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Carach Angren's Seregor: "Science and God did not grant Dipple his wishes, so he turned to the Devil for that familiar deal, selling his own soul for immortality. We believe his distorted soul still dwells among us"

Interview with Seregor from Carach Angren
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 26 June 2020, 11:10 AM

The creation of the monster is still relevant. What could also be rendered as a story of a created being wishing for affection, parenthood, only to be rendered hazardous by society, became a bloody massacre, a twisted mind at work, unleashing the reek of vengeance and pure evil. Who is Conrad Dipple? Who is Dr. Frankenstein really? A lot of questions regarding stories that have a measure of truth but also man's bewildered imagination. With the new Carach Angren album “Franckensteina Strataemontanus” out there, Steinmetal felt that it was the right time to talk to the band's Seregor, about the concept, thoughts, musical experience, the making of and more…

Greeting Seregor, it is a pleasure to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing in these crazy pandemic times?

Greetings, thank you and it’s good to be here! I’m not doing that much different compared to if there was no corona at all, but off course without the live shows you miss a part of your income as an artist. Loose from the fact that it’s an artist’s nightmare not being able to perform. Luckily I have my death masks to be made so creativity only rises during times like this.

Is there still a lockdown there in The Netherlands or rather slowly going back to a weird form of normal life?

The Netherlands are still on code Orange but yes, a rather slowly going back to a weird form of normal life. It’s more or less the same as everywhere, because if one country really opens, others will follow. Fortunately, NL hasn’t been struck that hard as Italy for example so I consider the Dutch lucky compared to other countries.

I guess that with the nature of Carach Angren to explore past horror, some crossing the fiction, and others with a share of foundation, this kind of pandemic can be an inspiration for future releases isn’t it?

Hehe in a way it could indeed. Actually before the corona became a thing, our artwork designer Stefan Heilemann, cooked up something related to the virus. When you speak about laboratory equipment our front cover shows some elixirs and potions. But also the bat is depicted in our artwork. It represents our song “der vampir von Nürnberg” So it’s a fine viral coincidence. But no! An actual virus ala zombie-infection style will not be one of our concepts. It might be too futuristic. And yes, we cross that line now and then, but still we tend to linger in older times if possible.

This time around, you had me even more intrigued than ever before. As a fan Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein” novel, listening to your new album, “Franckensteina Strataemontanus”, made me do some thinking along with additional reading. Have you been a fan of this book yourself? Has this concept been a wishful thinking for some time for you?

The modern Prometheus is an outstanding book. I only read parts but Ardek read the book entirely. I’m the visual movie junkie and since the book is considered as the first Sci-fi novel ever, it was my task to see how the story developed over the years on screen. But Ardek is the one who wrote songs like “Sewn for solitude”, describing the mindset of the monster. This aspect can be found in the book for the monster is not evil from hearth.

Throughout most of “Franckensteina Strataemontanus”, you were exploring the Johann Conrad Dippel, which was suspected to be an inspiration for the “Frankenstein” novel. However, there have been various misconceptions about him. What is your opinion about Dippel? Do you believe that he was the one who attempted to create life but gone too far?

We’ll never know the exact truth because you know how stories are shaped into legends. However, there’s enough documented information to know that certain events had to be real for some part. It’s intriguing to me how Dippel tried to transfer souls from one cadaver into another through the use of funnels. These days even a fucking retard knows that souls cannot be bottled in such a primitive way. Personally I consider all things true because I’m not a historian trying to solve misconceptions. Sometimes the most unlikely events simply have that right mystic/horror twist we need to make our supernatural story work.

In our story he went far enough to cast aside his faith. Science and God did not grant Dipple his wishes, so he turned to the Devil for that familiar deal, selling his own soul for immortality. We believe his distorted soul still dwells among us.

Other than exploring inner contemplations of the creator, “Franckensteina Strataemontanus” seemed to me like taking the form of the created monster, and how it is being looked at. However, there are also various connections to other events. Who is that created monster for you personally?

Yes, indeed! Ardek and I consider this album as a ‘monster’ of our own creation. This way we’ve answered more interviews for this release. We tried to be different compared to the book and movies, so adding other storylines was the only way to make an already unbreakable concept, work for a Carach Angren tale.

One example of another story is explained on our bonus track “Frederick's experiments” It tells of a Holy Roman emperor Frederick II who had a taste for science. For example; He invited 2 of his prisoners at his table for a delicious meal. After that, one prisoner was ordered to go out hunting, while the other was ordered to go to sleep in his cell. After a few hours, both prisoners were disemboweled, so the emperor and his friends could study their intestines, in order to learn the effects of exercise and sleep on a person’s digestion system. I was actually googling stories related to Frankenstein, so when I stumbled upon Frederick II, the article said; “Emperor Frankenstein” A fitting character that portraits a man of science prepared to do monstrous things. More fine examples like this have shaped and formed “Franckensteina Strataemontanus”

If there is something that I truly liked about the album is that it lets the singer witness the monster’s taste for vengeance, which eventually becomes a killing field. Other than being mistreated, as a sort of a freak, like in the book, what is the nature of vengeance here in your opinion?

I think there’s no special extras to that. Like said; Ardek wrote the ‘Sewn for solitude” lyric but I can’t think of a deeper meaning. The monster was simply born like all of us but through another method. All he needed was a father so in a way the doctor became the monster for neglecting his creation out of fear. That’s the reason for his vengeance in our concept.

One of the album’s main elements, which also made it horrific that might shake someone when unprepared, is the classical arrangement within the songs. It made the album sound even more cinematic. What can you tell about the process of creating these orchestrations and fitting them right in?

Ardek is a magnificent composer who knows exactly what to write according to his feelings/wishes. Without emotion and fantasy this world doesn’t make any sense to us when it comes to composing. From the get go, Ardek definitely imagined himself sitting next to Dippel in his laboratory, concocting potions and translating them in music and literature. We are both very visual when it comes to that, so the formula is simple. We hear, feel or see something in our mind/stomach and that should be expressed by our music. We need to hear that. Mostly that’s how it goes but sometimes it’s the other way around.

Our album title and track “Franckensteina Strataemontanus” is a perfect example; I remember when Ardek sent me a leftover part of his previous industrial project. He was like; “Here I don’t know man, maybe too mechanical but I still think it’s cool. Just not sure if it works for us.” My first reaction was; Fuck that factory shit in Carach! Heheh but okay, we work with respect and give things a chance so once I sat down It didn’t take much time to get this idea, that became better and better. Eventually our album title. “Franckensteina Strataemontanus” was an addendum used by Dippel at his university. And Right there! That’s proof enough to me that Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is most definitely inspired by Dippel. Anyway I was sitting there listening to Ardek’s part, more with a feeling of hmmmmmm, what excuse can I use to say NO! But then it dawned on me! Franckensteina. seemed to fit on the refrain parts, simply 2 times, 4 times in a row. Okay, that seems like something I need to hear. Also the clean parts on that track were born right there and then. I mean I wrote a whole lot more complex shit compared to this but as simple as it was, as good it turned out to be. I really started to love what I recorded so you see, sometimes the things you disagree on can completely turn on you.

Totally happy I sent it to Ardek and now he’s saying; "hmmmmm I don’t know man hahha". But after some rewriting chorus parts and more listen-rolls he began to feel it like me. I tell ya, we got fucking heroin-hooked to this song, there was nothing more we could do to change in order to make it better. And this is the fun part! Sometimes you have control by saying; “I’m going to make this part, sounding just like that” But in most cases you have to let go of control and follow your feelings. Our relation to art can sometimes be way fiercer than any social relationship.

When it comes to your form of Metal, which isn’t necessarily Black Metal, things gone intense within “Franckensteina Strataemontanus”. What is your take regarding the band’s musical development on this album? What was your initial vision concerning the progressive manner of your approach while writing the songs?

On our previous album “Dance and laugh amongst the rotten” we already had chosen this direction. But somehow we succeeded better on this release. We never wanted to limit ourselves to any underground environments so we will always take the path that leads toward success. We want to go to the top, whatever that might be. You see this change in most successful bands. Carach is known for a certain complexity, and a greater audience will not easily fall in love, with music that takes time to comprehend. The last thing you want is dissatisfy your fans but you also have to be 100 % behind the music style you create. Therefore, it felt logic to find a balance in those 2 aspects.

When I listen to ‘monster’ or “Franckensteina Strataemontanus’’ I don’t consider them just simpler songs to grab a bigger audience. It’s easy to make song simpler but the real trick is to make them so good… you can’t stop listening because you fucking love them. This album feels perfect in that way. We have ‘sooo’ much information that people expect a lot from a Carach song, but the best thing is to listen to them one after another on the album, where it makes true sense.

In overall, it appears that the songwriting for this album was challenging, what can you share about the process of how the songs and the arrangements were formed? Were there dilemmas in your way that made you rethink your steps while the album was being made?

As always it’s a long time-taking process and I think we took all the precautions needed for this album. My vocals are an example. We recorded them in Ardek’s studio and took all the time we needed. If your music and lyrics are done and written you still need the time to experiment with them. In many cases in the past I was still writing parts during recordings unto the last moment. “Franckensteina Strataemontanus” was very ready in that way so all the experimentation we did was pure fun. Sometimes as artist you feel as if you could try another 100 possibilities for certain musical parts. But here it felt all in the right place at the right time so it’s hard to think of dilemma’s. Namtar has left the band in the beginning of this year but that was more a thing after the album was written.

One of the album’s singles, “Monster”, turned out to be one of the album’s major numbers. Its punchy attitude, like a march of a beast, letting every lyric sink in deep, is uncanny. Making the monster larger than life, in a worse kind of way, seemed to be right there at the center. What is your opinion about that? Is it a sort of glorifying or merely implying of a fact?

"Monster" was actually our first idea for an album title but it ended up in this song. We discussed how Ardek explained the monster's mindset on “Sewn for solitude”. Proudly I’m responsible for the lyrics on the monster track. It’s pretty simple but efficient, explaining the definition of the word monster. It can be defined in 2 ways. A monster can be seen as some(thing)body who is deformed or mutilated in a horrible way. But just like Frankenstein’s monster, ugly or freaky doesn’t necessary mean ‘wicked’. We simply fear the unknown. The second meaning refers definitely to the black spirit. ‘evil’ It confirms the actual fear we have with a true ‘monster’. It’s maybe your stepfather or that normal friend from school… They hide in plain sight and don’t look like monsters. They can be kind and handsome. Raping murderers who actually gain pure joy and pleasure by inflicting harm on others. Hmmm. Yes, they deserve that title for their black spirit. Not just for simply for having a monstrous look.

The narrations, voices, echoes of pain, fright and anguish, made “Franckensteina Strataemontanus” a soundtrack. Is this the direction that Carach Angren is going?

For now we are comfortable with the approach on this album. We have that obvious satisfaction with “Franckensteina Strataemontanus” Let’s enjoy the result echoing over the listeners. Soundtrack is a nice comparison because we like to see ourselves not just as a band, more like a living movie. We have always worked into this direction and it will be obvious if an album is good or not. If the audience tells us this is a great album on a wider scale, it’s a win win. Just don’t expect us to repeat ourselves on the next release.

I believe that “Franckensteina Strataemontanus” calls for a cinematic event, perhaps a production made with the album’s music as part of it. Has this idea crossed your mind? Do you believe that it is something feasible?

Sure! A Carach Angren movie would be great. I prefer that instead of a symphonic orchestra. But some things have been done before so it has to be something that is truly unique. Maybe we walk into the right twisted director one day.

 “Operation Compass” is a bit of an odd sod, yet with an horrific twist to the historical event that took place in Africa in WWII. It appears to be an unnatural resurrection event of the dead soldiers by some sort of being. How did you connect that British operation with the dead soldiers rising? What can you tell regarding the song’s arrangement and its nature?

Johan Conrad Dipple is the real Dr. Frankenstein who actually lived in the German castle. He did a few remarkable inventions and one of them was an animal oil called “Dippel’s Oil”. It was seen as an equivalent to the elixir of life. In real life it was used as an insect repellant but also in chemical warfare. The oil wasn’t poisonous but it’s stench unbearable. It was used to render drinking well deposable if the enemy would retreat. In Operation Compass the oil is connected or possessed by the spirit of Dippel who brings living death over the soldiers.

With the pandemic still out there, have you already started thinking of perhaps a new theme for the next album? As artists nowadays have plenty of time to work on material

No, we have enough work to do releasing this album. Interviews, preparation video clip, soon we receive our Dutch press in our house etc. I’m surviving this time by making my Death-masks and that takes most of my creativity. As artist you always get inspired on the weirdest moments, so if something is worthwhile to remember, we collect that thought on our smartphone. These are mostly smaller lyric/visual ideas. Ardek for example often has a tone in his head that he mumbles or sings into his voice recorder. But yeah, the next concept for our future release is still a gigantic question mark.

Are you supporting “Franckensteina Strataemontanus” also online? Do you have several events scheduled in order to commemorate the release?

We are doing lots of interviews at this point. It’s a weird time but in a way we feel lucky that we have this new release coming up. Meaning there’s enough information to present online. Slowly companies begin to work again so it’s soon time for the production of our official music video.

Seregor, I wish to thank you for time for this interview. This new album is an amazing production of utmost importance to Metal music. Cheers

And I thank you for your good questions! Hails to all of you out there and Carach Angren wishes you strength in this fucked up time. See you at the show!


 



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