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Interviews : Watain – Wolves among sheep (An interview with Erik Danielsson)

By on January 26, 2012

Watain – Erik Danielsson

After years of anticipation and despite the failed Soundwave Revolution festival that was meant to take place in September last year, WATAIN are finally heading to Australian shores in March for this year’s Soundwave Festival.

Metal Obsession’s, Megan Masters had the opportunity to speak with vocalist Erik Danielsson and discuss the upcoming Australian tour.

Metal Obsession: Are you looking forward to the Australian tour?

Erik Danielsson: I’m supposed to say “yes”, right?

MO: You can be honest…

ED: It’s going to be good. It’s going to be great to finally get our asses to Australia. It has been talked about for years and finally we’re able to. I’m a bit skeptical towards the circumstances but… what the hell. We see it as a challenge. We see the whole Soundwave thing is by far the most weird thing we have done in regards to the line-up. We’re going to be the black sheep of the family, that’s for sure.

MO: You have named the upcoming tour “Wolves among Sheep”. What is the general concept behind the title?

ED: It’s a very straightforward interpretation of our place in the Soundwave line-up. Watain has always been like a wolf, and we’re the pack of wolves amongst the sheep.

MO: I had the opportunity of seeing Watain live in Stockholm in November last year, can the Australian audiences expect a similar show?

ED: Yes. It’s going to be similar. We are taking all our stage props over, about a tonne of stuff, and I hope that it passes through quarantine in time, from all the blood and other stuff that we‘ve used on stage.

MO: It’s a precaution by Australian Customs to keep certain livestock diseases out of Australia.

ED: I guess the amount of diseases is pretty vast, so it’s probably a good idea. But they’re not able to keep us out, that’s at least one thing.

MO: Has Watain experienced any antagonism from religious groups in Australia in anticipation of the tour?

ED: No, not that I know of but I don’t keep track of the outside world these days. I do my best not to, at least. But if they want to come, they’re much welcome. I love to meet my enemy, that’s for sure.

MO: Will Watain be playing any side shows?

ED: No, unfortunately that went down the drain. We were going to during the Soundwave Revolution festival in September 2011, but that was cancelled and we got moved to this one. It was just too much of a clusterfuck to have it arranged. So we will have some days off between shows which is pretty cool, because we have a bunch of other stuff to do in Australia.

MO: On that note, is there a possibility of Watain playing their own headlining tour of Australia at a later date?

ED: Absolutely. That’s part of the main purpose with this tour, to actually go there and test the grounds, and then we can decide on what scale to bring it back. It also feels a bit weird now, because we have so many diehard fans from Australia for all these years who I think will be quite reluctant to show up to a thing like Soundwave, considering how the lineup looks like. We are probably the only extreme metal band on there and the rest are basically pop bands that no one gives a fuck about, well to our fans at least. We definitely want to come back and do our own tour without any bullshit.

Watain performing ‘Reaping Death’ at Party Sans Open Air in Germany back in 2010.

MO: Watain are currently working on a DVD to commemorate its 13th anniversary. What material will feature on the DVD?

ED: Originally it was supposed to be a concert DVD, with the show that you saw in Stockholm. It was filmed with nine cameras, the whole shebang. We never really succeed with keeping things simple with this band,  it ended up being a 90-minute movie instead with parts of the concert and then a lot of narrated parts, and a lot of dramatic movie-esque sequences and old documentary material from the 90s. It turned into a real monster in the end, which wasn’t part of the original plan but I’m glad that it did because it really embodies the wholeness and depth of the band. I was reluctant of the idea of a concert DVD, the idea of having people sitting on their sofas, eating popcorn and watching a concert DVD. It doesn’t really sit well with what we’re about. It became more of a real movie.

MO: Watching video footage of a Watain concert isn’t the same as actually being there and experiencing it.

ED: Yeah, well that’s the downside of the whole video thing. In the end, with any concert, it’s about physically being there, feeling the vibe, passionate and vibrant. You don’t really get that on a video, do you? It’s impossible to deliver the feeling of possible lack of safety, the loss of control that you get at a Watain concert that you just don’t get in a video. But still, it gives people a taste and if they want the real deal, they will turn up at the shows.

MO: Having experienced Watain live myself, when I saw Watain live, the energy felt more like a high magick ceremony than just a concert, and something that I could not sense from a video.

ED: That’s not really far from the truth either. A Watain show is, first and foremost, a ceremony. It is something that is more than a regular rock show. You are probably a better judge than I am. I have never seen a Watain show, I’ve always been on the stage.

MO: Where does Watain play next after the Australian tour?

ED: We’re doing a month in the USA, starting in April, with Behemoth, The Devil’s Blood and In Solitude which is one of the nicest tour packages we’ve done in a long time. Finally someone put some effort into making a well-made tour package that goes beyond label politics.

MO: Will there be a new Watain album in the near future?

ED: That depends on how one defines ‘in the near future’. To me it’s impossible to talk about these things in terms of number of years.

MO: It happens when it happens?

ED: Yeah, there are timeless things that are meant to happen before each release and timeless things are hard to get a grasp on or to get into a schedule, so to speak.

MO: This wraps up the interview, any last comments?

ED: People wanting a rich Soundwave experience that does not only consist of emo kids jumping up and down and laughing and throwing their festival hats around, then they should come to join the Watain ceremonies because it’s going to be quite something else.

Watain‘s latest offering of black metal grimness, ‘Lawless Darkness’ is currently available via Riot! Entertainment and Season of Mist.

Make sure to catch Watain across Australia at the Soundwave Festival this year!


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