interview: Dawid Krosnia
‘I honestly don’t want to have much influence from current music as I prefer to avoid sounding like everyone else.’
photo: Crimson Moon
Crimson Moon has just released the third full-length offering – Oneironaut. Intrigued with the whole concept and the band itself, we spoke to Scorpios about Crimson Moon’s new creation and his musicianship. Check out the new album and get it through World Terror Committee or Dark Adversary Productions!
The Goat Tavern: Hi Scorpios, How are you? Oneironaut is finally out! Do World Terror Committee and Dark Adversary Productions do everything in their power to promote this highly anticipated record? Are you happy with the media response so far?
Scorpios: Hello, all is well here and things are busy. Both W.T.C. and Dark Adversary have been nothing short of excellent to work with and it is great having them support this album. The media response/reviews are still coming in, mostly very good reviews and a couple not so good but the few bad reviews were laughable at best… I think it’s safe to say when a journalist writing a review on the album compares the riffs to sounding like Watain and Dissection, they have a very limited knowledge of this kind of music. Ultimately though album reviews are pretty useless to me, I have never bought or avoided an album from reading someone’s opinion (review) about it. I am more pleased to read individual comments or feedback on the album from people who are sincerely into this genre of music.
It took you just over a decade to find strength and courage to record Oneironaut. What were the reasons that withheld the process of creating and recording a new full-length album? Was it lack of inspiration and ideas or lack of finance and interest from the labels?
It was a mix of many things, from recording set up to being very critical of my own music. I like to work on the material when I am in the right mood, and of course having the time to do this is essential. When I began to record Oneironaut, I had just joined Melechesh which really leeched a lot of time from things, which was not even so much due to the schedule with Melechesh but more from the chaotic management and planning. I was in no rush to just finish the album and get it released and wanted to look into options for labels etc. I also enjoy to have the time to let material ‘age‘ a bit after I record it and see how my opinion is after some time to hear it. The problem with this is that I am always learning when it comes to recording and production, so what I record yesterday, I have learned to do better today.
There was a lot of things with Oneironaut I could have done better since 2012 due to the equipment I have to use now, and quite a bit was done about that as well, for example our guitarist Sabnoc re-amped the guitars through his Kemper amp which made a huge difference. A long story short, I recorded most of the music on a laptop using windows and Sonar as a DAW, which had a lot of limitations on what I could do without crashing the laptop and resulted in having to do things in a not so conventional method to avoid so many technical problems. I eventually upgraded to an iMac and Logic as a DAW which opened a lot of possibilities, but was also a big learning curve and basically presented some challenges on its own to switch between DAWS and operating systems. Mixing was a very gruelling process, and thankfully I had Endzeit Studios to help with the mastering. After all has been done though, I am very eager to continue on new material as I can be sure it will only turn out better than the previous. At the moment we are finishing up bonus tracks for the vinyl edition of Oneironaut and the sound has only improved.
From what I understand, you’ve recorded and composed all the material for the Oneironaut by yourself. Did it take you long to arrange all the music and ideas to reach the final decision that everything sounds as it should do? What was the main source of your inspiration during that time?
I actually wrote a lot of the material quickly. The song structures for most the songs were done usually in one night. A typical session would be starting in the evening on a song and working until early morning on it, by then I would have the main guitars drums and often bass completed more or less and would go back to each track randomly to fill in the blanks. The most challenging parts are always just adding the final touches until I felt like the song was complete. The title track was exceptionally challenging due to its length of almost 20 minutes… the hardest thing about this is that it helps while working on a song to stop and listen from the start up until where you are at to make sure you don’t stray from the fluidity or atmosphere, so this takes exceptionally longer. The mix was a lot of work and so was the master, to get the whole album balanced in sound. It definitely is not perfect in this aspect either due to how it was recorded, but I think we did the best we could with what we had without being perpetually stuck in re-doing this and that.
The lyrical themes on your all productions include a great amount of mythology, vampirism and sorcery. I’ve discovered that you have a great passion for ancient history and in particular Sumerian period of time. Why Sumerians? What is so interesting about the first urban civilisation?
I always had an interest in mythology starting from a very young age and coming across some Greek mythology books at the library while I was in grade school. The interesting things in Sumerian history and mythology are the things that are not so easy to explain, advanced knowledge of the solar system for example.
When listening to the Oneironaut over and over again, it feels that each of the six presented songs tells a different story but I can sense some unity between them all. Can you tell us more about the story behind them? What message are you trying to put across with this record? What does the title Oneironaut actually mean?
There is no particular story to sum it all up. Musically, I always liked to write material for Crimson Moon that gives a dark but dream-like aura. As Oneironaut means a person who explores dream worlds, usually associated with lucid dreaming, the title relates to a lot of the topics in the lyrics and ties lucid dreaming into astral projection.
There are four special guests on Oneironaut, could you share some light on who they are and what involvement these personas had in creation of the new album? Out of all musicians in the whole world why did you choose specifically those four?
These are all individuals I have previously worked with and whom I felt could offer some new elements to the recordings. I never was overly fond of ‘shred‘ guitar solos in black metal, but when Ralph Santolla offered to do it, I was confident he could do it in a fitting manner and knew he was also capable of thinking outside the box in what lead parts he could come up with. Also on the same title track, Heirophant from Acherontas performed the Cretan Lyra which blew me away. Over the years I have known him, it was only around that time I learned that he played the Cretan Lyra, and plays it extremely well. He has contributed more pieces with this brilliant instrument on some of the bonus material for the vinyl as well. For the additional vocals, I always liked Ixithra’s vocal style with Demoncy, so that is how that came about. I would say the same for V.P Acherontas on Gossamer of Arachne.
The artwork for the Oneironaut is simply breathtaking, it looks like a painting. Who is responsible for this creation? Are there any hidden stories or symbolism behind this artwork? How does this image relate to the lyrical concept of this record?
It is indeed a painting done by Kitti Solymosi/Anatiummi arts, who also did some of the additional artwork in the layout. Earlier in 2016 when Goatowarex hired her to make a new rendition of the To Embrace the Vampyric Blood cover painting for a vinyl release, I was already very familiar and impressed with her work. I was already familiar with her work in the past and in contact, I liked her way of working. I was able to just write out concepts and symbols I wanted incorporated, along with a (very poor) rough sketch and she was able to translate and execute it flawlessly. Some of the symbolism in the cover art would be the two mountains (i.e. Mountains of Mashu/Kur or the entrance to the underworld/Kurnugi), a 7 headed dragon from below the salt water (subconscious) and exalted into the air (conscious), representing the veil of the Abyss.
Crimson Moon – Oneironaut – out now on World Terror Committee!
In the last decade, black metal became very ‘popular’ across the globe. I would even say that it is probably the most profitable in the sense of tour packages, album and merchandise sales. How do you perceive black metal today? Has your view changed over the years?
A lot has changed. I don’t keep up much with what is going on today and I don’t go to concerts very often at all. When I started Crimson Moon though it was much more secluded (music scene wise), living in Southern California, the only contact I really had with anyone into this type of music was through mail – tape trading, spreading demo tapes etc. As far as being profitable for a tour package, I guess that depends. Some bands with big names tend to fill up venues, but I have seen plenty of shows with very small turnouts. There are a lot of things involved in the equation though – location/country, how much work the promoters do, what night of the week it is, who else is playing around the same time/area, how often a band is playing live etc.
Do you actually listen to any new black metal bands these days? Did anyone catch your attention recently and it’s worth mentioning?
I do, but I just have a hard time finding anything that really grabs my attention. Honestly, over the years I listen to less music as I am always working on music and spend a lot of time listening to my own work, mostly to analyze things and further develop in mixing and production. I honestly don’t want to have much influence from current music as I prefer to avoid sounding like everything else. There have been new bands that caught my attention, perhaps they’re not even new, just new to me. Actually a lot of the newer stuff I have come across that I enjoyed was released through W.T.C.
photo: Crimson Moon
Are you planning to get back on the road anytime soon? Do you have any other musicians in mind you’d like to involve for the live rituals?
We have a few shows set up for 2017 but it is just now that we will begin to be active on booking things. We are a full line-up and it is very solid, so we do not need any other musicians. We prefer to be selective of what shows we play and not interested in just playing as many shows as possible. We pretty much have our terms to play live set in stone, so if an organizer does not accept them or cannot fulfill them, then we are not interested. A lot of work has been put into preparations to play live, so to keep things up to standards, there is very little room for compromises. We will be announcing some more live shows within the next week or two.
You’ve previously toured and recorded the amazing Enki with Melechesh. What was the reason for your departure from this band? I’ve witnessed your performance a couple of times with them and you all looked like a one big happy family.
I left Melechesh due to a combination of professional and personal reasons. There were a lot of problems in the way things were being run in that band and they just kept growing. I think this is pretty obvious when you look at how frequently their line-up is changing. I think it’s safe to say the majority of the people who have played in that band ended up leaving with a bad taste in their mouths. For me personally though, it was also just a matter of what I want to do in music. Ashmedi was more interested in doing things in a rock star manner and I am completely the opposite. When I first decided to quit the band, it was a pretty big decision but now looking back a year later, it was one of the best choices I have made.
How do you see Crimson Moon evolving in the next decade or two? I hope we don’t have to wait for another Crimson Moon album for another eleven years!
Honestly, things have already evolved in 2016 far beyond what I had anticipated. Surely a lot of hard work and time was invested, but I try to keep a healthy level of pessimism to what the outcomes will actually be. I believe it is essential to utilize the momentum of things so the time until the next release will be quite different than how things were in the past. In 2 decades from now, I will be nearly 60 years old… it’s a bit difficult to say how exactly things will evolve, but it should be interesting.
Thank you very much for taking your time to answer these question for The Goat Tavern. We wish all the best with the promotion of the new album. Do you have any last words or reflections you’d like to share for your UK fans?
Thanks for the interview and your support. We hope to make it to the UK in the near future. I always see these posts of a when a band announces concert dates flooded with comments from people saying ‘play here, come to my city etc‘. I guess a lot of people don’t realize that most bands have little choice of what location they will be offered to play. Anyone interested in seeing a band play in their area should would probably get better results sending these comments to their local promoters/organizers.