O Triple Form of Darkness, Sombre splendor!
On 6 December 2016 through W.T.C. Productions, Oneironaut, the long-awaited third album from Crimson Moon will be released. Four years in the making, mainman Scorpios Androctonus has returned to the band’s roots and written, performed, and recorded the whole thing. With additional guest appearances by members of Acherontas, Demoncy, and Ralph Santolla (ex-Deicide, Death, Obituary), and the use of exotic instruments such as the Esraj, Frame Drums, Tanpura, Cretan Lyra, fretless acoustic bass, and innovative uses of other stringed instruments, it’s a phenomenal piece of work. Here, Scorpios Androctonus talks to MR’s Jason Guest about the album, its themes, the creative process behind it and the guest appearances as well as the band, the new line-up and the future of the band…
Thank you very much for taking time out for this interview and congratulations on Oneironaut, a great piece of work! Your first full length album in a very long time, what did you want to achieve with Oneironaut?
One of the goals that was in mind with Oneironaut was to create an album that would give a familiar Aura to those who have listened to previous Crimson Moon material yet still offer something new in terms of progression and song writing.
Four years in the making, how did the material change between the beginning of its writing and its recording?
Not a whole lot changed in the material as far as the song writing, save for the guest musicians that contributed over the last year. The songs were mostly recorded within the first year or so of the process. At a point I did some pretty significant changes/upgrades to my studio, so it was quite a process to get everything switched over to a new DAW and setup. There was a lot of time in 2016 just trying to achieve the best possible results with the mix and finishing the vocals, so the biggest changes were definitely in production quality and adding the final elements to the music. A large majority of the material was completed within the first year of the recording process, from there I would take breaks from it and come back to it to listen to with fresh ears to try to find anything that could benefit from being changed and adjusted. Since 2012 until the beginning of 2016, I spent a lot of time touring with Melechesh so it was limited gaps of time in between doing that where I would find the time to focus on the album.
With four of the six tracks are between 8- and 9-minutes and the title track at 20-minutes long, did you have an idea of how you wanted Oneironaut to sound or did each of the tracks and the whole thing take shape as it was being developed?
Things basically just fell together in their own shape. The title track being the last track I recorded of the album, I think each track really took shape as it was developed. The title track for example took on a totally new dimension with the addition of the Cretan Lyra performed by Heirophant (Acherontas) and Ralph Santolla’s lead guitars. I actually ended up omitting some of my guitar tracks after Ralph recorded his parts to give more depth and space to the overall sound.
How do you approach composition for Crimson Moon? Is it lyrics first, the music, a concept perhaps…?
90% of the time the lyrics are the last thing I do. Usually this is done on guitar and starts with a main riff to work around. It’s one of those things where once I have the right riff, it gives the right “feeling” that tells me it is Crimson Moon. I also spend a lot of my free time where I live in my surroundings, which is rich with nature and exploring a lot of the Castle ruins in the area, particularly in Hunsrück area. It is quite common in this kind of undisturbed surroundings I will get melodies or song ideas in my head that I later put into music.
Can you tell us about the title, Oneironaut, its meaning and its relationship to the music?
By definition, Oneironaut means: A person who explores dream worlds, usually associated with lucid dreaming. A lot of the music was intended to capture a dream like atmosphere. This is also in reference to the dreaming mind of the Serpent/Dragon and the Veil of the Abyss.
What are the lyrical themes on Oneironaut? And what informed them?
The lyrics cover topics such as lucid dreaming, astral projection and vary throughout the album towards topics of the Necronomicon Mythos and homage to Hekate in her 3-fold form of the moon and symbolism of the Crossroads. These all came from personal interests I have had for a long time, and are reoccurring throughout the lyrics in previous material.
The album features appearances from members of Acherontas, Demoncy, and Ralph Santolla. Why choose to work with them? And what did they bring to the recordings?
Each guest appearance was chosen for a specific reason and outcome to add to the tracks they played on. These are all musicians I have either worked with in the past or continue to work with, so it came about quite naturally with nothing feeling forced or out of place. On ‘Urilian Worm’, Ixithra did accompanying guest vocals and executed things perfectly to capture the essence that stands out, to me being reminiscent of the vocals he did on Demoncy’s Joined in Darkness.
Can you tell us about the artwork and how it relates to the music?
The cover artwork portrays the symbolism of many things including that which is not dead but dreaming below the sea and the rise of the subconscious to a dream state which is breaking through the surface of the sea, or the veil of the abyss. The dragon on the cover having 7 heads, also a relevant number in the symbolism behind Oneironaut.
Who’s the artist? And how much direction was given in its design?
The cover art was painted by Kitti Solymosi of Anatiummi Arts, who also painted the new rendition of the cover art of the 20th anniversary vinyl edition of To Embrace the Vampyric Blood which was released August of 2016. I provided her with some (very) rough drafts of the design and detailed written description and she produced the final result. We managed to get some remarkable artwork designs for the entire layout, including work from Sang Ho Moon, Aidan Wachter, and Nestor Avalos. The overall layout, which was designed by House of Inkantation, took quite a bit of time and thought. I think the final results will show this.
What does the act of making music mean to Crimson Moon?
It is the most important process to me, more so than performing live. It is like creating a type of egregore that I feel when executed well, continues to grow.
What, if anything, are you searching for when making music for Crimson Moon?
As previously mentioned, the music for me invokes a certain feeling words simply do not describe. There are times when it just simply does not work and feels forced, that ends up being material that ends up getting scrapped, completely reconstructed or sometimes just used for a different musical entity. If that feeling is not there, I do not use it.
Guitarists Sabnoc and Agreas and drummer Vual have joined Crimson Moon. Why choose to work with them and what have they brought to the band?
As I started to focus more on completing Oneironaut, I also decided it was time to quit Melechesh, which perpetually had issues in maintaining a stable line up and constantly suffered issues due to that fact. I live in a secluded location, and live in a secluded lifestyle. It was by a strange coincidence I came across Sabnoc, who not only lives fairly close by but also shared a lot of ideas and concepts on how to proceed. He also added a huge dimension to the final outcome of the album by re-amping the guitars and brought in Vual who he had already worked with in the past. We spent a bit of time finding the right second guitarist and that is where Agreas came into the circle whom we found through mutual contacts.
The entire lineup came together much smoother and quicker than I expected and is functioning extremely well. A lot of focus has been put into rehearsing material for a live set, but as the vinyl edition of Oneironaut through W.T.C. is being arranged, the length and number of the tracks results in 3 sides of vinyl to be the most coherent format. So instead of wasting a perfectly good side D of a DLP release, we are now finishing up on re-recording different tracks from previously releases to add as bonus tracks and to present the first recordings of the new and current lineup. Everyone has performed extremely well on this and the results have turned out beyond our expectations. We have already collectively begun writing new material we will plan to record next for a split release that can be expected in 2017.
Any plans for shows in support of the album?
Yes, and this marks a first for Crimson Moon to perform live in Europe. The last time Crimson Moon played live was a small tour in 1997 in the U.S. and a show in Mexico. Up until now, the only confirmed show we have officially announced is in March of 2017, at Speyer War Mass, Germany. We have only lightly started to discuss booking any other shows as the main focus until recently was getting everything finished with Oneironaut. We will begin booking more shows in the near future, but not for the sake of merely playing live. We have collectively decided what conditions are necessary to play a live performance, so when these terms must be negotiated with a promoter, we have strict standards that we will not compromise for the sake of playing live. I am sure this will prevent quite a few possible shows from taking place, but in the end it is quality over quantity we are interested in.
What would be the ideal setting for a Crimson Moon performance?
From a musician’s standpoint, a good sound is always desired but this is equaled by the atmosphere. An ideal setting would be to perform in a location that has a strong aura, be it nature or a building of significant atmosphere (castle ruins, historical locations, etc.). This combined with a good sound and competent audience, would be the ideal.
What does the future hold for Crimson Moon? Is there more music in the works?
Yes, as I mentioned previously we are currently finishing the recording of old material for the bonus tracks of the Oneironaut vinyl. We actually have done more than we will use for the vinyl so time will tell what will be done with the remaining tracks. A few rough demos have been made of new material for a split we will be announcing in the near future, which gives us the advantage to keep things active on releases while we begin to focus on new material. The old material we have re-recorded consists of select tracks from the Demo, To Embrace the Vampyric Blood and Under the Serpentine Spell CDs as well as a track from the Serpent Beneath the Skin EP.
I must admit, I have a hard time enjoying/listening to the old material as I was never overly pleased with the production quality. Hearing these songs now with a real drummer and talented musicians gave them a new breath of fresh life force. It is like they are getting the justice they deserved after literally decades and the results are far beyond what I expected. I am now in the process of adding bass, vocals and synths and looking forward to getting started in the studio here once I am done with this interview. This is the process of recording where you start really seeing the bigger picture of how things will manifest.
Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Do you have any closing words for our readers?
Thank you for the interview and kind words in regards to Oneironaut. As things will remain active, all relevant updates and news can be easily accessible here on our Facebook page.
O Triple Form of Darkness