Interview (2003) - after Beast of...

Attila Csihar is a legend in black metal circles. Some would say, he is even extreme metals definitive voice- or at least one of them. He has worked in/with such bands as Aborym, Emperor, Mayhem, and Tormentor. Southern Lord Recordings has recently released a true gem for extreme metal fans in "The Beast of..." The CD contains tons of rare and unreleased performances by Attila as well as an extensive pictorial look at his career. We caught up with Attila to talk past, present, and future and here's what he had to tell us....

How are you Attila?

Hello! Thanks, I'm ok.

Let's start with a brief overview of what projects you are currently involved in, if you don't mind?

Yes I play in more bands but all represent different styles! My main band is Aborym from Italy/Rome and we are playing quite futuristic Black Metal (a mixture of Black Metal, Industrial/Techno and Classical musics) - we have 3 albums already. And then there are the wing bands: SUNN O))) from U.S.A. is an extremely slow ambient Doom band with Steve O' Malley and Greg Anderson (Khanate, ex-Goatsnake, ex-Burning Whitch) where I do guest vox; Keep Of Kalessin (with Obsidian and Frost from Satyricon from Norway) is more like traditional but very fast and technical Black Metal - I dropped in just recently to record a 4 track ep called „Reclaim" which will be out pretty soon - i really injoy myself to play with such great musicians; Korog (is a weird blackened rock band from Hungary) it was needed to have a band while im here at home in Hungary so i joined them about 2 years ago for one album which's recording was just finished recently (its not sure where will it be out); and there is Professor Fate from the U.K. which is more for the future with Irrumator from Anaal Nathrakh - its some „groovie" weird dark experiment.

Also recently i liked to help out here or there with one-song-guest things - to push the U.G. scene a bit, like with Anaal Nathrakh (U.K. Necro-Black Metal), FINNUGOR (is a Finn/Hungarian Black metal), and with YCOSAHATERON (Italian extreme noise-industrial) ... 

Now you have been around forever and have been a part of not only the birth of Black Metal but also many changes in the genres short history. What was it like in those early days when Black Metal was beginning? Did you feel like you were a part of something that would grow to the point that it's at now?

VIn the beginning Black Metal was different. Bands like Venom and Bathory now sound like hard rock bands compare to some of today's bands, they were more like what we call "old school Black Metal" but in their time they were really f*ckin' extreme. Black Metal meant something which was cool, very strange weird and bizarre, extremely heavy music. By the beginning of the 90's it became something that frightened the people more. It was mystical and rare to find. Underground and almost unlegal. There were some underground organizations and some were really active. Some of us had to beware of the attacks by some religious sects.. e.g. in Norway they had to fight sometimes. e.g. I saw Euronymous shop called "Helvete" completely spray-painted and f*cked by some religious sects in the early 90's....Today there are many branches of Black Metal: e.g. old school-, necro-, symphonic-, brutal-, black/death-, industrial-... etc. are flags which are representing different kind of Black Metals.

The underground styled Black Metal definitely got stronger I think, thanks also to the modern communications. Of course its different. e.g. before there were only B/W flyers posted while today the same goes by the internet... Before it was very difficult to find or read something about some rare underground bands while today it could be just one click on the net.

In some ways Black Metal has be come much more creative but also much more commercial. How do you feel about bands like Emperor (RIP), Cradle of Filth, and Dimmu Borgir becoming such huge successes? Has it been good for the genre or do you feel that it has compromised it?

Well I like that the scene still exists and that's the most important. Some bands got very big.. then they stop or change.. while some are just very good.. and then come other new ones.. you know. I don't like to talk bullshit on any bands from the extreme scene since i still prefer most of them to the commercial crap.

Let's talk about the new CD "The Beast Of..." It was a great idea to put this all together, it's sort of like an autobiography of you! Who's idea was it to do the album? Had you ever entertained the idea of doing this before?

I've been playing extreme music since '86, when we formed our first band called Tormentor. Over the years i played in many bands and this compilation was made to let the people to hear a little bit about the more interesting and rare ones. This compilation contains only unreleased versions of the songs what I have collected - but have not released - from the lats 15 years. We were playing underground music so these recordings are in different soundings, some are just demo recordings or from strange experiments while others are remastered excerpts from already released albums. For example the Aborym tracks are re-masters and the Tormentor tracks are from the original unreleased master tape while the Mayhem ones are from a compact cassette, there is a live track from Plasma Pool and some interesting side experiments.. so all the recordings have their own story. All the tracks are from different periods and from different moods.  I had the idea to do a compilation since 2001, so I started to sort the things out slowly already by that time. I was in contact with other labels too but finally Southern Lord was the more interested and sympathetic. The artwork was done by Steve O Malley who is actually doing art works for the Southern Lord releases. For the front cover we used a picture from the first Tormentor photo sessions from '87. The CD contains a booklet with some info about the tracks and the bands, plus like a hundred small photos from my story.

Here is the track list:
Aborym: Out Of Shell (2002 remast.), Plasma Pool: Chanceless Religion (1992 live), Tormentor: Heaven (1988 remast.), Korog: Worshipping of current (2002 demo), Anaal Nathrakh: Atavism (2002 remix), Mayhem: Cursed For eternity (1993 rough mix), Plasma Pool: Story of Flying (1992 demo), Professor Fate: Ghost dance (2002 demo), Limbonic Art: Serpently Inspired (Spontaneous Jamming, 2001), Emperor: Funeral Fog (1999 remast.), Plasma Pool: False the Saints (1992 demo), Aborym: Here Is No God (2000 remix), Mayhem: Freezin' Moon (1993 roughmix), Tormentor: Trance (1988 remast.), Sunn O))): Decay - the Symptoms Of Kali Yuga (2002 mp3 format)

All together about 88 minutes!

Did you compile the songs yourself or did the label choose which songs would best suit the record?

I chose the more interesting tracks and then I went down to my friends studio, to put together the final result.. Usually I'm working with Gyik in his Studio here for the mastering. As I mentioned it was a longer process. First we made the re-masters and mixes then we took care of the final order of the tracks and of course the soundscape. Finally it turned out also pretty long but I think it's a cool album.

Do you have a favorite performance on the album?

I like all of them for different reasons: Tormentor was one of the bests in the 80's, Plasma Pool was incredible feeling to play live. It was a great honor to play with Mayhem then to do a cover with Emperor, and was blackened fun with Limbonic Art and Anaal Nathrakh. Professor Fate and Korog are some wing things for the future.. all have different meanings to me. I like to experiment in different fields too.. Lets pick out the SUNN O))) track for example cause I really like it (its is in mp3 format on the CD)!

Do you have a particular performance (with any band past or present) that you think is your best vocal performance?

Usually I'm in love with what I'm doing. So it's hard to define, but definitely by the time it turns out which performances were the betters. So far maybe I could mention Aborym 2nd LP "Fire Walk With Us", it was a very cool album to me.

You have covered some different styles of music in your career. Have you ever grown weary of Black Metal and just wanted to make an acoustic album or something?

Sure I'm not playing only Black Metal. E.G. there was my band called Plasma Pool played pure electro music in the early 90's. Nowadays also SUNN O))), Professor Fate and Korog are in different styles from Black Metal. To do some acoustic album would be a very nice idea! If I will find some good and sympathetic musicians and have the possibility maybe we will do an album like that. I'm interested..

Who are some of the artists out right now that you feel are worth paying attention to?

Beside Black (or extreme) Metal I like to listen many kind of music sometimes from classical through old progressives, hard rocks, new waves, E.B.M., electro-technos,..etc. but not all, only the cool songs! Anyway I don't like and almost never listen blues, jazz, rap, funky, ..!

Some Cool bands to me: Mayhem, Emperor, Arcturus, Necrophagia, Carpathian Forest,... Deicide, Mithras, Nile,... Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, Delirium, Evils Toy, Assembly23, Apoptygma B., .. Swans, Current 93, Death In june,MZ412.... Gigafo, Tir Na Nog,... etc. 

What's up for you next?

Of course I'm still playing music and nowdays I wanna start a new label called Saturnus Productions (www.saturnusproductions.com) to make available or re-release some of our old recordings which are not more available officially. E.G. Tormentor „Anno Domini" from the original master, Plasma Pool live stuffs, ..also I have some different unreleased versions of some songs from Mayhem and actually i wanna start with them. Also there will be free downloads and mail-order stuffs, t-shirts..etc. on the website. Recently we made a couple of new recordings so im more into playing live for the next period. 

With Aborym we represent futuristic Black Metal and now we will play live again finally, our next gig will be in London „Slim Light Club" which place seems to fit very well to our style. Anyway for the next year we had some plans to do a Professor Fate debut album and another plan was called „Born To Murder This World" with Shane from Napalm Death, Irrumator from Anaal Nathrakh/Frost/Mistress/ProfessorFate, and Necrobutcher from Mayhem. We will see how it will going..

Parting thoughts?

Partying thoughts! Thanks for the questions, and See you from the stage!

I lost link to original. Sorry.

Back to interviews

© Bubak; bubak(at)irongatenet(dot)net
Since: 2006