Aosoth is one of the bands I personally followed, as well as Antaeus, in the past. I was glad to share some words with Magus Kaiser Munkir (aka “MkM”) — the singer of the band — a person which to me seems pretty much grounded to the reality of the musical “scene,” if that word can still maintain an appropriate meaning today. I personally appreciated the bold criticism MkM often leaves reading his interviews etc. I thought it would be interesting to discover, a bit, the reasons and motivations of this criticism from such an opinionated man. Please . . . just forgive my lengthy questions . . .
I have listened to Ashes of Angels, and I have noticed dissonant elements. The album is a bit more slowly paced and has a very heavy sound due to a fairly good production. The good vibe is there, and I think this is more important than being tagged strictly “Black Metal.” Do you agree? Also, the different approach you had on vocals for this latest album — has it boosted you to discover new vocal experimentations and/or territories for future recordings?
Not really new vocals for me. I’ve been in all kind of bands since 90/91. The only thing that differs is the recording process. (The) most noticeable change for me is to record at Bst’s studio and thus being able to record when I want, be it one in the morning or whenever he has free time. Indeed, Ashes of Angels is way more dissonant. (The) first album was a recording meant for live performance. (The) second album was more personal, and the third chapter will be again something different.
Problems of line-up and delays have always plagued the underground and always will. When it comes to your experience, what is the best way to overcome that? Intuition, foresight, (an) understanding of who really is into the music — attitude and genuine dedication, I have noticed, is extremely hard to find. Do you think it will become worse in the future, in the metal musical background? I see more often one man project bands, duos, and collaborations with live session members, etc. (The idea of a “band” is practically gone).Your opinion?
Genuine dedication nowadays is nearly impossible to find; having a full line up with individuals all sharing the same beliefs tends to be impossible — thus, the notion of having individuals just being session musicians and not being part in the composition nor anything else. Lyrics & image-wise: I always made it clear that I would handle (it) all and not get any outside impact. Apart from me requesting lyrical contribution from individuals I respect, such as Arioch of Funeral Mist, Drakh from Katharsis, Conscicide of Bhaobhan Sidhe — Bestial Summoning . . . or more recently Amduscias of Temple of Baal. Music-wise: Bst and S.(Antaeus) had the same kind of behaviour when it comes to composing: they do 90% of the work and the others are just there to slow things down in the end . . . nothing good ever came out (of) collaboration with other individuals, who were band members. No wonder it took us 3 years minimum just to come up with 30/35 minutes of music. The more individuals are involved, the slower the work is. And of course, getting to keep a line up for some years and just facing shitty situations: that never helps. Weirdly enough, musicians do keep on saying: “I will never do it for money.” Yet, they don’t seem to understand that they will have to spend A LOT and never make it even if you perform a gig: expect to loose hundreds, or thousands. . . . You get to see the motivation killed pretty fast. The current situation with Aosoth is fine: Bst for the music, myself for the lyrics/visuals, Inr for the permanent bass position. Since we will not perform live much more at all in the future, (there’s) no need for others.
I haven’t listened to your latest Angels Falling Down (7″ split) yet. How does it sound, this new recording of that song?
I have to say that putting out 7″s, split-EPs, vinyl versions of CDs etc., undoubtedly keeps alive the interest on a band.
I can’t keep up pace with the tons of releases from all the bands, and I always have, neurotically, a lack of time. Do you (and Aosoth) consider relevant and important some time and space between each production, so the music can be carefully listened to and enjoyed. Or do you think this fast pace can turn into chasing some sort of attention, where is the balance?
That EP has been rerecorded, since it was meant to be out in late-2009. But as usual, with underground labels, you always have problems occurring.This format is my fave: vinyl and split-EP, especially. We are not an over productive band either, always would think of amount of tracks composed per year or so. I’ll come back on this later on in the interview anyway. But having to compose and record 30/40 minutes per year isn’t that much of productivity. The main releases being the albums, anything on the side is usually for the more diehard or those like me more interested in split-EPs. If you take in consideration that from the time a recording is done and the CD or vinyl is out, there could be a six month time up to years of wait(ing) — it’s more than enough. Nowadays, with the Internet generation, an album is already “old” after six months. In the past, when most media would be fanzines, a release could last years — the time (it took) to reach people out there. Now all is like junk food, and depending on if you’re an active live band or not, the life on a recording is rather short. The split-EP format is rather different for me, limited in its pressing, mostly focusing on individuals who are still giving more attention to vinyl than having the mp3 right away . . . just a different approach to this.
What songs do you like the most from the album Angels Falling Down?
From Ashes of Angels:
Banished for its Antaeus-like violent aura and insanity.
Path of Twisted Light, for its content, and how I felt through the recording of that track.
Cries out of Heaven — most likely the track which took its real dimension when performed on stage: hypnotic and sinister.
Honestly, I feel intrigued by more complex musical structures: weird disharmony with dark-grim vibes. Is Aosoth going musically toward that direction do you think?
There is no “talk” about which direction to take. One thing is for sure yet: this next album has not been composed in view to be performed live, just like many of the tracks on the second album (also due to our live structure being down to one guitar player only). An obvious difference can be perceived within each Aosoth release so far, from the split with Antaeus in 2002 up to the Chants III Violence & Variations. I am not myself too keen on the “complex” musical structures apart from a few selected bands. Most of the time it ends up in a demonstration and nothing else. Only DSO so far would provide both interesting and elaborated song structures with an intense aura.
There are so-called “rare” discs, vinyl, CDs on ebay that cost a fortune. Many people out there seem to like this market a lot; but when it comes to truly support a band, for example, going to a live show, then very few individuals show up . . . what the heck is going on? Has the mere object (disc, vinyl, etc.) completely replaced, as the main priority, the feeling and vibe of an artist’s live performance, or basically there is a lot of hypocrisy instead of support?
Some individuals just do speculations on some releases. You have no idea on how many people would contact me for older releases I would have done with Spikekult or Antaeus and try to get them for cheap and then sell them on ebay. Did do the mistake a few times, selling items for the normal price or even giving some for free and seeing them being sold for 50 euros (there)after. But very few releases can be sold for that much. Most of the demos, EPs (and) vinyl are usually sold for less. It has always been the same. But what is “hype” one day will be forgotten the day after. There used to be a very strong hype for Judas Iscariot for instance and some Nargaroth items; this did really fade away (over) the last (few) years.
And to come back to those individuals being collectors for the sake of the “value” of the items and not their content: they wouldn’t care about live performances, since there is nothing to “sell” from them afterwards. Plus, they can say they did attend while just having watching some online videos.
What bands or music do you listen apart from black metal? Do you find from dark/noise ambient or even hard core punk something interesting that Black Metal could make its own?
Barely listen to music the past years, having been involved too much made me sick out of this world. Having been around individuals from tour manager to label owners to editors from mags anything . . . got sick of all that. Never did hide my interest for power electronics and dark folk since long: Whitehouse, Genocide Organ, early der Blutharsch, Karjalan Sissit, Sophia, les Joyaux de la Princesse, Derniere Volonté — you can even hear those in the sonic landscapes we used on some Aosoth recordings, and all earlier Antaeus albums. Very much in the work of Diamanda Galas as well. HxC- wise, not interested in the “social” message most of those bands carry. But acts like Kickback, from France, their latest album is pure SICKNESS and violence. in the most sludge postrock scene, any band related to the Church of RA got my interest: their book, the work on all images, the sounds, the videos: really interesting. AmenRa being the highlight. And in the more mainstream kind, often having an ear to female singers/pianists (Tori Amos, Amanda Palmer, Diamanda Galas, Fiona Apple). . . .
Any future plans for Aosoth at the moment?
Performing in Finland, in February (most likely with Sargeist/Horna, if I recall correctly), having the third full length out. This is more than enough for now. I guess that shall keep us busy for months; maybe another split vinyl release.
I noticed the artwork on both albums is quite minimalistic and sober. I think the packaging art and graphics are very important on representing the musicians/band. Did you manage that aspect personally?
Simple reason, it’s even getting more & more minimalistic. The final album (next) will even be more obvious. Example: first LP is regular black wax, second is on white vinyl, third will be transparent vinyl. Yes, as always, (I) am handling anything related to the visual of the bands, be it Antaeus or Aosoth. We spent a lot of work on the Blood Libels release we did on Norma Evangelium Diaboli in 2006. Of course, 90% of the individuals, who did get the LP or digi, never paid attention to anything done there. Only a few would take the time to notice what has been done.
How do you see visual media (video, etc.) integrating with a band’s live performance?
Thought of that, but it has to be unique in its content and the work well released. (I’m) bored with amateurish work and lame art stolen here and there. The work Hell Militia did on the tour was totally worth it. No need to have on a tour many bands having such visual enhancing background. Also, you need to be performing in a specific venue to be able to have that used. Most of the time, we would perform in places where there would be no “stage” — no monitors and barely enough room for four people, so we’re not the type of band which could use such things.
Anything you want to add here?
All hails to those sick individuals still being involved within the extreme scene & FUKKOFF to the rest.