Samael Interview

Samael
Interview with Vorphalack
2007

What have you been doing lately?

Well, we’re doing these two shows in Portugal and we still have two other festivals to do this summer: one being the Wacken Open Air and the other is in Switzerland. Then, in the autumn, we’re going to do a tour, but we don’t know exactly when it’s going to start yet, although we have to tour Europe before the end of the year and, hopefully, we’ll be able to come to Portugal again (that would be nice).


How has Solar Soul been received?

Very well, and we’re really happy about it. On these last recordings we’ve been experimenting a lot – since Passage, actually – and we kind of had the desire to settle down and be able to have a record that would represent all we have been doing so far – much like a statement – and, from here on in, I don’t know where we going to go, but at least we have something that stands for what the band’s doing today. I also think that every important aspect of Samael is present on this new record, like the atmospheres and orchestrations we’ve been creating since Passage, as well as the tribal, more oriental rhythms we had in Reign of Light, so it’s all melt together in a way.


A couple of days ago, I read that you’ve been listening to classical music almost exclusively. Is that a conscious decision, or rather a natural matter of taste?

Basically, I like to keep myself excited when listening to music, so I guess that I would go for the second reason. I still check nowadays’ bands, but I rarely listen to something more than twice and I usually don’t listen to an album more than once. One exception to that would be the last album from Opeth, which I think is a very interesting record; a bit unusual for me, since I’m not into the progressive genre, but this particular album is quite well done and it’s pretty unpredictable as well, which makes it even more interesting for me, and that’s what I love most in classical music too, especially Russian composers, since they have such unusual melodies and vibes running through the whole pieces.


Xy must share your interest, since he’s been responsible for both the atmospheres and electronics in Samael, as well as for the classical recording of the Passage material.

Yes, he listens to quite a few scores, and he said that he wanted to do another album like that, but I guess that if he will it’ll be more in the remixes’ area, because that’s what he’s really into; he hasn’t had enough spare time to do it so far, but maybe one day he’ll be able to finally release something in this vein.


What’s the quintessential element in Samael’s sound for you?

As I said earlier, with this new album we tried to make a stand, so to let people know that this is where we are today – not only as a group, but also as musicians. There is room for experimentation but in lighter tones, so, in that sense, it’s not like we’re trying to deliberately go forward, it’s just a natural reflection of what, and where, we are today.


Do you prefer the studio or the live setting?

They’re both different. I mean, in the studio we end up thinking a lot and we have several discussions about the way things are – or should be – going, so you try to do, and behave, properly all the time, but when we’re playing live it’s like a blessing from the gods: you just let it rip. Overall, they’re quite opposite situations, because a live show is quite crude and instinctive, whereas in the studio everything is more intellectual, so I don’t think I prefer either of the two: I just like both the same way, I guess.


Why did you leave Century Media several years ago and, more recently, Regain Records? Also, why did you go with Nuclear Blast?

We left Century Media due to back luck, I think. Our contract lasted for several years and, due to a number of unfortunate situations, trust was lost along the way and it was getting harder to get along with the people involved, so in the end it was the right thing to do. These days, everything is different with Nuclear Blast and we’re quite happy with the new contract, which is only a licensing deal, but at least we own the masters to our recordings and that’s something really important to us.


Among certain associations, Samael is known to be a figure of the seducer, accuser and destroyer among the archangels. Having this in mind, do you view yourself sharing any aspects of Satanism (either philosophical or artistic)?

Not really. I mean, I don’t consider myself to be a religious person, although I see myself as spiritual in a certain sense. We all have our own desire or feelings of transcendence at certain times in our lives, and I can see myself sharing such urges, but there’s no dogma attached to that as it’s something personal. In the end, I guess I try to go beyond our human condition – mentally, that is – and that’s what pleases me the most. For instance, when I did my first trip to India, right before the recording of Passage, I was so amazed about the way they deal with their different gods, because, for them, even the darker side is an essential part of the whole scheme and that’s what Christianity discards in comparison which, to me, is wrong.


Are you, at all, concerned with the world’s current state of affairs?

Actually, we wrote a bit about that on Slavocracy, a song that’s basically about the darker side of democracy, and the thing is that people don’t have a voice from their own any more; they don’t even question authority, power, or what really constitutes these hardships: they just agree to them. So that’s what drove me to write this song in particular.
Valkyries’ New Ride is also a song about war and it’s something I never really tried to write about before, so it’s a new step for Samael, in that sense.


Changing the subject, are you into Movies?

Yes. For instance, the last movie I saw was Tarantino’s Death Proof, which I liked a lot; it doesn’t have a complex story or anything, but the way he shot it, and the whole atmosphere, is pretty engaging – almost like a B movie. I also liked Natural Born Killers, for which he wrote the screenplay.


What have you been reading recently?

Right now I’m reading Cervantes’ Don Quixote, because I was previously fascinated by what I was told about the novel, and I’m also reading a work from a French author about the way the gods were created and this is quite interesting because he tries to explain how the human mind works and how that process is connected with religion, so it’s quite fascinating, actually. Plus, I also like novels, fiction and essays a lot.


What are your expectations for both these shows?

I don’t know (laughs), don’t ask me about it. Actually, we had some problems with our stuff in London, as there was this red alert at the airport for some reason, so our gear ended up coming in three parts and the keyboard’s still missing, so Xy’s not going to play with his instrument tonight. We just did the sound-check a couple of hours ago and it went okay.


Any plans for a new DVD release?

Definitely. We’ve been talking about it and we’ve already started to collect material from different shows, so I think that maybe next year something will be ready to come out on that format.


Samael

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