Three people in Athens, Greece got together around 2007 and started a black metal band. Part old-school, part new-school; part abrasive, part melodic; labyrinthine yet memorable compositions; human warmth combined with extra-terrestrial coldness. No compromises. The three musicians named their band Awe. With their first full-length coming up via Pulverised Records and their 3-way split with End and Vacantfield continuously blasting on my stereo since it was unofficially leaked, yours truly caught up with the three musicians to discuss black metal, inspiration… and beyond.
When, where, how and why was the band formed?
For many years we were into the woodshed, giving final form to our art, trying to reach inside and beyond in order to dissolve any artistic ego. There were many “injuries” and difficulties across this path but it is a common truth among us that “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”.
How would you describe your style?
There is no meaning trying to label our music and come up with any fancy words trying to articulate it. This is the work of the critics. We all have a background in the old scene of black metal yet, we’ve also branched out to different music and aesthetics. We don’t really discuss things in terms of genre, but rather in terms of originality and “spirit”.
Where do you see yourselves in relation to the black metal scene of nowadays?
We feel that we are standing on a secluded space among the contemporary Black Metal scene. We share friendships with many members of this so called scene and we are really admiring and respect many bands. As for the Greek Black Metal scene, after years of mediocre releases and long past the glorious 90s, we feel that is on the rise again! No need for name dropping here, one can do his own research and discover what must be discovered. As for our art, in relation with the scene, we feel that we share much more in common with the more progressive and experimental visionaries.
What are your main sources of inspiration?
Inspiration may be found in many things surrounding us, things that elevate the spirit or others that have the exact opposite effect. We reject the notion of the old that inspiration may come only from what is sacred as we can find meaning in plain, mundane impulses that through us will transform into “gold”.
At this point let us quote Stefan Zweig. “Οf all the mysteries of the world, creation has always been the most mysterious, for that reason all nations and all religions without exception linked the process of creation with the Divine. Because when something is there, then it is accessible and our spirit can conceive it as a fact…”
Sometimes the greatest source of inspiration can be found inside us and we create music as a comment of inner turmoil that later will become pieces of a concept. We have to point out here that most of the times we are not conscious about the origins of a theme and it takes time until its meaning manifested to us; true art demands time and devotion of the “apprentice”. If we try further to rationalize the origins of the Muse, she will lose her metaphysical essence. As L.Wittegenstein wrote on the matter “Don’t look for the meanings; look for the use.”
What do your lyrics deal with?
Discovering and expanding the limits of conception and existence. Reaching what is Beyond.
How do you write songs? Do you jam them in the studio or is it a different process?
We feel that the key of creating art is to experiment and each one of us must be left to his own devises in order to achieve so. Our music is extremely multi-layered, so composing is an arduous task and takes months, if not years, for every composition to finish. Most of the times a composition will start by one member, then picked up by another and get finished by another. We trade recordings back and forth, we change structures and experiment in adding multiple harmonic and ambient layers. Sometimes a conceptual idea may emerge first in that chain and then we translate that idea into music and soundscapes. We do not share the common conception that music and words are separate things, to us they are deeply linked and complementary.
Any weird or funny stories from the recording of your first offering?
Recording is, for the most part, an interchange of stress and a mixture of opposite emotions. In the studio you have to take, in predestined limited time, important decisions that most of the time you cannot undo. On the other hand it can be one of the most interesting and liberating things in the whole chain of the production of an album. Of course there are moments in the studio that we are more relaxed but we always respect the work of the engineers trying to shape our music.
Anything you’d like to say about your collaboration with Pulverised Records?
So far our collaboration with Pulverised Records has been more than excellent. It is without doubt a label that can understand our needs as a band and support our art and cause!
What does the cover art represent and how does it tie-in with your music?
The visual aesthetics concerning our music are really important. It is the first encounter that you have with an album and it sets the mood for the listener as it can ruin or elevate the whole experience. Cover art is the third pillar of our art, another aspect of it. For our first full-length album, Providentia we collaborated with Viral Graphics and we couldn’t be more satisfied with the results. We feel that they managed to grasp the essence of our music and transform it using their own artistic language. Again without the proper cover art our music wouldn’t produce the same effect to the listener. Music, words and the visual aspect are manifestations of the same origin and must be appreciated as one.
You recently released a concept split album with two other amazing Greek bands- End and Vacantfield. How did this come about? What can you tell us about it?
The idea was conceived two years ago after discussions that we had all together releasing a collaborative album. We wanted to differentiate from the norm of split releases and make something that will use the full potentials of the medium as sometimes split releases can seem like product pushing of some bands/labels, just being best buddies, collecting random unreleased material. For the above mentioned reason, we decided to go with a common theme and create a sort of a “concept” album choosing to celebrate with our music the Three Fates. The result was an album that reaches 50 minutes of length and is being released in vinyl by Ill Damnation Productions.
How do you see the future of black metal?
Black metal must remain a highly individualistic music elevating and celebrating the Self.
Right now we are putting the finishing touches for our first full-length album, Providentia, that will hopefully see the light within the year through Pulverised Records.
“Shrouded in mystery, grasped by intuition. Unproven, shunned and solitary.”