In celebration of the new Full Length from A Transylvanian Funeral, Forbidden Magazine, along with help from Within the Black Abyss, presents, for a limited time, the entire album…’the Outsider’. Comment and get in touch to get your hand numbered copy. Two Covers of the CD are available and a Pro Tape Version is scheduled for next month…
Death Hails to All!
Following my review of ATF’s forthcoming second full-length “The Outsider,” I caught up with mastermind Sleepwalker for a few words…
What is the history of ATF, and what inspired you to start the project?
The history of A Transylvanian Funeral is rather simple as to how or why it came into being. Sojourner and I were sitting around and he was playing the rhythm guitar part that would eventually become our first song, ‘Asmoday Unbound’. I heard a melody in the chord progression and heard the deathblast drums all in my head. From there we moved forward with a full scale attack! The inspiration was drawn from years and years of interest of listening to extreme music and having an interest in the occult. Sojourner’s stance towards ATF became rather casual over time, although he is greatly responsible for turning me on to a lot of great bands…Sodom, Limbonic Art, Burzum…
Prior to the forthcoming album you have released two splits and a full length, what kind of reception have you enjoyed thus far?
The reception for the S/T debut was amazing…I released it in March of 2009 and they were sold out 3 months later. I got a lot of support from some great people, The Legion of Tchort, Svartgalgh Records, Frozen Darkness/Satan’s Sadist…the recent split with Funeral Winterdust was delayed by 5 or 6 months and I had dismissed it by the time I got my copies…There were only 50 copies of it made and the songs I contributed are exclusive to that release…The split with Black Torment was supposedly released in 500 copies but I got a message from Black Torment this week asking about their promised copies…apparently the label, Thorn Laceration Records, didn’t do what they were supposed to do…I only got 60 covers in the mail and had to make my own tapes, which are fucking red not black, by the way…The dude who runs the label approached me about a release and I chose Black Torment to do the split…I was thrilled to share the release with them…I hope to re-release it someday…
“The Outsider” is a concept album of sorts..was that intended or did you find that it just evolved that way naturally?
It was a natural evolution, I suppose…I had wanted to write a song called ‘the Outsider’ for a while. There are a lot of artists who draw inspiration from Lovecraft’s Cthluhu mythos, which is fine, but I was never interested in doing so…the story ‘the Outsider’ always had a profound effect on me everytime I read it and as I finished the album, I noticed that the songs, in one perspective or another, have a similiar theme…an underlying current, if you will. The title track was the last song to be written and it all fit into place when it was done…it is basically a story of past lives, a soul’s search for meaning and the epiphanies that we experience that cause shifts in our paradigms. The last thing I wanted to do was a self indulgent, ego stroking follow up to my debut…I don’t really think of it like that but I won’t be suprised if others do…The album is just as more about existentialism than it is me personally.
How did you find the songwriting process for “T.O”? Did it flow smoothly or were there times when inspiration was hard to come by?
There was never a problem
with inspiration…writing is what I enjoy the most. The most difficult part was deciding which elements to use…deciding between a piano on the album opener ‘Syzygy’ or a guitar…shit like that. Having to condense all the material and ideas that I had and making the album the best it could be…the most difficult song to write was probably ‘Creation of My Phylactery’…which, when listening to it, is rather simple in it’s structure and is not a typical song in regards to the rest of the album. The album, if listened to in headphones, is to create an elevation in the conscious of the listener by use of beat frequencies…the beat frequencies don’t stop throughout the whole album. Inspiration is never really lacking although, much like life, it is sometimes difficult to narrow down all the possiblities.
This album seems to be an evolution, in terms of production, from the last full-length which is a lot more fucking raw..was that something you always intended or did you just find yourself with sufficient resources available at the time of “The Outsider” to make such a progression possible?
The resources were always there…I recorded, mixed and mastered all ATF material myself but it was a conscious decision to get the sounds you hear on ‘the Outsider’. The debut was written and recorded in a three month time frame…it is always my intention to have each album be different from the last in one regard or the other. There were some things I wanted to do, such as the beat frequencies, that you just can’t do with a ‘raw’ production. I would really like to make a noise album, something more bestial or raw, whatever label you want to put on it doesn’t matter…darkness and cold blood are better words to describe what I want from my work…one day I hope to put together a few musicians to actually record some of this material in a live setting and release the material…
The album incorporates a variety of different musical styles..tell me, from where do you draw your inspiration?
I like having the different styles available all on the same album…although the songs vary, I thought they all fit together pretty well, although others may disagree. I drew inspiration for ‘the Outsider’ from a lot of sources…Lovecraft, life experience, Crowley, LaVey, views from mountain tops, long walks in the snow in the dark…it is really all the same shit that inspires most people to create black metal, I suppose. The difference is how I reinterpret those feelings. It doesn’t matter that all the artists feel a certain way in the cold dark night…what matters is how they express that feeling. Musically, I have been inspired by so much different shit it is almost dismissable. I would have to say my biggest BM influences are Mayhem and Darkthrone, but again, who hasn’t said that at least once or twice?
I take it literature plays a significant part in your songwriting?
I would have to agree. Writing was my first passion…before I learned my first instrument, the keyboard, I wrote short stories ala Dungeons and Dragons. Of course, I was only 7 or 8, but my creativity and imagination were very active as a child. I have always been an avid reader and have never paid a television bill in my life…I have no use for it….no time. I would rather be reading Carl Sagan or about Ancient Egypt…reading about a new killer band. My intention is to always present lyrics that stand well on their own if I wanted to published a book of collected lyrics. I always pay attention to rhyme and rhythm in my lyrics, which is a habit I hope to break with my next release…I am starting to feel a little restrained by my own style…
With the imminent release of “The Outsider”, do you have any other immediate plans, and what do you foresee the future holding for A Transylvanian Funeral?
I can’t wait to start writing another album! I am usually pretty burned out on the songs by the time I am doing interviews for them…BUT…I still love what I do. I will be releasing ‘the Outsider’ on CD in a DVD case with two different covers, 50 copies each….all hand numbered…there will also be a cassette version soon but I am releasing Forbidden Magazine Issue One this month as well so it may have to wait another month for the Pro Tape version…it will be worth waiting for, however! The future of ATF involves more releases, possibly another split, released by Forbidden Records…I would love to find a drummer to work with but I am very selective on who I work with…very few people that can actually play well have the capacity to dedicate themselves to a project of this nature…either way, this is only the beginning. Definitely another release within a year from now…
Aside from ATF, you also run Forbidden Records and Forbidden Magazine..how are you finding those endeavours going?
Forbidden Records is something I just started and am talking with a few bands about releasing their material…things are moving slow right now since I am still only one man doing the work of five. Forbidden Magazine is killing everything in sight, my contributors are amazing and I couldn’t do it without them! Issue One is the first official printed edition and will be unleashed in 100 copies with 72 pages and a FREE 72 minute compilation CD…since the zine is still less than 6 months old, I have to say it has made major progress…the website is very active but is only one avenue of promotion that bands will find themselves in…the printed zine will never fucking die!
Do you enjoy all the work?
It is a lot of work but if I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it. I get to spend my time doing something I love and if someone isn’t willing to do that then they should fuck off…I get a
lot of people who say they want to write for the zine or whatever and when I set them up with something, they stop returning emails…really? Fuck off…talk is cheap…’thanks for the support’!? You have to work for what you want in life…if you are waiting for someone else to make shit happen for you or your band, you should really get a fucking clue!
My thanks for the interview, any last words?
Thank you, Brother! ‘the Outsider’ will be available at the end of July! Visit ATF online atwww.atransylvanianfuneral.com and be sure to check out www.forbidden-magazine.comBands and labels should get in touch for honest promotion!!! Crush the souls of the non-believers!