20.06.2007. SAMAEL, Vorph 2
Switzerland's Samael have come a long way since their black metal days in the early 90s. A unique talent even back then their current blend of electronica and industrial metal have gained them a loyal and diverse fanbase. On June 1st, 2007, they released their latest album "Solar Soul" and Audrey Dujardin discusses this, their new deal with Nuclear Blast and other things in this interview with frontman Vorph.
Tartarean Desire has asked me to question you on the band's becoming since our last talk.
What are the main changes since last year, in your own words?
The entire year did gravitate around the creation, production and recording of our new album. We started working on it when we came back from our latest European tour. The recording sessions have been the longest we ever did, mainly due to the fact we played few festivals and single shows during that period and had to stop to rehearse for those gigs. In December everything was ready and we actually mixed the album in January 2007.
What are your particularly proud of?
"Solar Soul"! without hesitation. It has been our main focus for over a year and it will keep on being so for the next one.
Now looking back on last year and if you were given the power to go back in time, what would you change?
I wouldn't change a thing. It was a pretty decent year and I found it exhausting, just to start thinking about the outcome that a single change would implicate in the course of time.
Can you please tell me the story behind your recent collaboration with Nuclear Blast?
"Reign Of Light" was already licensed to them in America and it seemed a logical thing to extend the deal to Europe for the new album. They've been interested in S A M A E L for sometime now and we've seen them growing strong over the years. It was probably time to meet.
Are they up to your expectations?
We've no doubt about their capability to promote an album and made it available to the most. We know we have to work on the American market and we hope they'll back us up.
Let's talk about the new Samael album. Can you tell me how the composing process went? I know that most of the time Xy composes most of the music, was this the same? Who else helps?
We were on tour in January last year and we spend over a month together talking about what we wanted this new album to be. We've set the frame of the album before Xy started to work on the songs. When we thought we had it, we called Waldemar (Sorychta) and he came down to Switzerland to check the songs with us. It's important for us to have someone who could have an external view of our songs so they can be developed a bit further.
What inspires you for the lyrics? the music itself? Are the lyrics a completely different writing process?
I gathered ideas that triggered something in me and some will eventually be developed through a song. For the last three records, I had the music first. I listen to it a few times and try to put words on what the song is telling me.
Once you get to the studio, is all the music already composed or is there room for improvisation/experimentation?
Xy might from time to time add some arrangements or change little details but usually everything is finished before we start recording.
When it comes to the content of this new album, I find it more 'Samael' than 'Reign of Light". It's a bit more back to the roots, and less 'pop' than the previous record. Do you agree or argue?
We wanted to have on this album all the elements we thought where essential to S A M A E L. We've tried different things on our latest recordings: the massive keyboards arrangements of "Passage", the almost danceable rhythms of "Eternal" and the Oriental touch of "Reign Of Light" and our wish was to have all this into one single record, to show different side of the band.
When it comes to celebrating the 20th anniversary of the band, apart from Century Media releasing a 'best of' CD will you organize anything else? One-off special shows, guest musicians?
We haven't plan anything special yet so it's probably already too late for that. On the other side, "Solar Soul" might be a good way to celebrate those past years...
If you could do ANYTHING that you wanted for the 20th anniversary of the band, what would you do, regardless of cost or reality?
I guess we'll use the next 20 years to celebrate those 20 first...
Looking back on the 20 years of Samael, can you comment on your main successes and areas of improvement? What are your 5 main landmarks in the career of the band, good or bad?
One album after another, we've tried to improve steadily. If I would have only 5 landmarks to choose, I'll say 1st record "Worship Him", "Ceremony Of Opposites", "Passage", Makro joining the band, and "Solar Soul".
In your opinion, is 'Passage' still perceived as the main 'reference' Samael album? Why or why not, and if not, which album replaces it?
I can understand why "Passage" has been regarded for a long time as our most important record. I think this is when S A M A E L started to sound different from its previous influences; it emancipated the band in a way.
What was the impact of the 'Samael spin-off' projects such as 'Xy's Passage' and 'Era One' on Samael's career? Was it positive or did it give a confused image of the band?
It is hard to say, I know I've learn a lot by working on the "Era One" project, especially on the vocal matter. I have been able to use that new acquired knowledge on the new S A M A E L's songs. Xy's version of "Passage" was more his thing and he did it for the fun of it.
Will you release such projects in the future, or do you expect Nuclear Blast to be a bit reluctant, like Century Media was?
We haven't discussed anything like this with Nuclear Blast so far, but for the moment S A M A E L takes all our time and energy.
How is Samael doing in the USA? Can you tell me some anecdotes about that?
We did a few tours overseas but the most memorable is probably the first one. We played 23 shows in 23 days in a camper...I could extend on this with anecdotes but I'm sure you got the picture...
What is Samael's plan for the next 5 years?
First of all we'll try to play as much as possible for this new album, in Europe and America but we'd also like to play places we never went before like South America or Japan. We should put out a new DVD in the next couple of years and will work on new material to make sure the next album will be out before that 5 years period is over.
What feedback have you gotten so far on the new record? How are people comparing it with the previous record? Do you agree with them? What would you say to correct those who misunderstand it?
Few people describe it as being the logical following to "Reign Of Light" which is fine with me. I've already explained what we've tried to achieve with this new record and to my satisfaction I haven't heard any bad thing about "Solar Soul" yet.
Thank you for answering all the questions so far. Have I forgotten to ask you something, and do you have a message for our readers?
I hope people will make the effort of listening our new album and hopefully they'll like it. We'll do our best to play somewhere near your place and we're counting on you to be there!
- Audrey Dujardin