Interview with Ivan Trdina (vocals)
Interview conducted by Scott Murray
Date online: August 10, 2003
I guess the big news for the band recently was your appearance at the Northern Lights black metal festival not too long ago. Can you describe the experience of this show, along with your side of the story on the controversial happenings that went on that evening?
The Northern Lights festival for us was the final in a set of dates that we did together with co-performers Vanquished and Averse Sefira. All in all we were very pleased with our performance and the crowd’s reaction to it. We would say that it was definitely the highlight of our mini-tour stint. The festival had a good lineup of bands (especially the above mentioned along with Ankhreg) and was very well organized. Adrian Bromley and Adam Wasylyk (Unrestrained!) did a fantastic job and hopefully next year’s installment will live up to this one. As for the controversy, well, many heated words have been exchanged from both sides of the melee. What began as an unfortunate cancellation of Grand Belial's Key (which was a pure shame) turned into a war of words and fists concerning race relations, business practices and such. If we may be so prudent in saying that we do not think the venue's security handled the situation very well…but this is not intended to be a slagging session and we do not harbour an everlasting hatred towards the promoter, although sometimes it seems this way. Simply put, some people were kicked out yet they didn't cause any harm to anyone, and this is what we do not agree with. Their choice of 'actions' during our set may have been an oversight on their part, but from what we understand this was their only crime. We certainly had no part in inciting it, as some people may wish others to believe!
With live shows picking up for Feral Horde as of late, how do you feel the crowds are responding to the band? Do you think you're starting to develop a following?
It's hard to say. There are some people who we see at every show no matter how low-key it is, and then there are others who see us for the first time and vow to come to our next one! The crowds have always been supportive, no more nor less than before. The difference lies simply in the quantity of people in attendance. We are not a big band by any means but our shows have been progressively getting larger. We definitely have a strong show of allegiance from other bands that support our crusade against false truths, but a 'following'? Hah! If this means that we have chicks swinging from our cocks after every gig, then you're mistaken! Many Toronto fans are mostly into technical death metal or glam-tinged black metal bands, with a few exceptions. It is these few rather obscure individuals (and of course, a couple in some high places) who have given us the biggest hand and the greatest will to continue.
Could you give me a brief history of the group? How you guys came together and why you decided to form a black metal band?
Guitarist Radoslav Rypel and I started this band approximately 3 years ago. When we started Toronto had no black metal scene to speak of, and we decided to fill this vacuum. This was not intended to become a cash-in from marketing ourselves as the only Toronto black metal act, or anything of that nature. Our musical tastes directed our style of writing into the sphere of black metal to begin with. In other words, riffs were written before even the thought of forming this band came into being. Afterwards, we added our mutual friend Pavao Posilovic to the lineup to round out the guitar department. It took us a long while, but after countless auditions, some more distasteful then others, our lineup was complete when we added Matthew Brown on drums and Neven Pavelic with his bass guitar. Ever since we started this band there have been a horde (excuse the pun) of other black metal acts that have popped up. Some claim to have been here before us (this is not in reference to Burning Moon or Megiddo who were the BM scene in this city in years past). Even if this is true, they decided to remain in the shadows until we started playing shows. Now I can link to their websites from many places. I saw none of this when we started this band. Rather ironic.
What inspires Feral Horde's writing and music?
It would be foolish not to assume that everything in one's surroundings in one way or another becomes assimilated in to an influence of some kind. More specifically, however, we look towards the nationalistic aspect in black metal. I am not necessarily talking about the current trend of bands opting to sing about the glorious exploits and nature of their respective folk and fatherlands, although many of these bands deserve support. Old bands such as Emperor, Enslaved, Burzum, Satyricon, Hades, Gorgoroth and even some Darkthrone all touched upon themes and motifs with their older material (before the numerous needle-marks started appearing on their arms) that were much deeper than the usual "Hail Satan" cliché. As such, although we listen to, we are not influenced by old Venom or Bathory (save for the Viking trilogy) who many bands list as their prime influences. As a collective, we adhere to the above mentioned, although musically I would say that we look towards bands as Abigor and Dissection as representatives of the kind of art that we are creating.
Is this the first band you have been in?
Exalted Malediction…it mainly consisted of current Feral Horde members and was more of a cover band if anything. A stepping-stone for future endeavors to come.
What were the recording sessions like for the demo and full-length release Progressive Downfall?
We recorded our demo and the old-version of our full-length at a studio that we later dubbed "Soul Mutilating Art" in reference to our creation. The producer had never dealt with a band of our ilk before, and so it was definitely a challenge. In these situations you need to be specific with the kind of sound you want, because it is easy to get swept aside fixing imaginary problems that only the producer sees and following suggestions which may benefit a jazz band, but not a black metal band. Coupled with the fact that we had no previous studio experience, it was easy to get mired down with loads of technical jargon that confused the recordings more than it did help. We have now entered a new studio to re-record our debut full-length. Part of the rationale leading up to this decision was the weird sound from the previous studio, and also because we have all grown up as a band and become a little tighter and faster, and the material is much in benefit of this. Some people have expressed their displeasure with the amount of time that it is taking for this CD to finally see the true light of day. We are not a bunch of unemployed bums who scurry about getting high, lighting fires, kneeling to stone idols and singing Graveland lyrics. We all have responsibilities and bills to pay, and when we find enough time to devote to the band we do it. Basically, the album will be ready when it's ready! And that's it.
How are fans and critics receiving the recorded material?
Surprisingly well! I say this because although we are 110% behind our music, we are after all our own worst critics and know what we can do better and what we cannot. So, to see our recordings being heralded in the way they have been makes us very pleased. It is good to know that people out there exist who understand the obscure black metal art form and can comment on it in an intelligent manner, as opposed to some childish reviews I've seen of other bands' catalogues.
Do you feel that the metal scene in the Toronto area is strong and supportive?
The only bands that are given full support are the international ones…Opeth, In Flames, The Haunted etc…*spits in disgust*. Local bands are lucky to get twenty people on a given night. Sadly…Toronto is more fertile to the Century Media and Nuclear Blast artist's of today.
More specifically now, what black metal band or song got you into this style specifically?
If you are referring to a gateway band then Darkthrone would have to be just that!
What interested you the most about black metal when you were first getting into it? What still keeps you a fan now?
The fact that these black metal musicians, Norwegians in particular, were doing something totally different and apart from their peers in the early 90's. For me personally it was always that rebellious nature and attitude presented by the bands that drew me in. Realizing just how powerful and effective music can be when performed in such a primitive and orderly fashion.
Do you feel the glory days of black metal have passed?
Definitely!!!…Black metal has taken a deep plunge in the last little while due to countless bands hopping the N.S. bandwagon. It's come to a point where satanic black metal bands of old are reverting to N.S. views for better marketing purposes and wider recognition…ridiculous!
What bands do you think best represent it today? And what bands do you feel do the opposite, but seem to be at the forefront?
In my eyes, the bands that still carry the torch are…Nargaroth, Judas Iscariot, Godless North…to name but a few. Your second question is an obvious no-brainer which I would not like to take the time to comment on, *no pun intended*
Can you name a few songs you'd like to cover?
Well, we have already covered a Hecate Enthroned song titled "Within the ruins of Eden"…I can also confirm with certainty that we have a Hades cover in the works. What the future will bring is hard to bring to conjecture. I have heard whispers among our guitar encampment about possible Lord Wind and Judas Iscariot covers, but I cannot confirm this.
How far would you like to take Feral Horde? Are you looking to get signed?
We will take Feral Horde on its journey as long as it has wind in its sails. We are full of new ideas, so I don't see us stopping soon by any means. However, if it ever gets to the point that the band no longer satisfies us, then we won't be beating a dead horse. We will continue as long as our collective will to create blasphemous music and spread our propaganda remains intact. As far as label interest, yes it would be nice, simply for better distribution and an offset in the costs of recording and having a proper layout. As far as getting signed and then touring the world, we have no rock star ambitions so I don't think that this aspect will keep us going. I don't long for the day when I can un-tuck my frilly red shirt as I take my last line of blow and act like fucking Mick Jagger in the dressing room. We create art for the purpose of art, not solely for the purpose of entertainment.
Outside of the band how do you spend/kill your time?
Like any other responsible and civilized individual of my age, I work. I make money, pay my bills, spend time with my family, ass-fuck my bitch, go to a bar and drink. I like to keep tabs on what's happening in the metal community, but I don't spend hours behind a computer screen like many others do. I also don't sit in my daddy's basement running away from the light like some other black metal bands say you should do. I go outside and play soccer with my friends, or go and set up a barbecue. Basically every day things that keep my mind intact and my will strong.
Anything you'd like to say in closing?
I would like to thank Scott Murray and METALCRYPT for this interview…that is all!
|Other information about Feral Horde on this site|
|Review: Feral Horde (Demo)|
|Review: Progressive Downfall (Demo version)|
|Review: Progressive Downfall|
|Review: Progressive Downfall|
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