I got my first real six string...
“My father must have gone to a party, found an acoustic guitar and brought it home for me.
"I have no idea about the brand and it was really poor quality, but I immediately fell in love with it. It blew me away. I was seven or eight and would spend all day trying to play it even thoughI didn’t know any chords.
"My parents decided I showed a lot of will to play this instrument, so they sent me to a guitar school.”
Revolution rock, it is a brand new rock...
“I was 13 when the Revolutions of 1989 [the collapse of Communism in central and eastern Europe] happened.
"By that point I already had my first electric guitar – it was actually handmade by my father’s workmates in a shipyard. It was a Stratocaster shape, and by that point in the mid-80s I was getting into stuff like Van Halen, Marillion, AC/DC, Manowar, Maiden.
"There were two shows on the radio where they’d play heavy metal every week. I’d record them, and that’s how I built my collection. I remember when I got that first electric when I was eight or nine, I immediately formed a band – I was already guitarist, vocalist and frontman.
"Of the kids who joined my band, I was the only one who had a professional instrument. I was already so much into heavy metal, growing my hair, the uniform, the whole imagery around it. I started very early.”
“Obviously, all the heavy metal, ‘shape’ guitars were out of reach, but those were what I was dreaming of as a kid.
"V-shaped guitars were, and still are, my wet dream. The only difference now is I’m endorsed by ESP, and I play and design my guitar in that shape, and I love them. I remember my second electric guitar was a V-shape; my father used some wood he and his friends found in the shipyard, cut it into shape and added a professional tag from another guitar.
"It looked cool at least, and the first Behemoth demo was made using it. My collection is now massive, but there’s something about the V shape that works great for live performances, as they look so great.”
Don't think twice, it's alright...
“I remember when I was trying to improve my skills around the era of The Apostasy, and I was talking to Vogg from Decapitated.
"He told me that when playing you shouldn’t be thinking, it should be coming from your gut, it should be intuition rather than intellect. I liked that a lot, and I’m still learning that.
"The new record The Satanist was made that way: I was listening to my inner voice and channelling it through the notes I played.”
“When you watch young bands, they really focus on their playing, but don’t pay much attention to what it looks like.
"Try to balance it. On the way to perfection, there are a lot of mistakes you have to go through before you reach a level of satisfaction, but remember a live show is a show, so don’t watch your [guitar] neck for 45 minutes, because it’ll bore people to death.”
Good times, bad times...
“The worst gig was the first show we did in the US for The Apostasy. We played in Baltimore, we had this huge intro and one by one we entered the stage.
Usually, when I pause on stage in front of my mic, I always put my left leg on the left monitor. I didn’t realise it was so light and I pushed it forward, and fell on my back with my legs up in the air.
"You can imagine with all my gear and spikes, trying to be the scariest person on the planet, it must have been funny to watch.”