Big Boss (Root) Interviewed

Where do you see Heritage of Satan as a single album and as part of Root’s catalogBig Boss: This album fits perfectly into discography of Root. It is the symbolic ninth album, so this serial number really says something. [Smiles]

I’m not sure how I feel about Heritage of Satan. It feels less complete than, say, The Book, which is, for me at least, the best Root album to date. As the creator of Heritage of Satan, do you feel it measures up to The Book?
Big Boss: Well, I think none of our records could compare with another one. We don’t do these differences. I think it’s like comparing our own children and asking which child we prefer. Of course, they vary from each other by appearance and temperament. Same as our records.

There are a few rocking songs on Heritage of Satan. “Revenge of Hell” and “Legacy of Ancestors”. Where do you see these songs fitting in with the more traditional black metal songs on Heritage of Satan?
Big Boss: You bet, Chris!! They fit there like an ass in trousers. [Smiles] Remember, that I am originally a blues singer, later on hard rock singer and finally a metal singer. All these styles are mixed, either in some of my songs or singing. Mostly in my singing.

You’ve enlisted a few visible black metallers for Heritage of Satan. Erik from Watain, Rune from Ava Inferi, and Adam from Behemoth. I believe they look to you and Root as one of several originators of the black metal sound. What was it like to work with them?
Big Boss: Nergal sang the whole last verse of “In Nomine Satanas” in Czech. His Czech is awesome. He can actually sing other Root songs in Czech. He also sings one verse in English in “Greetings from the Abyss”. Nergal is a great guy and we get along really well. We are great friends with Behemoth. The other guests include Erik of Watain, who also created the album cover and Blasphemer (ex-Mayhem). But the main reason was our friendship. Together we had considered their participation on the album long before the recording actually started. We like their music and we meet together on live shows. But again the main reason is our friendship.

Where do you see your place in black metal? Again, a lot of fans and musicians place you as a senior/important figure within black metal.
[Laughs] senior/important figure within black metal? This is a great honor for me. But I just see my place only in music, in any music. I think that no matter what style of music you do, whether you do it right and with enthusiasm. And I have to do it right, as I’m surrounded by such outstanding musicians as I am in my band. According to the feedback from fans, we are successful, right? [Smiles]

Do you regard yourself as a practicing Satanist?
Big Boss: I already gave away all agenda concerning the Czech branch of Church Of Satan to younger ones. And for eight years I have been somewhere else. Satanism gave a lot to me and I still live my life according to it, but I am now on my own path. And thanks to Satanism, everyone should find his own path.

What is Satanism from your point of view? Any insights you can give on the matter?
Big Boss: I think everything that smells of organization is shit. LaVey understood that and stopped it. He did not even leave a testament. He should have done [it] even earlier. Too late he realized that it became some sort of lonely hearts club behind his back. When you have charisma you can achieve a lot. You only should find the right direction. Thanks to Satan I found it.

I was curious why you think Czech bands, black metal or not, have a different signature from their European counterparts. Is it part of the need to be different or is it something deeper— Bohemian sensibilities—that’s ingrained in Czechs as a people? I’ll cite Master’s Hammer as the obvious example, but there exist many more just as bizarre and original.
Big Boss: It’s a bit different. In the old days dozens of different nations and tribes passed through the territory where Bohemia and Moravia lie. Root is from Moravia. They left their traces of various pagan rituals and customs, and magic here. These people have lived here for a while, leaving followers and departed. And as we live here, we have inherited all from them. And because we are musicians we feel it even more. And that’s what makes our music so different.

Are you an Elvis fan? Had to ask.
Big Boss: Yyyyyeeeeeessssssss! He was a great singer. But he really has not influenced me.

What other vocalists inspire you?
Big Boss: He are the singers I like so much (in no order): Peter Steele (R.I.P.), King Diamond, Chris Farlow, John Lennon, Janis Joplin, etc. I do not know if I am influenced by them, but I like them and listen to them.

The Czech scene was very outward focused from about 1999-2005. Then, it appeared as if the scene went inward. Do you know why this appears to be the case? I wondered if it had anything to do with the RedBlack label folding.
Big Boss: Back then Czech scene was more about barter trade rather than the publishing business. This barter business eventually stopped because the West was overwhelmed by a number of their own bands as well as the decreasing sale, etc. Regarding Redblack, which was focused more on money, has been sold to the company Rockextremum. That’s all.

** Root’s new album, Heritage of Satan, is out now on Agonia Records. Order it HERE, or find yourself wandering the woods of Moravia while THIS plays for infinity from somewhere in the cosmos.