Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Interview with Formicarius done by Patrick
1.Hails please introduce yourself to the readers?
[Nazarkardeh – Guitars] Hails! We are Formicarius and we play Black Metal. Our sophomore record Rending The Veil of Flesh is being released on Friday 13th of September 2019 through Schwarzdorn Production. We are from the United Kingdom, but please don't hold that unfortunate detail against us.
2.When did you first start listening to black metal and who were the first bands you listened to?Who are some of the current bands that has caught your attention?
Honestly? Black Metal is something that I think I truly discovered slightly later than my bandmates. Until early adulthood my interests mainly lay in Death Metal and traditional Heavy Metal. When I was listening to Black Metal it was the less orthodox bands that grabbed me, such as Windir, Anorexia Nervosa, Rotting Christ and later Bathory. It was through those bands I started to appreciate the old guard of Black Metal. I guess I've regressed over the years – I'm not very up to date with with much modern Black Metal outside of the UK, but the modern bands in metal that I'm following at the moment include Blood Incantation, Tomb Mold, Enforcer and Vltimas.
3.When did you first get the idea to start the band Formicarius? What is the current line up of the band?
The creative core of Formicarius have played together as a band since we were teenagers. I won't bore your readers with all the shambolic details of young musicians cutting their teeth over the years, but fast forward to 2014 and we decided to put our previous project to rest, and start something new putting everything we learned to good use. One crucial lesson was the old trope of suffering for your art – we didn't announce the existence of Formicarius for another year and our debut album Black Mass Ritual wasn't released until 2017. Why? Because half assed music is a waste of time. In the year of our Lord 2019, people are neck deep in bands, albums, school shootings, demos, singles, climate change apocalypse, EPs, playlists, reptilian conspiracy theories, gigs, festivals, and whatever else. Why the hell should one expect people to listen to their music in amongst all that mayhem unless it's done to the best of one's efforts? Our lineup on Rending The Veil of Flesh is Lord Saunders [Vocals, Guitars] yours truly [Guitars], Morath [Keyboards] and Hægtesse [Bass]. Behind the kit on this album is Kevin Paradis, who you might know from the other bands he's played with such as Benighted, Melechesh and Svart Crown. We also have an equally skilled full time drummer who has recently joined us, however his identity will remain a mystery for a little while longer. Two other guests on the album are Nico Millar of the UK black metal band Aklash and Sakis Tolis of Rotting Christ fame, who both appear on the track Early Shall I Seek Thee. Rotting Christ have been a major influence on me for many years, so having Sakis on our album is a serious honour.
4.Who would you say are the bands biggest influences and for the readers who have never heard the band's music how would you best describe it?
The term which we have often used for Formicarius is English Black Metal. The reason we use that term rather than one of the many millions of paragraph-long subgenre names is that British Black Metal has always had a certain feel... One that isn't defined as clearly as subgenre but that can be heard in the tone of the music – a cynical kind of self awareness that isn't just limited to black metal but extends much of our national art. I think you can detect it in the Gothic authors of the 19th century all the way to bands like Cradle of Filth, Hecate Enthroned, Akercocke and Paradise Lost. We aren't patriotic people, but we are proud to have that musical DNA in Formicarius. That, to me, is why English Black Metal reflects who we are better than any of those buzzwords.
5.Rending The Veil Of Flesh is the bands second full length which will be released in September.How long did it take the band to write the music for the new release?
Hard to say really – The skeletons of some of these songs have existed for quite some time. The main riff to Within The Depths for example has existed for nearly a decade but couldn't quite find a home for it until the writing process for this album! I try never to throw away riffs and ideas anymore – that one idea that didn't quite work for one track might be perfect for something a few years down the line. We actually received the final masters of the album nearly a year ago! Since then it's been preparations for release, finalising artwork, deciding on release formats, videos, promotion and all the other BTS stuff that comes with releasing a record. It can be very frustrating, but as I said earlier, releasing something half-complete and not fully realised is a waste of time, and so the waiting has been worth it for us to be bringing out an album that is 100% what we wanted to release.
6.Who usually handles writing the lyrics for the music and what are some topics written about on the new release?Which usually comes first the music or the lyrics?
So far in Formicarius the music has always come first. Usually myself, Lord Saunders or Morath will bring an idea forward and we will then begin working on it together until we're happy with it. The lyrics are handled by Lord Saunders, Morath or Hægtesse, so perhaps I'm no great authority. But here in the UK we don't listen to experts anymore so I'll talk about them anyway! A common topic in Formicarius is history – After all, the Formicarius was a medieval treatise which was one of the first European writings on Witchcraft. This album is no exception, with topics including Early Christianity in the declining Roman Empire (Early Will I Seek Thee) Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of medieval Europe's most powerful women (Dieu Et Mon Droit) and everyone's favourite bloodthirsty Wallachian Voivode (O, Dread Impaler). History isn't the only topic, but in the meantime all I will say is that the Vojtech Doubek's masterful artwork for the album gives a few clues as to some of the other lyrical concepts therein...
7.Besides the upcoming release Rending The Veil Of Flesh is the debut release still available for the readers to buy?Besides the physical releases does the band have any other merchandise currently available if yes what is available and where can the readers purchase it?
Our debut album Black Mass Ritual is available through our record label Schwarzdorn Production. Our merch is available on our BigCartel. https://formicariusband.bigcartel.com/ https://schwarzdornproduction.bandcamp.com/album/black-mass-ritualsd49cd
8.Does Formicarius play live very often or do you prefer working in the studio?What have been some of the bands most memorable shows so far?Who are some bands you have shared the stage with?
I could never just be part of a studio project. As a musician playing live is hugely important, and the experience and adventures of touring have been some of my greatest life experiences. With Formicarius one unforgettable show was playing a festival in the North of England called the Black Tor Gathering. This show took place in a 17th Century Inn situated high above the hills of the Yorkshire Dales – 1,732 feet above sea level to be specific! Quite a peak to blast out some Black Metal. Among other great artists we have shared stages with Negura Bunget, Hecate Enthroned, A Forest of Stars and Hate.
9.Are their any tours or shows planned in support of the Rending The Veil Of Flesh release? If yes where will the band be playing and who are some bands you will share the stage with?
Our announced shows in support of Rending The Veil of Flesh are as follows: September 8th - Dark Clouds Over Camden at @ The Lounge, London w/ Hecate Enthroned September 14th - The Junction, Plymouth w/ Hecate Enthroned October 19th - The Fenton, Leeds w/ Aklash January 25th - Warhorns Winterfest, Rotherham Of course we have no intention of stopping there! We will take this album wherever we can, the priority being as much of Europe as possible.
10.What does Black Metal mean to you?
Black Metal is music. That's it. I don't agree with any of the philosophical pontificating or cringeworthy essays that some artists feel the need to subject us to lately. We do what we do and we make what we make on our own terms. If we don't fit some basement dwelling dork's 666 page manifesto on Black Metal as a vessel for raw Luciferian darkness, then thats fine with me - they can keep wanking themselves silly over Varg Vikernes vlogs and their deluded sense of superiority.
11. Formicarius comes out of England's black metal scene what is your opinion of the black metal scene in England?
If any readers aren't familiar with the UK Black Metal scene beyond the obvious big names like Cradle – Then do yourself a favour and go discover it! We might not have the kind of societal support for the arts that our Scandinavian cousins do, which makes it harder for us trapped on this miserable island to break through internationally, but there are bands in the UK that deserve as much attention as the Swedes and Norwegians get!
12.Who are your all-time favorite bands coming out of England and are their any new bands you feel the readers should check out soon?
Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, obviously! If English civilisation gave nothing else to the world but those two bands, it would have all been worth it. And of course there is Black Sabbath, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Joy Division, Paradise Lost, Venom, Bolt Thrower, Godflesh, Napalm Death, Carcass, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Whitesnake and Queen! We've had a pretty good thing going on when it comes to music. I only hope that some very stupid decisions being made by our country right now don't make it harder for any of our great rising underground bands to get the recognition they truly deserve!More recently? Every one reading should check out Aklash, whose frontman Nico features on Rending The Veil of Flesh. For black metal there is also Necronautical, Trivax and Deadwood Lake, and for Death Metal the UK has Live Burial, Repulsive Vision and Cryptic Shift all delivering riffs by the truckload.
13.Besides playing in Formicarius do you or any of the members currently work with any other bands or solo projects? If yes please tell the readers a little about these?
I play in the death metal band De Profundis, with whom I've been busy lately writing the follow up to last year's The Blinding Light of Faith. Morath also plays for the Black Metal band Domitorem, in which she's handled both keyboard and bass duties. As myself and Lord Saunders are both mad enough to do music as full-time careers, we are both involved in various ways in numerous other projects, both metal and otherwise.
14.Thank you for taking the time to fill this interview out do you have any final words for the readers? Thank you to the readers of Winter Torment for making it this far through my ranting! Rending The Veil of Flesh will be released on Friday 13th September 2019 through Schwarzdorn Production – but in the meantime you can listen to the first song we have released from the album Early Will I Seek Thee, which features none other than Sakis Tolis of Rotting Christ!
Sunday, July 21, 2019
It’s been a busy week getting my home studio (Oneironaut Studios) re-constructed after some renovations and upgrades I am looking forward to finishing and get back into a song writing process. I am the founding member of Crimson Moon, though I have covered all instruments in past recordings, my primary role is bass, vocals keyboards, songwriting, lyrics and some of the additional instruments that are occasionally added.
Yes, I would read whatever I could get my hands on back in those days. It’s hard to recall most of the names of them, I remember Petrified Zine being one of the first few I had obtained.
Yes, I did tons of tape trading back in the day. Again a little difficult to recall a lot of it, and when I relocated to Germany, I had to part ways with a lot of my collection. I enjoyed quite a few cassette compilations, one that comes to mind was Diabolical Netherworld which got me introduced to a lot of bands before they were really known.
I was getting tired of trying to work with the musicians I knew where I lived, and their lack of motivation. I obtained my first Tascam 4-track and quickly realized it was possible and much easier to do things on my own. So, I recorded the 1994 self-titled demo, barely knowing how to operate the Tascam, and started circulating the demo through mail/tape/trading/flyers etc. The name came about from a sort of reoccurring dream that I had, where the Moon had turned to Blood.
There wasn’t a full lineup until 2007 when the “Serpent Beneath the Skin” e.p. was recorded and supported by a small North American tour. The other members of this lineup were located in the US, at the time in the same state (Georgia) but shortly after everyone relocated to different areas of the U.S. so the line-up was short lived. I ended up recording all the instruments on the last album, Oneironaut and it was during the last stages of production in 2016 I was able to establish a much more viable line-up that we now perform live and recorded “Mors Omnia Vincit” with . I live in a remote location, outside of a small village, so it took some time to find the right people that are within a reasonable distance to operate as a band.
I wrote the material relatively fast. Most of it within a couple of months and in total, I think about 3 months, but generally when I write, I tend to get about 75% of a song done all in the same session. It’s usually the final touches that can take longer. I ended up with a lot more material than we ended up using for the album, so it gave the luxury to listen to them and decide which material was the best to use in this particular release. Some songs were completed in one session, while others were not completed lyrically until it was time to record the vocals.
The new album is about Death, so Death is where I got the inspiration. 90% of the time I come up with the lyrics after the music is written. Sometime I will start with a general concept of what the lyrics will cover, or a song title, but usually it is the other way around.
Yes, we have additional merchandise (shirts, amulets, etc) and some of the previous material available on our bandcamp page. We will be re-stocking some of the previous material that is out of stock in the near future, but most of those can also be found on other distros, save for some of the more limited releases that are sold out.
The music has evolved in many ways, compared to old material that was very raw and a lot more minimalistic in structure. Production quality I feel each release has improved, our last album being the strongest to date. I would definitely say musicianship has improved for me personally and the current lineup compared to the older releases. As far influences, in the early years, it was a lot of the early 90’s black metal. At that time I pretty much listened to music 24/7. Nowadays, especially when I am trying to write music for Crimson Moon, I tend to listen to less music, and that pertains especially to any black metal that is relatively new. I listen to a fairly wide variety of music and try to find ideas that inspire original approaches to things, though I honestly find most of my inspiration now through spending time in nature, which I do a lot of.
We play mostly festivals over the last 3 years since we started becoming active for live performances again. We are not interested in playing as many shows as possible, as we prefer quality over quantity in that aspect. I personally prefer the studio aspect over the live performances. We get a lot of offers we turn down for live shows, especially these tour offers where you are expected to basically pay to play. As we have not agreed to any exclusive booking agent, it can make finding a lot of shows more difficult, so all we have done was usually the case where the promoter contacts us and can agree to our terms. I think I prefer it this way, some of these booking agencies really made going to festivals and shows less desirable as they tend to shove the same bands over and over at every festival that is happening. There also is a lot of aspects to getting shows I have little patience to deal with, so we have our conditions, which are fair and if they (promoters) are not willing to provide, then we simply say no. We are not interested to play shows for charity to support someone else’s agenda. We have played a lot of very good festivals over the last 3 years, so it’s hard to even remember all the bands we shared the stage with. 2017 we played for our first time in Finland at the Steel Chaos festival which was great, immaculate organization on all aspects and a very good lineup of bands. Some other festivals we played over the last couple years would be Sequane Fest (France) Under The Black Sun, Speyer War Mass,Rock for Roots (Germany) etc.
We will be playing the Barther Open Air festival (Germany) next month which will be just a few weeks before the new album is out, and we have confirmed for De Mortem Et Diabolum festival in Berlin this December. That is all that is publicly confirmed at this point, and with a Summer release date of the new album, a lot of the festivals this year are already filled as far as the rosters/bands, unfortunately. I have only come across a few reviews of the new album at this point, but if they continue to be as good as what we have received so far, I think we will be securing more spots in the near future for live shows.
Since an early age, I was probably about 15 or so when I started getting heavily into it and reading all I could obtain, but even before that I had an interest in it, a lot of it just from the music I grew up listening to.
Nowadays, there aren’t any really that I study or follow. I found it to become a much more personal path for me and I have learned more from that than I do from someone else’s theory or explanation/opinion towards it. The occult is much like black metal since the age of internet: over saturated with useless material that is just a re-hashed copy. I can learn more sitting at a river in solitude that I can with my nose in a book.
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Interview with Tim Rowland vocalist.instruments done for Sculpted Horror done by Patrick