28. 6. 2015AOSOTH & ANTAEUS - It’s more about expressing some form of primal visceral emotion, rather than constructing a riff.
BST a MkM are the main members of two important French black metal acts: AOSOTH and ANTAEUS. The first-mentioned band performed at the Brutal Assault festival last year. ANTAEUS will spread the Satanic Audio Violence at the same place this year.
The French black metal act AOSOTH had released a eponymous debut album in 2008. Since that they made a huge step ahead and they came with a masterpiece called "IV: An Arrow in Heart" two years ago. Last year's performence at the Brutal Assault festival just confirmed my words: it was an amazing experience. The members of AOSOTH are also a part of the (not only) live line-up of the ominous band ANTAEUS, who are going to participate on the festival in Jaroměř this year. That was also an impetus to address the band with the interview request.
The part of the interview about AOSOTH mostly answered BST (real name Sébastien Tuvi), who's the band's mastermind. MkM has logically talked about ANTAEUS, because he's one of the two main members of this beast and also a vocalist of AOSOTH. He partially uncovered the ANTAEUS' setlist for Brutal Assault festival and if you're going to attend the event, I recommend you not to let this genuine evil unnoticed!
Let’s start with looking back at your last album so far: “IV: An Arrow in Heart”. When I focus on songs such as “Ritual Marks of Penitence” or “An Arrow in Heart”, which are more than 10 minutes long, I wonder how you compose them? Do you work on these songs in parts or do you sit with the guitar in your hands until you have the whole composition done? I guess that the second thesis is right in consideration of how the individual parts follow themselves naturally.
Who’s the main composer in AOSOTH? Do you work together on the songs or you have divided your roles?
BST: The way things work within AOSOTH is fairly simple. I write all the music, and MKM takes care of the lyrics, and the band’s visual content. Our bass player is also involved in arrangements, which we work on during the actual studio sessions. The writing process itself requires a guitar and a computer, basically. I usually sit and play anything on top of my head, it’s more about expressing some form of primal visceral emotion, rather than constructing a riff. Once a valid idea emerges, it’s all about following an instinctive path, and the song pretty much builds itself, a little like automatic writing. That is the way it has always functioned, and I believe it does define the way this band sounds.
I think you’ve refined your production on “IV” and developed your own characteristic sound. Is it all BST’s job? Do you think already over, if you want to preserve the same production shape by AOSOTH in the future or do you plan some experiments and
BST: I think the previous album was the start of that sonor identity, but the fourth album did indeed hold something specific that fits us, and makes us apart from any other band. We’ll see what happen next, but we will not simply copy and paste what has been already done, it canalways be “better”.
Did BST the drum programming on “IV”? Do you not plan to find a permanent drummer?
BST: I did, yes. We’ve had the same live drummer for quite some time, and we do plan on having him play on an acoustic drumkit for the next full length. I’m actually very excitedabout that.
Could you specify the lyrical concept of “IV”? Does it describe any personal bad experience? (I don’t want you to describe it in detail, of course) Is the album interlaced with the cohesive concept?
MkM: The album is linked with a personal experience, being neither bad nor good. The loss of vision did inspire me to write a descent into darkness where perception is obtained differently. Thus the insert in "universal braille" (with some mistakes but then again, when trying to learn the basic: it is complicated & will take me years).
There are some a bit industrial parts (imprecisely said) (for example in the title track), who’s their author?
BST: Some of them I did myself, and for most of the interludes and additional ambient part,they were produced by HostiS, a French musician.
At first, I found the interludes called “Broken Dialogue I and II” rather as a stuffing, but the more I listened to the album, it appeared the more necessary to me for the whole concept and entireness of the atmosphere. Still I want to ask, what did you want to express by these interludes?
BST: They were very well thought, for a specific purpose, and do hold a form of riddle. I can’t really say much about it. Few people found about it, although anyone could.
The fabulous cover art also contributes to the perfection of the last album. The author of the artwork is Benjamin A. Vierling and you cooperated with him also in case of the instrumental version of “Variations of Violence”. Was the painting created especially for AOSOTH or did you use a previously created painting?
BST: It was created for us, and it’s a great honour indeed, to have had the opportunity of working with him. He will also do the next album’s cover, and we are very pleased about that.
When you finished working on “IV”, did you feel, that you need a break, a rest from composing, recording? Or did you immediately start to work intensively on your other projects? And when we turn the question to AOSOTH again: two years passed since releasing the “IV”, are the first lines of the fifth chapter already written?
BST: We did need a little time off. We stopped playing shows for a while, which also was due to new professional commitments that temporarily impaired the band’s ability to play live. Mostly we needed to breath, get involved in other things. We’ve now started working on the fifth album, we have something like five working tracks. Can’t say more about it for now, andI have no idea when the actual recording will take place.
That’s all about “IV: An Arrow in Heart”, now I’d like to turn to the other topics. You are the member of Polish Agonia Records’ roster since 2009 and your second album “Ashes of Angels”. It’s quite a long time, so the cooperation goes well?
BST: Having worked with a bunch of others labels, I can tell you that they’re doing a very decent job. There’s always things that could be better, but we honestly don’t have much tocomplain.
In September 2011, half a year after releasing the third album “III – Violence & Variations”, you released the instrumental version of this recording. Why? MkM said after the “III” release that he likes to listen to the version without vocals, was it his wish?
MkM: Indeed, SPIKEKULT has been
a label I've been running in the past years and I proposed to the Aosoth band members this idea. Since I kept on listening to the working tracks (without vocals) and thought it had a very ominous feel to it, haunting riffs. I still prefer the instrumental version to the one with my vocals on. It took half a year since this label is run with my own cash, so I had to save enough to get it printed. Each release on Spikekult might have taken months to get out, otherwise the "variations of violence" could have been out oneor two month after the Agonia release.
Your albums are usually released also on vinyl. Have you something as a personal relationship to this format? When you sometimes listen to your recordings, do you choose CD or LP?
MkM: I barely ever listen to our own recordings. My choice would go for the instrumental vinyl. Vinyl has been my favorite format for years, even if I had to sell many I kept nearly all my split eps bought in the 90s. I had no issue with selling all cds, but those eps kept on meaning something. I do think our bass player is also more keen on listening the album onvinyls.
You performed on the Brutal Assault festival in Czech Republic last year, what impressions of the performance in the socalled “chapiteau” did you have? Do you like appearances at such monsterevents, or is it better for you to perform in the club?
BST: That show was great. I’d say it doesn’t matter the size of the stage, or the country you perform in. Sure, the technical aspects must be decent, but it’s not the most important thing. It’s mostly about the atmosphere, the whole vibe. It’s a pretty immaterial thing, more of asentiment. It was definitely present that evening, for us.
You’ve been one of the highlights of the festival for me and that’s also why I am very pleased that you are going to return this year with ANTAEUS! All of the members of AOSOTH are also (live)members of ANTAEUS, so I hope some questions about this band wouldn’t mind. Do the songs from the last album “Blood Libels” prevail in the current setlist or is it somehow balanced with the older stuff?
MkM: Antaeus line up did change in the past years well it always did change, we never managed to get a stable one... Anyone who got to be on tour with us or even got to see how we get along with each other knows that it's always about to explode. A lot of tension within the band, I guess that it is part of what someone attending an Antaeus gig is expecting as well. Current line up is mostly composed from band members of french band RITUALIZATION (drummer, bass player), our second guitar player (Saroth) is also in AOSOTH, TEMPLE OF BAAL, THE ORDER OF APOLLYON & others. Set list has been more or less the same since we decided to reunite for gigs (considering we try to perform in places we never got to go in the past). From "Blood libels", most likely those tracks should be played: "Rot" / "Gates to the Outside" / "Blood Libels" / "Cyclik Torture" / "Words as Weapons"... it will depend on how the addition to older tracks from "Cut your Flesh and Worship Satan" will happen or not ("Bleeding Blasphemy" for instance), we will see at Metal Magic in july! Or in the reh room... Brutal Assault has been an amazing festival for us last year now am curious to get back there with ANTAEUS. Heard about the special stage for CULT OF FIRE & am looking forward the experience.
You’re relatively actively performing live with ANTAEUS, but the last album “Blood Libels” is nine years old now. MkM, are you planning another Satanic Audio Violence in the near future?
MkM: As you can guess from my previous answer, nothing has been easy with ANTAEUS in the past years. At some point, I thought we could have maybe enough to release a 7"... but main guitar player is never satisfied with what comes up & all gets denied. Unless something matches our expectation, there is no need for a release that wouldn't represent what would be worth it. Either it is more insane than Blood libels or it will not be recorded nor released!
BST is also active in THE ORDER OF APOLLYON, which sounds a bit more “modern”. I got to know you through the new album "The Sword and the Dagger". I hear clear parallels with AOSOTH in some songs, especially as for the guitar riffs. You’re one of the founders or co-founders of TOOA, what was the impetus to form the band?
BST: The idea was to combine black metal and death metal with a lyrical concept that presented an alternative spirituality. One can see it as a mockery of religion, but I ratherconceived it as a deification of Death.
The French scene is generally highlighted as one that indicates the direction of black metal in the last few years. Do you have the same feeling? And do you feel any exorbitant rivalry in the scene?
BST: We keep focused on doing our own thing. There are many French bands we respect, and many foreign bands as well. It doesn’t really matter, when it comes to genuine art and devotion. Rivalry and competition are things I’d rather leave to children. They’re such a wasteof time and energy, which would otherwise be used to create.
Are you keeping an eye on the news in the music scene or are you rather supporting the older bands and recordings and the new bands do not interest you that much? What albums released in 2014 do you like the most?
MkM: Per year, so many bands do get releases out that it is very hard to keep track with everything. But yes I do pay attention to all bands released on Terratur possessions for instance, as well as World Terror Committee. Though I sometimes end up buying a release a year or two after it got out, to be honest I couldn't really tell who got released in 2014. IMPURE ZIGGURAT must have been the demo I did dig the most lately, French wise. That KHAOS DEI album released on Osmose production has also been played quite often. From the US tour we just did, there are two bands I did really notice & am very curious to listen to their forthcoming release: UADA (Oregon) and BLACK FUCKING CANCER (California), the bands I thought were the best surprises. And of course it was killer to see DEMONCY perform again!!!
Thank you for your time and answers. See you in August, hope to hear "Gates to the Outside", haha! The last words are yours....