BEHEMOTH‘s Adam “Nergal” Darski recently posted a photo on Instagram of him hanging out backstage at the FortaRock festival in The Netherlands with Swedish musician Tobias Forge — believed to be none other than Papa Emeritus II, the frontman of Swedish occult rockers GHOST, who go to great lengths to keep the identities of their bandmembers a secret. The photo was accompanied by the caption “If you have ghosts… U have everything;)”, a line from the ROKY ERICKSON song “If You Have Ghosts”, which was covered by GHOST on their EP “If You Have Ghost”, released in November 2013.
BEHEMOTH and GHOST shared the stage at FortaRock, which took place on May 31 in Nijmegen.
Besides singing for MAGNA CARTA CARTEL, an experimental rock outfirt, Forge has also spent time in hard rock and metal acts REPUGNANT and SUBVISION.
In an early 2012 interview with Full Metal Jackie‘s nationally syndicated radio show, one of the “Nameless Ghouls” from GHOST was asked whether he can foresee a day when the members of GHOST won’t be anonymous anymore. He said, “I think there is a difference between being anonymous and unmasked. Where SLIPKNOT actually wear masks still, while KISS during their unmasked days didn’t. Obviously, it’s a thing of the times.
“What we’re trying to do, it’s very hard to maintain. If the actual goal was to not be known, we try to maintain that, but in the long run, we can’t really expect that to be something everlasting. Most of our fans are actually quite keen on not knowing, which works to our favor, but I think there is a difference between people knowing who is behind the mask or being unmasked.
“We can’t really see ourselves going up on stage and afterwards just dropping the masks saying, ‘Oh, it’s me, it’s me, actually. Can you see?’ No, no, no… We don’t want that. We don’t want to spoil it. That’s the whole reason why we are anonymous and we try not to show ourselves. We try to eliminate, not the human aspects, but the humane aspects, if you want. We want to put Papa Emeritus in the limelight. He’s supposed to be the living character, even though rigor mortis has basically set in in his poor old body. But that’s the face of the band. He’s the person, everybody else are just puppets.”
In a separate 2012 intervie with ThePhoenix.com, one of the “Nameless Ghouls” from GHOST said: “The initial thought of doing this anonymously was because we didn’t wanna sort of have any personality and we didn’t want to have faces interfere with the reaction and the overall mindframe that we wanted for the crowd to be in, and ourselves to be in, in a GHOST context. Whereas I really don’t think that any of us could have understood that the anonymous thing would be such a turn-off. So when we actually really go at length to be anonymous just to focus on the music, now there are a lot of people focusing on the fact that we’re anonymous, and it sucks. On the other hand, I think that being a band with the ambition of taking what you’re doing to someplace else and levitate, I think that now with a bit of hindsight we see that what goes around when you’re in a band that’s sort of semi-successful, I think that being anonymous really helps you focus on what really matters. Putting on a good show, etc.
“There are a lot of bands out there, especially young bands, they seem to forget about why they’re actually at the place they’re at. Because there are so many other things that you can dive into when you’re a band on the road, doing festivals, etc, there are a lot of other things that can occupy your time.
“It can be hard to be in a band when nobody recognizes you. But it has its benefits, especially when you’re on tour with other bands and you see how they’re approached by other people, what’s expected of them. Whenever there’s a crowd outside a venue, waiting for the bands to hang out, we pass as roadies.”