Blasphemer – Making a Band

Part 2 Interview

Orwellian fury

– Mezzerschmitt should be heard with the heart. “Weltherrshaft” is very straight forward, there is no musical finesse here. The record has to be played high, to feel sucked and sink into the hateful flow of mold. Technical analysis of the music is a waste of time, he notes.

So, this is not the record you made to show how good you are?

– No, this is the record that shows how angry I am.

Blasphemer will not go into detail about the incident that triggered the rage – in the form of Mezzerschitt – it gets too personal:

– I can say as much as I was subjected to an abuse by law enforcement, which put me in the box as a “dangerous person”. This made me so extremely pissed that I had to get it out somehow. This came at the peak of a period when I was struggling incredibly hard: I was constantly on the dope and fill, and had no base or harbor, I was just floating around in a team parallel world. Then this came on top. I got an incredibly nasty, it was an Orwellian 1984 feeling, and was furious.

This also changed what was to become Mezzerschmitt’s expression:

The plan was to make something cold and mechanical, but when things culminated around Christmas time last year, I had to start with fast black metal, in order to get the science out. I had intended to use samples from both sides of World War II and Vietnam to illustrate the war’s inner struggles, but knocked it out because it could easily be disruptive to what I wanted. This has become a very personal record and should not be compared to the material I wrote for Mayhem. People can say “the songs aren’t so good” as much as they want, but for me it was better to make this record than to talk to a psychiatrist who doesn’t even have a clue about himself. This work has helped me tremendously.

Do we feel better now then?

– Yes, this has worked as a purification process, it was liberating to sing with so much hatred. Therefore, it is also hopeless to polish this material afterwards. In order to bring out the barbaric and immediate in the rage, much – including the whole first song – was completely improvised. I went into the studio with one basic riff in my head, the rest ran out of me there and then.

Catharsis and Demon Gulping

Blasphemer says that the whole process of Mezzerschmitt worked as a kind of slow catharsis, where he got more and more hatred the further into the music he came. Eventually, he also got help designing what was to become a very visual concept. Photographer Sandra Jensen, who is perhaps best known for portraying strong, dominant women in quirky settings, took care of photography and styling. Gay clothing designer Baron Von Bulldog created the old-new costumes, which with their clear parallels to Hitler-Germany, are well suited to cast a crowd in the same way as the music.

I had a lot of cleaning up to do, I also got hooked on gambling and if I wasn’t playing in the casinos to then spend my winnings, I was then playing online. I loved playing live poker against people and that buzz of winning was addictive. I would blow money on other games like slots, blackjack and craps. But I did have some success on online poker, I think the system or machines the casinos use were busted as I once scooped a $20,000 win from the game. So, yeah, casino gaming was something that needed to stop before playing became even more out of control. One of the games online actually influenced the opening tracks.

The first song begins with sirens and an angry guitar riff that sounds like a repetitive series of machine gun elves. From there, the soundscape transforms into a simpler and more mechanical version of the kind of black metal one would expect from a Mayhem guitarist with a lot of trapped rage and bad time. “Weltherrshafft” is a journey through a post-apocalyptic landscape where everything is rolled to pieces during belt-driven war mastodonts. Although the vocals often fade a little far into the background, and you can’t find the big musical crumbs to frolic in, the record does well on clean, brutal moves and fimbulwinter cold chills. If this sounds beautiful in one way or another, you will probably like the plate, even if it occasionally goes into direct vapor. One should be quite blabbered if the combination of music and packaging does not make an impression on one level or another.

– When I got rid of the last shelf of the last song, it was like chasing a demon. I was in a sort of trance state during the entire work on this record, so I also chose to use another pseudonym, namely Mr. Schmitt.

Who is – or was – this figure?

– Mr. Schmitt is an old, old man. In his mental universe he is the “dictator”, those under him (the band, ed. Notes) have military degrees, and act as his troops.

What are they marching towards?

They seek total control in all areas, but they are not “there” yet. The EP illustrates the invasion and destruction driven by an overwhelming anger and hatred – the first four steps (the songs, ed. Note) against the world domination. Mr Scmitt has the big brother’s claws in his back – and in the process of getting rid of his rage over this and creating a balance – he himself becomes an abuser of far more cruel blackness.

So here we talk about the proverbial Nemesis effect – on speed?

You can say that. Mezzerschmitt is about extremes against extremities – and that by treading the wrong person on the toes – can trigger a pure hell.

Extreme effects

This alone would hardly have been enough to provoke a religious social studies teacher. Mezzerscmitt’s juicy provocative potential lies in the use of power:

Besides being named after Hitler-Germany’s most feared fighter aircraft (written in archetypal Gothic letters), a laurel wreath – similar to the one found on Heinrich Himmler’s SS uniform – adorns the front cover, patched over something resembling a diffuse malt cross. If you additionally call the record “Weltherrschaft” world domination – and roar in German about war and death, you ask for brawl.

Don’t you think it’s cheap to capitalize on the world’s most notorious genocide and the suffering of millions because someone’s been bad to you? Do you understand that people get angry?

I understand that, but this is no tribute to Hitler Germany or Nazism. I’m not provoking to provoke. That being said: Had I ever seen this record in a store, I would have hardly excited myself further about it.

Aren’t you emotionally blunt then?

– I have no relation to it that way, because I see all this from a different perspective. Yes, there are strong symbols, but nothing more detestable than Chernobyl children on glass, who in some circles were seen as art or social criticism. One of the goals of art must be to break boundaries. With Mezzerschmitt I do not relate to the political aspect, but rather to the artistic. It is the systems within the human being that are subjected to abuse, and the structures that are built up mentally that are interesting to me – not the external ones.

So what goes on in the head of Mr. Schmtt is a kind of demonic cocktail of The Wall and Alice in Wonderland?

– You can say that.

Was the use of all the parallels to Hitler-Germany an easy choice when finding suitable tools?

– The pieces fell into place one by one. I had to find something people could relate to with fear and disgust. It certainly wasn’t meant to be a “cheap” point. When I began to write the lyrics in English, it gradually became natural to sing in German. I don’t understand why no black metal band sings in this language that sounds so mechanical and lifeless. It should last perfectly! The German was at least perfect for my message, even Christmas songs in German sound sadistic!

When it was in place, the rest of the puzzle wasn’t difficult either, says Blasphemer. Thus, the whole was in place, and life could begin, for this necessarily had to be broken.