While preparing for this upcoming interview, I remembered Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey documentary – to be more exact, that iconic part with Gaalh, when he was asked, in a cliché manner, what does Black Metal mean to him…. and he replied ‘Satan’. Joking aside, my first curiosity would be what does Black Metal mean to you and how did you chose this particular genre for your artistic expression?
In my case, I started listening to Black Metal in my childhood (around 2002) and I begun to perform it in 2009 in 2 local bands from Constanta, Argedava and Athanatos. It’s a melodic music genre. I was attracted to the mainstream music bands of those times, started slowly to dig more and more into underground and to comprehend it more and more, musically and conceptually. Warhymn represents a continuation of what I started in 2009, with aforementioned projects.
Are there any other projects, maybe from abroad, that influenced you? What other kind of music do you listen beside Black Metal?
I can quote as an influence bands such as: Primordial, Immortal, but also more underground bands such as Nokturnal Mortum, Graveland, Drudkh (I’m a fan of Eastern Black Metal scene).
Sounds great! Can you introduce your colleagues and tell us how did you begin to perform together?
We listen to Extreme Metal, but not exclusively. Although we sing Black Metal, we have a quite broad horizon. We listen to many movie and game soundtracks, progressive rock, bands like Opeth, Pink Floyd, I can say our spectrum is quite diverse. We hope this will diversify our future compositions even more.
Next to me is Tibi, the band’s bass player. Vali Cristocea (Machiavellian God) is the one who united us all, after I have already released alone the debut album. We were encouraged by him and also by Mihai Coro to develop Warhymn from a solo project to a full time line-up. We had some rehearsals (only me with Vali) where we played with a drum machine, in order to test the live options of our songs, then we recruited Tibi and Philip (Akral Necrosis), who were both more than happy to hop in.
Yes, I noticed you’re quite a young band, having just one full length, and, if I may add a personal opinion, a valuable project in our local scene. How was your music received by the audience and the press, what was the feedback?
Because it was a solo album, the release was quite low profile, online at first and quite low-scale. Then, it was physically released by the Russian records Narcoleptica Productions. The album was reviewed mostly by our friends, rather than the media. We received mixed feedback, but it was satisfying to me, given the fact that it was registered in a home studio and mixed and produced with the help of Radu Bogza, who was a student in sound engineering at that time. Because of all these, I’d say that it has its limits, but we learned a lot and our future EP will be substantially better produced.
Do you have future plans for a new album, or is it too soon for me to ask?
No, it’s not soon at all. We already have a new song that we rehearsed for some time, but we’re not ready to present it to the public. We also work at two more new songs, featured on a 20 minutes new material, sometime in the spring of 2022.
Let’s talk about your first live appearance now. July 31st, you will have your first live ever, in Quantic, with the Serbians from Infest and Crimena. What are your feelings before this important moment for you as a band?
I’d say we prepared quite well for this show. We were taken by surprise by a call from Emi who asked as if we were ready to go live. We consulted and reached the conclusion we can play an approximately 35 minutes show, and give the best of us, after a year of rehearsals! We have mixed feelings, because Tibi is at his first live appearance, and I haven’t played on a stage for roughly 10 years. Vali and Philip are the most experienced, having enough live shows in their resumes.
My next question has two components. You will perform in a post-pandemic era, how do you think this will impact your first gig? Do you think it would have been significatively different before, would you have had different feelings or expectations? Second, how do you think the future of the underground scene will look like, given the present conditions? I’m asking you this because I had quite an eerie feeling at Dordeduh gig, the first big event after quite some time – I felt somehow like it was for the first time I attended a concert (although for me that happened more than 20 years ago). I was just curios how does someone feel all these on the scene.
To be honest, we don’t have any expectations. We will just go on stage and give our best after almost an year of rehearsals, regardless of how many people will come or their reactions. It’s very important for us to make a first good impression, maybe even to surpass the audience’s expectations. We wish to play an energic show, without many words, and to convey the album’s theme and atmosphere to the public.
Now, the second part – I was at Dordeduh gig as well, but at Bucovina unfortunately I had to go. Dordeduh sounded perfect, like they always do, but I felt like the band-public energy somehow lacked. I think the Romanian underground is slowly but certainly evolving. It’s very important for a band to understand the mountains of work and investment they have to give, in order to reach a professional level. We hope we will achieve it at some point. There are some Romanian bands, not many to be honest, who understand this and evolved, by surpassing the “underground band” level, sort of speaking. As a conclusion, it’s much more difficult to launch a band in Romania and in the Balkan space than in the West, we have to be aware of that and to work more.
Your answer is very thought-provoking, you say that many Romanian bands don’t understand how to reach a certain level and what does that imply, if I understood you well. What do you think it’s the public’s role?
To master any area, not just in music, you first need time. For the Extreme Metal Romanian bands, time is limited. We all have to work for a living and we make music solely for passion, in our remaining time. Now I speak in general, it’s very important for the public to understand this, because they keep a band alive. If you like a band, buy their merch, come to their gigs, help them earn from music and they will evolve a lot if indeed they have a passion.
I noticed many intellectual or biblical references in your lyrics. I have a question suggested by someone in the audience, do you read books, and if so, what have you read recently?
To be honest, I haven’t read a lot lately. The album’s concept is based on quotes and messages from two books, Michael Howard – Book of fallen Angels, and Nigel Jackson/ Michael Howard – Pillars of Tubal Cain, and we developed it in 2010, when I was performing with Athanatos. It’s about free will, each person must act according to his feelings, without the coercions of religion, doctrines and so on. In our conception, the original sin is about earning moral and intellectual freedom, that must be obtain regardless of the price.
I can totally understand, nowadays life is so chaotic and it allows less and less time for the activities that fulfill us. I think our interview reaches its end. Please, tell me if you have any last message for those who will come to see you, maybe, on 31st in Quantic.
We thank those who will be curious to come and see our debut. It’s an encouragement and a great opportunity for us, we also wish to thank Emi for it. We will give an Atmospheric Black Metal show that we try to enrich more and more in the future. Be there!