Interview with Abraxas of Norway’s Magister Templi


Playing live is sort of the payday…

Named after the third-highest grade of Aleister Crowley’s order of The Golden Dawn, Magister Templi have been summoning the dark forces since 2008. Initially as a folky hard rock band – with violins and no guitars! – they soon turned their talents to heavy doom in time for their 2010 demo. 2013 saw Lucifer Leviathan Logos, their debut album release to much praise. On 4 September, Into Duat will appear through Cruz Del Sur Music. Ahead of its release, founder and vocalist Abraxas talks to MR’s Stephen Brophy about the album, its inspiration, playing and recording live, and Egyptian Mythology…

Thank you very much for taking time out for this interview and congratulations on the new album! Into Duat places its focus firmly in the sphere of Egyptian Mythology, where did the inspiration come from?

Hi Stephen, and thanks a lot for taking an interest. Egyptian Mythology, indeed all mythology, has always been an interest of mine. I especially enjoy Egyptian mythology because it has evolved over such a long period, so nothing seems to be set in stone. The protagonist of one myth is the antagonist of another, gods fuse into double-gods like Amon-Ra and there are bucket-loads of different, seemingly opposing creation myths.

Up to this point in your career, from the band’s name through the Iao Sabao! EP and Lucifer Leviathan Logos album you have written about the work of Aleister Crowley. Is the new album a temporary move away from that base? Was it a conscious decision or just an evolution to work on different material?

To be completely honest, the change from western occultism to Egyptian mythology wasn’t such a big one. Aliester Crowley received his basic esoteric training in an order called the Golden Dawn. This order was filled with Egyptian mythological symbols and Crowley incorporated many of these symbols into his own orders. So from the 1880s the Egyptian myths have been a very integrated part of the western occult tradition. I have also taken lots of liberties in the lyrics, so in many ways the lyrics have more in common with modern occult interpretations of the myths than they do with the original myths themselves.

It is pretty much common place these days, but do any issues arise with band members working in other bands and at the same time does working with different bands bring a good dynamic to Magister Templi?

For some reason there haven’t been many real conflicts between the interests of the different bands. Baphomet and I are one-band men, at the moment, but the others have a lot of Black Metal and other things going on. I think it adds to the dynamics of the band in a good way, especially in the arranging process after the skeletons of the songs are in place.

When it comes to the recording process are you guys old school and all go into a studio together or does the logistics of things get in the way and you send files around and work in home studios?

We all go into the studio together. The rhythm section (Drums, bass and one guitar) is also recorded live without a metronome; to give the songs a more dynamic and organic feel. We also prefer to build/arrange the songs at our rehearsal space, rather than sending files around, much for the same reasons.

Back to the deep lands IITo me the new album has a bit of a cleaner more polished sound than the first album, do you work hard with producers and engineers on your visions of the album or do you prefer to just play and let them do what they do?

Baphomet and I are both control freaks, so we were present throughout the whole process, including mixing and mastering, but when we hit a big snag in the mastering, the two of us stepped back and let the tech do what he does best. I guess what I’m saying is that we want to be part of the whole process, but at the same time try to respect the skills and competence of the people we work with, especially when it outweighs our skills so heavily.

Are there already plans for album number three or is it more a case of get out and play live dates and see what happens from there?

Both, I think, we have some ideas, but until November, I guess we’ll be focusing on the October tour with Christian Mistress and No Sleep ‘till Dublin. But yes, there will be more albums from MT; I am pretty sure about that.

With the upcoming tour dates in the UK in August, will the sets be based mainly around the new release or will it be 50/50 new and older material?

I think the sets will be roughly 50/50 new and older material.

As a band in 2015 do you think that it is more important than ever to tour and show your fans you are more than just a studio entity?

I guess that depends what you want to be, but yes, to us playing live has always been of major importance. Maybe the most important thing to me… Playing live is sort of the payday, the main reason I’m doing this at all, besides the actual song-writing.

One final question, what new bands on the scene are standing out for you right now and would you like to go out on the road with any of them after the album launch?

Well, we are planning a tour with Christian Mistress for three weeks, just after the album launch, so I guess that’s taken care of already. Apart from that, I think that the Italians have a lot of awesomeness going these days. Not really new bands, more like old-new, but I think Epitaph’s release last year was brilliant. As was Dark Quarterer’s release this year. Kernyx on the other hand is a new Italian band that I really like. I’d love to do something with them too at some point.

Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Any closing words for our readers?

Yeah, check out Immortal Sin on Kernyx’s Bandcamp page. Great song!

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