Closed in a sphere of nothing in the deep space…
Italy’s Sedna have recently released their first official full length through Drown Within Records. Between beers, MR’s Jason Guest talked to the band about their formation and development, their writing approach, how they blur the lines between post-black metal, sludge, doom, ambient and drone, as well as their inspiration and philosophy and what the future holds for the band…
Thanks for taking time out for this interview and congratulations on your eponymous debut. Sedna have been making music together since 2009. Can you tell us about how the band formed and what it was that drew you together to make music?
Sedna is a three piece post-black metal band based in Cesena, Italy. We met in 2009 through our common friend, Cristian from Drown Within Records. He gave a hand to Elyza and Mattia that was searching for musicians to build up a black metal project. Originally we were four, but in 2012 Eric left the band so Nil take up the rule of guitarist/singer and the writing of our self-titled album begun. In 2011 we released a demo, O, self-produced and self-released and in 2014, Drown Within records and Unquiet records released our first album Sedna.
Who are the band’s main influences? And how have they informed the band’s sound?
We listen to a lot of different music, and every one of us has a different background but living together we have found many sounds that are commons to our tastes. We try to find inspiration from bands like Altar of plagues, Isis, Deathspell Omega, Neurosis and other non-metal bands like Borhen and der Club of Gore or something ambient/drone… but at least our purpose is to create something personal, so we like to play what we like.
How does the band write? Do you jam ideas out together or is there one main writer? Do you have an idea of how you want the songs to sound or do they take shape as they are being developed?
Everything starts from Nil who writes and record many riffs, but we prefer to create everything jamming together. So we have not main “writing mode”, we can start from a good guitar riff written at home or casually during our rehearsing session. We try to be as homogeneous as possible, but our sound is a mix of a lot of different kind of music so we don’t have a precise idea that we can put out when we start to write a new song… We like this because we live in the unpredictability of our minds. But at least we can always find a line that links together all the sounds that we make.
Your sound blurs the lines between post-black metal, sludge and doom and has ambient and drone parts incorporated into it. Does this approach to genre make it more interesting creatively and from a song-writing perspective?
Absolutely; in this way we can improvise everything in every moment. This approach gives to us an incredible freedom about the sound; we know to have a very different kind of choice where to take new ideas so we always try to improve this variety of sounds, finding new ways to experiment with various mode of writing. We can start a new track from a furious blast beat or from a noise part too. Personally, we think that having an open mind is very important to a musician, so we don’t like to remain holding on to the stereotypes of our genres, really we don’t play post/doom/sludge/black metal but “what create emotions – Black metal” Hahaha!
Is there a theme, a concept, or a philosophy that underpins Sedna’s music?
“Play what can create emotions for us and the listener” has been our dogma from the beginning. We think that is very important for musicians, so we always try to play what we feel.
Sedna released the O. demo in 2011. Since that first demo, how has the band evolved, musically and conceptually?
O, it’s our first work. The four tracks are the first tracks we ever made so we can say that the demo is an attempt to see what we can do and are. Before Eric left the band in 2012 we had already finished recording our first album, Black Sun (never released); it was a prelude of Sedna (‘Sons of isolation’ was taken from Black Sun and modified), the sound was already different from O. We think that there was a lot of Swedish metal inside the demo, while Black Sun was already post metal/sludge oriented, like Sedna. After the change of the formation, this evolution was totally talking about the sound like the style and the song writing.
Conceptually the band has always remained the same. We are guys that like to create music. We have passed a few difficult moments but we are friends like brothers, so everything can be solved because there is always a common objective. When Eric left the band, our conception of “little family” was improved so we decided to remain in three. Now we are glad to say that is was the right choice.
When writing for this, your first album, did you have an idea of how you wanted it to sound or did each of the tracks and the whole thing take shape as it was being developed?
Not precisely. We have lived the creation of the album in a natural way, so we have looked at it in every direction. Of course, we have worked on our sound from the beginning. Changing the main guitarist, the sound is changed so the bass lines must be elaborated again too but we are satisfied because we have worked on many aspect.
What you can hear on Sedna, it’s what we really play… The post production was minimal because we decided to have a sound as natural as possible. So, from when we started to be a three piece, we worked on our new kind of sound and in the studio we waited to see everything take a form.
What are the lyrical themes on the album? And where does inspiration come from?
The concept on Sedna is the planet and the goddess. Two and a half years ago we were in a critical situation as we were without a main guitar, without motivation or inspiration. After a short research, the situation remained the same so we decided to take our time to be reborn in a three piece. After this agony, Sedna starts to take form. We decided to dedicate this work to Sedna because our rebirth is so incredible that we like to think that the goddess helped us to do that.
We have a parallel with the planet too because Sedna is an extrasolar planet with a long elliptic orbit that stays very far from the sun for a long time for each cycle… Its loneliness, closed in a sphere of nothing in the deep space. We have felt this sensation when we started to write Sedna. We have taken our time far from everyone, closed in ourselves to write our album. ‘Sons of The Ocean’ is about our rebirth like sons of the goddess, a rebirth full of rage and frustration. ‘Sons of Isolation’ is about the time that we took to write the album, closed in our shell. ‘Sons of The Ancients’ is about the mother and the planet too, because both are something incredible and old and we are descendants from space and form the ancients too, so the song, it’s like an ascending to a consciousness of what we can be.
The artwork for the album is a very striking image. Can you tell us about the design and what it represents? Who’s the artist? And why did you choose to work with him/her?
We knew Simone Strige (Strx Art) by Cristian from Drown Within Records. We are very satisfied with his work, he realized what we were looking for: outside, a beautiful woman full of rage and necessity of redemption; inside, a beautiful woman that is relaxing herself in a deep black. She represents Sedna in all her forms, so she represents us in all our aspects.
How did you come to work with Drown Within Records? And do you plan to stay with them for future releases?
We knew Cristian of Drown Within records for a very long time. He followed us from our birth and he trusts in us from the beginning… His support was and is very important for us. When we finished recording the album, we decided to release it via Drown Within because we trust in friendship and support, so we believed in Cristian and his label. At least, we were right and his help to release the album (in collaboration with Unquiet Records) was great. As we have just said, we are not planning the future but we trust in the DIY philosophy, so we think that the next release should be via an independent label.
What does the future hold for Sedna? Is there more music in the pipeline?
Sure! We are writing new stuff for the new album… We think that can be good, to be always active. We are not planning the future; we are just thinking to create new stuff. We have a split album with our friends Dementia Senex planned for spring 2015. Our track is called ‘Red Shift’, a song composed before we started the recording of Sedna. It’s a track a little different from our album (it’s only 7 minutes! Hahaha!), but we like it. More post metal, less black metal… A song for a good trip.
Any gigs or tours planned? And will we be seeing you in England any time soon?
After the Euro tour in October and other gigs in Italy, we have decided to stop the live activity to concentrate on writing new stuff, but we are very proud to be in the bill of the Santa Maria Summer Fest in June at Beja, Portugal. We hope to travel in England as soon as possible (booking and promoters, contact us! Hahaha!).
Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Do you have any closing words for our readers?
Thank you too and support the underground scene. Only if you trust in the music, can we live. Thank you.