Interview with The Magus
Interview by Kat Knite
Congratulations on the release of your new and final album, ‘To The Depths We Descend’. It’s an honour to interview you at this pivotal point in your lives! I can’t imagine all the memories you must have made in this time. How does it feel knowing this is the last one? How does it feel now to set loose a final piece of work, and leave it at that?
Since Baron Blood died there was no other way. I lost a friend and co-musician I knew since I was 17 years old. 34 years. Almost a lifetime….I decided to do this album as a tribute to him. In his memory. The album is like a synopsis of the many faces of NECROMANTIA. A dark testimony to our passion for sinister music. A fitting epilogue to our 32 years career.
The artwork for ‘To The Depths We Descend’ is astoundingly hellish and mysterious… very fitting. Who designed this sinister masterpiece? How did you work with them on achieving what you imagined?
It is done by Harshanand Shing. An Indian artist with who we worked also with YOTH IRIA. He manged to give my vision the perfect image: the Dragon welcoming us to the Abyss with open heart and open arms. To the depths we descend.
You have chosen to honour your late bandmate Baron Blood with this farewell album. I can’t imagine the heartache of losing a brother too soon. My heart goes out to you. In a way, it feels to me you are freeing both yourselves and him through the art you love most. It must have been cathartic in a way to pour yourselves into this album. Did you find it challenging, therapeutic, or both – and in what ways? What was the process of making the record like?
In the beginning it was really strange. It was the first time I composed NECROMANTIA material with other people. But in the process I channeled all my energy there and especially in the song which is written exclusively for him: “And the shadows wept”. This was like catharsis, yes. It helped a lot that I had great chemistry with George Emmanuel-guitars and Yiannis Votsis-drums. I had worked with them in the past and we are in a perfect unison.
Would you like to share a memory with us of Baron Blood? What is one of the most lasting stories you have from the decades of creating history together?
The moments we were writing music especially in the early days, when we had a lo more relaxed daytime routines, were priceless. Writing music in late hours until the morning , under the candlelight and with absinthe and cognac as our companions…..
You’ve reached goals, climbed heights, and broken boundaries. What feels like your biggest accomplishment as a band?
We never intended to accomplish anything. We only wanted to write original, dark, sinister music. To express the darker side of our inner selves. What we are really proud though is that a lot of bands list us as an inspiration and this is the highest honor for an artist.
I completely love your use of non-traditional instruments for black metal in your music. The title track, To The Depths We Descend, really took me to a limbo-like noir dreamscape, yet tied into the other tracks in an utterly intriguing way. Who or what have been your influences outside of the genre? Where do you find inspiration for your bold ways?
Inspiration can come from everywhere and everything. An image, a sound, a landscape, a book, a movie, a poem…anything. Both of us we were listening a lot of classical music besides metal. I am also a fan of avantgarde ambient, ritual stuff. So everything we listen to is registered in our subconscious and can surface filtered in any time. Also we never hesitated to mix things and genres. Our compass was always darkness and metal but we enriched our sound along the way.
You have a style that is all your own. While I’m sure the years have honed your craft, I’m curious about the early beginnings – Were you certain of your identity back then? Did you know you had something different to share with the world?
To tell you the truth, no. At least not self consciously. We wanted our music to has a theatrical feeling. Sounds creating emotions and images. Like soundtracks to a movie that was playing in our mind and souls. So maybe our search for this defined our identity.
What is your biggest piece of advice for fellow bands and artists who may not have the experience you do?
Make the music you like, make the music you feel. Try to make original music and look for your own sound. Create not copy.
How do you feel the black metal scene has morphed in Greece over time? Is there anything you miss from the past, or anything you feel has changed for the better?
Nowadays the Greek scene has a lot of powerful and dynamic bands that can compete with any other band abroad in terms of songwriting, ideas, production. Back in the days we were really few and in a way we were more connected, like a family. Today although as I said we have great bands, this feeling of unity is lost. I kind of think that this is everywhere though not in the Greek scene only.
What has been your favourite venue to play in Greece? If I were to visit one day, could you recommend a great spot for metal?
We have never played any live show. There were times that we were offered a lot of money…..a lot, but we declined. I do not think that our music is destined to experienced collectively. It is a lonesome path…..
Will you continue to work on music either together or separately at all, even just for yourselves? What does the future hold for you?
I still work with YOTH IRIA , together with Mutilator and in the back of my head there is the thought for a solo project. Still metal, mire ritualistic though…we’ll see…
What will you miss the most about making music together? What has been your favourite part of it all?
The feeling that you do not have to explain much. The other understands your purpose and mood immediately
How do you wish for people to feel when they listen to your songs? How do you want NECROMANTIA to be remembered?
As a band who followed it’s own path and created dark original music for the few. Aristocratic black metal.
Thank you so much, not only for taking the time to interview with us, but for sharing your music, passion, vulnerability, self-expression, and dedication. It has been an honour. Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Watch out for our official biography coming out in May 2022. If you love NECROMANTIA then you must get this because it is a detailed chronicle from our early beginning until the end…