Saturday, May 22, 2010

Interview: Enochian Crescent

I'm not as familiar with Enochian Crescent's material as with the releases of the other bands we have featured in this magazine. I know that your latest album is the third in a line of records that you have put out centering on certain themes - how does the latest album fit into this trilogy?

Victor: As a musician and lyricist who does a great part of our output I am very bad at comparing the three releases, especially since they form a conceptual trilogy. I cannot see any dramatic change in any sense. We are what we write and we have been writing this kind of music since the beginning of the 90's. So it fits there with the other two.

What ideas or influences are responsible for inspiring the new record?

Victor: Telocvovim.

drakh Wrath: Our music is meant to pervert naive human souls, that is all there is to it.

I feel that Enochian Crescent has a very original approach to composing metal music, and I think it's safe to say that you incorporate a lot of influences in your writing besides the common black metal ones...in what direction are you trying to take this music?

Victor: To Hell.

What would you like to see in the black metal scene in terms of incorporating new styles in the music?

Victor: What I would really like to see is unfortunately impossible to achieve. Because, I would like BM, and every_other_flavour of Metal, bands to have some meaning behind their doings. Incorporating new styles or whatever is meaningless as long as the musicians are hollow men with nothing to say. This spiritual drought has been going on for too long and we are here to change that on our part. I mean, 90% of these present-day bands are composed of people who are playing this music just to hang around in the scene. Where is the true passion, knowledge, and lust to create something new?

How important is it for you to remain original in your writing? What is your approach to writing the music - do you find yourself eliminating a lot of material that you feel sounds like other bands? Do you have to work hard to be original in your compositions - or is it something that just comes naturally to you?

Victor: Originality is the life-blood of our music, BUT, it is never forced. We are pretty chaotic and spontaneous when it comes to songwriting. Composing this kind of music is something that happens to me on almost subconcious levels; I just pick up the guitar and the riffs start to play themselves and then suddenly the whole morbid beauty of a song is revealed to me. It is really seldom that I have to "dump" riffs or songs. When the composition does manifest itself it has been perfected in both physical and metaphysical levels for so long that there is little excuse for abandoning any parts of it. Some songs take longer to be ready... they follow around for years waiting for the right time to be done. On each one of our records there is stuff dating back to the beginning of 90's. Also, for our next record I feel that there is going to be a song that has been in my head since 1994. This might seem odd, but I must tell you that I have been writing this kind of music since I got my first guitar. Of course, technical abilities etc. have improved over time, but the vision has always been there.

drakh Wrath: I'd like to see the rejection of the idea that all Black Metal should sound like it would come from norway, and that all Black Metal singers should sing in a same way. It's not the music that makes Black Metal, it's the lyrics and the lifestyle of the musicians. Although there is a one criterion regarding the music; the music of a Black Metal band should be Dark in a some way. Cannibal Corpse for example could be a Black Metal band if they would fill these demands. There is no law that would forbid growling from a Black Metal singer. And I'd like to see bands use more imagination, knowledge and individuality in their lyrics. First everyone copied the Satanic lyrics the norwegians wrote, nowadays the same people copy the viking lyrics that the same norwegians write. They copy those who themselves can't decide what to believe in. Could it be more pathetic?

How important to you is the imagery that you have created with Enochian Crescent and all the visuals associated with the band? Do you think bands can be just as influential when it comes down to imagery as they can be through their music? Are there any bands that you really admire when it comes to creating an original language of visual imagery? How does your imagery relate to your music? Is it an essential part of the atmosphere that each record tries to evoke? Is there a central theme to all the imagery?

Victor: We don't have an image, it is more that we let people see a certain part of us. From a normal persons viewpoint we are quite a twisted bunch. Personally, I would say that Enochian Crescent brings forth and amplifies my nightside. It is not forced, never has been, it is similar to how our songwriting happens: Without forethought or careful planning. Honestly speaking I couldn't give care less about any bands image. They can dress in shitty diapers for all I care as long as the music is godly and the band has some meaning behind their doings.
Yes, bands can be influential when it comes to imagery. Just look at every music scene imaginable; the trend-leeches are just waiting for a new fad to arrive, so they can emulate their idol's dressing habits. Unfortunately, in many cases the image is all that there is... no musical substance whatsoever.
Imagery in terms of artwork is very important, because it can support the message that the music and lyrics are trying to relay. Our graphics and CD-layouts are in close connection to the music. I don't like cd booklets that have only band-pictures and some slur under lyrics. Therefore we try also to make also the graphics work to serve the whole. There are some bands that have succeeded in making the imagery to support the music. For example, In the Wood's 'Omnio' has pictures that seem to be connected with the music and lyrics and I have spent time studying those pictures and trying to decipher their meaning.
The central theme of our graphical output is the occult and I always make each picture to a certain song. I get influenced by our music and then make the image to reflect the emotions invoked by the song or to support the message of the song. Sometimes the artwork also provides additional hints to what the lyrics are about. In terms of a central theme there is none but the Occult.

drakh Wrath: I already answered whether bands can be influential through imagery or not in the last answer. Just try to remember what happened after A Blaze in the Northern Sky was released. Of course a band that has it's own ideology is far more interesting and perhaps also more influential compared to for example the hordes of Death Metal bands of yesterday. I think people just got bored with their hollowness and started to look for something with deeper meaning behind it. Our "imagery" as you call it, is everything to us. We try to keep the old Black Metal spirit alive with our lyrics and our outward appearance. To me our central theme has always been and will always be Satanism. To cultivate Satan and to spread His wisdom; these are my dogmas, all else means as much as the vomit which is in my toilet floor on hangover mornings.

In terms of your lyrics and the messages that you are promulgating within your music, what are your main influences? What few really important themes would you wish a listener to take away from a listening of your music - i.e., are there a few lyrical themes and messages that are absolutely essential to Enochian Crescent's identity? What are your obsessions when it comes to writing lyrics - are there subjects that you find yourself returning to again and again?

Victor: The OCCULT, this is a main influence, the substance behind the music and the lyrics. I have been a practising magician for over 5 years, and have studied the subject for some 10 years. This is the strong essence behind our sound.. The mystical feeling of otherworldliness, and the hints to something unknown. For additional influences I must urge you to skip to question six.

drakh Wrath: Once again I answered this one earlier on. But regarding the last question; I always seem to return to self-mutilation and self-burning subjects in my lyrics. Sometimes I even practise them WHEN I write the lyrics, like when I wrote Grey Skin lyrics. Sometimes I practise a ritual when I write, and sometimes I write afterwards of the ritual I did. It's far more real than writing just something you have imagined. Nowadays I try to manipulate the listener with every lyric I write. And since the lyrics can be seen in many different ways, it's very interesting how the possible manipulated one will interpret them.

Why is it that Finnish bands always seem to be so original and/or creative when it comes to writing music? Do you think there are specific reasons for this, or is it in fact an illusion?

Victor: I think that most Finnish bands are original because of our national character. We have this inborn tendency to be very individual... to the point of being stubborn. This heightened sense of self reflects itself to music so that the bands strive for an original sound, not wanting to copy the band that plays in the next rehearsal room or the ones that are topping the charts, but to try to capture an individual sound and an own way of making music. Also, Finland is geographically a large country with little population. So, that kind of isolation together with a long, gloomy winter might also be an essential ingredient in a recipe for original music.

Are you proud of your national heritage?

Victor: I am very proud of my heritage. Finland has a very long and glorious forgotten history dating back for 5000 years. Our forefathers have had powerful kings that have reigned most of the Scandinavia and the western parts of Russia up until the 9th century. Then the kingdom collapsed for some reason and the Swedes took over. Also, in old tales Finns are described as powerful magicians and fierce warriors... for example the Vikings tried to raid also Finnish shores, but were defeated and sent fleeing with bloody and bowed heads.

How does Enochian Crescent fit into the music scene in Finland? Are there any other Finnish bands that you admire or enjoy listening to?

Victor: Our position in the scene is of course determined by other people and at present they seem to hail us as the present Kings of the Finnish Black Metal hill. But, as you know, people are fickle and who knows what band of trolls they'll enthrone next. As people, we are isolationists, so scene-wise it is quite unimportant to us where we stand. As you might have already figured out, this entourage wasn't formed to win any popularity contests, instead, we have our personal agendas to push through this channel and if somebody heeds our twisted siren call, all the better. Other noteworthy Finnish bands are, off the top of my head: Throes of Dawn, ...and Oceans, Funeris Nocturnum, Thyrane, Warloghe, Black Dawn, Sentenced, HIM, Impaled Nazarene, YUP, Nightside,Babylon Whores, Grigori etc. etc.

What do you think is the most inspiring aspect of living in Finland?

Victor: In addition to our glorious history that must be the four seasons. Also the non-pretentiousness of people is a big plus. I hate when hollow people try to befriend me just because some social norm tells them to. I 'd rather be left alone brooding than exchange inanities with nobodies.

Would you rather live somewhere else?

Victor: Rather, I cannot understand why anybody would live anywhere else.

How important are occult themes in Enochian Crescent's music?

Victor: The Occult is a very important part of Enochian Crescent, but as Lao-Tzu says 'One who knows (the Truth) speaks not, one who speaks knows not'. Thus I am not willing to delve any deeper into this subject.

Does this reflect your life (or lifestyle) and your own interests, or it just part of the music and the atmosphere that the music strives to create?

Victor: It does. I write about subjects that are close to me, to go about doing anything else would be very meaningless and hollow. This is also one of the main powers behind our music, you can hear the true conviction and get a grasp of hidden knowledge behind the musical progressions and the written words. Our entire body of work is based on spirituality and it is a true reflection of our lives.

What works would you point your followers to if they wanted to learn more about the mythological references in your lyrics?

Victor: They are plenty in number. People should try to read, for example: Alesteir Crowley, Benjamin Rowe, Rimbaud, Keates, Blavatsky, Frater Achad, Ludlow, Blake, Simmons, Kenneth Grant, and study Ceremonial and Enochian Magick, Astanga Yoga, Lucifer, old myths, Tarot etc. etc. to get an idea where I draw my influences from. This might seem like name-dropping, bragging, and in contrast of what I said on the first part of this question, but the truth is that all of the above have an influence on my life and my writing. A good book to begin the journey towards knowledge is 'Modern Magic" by Donald Kraig. Read it and may Ganesha remove all obstacles that hinder your ascension.

How do you feel about organized religions?

Victor: Organized religion sucks donkey dicks. Every organization takes man further from the TRUTH that should be his or her birth-right. I am very tired of religion and feel very disgusted when talking about it. So, fuck 'em... with a bazooka.

drakh Wrath: Read the olde mythologies of your own country, the most important things can be found there. And I'm not talking about any pathetic pagan-shit, but the true Satanism that was practised long before xtians came. For example in Finland we had Tuoni, Tuonetar, Kipu-Tyttö and Loviatar long before a single xtian one had ever been here and norwegians had Hel, Loki, Midgard, Fenris and Surt. These are the ones that the Satanists of olde days worshipped.

What experiences led you to compose this form of music? What kind of events in your life and past made you realize that your destiny would take you down such a dark path?

Victor: I have been like this since my childhood. Some people are just of darker breed and I am not referring to skin color here. I cannot pinpoint any singular events that would have made me the person that I am. Looking back now it seems almost like a predetermined course, since all the interests that I have been pursuing are somehow culminated in Enochian Crescent: The love for dark music, reading of dark literature & poems, studying the occult & practising magick, everything. My life is not so single-minded as it might seem reading the lines above, though. I do live a full and enjoyable life, it is just that I take true pleasure from different things than the 'norms'.

How do you feel about modern life - i.e., are the past and the attractions of mythology/ancient history much more powerful for you when it comes to seeking inspiration? If so, why?

Victor: Modern way of living is quite much about cycling on the ups and downs of life. In essence, people have missed out on the true purpose of life. By holding back and taking the ride of life, they have lost the true meaning. Sure, there are many pleasant contemporary things like electricity, easiness of getting food, electric instruments, cell phones that relieve you of the concept of a 'place' but you should let these things serve you, not become their servant. The past is great source of inspiration, since the power of a tradition is that the influences and shortcomings of singular persons have been ground away during the years. Therefore, you get the feeling that only the truest essence is left and realising this is an immense inspiration in itself.

drakh Wrath: I realized already when I was in elementary school that I was different. I enjoyed being alone, I guess I thought about things more than others of my age and I loathed everything that involved large groups of people(like sports which I loathe still). I even did my first scars in those days by carving my skin repeatedly with a match. My interest for Satanism began in that age and it surfaced again few years later and has remained until today.
Of course the past is more interesting than today. The past was not infected with xtian virus. Nowadays everything is turned upside down and perverted by them. It's irritating that they have perverted all the important olde days, but it's also very amusing that they celebrate christmas which is a pagan feast. In the olde days Santa Claus (In finnish: Joulupukki, and if straightly translated it would be: christmas Goat) was not portrayed as an old man, but as an goat-headed-human. He was a symbol of the Devil who rewarded those who deserved it and punished those who didn't. If that is not straight symbolism, I don't know what is.

What are your feelings about death?

Victor: It is an overwhelming shadow looming over my head. I am very aware of my mortality and it frustrates me sometimes, sometimes it just depresses me. In the end, there is so little time and much of that is wasted on sloth or useless activities like being a corporate whore to get your rent paid and to bribe your weak flesh and mind with trinkets. I also love death, because it is the final release. No more inanity, no more obligations, no more human cattle.

Why do you think death is almost always a central obsession when it comes to 'extreme' music? Is it possible to really ever know anything about death? Why do you think 'death' exerts such a powerful influence over people's thoughts?

Victor: It is an easy subject. The last great unsolved mystery. The thing why religions were invented in the first place. And, since metalists tend to be quite a morbid bunch, it is an obvious pick for a concept or theme. It is also easy to write about death without any profound knowledge. Or have you met anyone who has come back to prove all of the speculation wrong?

Death causes uneasiness in people because, besides being born, it is the only truly major event in your life that you have absolutely no conrol over. People tend to be control-freaks, or just freaks.

Is there really any way to come to terms with your own death or is it always a thought to be avoided?

Victor: I have accepted death, Hindu's see death as a natural part of a larger cycle. In my opinion, only weak and neurotic minds cannot deal with the fact that eventually their candle will flicker and fade into oblivion.

If at some point in the future we discovered the true nature of death, and what happens to us after the event, how do you think this would affect civilization?

Victor: Death is a way for nature to get rid of excess scoria. So, if we discover how to avert death the civilization & the ecosystem would collapse 'cause everyone wants to be immortal and still have babies... Sterilize the world, there is enough of us already.

drakh Wrath: I worship Death, but not doing a suicide, but leading other people into it. Giving Death as many sacrifices as possible. It doesn't matter when I die, be it today or a tomorrow, I don't care. I have done enough damage already, and I will continue to do so until the day I die. To spread Despair, that is the meaning of my life.

How do the people around you in your life feel about your work in Enochian Crescent?

Victor: EC is a very controversial band, so sometimes it is hard for them to accept what I do. Only some of the closest have an idea of what this band really is about... most think it is just a metal band and get uneasy when I tell them about the concepts behind the music or when they read the lyrics and listen to the music. EC is more than just music and that's what makes us strong but also harder for people with a 'normal' mindset to accept.

Do they understand what it means to you?

Victor: No, how could they! In the end you know so little of TRUE passions of people around you. I think they have an idea, but still, there are some things that you just cannot put to words or explain to anyone... words would just ring hollow in comparison of the REAL feelings. In a sense Enochian Crescent is a culmination and a connexion of many things in my life: Music, The Occult, Creativity, Literature. But again, these are just general terms and cannot relay the true meaning and importance of this entity that is EC to me.

Do they understand the ramifications of your music and lyrics - the main themes found there?

Victor: I don't think so, it demands study to understand what we really aim at. It is easy to misinterpret everything that we do, get caught on the stereotypical images conjured by our music, lyrics, and image. It is also a richness in a sense... it leaves room for people to make their own interpretations and perhaps find explanations to some of the things that we hint at. I would be surprised if anyone but us understood what we about. There are three ways that this band exists 1. The way that we see it. 2. The way that people see us. 3. The way that we really are. And this rule is applicable to almost anything in life.

How is Enochian Crescent accepted where you live?

Victor: People who like metal think our music is great, but some of them feel uneasy with the mysticism that comes with it. Honestly, I couldn't care less what the 'norms' think of us.

Do you play shows around your home town?

Victor: We have, but not anymore, since we play live quite seldom.

drakh Wrath: I don't think even the people who are the closest to us understand that we're dead serious about what we write. Most of them think that for example the lyrics of Väkisinkastettu are some kind of a joke, and therefore they think it's funny. If they knew the truth, their illusions would be shattered, and they'd realize how different we really are from them. There are of course few Satanists and/or people who are interested in the occult and more spiritual matters around here, Ostrobothnia, but they can be counted by just a one hands' fingers. The people around us aren't as religious as I and Victor are, their lives are far more simpler. To them there is only what you can see, touch or taste. To us that is just a surface that can be penetrated to reveal a world where everything is possible.
The most of the common inhabitants of Vaasa haven't even heard the name Enochian Crescent and if they had, they still wouldn't recognize us. So, we can for example walk in the center of Vaasa without being disturbed, which is a good thing. We haven't played in Vaasa since our debut gig in 1995 a.b. where the picture that is behind the lyrics of Grey Skin was taken.

Finally, the last question: what is next on the horizon for your band? Do you have any tours or shows planned for the support of this new album? What are your plans for your next album or release? Please take the space here to add any extra information that you want our readers to see.

drakh Wrath: No tours, no plans...only to slowly rot from inside-out, until no resemblance of human emotions can be found, just an inner void filled with black rot.