Hello and welcome to Metal Invader! Thank you for having us! Hope everything’s flowing well for you. What have you been up to these days?
Hello! Thanks for having us be part of Metal Invader. Life is good. The new release is finally complete and out in the world. I can’t be more thrilled about that fact. I am also thrilled to have the support of Nico, Martin and Johnny from Eisenwald who not only helped release the record but also had faith in the project for many years. They asked to release it when we had a rough mix 3 or 4 years ago. The fact that they did not give up on us is amazing.- Beyond that, we can now finally move forward with other recording projects. A slower moving collaboration project and a new body of work for a new release. That is quite exciting and I cannot wait to get started on that.
Please introduce the band to our readers.
L’Acephale started as a solo recording project in 2002/2003 and developed into a sometime live ensemble in 2004. The first demo was released in 2004 followed by a full band ep “Book of Lies” and first full length “Stahlhartes Gehäuse” was recorded in 2006 but not released until 2009 due to issues with the label. Our second full length “Malefeasance” which was a solo recording collecting material from 2002-2008 was released also in 2009. Afterward a series of splits and various other material was released. The second full band line up started in 2010 and ended in 2013. The current self-titled release started the recording process in 2012.
The goal of the band has always been to merge Black Metal with kindred elements from Dark Folk, Dark ambient and Musique Concrète. Elements that have been present in Black Metal since its inception and championed by its true followers.
L’Acéphale began as a solo project. At what point did you decide that you wanted it to become a regular band -if we can use this term for you-?
This is correct. I started the project out of the necessity to create sound I wanted to hear. I am not sure when I wanted the band to become a full band. That sort of happened by circumstance. After completing the demo “Mord Und Totschlag” I asked my friend Tim Call from Parasitic Records for feedback about it. He asked me to release the song as a 7”. As a drummer himself I suggested recording it with real drums, I asked the drummer from the other band I was playing in, Order of the Vulture, if he would record drums for it. He agreed and we set up a date to start practicing. By the time that the date happened, he had already talked to Liz and Kody about the project and they asked to join the band; both are fantastic musicians so it was perfect.
Since then the project has been active and inactive over the years with various life experiences changing line ups. All the members have been friends the whole time, but life goals and directions have led to some members being active or not at various times. The project remains an active project for me.
The album took you six years to record it. What has the feedback been so far? Are you satisfied by the crowd’s and Press’ reactions?
The record took forever to complete. Alas… shit happens. The reception of the record is way better than I expected or hoped. I really had no idea how to gauge the interest or reception of the release. The project is not designed to be popular. I merely pursue what interests me. Luckily, the musicians that have worked on the project have a similar vision and have been massively supportive in the project.
The release itself has so many different types of metal elements, folk elements and other pieces that all make sense to me having been listening to underground music for the past 35-40 years. I am 48 now and have been listening to metal since the late 70’s early 80’s. Listening to bands like Celtic Frost, Bathory, Slayer and punk/crust bands like Sacrilege (UK), Septic Death, Cryptic Slaughter, the Accused, Concrete Sox from the mid 80’s onward. I also listen to everything else from Harsh Noise, to industrial to Neo-folk and all the underground music that followed it as well as Avant-Garde classical music, experimental music from all over the world and various folk music. Through all of these music styles I find threads of sonic elements that relate to each other and I often want to push the boundary of what ever music I create to be more than a simple genre. I have no interest in being just another “X” or “Y” type band.
The reception has been fantastic and I am also very proud of the release so that is great.
Could you tell us what’s new or different in this album, comparing it to your first vision as it took a rather long time to finish it?
The delays in recording the release relate more to issues with the studio we recorded it at. We worked with a friend Gabriel Esponoza at his studio the Hellhole. After we had conducted the primary recording as a trio, drums, bass and my guitar. The studio go notice that it had to move locations. We were able to finish the primary tracking but the 2 other guitarists and other musicians were unable to finish their parts before the studio moved. The studio did not have another location lined up due to rental market issues in Portland. So, we had to wait awhile before we could do more recording. Jared ended up tracking his parts at another studio with this guy Fester whom we are friends with. That was great and we thought about moving the project over to that studio. In the mean time, I was recording other member’s parts with my recoding set up.
I ended up choosing to stick with Gabriel because I really liked working with him and his intuitive sense of where each part should go and what types of effects to add to each part were very close to what I would want. So, the working relationship was perfect. We had to work in brief periods of time importing various sessions at different pop up locations that the studio would set up. This whole process quickly ate up six years. At times, I wanted the project to be done sooner, but there would be sessions or rough mixes that different members would listen to and decide that they could do better, so we worked with them to make sure that everything was as perfect as possible. In the end, it was worth the wait. The final mix that Gabriel did is fantastic. I had worked on previous recording projects with mixes where we did not spend enough time to get the right mix and when I listen to it now, I am disappointed with the mix. That is not the case with this record.
In terms of what is new, that is hard to say. Everything about this release was done specifically for this release. There are a lot of elements that will be unique to this release. The use of Moog by Markus is notable and he has since sold that instrument so it will be the last time we use that instrument. All the contributions from various people make it unique in some ways and new in to the development of the band. The use of three guitarists on the record is also novel, so there are lots of melodies at times. I don’t think I had a specific vision at the beginning. We had the songs and as we slowly tracked the material, each member was allowed and encouraged to revise what they had played live before. Allowing them to create new melody lines while they recorded, so there are things on the record that we never performed in the same way before. Additionally, Space that felt “bare” in the rough mixes, I asked members to add elements until the whole project felt “complete.”
On which track would your urge your listeners to focus on and why?
That is a good question, and I think I will subvert the answer. With all the elements that were recorded over the years, there were different ideas about what should be the final mix for each particular song. Some songs everyone agreed on the final mix, for other songs, there were different ideas about what should be a final mix. For the Cassette, CD and Vinyl there are several different mixes on each format. Each format has songs that have different mixes and some mixes are the same between each format.
Do you keep track of the new releases in Extreme Metal? Are there any bands you really dig and think you can recommend to us?
I am constantly tracking new material and music that is new to me. I go see music live and perform music live with my other projects Hail and Kertoa Kalevala and buy music from touring bands and friends bands. The Pacific Northwest has a great wealth of music from a wide set of music styles. I support my friends by buying their music. I am also a member of a few groups online that discuss and post new music. I also trade with various labels and distros. I also regularly check several labels and distros for new arrivals. I also regularly shop at local record stores. There are about 20 or so record stores in Portland and there are many great record stores with tons of great records, tapes and cds.
I’d recommend: Rohit, Papal Regurgitation, Baphometic Dawn/Unexamine, Human Agony, Ignis, Huldrekall, Mania, Vouna, To End it All, With the End in Mind, Barrowlands, Mortiferum, Rotting Sky, Dödlage, and Eigenlicht. All are bands that are in the area that are fantastic. It is hard to say what people ‘know’ or “do not know” from elsewhere. Some bands, or scenes, lots of people may know about or not depending on how involved in the scene they are. Some recent bands I have been following: Nocturnal Triumph, Cantique Lépereux, Délétère, Forteresse, Obskuritatem, Frozen Graves, Vargrav, Oksennus, Ultha are just a few. Blood Incantation, Spectral Voice, Wayfarer, Stillborn Fawn are also friends that we have known for a long time and are perhaps a lot more well known but certainly worth the support!
I think this is the first time you recorded with Menace Ruine’s Geneviève Beaulieu’s. Plus Liz Abyss also added vocals. How easy or difficult is to write lyrics made for female vocals?
This was the first time recording with Geneviève Beaulieu (Menace Ruine and Preterite) we became friends in 2012 when our projects played a festival together. Later, I interviewed her for my magazine “Amarantos.” We conducted the interview via email one question at a time to make the interview feel more like a conversation. We also discussed life and other things outside of the interview over that time. During the interview, it was clear that she had a lot of similar interests that I have and we expanded the interview to include some source material for many of the writers and artists that we were discussing in the interview.
I asked her to work on a collaboration together and she agreed. We chose a set of lyrics from Bataille from her favorite book by him “Inner Experience.” I asked her to sing in French since it is her native tongue. She normally sings in English but agreed to sing in French which is fantastic. Her voice is so amazing and it is wonderful to hear Bataille through her voice and inflection. So wonderful. Not only that but I gave her a couple very simple ideas and she chose one. To that simple guitar part she expanded upon it, recording acoustic guitar and keyboards. She even created the whole outro on her own as well. The piece is essentially all her, she did the final mix for it too. All I did was have it mastered for the record. She is amazing.
We were also lucky to have Liz Abyss return to the studio with us. We both have young kids and were hanging out a lot together as fellow parents. I mentioned that we had been recording the songs that she helped write a decade earlier. “Runenberg” and “Winternacht” she helped write and together we worked on vocal parts back then. When we used to perform those songs she was an integral part of those songs. I had missed her vocals on those pieces. She was more than willing to come into the studio and record her vocals that was fantastic. I hope that she might be part of the band again, but that depends on work and family life that she has now. We shall see. She might just continue to be a studio session member if she cannot perform with us live.
What does the future hold for L’Acéphale? Any booked dates including Greece perhaps?
Performing in Greece would be fantastic! That is certainly on the list of places to visit and perform. It took almost 15 years to finally make it over to Europe. We now have some contacts over there and we are likely going to start making regular trips over there to tour various places I have always wanted to perform over there. Stay tuned for that.
We also have two sets of recordings we are going to be working on. The first is a collaboration record with a Corrupted that we have been working on with them for a number of years. Due to the slow progress of the self-titled, that project has been put on hold to focus on getting that record out. Now that it is out in the world we will record our parts of the collaboration and send it to Chew for them to work on their parts. We are very excited about that project, but the timeline is very open and I am not sure exactly when or how that project will be completed.
We also have quite a few other song pieces worked out that we just need to piece together and prepare to record. I want that next release to be shorter just a single lp. But you never know, we work on music until it is complete and the release dictates the direction it wants to go.
Alright, thanks for taking the time to answer everything, it means a lot! End this interview any way you see fit. Any messages to Metal Invader’s readers all over the world?
Thanks for the questions and having us be part of Metal Invader! Up the Irons! Hail the continual invasion of metal all over the globe and into everyone’s lives! Only Metal is real.
Last words from Bataille and the original group:
Programme (Relative to Acéphale)
To establish a community for the creation of values, values for the creation of cohesion.
To lift the curse, the feeling of guilt which afflicts men and forces them into wars they do not want, and which binds them to work whose benefits elude them.
To take on the function of destruction and decomposition, but as an achievement, not as a negation of being.
To achieve the personal fulfillment of being and its tension by means of concentration, through a positive asceticism and positive personal discipline.
To achieve the universal fulfillment of being within the irony of the animal world and through the revelation of an acephalic universe, playful rather than one of status or duty.
To take upon oneself both perversion and crime not as exclusive values but as something that must be integrated into the human totality.
To fight for the break-up and abolition of all communities, including national, socialist and communist communities and churches, apart from this universal community.
To affirm the reality of these values and the human inequality which results, and to recognize the organic nature of society.
To take part in the destruction of the world as it presently exists, with eyes wide open to the world that will follow.
To consider the world that will follow in the sense of the reality it contains now and not in the sense of some ultimate happiness which is not only inaccessible but also repellant.
To affirm the value of violence and the will for aggression as the cornerstone of the all-powerful.
Georges Bataille (1936)