as I understood you define HERESIARH as «romantic dragon metal band»
in order to be distinguished from the mass of faceless and typical BM acts
- but why did you choose exactly this term?
- «Made of stone with spirit of fire, born in water, ruler of air, the complete being - I, the dragon...» I quoted a fellow madwand of mine and do not have much to add. 'Romantic' refers to our lyrical and musical nature, therefore also tags like 'epic', 'majestic', 'melodic' etc. might be used occasionally. Again, if we still called ourselves 'black metal', wouldn't we be slagged off as children or posers? So, 'fast doom metal', eh? Nay, we did have every right to invite a term of our own and if you hear the music you will see what I mean. Unlike the latest THRON' album, claimed to be not what it really appears to be!
Referring to your bio, HERESIARH arose from the ruins of DARK REIGN, «the oldest black metal band in Latvia»... I've never heard anything about this group, therefore I'd like to hear some info about it... What was the reason for DARK REIGN's collapse?
- DARK REIGN emerged in 1994, which might not seem like 'very old', unless you consider that noone here had played BM before. It suffered unnumbered line-up changes (including a christian bassist, most ALFHEIM members etc.) and finally collapsed last summer when all multi-instrumental members left the founder and vocalist namely I.T. Warpath alone with his wrath and totalitarian spirit of being an utter loser. Although he keeps claiming DARK REIGN to be still very alive and musically active, we do know that these are merely but his fantasies. So it can be said that HERESIARH was formed by DARK REIGN's line-up shortly before its death minus Warfart plus two additional musicians. The basis of music was kept yet heavily transformed from harsh black metal into what you can witness now.
ALFHEIM was your former band... Why did you decide to quit? How are the things going with this project nowadays?
- Neither me nor Hater ever decided to quit ALFHEIM. It just happened so that one day I heard from somebody that we are not in that band anymore. Things like that happen pretty often, don't they? We were in HERESIARH then already anyway and had nothing against it, in the name of progress! Nowadays an ultimately Norsk-inspired hairless goblin Skygge (and a good friend of mine!) has operatively taken control of ALFHEIM and renamed it to BLIZZARD. They recorded a demo called «Servants Of The Winter» last year, but didn't release it as their incompetent drummer at that time ruined the whole enterprise. Therefore we have now lent them our percussionist Kalatun in order for some progress to be observed in the Latvian scene.
The cover says that all songs featured on «Dragons Of War» appear as 'the first chapters from «Chronicles Of Elvenwine» by Morgueldar Dragonseye'... Is it a book of yours?
- I'm glad somebody noticed that. No, it's not a book, it's just me playing around with well-sounding titles and names. It hit my head and I felt like using it somewhere. Things like that happen pretty often as well. Basically the idea is that of jotting down slightly hallucination-like visions caused by large amounts of green alcohol bottles, stamped with 'Imported from Thranduil', being emptied in the cosiest hobbit gay-bars along with some troll-weed and dragon-pills. No mortal man may drink elvenwine or he remains in the elfland forever!
Why do you use two different handles (Elven Witchcraft and Morgueldar Dragonseye) instead of one and what do they mean?
- Geee, that's simple. Morgueldar Dragonseye is my name and Elven Witchcraft are called my deeds. The essence of these handles is similar - eternal (of olde) equilibrium of evil and good, darkness and light, morgul and eldar, nazgul and elves, rather than anything extreme or uniform. Dragons and eyes are somewhat fascinating, they appeal to me one might say.
Just like many today's black metallers, you're a big fan of Tolkien... It was a kind of shock for me to see how his writings influence enormous number of BM people, and I still can't understand the reasons why - perhaps, you can tell me?
- Heh, I guess it is an unexplainable phenomena why mr. Tolkien and his family used black metal people to ventilate his apartments... But, speaking seriously, the nowadays world is so full of shit, unromantic and corrupt, and guys like ALGAION with their futurism tend to make it an even shittier place to exist in, whilst Middle-earth is sort of an alternative, a refuge for our dreaming minds that long for the true essence of freedom and life ruled by sword. One would give a lifetime for a day (or a week.. okay, let's say a year) in Rhovannion.
«Dragons Of War» was the first release by your own label, Elven Witchcraft Productions - what are your current plans with this project? Have you released any other bands so far?
- Nonono, do forget ‘productions’! Doesn't «Craft» mean the same? See, I try to avoid using these clichesque words like ‘records’ or fans. My current plans include starting a trollish newsletter as well as bringing forth a unique compilation cassette with purely Tolkien-inspired black metal and darkambient bands. What restricts me from doing that now is being engaged with trying to contact the bands in order to make some mutual agreement about them being featured on this 100-minutes tape. Copyrights won't be observed anyway yet I hope it is okay with them. No, I haven't released any other bands this far - and let them remain in my grim dungeons for a longer time! - still later this year I might spawn forth this minimalistic dark middle-earth synth music project BELERIAND I have indeed. It should also be mentioned that Elven Witchcraft, along with Beverina Productions and Maniacal Brutality, is a proud part of The GUILD (The Graveless Union of Independent Latvian Distros). We battle money-minded jews in distro business, but it's a 'fair play'.
Despite that «Dragons Of War» was recorded only about two months ago, it appears only as compilation of HERESIARH's old songs... When are you planning to unleash your next effort? Did your style change drastically or it endured only insignificant alterations?
- Aye, most of the basic tunes from «Dragons Of War» were written in times of DARK REIGN and are all older than a year or two. We wanted to seperate those from our current efforts and as a result this demo appeared. Actually, no, our style didn't change drastically, we're still the same band but with a more mature approach to structures and arrangements, besides nowadays each member contributes to the songwriting more or less whilst those were mainly olde Jester's riffs on «Dragons...». We are planning to unleash our next effort when we get signed to a label - the sooner the better! Imagine something even more diverse and epic than our demo yet with the same unique enthralling touch and eeriness!
Most of black metal gigs I saw didn't impress me at all, mostly due to the total lack of imagination which often results in an extremely boring and incomprehensible performance... Can you boast with something better than typical (i.e. completely uninteresting) BM show?
- No, not yet. We're still quite a new band with an undeveloped stage image. Besides our maximalistic music demands quite an attention to the instruments played. We have some ideas though, but I guess the music is what matters. I myself am anti-mosh thus rather prefer people to calmly stand and listen. HERESIARH offers an audial journey into deeper realms of ancient glory and pride, so being stoned under weed is commendable to the audience. Also, ask, if the audience is always worth trying for?
With such impressive and original (!) music, I'm sure that at least one or two labels discussed the possibility of releasing HERESIARH's debut CD with you - am I right?
- To this I can respond only with that I have not sent any copies of «Dragons...» to labels yet. Why not? I'm just lazy as fuck...
Your demo includes hidden bonus live track, which sounds more like a someone's cover or folk song...
- Because it is! You do contain this genius nature-given ability of detecting the age of melodies and tunes. Right, it is our distorted version of an ancient Latvian warriors' song from the 13th century. Quite well-known around here and thus most wanted at gigs. Essentially the storyline tells of two brethren riding to war and mutely reasoning whether they should or should not. We sing however a less known version of the text, which is more based upon parallels between nature and man.
Your lyrics are rather unusual, they sound more like a short stories written by a highly imaginative person...
- Thank you. Again you have got the point exactly. Well, I thought why write those clichesque personal or usually uncomprehensive black metal utterings that hardly anybody ever understands or is interested in. Therefore each our song is like a seperate epic tale heralding of some or other event taken its form in my fantasy and in atmosphere corresponding with the music. At the same time the verses are strongly symbolic and contain a deeper thought other than the main idea, e.g. that of the forgotten Dragons' Domain or the Cruel Bard...
When I first asked about HERESIARH's style (before «Dragons...» was released), you compared your band with DISMAL EUPHONY - do you still consider these Norwegians as the closest comparison to HERESIARH? The only similarity I found was lead female vocals mixed with harsch BM screaming...
- Right, I mentioned «more intense DISMAL EUPHONY», probably referring to the same approach regarding the vocal line. However dragon metal is by far heavier and faster than DISMAL EUPHONY. The problem is that I can't think of any better comparisons, can you? That's why we're 'dragon metal'. As to D.E., they're as fine band as it gets, one of my favourites, we should tour together haha, sound of a thousand rivers struggling against the sea...
Are you interested in your country's mythology? Unfortunately, I'm not acquainted with Latvian epos at all, so I think that you should tell us few words in regards to it...
- Latvia abounds in lost and drowned castles. Most of them you can still see glittering in the depths of our blue lakes if you watch well from a dragon's flight in full-moon nights. Those strongholds still are believed to still hold great treasure and wealth, both material and magic. Overall our mythology is like one step between the Northern / Scandinavian / Germanic beliefs and the more eastern and obscure Slavonic tales. There's a wide variety of witches, wolfseyes(volkodlaks) and other sinister silvan beings. Giants or devils, reminiscent to the big-sized Norsk trolls, shaped the surface of the earth. Lakes on the other hand were the ones that found places for themselves. I have not heard of anything similar anywhere else - imagine a lake flying and looking out for a nice valley to drop for a nap, who cares if there's a castle below. In fact they needed to wait for somebody calling their true name from below, speaking of LeGuinnan ideas. However I am far from being competent in this topic unlike the Polish band DARZAMAT who have found Latvian mythology interesting enough to name themselves after one of our goddesses. I suppose they have no idea how eerie and alien it sounds. I didn't even catch the idea at first. Glory to Darzamat and Mezhamat!
- Shirak an'hazg daud nrzshgil, akh earn'gul kher qshtar... Did that sound like a spell enough? Even if it did, it wasn't heh. Thousand swords to you for this very inciting and interesting interview. It was indeed a pleasure writing answers, those who have to comprehend will comprehend. Hail to Ukraine, especially LUCIFUGUM and NOKTURNAL MORTUM! All troll and orc berserker warriors, grind your weaponblades, all mages and sorcerers, raise your firespells and thunderbolts - I'll see you at the Gates of Earth on the Great Day of Cataclysm of Dvergarstorm and Wyrmfire and with Sword and Blood We shall restore the Glory and Might of All Beyond Olde!