Interview with Joseph Curwen (vocals/guitar) of Unaussprechlichen Kulten (Chile)


“The third world sends his curses to the first world!”

With a couple of splits and an EP in the interim, Chilean Lovecraftians Unaussprechlichen Kulten are back with their first album in six years, Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath. Here, Joseph Curwen (vocals/guitar) talks with Jason Guest about the new album, Chilean death metal, why H.P. Lovecraft’s works should not be regarded as mere entertainment, and all things occult from Voodoo rituals to medieval Necromancy and how important it is to be receptive the dictate of the Old Ones…

Thank you very much for taking time out for this interview and congratulations on Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath (reviewed here). This is the band’s first album in six years. Why so long between albums?

Kind Regards to the readers of The Midlands Rocks! Here from the end of the world: Chile, the most damned country, full of Satanist and ritualistic activities, hahaha! The third world sends his curses to the first world!

Compilation of Death Zine - LogoIn 6 years it has changed 2 times the Line up! We edit our Split CD with After Death (soon available on Vinyl) and organize his mini tour here in Chile. We edit two 7 inch with Iron Bonehead: Chapter VI: Lucifer Poseidon Cthulhu and Chapter VII: Azathoth – Azazel/Thot. We did our first European tour (with Necroholocaust), we also did a tour along Peru with the Metal gods Mortem, and organized personally (under the name of Compilation of Death Zine) the first show of Immolation here in Chile… The worship without name never sleeps!

When writing for Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath, 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?

I really don’t. Only keep myself receptive and I try to capture in the best way the message that is dictated to me from the outside. The final result not depends just of that, it also depend on our effort, our capacities and the technical conditions that we are capable of paying (Chile is a very expensive country).

With regard to the message, the concept, this one is ready from much before, in this case it is a consolidation of concepts and mythology in relation to the Goat Worship, the Baphomet, the God Pan and his relation with Lovecraft (Shub Niggurath), mixed with mythology and Chilean legends. For example there is a track called ‘La Recta Provincia’ that is based on a real organization of Wizards that existed in Chile (in an southern Chilean island called Chiloé), this Sect resisted the Catholic authorities in the 18th century.

How long were you working on the material for the album? Is it all new or is there material that you’ve had for a while?

The whole material is new and unpublished, the most of it composed during the year 2013; too many hours of rehearsals in our room and in the study, in DM6 studio! Thematically, it is a damned trance to write and to capture in best way the message.

Musically speaking, how has the band developed since 2008’s People of the Monolith? And does the album mark a progression for the band?

To be honest, I believe that there is no progression or evolution; always the same thing. We continue insisting stubbornly in a style that was created more than 20 years ago. In these past 6 years, certainly we improved our physical and mental capacities as musicians and executed in a better way our instruments and learnt a bit more of musical composition, but our essence is always the same one: putrid and ritualistic Occult Death Metal.

H.P. Lovecraft is a significant influence on the band. What is it about his work that makes it such an integral part of the band’s identity and music?

The Lovecraft’s myths and their relation with the Death Mysteries are things that in general till now have been taken like an entertainment. For example his Deities, Demons, Monsters or whatever you want to call them, represent archetypes present in different cultures. A typical example that we used (between others) is the concept of Sea Serpents (such as Kai Kai Vilú, Leviathan, Cthulhu, Kraken, etc). The same thing spends with the Mysteries of the Death, every culture has something that we called The Memory of the Blood, that’s what creates worships, myths and religions in relation to the Death, from a Voodoo Ritual to the medieval Necromancy. If we concentrate on Lovecraft’s work, the history that better reflects that is one called The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. The same atmosphere of this story is the one that we want to use for our music. Certainly not everything is so simple as open a book of stories and believe that fantastic creatures exist, or that a dead wakes up simply smelling incense. Only the Christians open a book and believe blindly, no?

How has his influence impacted upon Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath?

The influence has impacted as on all the other previous chapters and as always will. It’s not a coincidence that many occultists of renown are referring in a serious way to Lovecraft’s work. We are completely under the influence of the Old Ones… We obey to the cause that we serve… The visible part is the band.

Can you tell us about the artwork for Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath? What does it represent and how does it relate to the music?

GDOB2-30CH-001 (templ)_UKULTENThe art of the cover was painted masterfully by Daniel Corcuera who I think is one of the most important artists and illustrators of last 10 years! He is our friend since many years ago and it is very easy for me to work with him because he is also a Lovecraft devout one. I trust very much in his talent and good taste. The cover is a new version and a mixture of Francisco de Goya classic works The Witches’ Sabbath, and Sacrifice to Pan, and more the influence of Eliphas Levi’s Baphomet. The cover shows a Witches’ Sabbath, presided by the Black Goat of the Woods With Thousand Young: Shub Niggurath. So you can see that art represents exactly the general concept of our Album.

Who designed it?

All the designs are mine, in case of the cover for example, I prepared the idea and I sent some texts and images to Daniel so he could paint. The rest like sigils, logo and general layout are designed by me. I try to stay the most sober and minimalist possible, in an atmosphere that’s only madness and chaos, the most important is to keep our ideology in graphics without falling in something coarse.

You’ve released two splits since 2008’s People of the Monolith, the first with Florida’s After Death in 2012 and the second was in 2013 with Chile’s Goodless. Why did you choose to work with these two bands? And what do you like about the split format?

After Death is a band that was representing Nocturnus’s continuity (now Nocturnus AD), then when the label offered us the possibility we agree at once. So I met personally with Mike Browning here in Chile and it was great. Our band and After Death share many thematic elements, That´s why I believe it was a success for both of us work together in a Split.

Godless are our coreligionists and brothers in Metal from the beginning, many years sharing shows, camaraderie and the passion for the Death Metal. Sincerely I believe that it’s a fucking awesome band, maybe the best of Chile! And they have been much undervalued for years, give attention to their music! And see them in a live show – simply magnificent.

What does the Death Metal movement of today mean to you? Why does it remain such a potent force?

I really don’t know if there is a very potent force; in commercial terms or popularity the Death Metal music is a trend that already happened. The same thing happens with other styles of Metal music in general. First this scene or new Metal style appears and becomes very popular (80s/90s is the top of sales of the Death metal bands)… Then, like always, another new trend kills the previous one.

But there is a kind of person (a minority) with a sectarian behavior that continues the worshipping. I believe that we belong to this segment; we arrived 20 years after Death Metal was started, now it’s not commercial and never will be again. Only our insistence and the Worship of Death turn this into an immortal thing: the music of the death.

The influence of the Chilean death metal scene is growing more and more lately. What’s your opinion of this? Does it put the scene at risk of becoming as imitated and diluted as the Norwegian black metal scene?

That is right: really the Chilean scene is more known now, our generation of Metal (it starts at 2000 in Chile), have a lot of bands: Demonic Rage, Godless, Magnanimus, Force Of Darkness, us, and others that I forget now… We all want to take again the darkest way, like the first Chilean metal generations (with no political or social factors, how is known our country sometimes)

Attention! There are already new generations here in Chile making very good Metal like Invicible Force, Ancient Crypts, Uttertomb… Sometimes I think that in Chile there are more bands than public, hahaha!

About a comparison Chile with Norway? Mmm, I see it as difficult, first: Chile would have to turn into a very rich country… then our musicians can be spoiled kids, bored, only thereby can we turn us into something similar to them: The last and bad years of the Norway scene sucks. My respect is for the first generations of Norwegian Black Metal.

Unaussprechlichen Kulten- logoWhat’s your view of the internet and its impact on music (social media, downloading, etc.)?

This is only my point of view with regard to the Internet and our band, is not my intention say: The things must work like this… We are in the middle of a revolution of the information, therefore my perspective is small, my generation was born without Internet and we are still learning. Maybe in 10 years I could be more incisive. For the present only I can say: the good thing is that for independent bands, totally underground and not commercial like us, allows doing promotion without monopolized things as radio, TV, or poser magazines, and have direct contact with whom listens to our music in any part of the world.

The bad thing is that over information also is a form of disinformation. There exist a million shit bands that disappear after a couple demos, and these bands have the same free democratic space as the rest to promote their shit. Therefore it is too much information to a fanatic guy of metal music. If we are listening to all the bands that use internet, we would be forced to swallow without chewing. The Metal needs his time to be correctly processed.

Also another negative side exists… poor thematic or concepts in the lyrics of Metal bands. If you put Satan in Google you are ready to write an excellent Copy-and-Paste lyric! There is no investigation from the metal writers of lyrics. I believe that it is a mistake to search for the Occult on the Internet, which is just where nothing is occult… The only occult is the Electronic Messiah of Zion. He will reveal before all the lambs that depend on his hypnotizing/idiot social networks.

What does the future hold for the band? Is there more music in the works? An album?

We have some commitments already agreed for some splits, the first one with some coreligionists of circle of Chile, we are very busy at new compositions, even several chapters are ready. A new album? Only in the correct moment

You’ve worked with Iron Bonehed for a few releases. Why choose to work with them for Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath? Do you plan to work with them more in future?

It is a good question and simple to answer: Patrick of Iron Bonehead has been an honest and very hard-working person, we had the opportunity to know it in Germany and he inspired trust in us… Do you need something more? No, clear that not! The underground really is based on Trust, no contracts or laws, no “interest”, not even pretensions, but only the word of both parts and the mutual trust. We wait to be able to continue working with him.

Any plans for live performances?   

In September of this year 2014 we will be in Europe in our second tour with Incarceration and Zombification in Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Holland and Belgium, and finally with Decapitated Christ In Spain, France and Portugal. I hope to see all the European maniacs there!

Again, thank you for taking time out for this interview. Do you have any closing words for our readers?

Thanks for take the time to read this interview. The curiosity in the occult just took your souls!

Fake Skulls or bones = Fake bands; Fake blood = Fake Ritual

Unaussprechlichen Kulten - band