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Sebastian Schröer (SADO SATHANAS): it's just about good or bad music

Sebastian Schröer (SADO SATHANAS): it's just about good or bad music
BANDS : Sado Sathanas

German black metal band Sado Sathanas will release their second album - Nomos Hamartia (The Law of Sin) this September. With the help of Mihai "Coro" Caraveteanu of Axa Valaha Productions we managed to talk with Sebastian Schröer, leader and drummer of the group, and to find out more about this material, the upcoming Romanian tour and about his opinion on the current black scene metal. Terms like "success" and "underground" were also discussed.

Metalfan: Hi Sebastian and welcome back to Metalfan.RO!
Sebastian Schröer: Salut si multumesc - it's great to be back!

Metalfan: Sado Sathanas started as a band in 1996. How do you feel about what you achieved so far, it is much, is it little?
Sebastian Schröer: Hmm, difficult. We started back in the days to play our favourite music, which was and is still extreme metal. Meanwhile we reached a level which is very ok for us. We are elder statesman in the business and able to act independent. A lot of bands came and split in all these years, but we are still alive. Of course we are an underground act, but it was our own decision to keep it small and simple. When we started we just wanted to play the music we liked, inspired by bands from Norway like Burzum and Mayhem, but also local acts like Eminenz. We still do this, and that's just great. We can travel around and can play where we want to play, giving a fuck on every business shit. All members of Sado Sathanas have jobs, so it is not necessary to do shitty shows with bored audiences just to fill our fridges or pay our rent. That's comfortable and we appreciate this situation a lot. When I speak with friends from the business touring the whole year, and some of them have more than one band: I don't want to change with them. Living in buses or hotels, seeing a fucking grey road in front of you every day and turning slowly but for sure into a zombie is nothing I want to spent my time with. But for one or two weeks it is ok to act like a teenager, muahahaha! Without kidding: Our shows are extreme, so it's also a matter to keep our health. And if one in a crew gets a flue everybody get sick in the next days. Back to your question: Well, we feel nice and fine!

Metalfan: It is just me or do you really have are fascinated by Romania? Your upcoming promotional tour for the will start in Romania.
Sebastian Schröer: Sure. Romania is a beautiful country, and you are absolutely right when you say I am fascinated, maybe I am addicted. This year I already was here three times, two times in context of my job and I also spent my vacation in Transylvania. Usually I am really active, but the landscape in Transylvania brings me down. I like it to sit on a hill, starring on the mountains, drinking the one or the other Ursus or Cjuc and do nothing while a pot with goulash boils on the fire. I really enjoy that, that's why I come back so often. But it's funny: A lot of people from Romania told me that they want to go to Germany - while we like it to be in Romania, not at least because of the fact that we have some good friends there. The situation here is similar to the feeling in Germany back in the days. Everything is small and simple, but very enthusiastic and honest, so all in all touring here with the band is very comfortable. At first we had the idea to start the promotion for “Nomos Hamartia” in Germany, but – hmm... - we can play at home whenever we want, so it is nothing special for us. Meanwhile we refuse a lot of offers here in Germany just because we are not interested. In Romania we always had a good time, and it's quite far away from our everyday life, so we decided to start the tour here. After that we play some selected shows in Germany and a small Blitzkrieg in Poland.

Metalfan: What do Germany and Romania have in common?
Sebastian Schröer: That's easy: people complain all the time -. about the weather, the government, blablabla. In Germany as well as in Romania, it's the same. It's no offence, just my experience.

Metalfan: On August 15th you have released your second full-length album - Nomos Hamartia (The Law of Sin). Could you tell us more about the concept and the lyrics of this album?
Sebastian Schröer: That must be a misunderstanding. On August 15th we just released a preview track on youtube, it's called P.A.N. Demonia. Our first plan was to release the album in September, but to be honest we have a little delay, so the album will not be finished when we start the tour, sorry for that. We fixed the recordings, but we are still not satisfied with the final mix. We learned from former records that we will not make any compromises, so it's better to keep working until everybody of us says “yes, that's it!” But we promise that we will make sure that the album will be available in Romania as soon as possible. About the concept, well, it's not about skulls, even if there is one on every poster for our Romanian shows produced by Romanian artists. Don't get me wrong: They are great! The main topic of the lyrics is the relation and the interchanges between of rules and freedom, the law (order) and the spirit (chaos). Together with the music is a mixture between invocation and meditation. It's all about a specific concept, which is the basement of Sado Sathanas: power and authority. Our releases – from the first demo's to our new album – has to bee seen in this light. Real sadism is violent, but not on order. We created a complex setting of visual, habitual, and lyrical aspects. In this context the cover artwork is based by a painting in the book Divine Comedy written by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri, combined with some drawings of  Hieronymus Bosch aka Jheronimus van Aken, of course in a different interpretation. On the front you see Lucifer, who has three faces with three mouths, each of them chew a betrayer, symbolised by Judas, Brutus and Cassius. The artwork inside represents the seven deadly sins. Of course that sounds very abstract, so let me try to explain by the tracks on Nomos Hamartia. Two of them, Ante Bellum (Before the War) and Codex Diaboli are instrumental. P.A.N. Demonia is inspired by John Milton's book Paradise Lost. Pandemonium is the capital of Lucifer and other fallen Angels, so to say the centre of hell. The word “Pan” also represents Satan, but in a relation to Greek mythology as a hybrid of man and animal. The track handles about self empowerment, to reach strength and might by sacrifice. “Martyrium” is about the price you have to pay if you go your way straight ahead if you don't reflect what makes you weak: the bounding on conventions which keeps mankind low. “Invertum” is a track which is about ignorance and the scorn we feel about this kind of behaviour. Finally there is Nomos Hamartia, the title track is about sins in a context with the concept of hell, inspired by Dante’s Inferno. Short and easy: sins are necessary, otherwise you cannot enter the gates of hell. Of course: the more the better! 

Metalfan: Do you think that metal and rock music in general is an expression of rebellion, or does it have deeper significance?
Sebastian Schröer: Not anymore. Maybe it was back in the days, I don't know and I don't care, but nowadays just a few people still have this attitude. We never thought about if it's good or bad, it just is how it is. For many teenager Heavy Metal is a kind of rebellion against their parents or even rules made by adults. But I don't think that this kind of rebellion will result in a revolution, its often just a part of their biography. Of course the are exceptions. For us our music as well as the lyrics are very personal. It's a way to express ourselves, so of course it has some deeper significance. It's also related to own own point of view to mankind and cosmos. In generally we share the opinion that “reality” is created by men and that (organized) religions are a powerful tool to keep people under control. We don't care about that, what we focus is a reflection of situations representing a transcendence. But not in a naïve way, because spiritualism is more than just to believe I some weird idea of a life after death. It's not just mystic, it's also science. We are inspired by Aleister Crowley as well as Charles Darwin as well as Friedrich Nietzsche as well as Niccolo Machiavelli as well as blablabla, but it's not intended just to sample some ideas. We use concepts of scientists and artists as metaphors to give a link to what Sado Sathanas means, but I think nobody than us will catch it completely. But maybe everybody should try it, who knows?

Metalfan: How do you see black metal genre now in 2013? What has changed since 1996 'till now?
Sebastian Schröer: Some years ago I was really pessimistic, I hated most of new releases. Meanwhile there are a lot of interesting bands like Odem Arcarum, Ascension, The Ruins of Beverast and Krater or our mates and tour supporters Macht from Germany, also bands from Romania like Negura Bunget or Dordeduh, Aborym from Italy, Deathspell Omega from France or Watain from Sweden. A lot of bands from Norway I respected back in the days are playing shitty music now, just a few are keeping the old spirit alive, like for example Taake or since Trondr passed away last year Urgehal. For a long time I refused to listen to albums recorded after the 1990s or music from new founded bands, but since some years it turns better and better. What definitely changed is that there are millions of fakes now, bands who trying to bring new influences into the music which is often pure shit. As Gaahl of Gorgoroth said: Black Metal is about Satan. Not about fucking post-modern topics. I also refuse all this pagan shit, it's completely ridiculous. That doesn't mean that I don't like arrangements with traditional instruments, but this party attitude that I never will like. Well, on the other hand it seems that more and more people see things similar, and I am quite sure that a next generation of bands will keep the flame alive in a good way. In this context we think in global structures, because there are not just people from Europe but also from North and South America, Asia and Australia we are connected with. So: For the moment I am quite optimistic.

Metalfan: Do you composeyour songs starting from rhythms, or riff patterns, or abstract ideas or melodies? Could you tell us more about the writing process? How does it work for Sado Sathanas?
Sebastian Schröer: It depends and varies from track to track and part by part. Often one of our guitar players comes around with ideas for a riff or a melody, sometimes we jam in our rehearsal room. We arrange the tracks together. We discuss options and ideas, and sometimes we play them live to test their potential before we record them. We learned to take us the time to develop a track, I mean we have the experience to cooperate since 17 years, we know each other very well, sometimes better than our girlfriends if you can imagine, hahaha. But of course: Important for us is to keep the music in a typical Sado Sathanas style without writing an album again and again like AC/DC or Motörhead does – which I like both a lot by the way. Our influences are very limited, even if all of us listen to very different music genres, but what Sado Sathanas means is an old school metal style from the 1990s, that includes the music as well as the artwork as well as the life presentation. On the other hand of course there have to be some surprises. Sometimes it happens in the studio that we change some nuances, so the development of songs has a first stop when we record them. It also can happen that we play tracks life in a different way than we recorded. And last but not leat they are often like wine - the older the better. Not always of course, sometimes it happens that they turn into vinegar.

Metalfan: The album was recorded and mastered by Michael Zech (Secrets of the Moon, ex-Negura Bunget) in the Source of Soundscape Studios from Munich. How did you get in touch with him? What did you learn from him and what did he learn from you?
Sebastian Schröer: I met him some years ago in Leipzig when he played there with Negura Bunget, and some years later I helped to book another band he is involved in, Odem Arcarum, as support act for Dordeduh and Sado Sathanas. Our last album “Opus Diaboli” was recorded in our own studio near our home town Dresden, but we made some mistakes and we are still not completely satisfied with the sound of our first album. I mean: It's not bad, but we are able to do it better. So we decided to enter another studio with a professional sound engineer. At first we planed to record the album in the Consonance Studios in Timisoara with Edmond and Sol Faur from Dordeduh, but it was too complicated and failed because of logistic issues. Finally Edmond recommended Michi, and he did a really great job for us. The record sessions have been very relaxed in a great atmosphere, at least for us. He really knows what he is doing and with his experience he helped us a lot to find exactly the sound we ever wanted. What we learned from him are some special ways of microphoning the drums and to mix the guitars. We recorded some traces and created a sound which is organic as well as pressing, so now we have the balance between a typical 1990s feeling, Sado Sathanas tunes and a great production. Furthermore I played the drums on clicks for the first time, so the new material is more tight  than ever. And what he learned from us? Good question, maybe to be as chaotic as possible while recording sessions. It helps a lot to get into the mood to make an extreme sound, for sure! What he didn't learn is what good beer means, he still has the opinion that Bavarian beer is the best. Insane!

Metalfan: Some black metal bands and some extreme music performers mutilate themselves on stage. What do you think about this kind of actions?
Sebastian Schröer: Back in the days we did that, too. Even on every rehearsal date. Now we are too old... To be honest: I don't think that cutting and mutilating is very evil, in the most cases it's just a simple gimmick to shock the audience. And since a lot of bands do that it got boring. Beside of that we are Sado Sathanas, not Maso. When we cut from time to time, then not ourselves. On the other hand I can understand what it means to use real blood on stage to enter a special – let's call it ritual - feeling or to keep people away who doesn't belong to the people who should be into Black or even other Extreme-Metal, too. Own blood is much more intense than from animals, of course.

Metalfan: Could you tell us wat are the five most important  albums that have influenced you as a musician?
Sebastian Schröer:
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (1994): This album is extreme and still a reference. The sick vocals by Attila, the production, but most important – at least for me as a drummer – the sound of the toms. They are like thunder growling.

Burzum Hvis Lyset Tar Oss (1994): What Vikernes has done with this album was and is still amazing. The combination of simple and monotone but cool riffs, his sick voice like a frozen cat get cut by a chainsaw, but also ambient parts belongs to the best what Black Metal stands for. But the highlight for me are the lyrics, they are really great and inspired me a lot.

Abigor Nachthymnen (1995): A very intense record and extreme in exploring new dimensions and to rise the standards of Black Metal. A pity that they never played life, on the other hand this is impossible with this kind of music. Chapeau! 

Dordeduh Dar De Duh (2012): Well, I don't know if it is still Black Metal because it's not about Satan, but it influenced me a lot. It's  one of a few albums I bought after the 1990s, and I am still fascinated about all the details and the intelligent concept behind it, giving a fuck on any conventions. A further step after Negura Bunget's N'Crugu Bradului (2002) and OM (2006). The most important to me is that I got some new inspiration for drumming, which is rare. Great!

The Devil's Blood The Thousandfold Epicentre (2011): What should I say? I just like this album, because it's awesome.

Metalfan: What is success? What is a successful band in the underground? Do this two words belong together - "success" and "underground"?
Sebastian Schröer: The idea behind Sado Sathanas was never to gain money from our music. Even most musicians I know who live from their music are no rich people, and we are not interested to be a part of these monkey business. So the success for us is that we still exist since 1996, four of us from the beginning, playing the music we like. It's a buddy approach, with some crises, so like an old couple we had ups and downs. But in 2013 we are stronger than ever before without selling ourselves. Personally I don't care about underground or so called mainstream, it's just about good or bad music. And if I say good I mean authenticity and creativity, no matter how many copies a band sells or how known they are. But what I personally really appreciate is is the respect from people who are in the one or other way a deeper, or let's say, a special part of the scene. For example if people from bands I really like write me to congratulate for our new album – of course that means a lot for me, and that's my success.   


Metalfan: Will there be anytime soon a band as dangerous and extreme as Mayhem was in the early '90s? Could Sado Sathanas be that band?
Sebastian Schröer: Nowadays it's hard to shock people with extreme music or even an extreme image. Meanwhile I know a lot musicians of so called “extreme” bands personally, and in the most cases they are really nice people. Even Mayhem I would not consider as “dangerous”, at least not the present Mayhem. I don't know if Sado Sathanas could be a band with such an image, honestly we don't care about images. Maybe the name of our band sounds dangerous for religious people, but I don't give a fuck. If young bands try to create a special image as their masterplan to get rich and famous they usually fail. But a very dangerous band is Watain, especially for our stock of drinks. Alvaro is really a demon! On the other hand: What is dangerous? In my opinion a Black Metal band or record or show for sure not, it just scares some weak people. Organized religions deserve this attribute much more.

Metalfan: Thank you Sebastian for your time! In the end would you like to add something or to send few words to our readers?
Sebastian Schröer: Cu placere - thank you very much for the interview, it was really a good one and I liked to answer your questions. To all readers of Metalfan: I hope to see you on our tour with Sado Sathanas and Macht in September. Noroc bun & Waidmanns Heil!
Autor: H.
Vezi galeriile trupelor: Sado Sathanas

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