Did you enjoy playing and listening to the Belgian Doom Night?
Hell yeah! To bad I was a bit busy all the time, because I was one of the organizers of that festival, but I'm sure we can say Belgian Doom Night was a success, and next year, we'll be back with Belgian Doom Night II for sure! All the bands that played did their best, and the atmosphere at the gig was perfect.
How was the tour with Skepticism?
Touring with Skepticism was very special. It was a great honor for us to play with them, because in our eyes, they were quite a 'cult' band. They did their first gig out of Finland ever with us, and in their 12 years of existence, they only played 5 gigs before they started this tour. I was very impressed by their live-shows also. Anyway, we did 6 gigs with them: Berlin, Mühlhausen, Praha, Dresden, Zottegem and Arnhem. There was a gig planned in Paris also, but unfortunately, it was canceled 2 weeks before the tour, so we couldn't find any replacement. We generally had very good reactions on tour, so that's positive. In my opinion, the best shows on the tour were Berlin, Praha, Belgian Doom Night and Arnhem. We didn't have like any major problems, except that our van was way overloaded all the time to carry all the stuff, and our guitarist's effect-rack got broken in Dresden…
Tell me more about of Pantheist...
Pantheïst started as a soloproject from our vocalist/keyboardplayer Kostas. Later, Nicolas joined as guitarist, and with this setup, they recorded the debut demo '1000 years', which is sold out by now. Later Oscar (drums) and me (Frederic-bass) joined, so we were able to play live gigs. We played our first gig on Dutch Doom Day I in Rotterdam, and soon more gigs followed, on the Doomination tour, and on tour with Skepticism. Right now we're taking a break of one month, but we're starting again in a few weeks, to rehearse for some gigs later this year, and in August, we'll start rehearsing the new songs.
I like your debut CD a lot! Tell me more about the recordings, the songs, the lyrics, etc...
We recorded our debut CD in January, in CCR studio, a Belgian studio quite well-known for Belgian metal productions. We had like 6 days + some extras to finish the whole album, and even in this small amount of time, I think we were able to work in a relaxed way. We recorded 5 songs, like one hour of music. Most songs and lyrics on the CD were written by Kostas. Most of them are very personal and misanthropic. Most of them handle about death and this fucked up hypocrite mankind we're living in. This fits quite well the slow mournful and hateful music we play.
How were the reactions towards “O Solitude”?
Up to now, the reactions have been fantastic, really, much more than we expected. Our music isn't the most easy listening, so I think it's quite an achievement.
Do you have a favorite on this CD? Which one and why?
I have 2 favorites on the CD. First of all, Envy Us, because it gives the essence of what funeral doom is all about. It's the slowest and heaviest song on the CD. It was originally composed by Beethoven and Chopin, but Costs re-arranged it to this song. My second favorite is Curse The Morning Light, simply because I love the song structure and the riffs.
The lyrics are very dark. What do they speak about?
Most of the lyrics are about isolation, alienation and solitude. They are connected to the concept of pantheism; belief that everything in the world is part of a bigger whole makes us realize that our individuality and consciousness actually stand in the way of perfect unity and happiness. This realization evokes feelings of depression and loneliness which Pantheist tries to capture lyrically and musically.
I like the medieval chanting/vocals, as well as the use of medieval tunes. Do the middle ages inspire you to write this music?
I can't really say that there are medieval references in our music and chanting. Some of the choirs and keyboard arrangements are inspired by classical music and more specific by baroque music and choral church music. The acoustic parts on `Don't mourn` are rather inspired by Greek folk music and there are some Byzantine references in that song, perhaps that's what evokes a medieval atmosphere in your eyes together with the baroque arrangements on some of the tracks.
What are your main influences?
Musically, influences range from the extreme doom genre (Thergothon, Skepticism, Unholy, early My Dying Bride etc) to classical music, Greek folk music and other atmospheric music like Pink Floyd and Vangelis. Lyrically I can't say that there is a particular poet or writer who inspires me, I'm mostly inspired by my own reflection, impressions and experiences.
What do you think about the doomscene of Belgium nowadays? Or the Dutch doomscene? Or the European one? I think the doom underground is growing beyond proportions nowadays...
I think it depends of what you understand with the word doom. If you think that Within Temptation and Tiamat related music is doom, then maybe we could say so, but I don't think we can call those bands doom at all. I think lately people are mixing up melodic death metal and gothic metal with doom which is not correct, in my opinion. Doom is more about slow, heavy darkness. The Belgian scene, well, I don't know if we can speak of a scene here, there are only a few bands, like Until Death Overtakes Me and Insanity Reigns Supreme. In Holland, there's Officium Triste and Eleventh Room, and in France we have Despond, Worship, Monolith, … But indeed, I think doom is rising for sure, but we can not speak of a 'boom' or 'growing beyond boundaries' I think.
People say it's fashionable to play doom now. Do you agree?
Well, as I said, depends on what you call doom. I don't think doom will ever be fashionable, it's not a style that everyone likes…
You play as a session musician in Until Death Overtakes Me.
Yes, I also played session bass for Until Death Overtakes Me on the Funeral Procession tour with Skepticism. It was a pleasure to help Stijn out with this gigs, he helped us a lot in the past also with Pantheïst and I really like the music he makes with UDOM. I did some session bass before also for bands like Svartkrist and Impedigon, but I'm not doing this on a regular base, only helping out some friends. I have enough projects of my own to take care of, hehe...
I would like to have some short reactions to the following statements:
Best album ever:
All 80's albums from Iron Maiden
Best doom album ever:
Not sure for all time, but my fave doom album for 2003 is surely While Heaven Wept's “Of Empires Forlorn”.
Like a friend once told me “music that makes you turn 'round in your grave”.
Slow, heavy & dark, no more, no less.
I'm not a big fan, but I can appreciate some heavy stoner bands.
Vinyl or CD:
It depends. I have a vinyl collection here too, but I really like both. LP has the advantage of the big sleeves/artwork, and has a nice sound, but CD's are handier, and you can play them in the car.
Future of Pantheist?
Well, we'll be playing in London on the Doom Over London Fest on July 20th, and in Paris with Evoken late September, and after that we'll start rehearsing our new songs for the next CD. Next year we hope to do a tour again, but we'll see about that in the coming weeks. We would also hope to have our next CD out by the time we play on Doom Shall Rise Fest next year.
Any last remarks?
Thanks for the support, check our website for latest news athttp://pantheist.doom-metal.com