IN THE NAME OF BLACK LEGACY; MAYHEM
(One of the first ever concerts given by the original band members in Izmir/TURKEY in 9 December 1990)
|Mayhem in Izmir(Turkey)|
When it’s cold, when it’s dark, Mayhem is an obsessive dark melody stuck in your mind…
Mayhem not only delved into the hearts with its music but also created black metal legacy that’s called 2nd wave of Norwegian black metal which gets under our skin, outrageous and incomprehensible.
The leader of chaos, Euronymous was the most important and influential character in this dark story as he found Mayhem, created black metal in all veins and contributed to spread all over. He caught the uncanny spark that Venom unfolded from Pandemonium so to speak and hit the lights in Dead for once.
A tragedy was born and dead in Mayhem’s realm… Dead was the voice of dark symphony enlightening us under the freezing moon, cold at heart, melancholic at soul. He fell in love with death since the very beginning. Last words resonated in Life Eternal ironically.
Mayhem’s first ever European tour in 90’s started with Germany. The plan was to be included Germany (Zeitz, Leipzig, Chemnitz), Greece (Athens), Turkey (Izmir) and Netherlands by using interrail. However not all the planned concerts were carried out.
Let’s focus on doomed İzmir concert of Mayhem here. Date: 9 December 1990.
How was the band’s Turkey trip? What had happened really in İzmir concert?
Mayhem was first time in Turkey and stopped by İstanbul for a night before arrival to İzmir. During the show, electricity was cut by the police hence concert was left half-finished.
As far as I learnt from the letters of Euronymous that he had sent to Arcan Öğütverici (Dystopia Promoters) when returned, they were quite pleased of the interest and hospitality they had here despite of half-finished concert. Moreover, Euronymous was planning to come back to visit Arcan in the summer time for sightseeing İzmir for they couldn’t’ achieve due to the restricted time.
Nonetheless there have been many rumors circulating around about Mayhem İzmir concert still. The foremost answers can only be given by its organizer Arcan Öğütverici (Dystopia Promoters) since it is the reason of this interview.
Raison d’Être of Grotesque in İzmir and The Rest of the Dark Story
How did you decide to organize Mayhem concert back then in İzmir, TURKEY?
Arcan Öğütverici: I had been travelling to London often for metal gigs and collecting metal records. Also I was supplying patches and t-shirts for local metalheads and a few record shops including Stüdyo Ümit, since mail ordering and importing vinyl and merch were yet unknown in the Turkey at the time, even credit cards were newly introduced and carrying foreign currency as considered a crime! At one of my visits to London, I came across with a music shop called Shades where they were selling only metal and punk records. There were also magazines where people announced that they were looking for pen pals. I thought “why not?” and gave an announcement too. Then I received like 30-40 requests and one of them was Øystein. One might think that Turkey wasn’t well-known like today, so kinda absurd place. He wrote me “I have a band and I’d like to give concerts at weird countries. Could you please help me?” I was only 20 and it was 1990 when the concert organizations were quite difficult in Izmir, Turkey and not much international ones. We kept writing to each other, he sent me “Deathcrush” tape, flyers, photos of the band.
What were you listening at those times?
I started to head towards new things than thrash or heavy metal gradually. I had just discovered Voivod, Celtic Frost, Coroner and the remaining of the Noise Records catalogue. We were discussing with Euronymous, he mentioned that he liked Celtic Frost’s music too. I was influencing him into Voivod’s music also, which you can clearly see in Helvete shelves! In the meantime he kept insisting on Mayhem concert in İzmir.
How long did you write to each other with Euronymous?
From 1988 to 1993. We exchanged around 30 letters. Finally I was convinced and went to Stüdyo Ümit record store to discuss. Niyazi told me that they can do the rest of the organization regarding venue, backline, etc.
So I only need to arrange the concert in terms of transportation and timing and bring them here. We wrote to each other with Euronymous again and compromised. They would have a tour including Germany, Greece and Turkey (İzmir).
"Full-blooded stage show as if an opera"
It should be quite different than this era as no internet and mobile existed. How did you contact with each other during the trip from Norway to İzmir?
It was difficult to contact any time you want. Øystein gave me his mother’s home phone just in case.
We had talked on phone couple of times after their Germany tour. He made a very detailed plan for Turkey trip including the train departures by naming the stations of İstanbul, wrote down timetables and prepared for the plan B if anything goes wrong.
Also before coming to Turkey he sent me a detailed tour itinerary, with all the interrail train arrival and departure times, and also a contact list of the promoters of 1990 Mayhem gigs, with Sakis Tolis (Rotting Christ) for Athens’ gig and me just below Sakis as for İzmir promoter. In 29th March 2019 I had Rotting Christ play in İzmir as a homage to that tour itinerary and gave Sakis that tour itinerary of Euronymous, he was amazed to see the flame still burning in me!
Could you please tell about the organization team of this concert?
Niyazi (Stüdyo Ümit) printed poster and tickets and announced all the people who came to store for tape merchandising. Serdar, the drummer of I.D.E.A. is one of my old friends, he joined the team with his band I.D.E.A. and they took care of equipment and backline issues. We led off such an amateur but an interesting work. Niyazi and I.D.E.A. band were more professional as they had been doing concert organizations before but for me it was the first ever.
When Mayhem arrived to Turkey, they came across problems with customs. Is it true? What is the real story?
Yes, customs officer was difficult, hence guitars, pedals and the mixer became a problem because he thought that they were gonna sell it in Turkey. Euronymous called me from the customs office and gave the customs officer on phone. I took all the instrument list and sent them a signed fax saying “these equipments are brought for concert and will be took out after 3 days”. The problem was solved right away. The rest of the embellishments in the story are not real including handcuffs.
Mayhem had memories in İstanbul also as they first arrived there and stayed one night before hitting the road to İzmir, right? What would like to tell about İstanbul times?
Band came to İstanbul via interrail where my friend Yücel İnan met with them and invited them to his home. He also took them to Kapalı Çarşı (Grand Bazaar) which is one of the highlights of İstanbul to see and introduced them Turkish kebab. Euronymous was mad about hot peppers. I was sending him Turkish hot peppers from here. Yücel has an interesting memory with Necro. At that night his place, when everyone went to sleep, Necro called his girlfriend who is in Norway by the home phone and had a long call like 1-1.5hours. Back then calling abroad cost like house rent. Yücel was a student. We figured out this one month after they went back to Norway when the bill came. Yücel told me that and we solved it between us. I also told what happened to Euronymous just to inform him. We did not demand any money for that, never. He felt ashamed too, asked if he could compensate. I said “no”. “We managed between us.”
I’m curious about Turkish bath story.
When they arrived to İzmir via bus, we took them to Turkish bath “hamam” as they wanted to take a shower. That Turkish bath was located at an interesting part of the city where one can see many small craftsmen also a place for selling stolen goods, prostitutes and whatnot. As you can imagine they took attention accordingly. They experienced the Turkish bath culture with all its elements like loincloth (hamam towel), that wooden slippers, etc. Previously Euronymous told me about Dead’s self-destructive acts but I understood what he meant at that time when I saw Dead. He had a deep scar at his belly; his arms are full of cuts. They were also around 20 years old.
How were they at first sight? As we kept reading about them from those books fanzines but you met with them personally which sounds fantastic to me!
Dead did not talk at all, only shook hands, he was like a ghost. Necrobutcher and Euronymous were very talkative. Euronymous was very intellectual, I should say, he was polyglot knowing 6-7 languages, had a grasp on cultures and politics. After all I decided to organize the concert because of those intellectual letters. I would not involve at all if he was an American metalhead.
Mayhem could play only 3 songs in İzmir concert. What had happened really at there?
Back then mostly concerts were open air. Before this concert, Turkish bands Metafor and Pentagram had open air concerts in İzmir too. I only remember the band Rampage (which I paid homage to Rampage by reserving a time for them as an opening band in Mekong Delta gig in 2014) who could give concert indoors but it was university related concert hall. They were able to play there just because one of the professors arranged that place for them as they are students of that university. One can do concert organization at indoor if only it is until 6-6.30pm, no permission for night time. As I learnt from Niyazi who took part in the organization to arrange the venue, permissions that adolescents are also coming to events so kind of time limitation existed for under age people. If one really wants to do, it was quite difficult since many permissions from police, municipality and some offices related with cultural events, etc. are needed. At that day there was a risk of rain, so our organization team arranged an indoor venue by taking permissions but till the evening. No one should offense for that as we were all amateurs at that time. There were 3 bands in the concerts. First I.D.E.A who are part of the organization also, got on the stage and not remember very well but kind of played a bit long. Then Hazy Hill came and they played a bit long too. Other organizers told that they prolonged the sound checks.
|Mayhem Izmir Concert (1990)|
I was dealing with Mayhem at that time. They had some requests like mirror to put on corpse paint. They utterly changed when they wore corpse paint. At the moment, I told myself that we delved into such a peculiar thing here. Mayhem played 3 songs and immediately 2 police officers arrived at the door. They talked with the venue owner and cut down the electricity as we did not have the right to continue after that hour. We were all very angry but nothing to do as it was the rule implied for indoor events at that time in İzmir. I went to the stage and explained everything to Euronymous. Previously he asked me how to swear in Turkish. He remember that and started to swear in Turkish by “saying s*ktir! Turn on the electricity!” to the officers but unfortunately nothing we could do. We had to finish the concert, we were all really sorry about that and still is.
How was the audience at the concert?
I had watched 6-7 concerts until that day outside Turkey. It was the years when Metallica was referred heavy, there was Venom as black metal but Mayhem was absolutely different than anything else. Full-blooded stage show as if an opera. Audiences are mostly high school students who came to concert from various different places. Jokingly we call it “kazak (sweater) metal” as they were all wearing that. You can see in the photos as well. There are ongoing chit chats about “kazak metal” still.
Recently Necrobutcher’s book called The Death Archives: Mayhem 1984-94 is published. It is written that Mayhem was paid less that they were promised. How do you wanna answer this claim?
We did not talk about concert fee with Mayhem. Euronymous asked me to give them a chance to play and if we earn something from concert, then we would see. Concert crashed fully. But I reserved something for Mayhem from my other business. I gave them 400dollars. Euronymous thanked me at his letter for this just because I supported Mayhem despite of concert’s failure
What was the reason for the failure? Was there less audience than expected?
There were around 500 people but may be 300-350 of them are ticketed. It was not good financially.
Did you record the concert?
We had a plan but we couldn’t achieve that as I had brought several types of cassettes to record but the mixing board had a faulty cassette recorder that day.
Could you please tell your memories after concert?
We took them the house in Karşıyaka (another beautiful and seaside district of Izmir) where they would stay that night. It was an old style duplex Greek house of the I.D.E.A’s drummer aunt. We ordered chili pizzas as Euronymos liked and had a long talk at there with him after. That house was just in front of the church street as we were both hearing church bells and ezans (call for prayer, a sample can be heard at the beginning of Celtic Frost’s Caress into Oblivion in Into the Pandemonium album) from the mosques around. At that moment he told me “We have churches in Norway and we are against to that. We want our old culture. But ezan is also Abrahamic origin therefore we are against to it as well”. He asked me if there are any suppression in Turkey for the people who listen this music.
When did they leave İzmir?
They had an early train at the next day. I met with them in the morning and brought them home made toasts. Train came earlier than expected and they had to leave immediately. Necrobutcher seemed like he really wanted to go soon but Euronymous wanted to stay more. He then told me that he wanted to come in the summer time and also invited me to Norway.
How do you remember Mayhem now?
I started a topic with Dead about his ritual of burying his clothes in the ground before the shows and death stance. He said “Yes, it is my bound with that world, otherwise I cannot stand here”. It was his only talk. Necrobutcher liked to mess around, he kept asking “tell me if they laugh to me, then I show them”. Euronymous was rational and intellectual, he was keeping eye on everyone in the band. Hellhammer seems like 80s glam rocker wearing Aerosmith t-shirt, way more different then how he is today on image. He asked if there will be girls at the concert.
Did you continue to write each other with Euronymous after concert?
Yes, we had been in contact after concert. He wrote that they were very pleased, wanted to come again and thinking to do it by a tour bus next time. After some time at one of his letter, he wrote that Mayhem is only me and Dead. By time another letter came saying that Dead is dead and he collected some parts from him. He also mentioned that he found a record label called Deathlike Silence Records and gonna release Mayhem albums and also a band called Burzum would be taken part in the catalogue. After some time I learnt that Euronymous is killed from a Greek TV channel that I had been watching due to its heavy metal broadcasting. I was really shocked! We had plans for that summer with him. I was supposed to go to Norway and we would work at Helvete together. Then he would come to İzmir. He asked me to send Turkish flag to him. I sent it and he hanged it in Helvete. He also made an offer to me at that time. He said that “I have many records, CDs remained now, if you can sell them at there, I can send you and you can also take back your 400 dollars from the sales, and send back me what is left”. I was able to sell 10 Deathcrush albums only and sent their money to him. And I also bought something for my own archive. I told him that I couldn’t buy more, I did not think that I could sell. Now I am thinking if we came together and sold all those records of DSP catalogue with the organizers all over the world hence he was able to pay his depth to Varg, would all these things not happen at all?
Something ravishing (grimnessJ) has started with Mayhem years ago. Do you continue the adventure?
I had got back to listener mode after Mayhem until 2014. At that year I organized Mekong Delta concert as Dystopia Promoters. In 2011 before Necrobutcher's book, the writer of the book interviewed me on 1990 izmir gig and had the interview printed in Norway's Enomag.
In 2015, when his book is released, we had a live connection with Necrobutcher at his book signing session. I reproached to him as he talked too negatively after the concert.
In 2015, when his book is released, we had a live connection with Necrobutcher at his book signing session. I reproached to him as he talked too negatively after the concert.
But he might misremember, I might misremember something also, it was very long time ago indeed. Like Borges says reality changes by time. For this reason, I write down everything and achieve nowadays. At that on air broadcast, I met with Mork. He said that he wanted to come to Turkey for a concert. Then in 18th March 2017, we organized a concert of Mork including Suicidal Angels, Amken, Rampage. Later on, in 11th November 2017 I had Eric Forrest (E-FORCE) playing Voivod’s Negatron and Phobos albums play in İzmir with İzmir Attack.
I also designed a homage t-shirt by taking permission from Mayhem and Mork including their logos. At the İzmir concert, Mork made an introduction with Freezing Moon dedicated to the uncompleted Mayhem concert.
On 1st April 2018, I hooked Venom Inc. concert with İzmir Attack. Venom is the beginning of black metal, it might be from taking backwards in historical sense of this music after Mayhem but I really desired to do that. When Venom Inc. was here, I asked Mantas looking in the eye “What have you done? Did you emit a spark that result in fire? Or are you Prometheus?” He said that “Yes, it’s me.” At last we had Rotting Christ concert in Izmir on 29th March 2019 with İzmir Attack.
I have this plan of several gigs in mind to all to touch a separate eerie side of my connection with Euronymous and realized some by these gigs.
These events seem like a part of dark tradition, all in İzmir. Why İzmir? What kind of specialty does this place have in your heart? Are there any future plans to spread darkness from this Aegean shore?
İzmir is host to conquests, wars, fires, disputes and whatnot for more than 5000 years, has always felt eerie to me since I was a little kid reading bits and pieces on the history of the city and region. Unknown knows what have happened in these blood soaked soils and salty dark seas. Mythology has deepened black roots in Aegean along with Anatolia, which I believe, if we really knew the truth to it, the world as we know wouldn't be the same. To be honest I didn't know what would unfold by bringing Mayhem to İzmir in 1990.
"If the first things you've ever put in that black box are particularly have a dark essence, you're doomed forever."
Witnessing the birth of 2nd wave of BM thru my special connection with Euronymous is once in a lifetime uniqueness and the events took place around the band brought uncanniness to the rest of my life. Since the connection with Euronymous and the interrupted 1990 Mayhem İzmir gig is probably the main driving force of this uncanniness, I still need to close the circle in a special way to rest in peace! Yes, there'll be more specially picked fires.
By expending the interview towards other forms of dark arts, I’d like ask your foremost character in horror genre or mythology as if imaginary being of you which lures you up to know?
The Gods seem to be the most luring of them all. Not a single horror character or imaginary being has ever made people suffer or horrified them than Gods. Cthulhu, Hellraiser, Zombies or any other imaginary character did no harm, other than making people create more dark arts and enjoying their creations with like-minded followers.
This powerful vibe has been feeding from literature deep inside. I am thinking of Voivod which can be taken as vampire sucking all those arts from Dracula, Lovecraft to Druillet, Mayhem members are known with interest to dark arts, archaic books, horror literature and Rotting Christ albums are like pages of book that one can explore many dark poems, stories hiding behind. You share this point of view with them, kind of match made in hell? J I am curious of your “sine qua nons”?
My gray matter is a product of the literature, paintings, movies, graphic novels, music, letters received and all other forms of expression I've ever tasted. In teenage years where you're an empty black box you start to throw in and feast upon whatever comes in your way, but in the following years these coincidental findings evolve into a deeper taste of collections where interaction binds your likes. This results in a form of minimalism where you carefully filter the essential, by which you reach perfectness by deduction. And if the first things you've ever put in that black box are particularly have a dark essence, you're doomed forever.
Unforeseen lurking fears such like Lovecraft's creations, psychological terrors of Wells (Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde, The Invisible Man), Borges's short stories playing with infinity and time, many of the dystopian literature where freedom is lost, Goya's Black Paintings, the early black&white Dracula movies where you don't get to see the bite but lots of character, bands that have a strong story going on thru their discographies enriched with graphical album covers and inserts such like Voivod, musical explorations over Lovecraft's stories or eerie classical music such like Mekong Delta's, Bach's Art of the Fugue where same notes come in from all diverse ends and collide, purest and ultimate darkness created by Dead's lyrics and screams, sinister plannings of evil domination of Euronymous, dark ancient words squeezed on Rotting Christ lyrics, Mork's fisherman hook collecting dead souls from cold lakes in Norwegian forests always attracted me heavily and makes me wander in the dreamworld, most of the time making me park along the cliff as one of my fave writers says mesmerizingly.
Thank you for accepting my interview and sharing this spellbinding story as I, myself imagined in full blood and live all moments by listening you.
|Mayhem in Izmir (Turkey)|
Note: Some part of this interview is published in the 4th issue of Turkish Metal Bookazine HEADBANG in Turkish.
MAYHEM IN İSTANBUL
8 DECEMBER 1990
Here you find the missing points in Mayhem story from Yücel İnan who hosted them in İstanbul before they arrived to İzmir.
As the interrail came till İstanbul from Europe, the band had to take a bus to come to İzmir. Yücel İnan used this fractal time to know them and briefly introduce İstanbul to them.
I would like to thank to Yücel İnan for sharing this memory and Arcan Öğütverici for his kind help to reach Yücel İnan and close the circle that we have been doomed in forever!
Yücel İnan: Mayhem came to İstanbul on 8th December morning. I met with them at the train station called Sirkeci. They were carrying guitars, bags so due to leave the things, to have a little rest and also as I have no money what to do else, I took them to the flat in Merter where my aunt and her husband had been staying time to time when they came to İstanbul for business issues.
It was a three room dingy, leaky basement flat including old furniture. They bought as furnished apartment but as no one had been living regularly, it was a bit crap. I remember that some part of the wallpapers were hanging down and it had those old style sofas and chandeliers. It was just an ordinary flat of an ordinary apartment in Merter where middle class people who moved from Anatolia to İstanbul had been living.
I might have called Arcan when we arrived home to inform him everything is ok. We dropped the guitars and the stuff to home and went to a local kebab restaurant beneath the typical carny apartments. I offered them kebab at there and we enjoyed it by chatting. As it should be a restaurant where no-alcohol is served, I bought couple of can beers before we headed to home. We spent some time while drinking beers, Euronymous and bass guitarist were very talkative. One of them, I guess he should be the one named Dead did not talk at all and I couldn’t remember the other guy. We might have talked about heavy metal, religion, dead things that Dead likes, etc at there.
For a moment bass guitarist insisted to call his girlfriend in Norway. I tried to resist by pointing him it was very expensive that I couldn’t pay since the phone wasn’t registered under the name of me. I had never used the phone not to let my aunts pay for me besides there was a risk not to pay the bills regularly as nobody was living in there basically. But he said that she was pregnant and he would pay the bill after, I drew in my horns. He also said he would talk less but he broke his promise and talked a lot, jackass, as if I hadn’t warned him ever! I was breaking out in a cold sweet if he was able to hang up the phone.
In the evening, we passed to Üsküdar by ferry from Eminönü. As they were tourists, I would like to introduce them something more hence they would not have impressions limited to Sirkeci Station and Merter regarding İstanbul. We passed Bosporus via ferry with Mayhem. During the trip I asked Euronymous what he was thinking about Turkish people and if he disdained Turks due to being Muslim and middle-eastern as I was suspicious that he might have had racist approach towards Turks because of his conversations. He told me that he respected Turks because Turks have been powerful in the history and added that he respected power.
When arrived to Üsküdar, I took them to Harem bus terminal where they hit the road to İzmir. I also charged the assistant man in the bus to take care of them as they are tourists despite of they are weirdos.
I would like to take them to Boğaziçi University to introduce with my metalhead friends but I couldn’t make it either because of lack of time or they sort of had eccentric appearances.
May be the very begining.