Heart of Steel: Interviews

SCHOLOMANCE - Jimmy Pitts

Interviewed by JP

One of the very early surprises that came across my ears this year was a band called Scholomance. Their disc The Immorality Murder got high marks when I reviewed it so when the chance arose to speak with the band, I jumped at the chance. 

 

The first thing I'm sure our readers want to know is what does Scholomance mean? Can you give us a little history about yourselves? 

The word Scholomance is of Romanian origin, and is an actual derivative of the biblical Solomon. The legend is that it is an ancient school where the Devil taught Ten scholars the black arts, language of the animals, and alchemy. The translation of Scholomance is "Students Of Alchemy", or "Students of Metal Magic" for us! We've been playing together in Scholomance for about 7-8 years. In that time we've put out two Promo tapes, a demo, and two full length cds on The End; 'A Treatise on Love' in '98, and 'The Immortality Murder' double cd n early 2002. 

 

How is it working with The End Records? and more importantly how did they discover you?

Andreas and the rest of The End's crew are great to work with. We have absolute freedom of expression on this label, and have never been 'encouraged' to change a piece of music or cover art. They discovered us, I believe, through Don from Sculptured. He was a friend of Scott's and passed our "I Am That Which Is" Demo on to Andreas. Shortly thereafter we had a deal, and here we are 2 cd's later! 

 

One thing I noticed is that I thought it was very ambitious for a new band to put out a double CD let alone one that has a bonus disc of alternate material. Can you tell us how that came about? 

The bonus cd was a last minute idea that Scott and I talked about just for ourselves, but when I mentioned it to Andreas he liked the idea for the actual release. As far as I know the double cd is a limited edition. 

When I first heard the music and saw the disc my first (and incorrect assumption) was that you guys were from Europe. Do you run into that comment and do you feel that you you have a quite European flavour? 

Well, we have definitely had our share of European comparisons. I can definitely see where that comes from, but at the same time I want to point out that a lot of that comes from the influence of Classical composers from Europe on us. Much more so than from the actual metal bands from there. We definitely don't fit in with the American take on metal, with all of its cliché' chugging riffs and shallow lyrical topics. At the same time I think we may be a little bit more psychologically abrasive than many of our counterparts over seas. 

 

I noticed plenty of religious and spiritual imagery on the CD. Are guys religious, spiritual or is it just a topic that interests you? 

Religion interests us in that it is inescapable in America. Christianity runs everything here. It's strange as decadent of a society as we are. It is used as a sort of sheen on shit facade. Some of us are spiritual, as generally we believe in spirits, I would say, but we are certainly not Christians, or of any particular religion or faith, for that matter.. Ok, maybe I lied, Jerry and I worship Glenn Gould and J.S Bach, and I believe that Scott worships Claire Danes. 

 

A follow up to the last question, lyrically do you draw inspiration from real-life, fantasy, personal experiences or all of the above?

Definitely a touch of all of the above. Reality is the biggest influence on everything we do, but fantasy comes into play through the expression of extreme reaction to negative personal experiences. As with "The Immortality Murder", where there is an abundance of imaginative violence laced into a story that comes from our actual disgust with much of society. Obviously, the more extreme moments in the lyrics are not something that we have acted upon. However, much of the madness the character feels from religious torment and anti-social behaviour are inspired by our surroundings, and are very personal to us. 

 

Can you give us a brief run down of some of the themes or concepts on this CD?

It's rather difficult to put anything about this cd briefly. The concept deals with the mind of a serial murderer. The lyrics are written primarily from his point of view. You become part of the voices he hears, the nightmares, the actions, and the delusions. At the same time there's a huge relevance to society as it is today, religion, psychology and how we view our fellow human beings. It's really up to the listener to decide what is real, truth, or fiction. The artwork was taken from Scott's personal stockpile of photos, many of which have been in his family for years. There's a different photo on each page of the booklet - different locations and scenes that are part of the mood of the storyline. 

 

Musically, who are some of your influences? I hear some Sabbath and Paradise Lost but not enough to attract comments of plagiarism. 

Those are a couple of comparisons I have never heard or imagined. That's cool though, I love Sabbath, and the first two Paradise Lost albums were good. We listen to so many different types of music, it's difficult to say what has been an influence. We never go about writing in a way that purposefully compliments other metal bands that we like. But, I'm sure that influences creep in there after many years of listening. I guess our main metal list would be Iron Maiden, Cynic, Dream Theater, Bay Area thrash like Forbidden, older Death metal such as Pestilence, Death and Malevolent Creation. We draw our main compositional influence from Occidental music such as Bach, Beethoven, Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Schoenberg, etc. And even some world music and fusion (Mahavishnu Orchestra Rules!!). We have broad tastes. 

 

What does the future hold for you guys? Any touring plans? Do you have an act that you would like to go with or you feel would be a cool fit for a touring partner?

Hopefully we can begin writing a new album soon. The last one took over three years to complete, so it is pretty important for us to get to work. As far as touring goes, I don't see it happening this time around. We all have alot of responsibilities at home, and it would be hard to tour without plenty of interest and support. If we did tour, hmmm... Meshuggah would be awesome, or Spastic Ink (I'm going to be on the new cd), hell, this is all a dream, why not Iron Maiden!! 

 

This is your chance to shine. Do you have any last comments for the readers of Metal -Rules? 

Thanks for the interview. I was psyched because you did an intie with Bruce Dickinson a couple of years back that ruled. Everyone should check out both of our albums, but especially the newest one.

 

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