Mar 10, 2011
Heavy Air - Interview With Sagntid ...
Aleks Evdokimov caught up with the band for this interview.....
-Salute J! I hope that you do not mind that we do this promised interview later then it supposed to be. Are you ready to speak about your musical projects? Just say you are!
-Aleks, how are you doing? I certainly don´t mind doing this interview a little later than we planned on, so have no worries. I´m as ready to do this interview as I´ll ever be, so fire away, damn it!
-I’m fine, man – thank you! Right now I’m listening Sagntid’s “Where The Black Dogs Cease to Bark”. Which news would you like to share with our readers? Do you have some new releases with Sagntid and from your another project Picture Ann?
-Well, 9th Meridian Records (US) will release the next full-length album by Sagntid sometime in 2011. We haven´t set a date for it yet or anything like that, but I´m pretty sure that the album will see the light of day this year. It´s entitled “The Undisciplined Heart of Sagntid” and contains 10 songs. Other than that there are a couple of ideas floating around, one being that I would like to do an EP/mCD featuring the vocals of a friend of mine, and the other being that I would like to do a split with another ambient project that I really dig. I have recorded 4-5 songs for the EP/mCD and 7 songs for the split album, but we haven´t been able to records the vocals for the EP/mCD yet. Hopefully we´ll be able to do this in 2011. As to the split album, I´m keeping my fingers crossed that it will happen, but if not I´ll use those 7 songs elsewhere. As to Picture Ann, I uploaded an EP of sorts entitled “Cinema Screen Sadism” to MySpace back in 2010, and I think the reader should check that one out. The first output by Picture Ann, the album entitled “Blaspheme 2009”, was released by 9th Meridian Records last year, the format being CD.
-It seems that you’re head is full of strange musical ideas and solutions! What is a nature of such obsession? Are you sure that you need to share all of these ideas with listeners?
- Yeah, I guess it´s fair to say that my head is filled to the brim with all kinds of rare ideas from time to time. These ideas originate from within in the sense that my thoughts and feelings are put into the music and lyrics, but things that I see, read, hear, witness, or experience in any way can also serve as an inspiration. A lot of different stuff inspires me. I like the idea of sharing my music and lyrics with others, just as other artists, be they musicians, writers, or painters, have shared their art with me and inspired me in a lot of different ways.
-How did you find 9th Meridian Records? I’ve never heard of this label – what kind of stuff they produce?
- 9th Meridian Records contacted me back in 2009 shortly after I had uploaded the “Blaspheme 2009” album to MySpace and offered to release the album. It´s an absolutely awesome label for me to be on, so I´m very glad that they got in touch with me back then when Picture Ann was all new. They primarily release black metal, drone music, and obscure ambient music.
-Is it important for you to have a real CD or CDr release? Some bands share their songs via internet for free nowadays. I do not insist of course! But is it easy to find a label to produce such music as yours? It’s great stuff as I think (if I think opposite than we just could not do this interview ))) but we can not talk about it’s commercial success, right?
- I once found it very important to have my music released on CD or CD-R, but nowadays I´m a lot more “flexible” in the sense that I also love the idea of uploading a song to MySpace or ReverbNation and then having people check the stuff out there, so I guess you could say that I like having my music released on CD or CDR, but I´m not fanatic about it. If it´s just one song, for instance an unreleased song or an experiment of some sort, it´s cool to just upload it so that people can listen to it, but if I´ve put together an album or a bunch of songs that are somehow related then it´s cool to have it released on a CD or CD-R. I really dig Misantrof AntiRecords (misantrof.net) where you can download a lot of cool music for free, and I like the whole idea and concept of Misantrof, but at the same time I like sitting with an actual CD in my hands, reading the lyrics and looking at the artwork, so I can appreciate both world, so to say. Regarding commercial success...well, there is absolutely no commercial success in sight for either Sagntid or Picture Ann:)
-How do you promote Sagntid and Picture Ann? Are there any specialized web-zines or fanzines in Denmark who help you?
- I promote the bands by means of the web and by having a select bunch of labels and distributions spread some of my demo/promo releases. I do some trades with various labels and contacts in the underground from time to time and thereby get some of my releases out there in the underworld. I can´t recall any Danish webzines or fanzines that I have any contact with.
-Sagntid is a Danish word that can be related to a time of legends or myths, meaning that it refers to extremely old or ancient times of which a lot of historical details and happenings and whatnot are pretty obscure and of which we often know very little. I like the idea of certain things having been obscured or covered up by the passage of time. Things that are left to the imagination in a sense. The name Picture Ann refers to quite a few things, some being how weakness and tyranny run in a lot, if not in most, families out there and how they manifest themselves in infinite combinations. It´s very difficult for me to elaborate on what the names of the projects mean to me, but do know that there were not just chosen because they sounded cool or because I was desperately in need of a couple of names. They were chosen for a reason.
-What is a line-up of these bands or are they still only solo-projects of yours?
-Sagntid and Picture Ann are both solo-projects of mine, but a couple of guest-vocalists may appear on future Sagntid releases.
-What is a reason for such decision? I guess that you know: your voice and all these whispers are bloody cool trademark of Sick Room 7 and Sagntid too! Will a conception of new material differ from previous albums?
- The reason for having guest-vocalists is that it would be an interesting experience for me to have a couple of guys that I admire as musicians and that I dig as people interpret my music and lyrics while at the same time adding their own touch to it. However, some of the new Sagntid songs are instrumentals, so I guess you could say that some of the new material will differ from older releases in that sense.
-Can you share more information about “The Undisciplined Heart of Sagntid”? It would be good to know what we can wait from next release of Sagntid… What kind of artistic changes can you allow to yourself in this project?
- Well, as I stated earlier, some of the new Sagntid songs that I have written and recorded are instrumental songs, and “The Undisciplined Heart of Sagntid” actually contains only one song with vocals while the remaining 9 songs are instrumentals, so there is a difference there if you compare the album to older releases. In my opinion “The Undisciplined Heart of Sagntid” is a little more diverse, catchy, and melancholic than “The Slipstream World of Sagntid” and “Where the Black Dogs Cease to Bark”. There is one song in particular on the album that is somewhat heavier than any other Sagntid song I have ever done, but apart from that one the songs are all quite mellow. I´m extremely satisfied with the album myself.
-“Cinema Screen Sadism” of Picture Ann consists of songs – “Film Widow” and “Gasmask Ballet”. What is a conception of this project? What does unite both songs in one release?
-“Cinema Screen Sadism” was inspired by a very moving and absolutely brilliant Marianne Faithfull concert that I attended in Copenhagen in 2010. Some of her lyrics and the stuff that she told us between songs just inspired me, and so I went on home after the concert and got to work on “Cinema Screen Sadism”. The title of the EP may be said to represent my interest in films and how moving, inspiring, and/or thought-provoking some films are. There are no limits to what can be (re)presented and portrayed on the screen, and so I took that idea and coupled it with some of the stuff that my warped brain had picked up at the Marianne Faithfull concert as well as some very personal experiences of mine, and suddenly I had two songs all written and done. In very simple terms one could say that the lyrics and titles of the songs have to do with depravity and hurt, and “Film Widow” and “Gasmask Ballet” are definitely thematically related. Maybe I should put the lyrics up at MySpace or ReverbNation so that people could read and interpret them for themselves? A lot of different stuff can be read into them, and stating that they only refer to my interest in films as well as the aforementioned concert experience doesn´t really do them justice.
-I have never thought of Sagntid or Picture Ann as a continuation of Sick Room 7, far from it actually, but I guess that there are a few similarities here and there due to to the way in which I compose and arrange songs. Sagntid came into existence back in 2002, some years before Sick Room 7 was conceived. But to answer your question; yes, the atmospheres that are to be found in Picture Ann and Sagntid are what I´m aiming for and what I´d like to listen to and be moved by myself. Abandoned places, ruins, desolate landscapes, etc. can certainly move and inspire me when it comes to composing music.
-Which emotions play leading role in your life? Sagntid and Picture Ann sound calm and peaceful though their tunes are truly somber.
-Ehhh, lots of different emotions play a role in my life. It´s impossible for me to narrow it down to just a few specific emotions. I try to embrace them all, so to say. But sure, my music is often melancholic, which is not exactly a coincidence. My music portrays some of the thoughts and feelings that grab a hold of me from time to time, from frustration to melancholy and further on to some of the brighter aspects of existence. Literature and films also inspire me greatly, so a sad and moving story, albeit a fictional one, may inspire me and lead me to compose a song.
-By the way Sick Room 7 was an original band – you played from strange kind of doom metal (“Annie Unforunate”) to sinister distorted hard rock (“Heartless Rule”)… you have just great catchy tunes (“Four Walls And Heavy Air”), why don’t you use such musical solutions in Sagntid and Picture Ann?
-It´s cool that you like the Sick Room 7 material and I appreciate you commenting on it. Sagntid and Picture Ann are different entities and they can´t be compared to Sick Room 7 in my opinion, nor should they be. It would be kind of lame if Sagntid and Picture Ann sounded like exact replicas of Sick Room 7. Different thoughts and ideas constitute my solo-projects and I see no point in making them sound like Sick Room 7 just for the sake of it, especially when considering that I no longer feel the need to continue the line of direction that Sick Room 7 had. I´ve already been there and done that, so to say.
-You said in the interview that you had 12 new songs for Sick Room 7 – where are they now?
-Those 12 songs or whatever the number were never properly finished or mixed or anything of that sort. I have used a few ideas and some melodies elsewhere, but other than that those songs will remain unreleased, which is only fitting since they were never whipped into final shape or form.
-Russian label Assavlt Records released last CD of Sick Room 7 – “Bottomfeeder General”, didn’t they offer you to release Sagntid albums for example?
-Assavlt Records only signed Sick Room 7 and there was never any talk of signing Sagntid or Picture Ann. Sagntid and Picture Ann are floating above and below the banner of 9th Meridian Records, meaning that they are primarily attached to that label, but this doesn´t mean that every single musical output by Sagntid and Picture Ann will be released by that label.
-Sagntid has three releases but I’ve heard only two of them: short one “Where The Black Dogs Cease to Bark” and full-length "The Slipstream World of Sagntid", how long ago did you record it? What are they for you? Is that really actual music or just some temporary states of mind reflected upon CDs?
-I primarily composed and recorded “The Slipstream World of Sagntid” throughout 2008 and early 2009 while “Where the Black Dogs Cease to Bark” was composed and recorded in August-September 2009 I think. To me they are great, personal records that I enjoy listening to myself, and I do think that they contain actual music interwoven with a lot of different thoughts and feelings that I had back then, so to me they´re more than just temporary states of mind put on a CD even though some of the songs deal with some stuff that went on in my life back then.
-Sick Room 7 never set out to make the world a better place, and I don´t think all the lyrics are necessarily about condemning others or telling them to fuck off, at least not on the “Bottomfeeder Central” album. Sure, there was a lot of stuff about intolerance, human misery, deceit, loss, etc., but I think there was some ambiguity to be found in a lot of the lyrics. Anyway, it´s all in the eye of the beholder, wouldn´t you say? To some they may come across as simply portraying something dark or twisted, to others they may come across as condemning someone or something, and so on. People should make up their own minds. I rarely think about Sick Room 7. Keep in mind that all the music was written and recorded between 2005 and 2008. I´m in a completely different place now in a lot of ways, but I guess one could say that some of the emotional stuff that was going on in those years (2005-2008) had an outlet via Sick Room 7.
-And about judging people sins – did you became better after all these years in Sick Room 7? Can you say that nowadays there’re not too much of those sins which you judged?
-It was never really about judging other people on the basis of their sins. The part about the sins and the name of the band was something that really fascinated me back then, namely in that the seven deadly sins are everywhere in various different shapes and forms, so there was a certain...how should I put it?...irony to the fact that a lot of people are doing a lot of horrible shit in a lot instances while actually believing that they´re doing something good. The clear light of sin runs like a river through humanity, but then there is the whole questioning of the sins themselves, you know? One man´s sin is another man´s blessing and so on.
-By the way as we speak about changes… Did you see some notable changes as you when you change Sick Room 7 to Sagntid? Last one sounds calmer, bleaker and deeper.
- Sagntid definitely is calmer and bleaker than Sick Room 7 in my opinion, and it´s more personal as well in the sense that I´m the only one in charge of Sagntid, thus being the only one shaping and creating the music. Sagntid is generally very mellow, personal, and introspective music to me.
-You played in a couple of bands besides Sagntid and Sick room 7. Do you continue to collaborate with some of them?
-No, I´m only doing my own stuff now, that being Sagntid and Picture Ann. Nothing else. Vornoff ceased to exist in 2006, but people should check out the Vornoff MySpace profile if they´re into calm, melancholic ambient music. Some of the early Vornoff poo was inspired by Mortiis´ early work and Burzum´s ambient tunes.
-Sorry, man, but I would like to ask you feed my curiosity because I never did any interview with band from Denmark! How is it to live in Denmark?
- Well, it´s a little difficult for me to compare living in Denmark with a whole lot of other countries, but there are certain things about living in Denmark that are pretty cool and others that are not so cool, but I think it´s all a matter of perspective and priorities in life. A lot of tourists absolutely adore Denmark and think it´s a beautiful place and so on, so I guess it does hold its own charm to a lot of people visiting Denmark, but when you´re born and raised there you tend to view certain things differently.
-And you can do not answer but… do you feel yourself happy? What do you need to feel it? Or calamity of Dao is preferably state of mind for you? Well, human happiness is sometimes only state of holding something or someone therefore it can’t last forever…
-I feel very content and well in a lot of ways, but happiness is something that comes in small doses, which is to say that it´s a fleeting and illusive thing that I get a 10-second hold of once in a while. This ties in with the fact that it´s really difficult to define happiness or even discuss it in my opinion.
-Thank you for your patience, J! I hope that it wasn’t to boring for you – good luck comrade! Would you like to say few more words for our readers?
-Hailz to you and the readers! Do me a favor and check out myspace.com/sagntid and myspace.com/blaspheme2009. It will probably ruin your day, but who cares? Check it out anyway.
Interview By Aleks Sagntid / Picture Ann
Sagntid @ Myspace