Before we jump into the questions, I would really love to know how Draconian are affected by the coronavirus incident and how did they manage to get by the quarantine period.
For us living in small towns and forest ridden rural areas near the lake life hasn’t changed much other than keeping a distance in stores and restaurants. In my town I have seen people wearing masks maybe 2-3 times. People basically go about their business as usual. As you perhaps know, Sweden has a quite laid-back attitude regarding COVID, an attitude I don’t necessarily agree with. I try and take precautions, but my life hasn’t been affected that much but as I write this I am in Corfu, Greece and people around here as grown custom to the mask wearing. It’s taken a little bit more seriously here and no one is bitching about wearing masks. Unfortunately, yet naturally we have lost some shows due to the virus, and Heike’s struggle to renew her passport and dealing with the authorities has got more complicated.
Let’s talk a little bit about the new album’s title “Under a Godless Veil”. Where did you draw the inspiration for it from?
The title refers to the gnostic myth of the Wisdom goddess Sophia and her fall from the highest realm of being. With this fall a veil- or cloud was established between the highest realm, called the Pleroma, and what was to become our material world. According to the Gnostics this world is like a simulation, a projection handled by a supreme malignant being (the god of Abraham / all three monotheist religions… and Satan, if you will) to keep us prisoners here. Allot like movies like The Matrix, Dark City and The Truman Show, if you will. It is a story that goes back to Plato and his Allegory of the shadows in the cave.
While I’m writing those questions down, I am listening to your brand new single “Sorrow of Sophia”, which is the opening track of the album. As I presume, Sophia refers to what we simultaneously consider the root of our sadness? Can you tell us a little back story?
It is a complex, yet powerful story. I’ll try and simplify it a bit. At the beginning creation (not our material world) an invisible, unknowable god started waking up and becoming conscious. It emanated from itself different powers and sources of creative characteristics and archetypes, representing things like understanding, idea, grace, thoughtfulness, ect. One of these are Sophia, representing wisdom, and the female aspect of God. All these powers had consorts- male and female to maintain balance in what was created. Sophia, however, became so infatuated with what was going on so she started dreaming and, in her passion, she started creating on her own, without her consort and blessing of the invisible spirit. So, what was created turned out a monstrosity. The Gnostics described it in some texts like an aborted fetus, and it immediately became conscious but only of itself, taking power from his mother. This entity is seen as the first, or core representation of the Ego. Sophia created a cloud where it could rule by itself and hid it away where it could rule.
Sophia, in her passion and dreaming, fell from the highest realm. Realizing what she had done- what she had manifested, she went through emotions of rage, sadness, disgust, immense sorrow and shame… and all these emotions condensed into what was to become the material world. In that moment these things were created.
Theology is an important aspect for Draconian’s lyrics, even though the meanings are usually attached to the material world. Why is God and Gnosticism such a mandatory reference to your lyrics?
Symbolically (even literally), this so-called god can be seen as the archetype of oppression. We see imitations and projections of it here in our material world. It’s like a soul farm. Here most beauty is skin-deep, meaning; underneath the surface it is all oppressive. You can take a look at a beautiful green pasture, or a mountain and stunning natural sceneries… it can be painfully beautiful almost, but underneath is it just death and life feeding on life. Projections of the work of the Demiurge. As it comes to Gnosticism Draconian has been gnostic in its nature from Day one. Ever since the first demo. Gnosticism is just a word describing a set of spiritual and philosophical that share the same attributes, again; going back to Plato. That, in all its severe glory, there is something wrong with the world. That, something just isn’t right. A feeling of glitches in the matrix, if you will. This is a very inspiring thing to write about and works like clock work for a band like Draconian. And of course, I find it massively interesting. I get to play dot-connector, haha.
Getting back to the new album, what would you say is the most notable difference in contrast to its’ predecessor, “SOVRAN”?
“SOVRAN” was probably a little heavier, more massive. More growls. The new album is darker, more subtle and cohesive. The divine feminine is a big part of the album, yet Heike rarely takes the role as Sophia. We wanted to keep it descriptive and mostly from the 1st and 3rd perspective.
What would you say it’s the most important moment in the band’s career?
I don’t know that yet. Let’s see what comes out of this.
Have there been any mistakes you regret or do you feel that people learn from their mistake, embrace them and move on?
During the album process, yes, a few. Mostly with lyrics. Because of the dragging time and constant delays, I found myself a bit blind to the songs and what I was writing. As for the latter part of your question; generally; this is what is required in general. Mistakes are there to learn from, to grow from them and move on. But unfortunately, sometimes we get stuck in destructive thought-prophecies and behaviors. It is a grim world, after all, and it has failed us all. I try to have compassion, even for the least of my brothers and sisters.
The Doom Metal genre seems to be growing a lot lately, especially this year, which takes it into the spotlight; we got a new album by Katatonia, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and then yours in October. What do you think it’s the case?
Well, we have all been around for a long time and this music is part of us… as the madness of the world intensifies. This music is an expression where we can unify and feel less isolated.
In the pandemic years, what can a fan do to support his favorite band in the most effective way? Merch is always an option but consider the restrictions to the packages at some places all over the world…
I think to support the creative process, which can go on with or without any pandemic. Go and watch their life streaming shows, ect. Support via donations and keep the buzz going online. The fan communities are truly amazing. It is very humbling.
What should we expect after the album’s release for you?
We will be focusing getting the band together and there will be some news on the bands situation and what we plan for next year. Hopefully this COVID thing will blow over and not keep messing everything up for us and so many of our colleagues… That we finally can have this tour in March and doing good by all the lost shows this year.