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Secrets Of The Moon

One of the more self-minded acts within the scene called black metal is German Secrets Of The Moon, often abbreviated to SOTM. For years the band has been going on a path of their own, in a different setting compared to the average band(s). That is an artistic plus, yet on the other hand also hard to grasp for the average fan. Recently the band releases a new masterpiece called 'Privilegivm' and so Lords of Metal asked some questions to drummer Thelemnar, together with singer/ guitarist SG the backbone of the band. We asked for the new album and the differences in touring between Europe and the USA…

By: Neithan | Archive under black metal

To get things started right away by talking about the new album 'Privilegivm': it shows quite prominently an apple, which stands in a symbolic way for sin. In my review I wrote that some old fans might take this apple for the sin of getting away more than ever from black metal. Yet now that we have the chance to speak to the band themselves, what does the apple mean to you? I mean, when I take a close look at the digipack cover it is easy to spot a worm inside…
The apple is the symbol of sin and a perfect one for the new album. We don´t get away from Black Metal, we ARE Black Metal. It´s us... Secrets Of The Moon. The expression, definition of "our" Black Metal is our privilege, the same goes for the cover. Black and white, shades of grey and a black hole! And if it´s a worm or maybe something even more connected with the biblical sin, a bigger reptile... who knows. Find your own expression and use your imagination.

Bio's from the label are always welcome openers for an interview because of their promotional talk. So here's a nice line from the bio accompanying the new album: “After the departure of A.D. and Daevas, the band have reinvented themselves”. How do you mean, reinvented, as 'Privilegivm' is once more hardly comparable to other, let alone previous albums…
It´s sG´s and my own musical vision and songwriting. We are, will and have been Secrets Of The Moon. No we continue our way, our travel without compromise and do what we want. Free music with a free will.

On the new album I hear back some ideas that take me back to the beginning of thrash and especially the 'Master Of Puppets' album by Metallica, especially a song like 'Orion'. Has that album perhaps been one of the main inspirations for either of the band's musicians to make music yourself?
We like this band, we like the album, we love metal. That´s it. Of course 'Master Of Puppets' and also 'Ride The Lightning' are some of our all-time-faves and maybe deep in mind it´s inspiration, but we don´t copy anything. But the vibe of 'Ride The Lightning' was maybe something that pushed us in hard times!

The new album comes much closer to the live shows than other albums: heavy and moodful. Is that something that happened on purpose or was it a typical matter of “the album just came out that way”?
Nothing happens on purpose! We don´t plan, we don´t discuss and expect... we do it! That´s why the new album sounds fresh, raw and dark in the same time. Like our live shows.

'Privilegivm' is one of those albums on which the songs together feel as one whole: how hard is it to pick songs out of the album for a setlist?
We could play every song on a concert, I could also imagine also 'Harvest', the longest one with thirteen minutes, in the set list once. I like every song, but not every track is a "live-song", it has to be deep or / and catchy, something to enjoy and / or to unleash. I like to play 'I Maldoror' and 'Sulphur'... great to play them on stage and they fit to the older material.

If you had to describe 'Privilegivm' in five keywords, which keywords would those be and can you explain them or it it all a matter of a “gut feeling”?
Darkness, journey, life, death and emotion. Not necessary to explain these words and their meaning. Find it out on your own please.

How is the album doing so far since its release in September, and are there any surprising reactions yet?
It´s going well. I don´t read any reviews, comments, whatever, but I talked to a lot of people on our shows and the reactions are good. I like both, negative and positive words... compliments and misunderstanding! I´m an artist and want to be controversial, otherwise it would be boring.

It is obviously reported that new bass player LSK gave the band more possibilities for the new material: has all material been written after she entered the band or was there also a considerable amount of song material ready before she entered the band?
Some parts of 'Harvest' are still from the old times, from the old line-up. All new material was written after LSK joined the band. She wrote all bass lines on her own and was sharing her visions and ideas with us, pushed the whole production.

band imageA band like Secrets Of The Moon doesn't make it easy for the fans, since the albums can differ so much. Of course as an artist that is the ultimate challenge and reward. Just out of curiosity, when you look at your own favorite bands: are these the bands that differ by the album themselves or are these indeed the bands with a specific sound these bands stick to?
Some bands follow their own path, do their own style and music and be creative within this circle. Bands like Archgoat, Darkened Nocturn Slaughercult etcetera will never sound different, and that´s good. Or AC/DC... Bolt Thrower, whatever. I like these bands, but also artists, that create something new within their musical style. A band like Sunn o))) shows sometimes up with new elements, but it´s still the same music. Or Porcupine Tree. Steven Wilson has his trademarks, but so many things he combines with them and within. Secrets of the Moon tried on the new album to bring some parts/ songs more to the point, to create a strong and dark atmosphere with simple riffs, beats, parts. Sometimes less is more. This can sound fresh and relaxing, but push the whole song and it´s emotion forward.

In this current light of developments: is it an advantage or a disadvantage to be labeled as a black metal band regarding the current coarse: on the one hand such a label limits perhaps your own development, yet on the other hand it gives you a platform of existing fans in an existing scene…
As I said, for us it´s Black Metal. I know what you mean... it´s not easy to be categorized like that nowadays. Some people think that Black Metal has to be fast. Why? What´s up with Burzum? Master´s Hammer? Samael? The atmosphere, the feeling is important, not the trademarks... To be honest: I don´t know how our music can be called and I´m proud of it! That´s great for an artist when you can´t classify his work. This means he´s independent. And that´s what we are, we don´t care what others say, what they think about us and our music. For us it´s black, intense Metal! You don´t have to describe something, find names for it... just let it flow, go with it, drown or rise.

The band was on a large North American tour with Moonspell. What is the challenge for the band on the other side of the ocean, or is it just a kick being there for such a tour, an occasion few bands get…
It was the first time for us in the States, so we got a lot of new experiences. A lot of things are different, positive and negative. I enjoyed it a lot to talk to the people after the shows, as they´re very interested and open minded. We had great talks, met so many people and got good reactions. In Europe we are an underground band but over there this underground is even deeper. We met some people who knew our music but most of them discovered the band on the shows.

You also did some shows over in Europe shortly ago: what is to you the main difference between touring in Europe and North America, apart from the vast differences of course?
Some shows... This have been over 20 on our tour in September/ October, before going to States. The audience in Germany, Holland etc is different. The people come to the show, have a good time and that´s it. Over there you have much more talks, that´s what I can say. The people wanna be entertained, they spent their money to see some bands and wanna have a good time, they enjoy it and this is what pushed us on the shows in the USA. That doesn´t mean that we didn´t enjoy our European dates, but I prefer an audience that is not too shy and supports us instead of staring. In Europe you get better catering and showers, that´s rare in the USA. But that´s the deal... a new world, ups and downs, new experiences on a dark journey.

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