Mar 14, 2012

Scales of Grey - Interview With ET MORIEMUR ...

Only yesterday I’ve found Ed’s review of Et Moriemur “Cupio Dissolvi” and just two hours later I’ve got answers from Zdenek Nevelik, voiceman of that nontrivial band of Czech Republic. Enishi?.. Who knows… If you trust Ed’s words then I have nothing more to add, read this discussion with Zdenek and reveal for yourself something new in this doom world.

Hi Zdenek! As all of us have good internet-connection and we’re able to check Et Moriemur history on the band’s site let me ask you to tell few words about the band which you didn’t include in official “bio”.

-Hi Aleks and first of all thank you for the opportunity to reach out to your readers! Let me think...We are a bunch of doomsters (except for our guitarist Martin, we managed to drag him into the band even if he listens to a totally different kind of metal :) who enjoy playing this now “obsolete” music genre and try to do it with a personal touch.

I would like to ask you to introduce current Et Moriemur line-up if you do not mind.

-Of course. It’s me on vocals, Honza on bass, Ales and Martin on guitars and Michal on drums. We used to have a keyboardist in the past but now we use samples...we quarrel less and we are able to travel in one car only :)

Well, and how often do you travel in full line-up? Besides visits of local bars each Friday? :-) Yes, I’m just kidding though if you can recommend me any good local beer… I would be greatful!

:) Everytime we play somewhere. There are months when we don’t play at all or only once and others when we have 2-3 gigs, so it depends. As for the beer, try Svijany, an excellent Bohemian brewery.

Didn’t see that sort here yet… The art-work of your debut album “Cupio Dissolvi” released in October 2011 looks strange for doom-release, what did you want to express through it?

-We wanted something different for our album, not the things usually connected with doom such as churches, cemeteries, autumn leaves - which we use for our 2009 EP by the way :) - and so on. So we used these wooden dolls made by a Czech woodcarver which in my opinion are incredible: they are ambivalent, beautiful but haunting and they seem to be scared of what they see but attracted by it at the same time. And this conveys perfectly the idea behind the album, which is the horror and the appeal of suicide.

Et Moriemur stuff has few differences from popular doom-trends, main of these features for me are avant-garde way of composing and addiction to musical structures which are similar to classic music. Did you choose it consciously? Though maybe I just disillusion myself trying to find right words to describe your music…

-We’re not trying to be original at all costs, we just play the music we love. But of course we’d like our sound to be recognizable and I’m glad you noticed the things you mentioned about our way of composing and the instruments we use. I don’t know if it was conscious or not, the fact is that I personally love classical music, from Gregorian chants through polyphony, Baroque, the Classical and Romantic period to contemporary classical music and composers as Schonberg, Penderecki and Crumb. So I think our stuff is inevitably influenced by all this.

And what do people – mere listeners and “honored” critics say about it? Anyway, such mix of influences is much better than sentence “my-dying-bride-clone”!

-Most reviews have been very positive so far (apart from those reviewers whom I doubt listened to the whole CD even once), for example described “Cupio Dissolvi” as one of 2011’s highlights. There is more: Et Moriemur have just ranked second as "New Artist of the Year" 2011 in Břitva awards (Czech rock/metal publicists awards). And the reactions among doom fans are very good as well. Some of them were disappointed that we abandoned the slightly more catchy style of our previous EP “Lacrimae Rerum” but in general people seem to like our album. 

Which bands did form East-European doom-scene and especially your vision of doom metal? I remember only few “old” doom-bands from your region, they are Cemetery of Scream, Dissolving of Prodigy, Gallileous and Silent Stream of Godless Elegy (SSOGE). Some of them have changed their style, but their doom-works still have some unique touch.

-The names you quoted are certainly important for Central and Eastern European doom. Also, I am sure that every country has its hidden doom treasures which heavily influenced local bands. We as Czechs owe a lot particularly to DISSOLVING and SSOGE, not only because they are fantastic musicians who made beautiful records, but because our drummer Michal played for both of them in the past. As for me personally I sold my soul to doom after I listened to a West European LP - Paradise Lost album “Gothic”. Unforgettable.

 Zdenek, your manner of singing and narrating (when you use your normal voice) reminds me traditions of some classical theatre school, it’s expressive and dramatic. Who did influence upon you as a vocalist?

-I personally love the German darkwave musical movement called Neue Deutsche Todeskunst and bands like Das Ich, Relatives Menschsein and Goethes Erben. The way they express their existential angst and pain touches me deeply. They don’t tell light or trivial stories as most gothic bands do now – it’s just pure suffering. I also love Hana Hegerová, a singer dubbed the Queen of Czechoslovak chanson. There is no way you can hear her singing without being moved. And I like the old school theatrical style of recitation, which, as you said, is very expressive, even if I try not to overdo.

You said that the lyrics themes tell story of real acts of suicides, why did you choose this object for your musical researches?

-These are the stories that fascinated me most, touched something deep inside me and inspired me artistically. I don’t know why, maybe because every human being is fascinated by death and, on a lesser scale, about the possibility of ending this life full of suffering. We are so fragile, like everything else in this world, and can leave it any moment - and that’s both terrible and fascinating.

I’ve read not songs texts of “Cupio Dissolvi”, so it would be good if you make it clear – that is your opinion of such acts? Did you find some reasons to justify impulse of ending life in such way? For example… You know – there’re examples of such acts during wars or for the sake of some great ideal. We could even remember Japanese kamikazes…

-Suicide can be perfectly justifiable in my opinion, for any reason. Of course there are more valid and less valid reasons for me but I don’t feel like judging people’s lives...or deaths. If there is no god, life is mine and I can decide to die whenever I want. If there is a god, he throws us here mainly to try to survive every day killing other living beings, see our loved ones die one by one and then die ourselves as well and I refuse his “generous gift”. Life hasn’t a meaning per se and it is up to each one of us to decide whether his life is worth living. It’s as simple as that.

Oh, sorry but I think that humankind only cherishes itself miserable Ego denying any higher “being” or higher form of existence. Of course it’s not power metal but dare I say that doom metal is a genre where ideas of strong will or endurance are pretty rare. How do you think what is a reason?

-You are right, the Bible says “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” which it’s a blow in the face to all those people who think how important humanity is. Unfortunately that doesn’t prove god exists and what his attributes are. I consider myself a religious person... even if I have no religion :) I have too many doubts to become a true believer but at the same time I still feel there is more than what we little humans can ever know...
And yes, doom metal for me is a spiritual box to pour my (fortunately occasional) sadness, pain, confusion and anger into. Should I have a will and self-confidence so strong I would play black metal :)

Also you sing into few languages, and it would be very good if you tell us more about this aspect of Et Moriemur.

-I love literature and always prefer reading authors in their native language as you inevitably lose lots of meanings and nuances in the translation. And there are people who said certain things in such a way that I could have never managed to say: think about the Greek tragic authors, Shakespeare, Goethe, Dostojevskij, Kafka...That’s why I use quotations in English, Latin, Russian, German, Czech, Italian...

As for me I would like to ask you about those verses in Russian which you sing into “Cupio Dissolvi”. What is this song about?

-It’s called “The Last Poem” and it was inspired by the suicide of the Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva. A person so full of life you can almost touch the passion coming from her works and at the same time and insightful human being. Scorned by the Communist government which persecuted her family and abandoned by her friends she hanged herself on 31 August 1941. The words I am reciting are from the note she left for her son. I hope my pronunciation is at least acceptable...

 Your web-site says that 10% of CD “Cupio Dissolvi” cost will go to animal protection organization Freedom to Animals (Svoboda zvirat). What’s about it?

-Animals are sentient beings, like children, and we have absolutely no right to kill them for food, clothes or entertainment. What hurts me most is that it isn’t necessary either, because the vegetarian diet is perfectly healthy.
But somehow we insist in considering ourselves an elected race gifted with reason and higher moral judgment. Utter bullshit. If there is a being who deserves to be despised is man: not only is he capable of killing only because he “likes meat” -which is morally abhorrent as you wouldn’t kill a child because you like the taste of his meat - but is so arrogant as to say he is superior to animals. In which way, because he uses computers, drives cars and plays soccer?
I have been a vegetarian for 16 years now and I am happy that my bandmates support me in trying to make our fans more aware about animal rights, which is not common on the metal scene.

Do you limit yourself in something besides meat?

No, that’s all :) I eat eggs and drink milk but only from organic farms with strict standards on animal welfare.

Don’t you think that you would have better chance to help this organization playing less extreme sort music? Dub or some kind of indi-stuff?

:) Maybe you are right, we could play pop or disco and reach much more people. But that’s not what I want. It would be fantastic if a huge number of people stopped eating animals, but I doubt that most of them would stick to this decision for life. That’s the problem with fashion - it comes and goes. I much more prefer playing the music I love and saying the things I say only to people who are interested in hearing them, rather than to a human mass that came to see the band only because it was on MTV or in an ad.

In addition, Zdenek, you write for some local “paper” magazine if I do not err. Paper magazines are bloody rare things nowadays; please tell us about your work there. Is it still effective way of promotion underground music via magazines?

-Actually you might say I’m dinosaur, because I work for a national newspaper here in the Czech Republic and as a hobby I write for Parat, a printed metal magazine as well.
I think printed newspapers and magazines still have and will have a place on the market, maybe smaller but they won’t disappear. Take e-books, I prefer much more paper books, as you can touch them and you feel them and I like it this way. There are so many things on the Internet, everyone can write anything there. But to publish a printed magazine is a different matter altogether: you have to be organized, to believe that your work is worth being published and read by others and do it well, because it costs money and you cannot change it afterwards.

Totally agree! Your song was included in Doom Metal Front compilation №5 “Eastern Doomination”, and it’s a well-known web-zine amongst European doom-heads. Can you say how much did it help to promote the band? And what is the band’s most significant achievement at this moment from your point of view?

-When the guys from Doom Metal Front offered us the possibility to take part in this compilation we were very glad, as they do an excellent job with the zine. I don’t know if those who have recently ordered our CD did so after hearing us on the compilation but we are certainly happy and grateful that we could appear on DMF.
As for our most significant achievement: we are proud that we managed to release “Cupio Dissolvi” despite the fact that we were in the middle of a significant line-up change and that people seem to like what we are doing. We managed to play with some of the best doom metal acts on earth, what can you want more?

You played with doom-demigods Saturnus not so long ago and I see that you like to play live. Please tell us about band’s live experience and highlights of Et Moriemur live aspects.

-SATURNUS are fantastic guys and I dare say our bands had a lot of fun together. But we loved to play with every band we shared the stage with, from HELEVORN to SILENT STREAM OF GODLESS ELEGY. As for our future gigs, in June we will play with ESOTERIC, AHAB and OPHIS and that will surely be another unforgettable experience.
We try to make our live performances as lively as possible (as lively as doom can be :) and bring on stage intimate feelings from our songs. I always try to become a part of the story I am telling, which leads to the theatrical performance you mentioned above. I just couldn’t stand still in front of the microphone all the time. And if the audience is responsive, then all the necessary conditions are there for an evening packed with atmosphere.

Thank you for the interview Zdenek! Let me know when you’ll have new stuff or will play somewhere nearby Russia ;-) Please add few last words of doom and wisdom!

-Thanks to you Aleks for the opportunity to appear on your webzine! I have never been to Russia, I admit, but would love to see your beautiful country which gave the world such giants as Dostojevskij, Tarkovskij or Scriabin. And you have a great doom metal label - Solitude - too...and Doom over Moscow...well, we hope to visit your country very soon!

Interview By Aleks Evdokimov

Et Moriemur Official Website
Et Moriemur @ MySpace

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