MAGOTH are back with a new album called „Zeitgeist : Dystopia“. I had a chat about that and everything else. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
When you release your first album you usually have had time to write songs over a long period of time. But when it comes to a second or third album you have not the same amount of time. Did that fact put any pressure on your song writing for this second album? How hard was it to come up with songs for this new album?
MAGOTH: Besides the creation of our debut »Anti Terrestrial Black Metal« there were other tasks to be faced as well. The most important one was to gather an ambitious line-up. Magoth should not just become a melting pot of musicians who play Black Metal songs. But a horde of brothers in spirit who celebrate their music together. Fulfilling this idea, a lot of time has been invested.
For »Zeitgeist : Dystopia« we were able to devote ourselves completely to the creative process. During this process we don’t allow any pressure. And we won’t set artistic deadlines to ourselves. Because Magoth is about immortalizing emotions musically in a proper way. Not about complying requirements or expectations.
How would you like to describe the progress from the first to the second album?
MAGOTH: Our debut marks the first era of Magoth; the finding phase of the band. The second era – »Zeitgeist: Dystopia« – presents us as the mentioned brothers in spirit. Also because Heergott was trapped in a mental abyss during the creative process. To support him, we all had to grow beyond ourselves. And the emotions Heergott immortalized in these songs contributes significantly to the album’s atmosphere. It’s truly a perceptible interpretation of the pitch-black nebula he was surrounded by. »Anti Terrestrial Black Metal« whereas marked the calm before this storm.
As I have only seen a photo of the album art work I have no idea if it is a painting or an actual photograph. Who came up with the concept for the art work and how does it tie in with the album title?
MAGOTH: »Zeitgeist« is the german word for »spirit of the age«. And »Dystopia« describes society’s current spirit.
The basic idea of the cover art was introduced by Heergott and Shagnar. Together with the designer Lara van Eikelen a profound artwork has been conceptualized. For the artistic realization once again Gragoth from Luciferium War Graphics was commissioned.
Thematically »Zeitgeist : Dystopia« ties in with the debut. The journey of the four gestalts – who already graced the cover of the debut – finds its continuation. Arrived inside the cave the gestalts ponder about the outer world, isolated from mankind’s Zeitgeist. Questioning meaningless ideologies and perfidious dogmas, they come across »Triconicus«; society’s vicious circle of Rise, Zenith and Decay. A symbol for the transience of existence. It’s a warning and an appeal as well. Once forseen but yet forgotten, history is going to repeat!
For somebody like me that have been there from the very first days of black metal, black metal means one thing to me. What does it mean to you? What is black metal in terms of music? What is black metal in terms of ideology?
MAGOTH: For us Black Metal is not just a subgenre of Metal. The message is profound and the declaration of war directed against senseless ideologies and perfide dogmas. It’s raging war and absolute freedom at the same time.
Black Metal focuses on the dark side of the Sein, on all the negativity existence has to offer. Most people don’t dare to spot this crude, yet magnificent murk in which their inner beast is hiding. We conquer and assume our inner beast to draw on its power, to command it.
Musically Black Metal lets understand the negativity and hate in all its ugliness. Captivating, demanding the listener to pace behind the scenes of the visual facade. Hardly any other genre can put forward such an emotional depth and bestiality at the same time.
Black Metal doesn’t stand for a cheerful pastime or social gathering. Everyone has to find an own access to this powerful genre. And anyone who seriously deals with this music will be able to perceive the aesthetics of it. Black Metal is an elegy of our existence.
In the 90s we had the Norwegian black metal sound. In Sweden there seem to be at least two different black metal sounds. But is there a common German black metal sound? And if so, what does it incorporate?
MAGOTH: Indeed there are also German pioneers, such as Eminenz or Dies Ater. Nevertheless, the German sound is practically inspired by the Scandinavian classics. Germans often seem to combine the harsh and cold Norwegian sounds with the melodic riffing of Swedish Black Metal. The initial spark came from the north and we’re the fuel that keeps the flame alive.
I have been to a number of black metal concerts and for most of them it has been like watching statues on stage. What is important to you when you stand on a stage? What do you want to present to the audience?
MAGOTH: We are a live band. Each of our shows is a ritual. And this live rituals maximize the spirit of Magoth. So there’s a lot of things which are important to us on stage. One of the most important is the sound. We won’t just play concerts as a means to an end. We take the audience on a hellish ride through the spheres of Black Metal. The cooperation with our sound engineer Andreas Hofmann ensures this intense experience.
During our live rituals we move away from our ego and we find ourselves on a deeper level. We follow Magoth’s drive but not any studied performances. Each of our shows is unique.
Usually the statues are placed in front of the stage, enjoying their hellish ride in a trance-like state.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? With the ability to upload your music as soon as you’ve written it the freedom to create has become greater but are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans now that every Tom, John and Harry can upload their stuff?
MAGOTH: Some call the high availability »artistic freedom«, others »oversupply«. We should be glad about the option since a host of exceptional and eminent artists would probably never have gained their fame. The label alone is no guarantee for good and honest music. Whether a label is needed depends on what you expect and what you are willing to do for it. We dedicate our lives for this music and decided to follow our own path, free of unwanted influences.
Thanks to Shagnar we can release our works officially on his label »shagnARTmusic«. He also manages the distribution of our merchandise at http://shop.magoth.de.
In this way we are able to fix ourselves completely on the artistic work. Of course we’re interested in a cooperation with an external label, but so far we have not found the right cooperation partner.
What importance is there in being part of local/national/international scene? Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of something bigger? I know it does to me knowing that in some slight way I was a part of the Swedish death metal scene in the 90s.
MAGOTH: We’re proud to be part of a bigger thing – the Black Metal cult. Our self-imposed mission is to sustain the legacy of Black Metal. Whether local, national or international doesn’t matter. Black Metal has no boundaries.
What does the future hold now?
MAGOTH: We’re looking forward to the next live rituals on which we’ll present tracks from both of our albums. Further we’re planning a release of both albums as limited vinyl version for 2019.