Heart of Steel: Interviews


Wojtek Lisicki of Luciferion

Interview by Luxi Lahtinen
Pics by Laurent Merle (Listenable Records)

Metal-Rules.com Editor Note:
This interview with Wojtek was conducted just prior to the news that he had left his other band LOST HORIZON. The news as posted to their site is below.

15-07-2003:
Lost Horizon announces that Wojtek is leaving the band, due to personal reasons. The remaining five members WILL continue, and NOT be looking for a replacement guitarist!

Wojtek Lisicki of LuciferionOne of the hottest, and strangely somehow most underrated, Death Metal forces from the land of high standard Heavy Metal, Sweden, is Luciferion. The band unleashed it's first-born baby monster titled DEMONICATION (THE MANIFEST) in 1994 through French label Listenable Records. Their debut achieved some status amongst the Metal crowd with that album as one of the most extreme and talented newcomers at that time. Wojtek Lisicki, the mastermind behind Luciferion then became more and more involved with Lost Horizon in a full-time manner. This basically left him with no time to continue the Luciferion-saga. Wojtek himself knew that he would bring us another Luciferion album when the time was right.

THE APOSTATE, Wojtek´s 2nd baby monster under Luciferion´s moniker, will soon arrive within the next coming month and we should all be prepared for that ´coz as Wojtek himself will tell in this very interview, the new Luciferion songs should outshine everything he has done for his band before.

Dear ladies and gentlemen, let´s just unleash Wojtek Lisicki himself and let him do all the talking for the 2nd Luciferion opus, THE APOSTATE.

 

It's been a pretty long time since the last (and the first!) Luciferion album came out titled DEMONICATION (THE MANIFEST). Actually it was unleashed through French Listenable Records as late as in 1994…?! It's been nearly 9 long years since your debut came out, so would you Wojtek kind of sum up in some sort of a nutshell what has been happening during these 8+ years in your life?

Hi Luxi my friend! Yes, I guess it was quite a "while" ago, still, as my time perception isn't of a normal kind I can tell you that for me it's not that far away. "Demonication…" was released in 1995 to be exact, after that we did circa 20 gigs around the Europe and Sweden and that with our new drummer Hans Nilsson. As Martin later on went to MI (Musician Institute) in Los Angeles we did our gigs without bass, only with two woofer-on-max oriented guitars. The band faded away in 1996. I don't exactly remember why, I guess it was because of lack of plan. We were still kids and only did it because of passion, still mostly of that naive kind. Soon or later it must have collapsed. After that, from -´95 to -´97 I locked myself in and wrote new material bordering on absolute madness. But it wasn't only because I wanted to release the next album; it was a time of top of pain and misery for me, but also of great mysticism and by that great inspiration. I finally wrote a complete material for the new album, but then I realized that nobody could play it... And I also realized that it was too early to present it for the world. I am aware that if I hadn't put that enterprise on ice I would have lost my mind… I guess today the material wouldn't be that far out. I will give it a try when the time is right. As for now I decided to release other material that is more appropriate for the scene and to be able to be performed live. In 1998 we revived our old metal band Highlander (originally started in -´90 and shut down -´94) and under that name got a deal with Music For Nations in the year of 2000. The same year we changed the name to Lost Horizon. We recorded two albums; AWAKENING THE WORLD and A FLAME TO THE GROUND BENEATH

 

 

If we fly back in time a little bit; actually back to the times when you were in the middle of the recording session of the first Luciferion full-length album DEMONICATION…, I was just wondering what kind of memories do you have from those recordings for that particular album? At least you used a lot of time for both recording and mixing the album; 8 months or so…

Shit man... You are recalling things I have repressed in my depths… But you know what, this is interesting, as it shows that it wasn't just a one time coincidence. It cost me just the same to produce AWAKENING THE WORLD, then half a year for A FLAME TO THE GROUND BENEATH and seven months for THE APOSTATE. This is a proof that it simply requires that long time to realize a production the way I want it. Like you see, months just flew by in my life, I have passed 30 and I don't remember the latest 10 years. This is an effect of being totally concentrated on your work.

 

 

Now if you listen to that album today, is there something on the album you would like re-record afterwards or would you like to say that album stood well enough its time when it came out in 1994?

The answer is "yes" to both of your questions. I've heard DEMONICATION lately in studio in connection to the recording of THE APOSTATE in purpose to compare some sound values and I could hear that purely technically I/we have developed enormously, so of course I/we could improve a lot of things. The same thing with the insights regarding the production itself. But honestly, I would only like to correct some technical mistakes, that's all. When it comes to the compositions I wouldn't like to do any changes because it would be a little bit pointless, as that time's compositions reflect that particular time. Of course, if I would decide to undertake such an enterprise I could improve the result a lot, but like I said that should kill the virginity included in the original. As I always release 100% perfect products, adequately to my present possibilities, the result of DEMONICATION was the best I could achieve at that time (speaking from a position of the main writer and producer). There is no reason to redo old stuff (if they are good enough of course). I have so many new ideas all the time that my head is boiling. Although, I'm sure that if we will play the old songs live they will be automatically adjusted to our current skills and general view.

 

 

The whole album was recorded by you, Michael Nicklasson, Peter Weiner and Johan Lund. Do you think you kind of have a winning team at that time working for DEMONICATION - people that had the best understanding for all you wanted Luciferion to be both musically and conceptually? Would you like to have some of your mates in Luciferion contributing the band a bit more than they actually did in the first place; either musically or lyrically?

Originally I wanted to create a perfect unit (like the most of other visionary musicians do), regarding all aspects; like a perfect combination of good friends at the same time soul mates, dedicated members, passionate artists and so on. I was successively hit in face by a brutal truth that it wasn't possible in this case. It was the same thing with Lost Horizon on that matter. It's not possible unless one doesn't create a band consisting of protagonists from different qualitative acts with the same values; of course under condition that the aim is the best possible result and not only personal realization. Yet, I now know for quite sure that I am alone in my way of thinking. Even if I am actually aware of totally dedicated people like: Ihsahn, Trey, Snowy Shaw… I still know that I am alone in my extremity of perfectionism and ethics, and that I must work alone. But I really hope I will find people like me to share the true magic with.

 

 

The majority of the Luciferion fans musically compared your band to such names as Morbid Angel and especially Deicide even if that wasn't the whole truth there actually, but still a relatively justified comparison was given by some of these fans anyway. But could you tell us by your own honest words, how much you were under the influence of those aforementioned bands since you started writing songs for Luciferion back in the day? To me it seemed Morbid Angel's BLESSED ARE THE SICK album at least a huge impact on you on almost every possible level; just feel free to correct me if I'm totally mistaken…?

You are TOTALLY... unmistaken! This is just reality. Morbid Angel, Deicide and Immolation were the absolutely main source of inspiration in connection to the DEMONICATION (THE MANIFEST) album. Of course, like you also intimated there was more than that, everything outside the above mentioned influences was a result of the whole impact our musical past had.

 

 

In your personal record books, BLESSED ARE THE SICK obviously represents one of the best Death Metal albums recorded ever, correct?

Definitely and absolutely THE best (maybe a little bit apart from the material in the end of the album). That album is an inexhaustible source of mystery and energy, a kind of perpetuum mobile... Can you imagine, I listen to it at least once in every other week. I can even tell you that the fundamental sound choice for THE APOSTATE is directly inspired by that album. Of course in the end the mix became very own, but like I said at the bottom it's BLESSED ARE THE SICK and you know a funny thing, I don't give a shit in what anybody think about it.

 

 

I remember you telling me that you even gave a few copies of DEMONICATION to Trey Azathoth; to the man who you have always adored as a musician - and when he listened to DEMONICATION…, he was pretty much blown away by the Luciferion stuff and kept on praising how talented and gifted a musician you were and so forth. I guess you felt very flattered by his words indeed, didn't you?!

Hmm, did I say that? I don't remember... But I don't think Trey actually said anything like that. I'm not sure, but he is that kind of person that seems to have problems to avow the work of other people in the same genre (on a personal and strategic platform). I don't understand that kind of thinking, as I just love to hear or meet talented individuals. I feel an immediate need to convey my admiration to them and I even shouldn't have any problems to tell them that they are better than me if that was the case.

 

 

Besides Trey, of course, which guys do you hail and adore as some of the finest composers for the Death Metal music? I wanted to restrict this to ´Death Metal musicians only´ for an obvious reason if you don't mind…?

Sorry, but I can't answer this question. I have no ideas who I could mention right now. Simply, black out on that matter.

 

 

As far as the lyrics on DEMONICATION are concerned, you dealt with a lot of different themes from the dark side. Were there some specific ´sources´ that were fueling your fire particularly for the lyric writing at that time; I mean the way your lyrics turned out eventually? What was so fascinating yet exciting in the dark side for you personally back then? Were you into any ritual type of things as well?

Man... all that was a collage of immature thoughts and emotions. Just like 99% of all other bands from the "dark side". Still, it was absolutely honest and that's what counts. The real thing you will hear on THE APOSTATE. This is totally matured lyrically, musically and for now ideologically.

 

 

You also did a gig here in Helsinki, at Lepakko Club, with Dark Funeral which I still remember very well. I remember you dressing like Glen Benton on stage with some sort of a cuirass on when Deicide was still called Amon - and I have to say your gig was one of the best underground metal gigs I have ever witnessed in my entire life at that time, honestly!!! But would you kindly share some of your memories about that gig in question with the readers of Metal-Rules.com, too?

It was a very memorable gig indeed!! I have actually a video recording from that gig! We did some concerts together with Dark Funeral, which were very cool guys. I also remember that you were pissed on me after the gig for a strange reason (I was pissed off at you...?! I cannot remember at all why or if I was like that?! Weird...). Also some dramatically funny things took place. Like for example when Has (the drummer) suddenly disappeared from the stage in the very beginning of "Satan's Gift (The Crown Of thorns)". He simply fell dawn (backwards) from the drum podium as the chair leg fell inside a whole in the podium and I was forced to "repair" that situation with maneuvers like "we have a technical problem with the pedals" he, he. I even said Holland instead of Finland during the gig... Shit, that was embarrassing, still I remember that I quickly "painted" over it with some theatrical speaking and not many understood what happened. Although, I consider that gig being successful and quite special.

 

 

How many gigs did you play with Luciferion back in those days all in all? How did it feel to be on stage and play in the front of an audience? Was it kind of a completely new experience for you to do back then or were you already experienced enough to play live in some other bands or ´projects´ even before Luciferion?

Oh no, I have been staying in front of an audience many times before that. Don't forget that we started Highlander in 1990 (-´94). We did plenty of gigs back then. Besides, I have had quite many other projects before Luciferion, even before Highlander.

 

 

Were there any bands back then you hoped to do some gigs with and did some of your wishes ever come true later on?

Of course, all my favorites bands that I always have a tendency to mention, but nothing ever came true. Or maybe I should say, we didn't exist long enough to experience it.

 

 

Now about this upcoming album titled THE APOSTATE. According to Listenable Records´ site, this new Luciferion album will contain 7 new songs plus 5 re-mastered demo songs off your ´1994 Demon´ - and an unreleased cover song for Celtic Frost's evergreen classic tune, "Circle of the Tyrants". But let's talk about these 7 new Luciferion compositions first. How would you say this new stuff differs from the songs on the Luciferion debut, both music and lyric-wise? What could you say are the main key elements between these two particular albums that separate them from each other?

Yes, there will be seven new compositions on the album, but not as seven separate tracks. The first song, which is a title track consists of five sub-songs. Those five songs are melted into one and will only have one common track code on the CD. After that three more new tracks follow. So in a CD-player one will only see four tracks. After that comes the Celtic Frost cover and then the material from the old demo-promo tape. I don't want to comment the difference between the both albums. Not yet. I want people to create their own opinion. The only thing that can be said is that the new material and its execution are much more developed and matured. And when it comes to the lyrics the evolution has had an incomparable size. I really feel that the words are very closely representing my thoughts. I inspire myself while reading them. Also the content itself has a substance and is not unreal ridiculous bullshit as the most other bands around have. Oh, yes, the sound - this I can comment. It's not at all as on the first album, where the guitars didn't contain any middle but only bottom and hi-range. No, the sound is much more airy, aggressive, malevolent and wild. The middle frequency is very highly exposed and you can hear every single detail of all instruments. I know that I will get a lot of shit for this laboratory production, but this is what I consider is of importance - the clearness of your art. I haven't spent all the time on arranging those mathematic structures to let the details drown in a shitty underground production. There are millions of moments and elements on the album, and all of them have a purpose and must be heard. You shall see.

 

 

Do you believe when people get a chance to read the lyrics for THE APOSTATE, some of them might even be able to understand you a bit better as a person; your thoughts about this world and even beyond that as well in order to realize who Mr. Lisicki is as a thinking individual?

I am not sure that people will be able to build any direct clear opinion about me based on these lyrics. The subjects are not that personal, except that they are totally personally angled and presented. To get more data to build that kind of opinion they should also read the lyrics on both Lost Horizon albums, there the main part of them is absolutely personal testimonies. Here, the situation is different; I am reflecting and illuminating my observations and visions about things around, not about myself.

 

 

When you are looking at the period you have been writing songs for THE APOSTATE, the whole album looks like one big puzzle as the song writing for this album started as early as in 1996 and basically has been continuing up till the beginning of 2003. I am just wondering how you have been able to focus on this album during all these years as far as I know, with this long time cap you may easily loose your focus on certain things, you know what I'm saying?

Well, you see, I have total control over my style, artistry and work. Time is of no importance for me. I actually remember the thoughts and emotions behind the different riffs, beats, lines and so on from the DEMONICATION album when we were writing the material. The same thing with THE APOSTATE. I can easily recall the emotional patterns from the past time and combine them with the new in totally balanced compositions. Anyway, THE APOSTATE is very homogeny, don't worry!

 

 

If the general sound of DEMONICATION was mostly ´infested´ by the sounds of both Morbid Angel and Deicide, how about this new one then? Are people still able to sense some influences from those two Death Metal giants out of THE APOSTATE or would you rather like to believe Luciferion sounds more of its own thing now more than ever before?

Well, there are many very palpable proofs of influence from those bands, but it's not because I can't create music in a totally own style. Of course I could - no problem - but I am just trying to do what pleases me and in this case to play Death Metal based on the old masters' fundaments feels perfectly right. BUT... OF COURSE (!) that except for the basic fundaments everything else on this album is absolutely own and unique.

 

 

What is the recording line-up for this follow-up Luciferion album? I guess you couldn't get the same musicians to record this album any longer due to a number of different reasons, so fill us with some detailed info concerning this matter as well…

Only me and Michael are the original members from the DEMONICATION (THE MANIFEST) -album. The drummer is Peter's early substitute - Has Nilsson - and the bass player is Martin Furängen. Martin is also, in a way, an original member, but he didn't participate on DEMONICATION (THE MANIFEST) -album, as he wasn't in Sweden at that time. He was a full-time member before and after the recording, tho.

 

 

What kind of expectations do you have toward THE APOSTATE? I bet as a ambitious musician you have sacrificed lots of effort for composing songs for this very release; changing some of the songs structures all over and over again in order to reach some sort of perfection for them that the songs on THE APOSTATE could stand out indelibly once and for all, am I right? It's just natural that you at least expect that people could appreciate all your hard efforts to make this 2nd Luciferion album to happen in the first place, so that they could understand in their tiny minds that making a full-length album simply isn't any two-or-so-months trip into a strange world of notes only? It just demands a lot of more than that from ambitious musician like you without a doubt are. I guess I am right again, aren't I?

You are absolutely right. It's a hell of a work and an INCREDIBLE sacrifice. To achieve the result on this level you have to totally prior the work before everything else in your life. All other daily occupations must be regarded only as addition to your main one, which is the creating and the production. While writing, the material is always in motion, there is nothing called structure here until the very late phase of the process. I work separately with totally independent parts knowing of course that they are opportune enough to fit together in the end. I also switch the positions of several song parts many, many times. Something that originally represents a beginning suddenly can be thrown to the end of the song or in the middle. Everything gets its place as a natural effect of analyze and maturity. Actually, it doesn't make any difference that there are months or years between different song parts, I know how to melt everything into one piece of balanced wholeness. What kind of expectations? Well, no direct expectations. I am not interested in fame or acknowledgement. I am doing it for the art itself, myself, those I care about and those who need it.

 

 

What were the hardest yet most challenging parts to pull the songs together for this album? To get the songs to fit into the same type of concept or what exactly then?

To put songs together or fit them to the concept is nothing difficult for me. I have total control of my music. What is of importance is to keep a green line through the material with no weak moments or too big stylistic jumps that don't fit together. Otherwise, the most challenging part is the lyrics. It demands indescribable energy to get them perfectly right. Also, English isn't my language of origin... The lyrics are the last thing I do in the composing process. The tiredness, stress and that destructive feeling of generally being burned out unfortunately are on the top when it's time for me to transcribe thoughts to words. ´A metaller´ should directly comment this with - "well, that's good - misery and pain catalyzes the writing". Yes, some aspects of it, but it's mostly limiting you, as what you need is a purified energy and calmness in mind to have a conscious control over your work, and I can tell you it's very hard to achieve in that stage of the recording process. My thoughts are burning and my mind is on fire. I thank my capability of rising hidden force of motivation. It's always the same thing… The power and magic are strong, very strong inside… The motivation, whatever it could be, is one of the absolute keywords.

 

 

If you were forced to describe THE APOSTATE by using 5 words only, what specific words would you pick up to describe the content of this album then?

True artistry, perfectionism, insanity and dedication.

 

 

When THE APOSTATE can be found from stores all over the world (hopefully!), I was just thinking whether you have any ideas to play any one-off gigs with Luciferion; even a record release party somewhere in Sweden?

If I/we will play live at all it will definitely not be only for sporadic gigs' sake. It will be a real thing.

 

 

So, will there ever be ´the next Luciferion album´ after this? Or would you rather keep this as a ´never-say-never´ thing ´coz it's damn hard to predict the future as you have most probably experienced a little bit of that over the past few years or so, too…?

Like I said there is a whole album material totally completed since 1997 waiting in my computer (in a Midi-form) ready to be recorded. And here is the problem - to record it I would need to first off all sleep in one year constantly as a convalescence for my extreme non-stop studio work since 2000, then find a great motivation and then get a very good deal for it, otherwise it's not possible. To mention the musician problem is unnecessary. Besides, I also have two other full-length albums in my computer (in a Midi -form), not complete, but not that far away. The first is symphonic an astral "Black" Metal type of thing and the second is a mix of Death/core/Terrorizer/…

 

 

How accurately have you been able to follow what's going on the current metal scene for these last 5 or 6 years or so? Has the metal scene become somehow less interesting and less inspirational for yourself during these past years or would you say you are still able to enjoy some new bands from time to time by bringing something new and exciting to the metal scene? How would you like see the metal scene developing in the future according to your wishes about it?

I would lie if I said that I have been actively involved in the metal scene during the last five years. I have been working constantly with Lost Horizon from -´98, which took all my physical and mental time. Just the same with the new Luciferion album. I must also admit that I don't find metal bands that interesting anymore. For me it's all sounds just the same. I need fresh emotions and impressions. As my musical taste is very subtle, I want only to listen to music that gives me something, that gives me that magical stimuli, no matter how good it's been performed or produced, or what kind of music it is. To answer your question about the future of metal I can tell you that I am not that much interested in Metal to survive strictly in form of Rock Music. It would be totally pathetic. For me it's important that the reason, emotions and thinking patterns behind will survive and develop. I hope that the bands will try to develop their own forms of expression and sound very different from each other.

 

 

One more question before I let you go… Is there really life after Luciferion?

Yes, I think it is, hard to achieve, but there is. It's all up to one's will, skills, concentration, sacrifice, intelligence... The most things in life are possible, but one must have a 100% focus and dedication.

 

 

Thank you very much Wojtek for blessing this interview with your great answers and thoughts in them and all the best to you whatever you may do in the future!!! Now let the closing words be yours; there you go…

Thanx Luxi!!! It was cool to start ´the second Luciferion-era´ with your interview my old faith follower! It will be really interesting to see what all of you guys will think of the new material. Like usually I did my absolutely best.