First off, what do you think of the end result as can be heard on 'Treachery'? Was it a difficult process, making this mini?
At the moment I am still waiting for my copies to make it here to the West Coast, however I will say that our final mastered tracks contained all the bleakness and blackness as was originally envisioned when this project came into being. The process, running almost four years altogether, was only difficult in the manner of having each member living in a different city or country. Our rare studio sessions were always productive, culminating in songs like Enter Dominion, Inception, and Bound in your Entrails. The others were sent back and forth over the internet, usually falling in my hands last for the vocal takes which were recorded in Switzerland. The most difficult aspect to working like this is not being able to see my friends and band members as much as I would like to....
Would you care to give an abstract of the band's history? It says in your bio (courtesy of Czar of Crickets) that members come from "industrial electronics" and "break core" (maybe death metal?) backgrounds. How do you go from break core to this sort of black metal? Where did you find each other and why was it decided to go for this musical direction?
Each of us have released 12"s on my own record label, Zhark International. My label, founded in New York in 1996, is dedicated to releasing only the best in dark electronics and brutally sequenced breakbeats. S/M [Slutmachine, the bass player] is more influenced by Doom Metal, while Abelcain and I have been into Black Metal for enough years to start making our own.
In 2006 I released my last solo LP, Brew Hideous, which twisted breakcore, Industrial and Black Metal into a frightening mix which still leaves scars on the listeners. Treachery was the next logical step for all of us since we felt that there were other musical formats that would lend themselves to our apocalyptic visions. They both have played guitar and bass for years, so there was no reason why we shouldn't form a band to implement these other talents that were not being utilized in our own solo projects. The musical direction was not so clear cut at the beginning - we only knew we wanted to draw together the elements of Ritual Ambient, Doom Metal, and Black Metal. I am sure we formed our own synthesis of these elements which sound nothing like anyone else.
'Treachery' is a strong effort that captures some of the moments of Mysticum and (some of the lighter elements from) Abruptum. Do you agree with this statement? Are you big fans of mid 'nineties (last century) industrial and disturbing black? What else would you say has influenced you, music-wise? Apart from the above-mentioned bands, there is not much else to go on, as you seem to base your music on familiar elements without copying.
Of course Mysticum is hailed as the first ever Industrial Black Metal band and their work has been inspirational to the formation of Treachery. Blut Aus Nord and Black Funeral have also served as bands to look to for great drum programming and malicious atmospheres. I know that S/M has long been into the drones of Sunn 0)) and Khanate, while Abelcain takes his cues from Ulver and Darkthrone amongst others. The Doom project Burning Witch and of course Norway's Carpathian Forest also served as inspiration to the multifaceted onslaught which is Treachery.
There are no lyrics with the CD, what is Treachery all about? Is there a theme shared by all the tracks; is there a certain philosophy everything surrounding Treachery has to answer to?
Treachery, besides being the final circle of Hell, was formed to be an outlet for our hatred for the human condition and all the strife which goes along with it. All three of us are fueled by our own distaste for the common shit which is spewed forth from man's own weak and insipid condition. We do not seek the Light. Since we did not include lyrics in the booklet, we will provide you with a run down on the concepts behind each track...
'Inception' - The invocation of ancient and wicked forces through a harrowing ambient excursion...
'Kiss the Fist' - A statement to all those parasitical, talentless hacks and hangers-on in any scene
'Bound in Your Entrails' - This is one step further on the 'Necro Slut' theme, my vision of a ghastly end to your life.
'Could Not Find Her Heart' - The Fall of Rome, in Battles by your side.
'Enter Dominion' - Our first song ever, now hits at the end - a nine min anthem about tearing through this world's deceit.
Do you think that the coming of more female-fronted bands is a reflection of a change within (black) metal?
To tell you the truth, I do not really care about gender issues or politics in music. Electronic music already is pretty much scarce of any strong female figures, and it is the same within any extreme music from Noise to Metal. If the music is quality, I do not care what gender the members involved happen to be. After years of being in and out of the most extreme musical circles - I will say it is ONLY up to women to get their shit together and do what they "need" to do - no one is stopping the female race from blasting their own style of cacophony. I can not judge if there is a change within Black Metal as a scene, since every country has its own scene and history - and I generally focus on my productions more than being involved in social politics.
As to American black metal, why do you think USBM is getting more attention? Is it just that bands from the States now have more chances of getting a solid fan base at home, and that odds of getting noticed (by bigger or European labels) are no longer necessarily stacked against them, or is it because American bands are taking their trade more seriously?
I have no idea.... and I do not really care.
In an American article it said that American black went unnoticed for such a long time because it lacks an extreme foundation and past, such as the violent and extreme incidents that stood at the cradle of Norwegian black. Personally, I don't think that is the whole explanation, but what do you think? Has American suffered from and uneventful and non-violent ascension, leading to a shortage of, maybe, credence?
The only thing I have to say about America and Black Metal is that there are enough Christians in this country that I would hope to see an outright Anti-Christian Front of Blackened noise wash over this place in the near future. You should know that I have spent the past 11 years living in Europe, and I have hardly any connection to USBM besides my association with Wolves In The Throne Room, whom I stayed with for the past four months on their farm, and Black Funeral who I worked with a couple years ago. I will not make sweeping generalized statements about the metal scene in America since I hardly have any relation to it.
Could you name some of American bands that you feel we in Europe should get to know and respect?
You probably know about the best of the bands out there at the moment... One I should mention is Ludicra - who feature two women in their line-up. They are from Oakland, California and are signed to Alternative Tentacles - they are very good in a live environment...
How did it come about, then, that Treachery was picked up by Czar of Crickets?
I have known the owner for years, with is work in Zatokrev and from the fact that we both lived in the city of Basel, Switzerland which has a very small extreme metal scene. Fredy, the owner, has been 666% supportive of our work and vision - always pushing us to get the final CD together without putting any restrictions on the way in which we presented ourselves. Czar of Crickets has done a fabulous job so far of promoting us and we are all very happy with the way in which our first CD has been taken care of.
As it is a European label, what do you expect from them? Are you now crunching the numbers with them as to the possibilities of coming over to Europe, or are you planning on touring parts of your own country first? In either case, what bands are you keen on bringing along?
As I said above, I have spent over a decade in Europe - constantly touring and producing music for my own solo project. Both Abelcain and S/M have toured Europe with their own music as well. At this time we all have too many commitments to spend the time necessary to get a truly perfect live show together. It is not outside of the realms of possibility. However Treachery will remain at this point a studio project. Czar of Crickets just offered us to get together for a few weeks in Switzerland and work out a live show, I imagine that we would tour with Zatokrev if this actually does work out next year.
'Treachery' has five tracks; is this self-titled mini a prelude to a full-length? If so, what should be expected? Could you maybe say something about a (working) title, musical direction, release date, anything?
Abelcain and I have started talks about the upcoming new material in the past couple of weeks. We definitely want to get some more songs recorded next year, and maybe we will if we spend sometime all together in Switzerland. I am in the middle of recording my next solo LP - with one song featuring Abelcain on guitars, as well as some very surprising and exciting collaborations with other musicians in the Metal world. Until this album is finally finished, I will not focus on anything other than promoting the new Treachery and playing shows.
Well, thanks for your time. Hope you enjoyed the interview. Any last words are, of course, yours.
Thanks a lot for supporting our extreme visions and giving us a chance to make ourselves known! Hail Chaos! Until the Apocalypse!