Shores Of Sheol interview (08/2006)
|Conducted by:||Richard (e-mail)|
The following interview is with Sathur, the guy behind the Austrian Black Metal solo project Shores Of Sheol.
Here's my questions for the Shores of Sheol interview.. Many thanks again for agreeing to this!
Hi, thanks for giving me the opportunity for this interview. I appreciate it a lot.
Could you please introduce yourself and give a brief history of Shores of Sheol?
The beginnings of Shores of Sheol weren't overly spectacular or extraordinary; I just wanted to start a Black Metal solo project. That was at a time where I just got into the style and found out that it's actually part of my favourite music. I know it must sound like that happened a few years back, but it was actually just a bit more than one and a half years ago. I also gained a lot of interest for Black Metal and its history around that time.
I feel that your album Monumentum has captured the sound and atmosphere of early 1990's Greek Black Metal, such as Rotting Christ and Varathron. I know this was intentional, so what specifically appeals to you about this style, as a musician and as a fan? Was it a conscious decision to do something different to the typical Darkthrone clone approach?
Well, thanks for even comparing my work with these honorable artists. I especially enjoy the unique kind of guitar riffs in Greek Black Metal. They might not feel as 'raw' as the ones used in the Norwegian scene, but the additional melody adds a very sinister feeling to the music. I enjoy these riffs far more than most 'typical' Black Metal riffs. Another strong point is usually the vocal work. I feel it's mostly deeper than the usual 'screeching' but I like to combine these two styles in my music.
No, it wasn't a conscious decision. It took a bit longer to discover the Greek scene and I immediately enjoyed what I heard, but I wasn't aware of how much I was influenced by it.
What are the benefits and drawbacks to being a solo artist? Would you consider working with other musicians in the future?
The main benefit is the opportunity of working completely on your own. No one will interrupt your flow of ideas. You can create whatever you want. While this is a major benefit, it can also be quite a drawback. I guess sometimes you could need someone who tells you what's wrong, or what could be changed in the writing process.
I'm always open for work with other musicians, I've contributed some guest vocals already. I have no plans for making a complete band out of Shores of Sheol though. But that might change some day. I don't know.
How much importance do you give to the lyrics?
Lyrical content is very important to me. I have a bit of an antipathy to completely unoriginal and tired lyrical concepts (…kill Jesus, rape Mother Mary, fuck God, hail Satan…). I mean, I have no problem with anti-Christian behaviour, not at all, but hell, at least do it more poetically or with a decent amount of originality. Don't get me wrong, I don't think I'm some kind of lyrical genius or anything like that, but I try to stay away from lyrical stereotypes. I especially have an interest in ancient myths.
Some people say that ideology is an important part of Black Metal, and that bands of the genre should have certain beliefs and opinions (for instance, be anti-Christian). Do you agree with this, and how does this relate to Shores Of Sheol?
I think that at least a bit of an ideology should be behind a Black Metal project/band. But all of this shouldn't go too far. A band should write lyrics about themes they are actually concerned about, but when people start to form a cult about a band's "image" and start worshipping them because it's some kind of trend..that's an awful thing and harmful for the actual music. I'm very interested in the myths I write about and I can identify my own interests with them.
What has the general response been like to Monumentum, and how popular would you ideally like the band to become?
I've already received a fair share of good reviews and opinions for Monumentum and I'm very satisfied with the result. You know, the positive response really gives you the urge to write more material.
I just hope to reach a fair amount of people who share my musical tastes.
In my review of Monumentum, I criticised the drumming for sounding unrealistic (due to the use of drum machine), and also the sparse use of cymbals. Did you think this was a fair criticism?
Yes, I think your criticism was fair. I understand your main problem, but recruiting a talented human drummer in my area who is interested in Black Metal and likes to spend time recording… is close to impossible. I also think I was able to solve the problem with the cymbals (I found realistic-sounding ones).
I remember in the mid-1990's, there was the ABMS (Austrian Black Metal Syndicate), some sort of organisation which consisted of Austrian bands like Golden Dawn, Pazuzu, Summoning and others. Is there any kind of close-knit Black Metal community in Austria these days? What is the Metal scene like in general in your part of the world?
The Metal scene itself is quite big for a small country like Austria, but Black Metal is still deeply rooted in the underground and not too well known. Most people into heavier music here are Death Metal and Hardcore fans.
You have quite a distinctive vocal style, referring mainly to the high register, 'serpentine rasp' you use. Do you have to make any kind of preparations to achieve this voice, whether it's vocal effects or getting into a certain frame of mind? Does this vocal style represent or symbolise anything specific?
The only vocal effect I use is some reverb; everything else is my natural voice. I don't need many preparations, just a glass of water in case I get a sore throat. The vocal style doesn't symbolize anything specific, but I think it fits well into my general sound and enhances the atmosphere.
Before Monumentum, you released a demo, an EP and a split with a band called Midian. I have only heard Monumentum, but from what I can gather, your previous releases were rather different in style, although still Black Metal. Are you planning to continue changing and redefining your sound on future albums, or to continue developing the style established on Monumentum?
You are right; my previous releases were rather different in style. Beherit and old Mayhem mainly influenced my first demo, but I missed my goal by far. I don't see it as a good demo anymore.
I think that evolution mostly comes naturally. But so far, I feel very comfortable in my niche and the stuff I've been writing since Monumentum also fits into the same scheme, albeit a bit more ambient and folkish.
Thanks for your time Sathur... any closing comments?
Thanks for the interview, I enjoyed it a lot. I'm working on some new material at this moment, nothing precise yet, but stay tuned for a new release in the not-too-distant future.
For any information, go to my website: www.gratis-webserver.de/shoresofsheol
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