Hails Thorns! You are mostly known as a drummer in the underground circles for many years now, contributing your talent to countless projects in the studio and in live situations. However through the years it seems your main bands were Handful of Hate and Frostmoon Eclipse where you contribute besides the drums also with vocals and as a lyricist. When was the idea of forming your solo one-man band born and especially why?
Well, it’s difficult for me to explain but it’s like to complete a sort of development. I’m always been a drummer and played with lots of bands but for one time I just wanted been a composer and trying to write down my ideas. To be honest I’m working on some composition since 1997 but never had the chance to work on it properly because of the time and the lack of the right instruments. Finally at the end of 2005 I had the chance to have what I needed and so I decided to give me a chance. Anyway the reason was not just to prove myself something but also to give my ideas a proper form and way to expression.
Deathrow already released two albums. Can you describe both with your words and tell us what do you think are the main differences between the first and second record?
I can say that even if Deathrow is just a 3 years old creature, I started recording ideas and stuff around 10-11 years ago… so all the releases out since now are the result of an hard work of assembling riffs and give birth to songs that have finally got the point. In fact the demo, first and second albums are born at the same time when I finally found the way to put all together… I had something like 2 hours of stuff to divide under 2-3 releases and start to looking around for labels interested to print my stuff. I recorded the demo putting inside of it 3 various songs to give the listener a good point of view to start with and I send to Iso666, the greek label that released all my Frostmoon Eclipse’s albums. The response has been great and so I got the chance to release the first album. I decided to divide typical Black-Metal songs to the slow ones just to make 2 different albums instead of getting two hybrids. So “Primordial Lifecode” is my first album just by words because some songs are newer than some you can find in “Gatweays To Oblivion”, that is my second album on paper. In the meantime I also released a split tape of ambient stuff I had for another project back in 1997 that never saw the light and I also released an EP with strange noise/industrial/chaotic songs that were for another project too. Basically for all those stuff would have been stupid to release it under thousand different names while the mind behind it was always the same. Of course I preferred to keep them as split or EP just to don’t make people think that Deathrow could turn the sound towards those different approaches. Deathrow is Black-Metal, but of course I like also “to play” with other kind of dark and hypnotic kind of music that in some way or another are a part of me. Anyway to answer to the second part of your question, well, yes, I’m a very prolific writer… and I don’t know why. I just know that all the time I keep a guitar on and start to play I found some interesting riffs and record some songs… I have a new album ready to record (1 hour of stuff), some songs for a pair of split EP’s and various other songs still to finish… This is the reason why I try to play the less then possible.
What is the main theme in your lyrics? Does Deathrow stand behind any specific philosophy?
Well, I’m obsessed by death and bones… I’m not afraid but death is the end of everything, so I tried to talk about it in different ways trying not to be easy and superficial as many do.
You also recorded an EP with just ambient music. Why this move? It was just a spontaneous thing or are you planning more releases in that specific field?
Nothing is planned with Deathrow because it’s just me. I’ve always played some keyboards creating some ambient passages but of course always remained unreleased, so I decided to put them on one single split tape with a band similar to mine and release it. I’m not sure to write new stuff this way but Deathrow is a quite spontaneous band so we never know.
Although Deathrow is consisting of only one member doing everything, you recently played your first live shows with session musicians. Why you decided to perform also as a live band? How do you feel about the concerts you played so far? Can you tell us who the musicians you use for these rituals are?
Well, of course just a few around know that I’m a singer before to be a drummer… I was singing before to start drumming so to sing has always been a dream to me because I never had a band to do that in a good way. I always performed vocals in studio for Frostmoon Eclipse and backing vocals for other bands but I was missing to have something mine 100%. So after some strict friends of mine told e that the Deathrow stuff would have been great to be played live I decided to have a try. I played the first 2 shows as drummer/vocalist but I finally have a drummer now so I can concentrate just on vocals as I was dreaming since 1995-1996. I did 2 shows as vocalist and they have been really important for me, something that I was waiting from 10 years. The shows have been great and people got the good vibes and understood the right feeling. The musicians that are helping me are: Beast (guitar)from Frostmoon Eclipse, Moerke (guitar) from Vidharr, Gore (bass) ex Handful Of Hate and Redrum (drums) from Vesper. All cool and talented guys.
Do you think that an image of a musician is a basic element of the atmosphere? Is your image of great importance to you?
Sure, for me image in Black-Metal is 50% of the work. If a band has great songs but a very poor image and content is totally a waste of time and efforts. Try to imagine a band like Deathspell Omega for example, one day you see them live for the first time and they come on stage with Bermudas, baseball hats and coloured shirts.. They would waste years of a good image and reputation. I think that Black-Metal is the only genre in which image goes together with the music, it sounds weird because we’re talking about music and just of music we should be judge for but Black Metal is not like this. Deathrow is a Black-Metal band, we’re not talking of happy stuff, we’re trying to evoking the worst of us, the deepest bad feelings that make us feel sick and distant from the modern society… we shouldn’t seem part of this world in any case.
What are your future plans? Is the 3rd album already on its way?
Yes, it’s ready since last year… it will be slow and heavy… very dark and depressive. I focused on some tape edition and a split 7” lately, as well as live shows so I haven’t had the time to record it but I’m not in a hurry, I think I’m going to record it during next winter. I’m organizing some new shows actually and I’m planning some other small releases before a new album.
What about your other projects? Which are the bands you are in right now as a permanent and session member? What can we expect from it? Which of these bands is your priority?
I have no priorities, each band need its time and efforts. I love to play different kind of Black Metal and to travel, visit new places, meet intelligent and easy, grounded people.. this is basically my life. I’m actually playing with Frostmoon Eclipse, Kult, Nocratai, Macabre Omen (Gre) and Deathrow.. plus another pair of bands that it’s better don’t reveal for various reasons. I’ve been session musicians for bands like Nocternity (Gre), Melencolia Estatica, Antares Predator (Nor), Arcana Coeleastia, Tundra, Aptorian Demon (Nor) and Obscure Devotion. I’m not a member but I help to play live also Hiems (solo project of Forgotten Tomb bass player) and I played in Handful Of Hate for 8 years, recording 3 albums and various ep. I recorded more than 15 albums and played more than 200 shows in my life. I’m actually working on the new Frostmoon Eclipse and Kult albums as well as organizing various shows and tours. I’m quite active as always.
Okay that’s it. Please close this interview with telling us where can people get your merchandise, how can they contact you? You can also send death treats to whoever you want, the final words are yours.
I’m 31 this year, I’m a bit old for death treats but anyway who needs info, merchandise or whatever can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my pages here:
Thanx for your time and support.