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Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:16 pm
|SEPTEKH (Sweden) Interview by http://www.lordsofmetal.nl
In the review of Septekh's EP 'The Seth Avalanche' I mentioned that Septekh me somewhat intrigued. The band has self - consciously or not - a somewhat mysterious image fitted and the music of Sweden's great: raw, primitive, pure and passionate and wanted more. In anticipation of the debut album so already as sop an extensive interview with drummer Staffan Persson on the raison d'être of Septekh! (And of course Motörhead. Duh.)
Hi Staffan, I want to start with complementing you on your fabulous EP 'The Seth Avalanche'. It has been quite some time since I have been blown away by a debut EP in this way! How have reactions been so far, in Sweden and beyond?
Thank you very much! Feedback so far has been very positive from most corners of the world. People seem to be pleasantly surprised both by the record and when they see us live for the first time. One thing I find interesting is the variety of favorite tracks that people have. One reviewer might like all tracks except for one while another holds that track as the favorite of the album!
Is the 'The Seth Avalanche' a re-issue, or re-recording of your 2009 demo / EP 'Not Quite What I Had In Mind'?
It is more or less a re-issue: we redid some of the bass tracks and also did a new (way better) mix for it. Except for that it is the recording that was done way back in 2009. But I would say that this is the real first release of it since we only used the recording as promotion before. The plan was always to release it properly through a label.
Is the 2009 demo still available? And will those songs get a make-over someday, so the availability will be better?
You can download it from our site. You should never say never, but there are no plans to touch those old gems for now at least. We also have several other songs that has not ended up on an album or been attempted in the studio. What will happen with them? Time will tell.
Compliments on the lyrics as well. A lot of tongue in cheek humour thrown in the mix. It seems you have quite a firm grasp of the English language, Is this due to the Swedish schools, or have you been living in England for some time? What subjects inspire your lyrics?
Thanks. I think it is due to the school system and the fact that we get exposed to a lot of foreign culture while young here in Sweden. A typically bad move if you want the youth of your nation to learn English is to dub everything on television like they do in Germany for example!
Nils is the lyricist of the band and writes everything bar the odd line or title here and there. Typically he is inspired generally by life and events around him. There could be good or hilarious things but also more troubling matters that makes him wry. Sometimes the lyric or idea comes without the music but usually the inspiration really starts to flow when the notes are being played. A lot of his lyrics have really come together while rehearsing with the band.
I think he has a special style and like the fact that a lot of our lyrics actually rhyme. Like the music his art of words has also evolved over time and some of the never songs have a poetic quality to them almost. There is also more of a red thread running through the lyrical content on the full length that holds the work together nicely.
Alright. There are a lot of things that are (or, well, seem) a bit awkward and different about Septekh - which I appreciate, by the way. First, what is with the name? What does it mean, how did you choose this name? It looks / sounds Egyptian and at first glance I thought your lyrical concepts would be based upon Egyptian mythology, but then there are these blunt song titles such as 'Fuckslut From Hell'...
Well now… The name is Egyptian. It’s another name for Set(h) (Sutekh etc.) that we found in a very old book belonging to a relative of one of the band members. It felt right for the band. If you just dig a little and make an effort a lot of connections and meanings can be found. For example Seth was seen as a god of chaos, storms, confusion. His hieroglyph was used in words such as “rage”, “turmoil” and “illness”. And all kind of abnormalities, from sexual behaviors to natural events such as eclipses and earthquakes, where linked to him. I’m sure you have no problem to see how these things have quite a lot in common with the music we make. Before becoming vilified he was also worshiped as an ambivalent being; something that’s being echoed about us in reviews. Or how about the fact that he is believed to have had white skin and red hair, just like me! In all seriousness though; it is fitting. We are an awkward and different band.
We don’t really hang out with that many other bands. Opting instead to spend our time honing our art out in the country side where our rehearsal space is located. And so our songs takes us wherever they need to go; sometimes they can be borderline fine art poetic and other more blunt and humorous. It all depends. But there is no Egyptology to be found except in our name.
Then there is the video for 'Shoot Them All'... Which is... Well... Weird. In a good way though, but... Yeah. I suppose the word is 'weird'. And 'funny'. And 'different'. Tell us something about how the idea formed, how the shooting process went down, whose (awesome) cabin (in the woods) that is... How much booze was consumed before you had a list with all the mad props done? What is the story of the video / song?
The video was shot at our rehearsal place. So that cabin/house is actually where we spend most of our time as a band. It is also the home of one of the band members. The idea for the video was formed more or less in a haze and digested over many glasses of sherry. We had some grand plans that partially fell through in the end. But most of it stayed on track so we eventually gathered the horde on a fine day last September. There was also a late summer party planned for the same date. So the premise was that we would have lots of friends, a vast array of spirits and all our gear set up and ready to destroy. So everyone got drunk and crazy and we played the song live a number of times while someone caught it on film. Simple as that. In addition we also filmed some material on another date such as the sheep, the beautiful Madame Amanda and that epilogue.
About the meaning of it all we don’t want say anything too exact. It can be interpreted in a number of ways and there is no single explanation. I like the fact that you can find things in it and that it’s got a certain vibe and mood. It is clichéd, but I like art to be a bit mysterious and open. It’s no fun if it’s too safe or blunt. Oh… And the man in the gimp mask just turned up at the shoot. We do not know from where.
The imagery you use reminded me a bit of Lamp Of Thoth, the somewhat 1930s occultism promo pictures, the whole vibe of the name, pics, video... If you do not know them, go check them out, whole different ballgame music wise, but a damn enjoyable band nonetheless, especially live. Anyway, in this age where image is a very important aspect when it comes to selling your music, getting through to a bigger audience or standing out amongst the huge flow of releases - whether that is a good thing or not is not the issue - you seem to opt for just doing whatever you want or feel like, am I right? Is that a conscious choice? What is it that you want people to think about when they hear the name Septekh?
Thoth seems like a cool band (just checked them out). Thanks for the tip! I think for most cases you are right. Sometimes factors such as budget can play a role (and limit either us in our ideas or the successful outcome of an idea) and other times we just don’t know better! But generally we do what we feel is right. Of course it is good to have an identity of your own but I see no point in being different just for the sake of being different. On the other hand if you are going to do the exact same thing as numerous other acts you better do it damn well! We do not limit ourselves (by genre or any other “rules”) when it comes to music or the way we present the band, at least not too much. There should always be room for more unexpected twists and surprises. Even if some of us adhere to and hold a lot of pure metal traditions very close to our hearts we know that this is not a band that needs to follow one single blueprint. From the very first rehearsal there has been something. It is very hard to put your finger on exactly what it is but it is there. These things that you and others mention; the groove, a relentless drive, strangeness etc. together they make up the identity of Septekh. And it is this identity I want people to think about when they hear our name. We are Septekh. No more, no less. The worst thing I can think about is for someone to say that you are “like this or that band but with a different vocalist” or similar. There has to be some substance that makes a difference!
Even though the 'doing what you feel like' vibe is strong, I also get a feeling that surreptitiously, you are very well aware of the power of image, reputation and style and are consciously putting people on the wrong foot, toying a bit with it even. The nonchalance conveyed is almost an art itself. Are you creating a mysterious vibe and 'Septekh story' in which all the Septekh elements have a place, but we the audience never will get the whole picture? If so, smart move! Do you like H.P. Lovecraft?
Actually had to look up that word so clearly we are not native English speakers (the question earlier) hehe. I think we are very much aware of the power and importance of image. But if we have a clue about how to create and control an image, market the band and get the name out there I’m not so sure. What we do best is creating music, that’s our biggest strength. Hopefully that can carry the band.
I certainly hope that we are creating that 'Septekh story' since you consider it at smart move! Maybe it is already creating itself. Sometimes you feel like taking the piss out of some people you meet because they are so narrow minded. Usually that happens automatically though because one of us hasn’t heard a certain band or similar and they think we are joking. A lot of that has to do with our backgrounds and the fact we listen to more than just metal. But it goes both ways; there are a lot of glorious metal bands from the 80’s and 90’s for example that are dear to us but nobody else really cares about.
Anyway, we usually find that we don’t have that much common ground with other bands in the scene. Don’t know why, maybe we haven’t played with the right bands. That may also be why we come off as different; because people expect us to be in a certain way. Speculations aside, we are in a bubble and like being one. That is how we always have functioned and it has worked like a charm so far. We just enjoy staying out on our own edge locking ourselves away in the refuge known as Studio 508 on the Dark Island where we not only brew our own beer (!) but also make magical music!
A very long answer… Almost forgot about Chtulu. I don’t think anyone of us has read much Lovecraft. I have friends who are heavily into his works but personally I’ve only read ‘At The Mountains Of Madness’ which I enjoyed a lot!
Okay. Seriously now. Let me guess. At least one of you guys has studied or is studying either the arts, or photography / cinematography? And I would guess someone has dabbled a bit in literature as well?
Well, yes you are right. We are bunch of individuals with quite some talents when it comes to other forms of crafts and art. Nils has been studying and learning cinematography. It was he who edited the video for ‘Shoot Them All’. Two of us are blacksmith artists and pretty good overall craftsmen. So some of the props you see in that video are done by hand by the band. We also have a professional Level Designer in the quartet and a not too shabby painter. As is often the case, creative people tend to be… Well creative! And some of us have dabbled in literature. Read a lot but not published anything. Not yet.
How did this line-up come together? What are Septekh's origins?
More or less by faith (or accident if you will). Nils and David knew each other from before. After going to a Death Breath show together and being blown away Mr. Wikström decided he wanted to start a band. To his surprise Mr. Meseke told him that he thought he would be able to handle the vocals. None of them had played this kind of music before only listened a lot.
So with vocals and guitar covered they were still in need of somebody to handle bass and battery. They met George-Patrik at a party who gladly accepted to play bass without knowing what he got himself into. And they also asked a dangerous looking fellow who they had befriended to be their drummer since he used to play in another band. He respectfully declined saying that he probably wasn’t up to the task. That man was a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. Suddenly we ran into each other at the party of another friend I see very seldom as well in Stockholm. He told me about these guys down in Järna that needed a drummer and gave me David’s number. I’ve seen him once since then. So the probability that I would come into contact and start a band with these complete strangers was very low indeed. But that is what happened. The rest of this epic story can be heard on our current and upcoming releases!
And how does Septekh work? What are your roles in the band? How does the creative process work for you?
It depends. Usually David has some riffs for a song and then we arrange it together. During that process a lot can happen. For example a riff can change, or be replaced by something else entirely. The song gets a mood and a theme appears that often helps to guide the lyrical content. We work very intuitively and usually stuff comes together fast. It can be that one of us presents material with a certain idea or maybe no plan at all and then another has an idea and runs with the material, totally flipping the outcome. And all of a sudden we have a really strong song on our hands. It is this co-operation that is the beating heart of the band. We have a certain kind of subconscious communication and instinctively know what to do. Short version: Pieces are presented and then fall (or get thrown) into place! Since Nils writes all the lyrics they usually come in at a later stage but not always. Sometimes a lyric or even just a title can be the base of a song.
Other times a song is complete on arrival. Written and arranged either by David or Yours Truly actually. If it is written by David I have to create drum lines and Nils needs to “get under its skin” and add lyrics and vocals. If it is written by me we just need to make room for lyrics and find a way to add vocals since it’s usually jam packed and thick with sonic craziness already! I also have to mention that we jam together. It can be a good way to just let loose and play around. Of course it sometimes results in downright embarrassing ditties that should never have been done. But it can also be quite fruitful. Some songs have just appeared during late nights in the rehearsal space.
I described your music as a combination of Motörhead, Gehennah (not the black metal band, mind you) and Witchery. Do you know Gehennah? Can you appreciate their drunken type of thrash? And do you recognize Septekh in the three bands I mentioned? How would you describe your music yourselves?
The little I have heard of Gehennah I think I liked. They are on the right side of this kind of “party, drink and destruction thrash”, pulling it off with a sincere vibe. But I have to say I really have no idea. Never listened to Witchery either (but seen their name when reading about us before) so I can’t comment on that. Motörhead on the other hand is an integral part of our musical DNA. Especially Mr. Wikström’s riffing and guitar playing is influenced by them. How can you be into metal and not like Motörhead? They are forever one of the big names. When it comes to our own music I really don’t have a good answer. Maybe we are like a Black Sabbath trying to player Slayer songs? Or is it the other way round? Ha-ha! It’s hard and you could go on and on with references and ingredients by I prefer to wait for somebody else to come up with that perfect tagline.
One of the things I enjoyed most is the raw, primitive force and energy, the sheer drive. What goals do you have in mind when writing, or perhaps I should ask, what do you want a good song to get across? What response do you want your audience to have to your music?
Thank you. The things you mention are very important to us and something we enjoy very much as well. A song should have that drive and a good beat. It needs to pulsate and move either in a groovy way or a more relentless aggressive one. We also want it to have a consistent vibe and feeling. Sometimes the message of the lyrics can be important for this. This should of course be easy for the listener to grasp and the most important thing is that it has the power to grab you and move. That can translate to somebody raising the horns and then erupting into total headbanging frenzy in reaction to a hit with lots of hooks. Or just standing I awe when hearing a relentless track that just builds and builds without an end in sight. It doesn’t matter as long as they are not indifferent.
Music with this huge drive should go down well live. How have your shows been, so far? What are the highlights of your live career so far? And any 'Spinal Tappian' disasters / anecdotes yet?
It does. Yes siree Bob. Most of our shows have been good. Usually the crowd gives in after a while and starts to move which gives us more energy as well. Since we haven’t released anything up until now some people at the show don’t know us, so we have to win them over then and there. It’s going to be interesting to play for people who have heard the record(s).
My favorite show is still one we played as a support act for another band. They were sitting on pretty high horses and treated us with arrogance only befitting of an old English Lord so it was very appropriate that we completely destroyed that evening! The crowd went nuts. It got really hot and moistly and we weren’t allowed to leave the stage. They just wanted more. I mean; we even did a cover god damnit! It was a sweet victory indeed. So far nothing too crazy has happened during a show. During parties after shows things have gone a bit far out, though. And interestingly enough the biggest Spinal Tap moments have occurred back home in Studio 508 during long rehearsal weekends! The video shoot also had its fair share of those accidents, especially after filming was done. But I am not telling!
So, when will we get to see Septekh storm the stages of Europe?
Hopefully soon! We really want to get out and play. Now when we are done with recording and have two releases lined up the plan is of course to hit the stage. We are a live band thrive on doing it for real. If you want to book us just get in touch!
I read that you are working on a debut full-length. Where are you recording? What can we expect musically? When is it due? Be sure to make it a bit longer than the average release, because the EP was way too short!
We recorded it in Silence Studios in Värmland, Sweden. It is a legendary studio used by many famous domestic bands (Bob Hund, Kent, Hellacopters and… Hassan!). I don’t think any metal band has recorded their before so it was a bit of brave-explorers-on-the-frontier vibe over the whole thing.
It was the perfect place for us to record in. For one thing it mirrored our own home. Completely cut off from the rest of the world it was this old wooden building located out in the woods with beautiful nature all around. There was no reception there so if you wanted to make a call you had to make a trip to the small community nearby. It also has very good recording facilities so we were able to record everything live at the same time (even vocals) to capture the raw performance. And the acoustics where amazing so it was a big step up from the crypts we have been dwelling in before. Speaking about the music I can only say that it is a big step up. This is what we have been working hard on for the last two years. All the traits the band has shown on the previous releases will be there, but I think the material is more focused and fits together a bit better. Overall it is more serious, both in tone and ambition. It will be released in 2013. You will be pleased to know that it clocks in at an hour with all tracks on it.
Will the vinyl lovers be able to own a black (or coloured) slab of Septekh vinyl in the (near) future?
There are plans for that. Both black and coloured slabs. So yes! Hopefully before the end of the year.
What are you goals, dreams, hopes, expectations? What do you want to reach in the next, say, five years?
That our releases do well and help people to open their eyes for the greatness that we think Septekh entails. We really want to bring out more really good and qualitative albums. It is a privilege to play in this band and we just want press on ahead. Also; to be big in Japan is always a goal.
Alright, thanks a lot, any famous last words?
Be ready for our next EP ‘Apollonian Eyes’ this year. And start preparing for the full length in 2013. It will be a new chapter for sure! Hope to see you at a show sometime! Thanks for the interview! I think I almost can use this as an essay on music.
Interview link: http://www.lordsofmetal.nl/showinterview.php?id=4417
Official Website: http://www.septekh.com
Last fm: http://www.last.fm/music/septekh
Abyss Records links:
Label & Online Music Store: http://www.officialabyssrecords.com
Last fm: http://www.last.fm/label/AbyssRecords
To Order SEPTEKH "The Seth Avalanche" CD EP go to: http://www.officialabyssrecords.com/pro ... s_id=12210
To Preview a song go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIw0oyaI6w0
Last edited by MichaelMcCoyII on Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.