A Sound From Hell
Some might say Kim Bendix Peterson is longwinded. Which would be true if not for the fact that every detailed digression he makes in answering a question somehow becomes the missing piece of a larger, intricate, mist-shrouded puzzle. It’s King fucking Diamond, right? He’s all magical and shit. Among these many puzzle pieces, the ability to tell a ghost story is of special importance. Perhaps even essential to the man’s many artistic masterworks. So it begins thus.
Interview by Adam Ganderson. Illustrations by Beaver.
The German officer sometimes is here. I’ve always been very fascinated by the Second World War. It has a lot to do with my dad. He was in the Danish Resistance, and at one point he had to flee to Sweden because the Gestapo took someone in his group. Then he joined the Danish Brigade in Sweden, which were the ones being built up for the liberation of Denmark. So I’m very fascinated by all the things that happened there. And my wife, Livia, her dad knows that. They used to live in Budapest and a couple hours outside Budapest they had a little summerhouse. And in the village next to theirs there were a lot of stories about this one farmer. When the Russians came and, in quotation marks, “liberated” Hungary at the end of the war, of course the Germans were fleeing. And this SS officer ran and came to this farm and demanded civilian clothes in order to escape. The word goes, from everybody—but the farmer—that the farmer killed the German officer. And took his clothes. Livia’s dad went there, and the farmer still denies it, but he sold her dad the SS officer’s boots. And I have them here standing in front of my fireplace.
The weird thing was this one night over Christmas that they were spending here. Everybody had gone to bed. I have a lot of things, books and stuff, on top of the fireplace. There was this loud fucking noise coming from the living room. It sounded like someone had swept everything off the fireplace and down on the tiles in front. I just went for my gun and as I came out of our bedroom I saw Livia’s smallest sister come out from her bedroom and I was like ‘Go back, go back, stay in there.’ I swept the house with my gun, turned on lights here and there, and nothing was touched anywhere. Nothing out of place. I went up in the attic to look if there was anything out of place there. Nothing. I went outside, the whole way around with a flashlight. Nothing. It was obvious what it was. The guy died in those boots and there they are in front of the fireplace. Has the supernatural stuff been happening to you since you were a kid? Not that I remember. The first time was when we had done the first Mercyful Fate demo. That’s when the first thing happened that I can recall that I know was something from not here. My brother was there and we were waiting for Hank [Shermann] and Michael Denner and Timi [Hansen] to come by and listen to the demo. We had picked the demo up earlier from the studio and we bought a bunch of beers but we just opened one each. Suddenly my brother’s glass rose two feet off the table. And we were just sitting there, not scared, but more in awe. And we didn’t say a word for the first two minutes or so and then I just said, ‘I know you both saw that,’ and they just nodded their heads and then we didn’t talk about it for a week. Then we started talking about it. And then of course I pointed to it in lyrics a couple of times. One is “Welcome Princess of Hell” right at the beginning where I’m kind of singing to these powers, “You’re always welcome here” and they sing back with the choir voice, “We raise our glasses!” That’s taken straight from that. I took it as if they say, “Hey, good luck. We’re here. We’ll be with you on this journey.” And it appeared later in other ways, with the flying teacups and Grandma and everything.
When did the idea first come to write about horror?
Well, I love horror. I like challenges too. To see if I can do certain things. That was one of them. There was that little test of Fatal Portrait. Don’t go too far but see what it would feel like if you started actual characters and then finally say, ‘This is it.’ That’s a big part of the development of the voice, to do these concepts. The further we went, especially Them and Conspiracy, I found voices I didn’t know I had. You start putting these theatrical things on these characters in the stories. This character feels like this; this character feel like that. You try to let that out. The grandma voice and stuff like that, it’s just the voice that I have. I can make it now for you if you want, ha ha. The grandma or whatever. Those things are just natural. I didn’t know I could make that many different voices, but when you get deep into your soul and inside your characters, it’s like I know them as if they were alive. I know so much about them that you will not find out in an album because there’s not space for it; it becomes very personal. A lot of the things that are being written into the lyrics, there is so much more real, true stuff in there than anyone would ever know. Because it’s up to me to tell what’s real and what’s not. Where I pull ideas from, a lot of it comes from me and what I have seen and experienced and what I hear from friends or sometimes it’s what you see on TV that influences you into getting something inside that you need to get out. A lot of those occult things are stuff that I experience that I will then make fit the story. I might change around some things not exactly as it was when I experienced it. Other things, just twist it to fit the storyline.
What sort of experiences did your parents have?
It was things like, my dad saw his dad at the end of his bed one night when he woke up and talked to him. My mom, one thing that really got stuck in me was she said that, if you’re doing dishes or whatever, never get knives of forks crossed, because it’s bad. When her dad died, that night she was in the kitchen doing dishes. She kept looking over and seeing that they kept being crossed and suddenly an old standing clock they had in their living room that had not worked for five years suddenly started chiming again. And the exact time that had happened was the time her dad died. Even today if it’s a couple of toothpicks on table lying crossed on each other I move them. But the stuff I’ve had has been much more elaborate than those things in that apartment in Denmark. It’s not like I was doing drugs and seeing things or stone drunk out of my mind. Twice in my entire life I tried to smoke hash. When I was really young. And it did nothing for me and I’ve never done drugs.
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