When it comes to Sweden and Swedish sound, (if you allow me this boring cliché)
it is impossible that the band Setherial doesn’t come to my mind.
The massive sound’s production and the blast beats
have always been two uppermost ingredients of their Black Metal formula.
Deeply plunged in the scene since 1993, I noticed a strong determination in Setherial: sticking with their aggressive sound and style and feeling confident with their own musical territory.
This can be seen as both playing it safe as well as improving and building upon technical skills etc., but…is black metal only that?
Such topics I always wanted to expand upon, now I have the opportunity…..
All right! Behind your latest album title there are meanings that can be correlated to big cultural themes ranging from Hellenistic-philosophy to cosmology…how did you come out with talking about those issues and what are your considerations about? Even if such topics can or cannot be fully understood from your potential audience, are you aware that to deepen such arguments can go way beyond a lyric text and a music contest?
Infaustus – All of us in Setherial read a lot of books/watch documentaries regarding all sorts of different matters. When we started to work on “Ekpyrosis” we decided to go with this lyrical theme since it fit with the overall atmosphere we were looking for. We never really thought about what the listener would think or how they would interpret the lyrics. We record music and write lyrics that we want to experience.
I noticed that lately in the music scene there are more and more spot collaborations, appearances, and musical guests from all over, the producing rate of a new record has been really shortened, and labels hardly sign a band for more than a record deal. Do you think is a plus for the quality of the overall music and/or it’s an inescapable sign of the times?
Infaustus – I think the scene looks more or less the same as it has done the last 15 years. There have always been collaborations, some bands records/releases multiple albums each year and some don’t, some labels signs only for one album and some signs for 5-6 albums, nothing new under the sun really. The quantity and quality has changed though. 10-15 years ago there were a lot of mediocre bands but if you compare to the scene today the vast amount of pointless and utter crap that is released every day is breathtaking. People seem to think that releasing an album is a human right when it’s not. It is almost impossible not to get signed if you play black metal today due to all the small labels that only seem to release stuff to boost their own ego instead of actually contribute to the scene.
Do you perform many concerts in your country? If so, don’t you think there is some inflation of black metal bands in your homeland that in the end the offer is greater than the demand?
Infaustus – We don’t perform much at all in Sweden. None of the Swedish bands do, actually. There are a lot of bands but the audience is lacking. It was better 15 years ago. Same thing is happening in most countries in Europe. There are too many shows every week so people get uninterested due to the oversaturation of the market. Most of them seem to prefer going to the festivals instead and I can understand that.
Do you think is it still Christianity and religion in particular the main enemy in the black metal lyric topics? If so I didn’t notice that this “battle” has been so much successful ,anyway, do you think one day black metal can overreach this sterile contraposition and express or bring more a manifold message?
Infaustus – Religion is still the main enemy but when people stopped burning churches and black metal became trendy the battle more or less stopped. Today black metal has become mainstream with thousands of bands playing it for fun instead of the right reasons. I don’t think black metal in it’s current form can be of any real threat to the bigger religions. Hopefully things will change.
During touring and playing live major drags and difficulties (poor sound systems, skilled sound-guys, unreliable promoters, etc.) are the norm. Are any of those problems often been encountered by Setherial? If so do you think this sloppiness can be only overcome by a true appreciation and enhancement of the black metal genre even at an underground level?
Infaustus – We have had our share amount of useless sound-technicians and promotors. Fortunately we often have our own sound-technician with us when we are on tour. The problem is the local soundguys who often is beyond retarded. I can fully understand that people dont want to go to shows when the sound is like a distorted waterfall. This kind of music has been around for far too long that is should be acceptable for this kind of shitty sound. I have almost stopped going to shows myself because I know that the sound will be so shitty so it is more enjoyable to sit at home and listen to the LP on the stereosystem. The real problem is the promotors and clubowners who think that they can save money when hiring a cheap, unexperienced sound-technician. In the end people stop attending to their clubs because of the bad sound.
A question I often ask…do you follow personally and take active part to the sound shaping during the record production?
Infaustus – Yes, we record, produce, mix and master our own music nowadays. We have always been involved in the recordings but since the last album we decided to do everything by ourselves. We have the equipment and we have the knowledge to do so and it is very rewarding. We don’t have to worry about time and money and that results in a better album. No stress, no musical shortcuts only total dedication to fulfill our musical vision. We also does most of the layout and our own music videos. The “do it yourself”-attitude comes from the fact that we are so tired of working with useless people. It is just a waste of time, money and energy.
Apart from the improvements and more complex song structure that I noticed during the Setherial career evolution, I was wondering if you would be afraid of taking a step even further and experiments with very different sounds and styles? If you look at some other Europeans bands especially from France they seems to explore more untouched sound/styles territories, would you be seduced and willing to take a little bit of risk musically speaking?
Infaustus – On “Ekpyrosis” we expanded our style quite much in my own opinion. It is way more complex and technical than the last albums. We wont change our style just to fit to any norm or trend though. We do our thing like we have done the last 17 years. France has spawned a lot of interesting acts the last years but I’m so fucking sick of all the clonebands that play this kind of “avantgarde” black metal just because it is the lastest trend. Satanism is about individuality but the black metal community is the largest bunch of trendy weakminded followers.
What are the band’s plans for the next future?
Infaustus – We are rehearsing with a new local drummer right now since Mysteriis is focusing on the bass nowadays. We are planning on making a new music video to support “Ekpyrosis” since our last video was so succesful. New music is also in the making and we are planning new tours. News about these matters will be presented further on. Keep your eyes open.
Infaustus – Thanks for the interest in Setherial and good luck in the future with the mag. Thank you much for your time!