Interview with Draconiis
What can you tell me a bit about Sirius since its early days as a solo-project called Twilight, and what drove you to start playing with other musicians?
Well, to start off, Twilight has absolutely nothing to do with Sirius, as Twilight was a project of mine with other individuals – Raven and Vukodlack included – which I kept for some time and it’s buried for now.
As for Sirius, I started composing and writing poems for this project in 1994 and it was destined not to have any kind of output as long as I wouldn’t find the perfect souls to complete its line-up. Although I can play the guitars and bass, I found suitable this project being turn into a real band.
The musicians who were integrated in Sirius’ line-up were chosen by their deep character, dedication and skills too, of course. Sirius has walked through a lot of difficulties in order to accomplish its objectives but, hopefully for us, it seems that finally things will start evolving forwards from now on.
Last year you recorded your first promo, Fiery Strife at The Cosmic Gates of Armageddon and more recently you finally did your first studio effort with a full-accomplished line-up. Where do you draw the differences between both releases? How was it like to record at Forlorn Studios?
Let me correct you: the promo-track was recorded already during the year of 1998 and it was done with the intent of being distributed to a select audience of friends in our underground, which the band had previously defined.
As for the differences between the promo and the demo, and as you probably will notice as soon as we release the demo, it consists of a much more worked environment, a much better sound quality and much better played instruments, since this time we had all the time we needed in order to record, and I could also use a lot of time for the sound’s production. Lyrically, the differences also appear in the demo, as the lyrics for Fiery Strife at the Cosmic Gates of Armageddon – which will not be pressed in the demo’s cover, by the way – and the lyrics for Out of the Serpent Line or Unveiled the Path of Algol, the Riddles Beyond the Stars are quite different in style, yet I think that both fit Sirius’ spirit perfectly.
About Forlorn Studios, it’s a small place with not so good recording material, but we managed to do our best with the resources that we had in hands.
Andromeda Creations will be releasing your demo. How did that come about and have you received any other offers as well? What do you think of your label-mates Angrenost?
Well, the deal with Andromeda Creations is a consequence of the interest of the label’s owner in our promo-track. The individual behind the work of Andromeda Creations is a very special one and has been developing a great work in this underground, so I think we definitely made the right choice as the label has always been 100% dedicated and is making a fine job for Sirius (just check out the demo, when it’s released).
Concerning proposals from other labels, I won’t mention any names, but I can tell you there has been a lot of interest for releasing the demo.
About Angrenost, I think it’s a good band with a lot of feeling in their music, something which many bands – both Portuguese and international – seem to have forgotten about lately, and one of the bands in the front-line of our rising underground.
Our underground seems to be growing in quality but, on the other hand, there’s still major handicaps in what concerns attitude and management. What is your outlook on this?
We have been witnessing a process of development in our underground through the last couple of years. Indeed, there are some quality releases, but, unfortunately, I think that most of them are still crap; yet, the biggest problem seems to be, from where I stand, the listeners in general and most labels’ attitude. What I’m trying to express is that most in the audience is still dominated by the bias towards Portuguese bands, which is a pity, because some of our bands have as much talent as the international bands.
About labels, I can only think of a few working with the right attitude and dedication. The main problem of most labels is that they seem to forget that in order to make a good release they have to promote it and do it with quality. I think the persons in charge of labels should consider start working on building some good infrastructures in order to give the bands a better working platform. The bands I most admire in our underground are Serpent Lore, Summum Malum, Angrenost, Celtic Dance, Obscenus, Extreme Unction, Decayed, Grog, Tortura and Desire. Also, we have good magazines like Dark Oath, Sword, Stellar Ocean (ex-Rites of Elêusis), Aphrodite and Deathless. There are a lot of local radio shows in Portugal – mainly in the north – and I’d like to point out Holocausto, which has been doing an excellent, impartial work.
There’s a resurgence of old-school Thrash bands occurring in alignment with the more trendy Black Metal rise. What do you think about it and what are your favourite bands of the genre (besides Bathory, as I know you really enjoy it)?
I honestly don’t think that there’s a resurgence of the Thrash Metal scene simply because it never ceased to exist; on the other hand, it’s good that such bands still exist for they contribute to a larger spectrum in Metal music, which perpetuates it even more. While some bands evolve into progressive and experimental fields, those bands ought to make the connection between Metal’s glorious past and its present – and prosperous future, let’s hope! As for their musicianship, I think that it might not be the most essential thing in this kind of music, rather the feeling of the music, which is much more important, in my opinion; I mean, one can be very skilled while playing his instrument even, but if he doesn’t succeed to transmit the feeling into his music then the music will be just a worthless addiction to Metal.
Talking about my favourite Thrash bands, I would mention Sarcófago, Sodom, Celtic Frost, Destruction and I consider Bathory to be more of a Black Metal band, really, but I accept that you include it in the lot of Thrash. My favourite bands, in general, are old Bathory, Darkthrone, Hypocrisy, Abigor, Mayhem and Emperor.
Even though Music is somewhat different than Theatre, I think the visual power within an artistic outlet is very important in order to portray the world of the artist at its best, don’t you agree? What do you enjoy the most in terms of Film and Theatre (if that applies), as well as Literature?
I think of some music to be quite dramatic at times too and perhaps music isn’t so different from dramatic art after all.
I’m not that much into movies and I tend not to watch much television at all, but my favourites must be Conan, the Barbarian, the series of horror movies The Omen, The Exorcist, and also a movie called Tragic Fate. As for theatrical plays, I find the dramatic involvement of Shakespeare’s work to be the most inspiring ever.
My favourite readings were The Necronomicon, some works of Aleister Crowley (like the Book of Lies, The Book of Thoth and The Equinox of the Gods), Bram Stoker’s Dracula and John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
Talking about authors, I find some of the works of the Marquis de Sade to be quite irresistible, as his approaches on religion, society, sexuality and perversion are one of the most torrid ever to be found. Elizabeth Báthory can also be linked to his twisted philosophies, due to her sadist and erotic nature. Do you think that if Sade hasn’t existed, Sadism would be called Bathorism in its place?
Unfortunately, I’m not that familiar with Sade’s works; but, yes, it seems to me that there is a bond between the personality and philosophies of those two individuals. However, like I told you, I’m not that familiar with Sade, and I ought to read a lot about him in order to draw any further conclusion. I can just say that they have some points in common as far as their actions are described, but I can only speculate about this subject.
In the beginning of the 90s, there was a large upheaval about Black Metal and satanic incidents due to what happened in Norway. What are your memories from that time? Do you subscribe such actions? What are your thoughts on the more sensational aspects of it – such as the murder committed by Faust as well as Vikernes’ (of Euronymous) – and what are your favourite bands of that ilk?
Oh boy, are your questions huge or what? I must admit that I like this kind of complex interview.
Well, the Black Metal scene, as I saw it some years ago, has changed a lot these days. Bands back then – and should I state that it has not been that long ago that those happenings occurred? – were a lot more dedicated than most of today’s new bands, and the attitude was one of individuals who really felt the essence of Black Metal. Some bands still hold that feeling, some others, unfortunately, sold out their ideals and music in order to captivate a wider audience and market and they only deserve one’s despise.
About the church fires, I think it was like holding the hare and running with the hounds. It really stroked and scarred the Christian community for a while and it was a valid action against the hypocrite church, but, if we look at it closely, it has weakened Black Metal when of the arresting of the individuals behind the actions and, after a while, the churches were up again (guess with whose money). It turned out to be something that strengthened the Church’s confidence more than anything else, so I guess that we ought to start fighting them with the same weapons as they use and start our own community step by step. Euronymous’ murder was, to me, an action that weakened the whole Black Metal scene way too much; a lot of ink was spent over that and now the media is even more attracted to what happened. The whole spirit of union within the Black Metal scene was lost for quite an amount of time; strife was created within the scene instead of concentrating on the real enemy. Worst of all, the leading individual whose influence and whose work was most valuable for developing Black Metal’s platforms was suddenly gone, and, in my opinion, he was heading the right way; a real pity that none continued his projects. Concerning Faust, I’m sure he had his reasons – or lack of them – to commit that crime and I’m not so interested in them, it’s his problem. I wouldn’t hesitate to kill in self-defense, but killing just for fun is ridiculous.
My favourite bands from the Norwegian scene are Darkthrone, Mayhem, Emperor, Immortal, Ulver, Burzum, Gorgoroth and a lot more; for sure, they should be an example to the development of other countries’ Metal scenes for their quality and quantity alliance.
Have you got any religious beliefs?
I am against all religions and I don’t have any doctrine either. I have rather a philosophy of life, which I describe as Satanism. I have my own life-code, my own moral values and I believe in myself above all other things.
You were trying to set up a national Black Metal event. Is this still a possibility? If so, what bands would be a part of it?
Aye, that’s correct. I already started contacting some friends from bands and influential people in our underground. I can tell you that this idea has been widely accepted and most have adhered to the project, yet, it is still in a very premature phase. I also count on you and all the people connected to our underground to help us make this venue happen! As I mentioned before, it’s still in a very premature phase and I won’t be revealing any details yet.
Tell me your upcoming plans for Sirius and if we can expect you to be involved in some side-project in the near future.
As for Sirius, our demo should be out pretty soon: a complete professional release! We hope to be playing in that venue we talked about in the last question and we’ll keep our concentration 100% dedicated on Sirius to prepare new songs. Time shall tell and maybe it shall bring some surprises too. Right now all my other projects besides Sirius are in stand-by, but I’ll inform you when the time is right.
Thank you for this rather interesting and complex interview!