Country of origin: USA
Questions by: Kai Mathias Stalhammar
Answers supplied by: Stephen O'Malley (guitars) and Alan Dubin (vocals)
First of all, what is KHANATE? Does this word stand for anything definite?
Stephen: In the 14th
and 15th century the Mongolian dynasty of Khan proceeded to conquer much
of central and eastern Asia, the middle east, and parts of eastern Europe.
This dynasty included such luminary cultural icons as Genghis, Kublai and
Ogodei. At one point during the latter's reign this
monarchal government controlled the largest area of land ever by a "single"
member our species, even to the modern day (well sans illusionary methods I
suppose). This country / government hybrid under a ruling Khan was known as a Khanate. This is the reference I am alluding to.
Is KHANATE strictly a studio project, and if not, how do you conceive live show(s)? Not a usual gig it should be, I assume?
Stephen: We are beginning our live experience, and while the results been satisfactory so far, considering the state of the band, I know there is a long road in front of us in terms of potential. My experiences with SUNN 0))) and BURNING WITCH in a live setting taught me that the limitations for this kind of music come from mainly two places: discipline and concentration. Being at ease with both and being realistic about resources and expectations are the correct paths towards the maximum. Live KHANATE involves 130db guitars, feedback, computer agony, vocal effects and intensive drum hammering.
As far as I know, Southern Lord is a label mostly into doom / stoner? hence, what does KHANATE have to do with this?
Stephen: Not much, when put that way. Southern Lord has released albums by 2 other bands I have been in which are definitely not "stoner" bands, but definitely "doom". Southern Lord has been a great label for KHANATE so far, and much of that has to do with my own personal friendship with the owner, Greg Anderson. There's automatically a higher level of trust and respect in the relationship of KHANATE and the label because of this.
Going deeper... Why I asked you previous question is, because I don't really consider your band a doom metal one (as it's been stated in press release), but more likely something quite indescribable... sort of experimental stuff + a bit of black metal...
Stephen: Sure, I consider
KHANATE a doom band. But I don't consider KHANATE to be only that, it's
just one of many perspectives which seems to fit. The "doom" elements include
an outside perception of feelings of depression, hopelessness, violence
and submissiveness. The reality of the situation is that KHANATE is little
to do with these elements and more about boundless
expansion. Whatever the listener's perception of KHANATE's caste, so to say, is thier's own alone, and has actually probably nothing to do with what we
are trying to do sonically.
Would you say, you value atmosphere you're capable of forcing more than music itself?
Stephen: This is more important at times. Hitting that dark sweet spot of energy is the ultimate with our music, and although is not happening constantly, it can become the axis on where the songs rotate. Also, the pure sonic energy is as important, or more so at times, than the structures themselves.
Does the lyrical canvas play any significant role, or is it simply a music's supplement? The lyrics coming with "Khanate" CD are quite close to a "flow of thoughts / vision-kind" of poetry, by the way...
Alan: The lyrics create
disturbing mental visuals inspired by constant
letdowns and people in general (all of whom should have their faces served
on rye). Actually, I feel the same way about the music as well.
Stephen: Through the
days I come to realize that the lyrics of KHANATE are
probably the most surreal, in a classic sense, component in the entirety.
This is an attribute I value immensely in the characteristics of KHANATE's
Is KHANATE involved in any movement outside music?
Stephen: Not as a group.
Religion. An opium for the masses, social institute, or an empty word?
Stephen: As you said, plus a road to spirituality and peace for some and connection and understanding of GOD (self) for others. Amongst 5 billion plus other singular interpretations.
I'm wondering if you have any knowledge on Russia, as well as our UG scene?
Stephen: Yes. I know some of the metal scene from the late 90s, mainly the Hungry Ak-47 bands like DRAGWAUTH, CARNAGE. Also TEMNOZOR. I am probably spelling these incorrectly. I prefer LINJA MASS, REUTOFF, LUCIFERRATO CATATONIA in these days. I was a fan of the ULTRA tape label from St. Petersburg for a few years. MANGLER ripped me off for $6 for a black bible. Really, my knowledge of Russian art, literature is quite limited but I am interested. I have read some GOGOL, BULGAKOV but of course hardly knowledgable about Russia's finest literary moments (most of which have not been translated to english). I am a fan of TARKOVSKY. USTVOLSKAYA and SCNITTKE (GOGOL suite actually) are clearly two of my favorite composers. Enough? No, I think not.
Short this time, although straight I hope. What would your final words be?
Stephen: Until the end. Swimming in the main-stream leads to death by drowning. Thank you.
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