An interview with Roger Tiegs, aka Infernus, the guitarist and mastermind behind Gorgoroth.
Zero Tolerance: Let’s start with recent events. You recently fired vocalist Pest from the band due to his lack of dedication. Was this a band choice or was the decision yours to make?
Infernus: He and I had a discussion about this topic one year ago. I made the decision to replace him one minute after he informed us that he would not do the Latin America tour in September  this year.
ZT: Could you imagine working with Pest again if his priorities changed?
I: There is no bad blood between us. What happened was quite simply that we terminated a work relationship. As for the future … I do not see the value of such speculation right now. I am again in a position I am comfortable with, that’s what I have to say about that.
ZT: Hoest, the vocalist from Taake, filled in during the Latin American tour. How was Gorgoroth received by the crowds, given the change?
I: It went very well indeed! People seemed to be happy with Hoest, I am happy with it, and we are going to continue the co-operation.
ZT: Great! Can you see yourself working with Hoest in the future on a Taake or Gorgoroth record perhaps?
I: For our new album, I announced that we will get help from a Serbian friend of mine [Atterigner] for the vocals. For the upcoming tours, we plan on bringing Hoest.
ZT: Why are you bringing Hoest instead of Atterigner?
I: Because what we did in September proved to work out well. Why change a winning team?
ZT: How is Atterigner settling in with Gorgoroth?
I: I have known him some years as I signed his band, Triumfall, to my own record label [Forces of Satan Records]. I’ve always been fond of his vocals, so it was decided that he would do the vocals for the upcoming album. I’ll introduce him properly to Asklund [Tomas] in the beginning of 2013, then fly him back in for vocal recordings as soon as Asklund, Watkins [Frank “Bøddel”] and I are more or less finished with the instrumental parts.
ZT: What do you expect him to bring, if anything, to the band’s creative process and to the Gorgoroth sound?
I: Things will be more or less finished in terms of all the instrument layers when he enters the studio to do his part. Of course he will bring his own instrument, his voice, into it, but how we will work on vocal arrangements I will not speculate upon yet.
ZT: Musically, Gorgoroth has always been true to its roots; however, with the upcoming album do you make a shift in lyrical theme or musical style?
I: I don’t think this will be a big shift. Again, that is up to others to judge when the album has been released. And I don’t find it appropriate for me to be talking too much in public on such topics before the album has been released.
ZT: The name of the album is ‘Instinctus Bestialis’. Where did this name come from? Did you find it somewhere, or does it hold greater significance to you?
ZT: Okay, is there anything you can tell us about the new album? Tentative song names, when we might expect it to be released, how far along the recording process you are?
I: We have been working since the day we delivered the mastertape for Quantos [‘Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt’] to Regain Records. We have been working on demos and pre-recordings, and it’s me and Asklund who work a couple of days or so more or less every month at his studio in the outskirts of Stockholm. As of now, we have managed to go through all of the writing process; all the material has been written and half of it has been arranged. We need to sort out the second half and then start recording, maybe as soon as March 2013.
ZT: Do you have any plans for further touring in the UK before the new album comes out and if not, when do you think we will hear the album live?
I: Realistically speaking, it will be not be before the last part of 2013. We’re not doing Europe before then.
ZT: Do you have any festival appearances planned, either in the UK or in Europe?
I: Only one possible job in Finland. As for the UK, we don’t know yet.
ZT: You have previously said that you only play black metal; however, do you personally enjoy other genres, and would you consider working with any bands in other genres?
I: My favourite thing is… I prefer ‘80s heavy metal when I’m sitting down at home listening to music; I don’t listen to that much black metal. But ‘80s heavy metal, ‘80s thrash etc. That’s it. As for people I’d like to work with … I do so already! My guys are the best and I would not replace them before they replace themselves.
ZT: Since the infamous Gorgoroth name dispute, it’s been common knowledge that you, Gaahl and King haven’t been on the best of terms. Can you imagine a possible future in which you would ever consider working or touring with them again?
I: No. It won’t happen. Some people can be given a second chance. These two will not.
ZT: There has historically been a lot of rivalry between black metal bands. Who in the genre do you personally most respect?
I: If I am allowed to respond to the contrary: who I have a lack of respect for… That would be the compact majority of incompetent, greedy and dishonest people who come in from another angle, trying to do business in terms of managements, booking agencies, local promoters, record companies etc. Not forgetting about all these other time wasting idiots with high ambitions but no proper ability to get a job settled according to contractual agreements; they are manyfold. As for bands I respect or not, I am more or less out of the scene and I have been so for a substantial amount of time now. Don’t interpret that as a result of general boredness over metal music, but as a result of a choice to spend my focus on what is more important to me. To build up and relate to a network of professional people I can manage to actually produce some results with!
ZT: Sounds fair, can I ask a personal question?
ZT: Before starting Gorgoroth, it is said that you made a pact with the Devil. I won’t ask what the pact was, that’s private, but do you think that Satan has lived up to his side of the deal? And if you were to die tomorrow, would you be ready to uphold yours?
I: He lives up to it each and every day. Some people see it, others don’t. And here, as in all other areas according to decent people, a deal is a deal. Whether I’ll die tomorrow or not, insofar I have a say in it, I’d really prefer not to. Through the years I have been privileged by getting to work with a lot of great people, enabling us to do what we have done. Looking back at it, some things we’ve done – at least according to my standards – stand the test of time so far. Others did not. And I have a strong ambition on continuing doing what we do for a long time to come. If the outcome would be more hard hitting and taken another step up, that would of course be the number one goal.
Photo Credit: Ronald Chavenko, Henrique Pimentel