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Interview with Tommie Eriksson (Saturnalia Temple)


Last Updated on 02:33 PM by Nikos Nakos

Long before the occult themes in rock and metal became a trend, Tommie Eriksson had left a huge mark in the metal scene with his contributions to THERION as well as the semi-hidden treasure named SHADOWSEEDS back in the 90s. Then came SATURNALIA TEMPLE, the vessel though which archetypal doom sounds are being channeled to higher spiritual paths. The Anti-Flesh Nimbus tunes in to their vibrations and summons Golachab along with mr. Eriksson.


I) How are things with SATURNALIA TEMPLE as we speak, has stability returned to the band after the unexpected loss of Jens?

That was of course a very hard thing to get through. With him, it finally seemed as if we now had the perfect line up for the band. We have had some problems finding the perfect drummer, so when he appeared all things seemed to align. After his demise, we felt very strongly that we would never find another guy like him again, so I decided to become the studio drummer for the band, and then we will have session guys playing with us live. In the US we have Tim Call, who is an amazing guy and a great drummer, and here in Europe we have our friend Kennet drumming live. So, yes, we are now firmly a duo and the new album is about to be recorded. We fight on, through all diversity.


II) How did you come up with the almost drunk main riff of “Golachab”? When I first heard the song, it kind of seemed awkward but I ended up getting addicted to it!

I tend to exit from thoughts when I compose songs, so I have no idea. It arrived, it was powerful and it was recorded. Glad you like it. So do we.


III) What is the story behind the strange yet beautiful choice of EXUMA’s “Dhamballa” for a cover?

I have been a great fan of Tony Mckay “Exuma” for a long time. He was a unique singer and did some really fantastic albums in the early seventies. These days, he is a truly lost gem, and I have been introducing all my friends to his work. I felt we deserved the honour to play one of his songs. And of course there were no pressure, only Nina Simone had covered it before……


IV) Where do you draw inspiration from? I know that you are actively involved with esotericism. Do you transcend into a certain spiritual state during the process of creating music?

Like I said, this is a band that avoids theorizing and intellectualizing around our work. Since I am also a writer of occult and occult fiction, there you can find my intellectual ideas. The arena of music to me is where you let the spirit and soul speak freely and avoid being too smart. I find the logical and intellectual things hamper the energy in music. So, this art is what it is. You won’t get much explaining from me. The power and focus is in the deed itself.


V) When will the era come for weak materialistic robots to fall and the fire to burn us all? I’m asking because, for the time being, we seem to live under severe materialistic dictatorship!

Lyrics are lyrics and I don’t believe in explaining them.


VI) Although you started SATURNALIA TEMPLE some years before the whole “occult rock” explosion (when suddenly everybody seemed to have found the holy grail by mixing the 70s with mystical verses), you haven’t claimed any throne of this genre, while you could rightfully do so. Instead you insist on walking your own solitary path by cooperating with selective labels like The Ajna Offensive and Nuclear Winter and generally by keeping your distance from publicity’s bright lights. Is that a conscious decision by the band? On the other hand wouldn’t you want to spread your music and messages to broader audiences?

I never wanted this band to be a corporate economical machine, like many bands become. I wanted to have total freedom to work when and where and how I want. I must say everything has proceeded just like I planned and hoped. I find we are big enough now, I work with two good labels, Ajna and Listenable, I have been able to build my own studio and have perfect control of all aspects, I am working with the best artists for design (Ketola, Dennis Dread, Manuel Tinnemans etc). Basically, we never ever sought commercial success at all. We never sent out any review copies (besides the old UR cd-r in 2006), or did press-releases or promotion or anything. Word of mouth and some sparse gigging seems to have taken us where we are. And that is a firm stable ground to stand on. What rises fast, may also fall fast.


VII) I think the last few years have brought closer the audiences of doom and heavy rock bands and with those of more extreme genres like black and death metal. Do you believe this has to do solely with the occult themes which are common in both cases or have people started to remove some “barriers” when listening to music?

Possibly, but I think it’s just common sense since many people who like good metal also like good rock. I mean, genres is mainly for those who like to talk about other people’s music anyway, or for pin-pointing something when trying to sell it. I find both genres and comparisons boring and a short cut to thinking. I love reviews (which we have been happy to get) where the writer actually conjures up interesting and original analyses and themes, talking about the music truly, rather than just babbling about whatever records he listened to yesterday.


VIII) Back to SATURNALIA TEMPLE, what made you start this band in the first hand? What kinds of forces needed to be channeled through this musical act?

Long story, but being into rock and metal since the early eighties, following this music as it got harder in thrash and death metal, then playing in different bands on different levels…. guess you could say that ST was just a natural reaction to my life in music and Left Hand Path magic.


IX) You generally incorporate various types of effects in your songs. The highlight for me would be that discontinuous riff that runs throughout the whole “Aion Of Drakon” title track. Do you feel these effects add an extra depth to the music?

I notice that people often use the term “effects” when talking about our music. We actually use very little effects compared to many other bands. I only have some delay on the vocals, and sometimes some delay on the guitar, besides a wah for the guitar. That’s it. Though I try to make the production original and interesting, and I think the production is what people mistake for effects. The loose way we play things, and the way we use sounds. So it is more a matter of how we play, and how we produce. Just to stomp on a few boxes would be boring.


X) What does the future hold for the band, are you in the process of writing new material? If yes, does it follow the more rock-oriented direction of “Golachab” or will it return to the lo-fi tones of “Aion Of Drakon” and the previous releases?

Yes, we are in the middle of channeling and recording the new album. I have no idea how it will finally become, which is why I find it stimulating making it. I suppose it will have some links to past works. If I can say something, it is that I feel it may be harder and bleaker and more hypnotic.


XI) Speaking of previous releases is there any chance that the “Ur” demo and the 7’’ will see a repress in the near future?

Yes, that may very well be. The EP had two original songs that have not appeared anywhere else ever, so I think they deserve a re-release. UR as well.


XII) From what I understand, you are again activating the LAPIS NIGER experimental project of yours. Is the new material in the veins of “At The Throne Of Melek-Taus” or will there be a new perspective to it?

Yes indeed I have also started my own label and publishing house called Lapis Niger Productions. This will be the outlet of Lapis Niger ritual ambient and my occult books. I have a trilogy of occult fiction coming up in both English and Swedish, and a re-release of the “At The Throne of Melek Taus” album. After that I release a new album with Lapis Niger, and parts of that were composed around the same time as that album, so it may have similarities. But other tracks may be different.


XIII) Will we ever hear anything new from SHADOWSEEDS in the future or my hopes are too high?

Shadowseeds was a purely magical output, based on certain workings. When the time is right, it may happen again. For now, I am finally releasing the last 33 copies of Der Mitternacht Löwe cd, handmade and designed by Timo Ketola. Keep your eyes on http://facebook.com/lapisniger616


XIV) This is all from me, thank you for the conversation and lay down your final words until next time!

Thank you for well-researched questions!


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