Interview with Sun Worship from Germany

I did an interview with lovely black metal innovators from Berlin Sun Worship. It appeared in Rockerilla magazine (Italian) and on Echoes & Dust 

For this interview Lars (guitars/vocals) and Bastian (drummer) answered some questions, while busy touring and spreading their great music.

Can you guys introduce yourselves a bit, for the ones new to Sun Worship?
L: Sun Worship is a band that started in early 2010, has drums, guitars and voices and was started with the intention to write songs and play them live.

B: We play what pretty much everyone calls black metal. We like to make music that is fast, harsh and dark. It is supposed to generate a trance-like experience.

Why did you guys pick the name Sun Worship?
L: Because the Sun will be the death of everything around it in the end!

B: Yeah man! There is an interesting paradox in worshipping the sun. You’ll never be able to reach it and if you do, there will be nothing left of you. However there is a lot of interpretational dimensions of the name. I like that it refers to the religious aspects of black aesthetics by somehow turning the cliche into the opposite. Also, people think we’re hippies because of the name, I like that this causes some irritation.

Do you have any funny experiences, due to people thinking you’re hippies?
L: We had a funny experience once when people threw their beer cups at us (and missed) because they couldn’t handle the fact that we didn’t look like them. Provocation is not something we actively pursue, that would be kind of dumb and not what we are about. We put our hearts and minds in the music, so it’s kind of offensive when people think we’re about that. I prefer to do things for my own good and pleasure and according to my own rules and standards, and if that rubs people the wrong way or fails to live up to their expectations and upsets them, fine with me. Saying that you enjoy the irritation you stir in people once in a while doesn’t mean that you have to limit yourself to that cause. We are perfectly aware of the fact that we don’t live up (haha) to some of the ‘standards’ people have come to associate with what they call black metal. We see things differently.

How did you get started playing with this band and did you guys have any previous bands (either seperate or together)?
L: We didn have bands together, but we shared the stages and sceneries. That is how we knew eachtother. The idea for Sun Worship had been around for a while, since our drummer and me had been into this kind of music since our teens. It did take us some time to get started with it though. Bringing in a third person was necessary to make it work, because we have rather chaotic minds.

B: In German terms it was a so-called ‘Schnapsidee’, Lars and me got pretty wasted one night in a bar and then the conversation was basically like: ‘Dude i want to play in a black metal band…’ Which got the response: ‘Yeah man, me too!’No further intentions, i guess… We just did it.

L: We had to get wasted a couple of times to remind ourselves of that idea actually.

What is it you guys do when not making music?
L: Sleep, eat, work.

B: That’s pretty much it. I play squash and do yoga… Spiritual enlightenment. I also help organizing shows in a DIY space.

What are the main inspirations for your sound, the main purpose and goal behind Sun Worship?
L: There’s music in my head ever since II roamed the forests around the place where I grew up. Itś been with me since childhood and it wants to get out.

B: Reaching a higher state of consciousness by exploring the limits of speed in relation to physical abilities. Creating a dark and negative atmosphere to gain a positive experience. That’s what I like about it. For me it is a lot about canalizing the concrete nature of Berlin. At some point i realized that living in Berlin can be quite challenging.

I’m interested in the aspect of Berlin as an inspiration for your sound. Can you elaborate on that? Would Sun Worship sound different, if it was from any other city?
L: Would Sun Worship even exist in another city? Probably not… Of course your everyday surroundings are going to influence you no matter what, but I wouldn’t go so far as to claim that this city as a place inspires me. If anything, it inspires negative energy which I need to vent. I am inspired by other things and other places and I’d rather use the music to escape from here. That said, people in Berlin have created an open infrastructure over the years which is both inspiring and helpful. It’s an ambivalent relationship and this ambivalence is an inspiration in itself.

Black metal is a genre known for its amount of cliché elements and such. You guys seem to take your own approach to it. Can you tell a bit about that?
L: I have no interest in dressing up to look tough or whatever. Anyway, there’s a lot of cliché elements in our music (and artwork too) but we celebrate those. We take our art dead serious, not so much ourselves though.

For many bands and fans black metal is more than just music. What do you think about that?
L: I think it’s a bit of a childish concept especially considering the alleged ‘rules’ and ‘values’ of black metal, but hey, for me pizza is more than just food so who am I to judge?

B: For me music is more than just black metal, an emoticon would make sense now. Anyway, I wouldn’t go so far, and judge peoples attitude towards the genre, but I must say that i don’t really like the concept of scenes and their aesthetic rules in general.

How would you describe the genre, what does it mean and what makes a black metal band?
L: It’s been dead for at least 20 years, for better or worse. Once in a while I hear a band which captures the spirit at least musically (Murg would be a good recent example) but generally all the good bands today are black metal influenced (us included) only anyway. I find that a lot more respectful than to try to desperately reenact what some Scandinavian teens did back in the 90s.

B: The last few years it has become very popular again. A lot of kids from the hardcore and punk scene just realized that it’s by far more than just corpsepaint, torches, spikes and full moon nights. I think the genre and its development profits quite well from it.

So do you think there is some sort of core to the genre?
L: There isn’t any. It’s just been canonized one way or the other, for all sorts of reasons and due to all sorts of perspectives. That’s the way I see it. To me, black metal – or the essence of it, if you wish – is closer to ambient music, krautrock and early hardcore punk than to any other heavy metal subgenre. Monotony, minimalism, repetition, that certain kind of atmosphere, a refusal to play by the rules. One of the very few bands that I can actually apply that to are Darkthrone circa 1992-1994 (and they were very much inspired by 80s heavy/thrash/black metal actually.) It’s a complex matter. Suffice to say that you’d rather find “my” essence of black metal on a Swans, Phill Niblock or Mt. Eerie album than on any “black metal” album released during the last 20 years.

How was it to play Roadburn earlier this year?
L: It was a very good experience. Very professional, but very friendly and exceptionally down to earth at the same time. The enthusiasm and attitude of the people there were very inspiring.

In some preview I read that you guys were music nerds, is there any truth to that? (I think its a good thing)
L: Definitely.

B: Can’t deny it. No.

L: There’s so much good stuff out there. And it’s easier than ever to access it. I suppose that ‘music nerdism’ allows us to approach our music with an outsider perception. Not in the sense that we tyr to incorporate all kinds of weird stuff into our songs, but just for the sake of it. It’s the mindset that matters.

Your record ‘Elder Giants’ is my favorite Roadburn purchase. Can you tell a bit more about its creation proces and the general concepts behind the album?
L: Thanks for the compliment. We had five new (at the time) songs in summer 2012 which we went on to record by ourselves. Two of them became the ‘Surpass Eclipse’ 12″ which was released in early 2013. the other songs partly lacked lyrics and were sitting around until we discovered that the rough mix of the recorded versions suited them quite well. So we finished them, vocals and all, and basically sent the rough mix off to be mastered. We added the ambient track and thought we had an ok sort of demo tape (which us and View From The Coffin planned to release in a small edition) to fill the gap between the split 12″ w/ Unru and whatever would become our first album… but then it actually became our first album. So there was no masterplan or that kind of thing really. And no clearly cut out concept either – however, the album turned out to be a very personal retrospective on and tribute to the music which initially inspired its creation, hence the title.

The album feels more like a big whole, a unity, than just a collection of songs. Is this intentional?
L: The songs were all written within three month or thereabout, that would perhaps explain it. As I said, there was no plan to create an album the way it turned out.

B: A huge amount of the songwriting process happens in the rehearsal room. We listened to the same records during that time, somehow we got into a vibe that lasted a few songs.

How has the reception been, both inside the scene as well as outside?
L: I have no idea about the scene to be honest. Reviews were mostly good and people tell us we made a good album. I’m largely satisfied with it myself and that’s what ultimately important.

Black metal from Europe seems to be returning to full power. What bands from Germany do you think people should listen to (and why)?
L: Unru, Ultha, and Antlers, because they’re damn good and because they have their hearts and minds in the right places.

What are the future plans for Sun Worship and what do you hope to achieve with the band?
L: We’re working on new songs and ultimately a new album, getting that one finished and released is the main goal right now. It’s going to be darker and heavier, but we disagree on that.

Music is less/more than/not Art

Music should never start calling itself art. Why so you may wonder. Well, music is an artform quite seperate from others, rarely recognized as one, always considered less and lowly.

Schopenhauer liked to give music a specificly different position within the arts, because it enabled one to get closest to the world and reveals the ‘in itself’ of it. It does that only if the music is a pure music. It gives us a direct insight and tells something directly about the will of the universe and its unity. He does not condone getting down to it though, music is for comtemplation and Schopenhauer might not consider your favorite metal band music.

…when music suitable to any scene, action, event, or environment is played, it seems to disclose to us its most secret meaning, and appears to be the most accurate and distinct commentary on it.

But Schopenhauer is a rare case. others like Immanuel Kant considered music beautiful and intriguing but ultimately lacking in the meaning and force of communiction that other forms of arts have. Neither did Pound think of it much and by extention and regardles of his profound influence on pop music, neither did T.S. Eliot embrace it, in particular popular music. It’s what it is.

The arts have not been kind to music, and  it as an art form has been left on its own  with its very own appreciation.  Also when it comes to subsidizing of the arts, music is the last to get any dough to make it work. Rather the powers that be will try to keep the fledgling poets alive by funding weird poetry on walls, at bus stops or on benches, because the poet needs to be kept alive. The result of that is not a resurrection love of the word, but just crappy poetry pooped out by bad poets who found a way to make money doing something they apparently care so little for. If they did, they would know that their twitter-style poetry of putting words together in a way you can find on the infuriating ‘justgirlythings’ cards on tumblr is not really artistic. Enough about this topic…

So what can you find when you actually look for music and philosophy, specially pop music. I found this one blog which attempts to bring the two together, but really all it does is bring about connections between the sentences that might make sense, but really would make the artist in question just go ‘wa??’. Also, the whole Katy Perry analysis, comparing a her song to Plato’s cave metaphor is just cute, but ofcourse not adding any value or validation to the music of Katy Perry (which is as yet mostly still done by her other assets). They are great tunes though, that make you feel a bit better, but they’re not charged with meaning, subtext and so forth. That’s alright.

In my view art doesn’t need to explain itself apart from the aesthetic. It beats a shitty explanation you might get with a flowerpot filled with concrete and a broomstick stuck in it, that would read something like: “This art represents the apparent liberty of current day women, who are allowed to look at the top but never achieve it due to male dominated powerstructures that keep them achored to the lowly positions…” See, I knock that stuff up without a thought. Do you feel offended, because this was your art project? Well, that’s how artistic it feels.

Music does not get the validation from thinkers or the ‘art-industry’ of being art. Therefore, it should stop trying to be and define itself on its own terms. Music is music and art is whatever some pompous git somewhere thinks. Music is thanks to this also much more accesible and open, it’s less likely to create elitism (yeah, there’s the hipster thing, but you can pretty much ignore that compared to the sniggering ‘oh-look-at-me-being-provocative-with-a-cucumber-under-my-dress’ crowd in the art world. Art doesn’t want you to come enjoy it, it wants to be left alone and exist outside of society, in its ivory tower (meaning funded by the government). Music wants you to come in and embrace it. So let it be just that way.

True art doesn’t need a label or funding, it’ll just be. That’s what music is doing right now.

The Reading of Books #16

I read some interesting books from Leonard Nimoy (twice about Spock), Dostojevski’s ‘The Idiot’ and a theory about Hitler escaping to Argentina.

Williams, G & Dunstan, S. – Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler

source: goodreads.com

It’s the topic of many films and books, most in high fantastic approach, that the nazi’s somehow escaped. To the moon even, if we may acknowledge the film ‘Iron Sky’. With this sensationalist book the writers have posed that Hitler did indeed escape in an elaborate plot to Argentina and lived hout his life there. The truth of this book has been highly disputed and ridiculed by historians. There are plenty of sources though, that state a similar truth. IN fact, there is also public FBI files on the topic. When dealing in absolutes, these still make it highly unlikely that Hitler did escape.

So reading this book should be done as if reading a historical ‘what if’ story, with a string of factualities that might, possibly lead to an alternative ending. The writers are clearly from a journalistic angle and there for really know how to sell the story to you. You’ll find yourself considering the reality of their version highly likely at some point. It’s a captivating read, but should not be confused for fact. Really, it shouldn’t be. There is a lot of dirt to be found in regard to the third reich and its decline and this book is trying to dust of one of the biggest questions concerning the possible escape of Hitler. It’s well written, exciting and full of accounts to prove the theory.
Well worth reading, but probably not believing unless you like tin foil hats.

Fyodor Dostojevski – The Idiot

source: goodreads.com

I’ve been enjoying a bunch of Russian classics lately and I still find them hard to read often. Not because they are boring, but it’s endless details and focus on the internal turmoils of the characters, the focus on the feelings and expressiveness and the endless superlatives that come with it can be exhausting. Ever since Iggy Pop’s ‘The Idiot’ came up as Ian Curtis’ suicide record I’ve been intrigued by the title and the link of that title to the book. It’s far fetched, but I’ve always felt this might get me in touch more with things from that time. So this is one of the Dostojevski books I’ve read and enjoyed.

The book focusses on Prince Mishkin, who is to all extents and purposes an idiot, a simpleton and a fool. This allows for the society he takes part in a strange touch stone with a guy they can just make fun of and mock, but who turns out to have a much deeper understanding of peoples drives and motivations than any other. Unfortunately not of his own and the story continues while everythign unravels and pretty much everyone ends unhappy and dispersed. It’s writing style is elaborate and rich, focussing much on the main few characters. The other characters are even more made fools, flat figures with good harts but little touch with reality, creating a strange disconnected feel for the reader. A recommendation for the Russian literature afficionado, but not one to take lightly.

Leonard Nimoy – I am Spock

source: goodreads.com

I have never been big on biographical works, but the autobiography of Leonard Nimoy was one I could’t miss out on. So I got myself the audio version, read by the man himself. It’s a glorious account of a wonderful life by Nimoy, from his childhood days to directing Star Trek. It deals with the struggle he had with the character Spock and is a direct reply to his previous book, titled ‘I Am Not Spock’. The embracing of this character and making it a part of himself is a heartfelt account of personal identity, acceptance and knowing the self.

Nimoy describes the troubled history of the original series, the switches in directors and the inevitable end the show was heading for. He also is very clear about his strong affinity with the character and his commitment to making it work, causing conflicts with the directors and writers but which have made Spock the beloved character we all love and adore. He is funny enough very limited on his personal life, which is fine but noteworthy. The funniest bits are the dialogues with himself, with Spock and Nimoy, who discuss certain issues with eachother. This is a great listen or read for lovers of Star Trek, but really for any human being that wants to see how far integrity and honesty get you in life. Live Long and Prosper.

Leonard Nimoy – I Am Not Spock

source; Goodreads.com

Strange choice ofcourse, to read the latest autobiography first and only then focus on the original. Well, I did so anyways, which was regrettably not too rewarding. Where the second edition is narrated by Nimoy himself, on this original you’ll have to make do with another guy. He tells you in big lines the same story as told in ‘I Am Spock’, but allows no doubt to exist about Nimoy’s struggles with the character and firmly keeps the door to the future shut.

Where Nimoy seems elated and free in his later autobiography, this one seems apologetic, difficult and written in a time of struggle. Turns out later that this was actually the case. What I did enjoy in this biography, which was lacking in the later edition, is Nimoy’s passionate descriptions of his love for photography and how he started on it and the pivotal role it played in his carreer. It ironically shows a man much more like Spock than the jovial Nimoy in his later version of the life story.

 

Ground control to Major Tom… About David Bowie

David Bowie passed away, it brought back a lot of memories when I watched that headline appear on google this morning. I’m not an expert, but I would like to offer some words.

Outsider
If you’d ask me to name the 10 best artists of the last 50 years or so, I’d probably name a bunch that worked with Bowie, but I wouldn’t mention Bowie.  For some reason he’s out there, all on his own, on a different level in the music universe. A place now vacant and I believe it’ll remain vacant for a long, long time. There is no artist like Bowie, no person who does music, art, films and making yourself such an immersed, integral part of your work.

My First Bowie
I’ve found that I hadn’t listened to Bowie for ages. I don’t know why, perhaps it just wasn’t time for that. I have been listening to and I suppose have been influenced by David Bowie for most of my life. It goes a little something like this…

When the CD was on the rise, my parents ditched their vinyl. Like many people they believed that time was over. What they kept was Bowie and Pink Floyd (and some miscalleanious stuff, like chart singles with Black Sabbath, but that was something I found much later). I enjoyed hearing the vinyls as a kid, so my mom probably told me Bowie was good and I believed her. I still bellieve most of the stuff my mom tells me. My dad never told me Pink Floyd was good, but years later I told him. He agreed.

Home
So my mom would spin them old Bowie records, like ‘Low’, ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’, ‘Hunky Dory’, ‘Diamond Dogs’ and ‘Station To Station’. I still get the chills from that opening riff of ‘Ziggy Stardust’. This music stuck with me throughout my life. I think the music also stuck with my brothers and my mom still buys the Bowie albums now and then.

While we listened to those records we invented worlds with Lego’s, and rewrote history in board games. We passed our time together playing, thinking or reading.

I’m sad that Bowie is gone, but it also did make me think of those autumn holidays with my mom and my brothers, with Bowie singing in the background. I miss those terribly sometimes.

Sounds of the Underground #31

There have been numerous sounds from the underground worthy of capture like Toska, Protean, Der Weg Einer Freiheit and Krallice. This one packs a punch!

Toska – Toska
Self Released

source: bandcamp

The band Toska is inspired by poetry of Tadeusz Micinski, a polish poet, gnostic and playwright who was an early expressionist or even surrealist. That’s about all there is known about the black metal band, which surprisingly is not from Poland or anywhere around, but from Iceland. This is the debut of the band, which only came out very recently this year (2015).  Let’s check it out.

There’s a cold in the sound of the band, like you can feel in the air when frost is approaching. It becomes clear, while the tracks pass by, that there’s a certain amount of electronics involved in the production of this bit of music, which gives it a particular industrial-like cold feeling. The drums therefor lack the organic, furious feel that you’d expect. They feel too tight, to automatic. Some weird samples of keys are played through the music at a very low volume. This is rather peculiar and a bit spooky. Regardles of all that, the music is intense, full and like a blizzard storm in aural form. If you like you black metal cold and technical, this is the record for you.

Protean – The Burning Centuries
Beverina Productions

source: Bandcamp

Protean is a Latvian band with (former) members of various bands from the Baltic state, such as Eschatos, Urskumug, Frailty, Grondh and many others.  Guest contributions were made by no other than the guys from Skyforger, making this a bit of an all-star record for extreme metal LV. Protean is a musical project that takes a journey through the history of warfare, mythology and legends. From the Punic Wars to the Hungarian Black Legions clash with the Ottoman turks, the longboats of the north and ancient Latvian myths. This is very promising material.

What we get is a clean production and sound that is big and mean. Protean embodies the sound of battle, history and a passion for metal in one furious ball of force. From the chanting on ‘Bringer of Fear’ to its thunderous main song, it resembles the more bold and heavy in the blackened genre, like Behemoth (which I find it resembles a lot). The focus is on atmosphere and grandeur, without much regard of genre boundaries, which is something I love in Latvian metal. The clean singing on ‘Swordwraith’ for example, gives a power metal like vibe combined with machine gun drums. It makes it sound big and honest. I particularly like the long track ‘The Longships Are Burning’, which is a bit of a nod to good old Unleashed and their beer guzzling favorite. A long track full of ambiance of Opeth-y guitar play and brutal bursts like a reign of fire. It shows a feeling for the dramatic as well as great musicianship. This whole album is a demonstration of strenght, a tour de force if you will, of a group of musicians that is highly talented. I feel like I’m just the jackass that wants to tell you that… Please listen to this band.

Der Weg Einer Freiheit – Stellar
Season of Mist

source: bandcamp

This German black metal band was one of those that I missed out on on Roadburn. I thought, judging by the name, that this was some sort of post-apocalyptic folk ensemble. Yeah, you know the kind. Nothing of the kind however, but brutal, icy and melodic black metal (yes, all of that). The band from Würzburg is inspired by philosophy, death and life in their music and has 3 records under their belt this far. Yes I know that ‘Stellar’ has been out for almost 9 months, but have you heard this record? How could I not include it in this section of my website.

The sound of this band is like a warm bath with ice storms. The music provides the bath in the sense that its full and soothing with some major elements creating that immersion. Thematically and through the vocals and hard hooks there’s the storm, stirring unease in the general pool of sound. There’s blistering fury in the sound, but also the anticipation in the calm parts of ‘Repulsion’. Then there’s the catharsis and bliss united in ‘Einkehr’, a chastizing pilgrimage into destruction, total annihilation of the self. Closer is one beautiful and harrowing soundscape, under the title ‘Letzte Sonne’.

Krallice – Hyperion
Independent

source: bandcamp

I feel like I’ve just finished with the previous full length titled Ygg-Huur, which I discussed in #19 of Sounds of the Underground, and then this band of rascalls from New York suddenly drops another one. Hyperion was recorded back in 2013, but only now is released on bandcamp. An interesting mention on bandcamp was the comparison to Sonic Youth, which is hard to distiniguish, but definitely present in the experimental sound of the group. It’s their way of saying Happy New Year I suppose.

The cover shows what appears to be a mountain range or maybe water? It speaks to the imagination, like the music of Hyperion. Blistering, radical twists open up the grandeur of the title track, with roaring drums and intense blasts. The band is like an uncoming storm, taking the most surprising twists and turns in their sound and obliterating any opposition. I can not understand how someone would not classify this as black metal’s next evolutionairy fase. The inspiration for the almost cacophonic, primordial ceremony that is performed on ‘The Guilt of Time’ makes you think of Lovecraftian sources, with copper beaten, clanging and grinding distortion. Krallice proves that they’re here to stay.

 

Self Improvement, self evaluation

I’ve been writing a lot about working on myself, about books I read and theories I tried to embrace. It’s a thing that seemed to be very effective and eye-opening at first, but it’s become a bane a year and a half onwards. A bit of self evaluation.

First off, why am I writing this? I’m not writing this to tell everyone how great it is and how easy it is with the right book. I thought that was it, but it wasn’t. I’m also not aiming to thank people, I did that before and I’m not sure I should’ve. It’s really an attempt to be open, atleast on paper.

I’ve found out two things that are holding me back in growing and developing myself in life. The first is a cripplingly low self esteem, which really makes me feel unappreciated, worthless and unwanted very often. The result of that is behaving as such and acting as such, which is not doing anyone a favor.

The second is an inability to embrace change on certain levels. This is particularly on a communicative level, which in turn is strongly related to that self esteem. I keep my relationships in stasis, because I’m afraid that speaking frankly and openly will influence then negatively. The trade-off? They’re not getting better either. It leads to a feeling of loneliness that I can hardly explain, it makes it excruciatingly difficult to strike up a conversation and make friends. If I start chatting with you, however forced it sounds, know that in my head I’m climbing a mountain. It’s not you, it’s me really, really wanting to and trying to connect.

I can’t stress that enough, I love the connection I’ve felt, however briefly, with a few people over the last 1,5 year. The process has been very difficult and there’s many nights I lie awake faced with my own failure on many fronts, trying to clutch at something to make me feel better about my life. It’s not a matter of changing perspective, it’s  trying to change an almost 20 year old self-defense mechanism that I’ve only recently started to understand.

When I figured out after a year of trying to change this with books and good advice, I broke down one night. I felt so utterly miserable and lost. I was not making progress, I was not connecting to my brothers, my family and friends. My colleagues probably didn’t like me or atleast must have thought I was odd and I just couldn’t bear it anymore. To boot, my PhD application fell through in like the last round and that vat of energy was completely depleted.

So in 2015 I turned 30 years old and found out I was completely lost, floating aimlesly, not knowing what I wanted to do with life. I had to crawl up and get my hands on stuff to change. I went to see a specialist, got some coaching going again and started doing some new things. What helped is my girlfriend (now fiancée, ergo new things), listening an talking to me, telling me to face the values I claimed to love. The hardcore thing, keep a positive mental attitude and do things with full conviction. I’m trying to do that really, really hard.

It’s been a tough year and today I got the wind knocked out of me again, but I refuse to give in and give up. And if I learned one thing in all that time, its that if I do feel like that, there’s always someone willing to help. You just need to ask. That’s the self evaluation, tomorrow it’s time to take steps again.

Interview with Dan of Malakh

While scanning the eternal fields of heavy metal (the internet) I came across a most interesting band, named Malakh. Malakh is Dan’s band, and Dan has an interesting history in the metal scene.

First of all, Malakh is a one man project from South-Korea. Malakh was preceeded by Apparation and Taekaury. The same band, with different themes and names, focussing on the black side of black metal with history and mythology from Korea.

With Malakh Dan approached the music in the form of unblack metal with religious themes of a  Judaic and Christian nature. Where on previous artwork and photo’s Dan would appear with eastern garbs and weapons, this took on a peculiar religious look.

source: garments in the days of Teakaury (source: Metal Archives)
source: garments in the days of Teakaury (source: Metal Archives)

Dan was not too keen to answer my questions and felt that any implication that his projects were connected and that there was further meaning to it, was nonsense. Late in 2015 he dissolved Malakh and also Nemesis Divina Productions, his label. This is the interview without further editing of the answers.

Can you briefly introduce yourself and what it is you do, how you got into metal and what bands youe played in?
Hi, i’m DAN(檀) from South Korea. i playing guitar and singer in MALAKH.

In all your projects, you did everything yourself. Was that a conscious choice?
The reason I do not find is actively seeking members, some guys that
music Cubs are often unrealistic. For me, music is neither faith nor unrealistic fantasy. Just Hobby.

You’ve had 3 bands (or performed under three names). Can you tell a bit about the seperate bands and what they were/are about?
I played Blackmetal and Deathmetal or Paganmetal during 20 years.
Before the current band, or bands, it does not give a significant meaning. The musical inspiration is own thinking. Thus, the musical inclinations take on the concept.

What are your main inspirations as a musician (musically and other)?
I playing my own music style, but when I try to make music with evil thoughts, God destroyed that ideas, thats all.

Can you tell a bit about the EP you did with Malakh? How did the recording and writing proces look and what story are you telling on this record?
I was just creating music normally would. When I do not give meaning creation significantly.

The imagery you use on the cover of the Malakh debut is a peculiar mixture between Jewish and Eastern (Korean) garments, the bandname is Hebrew. Has your music and your own spiritual views developed in this way?
Do not take too serious about music or concept. Music and art is unrealistic. Many metal bands or enthusiasts are captivated by the idea unrealistic. Do not take the concept seriously look at that. And if Christians should respect the Jews. Jews are God’s eyes.

Picture accompanying the Malakh page on Metal Archives (source)
Picture accompanying the Malakh page on Metal Archives (source)

Can you tell a bit about your personal spirituality and how you put this into music?
These guys playing blackmetal Warriors? The battle is one to kill an opponent with a knife and a gun and fists. Not guitar or MIC. Music is just music as the techniques and concepts that will enjoy.

I’m interested in the blend of Christianity and Korean warrior mentality, like you demonstrate on various pictures with traditional weapons and such. How do you feel those two fit together?
My job is a korean martial arts and Israeli Krav Maga instructor. Many young children do not distinguish fiction and reality. If you give meaning to things that are unrealistic it is a psychopath. Breaking in a dream to live in reality a true warrior.

Do you see your three projects as a continuous proces or seperate entities?
All my projects are changed depending on the situation. MALAKH will change in the future as an ordinary metal music of different
genres. Recently there is no time to invest in the making music because of i’m so busy to my work.

Can you tell a bit about Nemesis Divina? What is your aim with this? What kind of releases have you done this far?
Nemesis Divina Production, which avoided the evil words or concepts. Released three albums so far there is no plan until early next year.

How does heavy metal fit in with Korean culture? There’s a stereotype of a strict society here, is metal accepted or is it a rebellious culture?
Metal music is not popular in Korea. I do not think carefully about metal music. North and South is a confrontation situation. Korea people have a lot of people who do not like unreal. South Korea men are obliged to go to the army. I was five years serving in the Korean Marine Corps. too. It will not have time to focus on something metal music.

What Korean bands are worth checking out for people who would want to learn more about the scene?
I have no interest in Korea metal scene.

You did an ‘open rehearsal tour’ recently. Can you explain how that works? What kind of response did you get to it?
My plan Open Rehearsal was to buy a CD for a small number of enthusiasts to better evaluate my music.

Malakh band photo.
Malakh band photo.

What is for you the meaning of the term ‘Unblack metal’?
I rule out the evil black metal music lyrics and dirty values.
So called the name Unblackmetal.

What future plans do you have with Malakh?
I am coming alive with musicians, those who like a little child, I witnessed a lot. Music is art. Art is derived to enrich cultural life of the people. Metal music or anything so do not give meaning to the ideological. The art is unrealistic and you are living in the real world.
I highly do not like to give meaning to human unrealistic. While Christian Metal many guys that this class. That Black Metal and metal music as a missionary? I’m not a missionary in my music. It is the illusion that the mission in metal music. If you want Missions, Put down the guitar and cut your long hair, Go to Palestinians or Syria.
I am detestable humans defile the name of God.

Please use this space to share anything you like to add.
“MALAKH project is not Mission, just a temporary shelter”

Music films that you should be watching

For a long time I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching music documentaries on my free nights. If I’m not hitting the gym, seeing a show or enjoying some other form of entertainment, it’s pretty much what I’m looking for. I was hoping to highlight some cool stuff for you in this blog.

Ok, it’s not just documentaries, also the films they made about stuff. There are some really brilliant ones. So get them in (in any way you want, though I ofcourse have to condemn downloading here ofcourse).

Good Vibrations (2013)

“New York has the hair, London has the pants, but Belfast has the reason!” – Quote from the film.

This film is about Terri Hooley, the godfather of Belfast punkrock. A story of a war-torn country and the spark of hope from a guy who believes in the shared love for music. From opening a record shop on ‘bomb alley’ to signing some shitty punkbands on his own Good Vibrations records label. A great story, made into the funny surreal journey that these events actually were. The film has a lot of humor in it, but also a bit of the darkside that is often found in people that put music first. Enjoy tunes from The Undertones, The Outcasts, Rudi and ofcourse a bit of Belfasts very own Stiff Little Fingers.

Salad Days (2014)

Hardcore is a global thing these days, but its roots are on a few places in the USA. This documentary focusses on the scene in Washington DC. Going from the Teen Idles and State of Alert days to its glory of Void, Minor Threat and many other cool bands. Also the latter days are treated, with Fugazi and the decline of USA Hardcore. The best part is that they actually got the people interviewed who were at the centre of things, not the ones on the sides, particularly for the first part of the documentary. Henry Rollins and Ian Mackaye give their views and ofcourse the Bad Brains drop in as well.
If you are not familiar with hardcore, this is as good as any documentary to get a feeling of what it is about and why it matters. Enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g380O0UlBik

One Man Metal (2012)

Noisey is one of my favorite outlets for news on the music scene and they have a habit of exploring the unexplored fringes of music. This leads to amazing and in debt documentaries that are utterly fascinating. This docu about the famous one man metal bands is one of those. It’s often forgotten that this is not the natural shape music is formed in, so Noisey visits three of the more significant musicans to see what drives them.

This means LeviathanXasthur and Striborg are part of the series of three. It’s a harsh and confronting journey, showing some of the deep loneliness and darkness some individuals experience and transform into haunting art.

Star Wars: The Trade-off of Legends

I’ve enjoyed the new Star Wars film like no other. It reinvigorated my passion for the expansive universe sci-fi series, but when the revamp was announced one thing was soon clear: There’d be a huge trade-off.

The trade-off for new Star Wars films is the reduction of the expanded universe to ‘legends’. This means,that the powers that be are in full control of reshaping, remoulding and destroying parts of the universe in favor of continuity of the films. To me that massively sucks. I’m going to be heavily speculating here about some of the key elements of the Expanded universe in my own brand of depressed analysis. Still, I draw hope from what Timothy Zahn mentioned about this all:

Bottom line: let’s all sit back and relax and see what new adventures are offered to us, both in new books and new movies. It’ll be Star Wars, and that’s what counts. – Timothy Zahn

Force Users

Zahn offers me a good bridge to an inital element of annoyance. Luke Skywalker is not necessarily the last Jedi. In fact, the complete expanded universe has been a huge contradiction of this. If not just for the current sucky situation that Leia seems to have no affinity with the force whatsoever, how about some of the most beloved characters from post-Star Wars EU stories. Ok, there is this slight hint of Leia having a slim sort of affinity to the force when she experiences loss when Han Solo is killed, but its too little, too late. In ‘The Force Awakens’, the son of the couple Ben Solo has force affinity. This is also tricky. I’ll refrain from going into this wasps nest of theory though.

How about Kyle Katarn? Does this trade-off reduce him to the history books of cool-guy-could-have-beens? I’m not saying this won’t be fixed, but there’s definitely an issue now, after declaring Luke the only force user.

source: Reddit

Key Playaz of History

The present is shaped by the past, but this situation offers a great way to really reduce history’s significance to a near zero. Though the Republic fell so easily in the films I, II and III it had stood before that fora millenia. Millenia in which the most fierce and powerful of the Sith were active. Let’s be reasonable, Darth Sidious is a pitiful bit of Sith. Manipulative, sure, but is he so strong that he could overthrow the whole Jedi order? Was Anakin that bright light?

Exar Kun, source: Star Wars Wikia.com

How could that Republic fight back the likes of Marka Ragnos and the combined power of Exar Kun and Uli Qel-Droma and this one fall under the boot of Hayden Christensen?

Expanded Universe reduced to fleeting mythology

Not only does the history seem trivial now in comparison to the film and its characters, it also has been changed from established fact to myth. At any time it can be repudiated, discarded and even erased. From the rocks that show the path of history in the Galaxy far, far away it becomes a misty, vague past with probabilities and possibilities. A vast detereoration of years of passionate work and love for the galaxy. It’s even captivated in the name: ‘Legends’.

A well, these are just my minor concerns. Don bother too much with them if you have never heard of the expanded universe. It shouldn’t bother you much.