Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Interview - Celephaïs
I was surprised when the mainman of Celephaïs contacted me to review his debut, as I was already reviewing his album when he contacted me, but I told him I'd be happy to interview him. So it's a win for both parties, I got to interview this new and upcoming artist and he hopefully gets more exposure (cause he really deserves it).
Ian: How are you doing now that "Becoming The Deceased" is out? What kind of responses have you gotten to it so far?
Celephaïs: Really good actually. Until now every response I received was absolutely positive, even from people who don't even really listen to Black Metal or Metal at all, so I'm very happy about it at the moment.
Ian: How did Celephaïs originally start?
Celephaïs: Well, I wanted to do a solo project for a long time now, so it was actually just a matter of time until I got the necessary recording gear to start over with. The first steps happened quite quickly then. The first song I did for Celephaïs was Our Hideout Among The Stars, and by that I could figure out pretty well which sound I wanted to achieve, so Celephaïs started to evolve pretty quickly.
Ian: I know this is kind of an obvious one but who are some of your influences, musical and otherwise?
Celephaïs: Obvious, but necessary. Well, musically a lot of American Black Metal bands like Weakling, Wolves In The Throne Room or Velvet Cacoon had a huge impact on me. Also Altar Of Plagues, Drudkh, the first three records of Ulver and Burzum should be mentioned here. But above that there is also a lot of music which I would consider to be important for me. Bands like Opeth, Neurosis, Tool, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Empyrium or Sunn O))) did really change the way I view music and by that of course influenced my approach of writing music. I guess in the end every music I listened to somehow did affect me, so I could go on for that for hours. I think it's important to keep open minded.
For the non-musical influences there are also a lot of things. Of course H.P. Lovecraft and a lot of literature like Hermann Hesse, Carlos Castaneda or James Redfield. Everything you experience somehow has an influence to you, so the list also can be endless here.
Ian: Would you say the German black metal scene has influenced you in any way?
Celephaïs: Well, the only important Black Metal Release from Germany I can think of at the moment is Darkestrah's "Epos". The depth and intensity of that album, or better of that song, did really impress me. But for me the USA and Norway had been more important in that case.
Ian: For a debut album, your sound is quite mature, about how long did it take you to write and record the album?
Celephaïs: I started writing the music in late Summer 2009 and finished it May 2011. The process of songwriting actually goes right with the process of recording, so all the songs were basically recorded on the spot, which took me about up to three days to finish a song. And after a song I use to take a little break to gather new ideas. I guess I could have been done earlier, but my PC got messed up, so I wasn't able to record anything for some months. Which I think wasn't so bad in the end due to the mixing process, so I could take some distance from the music again.
Ian: Are you comfortable with the "post-black metal" tag? Are you a fan of any of the bands that have been placed in that genre?
Celephaïs: Being tagged as "Post Black Metal" is not a problem at all for me. I indeed really like many of the bands from that genre, like Altar Of Plagues, A Forest Of Stars, Fen or Lantlôs. I don't think that a genre should always sound the same for 20 years. Innovation is very important to music, as it keeps music alive.
Ian: The album is, as far as I know, instrumental, what made you decide not to include vocals?
Celephaïs: I prefer musical journeys which let you dream and drift away, so I don't want to bind the listener to lyrics of any sort. Lyrics also probably would let the music sound overloaded, since there is already a lot of stuff going on. There are often several melodies playing together at the same time, so the room for lyrics would have been pretty sparse.
Ian: The sound of the clean guitar really stuck out to me, as it didn't really sound like another band in black metal, that I've heard anyway. What went into creating that tone?
Celephaïs: I wanted to have a warm, thick and atmospheric sound. I actually didn't mind sounding like Black Metal at all when creating and adjusting the sounds, I just wanted everything to sound good at it's own way.
Ian: The percussion on Our Hideout Among The Stars really stands out as some of the better programmed drumming I've heard, how did you create that opening part? How do you approach programming drums in general?
Celephaïs: Good to hear! In case of Our Hideout Among The Stars I wanted to have some ritualistic sounding, almost trance like percussion in the background, so I basically took use of the Floor-Tom, which helps to achieve that sound pretty well.
For the general approach I always try to go with the dynamic that the song evolves at it's own. Shall it be blast beats or slow, gloomy stuff like in Becoming The Deceased, the music just should to be allowed to flow naturally.
Ian: I read a comment comparing the album cover to that of Njiqahdda, are you familiar with that band and what does the cover actually represent to you?
Celephaïs: Yes, I am. I have the "Nji. Njiijn. Njiiijn", the album with the aforementioned cover and "Yrg Alms". I like both of them very much, as Njiqahdda is also a band of innovation and originality which I appreciate very much.
For the cover of "Becoming The Deceased" I wanted it to fit in with the mood of the music. I wanted to have something dreamy and mystical, but also something organic as well. I think it turned out pretty well, especially because I am quite a beginner with graphic manipulation.
Ian: Are you already writing new material?
Celephaïs: I am already gathering new ideas and riffs for a future release and I'm also coming up more conceptual this time. There is nothing recorded yet, but I don't think it will take very long until the first takes are made.
Ian: Those are all the questions I have, thank you for the interview, it's been a privilege. The last words are yours.
Celephaïs: It's been a pleasure. Thank you very much for the support!
Furthermore I'd like to thank everyone who supported Celephaïs in any way, from posting it on the internet to showing it to their friends.
I shouldn't have to tell you that by now you should definitely check this album out. For a debut release, it's very high quality and definitely showing originality. Spread the word on this project!