Right, there is something I just missed so far… Although you spoke about this project in our most recent Gnaw Their Tongues interview I hadn't heard any music from De Magia Veterum up till recently. Completely my own fault of course, but I'm afraid I'm not the only one. Perhaps this is the perfect opportunity to introduce De Magia Veterum to mankind, or at least our avid readers.
De Magia Veterum actually already existed before I started GTT. Somewhere in 2005 I put some material on the internet under the banner of DMV. I just started a MySpace page and had no expectations whatsoever. In the years prior to that I already made quite a few recordings and experimented with recording gear, etc. To my own surprise DMV did quite well in terms of number of downloads. Not that much later GTT also started to do quite well. In the early days DMV was mainly about avantgarde/ non-standard black metal. My own interpretation of it of course. Nowadays I try to be as 'autistic' as possible in the way I make music, with no external influences whatsoever and without taking consideration of anyone. Purely selfish music. Following my own path. By the way, a lot of this material is available for download at no cost: checkhttp://www.myspace.com/demagiaveterum
Listening to, and experiencing 'The Divine Antithesis' was not unpleasant at all. It was certainly very surprising music. Whereas GTT appears to be following a more restrained route De Magia Veterum is incredibly extreme. The bands appear to antagonize each other in a way. Is that right?
It is not true that GTT is following a more restrained route. Only 'L'Arrivée' is a restrained album. With both projects I ignore all outside opinions and just go for it. It's just that the style elements I use for both projects are different. The same may be said about the subject matter.
'The Divine Antithesis' is both blistering and chaotic. At times it reminds me a bit of Portal, Leviathan and Deathspell Omega, but that's just my interpretation. Who influenced De Magia Veterum's sound?
I would love to say 'nobody' but that is impossible. I listen to music of course, although I always try to find my own sound, with as little external influences as possible. Usually I have very abstract ideas that I try to translate into music. The bands you mention are all very good though.
The album title is quite bombastic. It suggests an underlying concept. Is that correct, and could you elaborate on the album's lyrical content?
It is indeed a concept, but it's kind of hard to explain because it's fairly abstract. It deals with a soul, in the way the church defines it, that doesn't 'see the light' anymore, because of inner and outer struggles. It is a combination of distortion of reality, so-called supernatural forces, etc. It's an almost psychosis-like whole, in which the lines between reality and fantasy are blurred. I tried to capture that in the music, this inner war of the 'soul'.
In GTT the bas has a very prominent role, whereas De Magia Veterum appears to be mainly guitar driven. Is this related to how you compose for both bands?
This is the case. For DMV I usually start with a guitar, hahaha. In GTT the frequency band that guitars normally occupy are filled with other sounds and instruments.
In general, I would like to know how this works: do you compose with a specific band or project in mind or do you determine which song suits what project at a later stage?
I know beforehand what project I'm composing for. I usually get started with working for a project when I get fed up with another one. This way I am never bored. After working half a year on a GTT album it's just great to do something else My music tends to vampire (new verb) energy instead of giving me energy, so doing something else for a change is a necessity to keep things fresh.
A substantial part of your riffs gutwrenchingly dissonant, which is not unpleasant at all. Is this just a matter of playing until you find something that works?
Something like that… after twenty years of making music I sort of know how to create a certain atmosphere, and how chords/tones work together. Besides, I'm stubborn and I do things that go against the rules of harmony. It's real chaos, just like everything that surrounds us. In fact I've completely had it with conventional music and its structures. Things like 'riffs', 'bass lines', 'harmony', 'drum patterns', etc say nothing to me at this stage of my life. I like 'things' to change continuously (like it is the case with classical music). That's something that intrigues me much more. Dissonance suits the subject matter perfectly in this particular case.
It might be the mediocre mp3s that I got from the label, but I still haven't found out whether the drums are real or programmed. I suspect the latter to be the case. Help me out here.
They are programmed. I know nobody in my direct surroundings who can play this and/or I can get along with. People who can play stuff like this would probably ask money and/or are unbearable due to their inflated ego. Besides, DMV is no band for people with real talent… there are no commercial goals whatsoever. I have to say though that I try to make the drums as human as possible. The fact that you're not sure whether they're programmed or not is a great compliment to me. I have been drumming for quite a few years (I'm a mediocre drummer) so I know how 'real' drums work. This is of great help when I program the drums, which is a laborious chore… working one note at a time.
Usually you have quite a good idea of what the future brings in terms of releases. And now?
Not this time. 'The Divine Antithesis' was released in May 2011. So far I haven't started working on new DMV material. The cd might be only 40 minutes but any other band would have probably had three albums' worth of 'riffs' and 'drum patterns'. I invested a lot of energy and time in it. Now I'm empty, as far as DMV is concerned.
Thanks for the interview. Anything to conclude?
Thanks for the interview.