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Samael: the ceremony continues

Samael: the ceremony continues
BANDS : Samael

Samael is one of those bands you can't really put the finger on. Just when you think you've got them, they change direction and move away, following their own mysterious infra galactical agenda. Far away from his early raw black metal roots now, fifteen years older and five albums wiser, that's how we found Vorph on the other end of the phone line. A really down to earth discussion, with such a restless star-gazing and supra-karma hunting musician.

Metalfan: First, why did you chose the name Samael? What did it mean to you back then, what does it mean to you today?
Vorph: Actually, I had some interest in occultism at the time and I was reading books when this name just popped out from a book. It was love at first sight, I didn’t know what it mean exactly, but it sounded good and what I learned about it really kind of make me feel it could carry something interesting in the future. I think today is more or less like the spirit of the band, the magical thing that bounds the four of us together.

 

Xy, Vorph

 
Metalfan: Your brother, Samael drummer and keyboard player Xy, has joined you shortly after Samael was founded. Did you have the same ideas about music back then?
Vorph:More or less, yeah, we shared the same ideas about music. Actually we were listening to heavy metal since day one, we have not exactly the same taste in music, but kind of similar. He was more oriented towards musical metal and I was more into the aggressiveness. I think the combination of the two made the things more interesting.

Metalfan: Your first two albums are labeled as black metal? Do you agree on this? What does black metal mean to you?
Vorph:It could be named as black metal, it doesn’t bother me really, but I am not trying to make a stand of that, being this or that. I mean we are a metal band, this is probably something I won’t deny, but then whatever you put before or after doesn’t really matter to me. When we worked on the two first albums we didn’t have much knowledge about music, so we were trying to do our best. Our influences were bands like Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer, they were black metal so probably those two albums were black metal also.
 
Metalfan: Ceremony of Opposites is a powerful record, a confident musical performance and a defiant lyrical display. Do you consider it to be a concept album? 
Vorph:It wasn’t exactly meant to be a concept album, but if I look at it from nowadays all the songs were tied together, the title of the album really fit to the whole record.  This was the first album that we worked differently with Xy, I mean he was doing all the music for the album, and since then we didn’t changed the formula and I just concentrate on the lyrics. In a way this was kind of the first Samael album, we found finally how to work together, we found  the right formula.

Metalfan: Then, to what degree do you still identify with the message of this album? You still have to sing the lyrics of some of those songs in your shows.
Vorph:We play one or two songs of that album usually and never more then that, because, you know, we are trying to focus as much as possible on the newest recordings and every time a new album is coming this is what we wanna play. I remember why I wrote those lyrics and I remember the exact mind setup we had at the time, I can still relate to that, probably.

 

Makro, Xy, Vorph, Mas

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Metalfan: You continuously change your musical direction from one record to another, and this made you lose some fans on the way, and normally, brought you accusations of sell-out. How much do these things affect you, how much do you care about the voice of your fans?
Vorph:I try to listen what they say, whenever we play a concert and we had time to discuss with some people after the show, but you cannot play music to satisfy the other, you have first to be sure that this is what you want to do. When we worked on an album we actually never thought at what people will say about it, we tried to make it as good as we can and to be satisfied with it. Then you know, if people doesn’t really agree with it, doesn’t matter, ‘cause at least you are satisfied. I mean it would be like really a shame to try to please people and not succeeding, even betraying yourself; that would be the worst thing ever.

Metalfan: Indeed, but do you think it is easy to be a Samael fan? You are quite far from the sound you started with, on your first album, how many people do you think there are out there, to like all of your releases?
Vorph:Is hard to say, the first album was like what, 15-16 years ago, maybe some people that were listening to it got married and I supposed they don’t want to listen to the same music they were listening in the past. It just depends when you’ve started to listen, with which Samael album you’ve started. People knows us more with the newer stuff, they usually don’t want to go to the first album. I suppose they say this album is still good, but this is not interesting enough to listen anymore.

 Metalfan: Where does the trademark of your music lie? Is there anything at all that has remained unaltered since the beginnings of the band?
Vorph:This is an excellent question! We try to make a sort of resume of everything we’ve done before with the new album that we are working on at the moment. Probably this would sort of set up a resume of what we were before and what we gonna be next. Some people agree that Passage was an important record for us, and it was, Reign of Light is an important record as well.  The other records are kind of key records, but I suppose Passage and Reign of Light were probably the most important records we did.

 Metalfan: Can Reign of Light be considered a mix of Passage and Eternal, isn't this like a stagnation for you? You've never looked back before.
Vorph:We didn’t intend to do it that way, but I sort of agree with you, it is a mix between those two albums, but the sound is different and probably the energy of the recording is different.But music wise, it is kind of a crossover between these two albums, yeah, I think so.

 


 

Metalfan: Are Samael members religious persons? Do you believe in afterlife?
Vorph:We don’t know, I mean I try not to think about it really, I try to live as I’ll be for eternity and not bother to think that one day will stop. And whenever will stop, I don’t have any clue, you can speculate forever. I spent time thinking about what could be, what can be, but it is beyond our power to summarize what will be next.

Metalfan: Samael has proven to be one of the most original bands in the metal scene, but you surely must have your influences. Where do they come from?
Vorph:I mentioned some bands before, when we were talking about the first two albums. Then I think we progressed a little bit as musicians, so we tried to have something more complicated, more interesting to play. Metal was basically the main influence, bands like Slayer and Metallica, but later on anything, it doesn’t have to be metal really. I know Xy was listening a lot of classical music at the time it did work on Passage and probably this kind of music had a big influence on him as well. I can listen to any kind of music, it just depends on the mood I am in.

Metalfan: Songs like Heliopolis, Inch'Allah and other reveal a fascination for the Eastern civilization. Why do you think western civilization has this fascination for the east, but yet the two have problems communicating? A good example could be all this islamist terrorism situation.
Vorph:That’s one thing, but I wouldn’t resume the whole thing to the Islamism problem, to terrorism. To me is something very rich, our culture is coming from there, the origins, the roots of all the philosophical and religious beliefs that we have now here are coming from there too. To me is like a never-ending source of inspiration. I’ve been in India long time ago and it was quite a key in my life, not a u-turn or something, but it was something really important.

Metalfan: I've heard you like to read. What kind of books do you read? Have read the Bible?
Vorph:Of course, I did read a little piece when I was in school because I had to, but I read it ten years ago, from the beginning to the end. I was quite surprised to see how much this book has an influence on the environment we are living in. I think it kind of set up the basis of our society. You can rely to a lot of things in the Bible, and even if I am not the kind of people that goes by the books, I think many things in the Bible have an important resonance in our every day life.

Metalfan: Are you still listening to metal? What albums impressed you lately?
Vorph:The last album I bought was the last Slayer, because I used to be in Slayer a lot back in the days, and I think I wanted to hear what Dave Lombardo will do when he came back to the band and I think they did a good job. It is not a revolutionary album, like Reign in Blood was at the time, but it got some good energy, is really aggressive and I was happy to see that they can still pull out this kind of album, despite the fact they are not twenty anymore.

Metalfan: Taking into consideration that you are anything but a regular metal band, where do you see the metal scene in let's say 10 years from now?
Vorph:I don’t have any idea, really. But what I’ve seen with the time there is something from metal that gets into all of the kind of music. I’ve heard some really cheap pop songs with some good guitar riffs from time to time. Metal is a music which is there to stay, is no doubt about that. I think it will invade some other musical styles and will live forever.

Metalfan: Why have you chosen the vegetarian way of life? Is it the respect for animal's right to life or are you just planning to live healthy?
Vorph:A little bit of both, I didn’t think about the animal thing at the time, but after all, why not? When I was eating meat usually it was meat with not many other things around. Since I became vegetarian I’ve tried a lot of different food and it is more creative, you know, you just don’t go for the simple thing, for the easy thing.

 

 


Metalfan: Besides Dracula's myth, is there anything else you've heard about Romania that drew your attention?

Vorph:Ha ha ha, actually not much, since you’ve already mentioned the Dracula thing. I’ve never been there, even just visiting, it will be my first time in December. We did receive some letters back in the days, we still receive emails from Romanians asking us to come in your country so I hope they will be there when we arrive.

Metalfan: But then, what are you expectations regarding the concert in Romania?
Vorph:I don’t have any idea really, this is our first time there and I hope we’ll have a good time.

Metalfan: Can you give us some details about your future plans, about the new Samael album?
Vorph:Yeah, is almost finished. The main recording is finished, Xy is working on programming at the moment and he still wants to record some other things, but the basic recording is finished and we intend to go to mix it probably in January, so will be released probably in spring next year.

Metalfan: But what about a DVD, do you have a plan to record another one?
Vorph:We don’t have that actually, I’ve heard Regain might release a new edition of Reign of Light with a couple of live songs on DVD, but it will be a bonus DVD, not like a real DVD.

Metalfan: Thank you very much for your time and see you in December
Vorph:Thank you, see you then!

 

Autor: Klawz, Dragos P.
Vezi galeriile trupelor: Samael

   November 14, 2006  | 16 Comments  | 48454 Views « BACK

Comment on: Samael: the ceremony continues

  • Woot!

    1. Posted by Tom | 15 Noiembrie 2006 11:50
  • Deabia shtept sa-i vad pe baietzi la concert in Bucureshti.

    2. Posted by Black Priest | 15 Noiembrie 2006 16:20
  • Foarte tare interviul.

    3. Posted by nume greu | 16 Noiembrie 2006 19:05
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