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Crimson Moon's Scorpios Androctonus: "I went through a long period of time musically where Crimson Moon was dormant, and I was distracted working with other bands, limited in resources and I didn’t ever really give up…"

Interview with Scorpios Androctonus from Crimson Moon
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 20 September 2019, 11:16 PM

Dealing with Death, or the acceptance of Death, might be a plausible matter in our daily lives, yet it is never easy or simple to go through it. There have been various of expressions by artists of their journey through the experience, some tender, some harsher, others malevolent. Crimson Moon's Scorpios Androctonus went through quite a lot in the band's career, yet also in his personal life. With the recent release of the band's "Mors Vincit Omnia", Steinmetal had a talk with the veteran band leader about the new album, its effect on him, songwriting process, scene talk and more…   

Greetings Scorpios, it is good having you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir?

I’m doing well, I always like when the changes come about within the 4 seasons and it tends to put some changes in my lifestyle. Autumn is a very evocative time of year in Germany and tends to help my mood and focus on writing material.

Just recently, Crimson Moon hashed a new celestial blackened entity in the image of “Mors Vincit Omnia”. Quite an interesting title I’d say, can you tell what is it all about? What were the influences that drove you to the point where this title was bound for the album?

As the title suggest, the album is about the certainty of Death. The influences were from personal experiences from spending a lot of time outdoors throughout the fall into the winter, where you witness the cycle occurring all around you, but at the same time I was experiencing the physical death of everything from a sibling, a close friend and with pets I was close to.

Crimson Moon has been a part of several rosters of labels in the past, “Mors Vincit Omnia” led you to sign with the French Debemur Morti Productions. Were you approached or was it the other way around? How do you feel about the label’s work on your new release?

At the time I had recorded rough rehearsals of 2 tracks from the album and we had no label agreement for a new album so we began looking into a few options. We had sent the tracks to Debemur Morti Productions and quickly came to an agreement for a 2 album contract. They have done an excellent job with the release and have been extremely helpful to work with.

When I first started listening to “Mors Vincit Omnia”, I expected something that is fundamental, when it comes to Black Metal. However, I was excited to find out a whole lot more in the music. Whether melody, cascading atmosphere that is different than the European exports of the genre, and flakes of Doom. How would you say that Crimson Moon developed with “Mors Vincit Omnia”? Which of the album’s musical elements do you believe stand out in comparison to your previous albums?

The most obvious thing that would come to mind would be the overall production. This is easily the first album with Crimson Moon (or any other bands I have recorded with for that matter) that I was 100% satisfied with the sound, the mix and the mastering.  Musically, it has its own aura, which I would say that about all the albums. I try to add new elements to each album, but also return to some of the familiar elements that can be heard in previous releases. I would say the funeral atmosphere with the choirs and pipe organs are the prime elements in "Mors Vincit Omnia".

A question of the relevance of Black Metal music for a moment. I have been noticing that quite a lot of Black Metal bands withdraw themselves from the old school spirituality and musical execution that reigned in the early 90s and opened the door, in favor of contemporary means. Do you believe that it is necessary to twist and turn in order to remain relevant, or accurately noted as in the market, or it is the other way around, Black Metal bands should stick to their guns?

Different things work for different bands. In some cases bands have gone from completely different styles where the only thing still familiar is the band name and in some cases this works well for the band and other cases it does not. Then there are bands like Motorhead that I would have a hard time finding a better example of a band that stayed consistent with its sound. Debemur Morti Productions has been very good at keeping us up to date on the album reviews and I see a lot of mixed responses on different elements on the new album. To me that is a good thing, as it tends to be music that everyone seems to like, and agree upon, that I find to be the most mundane. For me, what’s necessary and important is making music that I enjoy playing and hearing. This may or may not be what’s going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but if that was the goal, I would be better off making Pop music.

In general, what can you tell about the lyrical theme behind “Mors Vincit Omnia”? What were the elements that hovered above while you wrote the lyrics.

It had a large influence from Death in general. I spend a lot of time outdoors, most of it on a local river fishing in solitude, regardless of how cold it is. It’s difficult to explain, but being alone in the cold, and stillness of Winter, allows a lot of time to simply embrace things and journey into your own thoughts.

It might be a little weird for you, but I decided to focus on the last number, “Tempus Fugit”. Though it is not an actual song, nor the usual type of instrumental, it is quite unique, somewhat terrifying and enigmatic. What can you tell about the backgrounds of this track? What does it store? It feels like a buildup, but I wonder if there is more to that

That was pretty much the last addition to the album. Originally the track “Funeral Begotten” ended with the pipe organs continuing longer than they needed to be with the idea of a fade out. Anunak.ki, from Akhkharu, originally had recorded the interlude piece for "Vanitas" but we ended up deciding the original interlude I had made fit better. I wanted to avoid the typical long black metal intro on the last couple albums, though I admittedly do like this on occasion it just seemed redundant to do repeatedly. I think a lot of people hate these long intros but I thought this was a perfect way to close the album into an atmosphere that was appropriate and for listeners who do not care for this type of track, it shouldn’t be a big issue as it’s placed at the end. Really the concept of the track relates to the title “Tempus Fugit” which serves as a reminder that time does indeed fly by, and death is imminent. The closer you can come to terms with that, the more meaningful the present becomes.

How can you describe the songwriting for “Mors Vincit Omnia”? Would you say that you are the dominant songwriter, only bringing forward the idea and from there out the band completes it?

I wrote most of the music but for the tracks “Vanitas” and “Upon the Pale Horse”, our guitarists contributed some of the main riffs for those tracks. This is something I think the longer we are working together, the more common it will be to occur in the writing process. I tend to spend a lot of time in the studio working on new ideas, so it’s good to have some added contributions to work with and keep things interesting.

We will be trying a few different approaches on material for a new album with the other members being more active in the creation process. One new approach, I will be trying is to have our drummer, Blastum record only drum pattern ideas and structures and write material to the drums. The plan is to achieve some material that is a lot more violent and aggressive in nature to push the spectrum a bit as I seem to go more towards mid-tempo or slower riffs when just writing from scratch. I always end up with more material than is needed, which is a way I like to work. This allows us to pick out only what is the strongest and best fitting material that we end up deciding to proceed with.

With that said, which of the album’s tracks do you find as superior? The ones that mean to you most. Please elaborate on your pick

I wouldn’t say I have any favorite track from the album. "Funeral Begotten" stands out to me the most I suppose, for the atmosphere and it was the last one I had written lyrics and recorded vocals for. My sister passed away, unexpectedly last November and it was on that day where I felt it was necessary to complete the lyrics and vocals for the track. So it’s a constant reminder of things when I hear it. In that aspect the same would go for "Upon the Pale Horse". It was a track I was struggling with and it was February of 2018 that one of my dogs died. I was gutted to say the least on these occasions, but at the same time I just told myself, this is life, and this is what to expect from it. My time will also come, and there is absolutely nothing that can be done to avoid that. I guess it pushed me to seize these occasions and put the energy towards something.

My utmost condolences for your losses sir, I admire you for being strong and keep going forward in the manner that you did

Getting back at it. A little while ago, you recruited Merrimack’s drummer, Blastum. Did he contribute to the songwriting of “Mors Vincit Omnia” in any form other than merely recording the drums? What is your appreciation of his skills? Can he manage his schedule between Crimson Moon and Merrimack?

The music was written and a rough demo was recorded of the tracks with (quickly) programmed drums before we came to an agreement for Blastum to record on the album. In the end he ended up using some of the ideas, but also added a lot of his own elements and patterns. I have seen him play live before with Antaeus and Merrimack and found him to be a phenomenal drummer. So far we have had no issues with scheduling for shows, just some inconveniences where he has to travel directly from a show to perform with us.

With the fact that you started playing live lately, I guess that you did perform a song or two out of “Mors Vincit Omnia” in local shows. If so, how were the reactions to the new tunes?

We have been performing "Vanitas" live at the past few festivals we played, and the response has been very good, despite it being an unheard/unreleased track up until each time we have performed it. Now we are planning to add some additional tracks from the new album into our live set-list. It’s always a matter of trying to cover something from the different releases, and depends on how much time we have on stage. Most of our songs would be considered longer than average in length, so it can be a bit challenging to arrange a set list when you have a restricted playing time. Our last set list we have been using is 45 minutes long and contains 3 songs from "Oneironaut", which I would find difficult to remove from the setlist due to the response and feel we have obtained with them live. I guess the benefit of playing more often live in the near future will be the flexibility to keep the set list changing.

Which newcomer bands have you been following? Any particular bands that you think could be the next thing in Metal?

I am unfortunately at a blank at the moment to a response to that. I am listening to more new music lately than I have in the past, and have heard things I liked, but I am terrible with remembering the names of some of these bands. I am not sure if it’s just an age thing or just a lack of new bands that really catch my interest, there has been quite a few things I have heard recently that I liked, but didn’t feel the urge to listen to repeatedly as far as black metal is concerned.

A recent find, though it’s not exactly new would be Dead Shell of Universe from Serbia. They formed in 2006 and only released an EP in 2008. It’s a band from Vladimir Uzelac / Phaesphorous, who did the mixing and mastering of our album as well as additional choir vocals and wooden flute on the track “Parcae – The Trinity of Fates” – I was unfamiliar with it and he asked me to play bass on a track for the re-recording of the material that is soon to be released. I was interested, as he is a talented musician and an excellent sound engineer. I heard the track and was very impressed, it had a sort of older Dodheims Gard / Ved Buenes Ende feel to it without being generic. So that is something to watch for in my opinion and I believe their next step is to record a full length.

Aside from black metal, a couple things that grabbed my interest as of lately would be the new Roadhouse Diet album “Electric Devilry” which comes out sometime in October (28th if my memory is correct). I got a vinyl of the album from Jonas Kjellgren (black lodge studios, and former Abyss studios). I have kept in touch with him since he mixed and mastered the last Melechesh album I played bass on. I liked their previous material, largely due to the production which was sort of a blues rock thing, but the new material went into a more original direction in my opinion, hard to describe but I hear some kind of elements in it that remind me of Alice in Chains and Muse.

Finally, another new addition to my listening habits would be Casket of Dreams. This is a dungeon synth project from Robert, formerly of the US Black Metal band, Ritual. I am not a huge listener of Dungeon Synth and really clueless when it comes to newer stuff in this genre. I recently did some vocals for a Casket of Dreams track and the material was very impressive, it captured a strong, nostalgic atmosphere that I have not heard in a long time.

Wow, you are quite the diverse listener, it is good to know that and I assume it is thrilling to take part on some of these project also a recording artist. Quite impressive recommendations

What are the next challenges for Crimson Moon, when it comes to supporting the new album? Any further plans for 2020?

We just recently started working with a booking agent so more shows and festivals are now being discussed for 2020. So the only challenges we really faced were getting more shows, without a booking agent we did what we could but it’s extremely difficult to even get an answer from most promoters trying to do it on your own.

Besides that, I have already gotten an early start on writing new material for a next album, so if things go well, perhaps we will be ready to enter the studio again at some point in 2020. Debemur Morti Productions did a solid job on the promotion of the album, so now it’s up to the music to push where it goes from here. I have a sort of love/hate relationship with performing live. I enjoy the actual stage time, but it ends up being a few days of grueling travel to be on the stage for 45 minutes to an hour. It’s almost a necessary evil to promote the band and the new album, but the side effects involved are not something I am exactly crazy about. I think once we are scheduling shows more regularly it makes it easier to adapt. For me, being in large groups of people, dealing with means of transportation for very long periods at a time, trying to do things extremely modestly to make a small amount of financial gain to support future endeavors, etc, are some of the side effects of playing live.

I don’t mean to sound like I am complaining about playing live, there is just a lot of shit and work that goes along with it, so ultimately there are just conditions I would like to see improve as we continue, and so far they have been improving more or less. It’s in my nature to try to fix/improve things I am not content with instead of bitching and complaining about them, and the rest of the band is on the same page when it comes to that.

I can relate to your comments about playing live as a necessity, along with the sidelines works that needs to be done in order to have things smooth. However, since the sales of CDs aren't the ultimate goal anymore nowadays, live shows matter more, therefore, all that stuff has to be done

Though it is a very general question, and I know that life could be a strong effect, yet it would be interesting to know. Where do you see Crimson Moon in the next five years? Would you say that it will become a much more active live band for instance or perhaps start experimenting in its music?

I think it’s safe to say we will start being more active with live performances in the near future, but not to the point where we are touring constantly and playing 100’s of shows a year. I think if we were to go that route of playing as many shows as possible, it starts taking up a lot of time away from working on new material. There is a degree of experimentation in each album I believe, and this can be expected to continue. I suppose a lot of it will also have to do with whatever comes about that gives me inspiration and influence in song writing.

When I started Crimson Moon in 1994, I was a teenager and always had this strange feeling that I would not make it past my early 20’s, or better put I could not picture myself beyond that age. So looking back at my mentality then and trying to imagine what would happen 25 years later, would have sounded completely absurd to me. 5 years from now though I can only consider goals I have in mind. Ideally I think 2 new albums in the next 5 years is very possible. I am not getting any younger, and time only gets more valuable to me. I have been doing what I am doing for a considerable amount of time and don’t see any chance of that changing in the near future. I went through a long period of time musically where Crimson Moon was dormant, and I was distracted working with other bands, limited in resources and I didn’t ever really give up, I just stopped giving a shit about doing things I didn’t enjoy doing. I still feel that way, so I stopped doing things I don’t really have interest in doing. You could say I have some catching up to do with Crimson Moon, and now I have all favorable aspects on my side.

Scorpios, your time is appreciated for this interview. I wish you nothing but the best and support this album right.

Many thanks, the interview was a pleasure and I was glad to answer questions that require thought which are not redundant. The support is much appreciated, my thanks to you from me and on behalf of the rest of the band.



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