musician. My hero was Blackie Lawless when I was growing up. His vocals are fucking amazing."

My family know what I am today and they don`t care. How did your family feel when it became public knowledge that you had been burning churches?

SAMOTH: "When I had to go to prison, obviously it affected them. They were a bit disappointed, but they supported me throughout the affair. They`re really proud of the music I am doing. Some people just look at me and think: "He burnt a church", that s the only thing they see. I had people coming to Norway knocking on my door and expecting to see me sleeping in a coffin. When I come to the door and I am completely normal it gives them a bit of a shock. This thing with Satanism is that people is that people think , because you are into it, you must be a bad person who does bad things and behaves badly. But I do not think that s the concept of it."

Do you listen to current metal?

SAMOTH: "The album that has impressed me the most this year is Strapping Young Lads` City. It s really extreme. I also like Ocean Machine, but my all-time favourites are Bathory, Slayer, WASP and Morbid Angel."

Do you think music is a powerful medium for conveying messages?

SAMOTH: "Definitely. The concept of Emperor`s lyrics is like a longing for something, for something great combined with the emotion of classical music."