Interview by Jason Guest
Jason: Hi. Thanks for taking time out for this interview. I hope this finds you well. Congratulations on Krypteia; it’s a very impressive work. (Ed: Jason’s review is here) Can you tell us what you set out to achieve with the album?
Lykormas: Nothing at all.
Jason: Who are the band’s main sources of inspiration? Is there any particular band or bands that influenced the writing of Krypteia?
Vulfolaic: No particular bands, really. Musically, we are heavily inspired by black metal from the early to mid-nineties. There was a unique atmosphere in European black metal at that time, great music was popping up everywhere: Greece, the Slavonic realm, Scandinavia, France, … The main point was that black metal was a genuine form of artistic expression, albeit often a primitive and a crude one. That was the essence we wanted to return to.
Jason: Is there a philosophy or an ideology that drives Entartung’s material, both musically and lyrically? And how does it manifest itself in your compositions?
Vulfolaic: Musically, it’s all about hate and melancholy. You’ll hear how these sentiments manifest themselves when you’ll listen to the actual songs. Lyrically, we’re very much inspired by the past and the realms beyond observable reality – or a combination of both.
Jason: How were the tracks for Krypteia composed? Did you collaborate on each track or do you work individually and bring them together? And how is the final decision made as to when a track is complete?
Vulfolaic: For the first album, Lykormas came up with the general structure of the songs and the main riffs. Later on, we bounced ideas back and forth as to how my contributions on keyboards and bass should fit in. I was free to do what I wanted with the lyrics, for the most part. When we were both satisfied, we considered a track complete. We were in it for the art of black metal, not for the ego, so this worked our really well, actually.
Jason: Is Krypteia all new material or is it material that you’ve been developing for a while?
Vulfolaic: It’s all new. We don’t recycle ideas or try to polish old turds.
Jason: How did you come to be involved with WTC? Why did you choose to work with them? And how has the relationship with them been so far?
Lykormas: Only few packages were sent out to devoted labels. Most of them wanted to put out the album. W.T.C. was one of them. We did even not argue about the commercial aspect of everything. Entartung does not wish to be part of this modern capitalistic system. W.T.C. was my personal number one to work with. I like their aesthetics and reputation. We don’t have any expectations nor do we have any goals with Entartung. Quo fata ferunt, something W.T.C. understands perfectly.
Jason: What are the members’ backgrounds? What it was that drew you together to form Entartung?
Lykormas: Both Vulfolaic and I have been active in the scene since the mid nineties. All together we must have released a couple of dozen albums, demo tapes, EP’s, … We’ve been helping out each other for years now. It was time to join forces for real. And so we created Entartung.
Jason: Can you tell us about the artwork for Krypteia? Who is the artist and how did you choose him/her? How much direction do you give the artist for its design?
Vulfolaic: It’s not commissioned art. When looking for a suitable illustrations, we stumbled upon this old wood cutting that we felt had the right atmosphere.
Jason: In the press release for Krypteia, it states that Entartung is “the anti-thesis of the values that have come to dominate the black metal scene today”. How would you define black metal’s values? And what do you think it is it that has allowed them to degenerate or become diluted to the point of commercial acceptability?
Vulfolaic: The original black metal spirit very much was a “Wille zur Macht” kind of thing: rejecting the current world order and refusing to subject to it. The apparent change came when black metal became part of the world order by morphing into a commercial product. You simply knew it was over when you could buy black metal in big record stores for two or three times the price you’d pay in an underground mail order.
Nowadays lots of black metal is the mental offspring of grunge music; glorifying weakness, psychological instability, drug abuse, … the ideal music for weak and worthless individuals.
Jason: As long-time activists in the scene, how do you view the scene? What are the significant changes that you’ve witnessed?
Vulfolaic: The main problem is that black metal has become a commercial product rather than a form of artistic expression. It’s like comparing a novel by Umberto Eco to one of Dan Brown really.
Jason: Since the advent of the internet, the underground appears to be less underground as it’s now easily accessible. How do you think the internet has affected the underground scene?
Vulfolaic: I’m not positive when it comes to the Internet at all. Like you said, everything is simply too accessible. Getting into underground metal used to be like a rite of initiation. You didn’t wake up one day and order a Graveland shirt on Amazon just because you thought it looked cool. It was a long road that started with the usual commercial hard rock and heavy metal bands, progressing into thrash and death metal and eventually shaking of all the politically correct and trendy losers in order to be able to dive into true black metal. Stepping outside of the masses was the whole point.
Jason: Do you think the scene could ever retain the potency it once had?
Vulfolaic: Sorry to sound like the old, cynic and bitter grandpa I actually am, but: no. Like all things, black metal is subject to the cycle of creation, evolution/degeneration and eventually destruction.
Jason: What is your opinion on the intellectualisation of black metal? Is black metal something that can – and perhaps should – be rationalised and understood?
Vulfolaic: That’s actually a very good question. I think, before all, black metal is something that must be felt rather than understood. Compare it to firing a shotgun; we could talk all week long about why it feels good, but in the end it only matters that it does. If you disagree that it feels good, then all further reasoning is useless.
The philosophical side of black metal can not be ignored; it was all about destruction of the status quo of society to build something new or rather to contribute an atavistic rebirth of the ancient essence. The occult, mythology, folk beliefs, literature, … all had a part in this.
This tendency had the very positive side effect that it weeded out the happy, the trendy, the politically correct, … I guess Machine Head or standard template death metal was just fine for them.
Of course, the annoyance of today are the hipsters trying to gain credibility by associating themselves with black metal…
Jason: With many bands being criticized for creating music that is more style than substance, what, in your opinion, separates a good black metal band from a bad one?
Vulfolaic: I probably should say “Satan”, but let’s stick to “integrity”.
Jason: How do you see Entartung progressing?
Lykormas: Not. We’re not into doing new things. The shit we make comes from the heart and breathes passion. That’s the way we see Entartung and don’t feel much like changing it.
Jason: The press release states that you are working on new material. How’s that progressing? What can we expect from it? And do you have any plans for its release?
Lykormas: There’s some music done by now. Both Vulfolaic and I are collecting riffs. It would be typically Entartung, only this time I only focus on doing the guitars. A third member will handle the drums. We don’t expect the upcoming record to be finished next year. Good things need some time to develop. We do expect a vinyl version of Krypteia somewhere next year. That’s up for WTC to decide.
Jason: Will Entartung play live? If you were to play live, what would be the ideal setting?
Lykormas: At this moment we’re not aiming to hit the stage. In fact it will be very unlikely to happen in the near future. If it’s up to only me it just won’t happen. In western Europe there’s simply an overdose of weekend shows presenting empty minded bands. I’ve been on stage for so many times all over Europe and I got stressed out a lot because of a terrible organization, lack of support, broken promises and other things you can’t take control of yourself. Besides that I detest festivals or shows blending all different kind of scenes. People act like idiots and want to make fun like morons by getting piss drunk. Invert all written here and there you have your ideal setting.
Vulfolaic: Exactly. There’s no way in hell that Entartung will be sharing the stage with, let’s say, hardcore or death metal bands.
Jason: Thanks for taking time out for this interview. Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?
Vulfolaic: No problem Jason, it was nice talking to you. To your readers I would like to say: use your full potential in order to be a wolf instead of a sheep. Don’t be fooled or soothed by the superficial joys of the Western world. Read. Learn. Work out. Prepare. Society may collapse during our lifetime. Be a victor, not a victim.
Jason: I look forward to hearing more from Entartung. Thanks again for taking time out for this interview.