Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Band Interview: SOLFERNUS by Dave Wolff

Interview with Igor of SOLFERNUS

Who founded Solfernus in 2002? Was it relatively easy or difficult to find like minded members with similar musical interests?
Three motherfuckers Igorrizerr, Khaablus and Mamba met at a bar and founded this obscure and sick Hellgang. Easy or difficult? EASIEST!

How much time did the band spend rehearsing before you started performing? What was the local club scene like in those days?
So many years ago… But yes, we had some rehearsals. There´s also one video shoot from such a session. Club scene the same as everywhere.

According to the bio for Solfernus’ new album Neoantichrist, it was twelve years before it followed 2005’s Hysteria In Coma. Why did so much time pass from one album to the next?
We played a few live shows and made two video clips. SOLFERNUS appeared twice at the famous event Brutal Assault. We decided to stop playing shows in 2008 to concentrate on pre-production of songs for the second full length but our drummer left the band and we were not able to finish the song-writing session already. SOLFERNUS disappeared in a fog to be re-united lately with the new album "Neoantichrist". So here we are!

What did the band members do during the long hiatus? Why did you finally decide to reform and record new material?
Our drummer Coroner left us three years after the debut album’s release and a few live shows. He founded Cult Of Fire and started their career. I was playing with ROOT. New songs appeared some years ago and it was simply that right time for the second album.

In what country is Brutal Assault held each year, and when did Solfernus appear at the fest? Describe the event to the readers who haven’t attended this event?
Actually it is one of the greatest, most famous metal events in the world. You can visit this monster four-day show in Josefov, Czech Republic. The place is very special: pretty old army fortress. The atmosphere of the high brick walls is incredible. SOLFERNUS performed there when this festival was not internationally known yet. It took place in Svojšice (CZE). We played there twice before the whole event had to be moved to Josefov because of a still-growing audience.

I read that bands who appeared at Brutal Assault include Krisiun, Obituary, My Dying Bride, Dimmu Borgir, Fear Factory and Mayhem. Presumably of this fest word gets around quite a bit. Is word spread more actively in print or on the internet?
Many reports and photos online and in official press too. Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir even borrowed the wireless microphone from our singer. I remember incredible night´s Mayhem show from this Brutal Assault episode.

What were the reasons your drummer parted company with the band while you were involved in pre-production?
There were serious health problems with his legs and he had to stop playing. We were quite sad because he was one of us and the line-up worked really well. We enjoyed fun altogether and played a few killer gigs. He plays drums for Cult Of Fire but not so often and fast as he did in the past.

Is the band in touch with Thomas since he started Cult Of Fire? What have they been up to at the time of this writing?
Of course, we are friends and meet each other now and then. His band is quite active, they release albums and play shows on all continents. We can say they will become successful with their horror-spectacular performances.

Where online can ROOT’s releases be streamed and purchased? How soon will they begin work on their next album?
It´s sure that youtube offers perhaps all ROOT songs for streaming, as well as fans can support us with paid digital albums on Spotify or some another links. ROOT should start to work on another album during 2018.

What were the first songs completed for Solfernus when they reformed? Were they in the same vein as the older songs?
I remember “My Aurorae” and “Mistresserpent” were two demo songs I recorded. The new album is not so similar to the debut because it’s been a long time since we released “Hysteria In Coma” but people can hear parallels, sure thing.

What is the band’s complete lineup at present, and for how long has it remained stable? Who is your new drummer and how well has he been working with the lineup?
SOLFERNUS is represented by four heretic killers: Khaablus - vocals, Igor - guitar/vocals, Paramba - bass, Paul Dread - battery. The new drummer came from ROOT and he did perfect job not only with his own style of playing the instrument but also as a co-producer of the album.

How much experience does Paul Dread have helping produce albums?
He was co-producing “Neoantichrist” album along with Pavel Kolařík, the chief of Ch-Records Studio where we recorded this new stuff, but all of us helped with the final mixing of tracks, it was quite hard team work.

What was the lyrical concept of Solfernus and how has it developed until this day?
It was much more heretic in the past, nowadays we are trying to have more various lyrical concepts. You can find some killing jokes between verses as for example in the song “That One Night”. But SOLFERNUS stands blasphemous and rebellious in lyrics, of course.

Going back to your debut EP Diabolic Phenomenon in 2003, describe the songs on it and how they represented the band’s direction at the time.
We still like this record because of interesting sound and the atmosphere. There´s a killer special guest Dasha – this girl sings as a real black metal top screamer. We used cool keyboards effects for “Diabolical Phenomenon” and the interesting information is that Norwegian drummer Sigbjörn Erik Thørsen did drums for all songs. We had true black metal drummer from Norway on the record. Anyway, it´s officially EP but there are five songs and it´s not so short. Hope this stuff will be re-issued one day.

Has Dasha worked with other bands or released her own material? If so, where can her other work be heard?
She sings with 1000 Let od Ráje – our hometown´s band. Check out this original insane group.

What bands has Sigbjörn Erik Thørsen worked with in Norway? How did Solfernus get in touch with him and begin collaborating?
He played in FLAMEHATE. Erik was studying in Brno four years and we met in local rock club. He heard our demo songs and wanted to be involved on the debut record of SOLFERNUS.

For which songs were made videos from the debut album and why were those songs chosen?
The first video clip was “Advent Massacra” and we chose it because it’s the opening track of the album. Pretty fast and brutal, true black metal blasphemy which you can watch just in this three minutes fast-cuts-movie. Another video was made for the title track “Hysteria in Coma”. We did not plan to make next video clip but there appeared cool footage from SOLFERNUS live appearance so we simply used it for the clip. This one contains natural band´s performance and stage image.

Did you hire a director to film those videos or did you produce them independently? Where can people interested in the band watch them?
Both clips were made by ourselves. “Advent Massacra” was filmed at the legendary Brno’s rock venue called Brooklyn and “Hysteria in Coma” at Brutal Assault. Everybody can find them on Youtube.

What equipment was used to film Advent Massacra and Hysteria In Coma? Does their live presentation offer listeners a better sense of what the band’s abilities?
The song “Advent Massacra” – I am sure we used a digital camera and PA system. Next were two beautiful and sexy women, heavy crucifix filmed with the right point of view, musical instruments, corpsepaint colours and fog. Concerning the video “Hysteria in Coma”, it´s just a visual record of our live performance. The main equipment are headbanging and stage lights.

Diabolic Phenomenon and Hysteria in Coma were released by Shindy Productions (Czech Republic). How well were Solfernus treated by the label while signed to them?
The very first EP was a self-release and the debut album appeared under the wings of Shindy Productions as far. I worked at this label´s office so everything went smoothly.

In 2007 Solfernus appeared on the split Metal Swamp No. 28. It was released on the Metal Swamp label and featured the band with Stíny Plamenů, Panychida, Trollech, Hromovlad and Unclean. What led to you being chosen to appear on this compilation and how much distribution did it receive?
This compilation DVD is a creditable release. All the bands featured on this live visual masterpiece played at least once at the Metal Swamp indoor festival which used to be organized periodically in our home-town of Brno. A few hundred copies were spread among underground black souls.

Tell the readers how often the Metal Swamp fest has been held. Is the fest usually for local bands or have bigger bands been known to appear? Where can people read about it?
I think it was twice or three times per year. There were playing usually Czech black metal bands but people could see also Vader, ROOT, Skyforger or Hypnos at this festival. Because the festival itself was organized by our friends from Brno who were connected with other business activities, you can still check out their e-store on www.metalswamp.com.

Did you get to perform at Metal Swamp with Vader or any other well-known underground bands? Who would you most like to share a bill with?
We played with Trollech and Panychida. The best bill for one night would be Slayer + SOLFERNUS, of course.

How many festivals of note has Solfernus played in addition to Brutal Assault and Metal Swamp?
We hit the stage at Basinfirefest or very good underground event called Apocalpytic Form Of Death, both in Czech Republic.

Are Basinfirefest and Apocalpytic Form Of Death well known events? Who else has performed at those fests?
Actually only Basinfirefest continues and many big bands from the whole world performed here, for example Testament, Venom, Paradise Lost, Sodom and many others.

Is the band being offered inclusion on future compilations? Would you rather appear on a DVD compilation or CD compilation?
Not actually. Both formats could be useful ´cause we plan to make new videoclips too. If you have some tip for fine compilations, impress me.

How did Solfernus get a recording deal with Satanath Records (Russia) for the October 2017 release of Neoantichrist?
We offered the album to some record labels worldwide and got a few serious offers for the CD release. The best deal came from Satanath Records which did amazing job and the final product looks simply perfect. There should appear also CD “Neoantichrist” in Latin and North America via the pure black metal company Azermedoth Records soon.

How did Azermedoth Records hear of Solfernus and what made them decide to help support the band?
They got our promo songs when we were searching for a label and offered us a deal for the release. We´re quite excited to have the CD under the wings of this pure black metal company.

How actively has Solfernus been promoting Neoantichrist since it was released to the public?
Quite active still – answering interviews and preparing videoclips plus some merchandise to promote “Neoantichrist” as much as possible. I´m sure this work will cover our free time in 2018.

What is your view of the direction black metal is taking these days compared to the 90s? Is it a strong point or weak point that it has been accepted in the mainstream?
To be honest, I don´t care – there exists just great or not so great music. I love old Venom or Bathory albums, as well as the latest Marduk´s record. I don´t differentiate if it´s a big or smaller band. Always trying to find really quality art – that´s a point.

Who has been designing the band’s artwork and logo since your first releases? Where can we see work by them?
Band´s logo is the work from our vocalist Khaablus who is a professional graphic designer. We´re used to work altogether on cover art works for albums then. But “Neoantichrist” cover art work is the drawing with charcoal from our friend Thomas Bruno.

How did the band come into contact with Thomas Bruno and how good a job did he do representing the band with his cover art for Neoantichrist? Would you hire him for future album covers?
Thomas made great cover art work for latest ROOT´s album and so we offered him also this “Neoantichrist” motive. The idea is ours but the final form is his excellent work. I can imagine that he will create also next album´s front cover, why not.

Do you hope when Neoantichrist starts getting distribution in the US and Latin America, it will lead to a bigger fanbase in the Americas and eventually some fest appearances?
Have no idea but would be fine to have some new devoted dark souls on the other side of the ocean.

What North and Latin American metal festivals have you heard of where you would most like to appear?
I was at Maryland Deathfest with ROOT last year and must say that this is fucking great metal event where arrive fans from more countries of both, Northern and Southern America. That´s definitely festival which I wish to play again one day!

How soon will Solfernus begin work on a new studio album? Have any new songs been composed for another full length?
We must catch the next album in one decade so should start to work on it.


-Dave Wolff

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