Interview With Frowning (Germany)

Fist Of Satan: As with all reviews I try to do my homework on the band. While there were several reviews of your debut and latest release I didn’t find much on the band (or Val Atra Niteris) specifically. Was this a conscious attempt to let the music speak for itself? Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and the band?

Frowning: Well there have been just a few interviews yet, so I didn’t have the opportunity to talk that much.
I got into Funeral Doom in 2010 when I was 16 – listening to Evoken. So I tried to create my own funeral doom song which is named Day In Black it’s on the debut. But my first official record came out in 2014 cause I wasn’t sure about my musical style before that.

FOS: Frowning’s first releases appeared as singles over several months in 2011 via, surprisingly,  YouTube. Funeral doom is well known for paying tribute to traditions but you took a very non-tractional path when you first started out. Why digitally and YouTube specifically?

F: I guess it was the best opportunity to get attention and responds. It’s not easy to sell a record from a band no one knows.

I just wanted to know if my music is accepted or not. Also it’s really hard to find a good Label.

FOS: You cite pioneering bands such as Mournful Congregation, Evoken and Pantheist as  your inspiration to create moving funeral doom. Everybody talks about being inspired but very few take action on that inspiration. What was the catalyst that brought Frowning into reality?

F: There wasn’t that one moment, there were a couple of things and time after time things started to get real. First I realized I wanna do Funeral Doom only, next one was to get a good name for the genre, after that I tried to do a couple of songs which fit together to one record and the final step was the first record – the split with Aphonic Threnody.

FOS: Still on the subject of inspirations you are obviously inspired by the Romantic Era of music from 200 years ago. On your latest release you cover Frédéric Chopin’s Marche Funèbre (Funeral March).

Romantic Era music has been described as:

“more expressive and emotional, expanding to encompass literary, artistic, and philosophical themes.”

“composers including Dvořák, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Puccini, and Sibelius built on the work of middle Romantic composers to create even more complex – and often much longer – musical works.”

Traits of Romantic Era music include:

“a focus on the nocturnal, the ghostly, the frightful, and terrifying”

“fantastic seeing and spiritual experiences”

That sounds like funeral doom to me. Is funeral doom music just a modern version of Romantic Era music?

F: Well for me it is. If you take a look at the lyrics it’s pure poetry, not when I write lyrics cause I suck on writing, which was the reason I let  write some lyrics for this new album. But you can also take a look to other bands like Evoken, it’s pure poetry. And on the musical side I guess you can here a lot of classical elements taken from the romantic era…

FOS: A frequent comment I hear about Frowning, which I completely agree with, is that both Funeral Impressions and Extinct are very well written and well recorded/produced. This is not something you tend to hear when discussing one man bands. The sole member usually excels in one or two places but is lacking in other areas. 

Are you just the total package or were there others involved? 

F: Usually I do all the musical stuff alone but I had some features on ‘Extinct’. Which includes my close friend Hekjal from my other band Ad Cinerem who sings the first lines of “Encumbered By Vermin”. Also S.G. from Suffer Yourself who did a duet together with me on “Nocturnal Void”. The organ on Marché Funebre is played by my father.

But besides that I did all stuff by myself  so I played the drums, bass, guitars and synths and of course did the rest of the vocals. As mentioned earlier I suck at writing lyrics, on the last album I had some good ideas but this time I decided to let people write for me, there’s only one lyrics written by me. I guess I’m a musician only but not a writer.

FOS: Funeral doom has a very distinct sound which you have nailed perfectly. Can you talk about the gear you used to achieve your sound? Both instruments and recording. I know some gear heads frequent our site so please geek out as much as you want.

F: My equipment on “extinct”:

B.C. Rich Warlock
Fernandes Ravelle Elite
Gibson Les Paul Studio
ESP LTD F-105 Bass
Tama Starclassic B/B Drums with a Starclassic Bubinga Snare
Sabian Cymbals
Logic 9 pro for recording

FOS: Extinct and Funeral Impressions are great examples of “classic” funeral doom. You draw the listener in with ethereal and almost ghostly sections only to hit them with thundering doom riffs.

I know Extinct was only just released but do you plan to continue down this path in the future or are there plans to introduce new elements into your sound?

F: Always, but what I plan is a secret yet.

FOS: Regarding the songwriting and composition specifically it’s clear you know what you’re doing. Are you a classically trained musician?

F: No, I learned drums for years and when I was a child I was teached a little bit piano, but the rest is autodidactic.

FOS It’s clear you’re inspired musically by your funeral doom predecessors and as far back as the Romantic Era. Are you inspired by more contemporary elements? Musical or otherwise?

F: Of course, there is gregorianik chamber stuff for example, the toccata’s of Bach and a lot more.

FOS: Now that Extinct is released what does 2017 hold for Frowning? Do you plan to assemble a live band and perform shows?

F: I already did perform on my release party and I will continue with that.

FOS: Stanislav Govorukha of Suffer Yourself and Hekjal of Ad Cinerem contributed to two tracks on Extinct. Can you talk about how this collaboration came about and what you feel they brought to the overall Frowning sound?

F: Already answered I guess^^

FOS: Thanks very much for doing this interview. The final words are yours.

F: Thanks for having me. Keep on spreading darkness and decease.

Interview With Countess (Netherlands)

After just one listen of Countess’ latest album ‘Fires Of Destiny’ I was hooked. I wanted to know much more about this long serving band. Orlok was gracious enough to answer a few questions!
Fist Of Satan 666: Countess has been around since 1992 and, while continuously releasing quality black metal, is not generally on the tip of people’s tongue. I must admit I only recently discovered Countess.
 
With releases almost yearly your body of work speaks for itself. Why do you think Countess has flown under the radar for so long?
 
Countess: Well, there may be a few things that have contributed to that. When we started out, the so-called ‘second wave’ of black metal was exploding and we didn’t sound like that at all, sounding more like the originators of the style. People who checked us out back then and expected us to sound like the modern bands of the day may have been put off. Then, of course, there was a long period when the band was hardly active. Between 1997 and 2014, Countess was essentially a one-man operation and didn’t play live. There was a new album almost every year, but that was about it. And finally, of course we have always been an underground band, without any substantial promotion.
 
FOS: In the 25 years of existence Countess has progressed from very raw and primitive black metal to a more traditional metal sound with elements of black metal.
 
What lead to this progression? Was raw black metal too limiting for how you wished to express Countess? Or did it just sort of happen over the years?
 
C: I think this was a natural evolution. If you listen to all our albums in sequence (quite a task, by the way) you can hear his progression was gradual. We always loved traditional metal; it’s the music we grew up with and over time we incorporated more influences from traditional metal in our sound. The fact the really raw, primitive black metal has rather a lot of limitations may have played a part as well, but not really on a conscious level I think.
 
FOS: Throughout Countess’ history Orlok, has remained the one constant. The majority of albums were recorded by him alone. Does the prolificness of releases necessitate going it alone?
 
C: No, that has nothing to do with it. I just didn’t have a line-up in these years and didn’t feel like getting one together, so I worked alone for quite a while. Having a full line-up is pretty hard; you need to find exactly the right people to make it work and that’s not easy. After the band split at the end of 1997, I was just fed up with maintaining a line-up. In the years that followed, I often thought about getting a line-up again to be able to play live again, or maybe play live with session musicians, but for a variety of reasons that never happened until finally a few years ago everything fell in place again, so to speak.
 
FOS: Besides Orlok, Zagan has appeared most often contributing guitars to the 1997 EP Hell’s Rock and Roll, a guest appearance on 2001’s The Revenge of the Horned One Part I’ and most recently on 2013’s Sermons Of The Infidel and 2016’s Fires of Destiny.
 
Why has his contributions been somewhat sporadic over the years?
 
C: Well, after the line-up that recorded ‘Hell’s Rock & Roll’ split up at the end of 1997 we still stayed in touch. So when I was doing the ‘Revenge’ albums I asked him to participate and he played basically all the leads and also some rhythm parts on these records, as well as contributing a few songs (his involvement was more than a ‘guest appearance’). In the early 2000’s we also worked on some stuff together that was never released but after that, we kind of lost touch until we met again in early 2013 and we decided to work together again. He has been a full member of the band again since then.
 
FOS:  From a recording technology perspective things have changed greatly from the times of 1993’s The Gospel Of The Horned Ones to 2016’s Fires Of Destiny.
 
Have you embraced new technology over the years? Do you still retain any techniques from the old days in your latest recordings?
 
C: Well, I wouldn’t say I ‘embrace’ new technology but I do use it. Using modern recording equipment has a lot of practical advantages over using recording equipment from 25 years ago. Other than using modern equipment, we haven’t really changed the way we record.
 
FOS: On the subject of recordings can you talk a bit about the writing and recording of Fires Of Destiny? What is your writing process? Where do you record?
 

C: The album was recorded in our rehearsal room; as usual, we did everything ourselves. We wrote the songs in 2014 and 2015; basically Zagan and myself wrote everything together and recorded demo’s of the songs. Then we started rehearsing the songs at the end of 2015, shortly after our new drummer Mortüüm joined the band. We began recording in February 2016. That was done in a fairly conventional way: first a scratch guitar track, then the drums, then the bass, rhythm guitars, guitar solos, keyboards and finally the vocals. In May, we completed the process.

 

For those interested, we did a short film documenting the whole process that you can find on our official YouTube channel:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRKh7aMQUkY
 
FOS: Countess began in the underground days of paper zines and tape trading. You’re still here in the internet generation. Do you feel some of the magic of discovering new music has been lost when all it takes is for someone to download your album instead of waiting weeks (or months) for a tape to arrive in the mail?
 
What are your thoughts on the resurgence of tape releases in metal?
 
C: Yeah, the emergence of the internet has significantly changed the way music is spread, but I doubt that this whole internet thing has changed the music itself. Of course, having been part of the tape trading scene back in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s I feel a bit nostalgic about those days. You really had to work to discover and find new music, especially underground music. Of course, you also got a lot of really special stuff through tape trading like live tapes, rehearsals, advance tapes and so forth.
Now everything is a click away. It’s not all bad, though, especially for underground bands, because spreading your music is a lot easier than it was in the past. Getting your music noticed is probably still as hard as it was, though. Anyways, things change. That’s life; it’s just the way it is.
As for tapes, I don’t mind the resurgence but I don’t really care for them. The cassette was probably the worst sound carrier ever invented. This whole tape thing may be a form of nostalgia or people just wanting something more underground now that vinyl is enjoying a mainstream resurgence.
FOS:  From where do you draw your influences when creating new music? What specifically lead to the creation of ‘Fires Of Destiny’? How has the reaction been from the fans?
 

C: My inspiration for writing music and lyrics comes from everything really: movies, books, music, paintings, history, religion, my own imagination, personal experiences, really everything. Most of our songs are inspired by different things; although there are a few that mainly drew inspiration from one specific source.

 

As for ‘Fires Of Destiny’, it was inspired by many things. The songs are all about somewhat different subjects. We didn’t really have a central theme in mind when we started writing for the album, we just focused on writing ten killer songs. The song ‘Fires Of Destiny’ was the first song written for the album and we quickly decided that would be the title track. We thought it sounded good and we also had an idea for the album cover almost immediately; to use the painting of the battle of Vienna – the subject of the song – by the 17th century Flemish painter Pauwel Casteels.
The response from the fans has been great, both to the album and to the songs from the album when we play them live.
 
FOS: Artists are often not limited to mediums. Do you express yourself in ways other than black metal? Painting? Poetry? Etc.
 
C: No, not really. Other than that lyrics can be seen as a form of poetry, maybe.
 
FOS: If you could collaborate with any musician, living or dead, who would that be and what would a Countess album sound like with them?
 
C: Well, I have a few musical ‘heroes’ but I don’t think I would want to work with any of them, even if it were possible. We prefer to create our own music; if we would collaborate with someone from outside the band (no matter how much we might admire the person in question) it would compromise the purity of our expression, so to speak.
 
FOS: In your long history there have been many trends and explosions of genres over the years. While the band’s sound has progressed over the years you have remained loyal to the spirit of the old days. Have you ever looked back and wondered what would have happened if you had taken the band in a different direction?
 
C: No, because there is no point in doing that. It never wanted to take the band in a different direction and I never did. I don’t care what might have happened if I had.
 
FOS: Based on your almost yearly release we’re probably due for a new album. Are you working on new material? When can we expect new material?
 
C: Not that quickly. We plan to write the next album this year and record and release it next year.
 
FOS: What music have you been listening to lately (metal or otherwise)? What books are you reading?
 
C: Well, while I’m answering these questions I’m listening to Rome’s ‘Flowers From Exile’ album. I listen to quite a lot of different stuff; currently mostly traditional metal, folk, outlaw country and classical music.
 
FOS: Other musicians will (hopefully) be reading this so I always ask about the gear bands use. Tell us about your musical equipment and how you achieve your sound.
 
C: Well, I’m still using basically the same equipment I have been using for the past quarter of a century. For recordings I use an Aria Pro II IGB-50 that I have had since 1992 and used on most recordings. It has an excellent sound so I record bass without an amp; I plug straight into the recorder. Other than a limiter, I don’t use any effects. For rehearsing I currently use an Ibanez SB900 and live I play a classic BC Rich Warlock. Amps differ, but I prefer to use Ampeg bass amps whenever possible.
 
FOS: As you have a solid lineup now do you plan to make touring a permanent part of Countess? How would you describe a Countess show for those unfamiliar with your live performance?
 

C: Well, we have been playing live again since 2014 but we have mostly been doing festivals since then and the odd one-off club show. Last week, we did a short tour for the first time since 1997, with Blackdeath and Barathrum. Hopefully we will be able to do some more touring in the future. We’re looking into that at the moment.

 

As for our live performance; we just go out there and play our songs to the best of our ability. We don’t have an elaborate stage show or whatever; we think a live show should be first and foremost about the music. For those interested, we have several live songs on our YouTube channel, including the full show we played at the ‘Veneration Of The Dead’ festival in 2015.
 
FOS: Final words are yours!
 
C: Thank you for the interview and keep the flame of real metal burning. Hail and kill!
Be sure to check out Countess’ YouTube channel for lots of live shows and promo videos!

Interview With Deeper Vileness (USA)


Fist Of Satan 666: Before we delve into things can you tell us what you’re currently listening to as you answer these questions?

Deeper Vileness: Camille Saent-Saens and Domenico Scarlatti. Brilliant Composers.

FOS: Let’s start at the beginning. Deeper Vileness came into being around 2012 while you were still in high school. What events or circumstances lead to the creation? Was it a need for personal expression? A reaction to circumstances?

DV: I was studying music at that time and I was also listening to many metal bands which I was discovering such as Venom and Bathory. I had originally wanted to do something along the lines of dark ambient, which is still present in the bands music. The ideas for the project were most definitely personal expression and exploring the darker side of music as a whole.

FOS: Once Deeper Vileness came into being it was a few years until the demo ‘Of Darker Realms’ was released. Can you describe the path from band creation to first release?

DV: The creation began with creating mock demo layouts, and song titles as well as an overall image of the band. I wanted to aim for a very dark and medieval type theme. I originally wanted to do a live trio but after a failed search for members locally I decided to do everything myself with the exemption of occasional session members. It took a while to put the instruments together and I had to borrow much of them. They were all very old ,thus the extremely raw sound on the first demo. My only regret is not recording while I was still at University.

FOS: In other interviews you’ve spoke of how your local scene is nothing more than people “jacking off to deathcore”. Black metal often is an expression of a musician’s emotions, philosophies, and beliefs. These are not generally things associated with a scene. Was a scene even necessary in the band’s formative years or was the lack of support just fuel for the fire?

DV: No a scene was never necessary,  I’ve had people message me from Austria and Romania that found the band’s demos at underground shows. My commentary in that interview was very tongue in cheek and was something of an inside  joke. I do not care for other people’s projects if they do not interest me.

FOS: As I write this I am listening to the ‘Dark Crypt Necromancy’ demo. Unlike a lot of black metal which often blends into the background your music constantly claws at the listener. Forcing itself to the forefront.

An unleashing of raw emotion seems to take precedence over more traditional song structure. Is this a conscious act on your part when writing music?

DV: It was indeed a conscious act for this release. I only compose while alone and often at night. The theme for the demo had to do with necromancy which is a very chaotic form of magick. Thus the sound was created to be chaotic.

FOS: Black metal, raw black metal especially, can be incredibly personal to the creator. Often the creators shroud themselves in an enigma with pseudonyms and mystery, creating a separation between the art and the person.

It seems you haven’t taken the traditional path and are more directly connected with music. Is there a place where Deeper Vileness ends and Kadesh begins? Or are Deeper Vileness and Kadesh one in the same?

DV: What others try to create an image of I already am. Some would try to present themselves in a certain way, I make my fantasies reality. I have no need to pretend.

FOS: On all your releases you go from ambient keyboards straight into raw black metal noise and then back again. It’s a constant shifting of gears from lulling the listener with a medieval dungeon like atmosphere to an unleashing of raw emotion.

Why do these styles work together for you? Why not make an entire dungeonsyth album and a separate raw black metal album?

DV: There will be less ambient and keyboard tracks on the next releases. There will be more of layers and breaks of keyboards in the song structure. As for making separate albums I would never call myself dungeon synth ,  I was making keyboard tracks before I even knew what that genre was.

FOS: You cite GG Allin as a big influence. GG was known for his confrontational and over the top personality more than he was known for his music. Is that something you strive for with Deeper Vileness? Have such actions affected how the people around you think of you?

DV: GG allin was never an influence to me. Artists that influence me change my perspective of music. But whether certain black metal bands existed or not I would still be making dark music. I’d  define myself as an intellectual who spends time reading philosophy and composing orchestral works. My personality is over the top in many ways but none of which I consider negative. More so …eccentric. I wear all black  and drink wine while listening to classical music. And often roam about the night through ruins and forests.

FOS: Where do you see Deeper Vileness going in the future? Do you have more plans for the journey rather than the destination?

DV: Well I definitely see the band gathering a following and releasing more intricate pieces of music. I have many plans, a destination is comfort and comfort breeds loss of ambition.

FOS: What else influences you to create? Do you have other creative outlets besides Deeper Vileness?

DV: It is pure artistic passion that befalls me. Once I have an idea I become obsessed with working on it.

I have many creative outlets. I’m working on literature, orchestral music, ambient music, art, and film at the moment. I hope to see much of it reach the public soon.

FOS: Final words are yours!

DV: It would please me to have any fans of the band look into my many other projects. There are related links on all my online pages. Come and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones… you…are ..Invited!

Hails and thanks to Deeper Vileness for this interview. Their demos are on constant rotation so I enjoyed delving deeper into the Deeper Vileness mythos.

Check them out at:

https://deepervileness.bandcamp.com/

Interview With Selbst (Venezuela/Chile)

Fist Of Satan:  In preparation for this interview I scoured the internet for clues as to who or what SELBST is and I came up with very little. Can you talk a bit about what lead to formation of SELBST?

SELBST: Well, SELBST started somewhere between 2009 – 2010 as a full band, but it became a recording project in 2010, when I started to recording the first demo “Veritas Filia Temporis”. It was formed by “Frozen” on vocals and me, “N” on guitars, bass and lyrics.
Recently Frozen quit the band, so now I’m finishing the first full length recordings with a new vocalist and I have some new plans…

FOS: 2011 saw the release of the two track demo ‘Veritas Filia Temporis’ (Which translates to “Truth, Daughter of Time” if I am not mistaken). Were the songs something that were inside you and creating SELBST was the only way to expose them to the world? Or did the formation of SELBST come first?

S: I think I start Selbst with those two songs…That was the change, the moment when I realize that It won’t work as a full band, when it becomes more personal…

FOS: It’s often said that art is never finished but is just abandoned. Since it’s beginning SELBST has not released very many songs.
Are there reasons for such a limited musical output? Or are the vaults full of unreleased tracks?

S: This has been for many reasons, since I finished the demo in 2010 I started working in the full length, but it was postponing until I finally had the willingness (and conditions) to work on it at once I left my native country, Venezuela. Now I am in the final stage of recordings (only waiting for vocals) and It’s now announced the release of the first full length album to May 2017!
I think the best is what happens finally…

FOS: How do you create your music? Do start with lyrics? Or do riffs come first?

S: I think in general I am messy, I have no methodology to compose, I prefer let things flow…So sometimes lyrics came first, and sometimes the riffs, or whatever… I am more orderly and determined at the time of recording.

FOS: Regarding the actual recording, can you talk about your instruments and the recording process? There are a lot of aspiring musicians and gear-heads who would love to know.

S: Well, I work with a really simple gear, my laptop and a very simple audio interface. Nothing special to be mentioned…

FOS: What influences your art? Are you influenced by external forces such as the violence and corruption in your home country? Or do your influences mainly come from internal places?

S: At first I was more influenced by the shit that we lives in my country, I think that affected me as an individual. Right now I can look more inside me, I have less shit distracting me or something, so I can digging in my personal miseries and that was reflected in the EP and it will also be reflected in the full length…

FOS: It’s been over six years since SELBST began. Does it occupy the same role in your life as it did at the beginning?

S: It has always been a priority for me, but I think it takes a lot more of my time now. At the end one should devote himself to mundane things, but I have this always on my mind. Suffocating me somehow…

FOS: What is it like being a black metal band in Venezuela? Are you part of a scene or do you tend to keep to yourself?

S: Over time, I began to be present in the “scene”, but in a discreet way. I follow certain bands, I acquire their material and have contact with some members of whom are, in my opinion, remarkables. But I think I’m not too involved in this little shitty world…

FOS: What are the bands’ aspirations. Where would you like to be in the next couple of years?

S: I have no idea, maybe dead…

FOS: Artists are often not limited to mediums. Do you express yourself in ways other than black metal? Painting? Poetry? Etc.

S: Not for the moment.

FOS: What music have you been listening to lately? What books are you reading?

S: I’ve been listening to little black metal and metal in general because of the recordings and composition of the album, so I prefer to not contaminate me too much. So I’ve been listening to something from King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, In Solitude, Subrosa, and the last Secrets of the Moon album, to name a few. About books, I’ve been a bit lazy to read lately, the last I read was 1984, by Orwell.

FOS: Your latest EP ‘An Ominous Landscape’ was released by Sun & Moon Records of Romania. How did that alliance begin and was it beneficial to both parties?

S: They knew me for a demo I sent to them in 2012, if I’m not mistaken. Since then we have been in contact until the label that would releases my EP close, and I started looking for a label again.
And it has been excellent to work with them, their people very committed and have given me a lot of freedom. No complaints.

FOS: Final words are yours!

S: The first full length will be ready in May 2017 by Sun & Moon Records!

Thanks for your interest in Selbst!

Hails and Thanks to SELBST for doing this interview!

SELBST – “Selbst” will be one of the best and most interesting albums in black metal in 2017, no big words here, no pretentious wisdom, only the truth, mark our words!

A must for everyone devoted to Black Metal Art.

Interview With Croc Noir (France)

Fist Of Satan: As always I try to do my homework on a band before conducting an interview. It seems like in a short time Croc Noir has received a lot of positive buzz.
‘Resounding Footsteps’ said “Froid and Croc Noir is a breath of fresh air (metaphorically) in a scene that’s been chocked with pretenders and clones.”
When you finished recording your debut “Froid” did you think “Yes, we’ve done something very good!”?

Croc Noir: As a matter of fact, we didn’t really think about it. This EP came together quite naturally. We mostly tried to make something that we would enjoy, not imagining getting positive feedback.

Our first goal wasn’t to get known, but to create a Black Metal fitting us. One we would want to listen to without necessarily sharing it.

However, people liked it and this is surely encouraging for what is next.

FOS: Let’s take a step back and talk about the band name. As a Canadian we have to take French classes in high school. For me that was over 25 years ago! I know enough that ‘noir’ means ‘black’ and ‘froid’ means cold. ‘Croc’ is lost on me.
Can you explain the meaning behind the name ‘Croc Noir’?

CN: ‘Croc’ is the sharp tooth of a carnivorous beast (fang). It is what we see in our music, somehow.

A wild nature feeding on blood and flesh. We wanted to illustrate the opposite of White Fang, a figure representing the kind, soft and friendly side of nature.

Croc Noir is its hostile, wild, strong and frightening side.

The very nature that cannot stand to be brutalised by mankind anymore, and that is waiting for the right moment to wake up, revolt and take back what’s its.

FOS: Croc Noir as a band came together rather quickly (created in July 2016) with a tape being released a mere four months later. Often when new bands release material so quickly the quality can be fairly low. This is not the case with Froid.
It’s seem there was a ‘raison d’être’ for both Croc Noir and Froid that let you move so quickly.

What happened in four months that resulted in such a great album?

CN: Our EP was out quite quickly because it consists of many riffs that Morgue had already composed. Those were made in a rather dark period of his life (the passing of his father and other things). He felt in need of a release, the kind that airing them would satisfy.
Geist had also been writing for a long time and he wanted his texts to take shape in black metal compositions.

Morgue’s riffs and Geist’s texts being perfect matchs, the first songs came together very quickly.

Croc Noir is a self-created entity. Everything appeared fast, naturally, as if it couldn’t be otherwise. It is difficult to give a rational explanation to that sort of meeting. Such an connection of artistic nature happening between individuals is fairly rare.

The result of all this is felt on Froid. It sounds simple but true. Somewhat like the feeling of old Isengard albums.

FOS: Whether it’s music, painting or sculpting most artists agree that “Art is never complete it’s only abandoned.”. Would you say this applies to ‘Froid’?

CN: Good saying! In fact, Froid is only a first step. Croc Noir is very far from having become its true self. We need to see the whole thing as an eternal path with an unknown destination. Future Eps will be nothing but the metamorphosis of Froid, as if Croc Noir had its own free will.

FOS: You’ve told me that ‘Croc Noir’ was born when the band members met at The Ragnard Rock Festival 2016. Had you known (or known of) each other before? What was the spark that said “Let’s form a band”?

CN: Abyss is in fact the cousin of Morgue, and Geist is a friend of Abyss. It is the meeting between Geist and Morgue at the Ragnard Rock Festival 2016, by Abyss’ intermediary, that gave birth to the band.

As a point of interest, we were so astonished by the performance of Monarque that we swore to ourselves to do something together. And we did, despite the high level of alcohol in our blood!

FOS: Very little is known about the band members (Morgue, Geist, and Abyss). Is this intentional or can you talk more about other bands the members are part of?

CN: It was initialy intentional. We like the mysterious feel of bands like Mgla and Batushka, that hide their faces during concerts. We think that only art matters and not the humans standing behind. As said earlier, Croc Noir is living its own independent life.

As real passionates we wanted to make music, not be recognised for it.

Concerning Morgue, he has been part of a few metal bands in Alsace. He played as a second guitarist in Sacred Hate (Deathcore), participating in concerts in order to promote the Innocent Dead Child EP released in 2007.

Concerning Abyss, Croc Noir is its first band. He is nevertheless a passionate of Black Metal and has been for years. Without him, Croc Noir would not be.

Concerning Geist, he took part to musical improvisations in pagan reunions and worked on a few projects between folk, doom and ambient without bringing them to fruition. Croc Noir is his first serious formation, where he is fulfilled by singing, what he had been aspiring for a long time.

FOS: France and Quebec, Canada seem to be spawning a high number of very good black metal (and other extreme metal) bands. Is there something about the French language or culture that gives you something special to take black metal to a different place?

CN: We are great lovers of the Metal Noir Québecois scene, and we find the use of french in music interesting as well as appropriate. We see too many french bands singing in english and forgetting their roots. The idea was indeed to pay homage to our tongue and culture.

When you listen to Drudkh or Kroda, you expect to hear ukrainian and not english. It’s similar for Croc Noir. You expect a french group to sing in french. Otherwise, you should better listen to american black metal (which is by the way a very good scene).

Plus, it was obvious to us that it was worthier to write interesting french texts rather than mediocre english ones.

FOS: Many black metal bands are secretive or solitary by choice. But many seek to spread their word to as many people as possible. Croc Noir is very active online (Twitter, Facebook, Bandcamp, etc.).

What are your thoughts on bands who strive to be as enigmatic and secretive as possible?

CN: Everyone is free to do what he wants and convey the image he desires! We find the secretive aura of Batushka quite cool. They can allow themselves this as we all know there are very talented musicians involved, eh! However, we still have the feeling to control our image on those networks.

We are indeed quite active on the social networks because we wanted to support and promote the underground! There are many unsung bands of great quality that deserves more praise!

We think especially of our friends from Mort Aux Gueux, Some Happy Thoughts, Ifernach and Melancholia.

Not forgetting the black metal broadcast Infernal Obliteration that offers its listeners quality content!

FOS: Other musicians will (hopefully) be reading this so I always ask about the gear bands use. Tell us about your musical equipment and how you achieve your sound.

CN: The singing is recorded thanks to an basic old ribbon mic in order to get a sound a bit rough. The mixing console is a basic Behringer.

Concerning the guitars, Morgue is playing on a LTD EC1000 BLACK VINTAGE with a Peavey Bandit 112 amplifier. But for the EP guitar recording, he used instead a virtual ampli in order to get a sound close to one of a recording studio.

The bass guitar is a Harley Benton.

We also used drums, a jew’s harp and a piano for both intro and outro.

FOS: ‘Froid’ is a very well recorded (in the context of black metal) so it’s clear someone knew what they were doing. What were the recording sessions like?

CN: Thank you for the compliment! Every aspect of the recording is home made. Geist recorded the singing and the folk instruments individually and provided the tracks to Morgue.
It is Morgue that handled guitars, bass, battery and piano. He also took care of the mixing of the tracks and of the EP mastering. Everything was made with a Behringer sound card and a lot of open source softwares like Ardour, Guitarix and LMMS. He is an informatic developer, which quite helps!

On this EP, Abyss provided the writing of some texts. He will handle the bass full time for the EPs to come, as well as continuing writing, along with Geist.

FOS: Getting back to how quickly Croc Noir progressed ‘Froid’ was released on Canadian label Corde Raide Productions. Did you have a relationship with them before Croc Noir? How did they come to hear about Croc Noir?

CN: Not at all, we didn’t know each other! Actually, François from Corde Raide Productions found us by chance thanks to twitter. He enjoyed our work, contacted us and we immediately sympathised. We quickly came to the conclusion that we were on the same page and shared a vision of what black metal should be. Thanks to him for having found us!

FOS: There has been a huge resurgence of labels and bands releasing on cassette. Why do you think that is? It’s quite the step away from Spotify, iTunes, etc.

CN: We are essentially witnessing the death of the CD format. What is the point of buying a CD when you can access the music online?

For those who still desire to buy an interesting object, there are vinyls and cassettes. Those two formats are able to bring a particuliar sound to an album. The resulting sound is completely different from cd or mp3.

Listening to Froid on cassette doesn’t feel the same at all compared to mp3. It is way more raw, cold and dark.

FOS: Your musical influences are quite clear (Darkthrone, Drudkh, etc.) but what influences you outside of other music? Books? Nature? Movies?

CN: The texts of Geist are greatly influenced by the nature he strided across days and nights since he was a child. He sees them as a tribute to her. We also agreed on our misanthropy and our common tastes.

In addition, we are admirers of authors like Lovecraft or Bram Stoker, as well as horror films of any kind. That can explain some ambiances of the EP.

FOS: What are the plans for Croc Noir in 2017? Live shows? Another album?

Surprise! There are many things planned, but we don’t want to reveal it all for now, sorry!

FOS Final words are yours!

CN: We brought a monster into the world. Croc Noir is thirsty for blood and tears. Its insatiable hunger will last until the end of times! The beast is still num from its brutal awakening. It teared up its chrysalis in its immemorial rage and shall spread across the world like a wolf pack. Nothing will be able to stop it.

Anyway, thank you very much for this constructive and interesting interview!

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Big thanks for Croc Noir for agreeing to do this interview!

Follow them across the internet:

Bandcamp: https://crocnoir.bandcamp.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Croc-Noir-1872846042935020

Jamendo: https://www.jamendo.com/album/163309/froid

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Croc_Noir

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8ri6nQtinWuRpbDIA3l81Q