We had the chance to meet Nergal, leader of the Polish Black Metal band Behemoth, in Lyon at Le Radian (France), a few hours before the start of their show. And what a show my friends! He took the time to answer our interview “7 questions about sport and Metal”, and we thank him very much for that honor.
1) What is your relationship to sport, what place does it have in your life?
Well, sport is life. It's like sex, it's like food. It's a part of my daily routines. I feel very much attached to my workout routines, and I need them to maintain my daily life. Especially nowadays on tour, it's just something that gets you out of the bubble and makes your day more vital.
I practice every day. I mean, usually it’s three to four workout days a week, and then a day off, and then another three to four days. Sometimes five days in a row and two days off, but basically it’s every day.
2) What sport(s) / sports activity(ies) do you practice regularly?
The easiest it’s just to get a gym on tour. So I go to the nearest gym to workout for one hour. If it's nice weather like today, I’m going out to do a 40 to 45 minute jog. You know, it’s good to feel your blood flowing and draining into your body. I like it.
I like to motivate myself to also start like some Yoga classes at some point, but it’s more difficult on tour. I can do it on my own, or I connect with my Yoga teacher and then we just do online sessions.
But all these don't happen very often, because I really need extreme motivation to do those Yoga things, and find a space, and a peaceful place… so it’s not so easy.
If there is a good swimming pool, I would swim, which is good for cardio.
I like to workout before noon. I prefer to wake up, have my first breakfast, which is porridge with some additional stuff, and then I like to go and do a workout.
3) What does it bring you as a musician and in your everyday life?
With Behemoth, I’m not that kind of musician that just stands and doesn't move around… I do move a lot on stage. I run, I fucking jump… The other day I was fucking jump of the stage, into the crowd, into the pit with my guitar. So you’ve got to be a sports guy, otherwise you could break a leg, twist an ankle, or whatever… So for me it is very important to maintain my routines for my professional life, being a musician, a performing musician… I’m just talking about life. If I don’t do that, I feel sick.
4) Do you listen to music when you workout, and if so, what kind?
Not anymore. I stopped listening to any music lately. Now I listen to podcasts, news, politics. If there’s nothing interesting in politics, then I put the new Megadeth, which is politics. Or Slayer, which is politics. Or The Exploited, which is politics. There is politics in music, even in Behemoth there is politics, because politics is life. Once you realize that you just can’t get away from politics, you’ve got to be aware. I mean, you can hang around and just say “I don’t want to be included in all that”, but if you want to do that, you’d rather be aware anyway of what happens in daily life and in the world.
5) On tour, how do you maintain a constant level of training and a healthy lifestyle?
It’s very important, and I’ve learnt that also, for years now, that staying fit it’s not only workout on tour, it’s also how you’re going to moderate your eating habits. It’s very important not to over eat, but to deliver a good meal to your stomach, to your muscles and to your brain with a good balance between fats, carbons, and proteins. And drink a lot, not only alcohol ! I’m not straight from alcohol. I’m not a straight edge, I don’t like that.
Even though I don’t eat meat, I won’t preach, and I won’t tell stop eating meat, I won’t do that, that is fucking fascism. I’m not that. Fucking do whatever you pleased, what ever you feel like, whatever your body needs, each one of us is different. I just can’t fucking put everyone in one box. You need to figure out your own ways of how you’re going to achieve your goals, if any. I’ve my goals. I’m quite happy with my physics, but I can always push it a little bit further, I don’t want to push it too much, because I don’t want to gain muscles. I like to stay fit.
Stretching is extremely important for me. Stretching is essential. I stretch before and after the workout. I use a hammer massage too, plus I also ask Seth to do a short message on me everyday, like 10 to 15 minutes. He does my back, very strong, as a deep tissue massage, and my arms. Playing guitar, my arms muscles get stiff very easily, so I need to warm up on the guitar and also put strong pressure on my arms muscles, on my “riff muscles” as I call them . And for exemple, yesterday was a day off and I passed by some massage place, they had a slot available, so I did it right away. So there is always a way to stay fit on tour.
6) Do you have any sport / health / nutrition advice or tips to share with us?
In my opinion, the only way to stay alive and in good shape, it’s to follow the regular routines, and trust me on tour, it can be very demanding. Yesterday we had quite a fucking rough party, I’m still recovering this party, but there is no excuse. Mostly, I don’t feel like going and working out. I’m not just flying like a butterfly shouting “Yes! I’m gonna workout”, I’m more like “Fucking hell, again!”. You’ve got to kill the lazy ass in yourself. Everyone is lazy, more or less. I’m lazy. I’d rather chill the fuck out. But if I do that, my conscience is killing me. I struggle, but after workout, you get endorphins, which awaken your system, you just feel better immediately. So I just do it, and after I feel happy.
It’s really a way to get more vitality back into your system.
You spent a fucking night in the bus, then there’s the venue and the rehearsal, most of the musicians they never go out, so basically they live like fucking vampirs. So for me, just getting out of the “touring bubble”, making that effort, is an investment in my wellbeing. I’m only a human being, I have my weaknesses but it’s all about the right balance.
If you don’t do anything, you die, it equals death.You’ve got to get moving.
Even if you’re not into sports. If you hate sport, put some podcast or music in your headphones and take one hour of fast walking. It does myracles. I remember when I was recovering after my leukemia, my body was so atrophied, it was a jelly body, I was not in shape at all. I did a lot of Nordic Walking. I gained muscles back from Nordic Walking. If you do it properly, it's full body work.
7) What is your current news?
We’ve just announced our summer tour: “LET THE SVMMER BVRN!”
Be prepared for ‘The Deathless Svmmer’ starting this June!