Interview with Ancalagon the Black
Interview conducted by Lars Christiansen
Date online: September 27, 2007
Crebain has been bubbling away like an active volcano since 2003, waiting for the perfect time to erupt its filthy black shit all over the unsuspecting public. With only a demo and a split album with the fantastic Leviathan to his name thus far, Lars catches up with sole member Ancalagon the Black to chew the fat, in hope of finding out how the release of his upcoming Crebain full length album is coming along.
1) Hail A.T.B, many thanks for taking the time out to answer my questions. First out, I'd like to ask why you chose the name Crebain for your band, and Ancalagon the Black as your own pseudonym (both names originating from J.R.R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings), when Lyrically you don't seem to base your lyrics around this area at all (from what I can tell from the excerpts of lyrics that I've read anyhow - please correct me if I'm wrong)?
I love Tolkien and feel a strong connection to his mythology. Both names hadn't been used by a Black Metal band at the time when I chose them (in '99), and also happened to be my two favorite references aesthetic-wise: black crows and a black dragon. As for lyrics, only the song "Night Of The Stormcrow" is Tolkien-related, and I felt that was enough since I don't want to be labeled as a Tolkien-themed band such as Summoning, Za Frumi, etc.
2) Describe your music in five words or less for the un-initiated.
Grim, thrashy, melodic, Satanic, hateful.
3) What drives you on, and what would you describe as the sole purpose of Crebain?
The purpose is to express my extreme anger, hatred, and sorrow through my musical ideas.
4) On your webpage, you say "CREBAIN is the sole vision of Ancalagon the Black; no band, no shows." - however, I remember reading an interview from a few years ago where you mentioned that a live band could be a possibility - what changed?
I just decided it wasn't necessary, considering the difficulty I've had in finding musicians that I trust to bring the songs to life. Any desire that I have to play in front of an audience is satiated by doing that in Horn Of Dagoth.
5) Speaking of Horn of Dagoth, how is that faring these days? Seeing as H.o.D features a full live band, would you say you have a preference between the live touring band, or the more 'misanthrope friendly' strictly studio project?
Horn Of Dagoth is progressing very well, as we've played a few shows this year and are set to begin recording in the next week or two. We don't tour though, and have no intention to, nor do we play live just for the sake of it as so many idiot rock star wannabe bands do. We're quite content playing 2 or 3 shows a year, with the right bands and to the right crowds, choosing wisely andamp; being elitist about it. We will no longer play with non-Black metal bands, there's no point as we feel that Metal sub-genres don't mix well. Live shows are not a way to promote the band or gain popularity, simply a ritualistic gathering of like-minded individuals. As a band we're just as misanthropic as I am.
6) Back to Crebain now, something that has always fascinated me with solo projects is how you go about piecing the music together - what process do you go through when writing and recording new material? Also, do you ever foresee yourself bringing natural drums as opposed to programmed drums into Crebain's sound?
For me the process starts the same in Crebain as in Horn Of Dagoth; I'll hear a riff or melody with a drum part in my head, possibly a harmony or vocal part as well. I then go to the guitar to figure it out, then that will usually lead naturally to a second part, and then a third. When I feel the song is mostly or fully realized in my mind, then I go to my studio and begin the tedious process of programming and arranging the drums. Then I record the guitar parts, then the bass. Only when I have the instruments fully recorded do I really start working on the vocals and lyrics, which are driven first by the rhythms and then the feeling that the song invokes in me. The difference between the full band and the one-man band is that after I have the song ideas figured out, I can just show them to the rest of the members and things flow much more quickly. Although I actually write very little of H.O.D.'s music, most of it is handled by Abandon All Hope Of Redemption, the drummer. And yes, I do plan to play live drums on some future Crebain release. I can play, but I'm no amazing drummer, and I'm very interested to see how this will alter my writing style...looking forward to it...
7) Speaking of new material, how is the work on the upcoming Crebain release coming along, and do you have an album title or any track names you could share with us thus far? Would you say the music follows a similar vein to your earlier work?
Due to my everyday bullshit existence, and focusing on Horn Of Dagoth, I haven't actually spent any time on the Crebain album in months. I've had several songs in various stages for the past 3 years; 4 songs done instrumentally, 3 half done, 2 only written but not recorded, and no vocals as of yet. But I am sworn to complete it by the end of this year! It will be called "VOID", and 8 or 9 of the songs will wind up on it. Working titles so far are "B.F.M (Bloody Fucking Murder), "With Honour I Die In Battle", "Ritual Of Fire", "Crystalline Moonlit Rage" and "Void". The sound and style is very much the same as on the split with Leviathan.
8) With two releases under Crebain's belt thus far since 2003, do you ever think you'll become as prolific as say, former Moribund labelmates Xasthur, in the way of releasing multiple releases a year?
Doubtful. I probably come up with as many ideas as my comrades, but am mostly prevented from having time to work them out and then they're gone. I'm guessing I've lost at least 3 albums worth of material by not working on songs when I first get the idea and before I forget it! But if those songs are meant to be, they'll come back to me when I do focus more on Crebain. After Horn Of Dagoth finishes recording, we'll see what the future holds though...
9) Do you ever think Crebain's 'Night of the Stormcrow' demo will ever getting an official re-release? I hear the initial pressing was numbered in your own blood, which many people may think of being a sensationalist thing to do for a debut release. What made you deicide to do that?
It's actually getting released by Tumult, literally any day now, with a different layout and 3 crappy and raw bonus instrumental rehearsal tracks from my previous band Gauderon Dherg recorded in '99. As for the blood-numbering I was inspired by a particular Vlad Tepes bootleg release. I thought that was brilliant; yes, sensationalistic, but also very personal and impassioned.
10) Crebain had a split album with similarly excellent Leviathan (which I personally believe to be one of the best split albums I own). Do you predict any further split releases in the coming future, or do you prefer to work on solo releases for now?
Because of the length of time it takes me to record, right now I have no intention of giving up any material for splits!
11) On the topic of split releases, what (or who) would be your ideal band(s) to share plastic (or tape or vinyl for that matter!) with if you were to have material readily available?
...But having said that, I'd do anything to be involved with OLD WAINDS (the greatest band in the world!!!), S.V.E.S.T., Morte Incandescente or Atra Hasis.
12) I noticed you mentioned classic thrash as an influence in your music on your site; however, do you ever have visions of yourself playing in anything other than a black metal band?
Not particularly, no. I would at some point like to show more of my lead guitar playing in some way, but Black Metal fulfils my musical needs for the most part.
13) Which bands started you out in metal in the first place? Do you ever listen to any other styles of music?
I started out with Ozzy, Sabbath, Judas Priest, Scorpions, my gods Iron Maiden, and then discovered bands that were new at the time: Venom, Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Exodus. I listen to many other genres as much as Metal; songwriting inspiration and influence can come from anywhere.
14) What is your take on death metal? Does it have a place in the world of A.T.B?
Other than Bolt Thrower, Death and some Necrophagia, not really. Despise most of it.
15) Do you own many CDs, tapes or vinyl?
I've worked in record stores for the past 11 years, so yes: at last count over 8,000 CDs, 500 LPs, 200 7", and about 200 cassettes.
16) OK so now I'm jealous! What do you make of the whole MP3 downloading phenomenon, and do you think it helps or harms underground music such as your own?
A bit of both, but mostly I think it's just an excellent way to be able to hear music that can be difficult to find otherwise.
17) What was the most recent album you listened to, and which album should you really listen to more often?
Most recently the new "Metalocalypse" soundtrack; the creator Brendan Small and I seem to have a lot of similar influences and I love his solos. I should listen more to any of my Moonblood demos, I think they're basically an encyclopaedia of excellent Black Metal. And any Old Wainds releases, I can never listen to those enough.
18) Have you discovered any new bands recently which you were impressed with, or are you strictly a fan of the old school black metal scene?
There are many new bands that are phenomenal, the genre has grown and developed so much that it would be ridiculous to only listen to 90's bands. These bands aren't necessarily brand new, but have come up in the past few years or so: Atra Hasis is a truly amazing band from Canada, along with Forteresse; Vitsaus, Syopa, Ruumisvaunut and Arsonist Lodge from Finland; Walknut from Russia is incredible, Seelengreif from Germany; Chelmno from Italy, Lacsowiec from here in San Francisco, pretty much anything from France...there are simply too many to name, but Black Metal is thriving around the world right now.
19) A.T.B, many thanks for your time again, it's very much appreciated. Keep up the excellent work, and I greatly anticipate your forthcoming releases with both of your projects. As per usual in these types of interviews, I'll leave the final words to you....
Hail Satan, praise to H.I.M. ...666
|Other information about Crebain on this site|
|Review: Night of Stormcrow|
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