Text & Photos via The Heavy Mental
Scarful has an aura around him. If you know him well enough you understand what I am talking about. It’s a thick, shiny cloud floating around him probably because his odd-shaped skull is filled with wisdom nectar. Even though he is usually a very peaceful creature, if the cloud is dark and stormy, you better stay away or you can get blasted by his thunder. His knowledge on occult arts and crafts is enormous and he is constantly experimenting with them in his studio in Tor Pignattara, in the suburb of Rome. Alessandro Maida, also known as Scarful has done with inks and drawings pretty much what Sasha Shulgin has done with psychedelics. Fertile as Gengis Kahn in conceiving artwork for record covers, posters, and fanzines, he is a Belzebub of cross-media collaborations. He wears black and has asthma like Darth Vader.
We are so stoked to bring you this special edition of our Artist to Artist Interview series! AJ from Brooklyn’s Sannhet filmed and edited an awesome conversation between Colin Marston (Krallice) and Chris Todd (Sannhet), who talk to each other about recording at The Thousand Caves in Queens, NY. Check out this rad interview below!
Iconoclast Records and Sangre de Muerdago are two of the most interesting labels and bands currently out there. Iconoclast Records based in Italy release and distribute mainly black, death and doom metal as well as a darker folk music. They also have a real decent DIY ethos and have released music by Black September, Æsahættr, Embers and of course Sangre De Muerdago. Sangre De Muerdago from Spain play music that is like the sounds of a forest at night, incorporating elements of folk, samples, traditional and new age.
A thank you to both for doing such an insightful detailed interview.
And now for something completely similar… Let’s question and answer ourselves, because the answer is into us, and it’s often wrong. First of all, the usual ritual question: Who are you? You are number 6… Oh, ok, sorry, we’re digressing… Where are you going? What are you carrying? And what is your role in this world?
Pablo (Sangre de Muerdago): Hi there!! Thank you for the interview!!
Who am I… Difficult one….
I´m going nowhere… Just passing by… There´s no role, just fate.
Davide (Iconoclast Records): Well, I’m not a number, I’m a free man, what else? Being a ‘bit more serious, I started Iconoclast about 5 years ago, at that time I was younger and full of expectations, the grass was green and the sky blue… As label’s chief, I was more into crust punk and hardcore, and more focused on some interesting Italian bands (Post Fata Resurgo and Bhopal above all), with some exceptions (check out the Swedish band Fredag den 13:e). The turning point was undeniably the releasing of Sermon of Vengeance of Chicago’s blackened deathsters Black September. We’re based in Bologna, Agipunk was already a point of reference for every punk, crust, hardcore band -and follower too- so the choice was quite easy, and when Claudio jumped in we moved the label’s focus on more strictly metal territories. As what concern what I personally do… Let’s skip the question, I’m going forward, that’s what I would like, at least. What I’m carrying are some heavy distro boxes, and believe me, my back is fucked up… My role in this world is to bring anguish and despair brandishing my battle axe.
Claudio (Iconoclast Records): I’m slowly going nowhere, carrying big shit bags. I definitely don’t have any role in this world, what a loss…
Sangre de Muerdago, you guys come from the diy punk scene, why did you choose the acoustic side of the Force?
Pablo: That´s true… we´ve always had a taste for folk and acoustic music and all what it comes with it though, even way earlier than punk and metal…. growing up in Galicia in the late 70´s, 80´s, meant you were surrounded by folk music all the time, old melodies, old stories that remained from mouth to mouth, from singer to singer… since i´ve been playing in punk and metal bands many years ago, i´ve always been enjoying and listening to folk and acoustic music, since i can play guitar, i´ve always been writing acoustic stuff, and slowly slowly this way of expression was getting more and more attention, until now which is the main creative project for me, and also the most fulfilling and inspiring. Besides the whole “healing myself” process that this music and its words are taking me through… music is a gate to a magical world, and folk music has always meant and means to me something very deep and grounded, rooted to our earth since centuries and centuries, a way to express our deepest feelings through words and melodies.
and besides all that, there´s such a beautiful diy community out there playing any kind of music, diy punk is just a tiny part of it….
Iconoclast Records, you guys come from the diy punk scene, why did you choose the metal side of the Force?
Davide: Because I’m a Jedi, as my father was before me.
Fuck no, I guess I already answered to this question before… However, basically I found more intersting proposals in the metal underground than in the stagnant crust punk scene. Moreover I realized that the only crust and hardcore bands I was still listening to were systematically the ones from the past. So I just thought “Why should I waste my commitment in something I don’t care that much anymore?”. Always speaking about music, I mean.
Claudio: Simply because it’s what I listen to, but my attitude never changed, has perhaps evolved. There are interesting death/black/doom metal bands in the underground DIY scene, with a genuine approach. It means that it’s not all about rockstar wannabes.
I joined Iconoclast with the idea that metal and hc-punk (especially crust) have primordial connections. Bathory, Entombed, Napalm Death, Carcass, Bolt Thrower, etc…were influenced also by crustpunk bands, just as Discharge, English Dogs, DRI, Suicidal Tendencies, etc joined metal at some point. Therefore, it’s not strange if in 2013 a death metal band plays some gigs with a crust one, just as Bolt Thrower played gigs with Negazione and Deviated Instinct in the 80′s. Born too late, someone said.
By the way, there’s a lot of people involved in both punk/crust and metal bands just as punx which always listened to metal, and the opposite…
Rivalries between punk and metal are so ridiculous…
Earlier this year, the Oakland community squat space Hot Mess/RCA won the first of its legal battles against the developers trying to evict them from the property, a pioneer case for squatters’ rights in the US. While their order of eviction was overturned, they will have many fights ahead of them in a system that sees squatting as a dangerous illegal activity, one that impedes on the capitalization of property by banks and speculators. It seems like most of the time, the authorities that be would rather see their citizens homeless in order to line their pockets with money from developers. However, in California the law of “adverse possession” creates guidelines for squatters and makes it possible for them to own the property the are squatting after 5 years of paying property tax and living openly on it. That’s how Steve DeCaprio, from the band Embers and CEO and founder of the non-profit Land Action, took legal possession of his own home, and in March he was interviewed on CNN about squatting and squatter’s rights in California. He did a great job of presenting a responsible face for squatting, showing that the fears that drive the evictions of squatters are unwarranted in many cases. In fact, it seems like many of these evictions are more driven by profit than by public safety. Personally, I find it “morally yucky” that banks in California have foreclosed on hundreds of thousands of homes after manipulating families into shady mortgages and taking in billions of taxpayer dollars as a bailout. Taking possession of an abandoned property and restoring it seems like a better way to go for the neighborhood, community and country at large. Check out the CNN segment with Steve as well as an Oakland squat photo essay below.
German neofolk musician Art Abscons’ Les Sentiers Éternels LP was named one of CVLT Nation’s “Top 6 Neofolk Releases” last year, and with good reason. Though the mysterious performer only appears in public behind a green monster mask, his music is the opposite of monstrous: In my review of his 2012 LP, I described Abscons’ music as a “very refined — I would even say ‘classical’ — neofolk style that explores softer, even beautiful, melodies, usually sung in French or German. Les Sentiers Ternel is a drowsy and often downright pretty LP of lilting, dreamy neofolk music — not the sort of thing you would expect a Tolkien-esque goblin mutant creature to make.” Although there are obvious influences from What Ends When the Symbols Shatter?-era Death in June, Art Abscons reaches further back in musical history for inspiration, drawing upon old European folk melodies and themes.
Recently, I was able to ask Mr. Abscons about the mask, and, more importantly, his music. The following interview was conducted in May, 2013.
Let’s start with the present – “The Formulas of Death” was officially released last weekend with a launch gig. How was the event? And are you happy with how the finished album has turned out?
The festivities surrounding the release of the album turned out the way we wanted them to. We had a sold out show and I guess you can say that we arranged the entire night by ourselves. We only played songs from the new album since it was the release show, and that all felt really good. Yes, we are of course very pleased with the way the album turned out.
I’m curious about the genesis of this new record, as it seems like a giant leap in every way from your previous work. I only discovered recently that there was a big delay between the recording and release of “The Horror”, so I’m curious first of all: did the work start on the writing of “Formulas” before “the Horror” was released? And did the time between the recording of the first album and it finally seeing the light of day allow you time to reflect on how you wanted to progress as a band?
The first conscious decision to start writing on a new album came after the release if I’m not mistaken, around three months after the release. Some of the riffs actually date back as far as 8 years. I don’t recall us actively discussing how to progress, it all happened when we were not together really. We didn’t rehearse for quite a long time due to various things and once we started doing it again we were somewhere else. No one objected and no one really said anything about it. To say a cliché; it was all very natural. We all knew that we were going somewhere else, and I guess we are still on the move.
CVLT Nation is stoked to present you with our interview with the infamous GEHENNA, who will be headlining this Friday’s CVLT Nation 2nd Anniversary show in Santa Ana! To read Mike Cheese’s story of Gehenna, click here! Check out the interview below as well as the info for this Friday…
To the unknowledgeable, explain who Gehenna is and what fuels its negative existence?
Gehenna was a desolate valley outside of Jerusalem that was used as a trash dump and eventually it became a place where the city exiled their diseased, their poor, their criminals and their blasphemers. The valley became a lawless parish and holy ground for ritual spells against society performed by the excommunicated. That in turn is what GEHENNA as an entity represent. We’re the ones who’ve been disregarded who’ve learned to embrace our painful existence by singing songs of the damned and accepting our place on the outside of society. GEHENNA is the love of hatred and the discipline of lawlessness that lets life carry us into the grave. True Trill Death!!!
Agnus Dei, The Secret’s fourth and most recent record was released this past October and has received a welcome reception. As musicians what did you set out to accomplish with Agnus Dei?
It’s a kind of standard answer but we mainly tried to write an album that was better and more complete than the previous one. “Solve et Coagula” has been a turning point for our band, it gave us the chance to play more shows and with a lot of great bands. Playing live gave us more self-awareness as musicians and taught us a lot about ourselves and what we wanted to move towards with our new album. We didn’t want to move too far away from the approach on “Solve et Coagula” but at the same time we wanted to expand and get more control over our sound.
The great thing about extreme music is that, no matter where you look around the globe, you’ll be sure to come across an outstanding brand of metal, hardcore, crust punk, harsh noise, or experimental sounds. In the case of Dephosphorus, the geographical distance between them and Vuyvr proved less important than a relative isolation of the rising Greek scene, due to socio-economical factors – eventually overcome by internet communication. But keep in mind that this land is the birth place of democracy, and of key philosophical concepts that came long before christianity and still guide us to this day. Interestingly enough, even though their music is as brutal and impulsive as can be, these guys speak from a very deep place, with passion and wisdom. So why not look into the cosmogony and artistry according to Dephosphorus?
Intro and questions by Roderic Mounir.
Hi Dephosphorus! You explained the origin of your awesome name in a previous CVLT Nation interview, so let’s switch to the next question.
The only Greek bands we know are Rotting Christ, Septic Flesh and you guys. And Aphrodite’s Child, of course! Any strong, influential acts that mean a lot to you, that we should immediatly check? Also, tell us more about the current scene in the region.
Panos : The Greek underground scene is currently on the rise, reaching creativity heights unseen since the early/mid-90’s. Comrades currently on top of my list :
- Dead Congregation. IMO the best death metal band in the world right now.
- Antimob. Amazing hardcore punk with political lyrics in greek. If you want to get a glimpse of how it is to live in Greece right now, you will definitely feel the tension and frustration throughout their music.
- Ruined Families. Dark, chaotic hardcore with no-wave and post-punk hints. Crucial stuff !
- Omega Monolith. Instrumental, drone-y heavy rock of epic proportions.
- End. Fantastic black metal.
- Stereo Animal. Great 90’s-style metal and noise rock a la Killing Joke, Prong, Helmet, Godflesh, Ministry…
- … plus all the local bands featured in the Monomaniac comp. EP series that I’m putting together through my label, Blastbeat Mailmurder. Forthcoming Vol.2/3 will feature a ton of great bands.
Numerous local bands have raised the bar over the last 10 years, and started to do their own thing outside of the beaten path. More and more of them are touring abroad too, so watch out!