First of all, (I) want to thank Sathor for giving me the opportunity to make this interview.
On the Khepra MySpace there is written “North Black Italy.” What does this mean, and does it distinguish yourself from the south of Italy, or does it have any other particular meaning?
Absolutely not! There is no distinction between northern and southern Italy for me. Think that my parents are from southern Italy. I put “Black North Italy” just because it sounded good to my ears and that’s the only reason why.
Please, forgive me this very obnoxious question, but, give us a brief story of the band, especially pointing out the choice of your style and approach to this kind of genuine Black Metal.
The band was formed back in 1994. The goal was to play Black Metal, pure and simple, the way we like, as you said “no frills.” (We) have never liked to play music too technical for us; it has always been important (to us) to create music of great impact. When the demo came out, somebody called (it) “monotonous,” but for us it was fine. We play what we like best, and always will!
Why do you think there is no determination in many musicians, and why do you think they quit the band when things become hard? Is it a matter of a hostile social-life environment ? Is it a lack of motivation? Or something else?
In my case, the lead guitarist (Shadow) left the band for one and only reason: he got tired of playing BM, and started listening to dance music, going to raves . . . etc. As a result, he had nothing left to give the band, and in (his) place came Arioch. (Arioch) has given so much to the band, was a true follower of BM; but, unfortunately, his father forced him to choose between studying and playing (music). We understood his choice, and now (he) is a guy with two degrees. I’m happy for him. After he arrived, Alastor, a magnificent guitarist, with whom we recorded the record, left the band for personal reasons.
Do you write most of the songs?
Not playing guitar, I compose very little. When we compose songs, I try to vary with changes of tempo and speed. I try to give advice not to make the songs boring, then everything else will follow automatically!
Do you think there is a genuine italian occult current that muscially can be identified nowdays, or do we still have to refer to the same old names: Death-ss, Mortuary Drape, Altar of Perversion, Necromass, etc., etc . . . (yawn!!!)
The bands you mentioned are icons of Italian extreme metal, but there were others: see the Dungeon, Brisen, Evol, Handful of Hate (old), Necrodeath (old !!!), Mistycal Fullmoon . . . There are many bands in Italy, perhaps too many. There are good bands and bands that are not, to me in particular, (really that good) . . . Deathrow, True Endless, Athanor, Speculum Mortis, Ars Macabra, Spectral Forest, these bands play the best Black Metal in Italy, from my point of view!
I found that isolation and seclusion from the outside environment is a great help to creativity. In the case of Italy, do you agree, or there is a genuine Black Metal misanthropic philosophy?
For me to compose good music alone is enough conviction — without this, you cannot do anything . . . imagination, creativity — composing riffs without being repetitive — is not easy, (as) you know very well. Maybe, sometimes, I try to overdo it, and sometimes you don’t express yourself as you should (and you) end up playing things that do not belong to you. The right music that you make . . . it gives you emotions, you feel it inside.
Why and how did you sign with Schwarzton Records?
I contacted them through MySpace. They gave me the opportunity to sign for a disc and I accepted. The only thing is that they only printed 100 copies, but that’s okay. I’ll take this opportunity to thank them anyway!
Why did it take so long between the release of your demo EP and the latest full length? Is that natural when there is a lack of support from labels and people in the underground?
The album was ready for a long time. An Italian label (I do not make any names) financed the recording of the album because he wanted to produce it at all costs . . . but it was not so. (Since) then, this label has disappeared, and has not done (any)thing more. It kept us on hold for a long time!
Tell us, how did you end up doing a split with Vedar Gal and Al-Azif — both from Costa Rica? Quite the unusual combination . . .
I was contacted by the Serpent God Records. They proposed this split tape with Vedar Gal and Al-Azif. The idea of collaborating with other bands of the continent has fascinated me, and so I accepted. The only thing that disappointed me is that I do not have a copy of the split tape. I only have the CD-R with the covers!
Do Khephra bring any particular subject in their lyrics that stigmatize topics or themes that can be considered of relevance in Black Metal?
The texts about dark subjects, morbid thoughts, violence, and all that shit around us!
Does the Khepra attitude continue when the music stops, and how?
Khephra will always and only just!
Do you have any extra-musical influences that you want to bring to our knowledge? Are you interested in any other forms of cultural expression ?
Personally, I’ve always liked thrash metal, heavy metal (Judas Priest, Accept, W.A.S.P., Ozzy Osbourne, etc.) Outside the metal: Devil Dolls, Mother of Vice, Slaughter Natives . . . however, thrash metal influenced Khephra quite a lot in composition. I prefer the black metal from the early 90’s: Dark Throne (old), Immortal (old), Marduk(old) Satyricon (old), Burzum (first 3 lp) The Black, Thy Serpent, Carpathian Forest (old), etc.
What’s your actual line-up, and how are you proceeding for the new session’s recording?
The line-up is not yet defined. The compositions of the songs are still on the making.
I’m currently working with two members of Speculum Mortis (Saliga and Lord of Pestilence). We have four songs. We hope to record later this year.
Thank you for the interview and your interest. A great greeting to you, Sathor of Ars Macabra.