Having concluded a tour with Singapore’s Impiety this year and just released their 6th album earlier this month, we talk to Kraath from Setherial to draw upon his experiences.
Things are going well for Setherial at the moment, awaiting the upcoming release of Ekpyrosis at the moment and looking at different possible futureplans.
To readers who are not familiar with Setherial, perhaps you could give us a brief introduction?
Setherial has been creating Black Metal since 1993, has released 5 fullength albums as well as an additional album of rare recordings. We have done several tours of Europe as well as shows in Mexico and at festivals in different countries. In early June we will release our sixth fullength album by the name of Ekpyrosis.
The band recently toured with Singapore’s Impiety in support of the new album Ekpyrosis. How has the reception been for the tour?
The feedback from the attending audiences was enthusiastic and the exchange of energies was gratifying for us as well. There were some shows with low attendance and some other problems along the way, but in general we are satisfied with the way the tour turned out. There were some really memorable rituals performed on stages across Europe.
What can fans expect from this new album, will they experience a new Setherial?
Not a new Setherial as such but an evolved version of the band. We have explored our art and plunged deeper into the details and different aspects of our art on this album, but it is still very much a Setherial album even though it is more evolved than some of its preceding peers. There are more clearly defined dynamics of Ekpyrosis, and a lot of details that can be discovered upon closer inspection and repeated plays.
Are there any particular concepts and meaning behind the new album, Ekpyrosis? What are the inspiration behind the album and the name?
The central concept of Ekpyrosis centers on the unavoidable conflict of the universe through the unyielding destructive elements of the cosmic reality representing the hand of Satan. The end of all life, all matter and all light as it is incinerated and turned to nothingness, the ultimate end of worlds. Musically it draws inspiration from our desire to develop and refine our art, it is a manifestation of our inner flame and ambition to create the soundtrack of the final days of man.
So far Setherial has released six full length albums, with the first three albums featuring a more raw sound while the latest three feature a more melodic edge. What caused the change in musical style for the band?
That same desire to develop that spawned Ekpyrosis. Even though some would argue that the first album Nord may be one of the more melodic albums we have done if you analyze it thoroughly. We are always looking to develop as musicians and songwriters so some changes are to be expected through the years. We have always followed our own tastes and desires when writing music and sometimes that may lead to changes being made to certain aspects of the music, but there has still always been a recognizable core to the songs and the structures that identifies it as a Setherial track.
In the tour with Impiety, Setherial had a new drummer Atum. Will he become a permanent member? How did the collaboration come about?
The collaboration with Atum came about after the guest appearance of Setherial members on the debut album from his band Divine Codex. When we looked at different possibilities for solving the issue of line-up for the tour we decided that bringing him in on drums would be the best and easiest solution. We will no doubt be working together in the future as well since the tour was a successful test of the collaboration.
For the previous album, the band recorded at Peter Tagtgren’s studio, Abyss Studio. What was the experience like? Did you manage to catch up with Peter?
Not much on that specific session actually since he left for a tour pretty much the first day we were down there. We have recorded 4 albums at the Abyss studio over the years actually, so naturally we found it to be a studio worthy of repeated visitation.
Ekpyrosis was mixed and produced by the band itself. What was it that made the band decide to self-produce, instead of getting an external producer?
The idea of having complete control and more time to focus on being creative in the studio was big reasons for the decision to produce the album ourselves. Another factor was to challenge ourselves and gain control over that aspect of the music. The decision to record and produce by ourselves enabled us to plunge much deeper into the songs creatively, it made it possible to really give each song the attention it deserved and let it reach its full potential in the recorded form. We worked a lot on the details of the songs while recording the album, reworking parts and doing changes that just would not be possible in a normal studio environment due to time constraints and budgets.
Setherial has always had a history of changing vocals, with Magnus “Infaustus” Odling now handling vocal duties. How has the working experience been with him so far? How is he fitting in with the band?
He is fitting in very well and is a crucial part of the band, both creatively and on stage. He has the same ambition to create the best songs he can possibly create that we have. Besides, he has been in the band for 5 years by now so he is not exactly a new member.
What are your personal influences in music?
I am influenced by any music that has quality and a sense of honesty to it, anything ranging from classical music to raw and savage Black Metal really. Creatively the main influence for me has always been trying to satisfy myself as a musician, but naturally you always get other input as well.
Besides playing in Setherial, what do the band members do in their free time?
We are all very interested in developing ourselves and learning more about many different topics, we all read a lot and are all multi instrumentalists so there are many activities surrounding the band and its members. Art, literature, film, photography, body art, music, nature, philosophy, religion, anthropology, psychology, the list could go on and on with interests.
With a new album out in June, are there any plans after the release? Perhaps more touring coming up to support the album?
There are some plans being discussed at the moment but nothing is confirmed at this point. There will be Setherial live shows the upcoming fall/winter though so stayed tuned to our website for details on upcoming shows.
Any plans to tour in Asia any time soon?
There have been discussions about it, but we will have to wait and see if it will be realizable. We hope that we will be able to tour Asia, so hopefully we will be able to be there during the foreseeable future.
Last question: any words for fans of Setherial and aspiring musicians out there?
For fans of Setherial I would like to express my appreciation for their relentless support, keep the flame burning and hope to see you on tours to come. To any aspiring musicians I would say to follow your desire and inner ambition and not follow what the mainstream wants to hear.
Thank you once again, and on behalf of the crew I wish you all the best in the upcoming album release!
Answers by Kraath
A World in Hell