Interview by Alexandru Abalaru (March 2000 - Negura #2).

Few years ago there was something like a blast of the Austrian scene, a whole bunch of bands releasing CDís, demos, etc.; lately though, it seems that the Austrian black metal keeps a low profileÖ What are the bands that you recommend us?
The Austrian scene is still a small one but Iím proud of the fact that most of the Austrian bands donít seem to follow trends. At least they have their own identity, and of course individuality is the essence of musical creativity and success. In the vein of black metal our scene didnít grew at all. Beside Abigor I think only Amestigon can be recommended. But we have a strong dark wave and industrial scene: Die Verbannten Kinder Evas, Dargaard, Grabesmond, Ice Ages, The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud, Der Blutharsch, Dominion, Pazuzu, Allerseelen and Rasthof Dachau just to mention a few. Soon I will release a new militant avantgarde project together with Martin from Hollenthon. And I still didnít give up the Mirkwood project. So Iím still busy. I donít know exactly what makes the Austrian scene different and more individual than other scenes. Maybe itís because the Austrian scene, as a total small one, never really was taken serious by the press and labels over a long time in the past with the effect that only the tough individual core survived and developed.

Are Summoning and Abigor the best Austrian bands or at least the most known? And which one has the greatest impact on public?
Of course Abigor was the most known band since some years by now, followed by Summoning. But for example Hollenthon, the new band of Martin (ex. Pungent Stench) is getting more popular day by day. Quality counts. In the genre of gothic/dark wave music Dargaard, Die Verbannten Kinder Evas and Líame Imortelle have a good reputation. And those who are familiar with the ďcultĒ label World Serpent know of course the works of Albin Julius (The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud, Der Blutharsch, Death In June).

Summoning was always referred as ďproject of Silenius from AbigorĒ so, how do you see it: as a project or a real band?
Summoning already released its first demo tape when Abigor still was not formed. So itís ridiculous to say Summoning is just a side project of Abigor. But as Abigor did release its first CD faster everyone seems to think this. The fact is that Abigor was more popular in the beginning so most of the people did get in contact with Summoning over Abigor. This helped us a lot in the beginning of course, but did not change anything on the fact that Summoning did make its own way.

Why did you left Abigor and is it a permanent departure? What do you think about their latest album, The Quintessence of Satan?
I wanted to leave Abigor before Supreme Immortal Art was released because the music was going more and more in a progressive and technical direction, which doesnít appeal to my personal taste too much. I didnít quit the band that time because I thought it was just an interlude and they would come back to the spirit and feeling black metal stood once. But Abigor did not. Quite in the contrary they started to become even more technical. In the studio I tried to improvise the vocal lines for their latest CD but I failed because I was not motivated enough anymore to give my best. I told them my problem and decided to leave the band immediately. Anything else would not have made any sense. After all I see myself as a fanatic to the music I like not to the band priorities. Of course I donít like their new album otherwise I would not have left the band.

Summoning is a two-piece band and taking in account how complex your music is Iíd say that itís pretty hard for you working in studio, at the rehearsal or playing liveÖ How do you manage?
Itís not hard at all to work for Summoning. Quite in the contrary, we never play live and there are no rehearsals at all. Usually I do the basic song structures for each song, give them to Protector and he ads what he wants. In the end we share the vocal lines and do the final mixing in our home studio.

Do you have any other projects that we should know of?
Protector has already released his new CD of Die Verbannten Kinder Evas called In Darkness Let Me Dwell on Draenor/Napalm. This classical inspired dark wave band also features Tonja on vocals who also did some vocals for the latest Summoning output. And as I already mentioned I have finished my iron avantgarde project called Kreuzweg Ost, which is dealing with the Second World War with tons of samples and sound loops included. I hope we can release it soon.

Is music the most important thing in your life and can you make a living just out of it, or is it a future plan at least?
Yes, music is the most important thing in my life, but of course I canít make a living out of it and that is good because when you are dependent of your music these commercial aspects can destroy the quality. We all have our full-time jobs aside to keep this independence.

Stronghold is your latest album to date, available since 1999, how was the response on it? Are you satisfied with it, do you think you could have done it better somehow? How are the sales going so far?
The response was excellent and we are satisfied. Of course we also got some bad fan response as well, but thatís natural. The sales are also quite satisfying. Only the keyboard sounds could have been more original and medieval sounding. We will change this in the future again.

How do you look nowadays upon your older materials like your demo-tapes or your first album for instance? How do you see the bandís evolution since the beginning till now?
Looking back to the beginning I can say that our demos just were unbelievable shit. Our first serious release, our debut CD, Lugburz, was still primitive, rough and chaotic and doesnít fit at all to our other releases. But it was OK for that time in Ď95. We had not found our own identity, but there already were some elements that became typical for what Summoning would stand in the future. Then came Minas Morgul and this piece of art was our masterwork for sure (I have the same opinion Ėed). There wonít ever be a Summoning release better than that one. Dol Guldur was similar in style, maybe a little bit too similar to Minas Morgul. But after all we could strengthen our position within the Underground with that release. And all in all it was our best selling album so far. With the following MCD Nightshade Forests came a little break down. The poor and weak guitar sound destroyed a lot and people started to talk that this could be the beginning of the end. But after two years of silence we are back again with Stronghold, maybe our most commercial release so far, and I hope this release can tight up some asses again.

Perfection or learn from past mistakes?
Of course we always did mistakes and we are never really satisfied. But the process of learning is a productive one and keeps the hunger for perfection alive.

Your lyrics are dealing more with fantasy topics, is it just an escape out of this ordinary world for you or do you really believe in all that stuff about Tolkienís goblins, trolls etc.?
The whole lyrical concept is based on the dark side of Tolkienís Middle Earth concept. I totally admire his mind world of fantasy, his creation of detailed history, culture and languages of a world full of ancient wisdom and magical power. This act of creation is far above the average personal thinking and imagination, and at least in my way absolutely admirable. My wish was to make a musical translation or a kind of individual soundtrack to the dark realms of this world. Maybe Summoning is just a musical advertisement for people to read his books.

I heard somehow that recently you gave up playing about Tolkienís themes and that starting with Stronghold youíll be exploiting Das Nibelungen Lied. You want to get closer to your ancestral resources this way (a natural thing in black metal)? Some comments about Das Nibelungen Lied? Many see it as a symbol and tackle it philosophically.
Yes, the lyrical concept usually should have been based on the Nibelungen theme, but as this concept already was used by a German band nearly at the same time, we came off this idea because we did not wanted to get compared with them. Das Nibelungen Lied is not a philosophical work itís just a hero epos, a legend based on mythological German culture. Nothing more or less. Maybe we will come back on this topic sometime in the future.

And why do you think there is such a big trend about Tolkienís works? Do you think that if Tolkien would be able to listen to Summoning or any other band playing about his works would he be pleased about that?
I canít speak for other bands. In my case I already told you about my fascination. But of course I know that Tolkien himself would not have been very pleased by our music. Thatís for sure.

Up till now you only credited your countrymen Napalm Rec. for releasing your albums, why? Have you got other offers too?
No, and we will definitely stay on Napalm.

There are many who say that black metal is the devilís music and should be all about death, hatred, dementia etc. What do you think about this? Why do you play black metal and how do you see Summoning & Abigor in the context of the black metal scene? Personally if I may, I think that as much you try to deny christianity that much you potentate it actually.
Thatís right, and so I donít see the evolution of Summoning, not any more, in a too close connection with black metal. We always had a kind of outsider position within the metal scene and thatís good because independence is the key to creativity and success. With Abigor itís of course different. The whole of their concept always was and still is based on Satanism. Summoning started as a black metal band but as we didnít wanted to have the same lyrical and musical concept as Abigor we changed a lot and built up our own identity.

Black metal is the most popular extreme metal style nowadays. There are thousands and thousands of bands playing it; do you think that someone can still be original? It seems less probable to me. Is originality an essential thing for Summoning?
To be honest, I donít care too much about the nowadays black metal scene. I have to concentrate on my own work and let other people do and talk what they want.

Your favorite bands?
My momentary favorite bands are: Parcival, Turbund, Sturmwerk, Militia, Genocide Organ and Bosnia just to mention a few. An all-time favorite is of course Shinjuku Thief.

In the end please clear up for me this issue: Austrian Black Metal Syndicate. What is it all about? I just know that its members assembled several bands together like Pervertum or Trifixion and made some compilationsÖ
The Austrian Black Metal Syndicate as well as the Circle of Hate is dead and gone since some years by now. Same goes for bands like Trifixion or Pervertum. I donít think it makes any sense to talk about dead things of the past. My sight goes to the present and future. Thanks for the interview!

c/o Silenius Gregor
MŁnzwardeingasse 9/7
A-1061 Wien

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