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Miseration's Jani Stefanovic: "Eye for an eye will never be the solution. Blood fuels more blood, hatred fuels even more hatred. But I´m afraid this is a thing that is too difficult to overcome."

Interview with Jani Stefanovic from Miseration
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 15 May 2022, 9:31 PM

The Swedish Death Metal band, Miseration, has been out cold for the past 10 years, until their latest emergence. Coming back as a duo, the founders of the band, kicked started the old flame, attributing it technical brutality to the fine mix of old. The band's fresh statement of power, "Black Miracles and Dark Wonders", delivers one of the heaviest to date. Steinmetal had a good talk with longtime guitarist, vocalist and founding member, Jani Stefanovic, in regards to making the album, the events that inspired its existence and mentality.

Hello Jani, it is a pleasure of mine to have you for this conversation with Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing kind sir?

I´m doing great thank you.

Wow, it has already been a decade since the last time I heard about Miseration, and honestly, I didn’t have the slightest idea if you guys will ever become active again. Gladly, here you are. So, I guess that it would be logical to ask why Miseration was put on ice for so many years? Did you find yourselves busy with your other bands, both that you share, and others that you participate solely?

Yes 10 years later here we are. But no, nothing special was ever said. We didn´t end the band or anything like that. Life just happened. Working on other bands yes and many of us got our first child so that naturally slowed things down while they were toddlers.

Your token of return to the scene, as Miseration, descended to the public in the image of "Black Miracles and Dark Wonders", also a signed band on the Massacre Records roster no less. The last I remember you were with Lifeforce Records for "Tragedy Has Spoken". How does it feel to be part of Massacre Records? What are your expectations of your new relationship with the label to continue growing Miseration?

Business as usual, new label but same patterns of making up release schedules and planning everything around the release with singles videos etc. Our being away for 10 years was in no way a guarantee that anyone would want to sign us. Not that labels wouldn´t dig what they hear but it´s all about business and what the forecast can be businesswise. So, was Miseration still something worth investing in? Glad we were, (laugh).

The first thing I noticed about the current Miseration lineup is that you two remained the sole members, with you Jani handling everything, while sharing the vocals with Christian. Was the decision to go as a duo taken due to logistical reasons or perhaps you decided that Miseration will remain a studio affair other than a live unit?

Oscar, our past drummer, went along building his own studio around “Tragedy” album which today is an ever-growing successful studio. Marcus went on doing nonmetal things, so we felt that why not just do this together as the original founding members. Back to the roots so to speak.

Going back to your new album, "Black Miracles and Dark Wonders", it takes a journey through mysticism and myths, gods and figures inspired by stories of ancient cultures. What drew you to these themes in the first place? Can you consider yourselves history worshippers and that it was meant to be for you to take on these themes as inspirations for your writing?

Well, it´s not like we´re inventing any wheels here, hehe. These topics have been quite heavily used in metal, but I had never touched on these matters. I had the idea for many years that someday I would want to make an album with this grand feel, both musically and lyrically, build up this almost score like ambiences telling these grand stories. This album was actually born in an unconventional way for me. I had most of the lyrics written before I had any music done, which is in itself very rare for me.

The past can teach a lot about the future, but also the present. In the past two and half years we have been with the Covid-19 pandemic, which took over us like a storm. It also taught us of capabilities that we have as a society, a social structure. In light of "Black Miracles and Dark Wonders", is there a fine line, perhaps an analogy, which might suggest your personal perspective but by using stories that are featured on the album?

No not really. Sure, one could perhaps draw parallels. I started working on this album in 2018 almost 2 years before the pandemic. So, my intent was purely to write about these past stories and had no knowledge about what were to come. But if you look into it, you can surely find a red line that has repeated itself over and over through out our history. One thing is that you have always had some kind of power-hungry rulers who´s willing to destroy, conquer and divide in order to gain power.

We mentioned your personal view of things, with "Black Miracles and Dark Wonders" considered. I wonder, with what has been happening worldwide, including the war in the East, what does your system of beliefs say?

I am a strong believer in that the world needs to heal from persecution and oppression. It needs Love. Something I strive for is to treat every person with dignity and respect. Treat others as you´d wish your self to be treated. I also do not believe in this vindictive mentality. Because this and that did that, so I will make even worse to pay back. Eye for an eye will never be the solution. Blood fuels more blood, hatred fuels even more hatred. But I´m afraid this is a thing that is too difficult to overcome. I still try to do my part.

Ferocity can be defined in so many ways, but I believe that "Black Miracles and Dark Wonders" takes on a strong stance surrounding this term. The record is probably your heaviest, and most articulate, it shatters bones, but also adheres comfort. I found that fusion, along its complexities, to be fascinating. How do you find your musical progress over the course of "Black Miracles and Dark Wonders"?

I think that´s a pretty good explanation. I think this album has a lot of layers and all the different dynamic passages invokes these different feels of sovereign rulers, anger, brutality, worship me etc. Even if you´d take away the lyrics I think the music paints a very almost cinematic like story. There´s a lot of middle passages and intros outros, which one might feel is too much, but they were deliberately made in order to invoke the feel of the stories.

With the fusion that I mentioned, how do you believe that it contributes to the distinction of "Black Miracles and Dark Wonders" as set apart from other technically driven melodic Death Metal albums that have been storming the market recently? What other game changers on the record can you identify and mention?

I am actually not that educated on what´s around on the death scene today, so I couldn´t say. Personally, I don´t feel we´re doing anything new. However, I think this concept works extremely well. To incorporate orchestral cinematic passages gave us an opportunity to paint an even more wide picture. Which I think was a pivotal part of the whole album. So, all I can say, this is what came out and we´re extremely satisfied with the result, hehe.

Generally, with "Black Miracles and Dark Wonders" being an intense record, what inspired you to make such beastly kind of feature?

I think a lot of the lyrics are very ferocious, dark, gruesome or epic and grand, so quite naturally calls for aggression and all the different emotions and aspects you can hear in the music.

Since the musical outcome of the record, including the song arrangements, are highly complex, and quite challenging at certain points, what can you share about the songwriting process of the record? With you being a duo now, did you feel a sort of complete charge over the proceedings?

Nothing is really intentional, it´s just our way of doing things, I guess. Everything starts out as very improvisation basis, until I come up with something worth recording. Usually when I nail that first riff, the rest follows quite easily. Once I get a skeleton of a song I then go back and tweak, rearrange, delete parts, create new better parts etc. I´ll do this until I´m happy. Sometimes it´s in an instance sometimes not so much, hehe. I´m rarely sharing anything until I am satisfied first. Ok now this could be considered a somewhat ready structure and off it goes to the band mates. Then the song goes through further arrangement ideas etc. once Christian has done his vocal ideas.

I have to say that "Black Miracles and Dark Wonders" emphasizes that wonderful cohesion between your two sets of vocals, growl and melodic. It is quite spectacular, and the production also compliments the effort. What can you tell about this blending of vocals styles on the album, what was your initial vision for how both types of vocals would unite on the songs?

Well, we worked a bit differently on this since I did most of the lyrics before any music and it´s not always a good fit when you have written text that is not fitted into the rhythm of the songs. So, I basically had to try out if my lyrics made any sense, could they work in the context of these songs? So, I demoed those songs, I think it was 5 songs out of 8. Christian really liked what he heard and insisted that we should utilize this contrast of our voices together to broaden the sound and feel. I had no original vision of doing any vocals on the album but think it turned out pretty cool.

You have been veterans in your crafts, you have been involved with various types of bands, and projects, you have seen a lot. Nevertheless, I trust that every experience, no matter what, is another reason to learn something new. Therefore, I ask, what did the course of "Black Miracles and Dark Wonders" teach you about your abilities as a musician, writer, and the one behind the controls in the studio?

You obviously pick up things along the road which develops your skills, writing, way to work etc. I do think I´m at my best right now when it comes to work habits, knowing what one wants, easier to determine what´s not working and so forth. To fit in orchestral elements into an already dense metal mix was a challenge and eye opener, teaching me yet again something new for future escapades.

I could understand why you chose “Reign of Fate” to be your lead single for the album. Other than being heavily destructive, it is also dreamy, in particular when the melodic vocals surge, aspiring to another layer of harmony. What can you tell about this track’s impact on the record?

It was evident quite early on that this is our single hit, (laugh) death metal hit clings badly. Is there such a thing as death metal hits? (laugh). No but seriously, it´s a good song with memorable parts in our opinion and the clean vocals fits very well. So yeah, it was an obvious pick for us. It´s a song that has all the elements we love about metal. fast thrash/death like grooves, a very bombastic and atmospheric intro and middle passage to add dynamics.

When you concluded the record, after the final stage of mastering, with a fresh product in your hands, you probably listened to the entire thing at least once. What did it make you feel? What emotions did it raise as you were listening to the songs?

We were extremely satisfied and happy that this beast of a project came out so well. Every album is like a desert walk. You invest every ounce of your self into the process. Countless rounds of analyzing every little single detail. Once the Master is done I´m usually quite drained and while I´m happy and extremely proud it´s put aside for a few months. But it´s always nice to return to it with fresh ears when the pr cycle begins and the first singles are released.

I asked a little about that earlier on, but maybe you can discuss a little bit here. If Miseration is a live unit, is there a plan to take it forward to perform live once again?

I won´t say, no we are not a live band. But that´s what it looks like at the moment. If we´d get some interesting offers, we would obviously address that then. But no plans of playing live at the moment at least.

Jani, I wish to thank you for your time for this interview, you created a strong piece of music, really opened up the taste for the band. All the best

Thank you Lior


 



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