MAGOTH is a German black metal band that I fell for and wanted to interview. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
A band name says more than thousand words, or does it? How important is a band name to get people interested in your music?
MAGOTH: A band name reflects the intention of the artists behind and gives an idea of what can be expected from them. Is it plain showmanship or is it a headword outlining a deeper group of themes? Or maybe something in between?
The band name along with the band logo is actually the trade mark of the artists behind it. Certainly that does not say anything about the quality of the music or the band itself. It is simply the first contact but significantly important for providing a message with a worthy spirit.
Behind every band name and logo there hides an own universe. And a universe is seldomly describable with a mere thousand words.
When you finish a recording and then sit back and relax, what kind of feelings do you get? Are you glad it is finished? Does the anxiety grow, not knowing if everybody will like it?
MAGOTH: We work intensively on our material, which leaves little room for concerns about any thoughts that may put us in an anxious mood. Of course we are interested in feedback and we appreciate constructive criticism, but to us that is rather accessory.
Above all we are living our passion and we will keep living it out, unaffected by any violating influences. And thereby we get driven. It’s like a mental detoxification.
What is it like to be in a studio recording your music? What kind of, feelings and thoughts race through your heads?
MAGOTH: Our feeling and thoughts are sheer focused on the final outcome since our standards are very high. We do not just write songs and record an album. We work on something bigger: a new era of Magoth. And the studio sessions are one of the stages on the way to achieve our aims.
We dive through the spheres of our music as deeply as during the previous process of creation. Because every sequence of tones we created is emotionally filled and emphasises the complex of themes. Of course the studio sessions differ from our live rituals. But the familiar cooperation with “Liquid Aether Audio” enabled us to quickly find ourselves. Together we bundle the soundtracks to that powerful entity that eternalize our emotions noticeably.
Today I get a feeling that the promotion of a band lands a lot on the bands themselves so how does one promote oneself the best possible way in order to reach as many as possible?
MAGOTH: We are not about just reaching as many people as possible. We want to address all those who can understand our language of music. Needless to say that those people have to be reached first. Our promotion and sales activities are effectively realized with the support of our “Consultant of Kings”, Andreas Hoffmann, and Markus Eck from Metalmessage. Because also outside our band’s room it’s important for us to retain full control over Magoth, without external pressure and for the benefit of our creativity. But the main promotion for us are our live rituals. Here the true spirit of Magoth awakens and reaches people in a way that is incomparable to any conventional promotion.
Today we have all these different sub-genres in metal. How important is that you can be tagged in one of these? Why isn’t metal enough as a tag?
MAGOTH: We use the term “Anti Terrestrial Black Metal” to purposely distance ourselves from ordinary metal. Because just like with the band name also the genre gives an idea of the artist and his works. Metal is an extreme diverse genre and it has more subgenres than hardly any other style of music. That made it appealing to many people and some stylistic directions in metal became widely socially acceptable. Whereas black metal is no society-compliant music – and that should be perceptible at a first glance. Our genre doesn’t stand for social gathering or collective amusement. It is like a warning sign in front of a dark forest in which all earthly laws are abolished.
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: For us the spirit of black metal is a legacy. And everyone who honorably contributes to this legacy may feel as a part of something bigger.
We are not part of those who let themselves be deceived by false gods and their empty promises. We use knowledge as protest. We question rigid thought patterns and don’t content ourselves with half-truths. We are per se not part of the masses. And that makes the scene in general something big.
Ever since I first got into metal the art work has been a main motivator in buying a record. What part does artwork for album covers play in the world of the band?
MAGOTH: Our artwork offers a deep insight into our process of creativity. As well as the musical version of our works, the visual illustration of our ideas plays an essential role. It has a direct relation with the subject matter of the work.
The artwork of our debut “Anti Terrestrial Black Metal” describes the first era of Magoth. Those four shapes decorating the cover are standing symbolically for the band members who enter a cave to muse on their experiences with the outerworld. The musical essence of our thoughts is “Anti Terrestrial Black Metal”, kind of a journey to our core. The subject matter of our upcoming album will continue from this point on.
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: The mass of unbound bands or self-promoters has massively increased ever since anyone can upload their music. In our society one might be fed up with oversupply. And compromising on quality is obviously not excluded. However, there are always two sides of a coin. If you look at more remote countries, the situation there is different. Artists living in authoritarian regimes or religious dictatorships are thankful for the opportunities online platforms are offering. Otherwise they and their lamentations would possibly never be heard. Sometimes the internet is more a weapon in the battle for freedom than in the battle for sales numbers. Be it personal freedom or that of an entire nation.
Furthermore cooperating with a label does not necessarily enhance the music’s quality. Free music distribution enables many sublime bands to being heard, even if they are not supported by a label.
We ourselves have very clear requirements about the cooperation with a label. So far none could meet these expectations.
What is a gig with you like? What kind of shows do you prefer to play?
MAGOTH: It is an excessive trip through the spheres of black metal. We celebrate every show with abandon. For us it’s a ritual that we excessively live out in this very moment. Thus we have high expectations of our shows.
Besides the event itself, the location’s sound system and our stage time play an important role. Because all these factors contribute to the creation of the spheres that cast Magoth’s spell over the audience.
Cooperation with EbonizeBooking gives us the necessary freedom in choosing our appearances. That allows us to attach highest priority to designing and realizing our shows.
What lies in the future?
MAGOTH: We are working on the next era of Magoth. While the current era – Anti Terrestrial Black Metal – is focusing the finding of ourselves and the band, the next era will show noticeably that Magoth has chosen its place in this world.
Think for yourself. Question authority. Stay blasphemous.