Interview with Thrawn (drums) and LSK (bass)
Interview conducted by Sargon the Terrible
Date online: December 5, 2009
Secrets of the Moon have been turning out their own brand of dark, slightly progressive Black Metal for almost fifteen years now, while still remaining a very underground band. Now with a new lineup and a new album with Privilegivm. I caught up with drummer Thrawn and bassist LSK before the show here in my hometown and got some inside info on the band.
Sargon: So I'm here outside this complete shithole in the middle of nowhere to interview Secrets of the Moon, and I'm here with Thrawn, Drums, and LSK, Bass. Now LSK, you've been in a lot of bands, right?
LSK: Yeah I play in a bunch of Black Metal bands. One is Antaeus, we already played once in New York City, but the band is really, kind of not really active anymore. And I also play in Hell Militia, which is a Black Metal band, and Vorkreist.
Sargon: ...and Love Lies Bleeding, too, right?
LSK: Love Lies Bleeding is a project of a friend of mine, so I got involved with it in the past. Now it's a bit...its his own project so now he's working differently, changed the name...my main bands right now are Vorkreist, Hell Militia, and Secrets of the Moon.
Sargon: Now, Thrawn, you were in Antaeus too, right?
Thrawn (surprised): No.
Sargon: Really? Metal-Archives shows you in Antaeus.
Thrawn: No, I wasn't.
Sargon: Ah, um.
LSK: He was supposed to take part in...he was supposed to play the drums for a tour but it didn't happen like that.
Sargon: Oh, okay. Well, let's get to Secrets of the Moon here. If these questions are too pretentious you can just tell me to fuck off, I don't care. Now, Thrawn, you've been in the band for a while, right?
Thrawn: I joined in...2000-2001.
LSK: And I've only been in like a year, year and a half.
Sargon: So, how would you sum up Secrets of the Moon's music? What would you say your music is all about if you had to?
Thrawn: Umm. Darkness and death.
LSK: And also experimentation.
Sargon: So how did you guys end up getting involved with the band?
Thrawn: Well I knew this band since the first demo tape, in the...mid 90's. I met them the first time in...yeah '97. SG was helping with one of my other bands in the late 90's, so I knew him.
Sargon: So when they needed a drummer they knew who to ask, right?
Thrawn: Yeah, that's it.
Sargon: And you?
LSK: Ah, we were on tour together, me with Antaeus. We were on tour with Secrets of the Moon in Europe. And so we got to know each other, and like I got into their music. So we kept in touch and stayed friends. So when their former bass player left they contacted me to ask me to join the band, so that's how it happened.
Sargon: Cool. It's always good to know people.
Sargon: So, is this the first US tour for Secrets of the Moon?
Thrawn: The very first one.
Sargon: Is this your first time in America?
LSK: No, but that was only one gig in New York City.
Sargon: Little bit different...
LSK: (Laughs) it is different.Sargon: So how is it going so far?
Thrawn: Really good. Just from the reactions of people after the concerts, people are just getting into our music, like saying it's maybe not like anything they've heard before. So yeah! We have a good atmosphere, everybody getting along.
Sargon: Traveling across this wasteland in the middle of the country.
LSK: Yeah, we've been to different places already, some more crazy than others.
Thrawn: Yesterday we had a day off.
Sargon: Lucky you.
Thrawn: Yeah, was good, and –
LSK: We started on the west coast and traveled across.
Sargon: Probably the flattest country you've ever seen, right?
Thrawn: Oh no, the flattest country I have ever seen is Holland.
Sargon: Ah, well, yeah. So, do you like playing in the studio, or do you prefer live?
Thrawn: It's just different. I think I can explain...studio is...you have to concentrate on your stuff. You don't have to spread your energy around like on stage. It's completely different, live is a bit more raw and –
LSK: It's giving concentration to the full realization of the music, and it's like giving yourself 100% and ...yeah it's a totally different approach than being in studio, concentrating on what we are playing and how to create the atmosphere and the deep feelings of the band. Also giving some energy and absorbing some energy back from the audience, and having a good reaction.
Sargon: So the new album sounds a lot different, to me, than Antithesis sounded. So was there – I always ask this – was there a conscious decision to make it sound a certain way, or did it just happen?
Thrawn: It just happened. Um...you know our former band members that had been in the lineup on the previous album, they left the band. And so now it was SG and me writing the music. Of course we have always been the main songwriters in the band, but now we have a new lineup with LSK on bass, so... also new influences or whatever and...I uh, think because of that it sounds different. It's kind of a new chapter for us.
Sargon: It sounds darker to me...
Thrawn: Yeah, we had no...no discussions. (Laughs) Nothing like that. It was like this before. When you have four members in the band, everyone has a different view or whatever. Now, it was just...the songwriting was - well, not easy, but...
Thrawn: Easier, yes. For us. Different, but that's good.
Sargon: LSK, this is your first time being involved with the making of a Secrets of the Moon album, right?
Sargon: So did you have songwriting contributions, or...
LSK: I just, um, added bass parts, and sometimes we were discussing how to turn out one part. They were writing the album, and they were sending me some tracks. I was listening to it, discussing about it, but I wasn't writing the tracks.
Sargon: I've had a lot of bands tell me it makes a big difference having an actual bass player writing the bass parts.
LSK: Yes, absolutely.
Sargon: So what do you guys listen to? When you have the time to listen to music just for enjoyment.
Thrawn: I listen to a lot of 70's music, a lot of rock bands from Germany from the early 70's. Also I like bands like Pink Floyd, also 80's metal, Dio. Yeah and the old Black Metal stuff...
Sargon: Second-wave stuff.
Thrawn: Yeah, the Scandinavian bands. That's what I like. I don't...I don't, like, listen to new bands. I don't know what's going on. Sometimes, you know, some highlights are released like Deathspell Omega from France.
LSK: Kind of the same for me. I listen to stuff like Neurosis, stuff that has a kind of atmosphere. Some older stuff, drum and bass. Different kinds of music, everything which has a dark atmosphere or strange feeling, weird stuff.
Thrawn: Oh yeah, like Dark Ambient bands, like Sun(O))).
Sargon: Everybody talks about Sunn (O)))
Sargon: Do you find that you have different influences now than when you started making music?
Thrawn: Um. Yyyyyyyyyno, not really. When I was starting to play in bands it was, you know, the early 90's. There was this new wave of Death Metal from Scandinavia, you know bands like Dismember and Unleashed, all the Florida bands. Morbid Angel-
Sargon: Back when I was in High School.
Thrawn: (Laughs) Yeah. I think....no, still the same. Of course sometimes you have some new bands you just discover, and they maybe influence you. Like new bands, Doom bands.
Sargon: There's almost kind of a Doom feel to parts of the new album-
Thrawn: Yeah, yeah, we had a lot of these parts on our previous albums also, now we are just focusing on slow parts. We think we are sounding darker, playing slower-
Sargon: The production is better, I think, especially the guitar sound.
Thrawn: Yes. I think the last album sounds like the preproduction of the new one. (Laughs) It's good, it's still good, I like it a lot.
Sargon: So on a tour like this, when you're on the road for...how long?Thrawn: It's our seventh or eighth week. Before this American tour, that ends in three days, we've been on a headline tour in Europe for almost a month, so we are already tired.Sargon: And when you get off this, do you have another leg in Europe, or-
Thrawn: No no.
LSK: When we finish this, we will see what happens.
Thrawn: We will be taking a short break.
Sargon: So what do you do to keep it together when you are on a long tour like this?
Thrawn: (Laughs) You know you just have to use the time, for something cool, you know? Of course in this city it was a bit complicated because...like we were going through the center – there is nothing. Just some business going on, that's it. (Note: the downtown region of Tulsa is a particularly desolate and boring place.) For example when we played last weekend in LA we had the chance to do some sightseeing, also in New York and Montreal in Canada.
Sargon: Well, in places like that there are actual sights to see.
Thrawn: Yeah, yeah. The good thing is it is different. It was different in the past, but now we have a good atmosphere in the band. We are four friends, and like the first week Moonspell said we are always hanging around together, you know? It is always us four, and we are doing something together, this is very important. On previous tours we always had little problems within the band, you know –
Sargon: That's hard.
Thrawn: That's very hard, it makes everything very complicated. Now, it's so great to be on tour with this lineup.Sargon: Especially when you're all crammed into a bus together.
LSK: Very much.
Sargon: And it must be additionally hard being the only woman in the band, having to live so closely with a bunch of hairy guys.LSK: (Laughs) I'm used to it, so it's going fine now. It's not so bad. (Both laugh)
Sargon: Now some bands are proud of being called a Black Metal band, while some bands almost get mad at you for labeling them. Where do you stand?
Thrawn: There are a lot of people who don't anymore call us a Black Metal band, because – I don't know – maybe they just don't understand what we want to express, but we are 400% a Black Metal band who have released a new Black Metal album, I think for us the perfect Black Metal album.
Sargon: LSK I'm willing to bet you don't have a problem being called a Black Metal musician.
LSK: No, no. It's for me, we don't have to put so much...Black Metal can be a bit wide, as far as the spirit. It's still there, so I don't think we are doing something other than Black Metal. It's not reduced like the very raw Black Metal, it's...
Sargon: It seems like a lot of bands lately have been broadening the genre, with Black Doom, Ambient, Viking...
Thrawn: But you know I think if you don't always have to find a name for music, you just have to enjoy it. It's dark music, and that's it, you know?
|Other information about Secrets of the Moon on this site|
|Review: Seven Bells|
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