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Darkthrone's Nocturno Culto: "I would like Metallica to record on our equipment. What would they do to express themselves through that gear?"

Darkthrone
(Image credit: Ester Segarra)

Darkthrone are a black-metal band hailing from Kolbotn, Norway. Combining fierce riffs with groovy rhythms, the duo have become one of the most iconic bands in the black-metal scene.

In this rare guitar interview, Ted Skjellum aka Nocturno Culto tells Total Guitar his six-string story through the medium of song...

Got my first real six-string…

“It was some kind of a Jackson knock-off model. It was a cheap brand, Cort or something. Back then, when I was 14 or 15 years old, I played on this cheap guitar and I had some kind of a Peavey amplifier. I started playing with Darkthrone in 1988, and I was 16 when I bought my first real guitar, and that was a jubilee version of a Jackson. I think that Grover Jackson signed the back of the headstock with a marker.”

Play Authentic

“When I was a kid the guitars that really stood out for me, the thing I had to have, was Gibson guitars. I think Gibson has been my main guitar brand since '89. The first guitar I bought from Gibson was an Explorer. It had this Tobacco Sunburst colour and it was just fantastic.

"The thing about Explorers is that they really don’t break. The electronics? I mean, that guitar today, it’s working perfectly. There has never been any hassle with it. Nowadays I tend to play on my Les Paul.”

Exit... Stage left...

“Since we don’t play live, it is a very big difference between making music and creating an album and playing live. Playing live, there you are, you feel like you are in some kind of entertainment business. I don’t miss it.

"I liked being on tour with Satyricon because I see myself as a guitarist. I know I have been doing vocals now on the Darkthrone albums, but basically I am a guitarist. To play live and do the vocals? I think that is a lot of hassle. I don’t like it. If I could just play guitar I would be happy!”

Billy Gibbons, for the last 20 years he is up there with my favourite guitarists. He is great.

The wolf is loose...

“Fenriz and I have been sticking around together for over 30 years. If we were to do heavy touring or stuff we would probably hate each other’s guts. You can imagine. No, we are not in the same town. I haven’t seen him in a year or so now. But we do keep in touch.”

Red right hand...

“A lot of what creates a guitarist’s sound is the right hand – if you are right-handed. Where you press the strings down with your left hand can be whatever, but it’s how you play with your right hand that is so important. To me it’s a big deal. It creates the sound.”

Cum on feel the noize...

“Early in Darkthrone history, we thought every little boy’s dream was to have a Marshall stack. But those Fender amps were great. I think it was called a Performer 1000. It was a small thing but really pumped out a huge amount of sound [Laughs]. When I played with Satyricon on Nemesis Divina, both Satyr and I played only through that amp, with no boxes at all. And we also brought those amps with us on the first Satyricon tour in Europe.”

Born too late...

“Of course I listen to metal, but I am stuck in the '70s. Blues is not my favourite genre but when it comes to guitarists I am a big fan of '70s ZZ Top. Billy Gibbons, for the last 20 years he is up there with my favourite guitarists. He is great. And that is probably what I could call blues rock. I don’t have any favourite metal guitarists because I don’t listen to so much metal music.”

Express yourself...

“Technology has certainly made way for more music and more bands to reach out. I think that’s a good thing. But what I want from the sound on any album is personality. Let’s take a really big band like Metallica. I would like them to record on our equipment. What would they do to express themselves through that gear? That would be interesting.”

Darkthrone’s latest album, Old Star, is out now on Peaceville Records.