Order ov Riven Cathedrals might not be known to all of our readers. Could you, as a sort of introduction, tell a little about the band?
12: I'm sorry but I will not tell you anything about the band, just that we have crushed the scene with two masterpieces in less than a year, and that the new one is already written, probably we’ll record it in January.
As a band you are going through life anonymously. The only thing that is known about the members are the names 12 and En Sabah Nur. Why did you choose to hold back your identity?
12: You know our pseudonyms, it’s enough for us: our game, our rules. I’ll tell you in the vein of ‘Blade Runner’: I have seen musicians selling their art to the demons of music business for a few more albums produced, people forgetting the true sense of the music we do, which is not just music but a lifestyle, just to get a minimum more of visibility on the web, people who even sold pasta and wine as if they were grocers just to have more views on YouTube. With all the due respect, this scenario is ridiculous and pathetic: these people have become what they hated. We play death metal and, in our world, there is only the Order ov Riven Cathedrals, we are not rock stars, we are not Lady Gaga, but we will never sell pizza and pasta, we are deathsters, our names, our fate, our music is what we choose to be, and we have chosen to be 12 and En Sabah Nur.
En Sabah Nur: I totally agree, ‘true’ does not mean not to approach modernity, but to remain faithful to the true spirit of extreme music, which is, and will always be a genre for a few people, surely not a shitty mainstream trend.
Musically you have kept 'Göbekli Tepe' brutal, yet modern and with an emphasis on challenging and complex music and intriguing ambiences. This album turns out even a bit darker and denser than ‘The Discontinuity’s Interlude’ did. Is that what you had in mind when the writing of the album started or is this ‘just’ how it turned out in the writing process? Can we say that this type of music has become a sort of signature sound for Order ov Riven Cathedrals?
12: Music is constantly evolving, as the people who write it down. “Discontinuity….” was an experiment, a way to check if what we had in mind was achievable, ‘Gobekli’ instead is the "mature son": we wanted to add epic, we wanted that beyond the fury, there was also glory and desperation, and this will be the future of the Order, maybe just a little more brutal.
En Sabah Nur: Certainly, during the writing process some parts were added, sections that made everything even more epic and obscure, but we had focused the idea from the beginning: to create an album that would pulverize all the garbage on the market today.
How does Order ov Riven Cathedrals compose a song? Do you come together in a studio when ideas or riffs have been written or do you use media such as Skype to share thoughts and ideas? How do you determine whether a track is good enough for you?
12: I am the author of all the music and most of the lyrics, but En Sabah Nur, besides having one of the best voices in circulation, plays a very important role, he’s the first critic. More often than riffs we use have a dinner together, in which we talk about ideas, about which topics we want to deal with for the album, what these topics suggests to us, how we want to recreate in our listeners the emotions. Then comes the music, naturally as the rain. We have a studio in which I record everything, but after the recording session the material is sent to a professional studio for mixing and mastering, and we have a daily feedback during the sessions with the sound engineer.
En Sabah Nur: I have been friends with 12 since long time, and I live a few miles far from him, so besides having a professional relationship we are on the same wavelength, and often a song is created after a dinner and several liters of wine.
You use quite a few samples in your songs. Do you choose those samples after a song is written, or is the quote already included in the process of writing?
12: It depends. Often a song is inspired by an idea and this idea is often referring to a quote itself, a movie, a book. When we can find the file on the web, if it sounds good, we insert it into the song: the references are there and we want everyone to understand them.
En Sabah Nur: I'm a huge fan of 80s sci-fi films, and I think that the atmospheres of those can interact perfectly with the genre that we decided to do, I think that death metal and sci-fi and horror themes are perfectly together. And given the amount of films in circulation, the ideas will never be lacking.
The two of you are solely responsible for writing the music. How do you organize feedback on the music you have written? Do you take the opinion of, for example, befriended musicians into account or it is mainly a thing between you two?
12: The first feedback comes directly from ourselves: we are not twenty years old guys, we grew up with extreme metal and so we know if what we have written is good or disgusting. But an opinion which is very important to me is that of the ‘third member of the band’, who often recorded the bass parts on some songs, namely ‘Inverted star’, he is Swedish, we are Italians, if all goes well with all three of us it means that the song works. But I have to say that I have really appreciated the review on No Clean Singin, both greats and done by people who surely knows a lot in our kind of music. If the rest of the world does not like it, I'm sorry for the rest of the world.
En Sabah Nur: Except for the opinion of ‘Inverted star’ we are not interested in others: certainly, we are pleased if our product is appreciated, and in this regard, I would like to thank, besides you Patrick, two guys that we have never even seen but that support us since our first notes: Sam Yates and Arpad Korenci.
The album has been mixed by produced by you and Stefano Morabito in the 16th Cellar Studios (Decrepit Birth, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Hour Of Penance). To what extent has his contribution influenced to the sound of the album?
12: I am friends with Stefano since when we were kids, also if we live very far away, I know how he works and when I decided to hire him I knew what to expect. Although I am the only mastermind of the songs, usually the first day of the mixing session we go to 16th Cellar studio and listen to the whole record together with Stefano, talking about the topics of the album, what we want to communicate with this record, and we analyze the most intricate parts of the songs so that he can say what he thinks and get an overview of the situation so that, in case of problems, which are always there when we mix synths and guitars for instance, we can achieve the best result.
The subjects on your albums are built on ancient (Egyptian) history, mythological themes and science fiction. Where does your fascination with these themes come from? Where do you draw the inspiration for your lyrics from?
12: History is the version of the facts of those in power. So, there can be multiple versions and therefore different histories. We are very fascinated by the theories of people such as Mauro Biglino, and by the fact that probably the ‘unfathomable mysteries’ of the origins of the world are such because there has always been those who wanted to close their eyes with the lies of religions. Both I and En Sabah Nur read a lot and the inspiration comes often from books we have read, documentaries we have seen, or directors we are fans of. But there’s one thing I want to say: even facts not directly connected can create the right mood to write a song without compromise; for example, in the past few days, I noticed a man and a woman commenting on YouTube tracks of band such as Behemoth, Mayhem and other, the channel is called ‘Christians react to metal’ or something like that. I was really shocked: we are not interested in religion, and personally I consider it as a mask that has deceived the world for millennia, but watching the hypocrite attempt by two Christians to ‘accept’ and ‘to understand analyzing in the Christian vision’ music which is by nature itself anti-Christian really made me go crazy. I hate Catholic respectability, the idea that if you do not think like them then you have to redeem: this people must stay away from our music, the fact that they listen this form of art, well, it offends me.
En Sabah Nur: I totally agree with 12, I too watched that show on YouTube: they are ridiculous.
‘Göbekli Tepe’ is only available through Bandcamp. Will the album also be released in physical form or will the fans have to do with a digital release? And what about merchandise, such as T-shirts and/or hoodies; will it become available or would these not be in line with the approach you have towards music?
12 : I was waiting for this question and it is a long story. About the ‘physical form’ of ‘Gobekli ...’ ... sadly, we are in 2018, and today the internet, has demolished the concept that we had of music in the past, so, first of all, we decided to put the album online so that those who had appreciated the previous one had the opportunity to immediately listen to the new one. We have no fan, in extreme metal should be deleted the concept itself of ‘fan’, but for those who admire us, we want the best and we want to reach them as soon as possible. For the promotion we relied on Anubi Press, who did a great job, besides the guys who work with us, whom I call the ‘Atomic Bane Squad’. It was our intention to print and distribute it via a label but the offers we received were really pathetic, and I regret that there are record labels, even big and famous, which act like jackals on the band. I do not care if you are the biggest label in the industry: if you ask me to pay for printing, mixing, mastering my record you are and you will always be just a fucking bastard thief. Since we have not accepted the offers, the record will be printed at our expense, and I suppose it will be available around November, we’ll write it on Bandcamp anyway. About the merch, a good part of the speech made earlier for the record is applicable to it, but one thing is sure: shirts and more are fine, but certainly you will not find the pasta or beer of the Order ov Riven Cathedrals: we are not a grocery store.
En Sabah Nur: In today's market, if you pay, you can have it all: take a ride on YouTube and you'll get an idea of what I'm talking about. I think that if you want to manage a label you must have the courage to invest above all on unknown bands, that is: take out money dude, don’t ask for it, otherwise you're just a circus animal.
Should we consider Order ov Riven Cathedrals to be a studio project and accept it as a fact of life that we will never see the band live or ...
12: We both have works, and at the moment we are only a studio project but I do not exclude that in the future we can participate in some event. We have some people who would be more than willing to help us, but we will see.
Thank you for taking the time to go through these questions. Let’s come to a closure; if there is anything left that you’d like to mention, feel free to do so…
12: Thank you so much Patrick, I take this opportunity to remember and thank again Ralph Santolla, my old friend, who recorded his, I think last, solo on ‘Gobekli’: see you on the other side my friend.
En Sabah Nur: Thank you for the interview, Patrick. I just want to say that we are not cocky, I just dislike today’s music business and the way in which labels treats band, I hope that this will change, and I know that it will not change. But we will be here until our day will come: stay true.