SATURNIAN

SATURNIAN are a British symphonic black metal band that really impressed me. Myk (Guitar/Backing vox) answered my questions. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I’m a bit of a word geek which is why I find band names fascinating. How common words van take on new meanings in different contexts. What is behind the name Saturnian?
-The origins of the word ‘Saturnian’ lie with an ancient Roman form of verse which has been clouded by history, but as well as referencing this it also reflects upon space, the idea of being from outside of this Earth, ‘from Saturn’ as it were.

When you have an album to shop round with what is it that you are looking for that you can’t get doing it yourself?
-The main difficulties with releasing an album yourself are things like getting the correct amount of exposure for it, distributing it globally, although this is mainly in a physical format as obviously mediums such as digital download make it easy for people all over the world to get hold of your music. A lot of labels work with each other ensuring the album will be distributed in different territories.

How hard is it to find the right people to work with? To me it seems like everybody and their uncle gets signed.
-It is fairly easy to get signed these days, home recording quality is much higher and people care much more about production these days, sometimes even more than the music. Also with mediums such as Facebook, Soundcloud etc it’s a much less daunting task to get your music into the public eye. Both of these factors can be detrimental though, sometimes better bands are ignored because they don’t have a glossy production, and it can be a very over-saturated market with thousands of similar sounding bands making it much more difficult for bands with their own sound to get noticed.

How do you plug your band the best without compromising your artistic integrity?
-Well, as mentioned there are the online methods, Facebook etc and it is extremely important to have a strong digital presence. But in my opinion nothing is still as important as word of mouth, actually getting out there, playing shows and making sure people will remember you. There are bands with tens of thousands of ‘likes’ on Facebook that still can’t get booked for much more than a small show in a bar, and vice versa there are bands with less than a tenth of ‘likes’ which will be able to go on tour with serious bands.

Where does the idea to play symphonic black metal come from? What’s wrong with plain old school black metal?
-There is absolutely nothing wrong with old school black metal, it’s most of the band’s favourite genre of music and some of us do play in more traditional BM bands, but the idea behind Saturnians music has always been more than ‘just’ black metal, we take a lot of influence from everything from Black/Death Metal, traditional heavy metal, classical music and film soundtracks, hopefully to create a more unique end result.

What importance does the lyrics and imagery play for Saturnian? Do you focus on some special themes?
-Both lyrics and imagery are almost as important as the music for us. There is a recurring theme from our upcoming album, although not quite a concept. To be put simply, it is basically one of lost knowledge, society and religion has clouded our perception of the world around us and confined us to a very narrow minded, ‘tunnel vision’ way of viewing life. Saturnian’s theme is about breaking free from these constraints, whether that be total nuclear devastation forcing us back to an older, purer way of life, which is referenced in Eternal Eclipse, or as another example, through the use of mind-altering substances, which is alluded to in Dimensions.

When you play symphonic black metal how do you avoid being compared to or even ending up sounding like a band like Dimmu Borgir that seem to have defined this whole sub-genre?
-It is difficult to avoid such comparisons, and during the bands beginnings Dimmu Borgir were an influence. However to be honest no-one in the band really listens to them anymore, and these days the songwriting is generally more along the lines of creating riffs or melodies and then adding the necessary orchestration to it later, rather than mimicking other bands.

How hard is it to stand out among so many bands that pop up every day online and on physical formats?
-I believe I touched upon this earlier but to expand upon it, we try and make the live show as convincing and visceral as we can, write superior music as opposed to just aping whatever the current trend is, and make sure that every step we make is calculated to benefit us, as opposed to just blindly following what other bands are doing.
What kind of scene is there for black metal bands like yours in GB? How supportive are the fans of a national band?
-To be honest there isn’t much of a scene for the music we play, which I believe is one of our main strong points, however there are a few other bands blending orchestral music with Black and Death Metal, examples of these would be GraVil and Phyrexia, both of whom we’ve shared a stage with, as well as our good friends in Xerath, who take the aforementioned influences and mix them with a more progressive style.

When do you think we’ll be able to get anything new on record by your guys?
-We should have some news regarding this very soon, the album is fully recorded, mixed and mastered by the maestro Russ Russell, and we can’t wait to unleash it upon an unsuspecting metal scene. All I can say is keep your eyes peeled and check us out at all upcoming shows, including both Wacken and Bloodstock Festivals!

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