Since Slægt released their latest album 2 months ago, we thought it was the right time for an interview, so we had a chat with Oskar J. Frederiksen (Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitars/Lyrics) about the band, Domus Mysterium, their future plans and more…
It’s been 6 years already, since you started with Slægt, why did you start as an one man project in the first place?
It started that way, because I didn’t know the right people to involve in the project, at that time. If I had, it probably wouldn’t have started out with being a solitary effort. The way I perceive it, it’s all about getting as many songs done as possible, when you are inspired, and then record them as soon as possible, with the tools and resources at hand. Then move on. That’s how it started.
The band’s name is ‘family’ in Danish or something? And “DomusMysterium” is ‘the mystery house’ in Latin I guess. So, are you a normal family guy or a mysterious black metal one?
Yes, “slægt” means something along the lines of “lineage/heritage/bloodline” in Danish. And “Domus Mysterium” is my weak, Latin translation of the phrase “the house of mystery”. I got that idea/concept from a Leonard Cohen song called “Seems So Long Ago, Nancy”. I am neither of those things you mention. I am me.
Your debut in 2015 ‘Ildsvanger”, despite the fact that it was a very strong one, it wasn’t enough for your breakthrough. Would you change anything to promote it even better or it just wasn’t the right time for Slægt yet?
No, I wouldn’t change anything. As said in my first answer, those songs had to be captured the way they did, and come out at the time they did. I don’t think it would have been a good thing if it had “exploded” at that time; I wasn’t ready. But it was an important step, because it helped me progress as a songwriter, and it gave me valuable experiences related to recording and releasing musick. Without that album, you and I wouldn’t have this exchange of words.
Your EP,on the other hand,most likely helped you gain more popularity and possibly a good contract with Ván Records. Tell us more about ‘Beautiful And Damned’ .
“Beautiful and Damned” was our first effort as a “real” band, although most of the songwriting duties still were mine. It was initially thought of as a promo release of some sort. We had thought of recording the newest songs we had at hand and then send the recordings to labels in hopes of a deal or similar, to record a full length. Which we did, but people told us it was too good to re-record or not release. So we chose to release it as an EP.
Your sound is unique even though you can hear a lot of influences, varying from Black Metal and Dissection, to classic N.W.O.B.H.M. and Angel Witch, to more melodic stuff. Which are your main musical influences? How would you describe your sound?
My personal, main, musical influences are too numerous to mention here, but I prefer musick that has a sense of melody, edge and personality, and if I can sense that it emanated from a place far away or that it doesn’t deal with mundane matters, then I find it all the more pleasing. The artists you mention there are high on my list, but I don’t limit myself to metal, or to musick only. Whatever makes me feel something strongly, I take with me, and one day it may come out in one way or another. I think the best way to describe Slægts sound is to call it BLACK HEAVY METAL. Because in essence, we play rock musick in the heavy metal style, but our sense of feeling, atmosphere, and intention is taken from the realm of black metal.
How easy is to filter all these elements and add your own personal stigma?
Good question. I don’t think this part of creating should be the one where you are the most aware. You should just let it flow, explode and grow. Then in the aftermath, you can look at the debris and take with you whatever remnants you find the most fascinating, important or inspirational. That’s how I see it at least. I don’t try to think too much about what it is I am creating, but I am always very aware of the fact, that it has to be good enough. It doesn’t matter if it will sell, if people will like it or “get it”, or anything like that. We only ask ourselves “is this good enough?”
What was the feedback so far, as it has been almost 2 months since the record was officially released? Do you value more the feedback from your fans or the Press? Or both?
Feedback has been mostly positive! There will always be people who are pissed off about your latest release, for some reason or another, but that doesn’t matter to us. The feedback we value the most, is the feedback from people who understand where we come from and understand what we are trying to achieve. People who are too concerned with comparing it to this or that or complaining that it’s not raw enough in the production or whatever… we don’t spend time on that.
How long have you been working on “Domus Mysterium” and what was the process of composing and recording it?
We were already in the proces of writing the material for “Domus Mysterium” when “Beautiful and Damned” was released, which was in December 2015. So I guess we spend around a little year writing, refining, rehearsing and preparing for entering the studio, which we did in September 2016 and spent 10 days there. Mixing and mastering then took around a month and a half.
Who writes the lyrics? How important lyrics are for you and what are the topics they are dealing with?
I am responsible for the lyrics. They are, to me, as important as the musick. A very important point for me, when writing them, is that they have to be able to stand on their own – that is, ideally they have to work as a poem, separate from the musick. But, with that being said, they also have to be able to be connected to the musick and engage in a kind of union with that aspect of a song. Through recent interviews, where similar questions were asked, I have realised that most of my lyrics deal with a sense of longing or misplacement in the world, and the wish (or will) to break free. Another great topic is my fascination with the unseen, and the moments when you realise “truths” in areas that seem otherworldly or not making sense on the surface. I like to dig deep, and to look for things that are unseen to my physical eyes.
Extending the previous question, have you ever thought ofwriting lyrics about politics and/or the everyday struggles?
An interesting detail of your new album is the cover. You use once again the so called ‘Eye of the Devil’ emblem which is also the name of a song from the album. Does it mean something to you or was it just a cool symbol?
To us, the eye of the Devil symbolises a core of energy, that is so strong it cannot contain itself, thus it breaks free and affects its surroundings. We see it as a fine representation of one of the aspects of what we do – explosive energy is very important to us, at least when it comes to our live performances. They have to be unpredictable. Not necessarily dangerous, but we definitely like to feel like we are walking the rope, and don’t know if we will reach the other side.
What are your future plans? What’s Slægt’s next step?
Apart from promoting “Domus Mysterium” through playing live, doing interviews and the like, we are in the proces of writing new material and looking at the prospects of touring later this year and/or early next year. We will see how and when that materialises.
Well, that’s all from me! Would you like to sign off with a message to our readers?
Thank you for reading this interview. If you are not familiar with us, our latest album “Domus Mysterium” is a perfect place to start. Other than that, we hope to see as many of you as possible some day in the future. Only time can tell where or when it will happen. Until then…