Interviewed by Rob Benaquista
Date: May 17th, 2006
What are you currently up to? Feel free to plug whatever you'd like.
Right now, we are totally absorbed with the creation of our new album. We have a couple of festivals in June and then we'll enter the studio for recording.
How did each of you come about forming SamaEl?
We started up as a duet, Xy and I. Mas joined right after the recording of our debut album. In 2002, Makro replaced our first guitarist Kaos.
2005's “Reign of Light” has a much more expanded sound from 1999's “Eternal”, which was quite a departure from your earlier material such as “Ceremony of Opposites” or “Blood Ritual”. What brought about the changes that allowed you to incorporate industrial/electronic music into your brand of dark metal?
A decisive turn out in the Samael's sound was the switch from drums to drums machine in 1996. It opened new doors for experimentations and keyboards took a dominating place in our music. With "Reign of Light”, we've tried to readjust the balance between the guitars and electronic sounds. Our new material is even more guitar-oriented, closer to our live sound.
Talk a little about the upcoming Samael album. How would you describe it musically and lyrically, without giving too much away?
Every album is a little achievement, a small step toward something more massive and sophisticated. We try to keep the right balance between tradition and experiment. Some of the themes treated in the lyrics are self-improvement, ambition and transcendence.
Do you have any plans to tour the U.S. in the near future?
I've heard discussion about a September / October tour but didn't get any confirmation at the moment.
Name four bands (any genre) that you would love to share the stage with.
AC/DC, Slayer, Korn, Prodigy
Of all the bands, you have toured and played with, who were the coolest?
Cathedral and Strapping Young Lad that has been one of the coolest tours we done so far.
This past January, you’ve toured all of Europe with Obituary and Maroon. You’ve also played the Paleo Festival with Rammstein last December. How has your response been during and after these tours?
Touring is the best way to keep our music alive, no matter where or with whom, it is always an enriching experience.
How do you view the current state of rock and metal music in Europe?
Metal had a bad reputation at some point, being considered by some as a sub-rock category. Nowadays it is a music of its own that has a plethora of alternatives and it is here to stay.
When did all of you finally reach the point where music was something that you wanted to pursue for the rest of your life?
Since day one, I wanted to play music. For me it has always been one of the coolest things in life. I can have discussions, I can share moments but I find hard to get along with someone who doesn't have any interest in music.
Name four musicians and musical styles that have influenced your playing from the beginning up until now.
I'm not sure I can answer this question that way as there have been many fluctuations on my musical list over the years and I cannot see one figure that has been there all along.
Talk a little bit about your career highlights. What were some of the most memorable moments in Samael, and what are some of the “best left forgotten” moments?
The first times are always a kind of highlight. First gig, first time in a country, first festival, first headline tour... The most difficult situations seem less hard with the time.
What the first thing that comes to mind for each song?
- “Baphomet’s Throne” - Got something of a hymn
- “Year Zero” - A time of hope and wonder
- “Beyond the Nothingness” - Same than the one before but in different perspective.
- “Moongate” - Clashes of thoughts, of desire and hope...
- “Inch’Allah” - There is a life beyond religion.
What equipment does each of you use? Is your studio equipment the same or different than what you use for live shows?
Except for effects, we use the same gear in studio and on stage. Makro and I play ESP guitars, Mesa and Line6 amps. Mas plays whatever bass he feels like at the moment and Ampeg amps. Xy uses an Akai drum machine, Korg and Yamaha keyboards, Tama drums and Paiste cymbals.
Name three CDs that you are currently listening to at the moment.
Nine Inch Nails’ "With Teeth", Jamiroquai’s "The Return Of The Space Cowboy" and Brahms’ "Violin Concerto - Double Concerto op.77/ op.102" under Karajan's direction.
Name one CD that you think that should have never seen the light of day.
None, all that is produced is worth something to someone.
The listener who has never heard Samael may be quick to think “Black Metal” or “Satanic” band when the name is mentioned. On the contrary, your lyrics and music are far more diverse and less pretentious than the generic Black Metal band. How do you feel about this?
Quick judgements rarely come from people having depth and insight. We've never been the flavor of the week so there is time for everyone to check us out.
What are your ultimate goals in Samael, and where do you see yourselves in 10 years?
Growing as people and as artists and growing as a business entity...
Vorph, thank you very much for your time and effort into answering the questions. Keep up the great work and never lose the passion for music.
Thanks for your interest and support!