Thursday, September 5, 2013

"nature mystic black metal": Aethernaeum, interview part 2

Here is the final part of the interview with Aethernaeum. With this segment, we close the conversation posted a few days ago. Don't forget to read the first part! --
Is there an overall concept to the album? How is "Auf den Nebelfeldern" related to "Tanz der Sturmgeister," for instance?
Alexander Paul Blake: "There's no concept at all. 'Die Rückkehr ins Goldene Zeitalter' was a concept album, but not this one. The songs stand for themselves, so I can't tell you anything about the relation of one song to the other. 'Auf den Nebelfeldern' is a very long and epic song with a great atmosphere, I think. I like the chorus lines a lot, which could be translated as 'Yearning for eternity / The premonition of what has once been / A human being in the heart of nature / all of a sudden sees everything clearly'. The lyrics are very cryptic and should be interpreted by every listener himself. 'Tanz der Sturmgeister', however is a rather straight song about the spirits in the sky, who create thunder, lightning and storm. We also created a video for this song with Rainer 'Zipp' Fränzen, which you can see here:"
For those of us who do not speak German, how do you describe the lyrics of your music? Some of the song titles mean "Dead Lights,"Dance of the Storm Ghost," "To Midwinter Night,” "The Hill People," correct?
Alexander Paul Blake: "Except from 'Dead Lights' the translations are correct. I guess you meant 'Sonnentor', which can be translated as 'Sungate'. Hm, it's hard for me to describe the lyrics. They are written as little poems, sometimes in a closed form, sometimes a bit more open. Sorry, but the question is a bit too general, so I can't answer it in detail, since I don't want to reveal the meaning of all the lyrics. I wrote some essays for the artbook version, to give curious people a chance to learn something about my ideas, but in the end I prefer if they read the lyrics themselves. In the artbook are also English translations."
Nature, the forest, night all seem to be central themes in Aethernaeum. How do you describe your perspective on the romanticism of your music?
Alexander Paul Blake: "Yes, but that's just one level. It's also about spirituality, journeys of the soul, finding a unity with everything that is, non-physical creatures etc. So in a way nature is like a door opener for something deeper. Alike the Romanticists I'm trying to transcend the general and am searching for a higher truth through art. The music accompanies my lifelong journey and is a bit like a diary, but not a concrete one. But nature in general is a very important inspiration, since in nature we can have those quiet and peaceful times, that are necessary to connect to our deeper self, soul or what ever you want to call it. If our music is able to open this door a bit as well, it would be a great compliment."
What do you, Alexander Paul Blake, look for in a song?
Alexander Paul Blake: "It should paint pictures in your mind and lead you to a place deep within yourself or connect you with nature. A good song is a song with strong emotions and when it moves something in you. But I also like some Power Metal bands and it's okay for me, when they have no deeper message – even though I guess some have! Music is a language of the soul and sometimes the band themselves even knows or understands, which kind of energies went into their music. So I don't judge other people's music as something inferior. It's all a question of taste and taste is very subjective. For me it's important, that our music sounds good when you listen to it first, but also gives you more to explore when you listen to it more often."
What sensations does having the cello add to your music? You have now added Markus Freitag to the lineup and the music sounds different, good with the cello. Are you thinking that you would like other instruments in the future?
Alexander Paul Blake: "We worked with the cello first for an acoustic cd of Eden Weint Im Grab. Markus joined the Eden Weint Im Grab line-up and since we both thought, the cello would also fit to Aethernaeum very well, he also became a part of this band, which is great. I know the story is not really worth a headline, but you know, what counts is the music, and not the people behind. That's also a reason, why I often emphasize that our biographies are not important, only the albums we make! But of course I agree to you, that the cello gives the music a wonderful extra colour and we will also keep it in the future. If there will be other non-Metal instruments beside I cannot say at the moment. Maybe as guests, but I think not in the permanent line-up."
Would you ever want to perform your music with a full orchestra?
Alexander Paul Blake: "I guess most of all bands would now loudly scream 'yes!', but to be honest, it's not a dream of mine, to perform the songs with a big orchestra. I'm satisfied to perform them with one cello, as we do. I don't think our songs are written for a huge orchestra. The huge guitar wall of sound leaves no space for an orchestra – and it would change the character of the music completely. So I better leave this option to other bands. But that doesn't mean that it wouldn't be an option, to work at least with some orchestra musicians in the studio in the future, when we have songs that demand for such elements." Do you Alexander Paul Blake sometimes feel like you were born in the wrong epoch? Listening to your music, and the themes that run through it, I sense that you do not feel connected to mainstream metal music.
Alexander Paul Blake: "No, I don't have the feeling to live in the wrong epoch. I believe in reincarnation and that every soul decides with a good reason for a life in a certain time. So I believe I'm exactly where I should be. And hey, in an epoch without technology I wouldn't be able to record albums – and making albums is one of my main tasks in this life. Every time has its pros and cons. We tend to see the cons of our time maybe a bit more, but we are not really objective and we have many great possibilities, we should appreciate, be it modern studio technique, medicine, computers, travelling possibilities or industry in general. It's important to use all technology with a certain reason and sometimes we don't do that. What I want to say is that we need more sense of responsibility and respect. If other bands regard Satanism or sex, drugs and rock'n'roll as something, which give them satisfaction and a good way of self expression I have nothing against it – although it's not my way."
Metal bands often like to glorify violence in their lyrics; however, your lyrics point to a different way of thinking.
Alexander Paul Blake: "Well, I don't write these kind of lyrics, but as long as the artists can express a certain kind of frustration or rebellion with it, which gives them an outlet, why not? Of course people should not take these kind of lyrics too serious. But the same goes for movies or computer games. And I also grew up with bands like Pantera or Slayer and like their music a lot. With Aethernaeum it's more like writing a romantic poem and an attempt to explore the depths of being. Maybe we have a more philosophic approach, maybe it's also due to the fact that I am not a human being with essential problems in life and that I went to university to study literature and sociology. I guess this is mirrored in my music. Where you come from, how you are raised, which is your environment … all this shapes an artist a lot, so I won't judge other people's lyrics, since I don't know about their backgrounds and I think a huge variety is something positive. And stories? Some of the lyrics are a bit like little stories, but I think this kind of storytelling we do more in Eden Weint Im Grab, the lyrics of Aethernaeum, however, are more cryptic and obscure."
Since nature is important to you, can you give your opinion about animal rights? Here in the U.S. most people think: “Animals have no worth and humans have a right to kill and eat any animal.” (with the exception of domestic pets, such dogs and cats). Cows, pigs, chickens and other animals have no dignity or worth. There's very little consideration for the pain, suffering and exploitation of animals. What is your own personal view on this topic?
Alexander Paul Blake: "That's also an important topic for me. I live vegan for about eight years now, since I want to produce less harm as possible. Of course it's not possible to live 100% vegan, since you can never completely avoid that you destroy other live indirect. But I guess, it would be a healthy, efficient and moral way to live for many people if they only knew more about it. But I'm not a preacher and respect the free will of everybody, even though many people don't respect the free will of animals. I think it needs a kind of spiritual maturity to respect animal's rights and to show empathy for them. But if you compare it with the generation of our parents and grandparents there's a change. I don't know about the US, but at least in Germany the numbers of vegetarians and vegans is rising all the time; and in a big city like Berlin it's very easy to live vegan. So even though I don't write about this issue in Aethernaeum (I did that with other bands already) it's definitely a topic we are aware of and I encourage people to read about it online themselves. There are many good pages about this way of living, which talk about the general prejudices. So, thank you for asking this question ;-)"
How do you see the connection between animal rights and the environment? If people do not respect animals, of course, they do not respect the environment, either. This is especially true of the corporations, no?
Alexander Paul Blake: "Yes, many people are too selfish and don't think about future generations enough. Unfortunately, money or profit is a higher value for them than the live of other people, future generations, animals or the environment, which I also regard as a living organism. That's a big pity. Mankind seems like a tumour on this planet. But I like to see this from the perspective of reincarnation. What if this planet is like a kindergarten for souls, in which they have to learn? And since only 'young' souls come to this planet in a material form, it seems like humanity as a whole doesn't learn anything, but the individual souls do. This is an helpful idea for me, which explains the disaster. Anyway, I don't have a solution for all the problems, and fortunately I'm not a politician but an artist. I think first of all we need to stop globalism and work in smaller units again, need a new and fairer money system, have to stop the influence of big corporations and banks and need stronger rules. And politicians, which really care about the people, would be a good thing as well ;-)"
What is the information for readers to support your music?
Alexander Paul Blake: "Thanx for your support and interesting questions. Those who are interested now, might check our official webpage at, unfortunately only in German so far. But you'll also find us at Facebook and there are some songs on Youtube. Of course we look forward to all kind of feedback and if you don't find the cds anywhere you can order them directly from our webshop or the label Einheit Produktionen. We also have a beautiful artbook with lots of nature pictures and essays about the songs and I hope they're worth every cent. Take care!" THE END. --

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