Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bitter Peace Interview

BITTER PEACE Interview w/  

1. Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the release of the new album?

There was really no down time, I had already begun work on what would be the third BITTER PEACE album, the result of "Opus II" was inspiring to such that while I knew it was light years ahead of "Glorificus Vis", I also knew it still was only a stepping stone to where I wanted to go with BITTER PEACE. The bottom line, I started Bitter Peace in 2005, as an outlet to express myself through music, other musical endeavors that I am in are a lot less personal to me, but BITTER PEACE is actually a band that I never envisioned as anything but just me and my lyrical expression, I actually was preparing to do vocals for "Glorificus Vis", which I actually wish I had due to the fact that I am not happy with some of the vocals on that album. 

So when THE MANY and I met he mentioned that he is producer and wanted to see if I would be willing to give him a chance to do some mixing and ironically I had the entirety of "Opus II" II done and recorded with the exception of the ambient pieces we added in after. So I sent him what I had, and he mentioned to get a proper feel more would be needed than guitars and drums and asked if I wanted him to put some bass down (I hadn't don't the bass yet) so I gave the nod to go ahead, he then mentioned he took it upon himself to lay down some vocals lines here and there, and I heard exactly 2 lines and knew he was going to sing on "Opus II" and the former singer had did his one album with BITTER PEACE and that was it. As said, this is a very personal band to me, it was never intended to be more than me, it is just way the circumstances came into place. 

2. Recently your new album, "Opus II,"  was released, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical direction you took with this recording and also how does it differ from previous recordings?
The material was actually quite old, I actually wrote and recorded everything right after the release of "Glorificus Vis," and given way "Glorificus Vis" came out I had a lot of anger and I think it showed. The song "I Spite" is as violent and angry as anything out there. While "The Great Harlot Of Abominations" was a lot more melodic, the one thing I was going for was to make sure that there was no mistake that my intention with BITTER PEACE was to make it a Black Metal band. Some of the vocals on "Glorificus Vis" led to some confusion on that subject.  

I made sure this one was a pure Black Metal album, I even altered the guitar sound a bit to ensure there would be no confusion. It differs in every possible way it could, the sound is better, the songwriting is better and the vocals are better, I lost a little grip on things with the way the vocals went down on the debut CD, but with THE MANY's vocals it would get back what I envisioned for the band. His vocals reminded me of Atilla, so I knew it was going to be good. Also, the mixing Nathan Kite did was excellent. 

It was a lot of old material that we put together and turned into a piece of art. It's an honour that Moribund was so moved by it that they released it. It is a homage to the art of a Black Metal, a work of Black Metal itself. The next release is going to blow you away.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the new release explores and also how would you describe your progress as songwriters over the years?

Well on "Opus II", I wrote the lyrics to "I Spite" only, and it is just about utter disgust for life in general (No it isn't some lame suicidal metal, it is pure anti humanity).  On the third BITTER PEACE which is titled "The Terrorist Manifesto" which will be out either later 2013 or early 2014, I did write much more, and while some of my songs on that album are loosely related mostly to the situation in the Middle east, and also me trying to wake people up to the real reasons why 9/11 happened here in the U.S., it is our shitty foreign policy, not Muslims hatred of our freedoms, and speaking out against this topic automatically gets you labeled a hate band or an NS band, but to be honest I don't care. 

I will never compromise anything with BITTER PEACE again, it was as mentioned supposed to be my solo project, with my vision and people actually getting a little of "me" in my lyrics etc. I am a very private person, to the point of borderline misanthropic, but this is my one and only outlet that I allow some of me out, otherwise I would explode. I have made some compromises in the past for example the vocals on the first album, but this being a project that intended to be solo I will never compromise again. 

THE MANY brings a lot to the band and he actually isn't just a session member, he is a full time member of the band and just like any other bands, you might have disagreements, but I think that is going to be the case with anything that has this unique situation, if we had all of a sudden said "Hey, lets put a band together it would be different, it can't be an easy situation for someone to come into, although I will say it a lot easier than expected, THE MANY and I are also involved in another project that is a bit of a different situation. 

The progress as the songwriter can't even be measured, if you listen to "Glorificus Vis," then "Opus II," and then the "The Terrorist Manifesto" (to be released 2013 Elegy Records), you would have to be an invalid to not see the huge progression from a songwriting level. I know when I am writing a BITTER PEACE album, ultimately there are nights after nights of work until 3:00 or 4:00 AM and sometimes no sleep at all, it has to be perfect now in every aspect or it won't be period. BITTER PEACE is almost like a birth child for me, and every album will continue to progress, if it doesn't significantly outdo the previous effort, it will get shelved. 

Spiritual transcendence into other worlds. I am very interested in the alchemy of sound and how it is perceived by the ears and fed to the brain. The lyrics are sometimes not even lyrics at all, but speaking in tongues and communing with energy that I am able to transmit thru the vessel of my body into the song. The songs have all been written, it's a matter of finding them at the rite time. They do come and there's nothing you can do to stop it!

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name Bitter Peace?
Thanks you for asking this question, and not asking if I was once a SLAYER tribute band, it pertains to the Middle east peace process. While one side is constantly compromising and has nothing, so in order for there to be peace there is still occupation, there is still a fence around Gaza but I guess you could call it Peace, but for one side it is absolutely very bitter and has to leave a bitter taste in their mouths as they are compromising much in order to gain the ability to not have bombs dropping every night and ultimately freedom, unfortunately the freedom part never comes. 

For me, I would encourage readers to research the meaning behind the symbol of the Ouroboros. It is one of many symbols that will unlock secrets to hidden knowledge. There is always a balancing act of two sides, until perfection and unity is achieved. A dichotomy between agony and ecstasy.

5. Currently there are only 2 members in the band, are you planning on expanding the line up in the future or do you choose to remain a duo?
As I stated before it was never meant to be more than me, this is my baby, but when THE MANY stepped in on OPUS II I don't believe we ever even discussed him doing another album, the result worked so well I think we both just assumed we would carry on and actually work on an album from start to finish together. I can't speak for him, but I never really thought about it any other way, if it isn't broke don't fix it, and as I said I do not look at him as a session member, I look at him as the vocalist and bass player not to mention the producer, in fact I intended on doing the bass for The Terrorist Manifesto, but he asked if I minded if he did them as it made him felt more a part of the band and I had no problem with it. He contributes about 1/2 of the lyrics too and he has a good vision of where to use samples and such. 

Geographically and other reasons we are not likely ever to be a touring band, so I would say with a large degree of certainty that there will be no expansion, it is a difficult situation because you have to go back a few answers to where I had said it was never meant to be more than just me, I think if we expanded any further I would not deal with that well, THE MANY and I work well together and I wouldn't push the envelope any further because the more people involved the more they are going to want to put their stamp on the band and as it was never intended to be a band I don't need stamps trying to be placed, with the case of THE MANY, he and I usually discuss everything and I have never held back any of his ideas, but that is rare because of this being what I perceive as a very personal solo band turned into a duo. That said, with the business end of things, I still deal with the labels and contracts, but it is always discussed with THE MANY, it isn't like he would find out a month before the album comes out "Oh yeah by the way, I signed us to this label now", it is always an open discussion as I feel he is a very big part of what Bitter Peace has developed into and the band is better for it. 

LG lives and breathes BITTER PEACE, he secretly released three BITTER PEACE albums under different names, and if you can search for them you can find them by our sound. The reason they were released this way is because they are so extreme that if anyone found out that we were behind it then we'd be send to Guantanamo Bay. 

6. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to the new album by fans of black metal?
I would say the response has been fantastic, I think the worst review I have seen was a 7 out of 10, Mourning the Ancient (Which is to me, a forum that I care an awful lot how the album is perceived by, I have incredible respect for MTA) said it was the album of 2013. We have had other reviews that have been fantastic praise too, I think what stands out with some of the reviews is that they have actually taken notice to the musicianship and songwriting improving so largely. MTA especially had incredibly high praise for the music and they have the advance of "The Terrorist Manifesto" and actually said, that album she feels we will be setting the bar by which USBM standards will be measured by. While I don't have an ego and would never say that myself, I do think we are doing things that have never been done. Ultimately when that album comes out on Elegy Records a lot of eyebrows are going to raise and jaws drop.  
I should note that some of the things THE MANY did on that album are just absolutely perfect, it isn't always easy for a singer to sing someone else's lyrics, but he capture exactly what I envisioned on every song, not to mention the songs he wrote lyrics for just being fantastic and actually after you hear it you find yourself remembering the song and still singing it in your head, a few songs that come to mind in that department are "The Fortress of Nanna" and "Scorched Earth Policy", THE MANY was spot on and made those songs quite fantastic. But back to your question, the response has been great, but I think both myself and THE MANY are really looking to "The Terrorist Manifesto", it is the first album we worked together on from start to finish and the results are terrific.

I agree with LG, once the new album, "The Terrorist Manifesto" is released, the bar for BITTER PEACE can do will indeed be raised significantly. 

7. How would you describe your views on Satanism and Occultism?
Difficult for me to answer this one as I am not a Satanist and I don't practice the Occult, I would say Satanism is really inverted Christianity and really pushes for non conformity which those areas I have in common, but I still don't consider myself a Satanist at all. If you believe in the biblical form there is a red figure with horns on his head holding a pitchfork who runs a place of eternal suffering. The Occult, I know a lot of people are really into it and believe in it 100% like Michael Ford, it is just not anything I have ever explored. I have always been one that writes lyrics that are genuine and are real, yes many find them extremely controversial, but I don't give a shit, it is strongly how I feel and I will continue to write what I feel no matter who it offends. Isn't that what Black Metal is about? Shouldn't it be offensive to most? If you start worrying about offending people and such things you might as well play pop music, I recently made a decision that I just don't care what happens as far as labels people want to put on Bitter Peace, it is my outlet to express myself, fortunately with THE MANY fitting in so well, there has been some room for him to express himself as well. 

8.What is going on with the other musical project these days?
OK, this will be a long answer because I am quite busy right now. First of all, the first project that will likely get out is a band called FUNERE MUNDI, which included me on guitars, drums and all lyrics, Ebboth (Former vocalist for VERGELMER, Guitarist for NEPHENZY CHAOS ORDER, 2nd Guitarist of ALGAION) on vocals and production (he is a professional producer and the album sounds massive), and Saroth (Ex IMMORTAL) on bass, that album is likely going to be called "Vis Est Rememdium", is very special to me, it was my way of paying Homage to Euronymous, as he was a huge inspiration to me and someone I knew personally, and I know he was be disgusted at the current state of the scene, so that will likely be the first album either later this year or early next year, all that needs to be done is the mixing. But it is coming along. 

The next project is EMPIRE OF BLOOD, Michael Ford (BLACK FUNERAL) and I discussed doing something, so I wrote an album's worth of music, I did the guitars and drums and sent it to him, and he was impressed enough to say "Yes, lets do this" and also a bit further, he has asked for me to join him for the next BLACK FUNERAL, which is an honor as I have had nothing but the highest respect for Michael and especially BLACK FUNERAL music. 

Lastly, I am doing a project with Cernunnos of HAERESIARCHS OF DIS, this will be quite a special project too, I have tremendous respect for him as a musician, producer and especially vocalist, he sounds the way IHSAHN wishes he could still sound, I will be handling the guitars and drums, he is doing vocals, bass, keyboards and production. A lot is planned for this release, we haven't even recorded a single song and we already have a label, and we will be doing a video as well, which is something I am looking forward to doing. 

Actually, one of the benefits to being involved with this scene for so long, I was covering it in the early 90's with my magazine "Ultima Comparatio", which led to a label in the mid to late 90's where I released a series of YAMATU releases, BLACK FUNERAL "Belial Arisen" (with the now banned cover), TUGEND "Optimisim is for the Weak", being around this long I have gained a certain respect and every contract I have signed the labels had not heard a single song before agreeing to sign us, with Elegy I told him I had some music recorded and was going into a studio with a vocalist and wanted to know if he would be interested, his response was "When the vocals are done, send me the master and the art and I will release it", 

For Opus II, Elegy wasn't going to be able to do it for a while so I called Odin and said "Hey, the second CD is near done, just awaiting mastering, but Elegy can't release it for a while" he said "Make sure Rob doesn't mind, I will send you a contract as soon as you want", same thing with FUNERE MUNDI and the un-named project with Cernunnos and EMPIRE OF BLOOD, not a single thing was recorded and I have labels for them, it is a nice feeling. I think it is a respect thing coupled with the fact that I have never burned a bridge, if you treat people right and don't step on toes it will pay off in the end. 

Ultimately this is what I hope to achieve for THE MANY, his voice is great and he has very good production skills, and we get on well, what I hope happens for him is that labels will know he is in BITTER PEACE and if they need reassurance from me like "dude, how is THE MANY, he cool?", and he doesn't have to go through the burden of searching for a label, you earn and keep the respect and good things happen. So needless to say, I am hoping for the same for THE MANY, now don't get me wrong, I want BITTER PEACE to continue on us to have a good working relationship so these things happen, it is all about trust, respect and not burning bridges. 

LITHOTOME "Lithotome" (Usa) and ESOTERICA "Aseity" (Usa) both have albums out/coming out this year. I worked on the productions of those albums, and I think they turned out great. Fall Of Nature Records (Australia) released the LITHOTOME and the ESOTERICA will be out soon from Forever Plagued Productions (Usa). Also we are still pushing the "New World Black Metal" split 7" EP that BITTER PEACE worked with KRIEG/ESOTERICA/THE MANY on and it was released on Plastik Musik, which has received some great press coverage. 

9.What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
        I feel I am just hitting my stride and I think the direction will be the same as it is heading, remaining quite extreme yet more progressive and much more going on. I think lyrically I was save the most extreme lyrics for the songs that might have the most melody so to say screw off to those who would ever accuse me of selling out. Things that definitely separates BITTER PEACE from most Black Metal bands are two things, we have excellent production, it is far from polished but it not necro at all, it captures the essence of the what was once great about Black Metal, the other is in the structure of the songs themselves, I have evolved a lot since the beginning and even at times dare to use clean guitars and the big no no, guitar solos', but the difference is my tone isn't just distortion turned up to 11, and I see that trend continuing, and as stated, the most extreme lyrics (and trust me, there will be some that will be unbelievably offensive for the songs that are most diverse)

If you can't handle this one, you won't be able to handle the next one either. 

10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
For me, it goes back too far to care to mention, put is this way I got KISS Alive II, the year it came out, and my first concert was Kiss in 79, but from there it took a turn towards the darkest music I could find. I remember getting the first to MERCYFUL FATE albums and just being blown away by how dark they were, also around that time HELLHAMMER, SLAYER's debut in 83, CELTIC FROST, I put together a band in the 80's called False Messiah where I wrote all the lyrics and music, we were a bit like Mercyful Fate with a harsher singer, one day I show up for rehearsal and the band is sitting waiting for me and said "Lance, we love this music, but your lyrics are just too..... Evil for lack of a better term. If you are willing to tone it down we will play it because this music is like nothing anyone else is doing", and I have always been true to myself, I would not compromise what I was doing, so I packed me gear up and left. They called a few weeks later stating they would do it, because they felt it was something pretty special and I refused. 

But what really inspired BITTER PEACE is Euronymous era Black Metal, MYSTICUM, GEHENNA, DIESSECTION, old EMPEROR and without a doubt MARDUK. Without those bands, Bitter Peace would likely not exist. As far as what I am listening to today, well obviously I still listen to all the bands mentioned but I also really like some stuff coming out of Poland, HATE is exceptionally good, MGLA is just insanely good, I really likeHæresiarchs of Dis, KOSTNITSA, SUNWHEEL,FUNERAL MIST, AD HOMINEM, OFERMOD, DOSFALL (And just about anything recorded in ENDARKER STUDIO, the best studio out there along with Necromorbus and believe it or not some of my absolute favorite bands are not extreme metal, SWALLOW THE SUN, KATATONIA, PORCUPINE TREE, PINNEAPPLE THIEF and arguably my favorite of all time MARILLION, I try to not listen to stuff within the genre I play especially when writing, although I NEVER go without MARDUK and FUNERAL MIST.

The most important Black Metal bands for me are ABIGOR, EMPEROR, MAYHEM, BLACK WITCHERY, BEHERIT, THY INFERNAL, DEMONCY and some others...those bands have made really important albums. I also think that bands like SUMMONING, DARGAARD, DIE VERBANNTEN KINDER EVA'S, are also great music and there is a place for that kind of dark ambient/ethereal sounds too. 

11.Outside of music what are some of your interests?
Believe it or not, politics, I honestly wish I did things a little different in life and legitimately thought about politics, obviously given my set of beliefs I would have zero chance of doing anything with it, but if for some miracle I got in at any level, the world would certainly be a better place. At least in my eyes.

Pursuit of Will to Power. Totalitarian themes. Riding the Currents of Thelema. True worshippers of the Dark Art know O.T.O. Enlightenment, illumination...this is a fucking Black Metal interview. Hail Death.

12. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Thanks for the support, it is much appreciated, any correspondence anyone can reach LG direct at / 

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