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Xeper's Guh Lu: "I think performing fast music can be hard, but performing a fast kind of music you wrote it down by yourself is a more interesting challenge…"

Interview with Guh Lu from Xeper
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 05 February 2021, 11:17 PM

A fortune out of the first sin in music, in particular through Metal music, it is quite enriching to be engulfed by one's interpretation of images, visions and perhaps mythical events of the past through a blistering kind of blackened mayhem. Taking it bit by bit, and simply out of nowhere, Xeper returns with the source of their newfound power, “Ad Numen Satanae”, inspired by Satan and what is referred to as the Luciferian will. Furthermore, the band made another step by signing with Soulseller Records, which is considered the next level in contrast to their past. Steinmetal had the chance to talk to Guh Lu, the mastermind behind Xeper, about the new album, philosophy, how was it was and more…

Greetings Guh Lu, it is a great to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir?

Hello there. Thank you for your interest in Xeper. My pleasure. I am fine, and you?

I am doing well sir, thank you for asking, some time we having

After a rather long time, nearly seven years if I am not mistaken, and here I hear about a new record by your band Xeper. Was the timing of this return with fresh material due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the inability of artists to tour or perform shows at any level or it was a natural kind of return?

Well, you must think that this is not our main job in our regular life. My life is not focused on composing music. Music should come from the heart, and when it is the right moment it comes out. I can also say, I’ve been busy with Gorgoroth in the last 7 years, plus our studio recording was quite busy with other bands, plus our special guests were busy, plus anyway we had to collect money, etc… It is not so easy to record a good album. And trust me, this is a good album, at least for me. And this is the most important thing for me. After that, I can also tell you that I did guest appearance on the forthcoming album of the horror heavy metal band Hell Theater. I guess I am quite active as musician in many ways.

Since you have been quite the busy bee, as you mentioned, in the last several years, I can only assume that this pandemic shattered a piece of your career as a musician, how have you been coping with it? Other than working on the new Xeper album, what kept you going, knowing that you will continue to do what you like?

I guess this pandemic shattered a piece of many careers worldwide, not just mine. Of course all this situation sucks, but what can I do or say? I took my time to live my personal life, job, and finish this album. And now that this album is going to be released, I will start to work on new material.

When it comes to Xeper, since I never had the chance to ask you, do you consider it as your main band to go forward or simply a kind of a home base to turn your attention to every once and awhile?

Xeper is the highest expression of what I feel deep inside myself. It’s my son/daughter. Hard to explain, but Xeper will go on till I die. Here where I live it’s hard to find good musicians with the same good feeling for playing black metal, that’s why I play with intercontinental persons, so I am sure I will have the best work from the good musicians that I like and have good feeling with.

One of the transitions of Xeper, was to sign with Soulseller Records for the release of the new album, how do you view this signing with this underground, yet important, label?

I’ve known Jorn for a few years and I can say he is a very good guy with a lot of truly dedication on what he does, so I am very happy to have signed with Soulseller Records. I think it will be another good step for the band. We’ve worked with smaller labels with smaller distribution before. Soulseller Records distributes worldwide, and that is a great thing for us.

The title of the new record is “Ad Numen Satanae”, which in a free translation is the Power Of Satan. What was the inspiration behind this title, other than the dark lord himself? What led you to think that it represents that album as properly?

The proper translation is “Under the inspiration of Satan”. We perceive this dark current which inflates the human being who, inspired by the Luciferian will, is guided through its feelings and deeds.

I believe that this title is also well reflected on the album’s artwork, which is a fine piece I’d say. Made by Marcelo Vasco, aka Mantus, it portrays what has been believed to be the first sin in heaven with Adam, Eve and the Snake. Where is Satan in this scene in your view? Was it simply the snake?

Yes, it is, in the scene Satan takes the form of a serpent. The serpent is a powerful connection to the telluric forces and the secrets of life and renovation of the self. Also, you can find the references about the serpent and the garden of Eden in the ancient Sumerian tablets – many religions have their own reference about it.

What can you tell about this journey that you referred to, what are some of these secrets of that serpent, upon belief, that in a way started a chain reaction that has been part of humanity until the present?

I think this is a theological topic which one should explore by himself by proper readings and studies. I prefer to stay focused on the album.

When you look at what has been happening out there, do you find any relation to the ongoing pandemic and “Ad Numen Satanae” as a matter of concept?

No, it has nothing to do with the pandemic.

It is hard to not notice where your heart, soul and mind are when it comes to the direction of Black Metal prevailing on “Ad Numen Satanae”. However, within the rawness of the sound, there is a measure of diversity that I never quite expected, actually I was a bit surprised and for the better. How did the songwriting of “Ad Numen Satanae” contribute to the band’s musical progress in your opinion?

We used to write the previous material quite fast. This time we focused on every single detail in order to obtain exactly what we meant to create.

Following the previous question, what do you think that Xeper brings to the table, in the manner of freshness, that makes “Ad Numen Satanae” a force to be reckoned with?

I think the riffs I wrote are good - even if some of them could sound quite predicted, they’re not so easy to perform actually (think about the difference to many depressive black metal riffs) and some parts beat 250-260bpm so performing the instrumental parts can be challenging. I think performing fast music can be hard, but performing a fast kind of music you wrote it down by yourself is a more interesting challenge. In addition, we’ve been honoured by many talented collaborations worldwide we couldn’t have imagined to have in the previous years, artists whose talent and musical sensitivity could enrich our work, to whom we’re very grateful.

What would you say were the main challenges of the band throughout the work on the album, and also the recording sessions?

Well, despite the previous experiences of all musicians recording in few sessions in one studio, we found out that working on distance can pay well as long as you have the patience to follow every step. I mean, we had to wait for every artist to send us back their contribution in order to obtain the result we had in mind. But it was worth waiting for.

With Maelstrom mainly handling the vocal duties, you brought in V. Einride as the band’s new skinman. What was the impact of V. Einride’s drumming abilities on the overall result of “Ad Numen Satanae”?

It was back in 2000 when I listened to V. Einride for the first time playing in Agnen by Keep of Kalessin. I’ve been enraptured by his drumming since then and that’s when I started to wish for a collaboration with him. Finally, I had the chance to meet him in 2012: we performed live with Gorgoroth together while he was touring with Keep of Kalessin. I consider Maelstrom as a majestic drummer. The choice to have V, Einride as drummer is just the coronation of a 20 years long dream of collaboration.

The album’s strongest epos, and I believe that its epic proportions led to that understanding, “Riding The Spiral Of Lilith”, may as well be a hell of an inspiring creation of the blackened spirit. It shifts through various sceneries, enticing with melodies and atmospheric changes. What can you tell about the creative process of this number?

The inner core of ”Riding the spiral of Lilith” originally simply came out to life just like the other songs. Nonetheless, it’s not been a static but a dynamic process of creation, since this creature kept on growing through the years with the fundamental collaboration of various artists such as Mantus and Bob Axx which had the musical sensitivity to express musically the idea and atmosphere we had in mind to make the sound and meaning enriched and structured.

True force of heaviness and brutality is no less than “Ad Numen Satanae”, sharing more Thrash than Black values, a kind of a destructive fest that is totally straightforward, punching quite a hole and finishing off the record with obliteration. What is your appreciation in regards to this tune? Would you say that Xeper might stray even further towards the blackened side of Thrash going forward?

I can say you could probably find thrash metal echoes in our next musical work, since I’ve been listening to 70-80-90’s bands since I can remember – I also listen to other genres than metal music, which can influence my composition as well, artists from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s of many different genres.

The echoes and sounds of Norwegian Black Metal of the early 90s came back to life within the veils of “The Hidden Genesis”, it sent me back to high school to the first Black Metal albums that I took. How does this track find you personally? I believe that this tune should be awarded with an official video don’t you think?

I’ve been listening to extreme metal since I was 13-years-old. Honestly, I write music only for myself. I keep on listening to my creations throughout the years without complains, so I can say I am satisfied with that. Regarding “The Hidden Genesis” video, I think it could be a good idea – we’ll see what it has to come.

So what is there for Xeper going forward, trusting that this pandemic will leave us near the end of 2021? Are there any plans that will be set in motion?

Speaking of this times specifically, I think no one can be assured about what is yet to come. Nonetheless, we want to focus on the promotion of “Ad numen Satanae” and possibly on new material.

Guh Lu, I would like to thank you for this interview and for creating such a tremendous platform of well made Black Metal with “Ad Numen Satanae”. All the best

We’d like to thank you for your interest in us and your interview. We hope you like our latest album.


 
 



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