Interview with Columbarium Station and Lord A by Dave Wolff
Discuss the origins of your musical project and why you first began working together.
Lord A: We are longtime friends and members of a discreet society and brotherhood called "Strigoi Circle", where one of our fields of practice is aesthetics, which refers to the experiences of estrangement and attraction through art, music and the like. Recording Vampyric Ritual Chamber Music was something inevitable for us.
Fabio Hattock: Lord A is a longtime friend and brother, as he said, we are part of the Strigoi Circle, and we had already discussed working on a project like this seven years ago.
Approximately when did you two decide to record “Vampyric Ritual Chamber Music” last year? When you started working together, what inspired you and what was your goal?
Lord A: Vampyric Ritual Chamber Music started back in 2014, about seven years ago and was released on Halloween 2021 during the Vamp Halloween Network. Our inspiration was the joint rites where we explored lucid dreams and the so-called mystery of night flight. We sought to record what we could of the atmospheres, nebulae and the isthmus that we traveled during this period. I put it together in arts and words. Fabio created music from the core of his soul that expressed everything even more clearly back in London in England. I was in São Paulo, I believe we were successful in exploring the thresholds of what is now called the fifth dimension.
Fabio Hattock: In mid-2014 I started to explore the classical music of the shadows, and was inspired by horror movie soundtracks, especially the old Hammer movies, I started to create the sounds little by little. In the meantime I read Lord A's book, Mistérios Vampyricos, and the music started to flow faster. Dreams and nightmares made me create some sounds and I felt a vampiric aura intertwining the whole concept. With the partnership of my noble brother Lord A, I believe we have managed to create an album that will touch the soul of those looking for the soundtrack for their night walk.
Is "Vampyric Ritual Chamber Music" a project that you have independently released? Did you seek out a label before releasing it independently?
Lord A: Yes it is an independent project like many things we do, an advantage of living in 2022 where with a generous base of appreciators and engaged fans of our creations we can create many interesting experiences together. Something unthinkable in the 90s or even in the first decade of the 21st century. I was never the type to seek endorsements or labels, but what I create always ends up attracting the attention of a publisher or producer - and good partnerships come from that.
Fabio Hattock: Yes, it's an independent release, released by my small label "Hattock Records". We are not looking for labels to release the album, but we are open to future proposals.
Tell the readers about the topics covered in Lord A's “Mistérios Vampyricos” and how it may leave an impression.
Lord A: Mistérios Vampyricos (Vampyric Mysteries, in English - we are waiting for a Publish House in that moment) is a book that I started to write between 2003 and 2013, we never had anything like it in the Brazilian literary market. First, because there were no books around here that discussed or commented on an international and well-structured vamp community in the northern hemisphere. Then because in our country the vampiric theme has always been approached in a shallow way. In my book Vampyric Mysteries I offered a journey through time from the speculative means of etymology and the origin of the term vamp in the 9th century as well as its resignifications in later centuries. Therefore, the book deals with a unique trait that comes from the Neolithic in the human species; which tries to answer what it means when we dream of people who have died and others we have never seen coming to talk to us. It talks about journeys where we can fly, transform into animals or even ride strange black animals and head to a big meadow where it's always sunset. The Vamp is our “Arché” Figure of power or what is most attuned and expresses our nature and aptitude for this mysterious nocturnal flight and other practices. As well as acting with what comes of it in practical life. Our music touches and plays about the stations and estancias we visit, about the encounters and duels during such journeys through the night flight.
Fabio Hattock: Adding to what Lord A mentions, Misterios Vampyricos Book should not be read once, it should be consulted sporadically, and the rich information contained in it builds the entire mystery to be unraveled.
If people wish to read “Mistérios Vampyricos”, how can they obtain a copy? What will readers gain from the book in general?
By reading “Vampyric Mysteries” , you will certainly be able to appreciate more layers, filters and comparisons of this powerful figure that is the Vampire as a hunter spirit and something that drives humanity towards the unknown, the darkness, the new or even the horizon. One advantage is that my book is primarily based on historical research as well as art history, richly illustrated with sources and always including a look beyond European or North American material which allows me to cover a richer spectrum and provide more sensible markers than enrich the repertoire of my readers. Unfortunately, it still only exists in Portuguese, but it can be a good experience for readers to learn our language while we don't have an English version. It is for sale at https://redevampyrica.com/
Since you began studying vampyres and their legends, how much knowledge have you both gained?
Lord A: The Vampire of legends and folklore enchants me for appearing associated with wilder and generally mountainous regions, his stories are told and set in these mountainous places in Europe. He talks about those higher places and where we are distant from the people around us in our thoughts and worldviews. It's about understanding your own flaws, flavors and qualities, knowing the price of your own freedom and still being able to pay for it with your own Blood. It is almost an atavistic clairvoyance that we see what we carry and how we project and spill our expectations on others. There is a lot going on in these that extinguishes our spontaneity and vitality because we don't live by our own measures. The vampire of folklore educates us about this sad science that we lose much more than we gain while depriving ourselves of self and idealizing what we don't live or are not. Knowing and being able to contemplate this landscape helps me focus more on what I want, on the flavor and taste of what truly nourishes me in life. Being able to see reality from a higher point, even if it is a rocky mountain and Saturnian baldness, helps us to cultivate and act with greater dignity, sovereignty and principles - even though we need to live in the midst of the culture and society where we are. We are foreigners, eternal foreigners in a strange world as the Gnostics and the Sufis would say. As a vamp community we are much closer symbolically to them than we think.
Fabio Hattock: The knowledge I have over time has been mixed with experiences, but you always end up learning and discovering new things every day. And the mystery is always present.
When you study authors who deal with vampyrism, do you look at the present or the past? And which authors have you found most influential?
Lord A: Naturally I really appreciate the Book of Secrets written by Goddess Rosemary, my Spiritual Dark Mother and she is an absolute reference in the last almost 5 decades on this theme. A beautiful and powerful pagan woman who inspires and leads by example. I think that the books by Thomas Karlsson and also by Asenath Manson, European occultists, are very interesting because such authors do not sublimate or hide from this tension that is life and strength that is to live and truly nourish the Destiny that we carry through our life choices. I think that most of what I read about vampirism as a spirituality and mystic in the works of many North American authors in this context on 21th century, is quite shallow and borders on kindergarten; the Protestantism that influenced them, full of rationalisms and thinking about something that they proved they didn't experience or contact is very clear. It will never reach the darkness and vastness of authors who lived a Latin Catholicism; still less those who come from an inherited root of paganism. But Vampyrism also has ties and roots together along with Voodoo and Hoodoo communities too and this unfortunately is not shown with frequency. At the same time, I am saddened by the lack of respect that the many contemporanea USA authors have for the history and ethos of the community that has existed there for almost 5 decades, this is very precious to be forgotten or deleted by his egos. It's as if in the 21st century every new author wants to reinvent the wheel or swears it all started with him or her.
We are in the second decade of the 21st century so I think we can also include authors of digital and transmedia content. I really enjoy seeing Fangsmith Maven Lore and the work of their VC Rant Radio channel rescuing this history and this sense of community. I also appreciate Kelly Q Rea's Hollywood Vampires event circuit and her graphic designs and podcasts. There are names that I respect and admire in the USA and there would be no lines here to properly mention them.
I really like Nietzsche and am considered a Nietzschean figure by one of the most important Brazilian philosophers, called Luiz Felipe Pondé. Augustin of Hypona and Blaise Pascál, also Dante Alighieri and Boccacio are on my favorite readings. Whitley Strieber, Anne Rice, Charlane Harris and Poppy Z. Brite are wonderful in delving into the depths of their obsessions in their books. I think that Brazilian authors such as Nelson Rodrigues and Giulia Moon, in their short stories and novels, masterfully touch on this issue of the Tension that is really living.
Fabio Hattock: I can mention a few from the past and present: Sheridan Le Fanu, Lord Byron, John Polidori, John Stagg, Bram Stoker, Whitley Strieber, John Ajvide Lindqvist, and Lord A.
While “Mistérios Vampyricos” was being compiled, which of the authors you cited provided the most reliable research material?
Lord A: On Brazil my favorite ones was the Hystorians: Andrezza Ferreira, Arturo Branco and Shirley Massapust. Marcos Torrigo (A.K.A: Frater Piarus) is an amazing author and someone who makes difference here writing about vampirism from Occult perspective. Nicholaj and Katy Frisvold books are amazing ones. From North Hemisphere: Havelock Ellis, Carlos Ginzbourg, Kenneth Grant, Nigel Jackson, Michael Howard are very interest ones. Goddess Rosemary Sahjaza’s Book Of Secrets is amazing. Thomas Karlsson from Sweden is another one that I appreciate the views about vampirism, very convergent with my perspectives. Radomir Ristic, deceased some years ago writes a classic called Balkan Traditional Witchcraft. One that I admire was Nichlas La Vére, very crazy in the conclusions but interesting one on quoting some principle and ideas. These names was good companions during that ten years writing “Mistérios Vampyricos”.
While vampyres and vampyrism have long been associated with negative connotations in the mainstream, do you view them as something more spiritual and positive?
Lord A: We live and exist in a world where the unbalanced “positive” of today is already quite toxic if we stop to think about it today. The other day I watched an advertisement with an actress playing a pregnant woman in front of a beautiful forest and telling the child in her womb how this child was already responsible for saving everything and everyone when it was born. What kind of adult is this who has been raised in the last two decades, without responsibility and only believing and throwing others his responsibilities and living as a victim of circumstances? We are in a world where marketing invents fashion and psychiatrists give drugs for people to dope and think they can live in such fashion and everyone is like that. We establish the unsustainable in this culture of toxic positivity. It's always someone else's fault that it doesn't happen and it's still someone else's fault to make it happen. We seem to have regressed to childhood as a human species in the West - and in this wave of positivity we come to believe that the whole world is exactly like that; from there comes a hideous and reprehensible barbarism like Russia invading Ukraine or the massacres in the Middle East. And when Putin and other butchers of human flesh really come at us, the “Atlantists” as they call it, I'm not sure we'll be able to take the brunt of all this toxic “positivity” and how it has weakened our lives.
What we see most are young people medicated from an early age because they can't stand the pressure of living and meeting their own demands and those of their families on them. We see people on social media every day falling over from the anxiety of the promised success that never comes; for the presumption of judging to be what they idealize and not what they understand or actually achieve and what is in their measures. We watch people attacking others because they look better to them or simply edit their lives better on social media. It is a culture of rancor and resentment coated with purity and justifications for canceling and condemning the unbearable to the autos of faith. Ecological, religious or social puritanism is almost synonymous with the toxic positivity we live in today. As a human species, few really learned or took lessons from what happened in Salem in the United States, because of a kind of religious puritanism. And now that there is no lack of puritanism of all kinds?
I believe that the negative is a standard of quality and even balance for my life. There was a religious named Pseudo-Dionysus Aeropagite who wrote about negative theology, a strange but fascinating topic, which started briefly from the premise: “All that we can say about God is not God”. Isaiah Berlin, Jewish philosopher talked about Negative Freedom as a concept where one is not enslaved by outside forces having equal access to the resources of a society. The very idea of a negative or black light described as Ain Sof na Qabalah, with a refreshing flavor and that keeps away the so-called “poor mortals” and their “puritanisms” of those times of people and our daily lives is the best part and is still a trait indelible sign of one who lives a healthy Vampyric spirituality or mysticism. It's the most positive thing I can get!
Fabio Hattock: Yes, without a doubt for me, vampyrism is associated with something spiritual and therefore positive. Blood may be a metaphor, but often such a metaphor can be covered in blood... the bloodline and the blood that runs in the veins doesn't matter, blood was made to drink.
Can you explain how vampyrism is an alternative to the various forms of “toxic positivity” that dominates mainstream culture?
Lord A: It may sound strange to readers less accustomed to philosophy, but the “negative” tone offers a counterpoint, a harshness and hostility that takes the ablest and most skilled out of the autopilot who live their lives - deprives each of them of absolute certainties and compelling convictions. Them to the here and now. A kind of short circuit in the automatism and status quo of their lives. To a certain extent it is a welcome acidity and corrosiveness, freed from shallow thinking and superficiality - it offers a broader and liberating vision for those who endure such tension. Toxic positivity comes from not facing life as it is; we deal with the most diverse vanities, envy, greed and wrath of both ourselves and others most of the time. Realizing the “negative” we talk about here is not about becoming an insensitive idiot who doesn't care about the feelings of others. But it's realizing that evil is also in us and being deceived by the promises of an industry of self-esteem, of a toxic positivity is just numbing yourself, getting drugged and leaving your life and strength to live entirely in the fickle hands of others; which can be from people to even big brands and their deplorable marketing campaigns that invent a perfect human to inhabit their artificial and horrible “shells”. In these more than two decades I realized how Vampyrism as a spirituality and mystique were paramount for me to preserve my creative strength and improve myself in life and in my skills. In the Vamp Community we can find good people who can withstand the stresses of life - and pay the price of their freedoms.
Since you started writing books and composting music professionally, how much toxic positivity have you seen flourishing aboveground?
Lord A: We live in times of what you call toxic positivity is everywhere. I’m old now with 43-44 years and Lord A is around almost twenty five years on the road. I don’t have more the privilege of being positive all time… life happened… but I think is necessary being positive at least to try to be realistic. I choose being more saturnine for my personal quality control around what I develop on books and on lyrics. This costed two to three years to write our lyrics on Vampyric Ritual Chamber Music… I start my books and delete all of them three or four times before reach the middle of content… until I reach a way to leave my thinking more crystalline…
Fabio Hattock: In my case regarding composing music, I see that there are artists who try in a tiresome way to demonstrate a politically correct appeal. And one generally realizes how false this whole narrative is, not to mention the total lack of creativity and originality. Very tiring to watch a crowd of followers agreeing and acting like "the good humans".
How did you write and compose “Vampyric Ritual Chamber Music”? Did you ultimately achieve what you envisioned for it?
Lord A: There was an atmosphere and a landscape, an isthmus as Ibn Arabi would say that we hoped to walk through, visit and let ourselves be touched by what we would experience at each new stop. In my books I tend to postulate spirituality as a process, a journey through small ranches and their reliefs that make up meadows or larger stations. And whenever we pass through them, each time we find something we didn't know about. Much of our journey was captured and crystallized into music by the heart and Fabio's ability to musicalize what we found. Whether it was in his lucid dreams or in the stories he shared with him or even in the rites we practiced in the Circulo Strigoi. My lyrics originated in these rites and in my ecstatic process questioning ancient Sybils and Dakinis by candlelight, and by wisps of moonlight that entered my rite chamber.
Fabio Hattock: Usually when I read, I listen to music, usually classical or instrumental. When I received the Mistérios Vampyricos book here in London, while reading I had ideas for sounds and songs, as a soundtrack for the information that was in the book. The book opened more doors, and through dreams, and conversations about this vampiric spiritual aura with Lord A, the songs flowed. It took seven years to polish the sound nuances, high and low frequencies, sounds that emerged almost like a breath. I believe that Lord A and I managed to musically transport this gateway to this universe, to this vampyric cosmovision.
Does your music allow the listener to partake in the spiritual journeys that inspire the songwriting you both create?
Lord A: Our music draws to this Savage garden some of the scarlet spirit and atmosphere we visit. There will be those who will dance, gaze and play in the immortal meadows of the old north while listening to our album. The soul and wild heart of some will be even more nourished than others and will soar higher. This can cause your subconscious and conscious to clash, like two rubbing sticks pulling sparks to ignite the flames of the superconscious, which is good and profitable. We make Art and Music for us and that may be precisely why some more get involved and this is already fascinating and true to our hearts. While Vamps, at least for me, Love is this flame that scatters all that we are not and isn't ours in this wild garden... we burn and burn and burn as we live - strangely we pray that we want such a flame even more. Thirst for the soul or hunger for the spirit and so we transform our lives into Art, elevating and sublimating to the spirit again and another kingdoms of Sophia.
Fabio Hattock: I believe that not everyone will feel the energy the first time they hear the songs, but if they let themselves be involved, the journey will be guaranteed, perhaps as a trail to be traveled and discovered. Songs and words must circulate like blood.
When you think of how spiritual your music is, and how it has the potential to fuel love and hunger, you can argue that gothic music etc is not as dark and negative as some perceive it to be (since they probably haven't given it a fair chance).
Lord A: My words and now also the lyrics and interpretations in Vampyric Ritual Chamber Music carry what I walk in life, experiment and accumulation of mistakes that I no longer repeat. It's about what affects me and what I nourish myself when I experience Soul Hunger and Spirit Thirst. Sometimes a sad science, a kind of melancholy tone who directs for spiritual and saturnians themes. Another times for a more elegant posture and view of life. These are not easy topics, it's more or less like talking about sensuality or even death. There is tension there and agony. Everyone knows that they are (or will be) touched by both while alive, this affects, bothers and disturbs stealing the focus of the present - it bothers as pain, as thirst and even as hunger. We are talking about Desire and this is a problem if it is fulfilled and also if it is not fulfilled. Nobody likes that, because realizing this tension consumes them. The rabbis speak of the frictions of a wild soul (instinctual or instinctual) and of a more solar and generous soul, which resides in people. Sensuality and death expose friction and friction between them, tension again. We try not to hide from these things in our art and in our lives. As humans we aspire to the pinnacle of rationality, that's good, but maintaining and sustaining it consumes too much and we try to feed it with fast-food of positivism coming from the self-esteem industry and heavy medicines so we don't live and hide from this tension. The name of this tension is life, this one is beautiful, raw and outrageous - Vampyrism only illustrates that any attempt to dull or eliminate any of these three characteristics and the tension between them also eliminates life. Who knows, “Living” is receiving this slap in the face given by nature that we are more irrational than we think, we fear it and therefore we hide in the super resolved facades that we invent to post on social networks - while we get psychically sick and stop living the present in the its totality and fickle fortunes. In my heart I also hope that by sharing this we bring some hope to those who also experience all this to leave the room, face another day of work, study and parties - even if these can be more Dark.
Fabio Hattock: Music as an art form in this case will function as a personal soundtrack. In a spiritual vibration, the tendency is to feed the soul, to bring out more unknown instincts. Far from being dark or negative. May I add that this music and art was not made for everyone? I leave a little tip about the “Vampyric Ritual Chamber Music”. Listen to the whole album and pay attention to the cover art.
Do you think people who listen to “Vampyric Ritual Chamber Music” will be able to appreciate it if they listen to it on a personal level and as a soundtrack for their own thoughts? Can it help them to accept their "darker" sides, so to speak?
Lord A: During my times writing reviews from shows to rock and metal magazines on Brazil I learned to write thinking in my readers and his personas. On my books I realize that on a more open flow. I think peoples always will have a strange moment to travel on his dreaming and ideas while listening our album. The dark side many times is like a looking glass who magnify that we are not as rational as we edit for Instagram and another social networks. The dark side just shows that we are guided by emotions and feelings, many more as we think; we are controversities incarnated on this plane. But we try to hide from that, then we lost the best part of life. Anyway we aspire and get inspired by rationality, this is good, but consumes us and have a high higher cost to sustain that. And the Dark Side is always there waiting; we take a rest from that…
Fabio Hattock: Undoubtedly, but first of all, understand that to embrace the shadows, you also need to emit light. A dark light, which blends with its own shadow. So the album will fit in perfectly as a soundtrack.
Can the listener gain a better appreciation of the album by studying the cover art? Did the artist design it specifically for the album?
Lord A: I was the one who created the cover art for the album and the back too. They are part of a series of images that I created inspired by the years that Fabio and I worked in this “atmosphere”. It even expresses well what I call “atmosphere” when I think of Vampyric Ritual Chamber Music as a travel diary through this nocturnal land and its mountain ranges. The red ruby stones depict an important constellation of the northern hemisphere, which guard the meadows where the immortals play. There are more details as well as in the back where we have actor Max Shrek playing the Angel of Death. And there's more, much more to the eye of anyone who appreciates the album.
Was your feel for atmosphere the reason you designed the cover rather than hire an artist to do so?
Lord A: Apparently fractals of images and sounds that form something musical simply merge by affinity in our imagination and are like an enchantment; that is why they are beautiful, they do not respond to regimes, policies, expectations and anxieties; they are from the affective and emotional meadow, naturally irrational. It has its own cosmology. When we decided to organize them either in an illustration or in a song, we left the swamps of Dionysus (where everything is impulses and the gaze has not yet emerged) and went to the lands of Apollo (metrics, strangeness and the aesthetic gaze are born)… things are like that. When Fabio allowed me to create the cover and the upcoming booklet it was quite a blessing. I wouldn't imagine anyone else doing this booklet. It is a page from a dream diary, part of a grimoire with its owners, peculiar atavisms and resurgences in each one's imagination.
Has "Vampyric Ritual Chamber Music" been widely covered in the press? Are the reviews indicating that critics get it?
Lord A: In fact, we never sought or performed any kind of press office service of any kind. Some interviews happened naturally because of who liked and appreciated our album. The membership of the Vamp Community from South America and Portugal, as well as DJS and producers in other countries delighted us. We have not yet counted how many participations we had. In fact, in the daytime I work as an advertising copywriter and art director. Fábio also has a tough routine in his work. So, we are not always able to participate or give many interviews.
Fabio Hattock: I make Lord A's words my own, in this matter.
Have you had the chance to visit vampire communities abroad through correspondence or travel? Which communities would you like to visit and make new contacts with?
Lord A: We have the opportunity to correspond regularly with New Orleans and my Brother in Sahjaza, the 3D Artist and Fangsmither Maven Lore; our beloved Darkmother Goddess Rosemary and many other ancients from our dynasty and allied families. Undoubtedly in the USA there are many Vamp communities that we want to visit like in New York, in the interior of the east coast and in Miami and its surroundings. Although, I believe that a trip through Europe through England, the South of France, Portugal, Italy, and Romania where we have many friends would be fantastic in this sense. Fabio can speak more about the English community.
Fabio Hattock: Here in England and Scotland I've had contact with some communities, "London Vampire Group" was one of them. I've also been part of one of the oldest vampire societies for almost ten years, "Dracula Society" which is here in London.
Tell the readers about Dracula Society and the knowledge you picked up visiting those countries. Will your experience in vampire culture abroad have an influence on music you compose in the future?
Fabio Hattock: DraculaSociety was founded in 1973, and remains to this day as a discreet society, where it promotes meetings, thematic travels, awards on films, theaters and literature, mainly focused on the vampiric universe, but also on terror and the supernatural. The experiences are always enriching to visit and live in these European countries. Its legends, folklore and even the energy emitted in certain places. I can say that all this certainly has and will have an influence on future compositions.
When do you two plan to record your next full-length album? How will the music build on what you composed for "Vampyric Ritual Chamber Music"? Do you plan to branch out or are you growing naturally?
Lord A: There's still a lot to come from Vampyric Ritual Chamber Music. There are video clips of some tracks that are being edited by us and our partners. There is an art album and with excerpts from my dream diary during its production, I'm sure Fabio will also include many moments from his too. There is a meditation script and another for contemplation where the music takes on an even more powerful body. We are still orbiting for some time the universe of Vampyric Ritual Chamber Music like everything that is transplutonian. However, Columbarium Station already has a fantastic new album on other views and themes.
Fabio Hattock: The album "Vampyric Ritual Chamber Music" came naturally, but many paths will still be trodden, as mentioned by Lord A, and new insights will be turned into songs as well. I am fully convinced that other stars will align and more songs and visions will flow.
How will the videos you mentioned represent your album musically and visually? What other projects are planned in connection to it?
Fabio Hattock: The videos will possibly have subliminal images and visions of me and Lord A, mainly based on the visual arts that Lord A creates. The album will get its physical versions and maybe even a virtual reality version, a project I've been researching for a few years.
Lord A: Our videos take the risk of recording these pages of our dream diaries and this particular grimoire formed by our album. They are an authorial work where we walk a path and contemplate the landscape, its fauna, flora and atmosphere. And that certainly transforms the lives of those who are enjoying it. Joseph Campbell has a lot to say in this regard. They are made from cuttings of provocative images that align or tune with what we express in our music. Small doors and windows to something bigger and accessible to all who carry a certain spiritual legacy - their blessings and curses.
Is there anything else you want to reveal about the next album before it’s completed and released?
Fabio Hattock: I can only reveal that it will be as epic as this one, but it is still in the air, waiting for the moment to transform, be born and flap its wings.