Thursday, December 4, 2014

Interview: Mosaic



Wiedergänger: Hello IK, thanks for having me to do this interview. Mosaic's first relinquishment was a split vinyl with another band of yours grounded in the Death Metal sector called Alchemyst. When I was searching for information about Mosaic, I saw that this project started even before Alchemyst but had nothing released until the split came out. I doubt that it took so long to write that one song for the split so please tell us what you were doing in the meantime concerning Mosaic.

Inkantator Kuora: Ave! That's right. Mosaic is my solo-project and was founded back in 2006. The main problem was or is that I can´t handle the drum issues on my own and I had no colleagues which could really help me. Only rough recordings exist from 2006 to 2009 which therefore only feature simple drums, one guitar and sometimes vocals - so it’s just stuff for private use only. Over all there are about 4 hours of fragments and rehearsal tracks. Nothing worth to be published, but I will re-record some of these old ones in the coming future. The recording featured on the split with Alchemyst was the first complete track of Mosaic. Nowadays I´m supported by a couple of good musicians handling the drums, so I´m finally able to carve my visions into stone.

Would it be wrong if I would say that Mosaic is more of a personal project at all? My attempt of explanation for the projectname would be the following: Mosaic is where different sides of personality come together and get channeled into audial form to be a part of a big picture (just like in a mosaic). Once it is complete, the finished picture is a becoming a part of a even bigger picture and so on. Some sort of personal Ouroboros that is getting bigger and bigger over time the more the project is evolving.

That's it - no more words needed.

So it is also possible that you're moving into way different waters in comparison to the already released material if I'm developing my thought a bit further. You wouldn't categorize Mosaic as a Black Metal or Metal project at all then, right? Perhaps you can also state what is also possible in the context of Mosaic in terms of musical experiments.

Mosaic is an experimental way to express myself. Surely it is mainly based on extreme metal, but also on acoustic related stuff (if I look at the forthcoming releases). But at least there are no borders, if I want to do Punk Rock I will do it and If I want to do Noisescapes I will do - and so on.
My private archives from Mosaic feature many fragments and ideas from very different music styles, like Ambient, Black Metal, Doom, Funeral Doom, Folklore, Neofolk, Neoclassic, Punk Rock, Post Rock, Soundscapes and Trip-Hop. That is what Mosaic stands for, and also the reason why Mosaic is called "Mosaic". It is really interesting to mix different styles and create something unique. But If I want to do "straight" records, I'll do it. The way of composing and melodizing my visions depends a lot on the topic, the lyrical theme and my means to express them - So I can´t tell you what will happen!
I also have the habit to work on my recordings just mere hours before sending them to the pressing plant, because I often change constants  in the last second – it's a kind of curse *haha.

We will expect the unexpected! Let us speak about the coming acoustic tape that you're currently planning named "The Muted Songs". Like mentioned above, everything can but nothing has to be a part of your music. The muted songs seem to have a very nature related and primordial approach; ambient samples, acoustic guitar and the whispering vocals. Were you writing these songs in thrusts or was the song-writing process disseminated over the past years? Also, do you enjoy stuff like forest walks and the likes to draw inspiration or do you digest your feelings and impressions 'just like this'?

Well first, everything on “The Muted Songs” is played by me. There are no samples, everything is based on guitar, vocals and sometimes percussion. All songs were recorded during the last three years. Most of them were written for my mother, others were ideas and impressions I wanted to capture and turn into music - after hiking trips or something related. The most of them were written and recorded in less than two hours. The melodies on guitar are often improvised, but that’s great and creates the unique atmosphere of the recordings.

As a consequence you would never consider these 5-day in-studio writing and recording sessions, just because of the simple fact that it would take away the opportunity to give the written material time to grow? But then I suppose it sometimes happens that ideas get lost? I know people who pre-record stuff with their iPads or other mobile devices when a melody comes to their mind, do you also use this kind of "mobile recording" to capture things before they float away?

In my opinion all melodies which get lost, get lost because they were not good at all. Really good melodies are the ones that you'll keep in mind, that’s my philosophy. My drummer and I will enter the studio soon to record the final drums for the upcoming debut full-length, but everything else I will do on my own at the Mosaic rehearsal place, because I need time for this and don´t want to rush things and publish something that doesn't live up to my expectations. All pre-productions were done with advanced home-recording equipment. I don’t like the modern "mobile recording" stuff, so recording with this is out of the question! If I record something I want to work with it and don´t want to waste time to re-record rhythm layers or something other, therefore I often use first-takes because these ones have this special atmosphere that I love. Taking all of that into consideration, the pre-productions have their own magic - which unfortunately often gets lost on the final recordings. This saddens me a bit, but I know that the final versions make up for this with their own magic. 
The eternal struggle. Like some people will always prefer Nihilist over Entombed hehe. Let's get back to The Muted Songs again. After listening to the pre-production files of the album, I recapped each songs individually and figured out that 'Das Wasserpferd' (The Waterhorse) has a very mystical and hypnotic melody which I like very much. I think I can say that this track is my favorite ones on the album so far. It would be kind of you could go a bit into detail what your thoughts on this specific song where.

This one represents the mythological sea-creatures in general, the essence how it is and how it is perceived. But maybe some words about "The Muted Songs. This was a kind of unofficial compilation which features only acoustic songs. The edition which is available now was just for a small number  of close friends, in total 15 copies were made. When the time is right I will rework and revise all music on "The Muted Songs" to give everything more room to develop and grow. Maybe there will be a re-edition of the original ones, but sooner or later everything will be available.

The EP turned to an album during the studio sessions. Was this only affecting runtime or were you just making up a bigger concept that fits the label "album" better?

As I composed "The Waterhorse" song-circle it should have originally been “just” a part of the debut album, with a total running time about 20 min. Then I wanted to expand the theme and release it as an EP on its own. But while I worked on the songs for it, I noticed really fast that the "space" for the song-circle was far too small. So the tracklist was expanded from four to seven tracks, with a playtime of about 30 min. One week before we hit the studio, I started to work on some lyrics for the "EP" and the concept started to grow again. The whole story behind it grows and grows. I had many loose ideas for some single songs, but like in a puzzle - or a mosaic for that matter - everything slowly started to fit into each other. This was a really great moment for me.  So we recorded over 10 tracks in the studio. I also have to mention that "Daz Wazzerpfaerd" was only the working title of the album and the final title of the debut record is “ILLUMINATIONS OF HAUNTED SEAS AND MYSTICISM”.

Too many future things, I think the reader is already confused when he has read the interview up to this point. Let us head back to reality. On "Old Man's Wyntar", the current EP and third official Mosaic release after the two split 7"s, you also use "Old Man Wyntar" as covername, a quite uncommon thing. The EP is about different perspectives of winter, so for you, choosing this name was the only logic step because Mosaic is you (regarding to inner winter; mindset)?

I like to slip into a role which is really close to the musical concept. Therefore I decided to change my pseudonym for this release, to become one with the EP. This idea however is nothing new, the old gods did it the same way. Odin for instance became the old wanderer Grimnir. I love to play with such old ideas and create "own” mini-concepts within my records. On the upcoming full-length there are many of these which are waiting to be discovered by the listener.


You say that Georg Trakl was one of the many inspirations for Old Man's Wyntar. Normally I wouldn't guess such a poet as influence in a metal project (speaking about the majority of extreme music), one might peek into the more occult corner of writers.
Writers like Trakl or George (Das neue Reich for example) have mythical elements in their metaphorical language so is that where the link to Mosaic is?
Maybe you can put a finer point on his Trakl's influence on OMW.

Well it is not an innovative idea; the black metal project Sun of the Sleepless already did a track using the Trakl poem "Romanze zur Nacht". This was my first contact with Trakl - and I got addicted right away.

He was a really mentally disturbed person, crafting poems that have a similar vibe like "les fleurs du mal" from Charles Baudelaire, who is an important author also for the extreme metal sector. I like subliminal morbidity paired with surreal visions and descriptions, overall melancholy and wistfulness.

I can tell that Trakl is really my main influence in how I write lyrics, because I love his weird style. But I also like really romantic poetry like Eichendorff or Keats. The combination of both is a kind of romantic melancholy, but like Trakl with morbidity and dark aura.

While working on the lyrics for OMW, it was no problem for the first songs but for the last pieces which are representing the rough and hard side of winter, it was harder to find the right words. I had just begun to read all Trakl poems featuring the topic of winter and started to combine,  re-arrange and  re-write them slightly to get "my" message into them, which worked quite well.  "White Gloom" for example is based on various poems of Trakl.

In the songs, you added spoken word parts, that to me, really add a deep sense of angstly atmosphere. The voice sounds like mix of the maniac Kinski and the impressiveness of Oskar Werner but they do not seem sampled. How far was your control going in terms of your conspirators. Were they able to add their own little piece to the Mosaic or was the quintessence yours and they formed it their way?

Well there are neither contributors nor vocal samples. All vocals were done by me.
Only A. Deathmonger of Charon / Hatespawn did some guest vocals on White Gloom but more in a Fields of the Nephilim or Sisters of Mercy way. I think the vocals are the most remarkable element, because everybody has a different and unique voice. I think everybody should experiment with his/her voice to see what is possible to do with it. For example I hate most genre typical vocals. In today's modern –core- scene everybody just sounds the same - how stupid. Kinski is sure an influence in how I perform my spoken word parts, but besides him, I draw some influence from (random) old people. I love their fragile voices, they are full of wisdom. By the way the idea to include such spoken word parts came from listening to ROME. Jerome works a lot with spoken word passages and knows how to create various moods with them.
I also like to give them a vintage touch, trying to get the warm fuzzy sound of an antique radio, which creates a very nostalgic feeling. The main idea behind including those vocals on OMW is the narration and connection of the whole EP and I am really satisfied with the result and atmosphere they create.




Since you draw from personal experiences and feelings while writing songs, that also implies that songs about love, passion, romance and all of its trails are a part or a coming part of Mosaic if you are dead consequent. The feeling of being in love brings immense joy or suffering. Do you see your music as a tool to channel only a certain kind of (negative) emotions and others are being left out?
If not, how much romance do OMW contain?




On the forthcoming album there is a kind of "love-story" based on Goethe's Werther woven into the tale of the waterhorse. The music also transports a lot more of romantic, mystic themes because in total it has a really warm atmosphere. On the OMW EP there is just the romantic vibe of the cold snow landscape which is present on all tracks. Sure, I want to include all kinds of emotions in Mosaic, but you will never find specific traces of my private life in my music - everything is well hidden in a veil of words. So nothing is left out but I try to keep a mystic and sinister aura in everything I craft.
 

Since the EP has such a deep-private rooting, about it, do you find it difficult to transport the passion from writing the music to recording?

Not really. I like first-takes a lot and I often use them, because they carry the original spark and passion in them. I only have problems when I already have a kind of demo or pre-produced version of a song and fear that I might not able to recreate the same atmosphere again, this is kind of a curse, but I am satisfied with everything I released under the moniker Mosaic so far!

IK, thanks for your time! I think this is it! Thanks for having me and all the best for your future endeavours in music and private life.

Thanks for your questions.

Yours truly

IK


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Mosaic on Facebook: here
Bandcamp: here 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Review: Bölzer - Soma


 

Fuck my skull! So here is "Soma", the completion of the energy/body concept that Bölzer began to cantillate in 2013 with "Aura".
And when I saw the "promo invitation" from Invictus in my emails, I started screaming out of excitement like a little girl. You guys do know how to touch my soul!

Bölzer successfully used their time between "Aura" and the current, coming EP to gain momentum with alot work in making themselves a name as excellent live band. With that momentum in their backs, "Soma" was more than ready for critical acclaim. And once more, they showed us who the Zeus is.

What differs "Soma" ?
Neither the guitars are heavier, nor is the double-bass faster. 
Soma is not a tempest in the teapot.
In the eye of the storm, that's where Bölzer's music is right. Bludgeoning with its august power and perfect precision. "Soma" uses the same modus operandi that worked for "Roman Acupuncture" but this time much more hypnotizing...
...And since this work was written between the first demo and "Aura" this wasn't too much of a surprise.
Nevertheless, or precisly because of that, I would not say that "Soma" is the strongest of Bölzer's outputs. It is plain Bölzer version 1.5

This still means that this is a disgustingly splendid piece of sound and soul-consuming. You get caught in the furor maelstrom right at second one of the first eclipse named "Steppes", which is 5:40 minutes in duration. "Steppes" is completely punishing with unbelievable intensity that comes from all directions. The spoken-word element around the mid-mark introduces a galloping rythm that makes Steppes abit similiar to "Zeus: Seducer of Hearts" from the demo. 
Lash! Lash! More! More! Onwards! Onwards! Tear through the steppe!

That HzR's drumming is quite unique is what highlights Bölzer as so special in my book. A great drum tone and highly effective playing. These solo hits on the snare-drum, responsible for the typical gallop...

On to the second and already final track that namely is "Labyrinthian Graves". With its 12:44 minutes of duration, the longest song this swiss duo has created so far.
As engulfing as the cretian labyrinthe and as abominable as the minotauros himself, "... Graves" drills into your acoustic meatus. The guitar is twisted, riffs and chords get torn apart but are yet in bliss. Vocal and string mangler KzR is showing different singing styles that create an overshadowing darkness. Raspy clean vocals, Death Metal cantos or animating Black Metal eeriness. "Labyrinthian Graves" leaves deep cuts in the flesh, as it is sharp as a Theseus blade.

"Soma" works like a nietzschean axiom "The will to overcome an emotion is ultimately only the will of another emotion or of several others". The intensity in Bölzer's music is overwhelming and breath-taking. I am yawing for more and more and more. It is the perfect execution of intensification and climax that reach the cusp (so far) with "Aura".


-Wiedergänger





Origin:Switzerland
Founded: 2018
Style: Black/Death Metal
Type: EP
Year: 2014
 
CD, LP and Cassette version through Invictus Productions 






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Bölzer on Facebook: here
Invictus Productions: here

Friday, June 13, 2014

Review: Vilifier - Ritual Obscuration

With a good bit of prejudice I got Vilifier's latest EP "Ritual Obscuration" for a review from californias' Rising Beast Recs. You know, we interviewed the Vilifier guys a while back and since we only interview bands we love, writing this was kind of a different task.
"Ritual Obscuration" is the second material that was recorded under sort of regular circumstances and got released as a tripertito: Jewelcase CD (Australia), DigiCD (Europe) and cassette (America). The version reviewed here, is the cassette version.

If you own the first two Vilifier cassettes, the 4 track "Ritual Obscuration" offers you nothing new except the title track. The other three songs have been taken from their live cassette but that is completely fine. To hear these brute song in acceptable audio quality only adds goodness.

That the big rock in the southern sea has an insanely good scene of old school metal bands is not to be questioned  That old school is the status-quo depends on who you ask of course but for me it is of fundamental importance. The Vilifiers are putting Revenge and Incantation in the mixer so if that sounds like hard cash for you this is a sure-fire success. This EP is neither really obscure (!!!), technical or good sounding. Dark Death Metal rigidity cremates all signs of copycatism or aforementioned attributes and leaves only menace, aggression and crushed bones and to make this the way Metal should be.

Vilifier bestow us not only low-end guitartones and doomy tremolo picking rythms but also chaotic faster parts. These parts are unique and fuck you like a rabid elephant.
The bass gets along pretty unspectacular, following the guitar and doing what it's supposed to do.
If you like music trying to be innovative, there would be alot to gripe on these four songs because you could replace one with the other without even notifying a difference.

Of course it is clattering in every nook and corner, the songs only blaze on 2-3 different hooks with several severe chaotic sorties. But do I care? No. Is this winning any comparison contests with the big names? No.
These 4 aussies plough through the magnet stripes like they have never done anything else than playing the music they like. Nothing more, nothing less.

-Wiedergänger





Origin: Australia
Founded: 2011
Style: Black/Death Metal
Type: EP
Year: 2013

Jewelcase CD: Crawling Chaos Prod.
DigiCD: Forgotten Wisdom
Cassette: Rising Beast Recordings

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Vilifier Official: here
Crawling Chaos Productions: here
Forgotten Wisdom: here
Rising Beast Recordings: here

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Review: Domains - Sinister Ceremonies

Not only that I like the newer stuff from Dimmu Borgir for their symphonic compositions, I developed a fascist urge to orchestrate everything up.
As soon as these guitars punched in, I knew that this album can only be a winner.
Not even halfway through the self-titled opener, I was creating concepts around the riffs: "Oh you could insert some strings there, trumpets there..."
...What also means that the riffs are pretty frisky. Replacing the guitar with the string section of an orchestra could work pretty good on "Sinister Ceremonies" without destroying the song structures too much.

Still, "Sinister Ceremonies" lives up its full potential as a metal album, the word repitition is not in available Domain's vocabulary. The mix is loud and clear with a good amount of depth, nothing in the way for full audio pleasure.
"Mastery" starts with a furious Necrophobic kind of riff, the transitions between different melodies are fluent and come off without any disturbing breakdowns or interruptions.

Here and there somw doomy hints shine through the songbeam.
Drumwise this definitely is not the best album, "Nocturn" does the job but if you expect any overhours like on the guitar front, I have to disappoint you.
The vocals have a pretty familiar sound to me and are positioned on the Death Metal side while the music itself is slightly rooted in Melodic Black Metal ala Unanimated, Dissection, the aforementioned Necrophobic without denying influences from Morbid Angel or the dutch armour-piercing steamhammer Asphyx.

I really appreciate this attempt on extreme Metal. This is a fresh band with an album that already made a good impact. Amidst the stagnant copycats, Domains managed to craft something that is meant to stay.
As closing act for the review, it would be appropriate to say that tracks like "Towards Plerome" or "Eucharist of Relevance" offer the best of everything that post-80s extreme Metal has to offer.


To make the circle complete, I would like to offer something to the gentleman of Domains: Please send me one of the tracks off "Sinister Ceremonies"
You choose which one - and give the Bellum Musicae staff some time to remix it our way. After listening to the whole album, it was really burning my and our brain cells.


We are also musicians with several albums under our belts and this would be a great challenge to improve our skills. Of course the result would be posted here.

-Wiedergänger







Origin: Spain
Founded: 2005
Style: Black/Death Metal
Type: Full-length
Year: 2014

CD, The Sinister Flame





___________________________________________________________________________
Domains Official Web: here
The Sinister Flame Official Web: here

Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: Abhorrot - Sacrificial Incarnations of Perpetual Death


Gaudiness! Just adjust your eyes for that monstrous artwork by Alexander Brown!
This is not the new Bölzer but the second EP of the deathwatchers of Abhorrot.
Uglier and more fiendish than their fellow countryman Pungent Stench have ever been, Abhorrot rumble through this 4 tracker with the same concious intention like Teitanblood (old), Sadomator, Vilifier, Impetuous Ritual and so on and forth.

Not that I was almost expecting it, the instruments overall sound is alot like if they were recorded in a womb or a catacomb, rooms that produce natural underdamping atmosphere. Of course we also have some reverb (underground, eh?) but still, you can figure quite easy what these two guys are doing.

Prehistoric is what would describe the guitar tone at best, primitively punishing as Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance himself on the beloved 1991 Beherit classic "The Oath..."
Yet the string section is pushed in the background and tubby which gives me the feeling that there is alot of potential in terms of effectiveness that is there but not called.
They have very brute songwriting and great rythm but this is just abating and sad especially because the whole EP is a great fusion of finnish, dutch and swedish Death- and Black Metal.

A radiant example of how good this EP actually is, is the complete side A that contains the tracks "Sacrificial Revelations of Carved Flesh" and "The Burning Incarnation of Death". When the brutal penetration of Asphyx and the vile malice of Blasphemy meet, catastrophe is imminent and so it is here.
Abhorrot master both, the fast-paced and the mid-tempo parts with ease and keep everything in the flow. It is almost fun (sic!) to listen to this EP. The drums are flagellating the string section on a remarkable high level for this kind of primitive sounding music which makes this a necessary listen and utter "How-to-do-it-right" for the whole lot of bands that also float around in the same genre.

Song number three - the first on the B side - sounds pretty south american to my suprise. The overall diverse and positively varied riffs move away and get rightfully replaced by a cudgel made of Sarcofago and typical swedish D-Death Metal riffs.

The harshness of the vocals is pure Metal excess drowned in dinosaur blood.
T. Blackpriest is whipping out his most fuming mouth. 

Fenriz would say: "How fucking primitive can you get?"

"Sacrificial Incarnations of Perpetual Death" is a huge paean to the early 90's without a doubt. It is merging, teeth-grinding and in the end, spitting you out leaving you curious for more. 

The things I do not like on this EP are not terribly wrong, they are just not matching the standard that I acquired after liking and listening this thing for a few times. First world Death Metal problems.

-Wiedergänger





Origin: Austria
Founded: 2007
Style: Death Metal
Type: EP
Year: 2014

12" MLP, Yersinia Pestis






__________________________________________________________________________
Abhorrot Official:  here
Abhorrot on Facebook: here
Yersinia Pestis: here

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Review: Maze of Terror - Skullcrusher

Reason #52 why South America Metal still has alot of advance to us european and american people: They give a shit. THEY shit on any form of musical adulthood. Starting from the EP title (Skullcrusher) (another fav. of mine: everything with a fuckin' in it) to the songtitles (Lord of Destruction) over countless project's names (e.g. Power from Hell).
__________________________________________________________________________
 

Maze of Terror are still captured in the play yard of extreme aggression. No comfort, spikes everywhere, upholstered in denim.
Skullcrusher is far away being "bog standard" but also not too close to really kick my ass.
Uniqueness is a thing these peruvian guys never heard off but that in fact is not too bad.
The effectiveness of proven structures conceals their lack of ideas.

It would give me a hard time if I had to decide if this is either straight to the point exciting because of its simplicity or plain boredom caused by the riffs we've all heard more than a thousand times.

Great are the really angry vocals. That dude is pissed! Unfortunaly, it's the only real standout feature on this record.
Another unfortunaly for the fact that after listening to "Skullcrusher" for the third and fourth time, I really started to dislike, if not hate, it. 
The closing track "Run with Death" manages to get along with one riff.
And it's not that "Thunderbelial" awesome sort of one riff.


To the bands defense it is also the least to say that I am not really a Thrash maniac.
Some records are growers to me and some are not, this definitely falls under the last category and even adds a downward spiral.


If you like it straight in the ass check Maze of Terror out, if you like mature music, you can pass this EP. It's a violent and rough quickie.

-Wiedergänger
 



 Origin: Peru
Founded: 2011
Style: Thrash Metal
Type: EP
Year: 2012

First and second press on tape:
Total Desaster Prod. (100 copies)
Capricorn Records (300 copies)




__________________________________________________________________________
Maze of Terror on Facebook: here

Friday, April 11, 2014

Interview: Pax Romana Promotions

Eigenes Logo anpassen.
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Wiedergänger: Hello Steve, Pax Romana is a new name among the Neofolk concert organisers. You are located in England, the home of Neofolk. London has quite alot of Neofolk shows compared to other big cities throughout Europe. Why was it necessary to start Pax Romana then if you already have a good amount of promoters and a rather healthy scene? Tell me what's wrong.


Steve: Good evening. Well, as you rightly point out England is the birth place of the neofolk scene, but apart from some of the older more established acts, London tends to miss out on a lot of the quality European bands. As you know I'm a big Rome fan and although I've been listening to them since around 2006, it wasn't until 2013 that they first played a show in this country. Now that's just one example, but Rome are a huge band, with much cross-genre support. Why did it take six or seven years for them to land on our shores? Is it because of the fans, the promoters - I don't know, but it's certainly something that I aim to get to the bottom of and remedy.

So yay for ye olde english neofolk and nay for the more international acts. I can see where your effort comes from. You've mentioned Rome, will Jerome headline the show with Kirlian Camera and Naevus in July or will you give Ms. Fossi and her boys the preference? Naevus would deserve a headliner spot too of course!

That's exactly it, and it's something that's concerned me for many years. When it comes to the Martial Industrial side of things we are missing out a great deal and that is something I will also address. Jerome will be opening the proceedings at our inaugural show, mainly because he is performing a solo acoustic set. As you rightly state, all three acts deserve an opening spot, but I think the current order will work well, with Rome and Naevus building up to what should be an excellent and long awaited performance by Ms Fossi & Co.


That was one of the next things I was about to ask... Martial Industrial - atleast from my perspective - never made it to the 'big stages' in the last 1-2 years. Unless Triarii headline a bigger show, there is not much going on the live sector.

It's funny you mention Triarii, as they are one of the acts that I want to get over to the UK as soon as possible. You are completely right of course, and I will be working hard to ensure the choice Martial bands start hitting the stage again soon. I think one of the major problems is, especially for smaller promoters like me, is that these shows tend to require an awful lot of planning and sourcing of equipment. It's not as simple as a couple of guys with acoustic guitars - as the stage show usually requires a lot more to bring about the perfect aesthetic, which in my book is nearly as important as the music itself.

Funny contradiction. Imagening that Martial Industrial is done mainly by guys or girls sitting infront of a computer screen figuring everything out with their tools and a midi-keyboard. But when it comes to playing live, you need like 6 different drummers and 4 flutists. The curse of modern times.

Are you facing any major problems while making everything ready for the first Pax Romana event or is everything running smooth 'til now? Any big things that are still on your to-do-list?

Haha, well yes I suppose so, but being a bit of a romantic, I don't really like to ruin the magic by thinking about such things. As long as the finished product works well and the live show has the right feel and aesthetic, it doesn't really matter how it came about.
There were a few teething problems initially, but everything is on track. Everyone involved has been extremely helpful, from Jerome designing the flyers/posters (which I asked him to change/update about 100 times) to Lloyd (James - Naevus) helping with some of the logistics). We also have the support of some real heavyweights in the scene including Cold Spring Records (no introduction needed) and the show is being sponsored by Zero Tolerance Magazine, so all in all things are going very well indeed. The only thing left on my to-do list is to get hold of a cello for the evening, but this shouldn't be too much of a problem.

You have also told me something about your next show, again well-renowned artists. Would you like to elaborate on this or is all this still under the mantle of silence? 

Well, I can't really say much about that at the moment and I'm not sure if it will go ahead. Rest assured things are always working behind the scenes, but like I said, we don't like to spoil the magik...
 

Mainland Europe has a blooming Neofolk scene but you english guys seem to lose on the long run. How was the recent crowd support on past shows for 'hometown' acts? Are people still hungry to see the locals?

That's a very good point. I assume you are referring, in part at least, to last years' Death in June show in London. In all honesty I think there was something lacking. Maybe because it was the third year in a row for me seeing them, maybe because it was supposed to be at much more intimate venue (thanks Antifa!!) but I don't think the atmosphere as a whole was as good as the reunion show in 2011. It was great to see Miro (Snejdr) performing a few tracks with Doug, but for me the night belonged to Spiritual Front. Probably because I had waited so many years to see them (see earlier comments about the lack of European artists here).

I think people are still hungry to see our great homegrown acts, and the evidence can be seen by the likes of 6<omm playing in a few months. Towards the end of last year I was lucky enough to go to the Naevus album launch with Black Light Ascension (and Factory Acts), which was packed out. The reception Andrew King received when he played with Changes late last year is also testament to the dedication of our small, but growing scene. There also seems to be a lot more crossover these days from the extreme metal scene, which only adds to the popularity and support of the wider neofolk scene.

Since you won't spoil on future events, is bringing underground projects from more different soils a thing on your list? Eastern european acts never play 'near us' for example, if they play live at all.

All in good time my friend. Hmm, an interesting question. Coming from a Black Metal background, I understand what you mean about 'the underground' but I don't think it has as much relevance in neofolk/martial industrial, for it's a pretty small scene in itself. There are many great bands hiding in the hinterlands of our beloved Evropa, and I would love to see more of these hitting the stage if that answers your question? Eastern Europe has many interesting acts and a real passion that we don't see too often. As you know, it's an area I'm particularly interested in and I look forward to working with these acts in the future.


Good time seems to be now.
We had a little break on the interview and you already announced your next show. The London date of the Fire + Ice, Knotwork and While Angels Watch 'The fractured Europe tour'
. Ian Read of Fire + Ice recently said that french based label/booker Autre Que is now handling their touring duties, can you tell us something about the process of working together with other bookers and how much different it is from doing everything solely?


Hi again, I guess we’ve both been busy!That’s correct. The latest show is being organised by Pax Romana and Sowilo Media, with help from Autre Que. Naturally there are many benefits of working together, not least being able to split the cost/risk, as neither of us would have been able to bring this show to London on our own. Plus, me being a newcomer, it’s fantastic to work with Dev (Sowilo/While Angels Watch) who has been happy to share his experience with me. We had talked about joining forces in the past and it’s an honour to work with him and Nathalie at Autre Que.

Since you're located in London... what else should the dignified neofolker see when he is in town beside that big clock thing?

Concerning London; the big clock, as iconic as it may be, is not the only attraction. London isn’t known as haven for neofolk, but hey, that’s why I’m here and it will soon be synonymous with the genre if I have my way.

Are you planning to get any additional attractions aside the live music? Art exhibitions or campfire romantic and such...
Mentioning additional things to concerts, what is your opinion on concert or festival shirts? I, personally, hate them.


It would be nice to branch and I have some plans for future attractions, but it’s still early days. I discussed having some sort of art installation at one of our shows and hopefully in the future this can happen. It would also be nice to plan a two day event to rival the big german and european shows, but I must learn to walk before attempting to run.


Let's end it here. Thanks for the talk Steve and all the best for Pax Romana. Do whatever you want now. 

Thanks for the interview! 
We hope to see you at one of our shows soon (on stage or in the audience).
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