One could travel through the spheres of our biological realm and succumb to the rush-rush of modernity, but an artist always has the best perspective of reality. The sciences can’t pinpoint abstract thought. Abstractness furthers our goals and brings us to a new point. For those that aren’t schooled in classical music; the Romanticist movement was when tragedy was officially introduced. It brought upon an uncertainty that perhaps life wasn’t all dainty flowers and happiness. I would like to look back to the arts and transpose it to metal, since metal is a Romanticist music genre.
One of the milestones for metal was the introduction of Death Metal, which then furthered the concepts and made the music more in tune with human negation than a bridled pop happiness that’ll be forgotten. Perhaps one could go back to the early days and see what made the innovators tick; their inspirations for pushing the boundaries. This brings me to LaSanche.
LaSanche was founded by Necrovore guitarist Bjorn Haga that has served more time playing real death and black metal than most people have heard it. Bjorn has offered some of his time to enlighten us on his exploits.
Howdy Bjorn! Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions for Forbidden Magazine. You’ve been involved with many bands, most notably Necrovore. How did you come in contact with them and what was your role? Any specific memories that you’d like to share?
Howdy? What are we, on Hee-Haw? Guess I’ll need to put on my cowboy hat, boots, and insanely gigantic belt buckle to complete this interview…. Kidding aside, Hello Ogden, thanks for sending me this interview. Looks like we start off at the beginning. I was in contact with Necrovore through my high school friend Scott Humphrey. He was the original second guitarist in Necrovore. I was in fact friends with Jon and Ross outside of music though. When Scott left Necrovore, I asked if they needed a replacement, was told to come try out and got the slot. As for specific memories with Necrovore, I was in the band for the only two shows that Necrovore did. We also recorded four songs for a second demo which never was finished as the performance on it was sub par in all aspects.
The other projects that I’ve noticed you being involved with were Thornspawn and Hod. Do you think that having such an extensive resume and experiences helped mold the concept behind LaSanche?
Yes I was in Thonspawn and Hod. In Thornspawn, I was only the bass player. I did not contribute anything more than my bass lines for the songs we either played live or that I recroded with them. Most of the time, it was just bass following the guitars with little room to incorporate my own thing. Hod was a project that Carl Snider and I developed with the express intention of trying to create metal that was different than what he had done in Thornspawn and I had done in Necrovore. For my part, I grew up essentially learning extreme metal guitar by playing in Necrovore and writing for Necrovore, so that influence will always be founding things I do, for good or bad, it is who I am. For LaSanche, I just went back to the well. I write now as if I am writing for Necrovore because this is what I love, being on the borderline between black and death metal. Not saying that I am trying to make LaSanche a Necrovore clone, because I refrain from doing certain things that Necrovore did such as milking riffs throughout a song. Not that this was bad because it definitely worked for Jon, it just isn’t me. I also make sure that the songs are their own entity and if they start one way, a certain segment will return later in the song to tie it all together.
LaSanche recently had a line-up change. Please clarify which members are in the band and their backgrounds in metal.
Right now LaSanche is: Bjorn Haga – Guitars(Necrovore,Hod,Thornspawn,Rehtaf Ruo(only for a Beherit tribute), Gnostic, Ankou; Dave Monroe – Drums(Blessed Agony, Repenascence); Derek Rivers – Bass(Hod, G.G. Allin, DSFA, Satan’s Goat); Randy Cadena – Vocals(Devoured Deception, Force of Genocide, Of Ruins)
How has your demo ‘Death Magick’ been received? Will you be recording a new demo with the new members? Are your sights set for a full-length?
Thus far, the demo seems to have a positive response We have sent out over 100 copies across the planet with requests from all over coming in daily. It is actually being professionally released on cassette via Gruft Produktions of Poland, which will feature a new song written and recorded specifically for the release. I do not feel that a second demo is necessary. I would rather spend the money and go into a studio and record a full length.
LaSanche has been gaining recognition for live performances. Is bringing aggression to the live atmosphere important to the band?
Of course bringing aggression to live performances is necessary in this type of music. Would anyone want to go to a metal show only to have a bunch of shoe gazers performing? I sure as hell wouldn’t. If people want to go to shows like that, don’t bother, just stay at home and listen to a recording. I grew up in an era where going to a show was a magickal experience. It was a free flow of energy between the performers and the audience. This is what we strive for in LaSanche. I don’t care if the performance is 100% perfect as it shouldn’t be, I am satisfied with all the songs starting at the same time, changes are made at the same time and the songs end all the same time(from a musicians standpoint). Any performance you go to see as an audience will be determined on how well the band is feeling that day, as well as crowd reaction to determine how any show is. Are we firing on all cylinders, is the crowd, is the venue too hot/cold, etc… All these things come into play on how energy is transferring between the performer and audience.
What are your thoughts on occultism? You describe the band as Occult Metal, but have a song entitled ‘Nihilism Supremacy’. These are two different mindsets unless one is purely on an esoteric level.
All occultism is nothing more than hidden understanding between intelligence. What I may know about certain things that you don’t are “occult” until you come to understand them. I rarely use “occultism” as a word anymore unless I am discussing certain topics with people that do not readily understand them. As for Nihilism, it is just another belief system. It is the belief in nothingness. Whether they believe that humanity is worthless, or their belief to be amoral. Personally I find those that claim to be nihilists, just people that are innate fence sitters and do not want to be held accountable for their actions. Is mankind worthless? I find humans to be incredibly interesting animals. Look at all the cool stuff mankind has invented. From the mundane(hunting and gathering and their methods), to the sciences(applied psychology, your occult sciences to astro-engineering). I wrote the lyrics of Nihilism Supremacy as a tongue in cheek way to describe my feelings towards the topic. In other words, One claims Nihilism is supreme, but it is just another religion in a vast sea of religions. Atheism is much the same. Atheism is a religion with a faith that believes in no higher intelligence. My personal belief is that there is a higher intelligence which we are all part of, though it is not complete without me, nor I it, and that all of us are part of its energy. It is creation as well as destruction and everything that happens in between. Though I would not call it God in a normal interpretation, but the god-force that is in all of us. we are all gods.
What are your hobbies outside of metal? Ever take a stroll down to the McNay museum and check out their exhibits? The fine arts have some very macabre themes. Who are your favorite artists?
Outside of metal I work on music equipment and guitars as a hobby/non-professional as yet. I also brew my own beer and mead. I also enjoy reading classical literature, and histories of European peoples. I have only been to the McNay museum once. I did not like the exhibits that were there at the time as I do not find modern abstract art, nor landscapes done in water colors interesting, and pale in comparison to what I have seen in the Louvre, art museums in New York Rome, and Greece. Those are where artwork of masters reside. Besides the art community in San Antonio tends to be rather militantly un-European, and you are treated as a piece of shit if you don’t find some locals water color painting, that is more like a wal-mart paint by numbers kit, comparable to say, Tolkein’s or that guy that brought Germany out of a depression in the mid 1930’s. Once again I point to the great European museums. As far as my personal favorite artists, I would have to say I love Gustave Dore for line art, Salvador Dali, and H.R. Giger for surrealism, The whole Flemish movement is just amazing, DaVinci is a gimme., One modern artist I find on par with what we normally call masters is Zdzislaw Beksinski. He defines what I see as dark occultist art.
So far LaSanche has only played shows in Texas. Do you have any plans for playing in other states? Tours?
As of the moment, we do not have any set plans to play out of the state. We did have something set up in Arizona, but finances killed that, and there was no economical way for us to take off work to drive out there. The state of the economy these days makes it impossible to tour for a band at our level. The United States is just too big and fuel is too expensive to do famine tours anymore. The contacts I made while in Hod have enabled us to work with bands in other parts of the country and do 3-4 day trips. Playing one or two shows then coming back. This way is more economically feasible. Doing a 10+ day tour with guarantees of less than $200/night+Per Diem and fuel at $3+/gallon with no financial backing of labels that are struggling on their own, as well as low turnouts is a non starter. The only way I would consider at this time doing a real tour is if the tour were to happen in a large market area(read Outside the US). These areas are worth sucking it up and doing famine tours. A US tour would have to be one where I came back off the tour financially in the black, or at least breaking even. Losing a job for metal is bad enough, losing it when you have a mortgage payment and insurance payments due is not being metal, it is being stupid. One can’t afford to be stupid these days.
I personally liked your vocals on the ‘Death Magick’ demo. Why did you get a new vocalist?
Sole reason. I am not a front man, never have been, never wanted to be one. When you have to take extended time to get water(I dehydrate fast on stage), tune your guitar, not to mention playing guitar and doing vocals live you have to find a happy medium between the two because you can’t contribute 100% to both. We felt it would be better to bring someone in that could give 100% to vocals, allowing me to give 100% to playing guitar(I’m not a shit hot guitarist), while allowing the space between songs on stage to have a proper pace.
Thank you again for time. Anything else that you’d like to share?
Once again thanks Ogden for the interview allowing me time to express my thoughts on topics you wanted to know about. One thing I would like to add is that all of you… Every last one of you reading this, start going to shows. Also venues need to start having shows for ALL AGES, not just 18+. It is the teenagers that listen to metal and buy it. In turn this helpes the bands to come out and play different areas, thus eliminating the stagnation of only a few bands playing over and over every weekend. This will allow them to move to other areas and enlarge their circuits. We also need as a group to stop having only “metal only” shows, or death or black only shows. Mix it up, there is nothing wrong with putting both black metal and death metal on one bill, nor even adding a punk band or two. The more folks we have coming out to shows, the better it is for everyone and will grow your scenes.