Saturday, March 23, 2019

Malokarpatan Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new ep?
1,  Even though as a physical release the EP is brand new, the material has been recorded in summer 2017 already, so a lot has happened since. Mostly playing different gigs and festivals and a small tour of the east coast parts of North America (hails to mr. Vinny Bochicchio for making this crazy thing happen). Also finishing material for the third full-length and finally releasing the delayed split EP with our friends Demon's Gate from Finland. Right now my mind is mostly occupied with our next album, but more about that later!

2.In April you have a new ep coming out, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
2, I like to use these smaller EP releases for more experimental or unusual songs that wouldn't fit so well on proper full-lengths. The "Cesta podzemnými sálami Kovovlada“ material is pretty different from what we usually do. Our basic stylistic scope is simply black metal the way it used to be before the Norwegian sound got standardized and bands all over the globe started sounding the same in attempts to mimick this specific sound. Before this point in time, black metal was all over the place stylistically, you could hardly find two bands that sounded the same. This is an immense source of inspiration for us and there are elements of many of these different styles scattered over our releases. This time around, the inspiration was that short, obscure period of time between the late 80s and the explosion of the Norwegian second wave – stuff like old Samael, Alastis, Barathrum demos, Mortuary Drape, Baxaxaxa, Mystifier, Master's Hammer... The Wine of Satan compilation is a good summary of that era. That goes for the second, metal part of the composition. The first part is a mix of keyboards, percussion instruments, field recordings of caves and excerpts from old Slovakian folktale movies. Metal fans like to call this "filler", but for me it's equally as important as the metal part, as it serves to illustrate the atmosphere of wandering in the underworld which the lyrics speak of.

3.The lyrics on the ep also have a concept to them, can you tell us a little bit more about the story you explore with the newer music?
3, Lyrics are based on an old Slovakian folktale, which clearly has even more ancient mythological roots. It tells the story of Kovovlad (his name could be translated as Ruler of Metals), who in our mythological world is the ruler of the underworld and all of its hidden treasures. He abducts a maiden from the world above to become his bride in the realm of eternal night below. She is only allowed to leave her imprisonment once a year "when the earth opens". I think this describes the same vegetation myth which is present in ancient Greece in the story of Hades and Persephone.

4. A lot of your lyrics on past releases go very deep into Slavic Paganism, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in the paganism of your home land and how does the paganism of your home country differ from the other Slavic countries while having a lot of the same deities but having a different different approach's to worshiping the gods and goddesses?
4, I am a little bit reluctant to use the term Paganism as it is commonly associated with Right hand path beliefs and is a very unfortunate choice for lyrical concepts within black metal if used this way. Black metal is the music of the adversary, the spiritual rebel. You can't achieve that if singing about deities that represent order. Our lyrics are simply just little stories presenting various characters and practices from the darker sides of the spiritual world of our ancestors. The scene is overflown with bands that try way too hard to sound like demonology professors, my view is that simple lyrics in the vein of 70s & 80s can be more effective. I think there aren't any radical differences in here compared to other Slavic countries, there is generally a lack of sources so most group tend to worship the same deities in similar fashions, some countries just have specific gods and spirits unique to a certain place. Lately, the false constructed belief of Ynglism is a popular trend due to its spread over the internet, but I think anyone with a working brain can see through its obvious absurdities and nonsensical falsifications.

5.In a past interview you also mentioned writing about Paganism from more of a Left Hand Path approach, can you also tell us a little bit more about your interest in the darker side of paganism and occultism?
5, Yes, because that is the only way it should be used in black metal for it to make sense conceptually. I must say I don't really like to talk about my spiritual beliefs as it's a very personal matter to me and even if it influences everything I do with Malokarpatan, it's hidden in the background rather than me pushing it down people's throats. I've never had a materialistic outlook on life, already as a small kid I felt the world can't just work as a system of coincidences and there must be forces beyond our comprehension that set the course of events. I've been interested in pretty much anything you can imagine being a fan of metal music – from Egyptian myths to 19th century occultists, Traditionalist School and people like Jacques Vallée. It's been a very crooked path with
many detours and I still think I haven't reached the end of that personal quest. The point I am at these days is basically gnostic – seeing the order of creation as a prison for spirit, which is destined to become something greater. That's the path of spiritual rebellion and the desire to tear down the world as we know it, so we can reach our true potential. In Slavic mythology, I find this to be best represented in the deity Veles – lord of the wild forests and the underworld, who in a serpent-like form crawls to the top of the World Tree to challenge the order of the universe. It's no surprise his attributes were used for the Devil after Christianity took over. He can be compared to other figures of pre-Christian Europe like Pan, Loki or Cernunnos. During medieval times, these ancient archetypes became the Horned God of the witches. This nebulous point, where Paganism, old folk superstitions and Satanism meet together is where our lyrical concept draws from. So as you can see it's a little bit complicated and I wouldn't want people to misinterpret us as some sort of pagan metal band. We just use the traditions of our forefathers to describe the same energies which more traditionally satanic bands sing about.

6.On the metal archives page they also list national pride as another themes that you cover with your lyrics, can you tell us what you see is national pride?
6, Those lyrical themes on Metal Archives were just lazily copied by some random user from the description written for our debut album. On it, there is one song having sort of a patriotic theme (although used metaphorically as a part of a traditional folktale) and also one song being a celebration of wine (hence the "drunkenness" part). I didn't really care for a long time, but after misunderstandings have been more often, I reported this to Metal Archives some time ago. Problem is that the website administrators think they know better than you as the actual band, so they didn't bother at all to correct it. So they can all FOAD as far as I'm concerned. In this era of hysterical witch-hunts, anything "national" is automatically seen as equal to "Nazi" and there is no middle ground anymore, all is just black and white without thinking deeper. In our music and lyrics, we present our traditional culture from where we come from and that's pretty much it – you can read the easily available English translations to see what the songs speak of. We are not ashamed of who we are and I think bands from all corners of the world should take inspiration from their respective cultures. It was after all one of the elements that contributed to the uniqueness of early black metal bands – South America had its own sound, Australia had its own sound, so did Japan and different areas of Europe, etc. So that is the meaning of pride for us – stand for what you are and don't become a part of the shapeless consumerist modernity that swallows any uniqueness. I've sensed lately that many bands started taking inspiration from the Pre-Columbian cultures for example, I see that as a very positive trend, unlike the 90s and 2000s when everyone wanted to be vikings regardless of any cultural connection.

7.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Malokarpatan'?
7, We come from a region with local mountains called Malé Karpaty = Little Carpathians, so Malokarpatan means an inhabitant of this region, simple as that. It's near impossible for any other band to use the same name, so I'm very happy with this decision also for the future.

8.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new ep cover?
8, It's an old folktale illustration processed through the hands of the very talented graphics guy working for Sun & Moon Records. He added the colors, folklore ornaments on the sides and other small but important details like that. I'm highly satisfied with his job and I think it breathed a new life into the whole thing. As for the drawing itself, it shows the bride of Kovovlad being abducted in a horse carriage into his underworld kingdom.

9.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
9, We've had quite an evolution in this, our earlier shows were definitely lacking a bit in energy. The thing is, some of us weren't really used much to play live from our former bands. Our previous singer also generally didn't enjoy performing live much and it was a situation he was kind of thrown in without warning – during the early stages of the band, we didn't even plan to play live, but then we started getting offers. After three years of playing live, this has improved in a major way and currently our live shows are very energetic. We don't use any altars, bones chalices and whatnot, just the power of Heavy Metal and some traditional gear like studded wristbands, big sunglasses and cloaks. When we travel in a van we sometimes also use some traditional folk masks and sticks
(it's more difficult to bring those on planes and have any place for merch left). We want people to bang their heads in a frenzy, not stand in "ritualistic" stillness. I think our best gigs have been in Brooklyn, New York, Old Grave Fest in Romania, Lodz, Poland earlier this year and also the last gig so far which we had at Revolver club in Norway. But if oftens depends on the event and city in question, some local gigs in Slovakia and Czech Republic have also turned out great (some less).

10.Do you have any touring or show plans for 2019?
10, So far this year we've played in Spain, Austria, Poland, Sweden, Germany & Norway. Most of the gigs turned out great, although we've also had some unexpected technical problems. What lies before us currently is: Roadburn in the Netherlands, Fire's Burning in Slovakia, Party San in Germany, Til Dovre Faller in Norway and Eindhoven Metal Meeting again in the Netherlands. There about two more festivals and one club gig to be added, just can't mention them yet as they haven't been announced by the organizers.

11.The new ep is coming out on 'Sun & Moon Records', how did you get in contact with this label?
11, They contacted me through a message I think, since they were interested in releasing a physical form of the EP. Shortly after we also met personally at the Old Grave Fest in Romania. They are very fine gentlemen and I can say only positive things so far about the co-operation with them, even though it's just a one-off thing for this release, as we remain under the wings of Invictus Productions and The Ajna Offensive.

12.You have also been a part of a couple of splits over the years, can you tell us a little bit more about the bands you have shared these recordings with?
12, I would say only the split with Demon's Gate was a proper split release, the other one was more like a compilation of different bands that took part in the Samhain Celebration mini-festival in Gotha, Germany. It's a tradition they do for each year of the event, curated by Martin from Mosaic. The reason to do a split with Demon's Gate was simply that they are good friends of ours and they also play black metal in the pre-1993 way. I guess their sound is the closest to Master's Hammer, but they are from Finland so they have that specific weirdness one would naturally expect from the region. I strongly recommend people to check out also their other band Chevalier (epic/medieval speed metal) – their debut album is coming soon and it's already a modern classic to me after having the chance to listen to it. There  is one more split planned for 2020 with another band from the Slavic area playing a very archaic form of black metal.

13.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black and pagan metal?
13, Not sure about pagan metal since that is really not our world, but from black metal and generally metal fans around the world, the response has been truly great. We are just on an underground level so it's all down to earth, but I'm really proud to see how far can music from an obscure eastern country reach nowadays, of course internet helps that a lot too. Most people write us from the USA, Germany, Poland, lately also Scandinavia. At home it's also good, even though metal doesn't exactly have its golden days here for the last two decades. But I also got mails  & messages from exotic places like Algeria, Dominican Republic or China. Our mission is to keep the flame of early Iron Curtain black metal style alive and spread it further.

14.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that the band members are a part of?
14, Algor (band of our drummer and guitarist) have a new split material coming this year, they are also involved in some new side project which I can't tell much details about as it's still  in the works. Krolok is working on new material in its own slow tempo, they will also have a few select live shows this year, the nearest one coming here in Bratislava, Slovakia in May at Fire's Burning festival. I also have some material not fitting for Malokarpatan which I'd like to record some day, but my main problem is not having a place to rehearse and record drums with the drummer I'd like to work with. Temnohor, band of our former singer seems to be inactive for a long time now but as a fan of his music I hope he will make some new stuff in the more distant future.

15.When can we expect another full length and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
15, The third album is already written, both music and lyrics, but I'm currently waiting for our drummer to rehearse and arrange his parts and only then we can enter the studio. I would like to record this summer, but everything is always delayed these days so realistically it might be a 2020 release even if I want it to come out this year already. It will be a concept album about witchcraft
trials that happened here in the 17th century – I've used historical sources directly for the album and it will contain parts taken straight from the confessions of the witches. It will be a more epic and atmospheric album this time around, with lengthy songs that have a lot of different riffs and sections. My inspirations were long, epic black metal compositions from the past, stuff like Mercyful Fate – Satan's Fall & Burning the Cross, Venom – At War with Satan, Sabbat – The Dwelling, viking era Bathory and also Root & Amon from Czech Republic. It will also have a bit of influence from 70s progressive rock which is one of my favorite genres of music. With all that included, it will still have a lot of primal metal energy so don't expect an album for Tool nerds ;-) But I wouldn't say this will be the overall direction for the band into the future. I just like making each album different and want to avoid repeating myself, so the fourth album will again be something else. I already have some riffs and ideas for it and it will be a completely different thing again.

16.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
16, I listen to a lot of classic old Czechoslovakian era metal these days. Just because when listening to other music and having been travelling around the world a bit the last few years, I realize how unique it was. When you live in a bubble and can't see much further from your territory, certain things get lost on you. Some of these bands have been with me since the beginning as they were among my gateways to metal music as a small kid, some of them I've learned to appreciate in a more mature age. Among them are: Titanic, Torr, Necrotos, Citron, Tudor, Metalinda, Toxic Trash, Dai, Moriorr, Svatý Vincent, Fata Morgana, Necrocock demo 92, Kryptor, Vitacit and many more. Other than that, I generally listen to a lot of classic metal and rock as it's timeless music that will live forever – Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss, Twisted Sister, Venom, early Helloween, Van Halen, Saxon, Budgie, Winterhawk, Scorpions, Rush... As well as more obscure & underground bands like Paul Chain, Black Hole, The Hand of Doom, Heavy Metal Army, Dark Quarterer, Kat, Saracen, Brocas Helm, Hels, Kimmo Kuusniemi Band, Exorcist, Deliverance... I also like various genres beyond rock – early EBM in the vein of D.A.F., baroque music, atmospheric music from the 60s like exotica or bossa nova... whatever that has soul in it and isn't plastic crap like a large part of modern music is.

17.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
17, I guess just thanks for your interest and to our fans everywhere for being so supportive, it gives us extra energy to move on! See you at gigs and festivals this year and have some patience before we unleash the third album, it will be worth the wait!


No comments:

Post a Comment