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Vice Blog

NORWAY - TAAKE IS GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL

December 20, 2008, 10:00am

It has been a while since we last caught up with Ørjan Stedjeberg aka Ulvedhin Hoest aka Taake. In the meantime he's been up to all sorts including a return to jail and pissing off most of Germany including those uptight, fuddy duddy old thrash metal guys Kreator. If you actually like black metal as opposed to sitting on Blabbermouth all day (and we do lots and lots) then the most exciting bit of Taake related news is that he has finally completed album number four. It's a self-titled effort and the first outside of the arc of his initial three record 'trilogy'. It sounds bleak, more than a little punky, raw and in thrall to Bathory, Venom and Hellhammer. Which is a good thing. Our buddy Dylan knows more about black metal than you so we got him to ask Hoest some questions. We weren't sure whether he'd answer them or send us back a burning effigy of our email or something but check it out! He did!

Vice: There was this amazing version of that song of yours "Voldtekt" that I heard on the Norsk Svart Metall compilation. Along with your new record do you think that it represents some kind of third wave of black metal?
Taake: I don't think in terms of "waves" or whatever. To me it just seems like one big continuous wave. I don't think black metal should achieve anything either, except reminding people that Hell is right here on earth and that people can be demons if they just sell their souls to The Devil.

Right. So it's all happening right here on earth. If there was a black metal version of the bible you've been around pretty much since Genesis. How do you feel about what has happened to black metal since then?
Too many people got involved and then there were too many ideas on how to do things. The best bands were the first ones and most of them changed too quickly into meaningless nonsense. A lot of bands lost their focus and ideals and fucked up something we could have been very proud of. The glory days are long gone.  But at least some bands are still on to something.

Who's still making stuff that isn't "meaningless nonsense"?
Orcustus, Aura Noir, Urgehal, Nattefrost/Carpathian Forest, Deathcult, Secht, Dead to this World, Amok and Slavia.

What are you feelings towards the young turks from the US and France who have appropriated the Norwegian sound. I'm thinking here of Xasthur, Leviathan, Wolves In The Throneroom or Deathspell Omega.
I have never heard any of the bands that you mention. With very few exceptions, black metal from other countries has not yet impressed me.

Yourself, Natteforst and Darkthrone in particular have recently released records with a heavy dollop of punk. The latest Darkthrone basically sounds like Motorhead doing Exploited covers.
Taake has had such elements on each release, it is merely a coincidence that there is a bit more of them in the newest material. I always felt that the punk influence should be kept alive, as it is evident in the old black metal roots. Look at bands like Venom, Hellhammer, Bathory, Sodom and so on.

Yourself and Nattefrost in particular seem hell bent on pissing basically everyone off fairly indescriminently. You even stated that with the Nekro EP you'd hoped to lose fans. Erm, what's up with that?
Black metal is a magnet for idiots and I'm embarrassed about being enjoyed by so many useless people who don't really understand what Taake is about. I'd rather have an audience of quality than quantity. I have always felt that black metal should be something for a few especially interested people.

Do you think that the German public overreacted over the whole kerfuffle in Essen last year?
Yes indeed, I never expected such overblown reactions. But the weirdest thing is that most people seemed to react because displaying a swastika is against the law in Germany. When have I ever cared about the law?

Were you surprised by Kreator's intervention?
At first, yes. But then I was told that they use their music as a tool to fight fascism. I think I heard them introducing "Pleasure to Kill" at a concert though with: "are you ready to kill? Are you ready to kill each other?". Maybe they should be boycotted for saying things like that. But of course, no one takes talk of killing seriously these days and we certainly know that those wimps don't mean anything by it. Time to retire, boys.

Do you think prison has made you more determined to make your point?
No, my times in jail hasn't changed me in any way apart from becoming increasingly bitter towards the Norwegian court system every time I go through it.

How does the ever expanding escalation of celebrity culture sit with you? I can't imagine you sitting at home checking out the X Factor over a Domino's.
You lose me again, I don't know what X-Factor is. I live in my own little world and don't give a shit what the rest of the world is up to.

Terrorizer ranked you joint 6th "most evil person on the planet" with Osama Bin Laden  last year. How do you feel about not cracking the top 5?
I can't take such a readers' poll seriously, It's just a big joke being on the same list as Sharon Osbourne and George W. Bush.

Vaarg is due out of prison soon, what are your predictions of what shenanigans he'll get up to on his release?
I have absolutely no idea and am not particularly curious either. I heard someone say he will continue with music. Although I enjoy many old Burzum tracks, I don't have any expectations that he will create musical magic again.

Where do you see Taake going for the future?
Straight to Hell.

Dylan Hughes