Satyricon concluded 2019 with celebrating the 20th Anniversary of 1999’s Rebel Extravaganza as they released a reissue on December 13th via Napalm Records (order here). We spoke to drummer Frost on the reissue, difficulties in touring in the U.S, censorship, and looking ahead.
What convinced you to release the reissue of Rebel Extravaganza?
Well, there’s 20 years that has passed. That’s one thing and we did the 20 years anniversary for Nemesis Divina. We had no specific plans of doing the same with Rebel Extravaganza, but there was a demand for it, and it was requested by so many fans, journalists, record industry people, and others. Then we thought, well, it’s very pleasing for us, that so many people care so much about the album. It seems to mean a lot for many different people from different environments. It’s a special album to us as well. Even if you aren’t into retrospectives in any way, there’s nothing wrong about honoring the legacy of an important album when it’s 20 years old, and there’s such an interest for it still. It seems to be an album that not only has made a deep impact on many people, but it has had a huge influence. We thought why not pay some respect to the legacy of the album. Put it back into the limelight and do a ratio, and also perform some of the Rebel songs, and shows. We decided to do it and feel happy about it.
Looking back, how have you guys evolved within the last 20 years?
I think that we have evolved according to what is natural to us. Evolution is an important principle. We have always meant that whenever we make a new album, it should be something very different from anything we have done before. It should show development, improvement, and evolution. As we are musicians, try to observe and learn in order to become better. We will always try to search and feel to explore musically to go further. It’s just natural for us to have a continuous evolution going on. I think that our albums, they showed just that. They show a bond that doesn’t stop to learn, that doesn’t stop to evolve, that still cares a lot about the bond, and still has a passion for music in general and for black metal in particular.
Since your final US tour, there have been a growing number of bands that can’t tour in the United States because of visa issues and other reasons. I wanted to ask, have any bands reach out to you on your decision to no longer tour in the States?
I guess there are many bands and I found this to be rather a troublesome team to go to the States, because it can seem almost like a policy to make it really, really difficult. It’s so much of a hassle. There’s so much bureaucracy and paperwork involved. There’s a lot of uncertainty, and it takes so much time and steals resources from the ban. It takes the fun out of touring to encounter that sort of thing and perhaps we are not the only band that have experienced that situation. I guess there are more and more of them and it also seems like we have gotten into a situation where people sold out shows in other countries and still denied access. That’s no fun at all. That’s something that makes touring even less fun when you have to go through that kind of humiliating situations. It was great to go to the US and tour. We plan to return to the US again, but not to do any club tours, but we think to do some one off show. The story of small clubs in the US is not over, even if we have had some difficulties.. So that’s probably going to happen again, but we wont do more of the club tours there, we feel that’s a finished chapter now.
What are your thoughts on censoring art and music?
I think that the only rational thought you can have is to be against censorship of artistic expression. To me, it feels on the verge of being fanatical or insane or irrational to think otherwise. I thought that it was today in our informed and advanced society, more or less generally understood that you cannot censor expressions and meaning, and you cannot censor art. You are supposed to be able to express yourself. In our society, there is conflict with us in terms of values and how society is being run. So one thing to have someone censor artistic expression here doesn’t make sense to me. If you take black metal as an example, I think it’s a unique art form, with something that cannot be found in any other types of expression. And for that in itself, it has a particular value and it’s a body of protection. We also know that for many people it’s held in high regard. It’s inspirational; it’s motivating. It’s something that has artistic value, something that has spiritual value. It’s something that to certain people to uplift the soul, and to other people it’s something that stimulates them and gives them energy. And to lots of other people it’s simply contributes with great musical experiences. And to say that any such thing is wrong makes no sense, does it?
No, it doesn’t. No, it’s true and it’s sad that this is happening, and people should be able to express themselves, artistically.
Whether it’s unconventional or not; whether it’s extreme or not; whether it’s dark and filled with grim and horror or whether it’s something completely different, but doesn’t really matter because different people feel differently about all of those things. And what is despicable in the eyes and ears of one person, could be highly stimulating and meaningful in a positive sense to someone else. And you’re not supposed to even question people’s experiences and meanings when it comes to that sort of thing. So again, censorship sounds completely backwards and completely wrong and I thought it was just something that we had learned as a society that we cannot have.
What plans do you have for 2020?
We have a rather interesting project coming up, I can tell you. I don’t know exactly where he (Satyr) wants to go. He has given me some hints, he has given me some specific information, but the fact that this is unsound, and what’s going to end up like, I don’t know. I think he wants to keep a few of those ideas to himself, because he wants to manifest a little more. I know enough to understand that he has ambitious. It’s been very exciting to see what is coming out and I know it’s going to end up being at least the new album or two possibly something else, also related to the same musical project. It will probably go on through 2020 into 2021, and perhaps even further. But just like we did 20 years ago, we’re going to do something very, very different from anything we’ve done before.
is there anything else you want to say or add to your fans?
I hope to have magical meetings with people when we’re on stage, and apart from that, I guess we have been through the most important things.