Read a transcript of Joseph Stannard's conversation with Mayhem front man Attila Csihar, part of a series of exclusive interviews with collaborators and members of Sunn O))
The next track to benefit from your involvement is “Big Church”. What is the origin of its subtitle, 'megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért'?
“It's a Hungarian word I first heard when I was a kid. This is one of the longest words in Hungarian, it contains 44 letters and the reason why it is famous is not really because of its meaning, but because it shows how you can play with the Hungarian language. It's pretty different from most other languages, I think. We have not too much connection to Latin or Slavic languages. People relate our language to Finnish. This idea is perhaps only 200, 100 years old, I don't know where it came from, but I have a lot of friends from Finland, and we agree on one point, which is that it makes no sense that people think we have the same language. I couldn't even find one word which sounds similar in Finnish! But it's still the official line. One of the things that is unique about Hungary, one of the first things I would pick up on, is the language. The others loved the idea that I would sing in Hungarian. It shows the Hungarian grammar, how it is possible to pile meaning upon meaning. The root word would be 'consecrate' and you put before and after that word a lot of additions, creating this complex meaning. It can go up to 44 letters. With the Hungarian language, of course, you can create your own words.
“The meaning of this word is also kind of cool, because it's about consecration and deconsecration, and that someone is acting like he would be not the one who could be deconsecrated, and he got this thing as a consequence. It probably sounds strange to you, it's not a word we use daily, it's more like a demonstration. But I picked up on this because although we have a couple of other words like this, this one suited the message of Sunn O))), you know? I also thought it was lovely that the guys got a female choir involved. I'm always fascinated by the sound of the female voice. I think today, in this style of music, extreme music, it's very rare that women appear. Okay, there are some of course, like Jarboe or Diamanda Galas. But to get the whole thing, a nice balance of all the energies in the music, because music is such a strange complex language, it's very nice to have the female polarity included, the lunar aspect. I always support that. The choir was set up in Vienna, so I went there to help them with the language.”