Imperator is a one man experimental black metal band, with me being its only member, the project takes a lyrical focus towards introspective reflection, pondering upon my personal struggles, fears, faith and desires, while musically it tries to resemble as much as possible this reflection, while having certain catharsis from the emotion, thus having an odd mixture between ugliness and beauty, in a chaotic song structure which incorporates elements from other genres and takes inspired by other musical expressions.
2.Recently you have released a new album, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
Recently I released my last full-length album "The fifth volume of Evil" (stylized simply as "V"), it is an album that takes some elements from my previous releases, and delivers them in a more mature way, one of the main points of this album is that the main tracks are pretty long, so all of these elements are better developed, and are delivered in a more structured manner.
Then, you have production, I shifted towards a different way of recording my instruments, and I feel that this is by far my best sounding album, while is not a particularly great achievement, I feel that it fits the whole character of the album, as well as it becomes easier to listen for those discovering my music (opposite to what "Éléphant" was).
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you have explored over the years with your music?
My lyrical topics have varied greatly through the years, from tales I write, to the teenager realization of the frailty of life, the desire for our world to end, occultism, dreams, depression, suicide, perversions, eating disorders, loneliness, wisdom, et cetera.
As I pointed out before, this project is mostly a form of expression, a cry into the void, and is impregnated with my own struggles and dreams, though is to be noted, that lyrical style and themes have shifted over time, as I have grown and developed myself into a more mature being, a change that has also reflected in the musical approach of the project.
4.The musical project has also went under different names, what was the cause of the name changes and the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Imperator'?
The first name this project has was "Nocturnal Toxin & Carnage", it was a stupid name, I was 16 (or 15? I don't remember) and I didn't know how to name what I was doing, as the project was originally concieved to play grindcore, I decided it was going to be a temporary name until I thought a better name, but it stuck for around 3 years until 2015, when the idea came to me, as I shifted towards "Vore" (suffix for "vorare", latin for "devour"), didn't have any meaning for me, it didn't define any musical change for me either, as the music was already changing from the previous name, but it was short and easy to remember, but is not the kind of word most people would like to type in a web browser, not a problem for me, but certainly the name wasn't going to help with the spread of my music.
So, in 2018, after a lot of interactions with other projects, musical evolution, and certain major shifts in my personal life, I felt that the time for "Vore" was over, it meant nothing for me, never did, and I felt the need to capture the essence of my music and my own being in a name, so, I adopted the name from one of my other passions (a source I'd rather not tell), and it was perfect, as it captured power, and it is the musical and lyrical approach I want to adopt, triumph over adversity, and the impending darkness invading an empowered soul, life seen not as a simple spectator, but as its master, as its Imperator.
5.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
Some of the artwork I have used in my albums has been made by me, some have been paintings or pictures I find on the internet, and I have also played with digital edits of photographs playing with VHS styled aesthetics and vibrant colours.
For the most part I have tried to create aesthetically pleasing covers, some of them even contrast with the visceral sound of my music, playing with the "ugly and beauty" mixture I mentioned before, but aside from that, and some esoteric images places here and there, I wouldn't say that album covers play a huge role in my productions, that's probably why I have been so careless about keeping a constant aesthetic or trying to keep them in line with usual black metal paraphernalia.
6.With this project you record everything by yourself but have experience working with musicians in other musical projects, how would you compare the two?
I have shared a few projects with other musicians, being Vfanhthore the only one that was actually good.
I'm not a great team player, I have to admit, and that's one of the many reasons that have made other projects I have collaborated in, fail, when you create music with other people, you have to be open to what other musicians bring to the table, being capable of accepting other people molding your ideas, and being capable of doing the same with other people's ideas, so in the end, you get a product that is result of the combined efforts, however, I'd say that when it comes to creative work, I am more of an individualist, I have a focused idea of what I want to do, and I am not a great fan of letting other people mess with that idea, losing the focus I had.
It all depends on being open to accept other people's ideas in your vision, and it is something I am not.
7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
Not really, very few labels have released my material with the quality I want, that's why I personally have very few of my own recordings, that's another part of "not letting people disturb your vision", and when it comes to materialize any of my recordings, I've been the most satisfied with my own DIY recordings released via Cónclave Curatorial Records, though my shipping times, and overall quality clearly state that I lack the resources or manpower to keep up with regularly released productions.
8.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your recordings by fans of black metal and other forms of underground music?
I don't know how far has my music reached, but I had spoken to some listeners, and for the most part their reaction has been positive, people enjoy the randomness of my music, the lyrics, some have even stated that the music makes them feel as if they knew me personally, and I have even experienced the joy of having inspired a few of my colleagues to try some different ways of black metal, so in my limited experience, people have liked what I do.
Black metal as a genre has been quite stagnant since the 90s, for people looking for something a little different, my music is an enjoyable rendition of the genre, as it mixes elements from other styles and more than often goes out of the usual sound of the genre.
But of course, there's always the purists who prefer music being more akin to the classics, certainly I can't blame them, and while I have never had a bad review or problem with them, I can imagine that they wouldn't find anything interesting in my music, and it really is something I don't plan to change.
9.Are you involved with any other bands or musical projects these days?
As I mentioned before, the last project I was involved with was Vfanhthore, and that idea is kind of dead by now, I think that what we managed to create with the original line up cannot be achieved with different people, and as we split up, I'd prefer to keep that project untouched.
As for other projects, I don't think I'll be making something with anyone for a while, I've had little time lapses for my own project, and I'd like to commit to my own music for now, so I don't think any future projects with me in the line up will come for a while.
10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
For now I am working on a new album, based mostly on self hatred and desires, so musically I am expecting to create very slow, yet sensual melodies, combining this dark and dissonant passages accompanied by rather delicate transitions, developing all of the ideas that I had in all of these years, while trying to gather some elements from other genres that have captured my imagination lately.
11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
In black metal, I'd say that my major influences are Leviathan, Xasthur, Rope (R.I.P.) and maybe Ulfrinn, but I also take a lot of inspiration from electronic music, HNW, vaporwave, baroque music, psychedelic rock, some 70s ballads, videogame music, traditional music from my region, and a lot of stuff, quite frankly, my music wouldn't be what it is if I didn't listen to other music and thought "how would this sound if I tried to play it myself?", trying it, realizing that it sucks, and then play it with lots of distortion.
Nowadays I've been listening to lots of ballads and pop music from the 70s, an era that keeps my imagination circling and has gave me some ideas for new music, though executing them won't be easy.
12.Does Occultism play any role in your music?
It does, however my beliefs and practices are something I'd rather keep to myself, but some of that experience has been poured across my music, being the most heavily influenced by this part of my being, albums such as "Aggrahmmageddoh'n", "ISOLATION", "Éléphant" and my split album with Kur Extorquere.
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
First of all, I'd like to thank Occult Black Metal Zine for the space and the interest in my music, and aside from that, I'd simply like to invite the readers to listen to my last album "V", or anything else from my discography, if they wish to dive into madness and noise, my music may satisfy the means.
Thank you for taking part in this musical journey, and expect more in the years to come.