Negativity creeps in with its grin atmosphere… Hurt Yourself and The Ones You Love reveals its dark secrets in musical and philosophical aspects.
Hurt Yourself and The Ones You Love is released on April 2015. Three years after, we have new Forgotten Tombfull-length. How are the reactions from media and the fans?
Actually it’s 2 years and half from the previous album and we released the live DVD in 2014. Anyway, reactions have been better than “…And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil”, probably because of the better production and the more adventurous sound, I think it’s a very solid album and it sounds fresh. Of course we still divide the audience and press and someone who’s complaining will always be there, but most of the negative reviews I read are pointless and written by people who are just into our earlier stuff or deliberately hate the band, so I don’t give a fuck. Plus, the label said the album is selling better than the previous two, so I guess most of the fans liked it.
You seem to be on tour all this year. Hope to come across one of them in EU. How have the concerts been passing so far?
We played several shows already this year and we explored territories where we haven’t been before, such as Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and even Mexico, so it has been pretty interesting. We’ll have most of the work this autumn, starting from September and then all through October/November with the proper tour, supported by friends Nocturnal Depression. It’s going to be a blast!
How do you define Forgotten Tombs’s musical direction at last album? Do you think thatthe sound evolved to more avant-garde direction than doom/black?
I think it’s extremely heavy and dark, genre-ridden, it doesn’t really sound like any other band around these days. Of course we kept the main aspects of our sound intact, especially when it comes to Black Metal, Dark-wave and Doom influences, but we increased the heaviness of the riffs and you can spot some influences from early ‘90s Metal like Buzzoven, Helmet, Pitch Shifter, Fudge Tunnel, Eyehategod, even some Grunge/Alternative stuff. It’s all part of my background so you can hear it from time to time. This said, if one followed our evolution over the years will definitely love the record, since it’s one of our heavier ones, it’s extremely grim and negative, with very violent and controversial lyrical concepts. I think it’s important to retain influences from the past but always trying to be ahead of the game,offering something that sounds fresh and different from what you’ve done before, at least to a certain extent.
Could you please give more details about cover art since we only know the name of the model as Paula Luminal? How did this idea come forth? Do you think if it is an “ugly reality” symbol on cover art while the music is holding its dark beauty?
We noticed the material was coming out quite aggressive and twisted, so we definitely pushed ourselves into that madness further. We actually wanted something that looked extreme and that would catch the attention of fans. Our recent albums had some more “artistic” designs so we thought it was time to get back to something more crude, especially because the lyrics and sound on this album are very cruel and violent. Also, I really like photographs on cover artworks, but we didn’t want to use archive-pictures or stuff like that, so we hired a photographer and a model and we did it ourselves. I think the pictures turned out great, not just in terms of concept but also in terms of quality.
Forgotten Tomb quitted being a one-man band since 2003. How are the things going with Alex, Kyoo-Nam and your latest guitar-player A.? What is the difference for you beingone-man band or with band members?
Besides changing our guitar-player in 2011, I think we have one of the longest running line-ups in Black Metal and I hope it will always be like that. I always use to say we’re more a gang than a band, so this probably also helps keeping each other together and fighting difficulties and disappointments, which are inevitable over such a long-lasting career. FT was never supposed to be a one-man band in the first place, I just couldn’t find the right people to play with in my area at that time, so I decided to save some time by playing everything by myself on earlier releases, most notably the demo and “Songs To Leave” (on “Springtime Depression” I had a session-drummer). I actually started playing live with a temporary line-up in 2002. When all the right people finally came together in 2003 the popularity of the band was already blossoming so we immediately started playing live and rehearsing as a band. I still write 90% of the material for the band so the direction we took on the various albums was mostly my idea. Of course the other guys contributed to some stuff and in general we share opinions about the music, etc., but in terms of evolution it has nothing to do with having a line-up. Simply, you have to start from the concept that a band evolves. There are bands that don’t evolve of course, but to me they’re mostly boring as fuck.
Springtime depression has always been my favorite album. Have you noticed that Albrecht Camus related sprig as suicide season since the gap, between inside and outside is quite deep in springtime and the melancholic existence cannot stand the awaking of nature. This aspect also makes Springtime Depression more precious for me, which was released later spring as August 2003 still…
I don’t remember that thing about Camus. Didn’t he say “autumn is like a second spring”? Anyway that’s quite an interesting thing. The concept behind the “Springtime Depression” title was born during one of those early spring days in March/April, when nature is blossoming but it’s raining and there’s a grey, empty sky; I thought I like that grey sky against the serenity of the green leaves on the trees, like sensing some kind of mistake, some kind of stark contrast. It was like being aware that while the world was cheering, I felt the opposite inside of me. Those are details that most of the common people don’t really think about or are able not to feel. On a side note, it wasn’t actually released in August, the LP was released in May/June 2003 and the CD in June 2003. “Songs To Leave” was released in August 2002 (after a 1 year delay).
You released a tribute for GG Allin with Whiskey Ritual which is also A.’s side Project. in 2011, 22 years after GG Allin’s death who is a deranged man and one of the most controversial, self-mutilated punk star, what would like to say about him?
I think he was the true last punk-rocker and in some way he’s very underrated. I mean, of course there was shock-value and pure madness in his performances and stage antics, though if you listen to some of his interviews and you read some of his lyrics, he had some really well-crafted concepts and revolutionary ideas. I think he wasn’t stupid as most people believe him to be, he was pretty acute in some of his views. Unfortunately he was ruined by his excesses, but that was quite inevitable, like with most of the real artists. He certainly left some memorable songs.
Music has always been an enchanting field from mythological tales to pagan rituals that creates rapturousness either in meditative way or in destruction. However say, Self-destruction is mucholder like in punk times, but mainly in black metal or let’s say suicidal black metal genre lately. How do you relate destruction with music?
Well, not all music inspires destruction, though in Metal, Punk and other aggressive music-styles it’s certainly an important element, both in terms of destroying the common fake values instilled by society as well as lingering within self-destructive activities, both things that I’m pretty talented at, apparently haha. In general though I think Metal has lost its edge over the years due to all these fake-ass bands/politically correct hippies trying to save the world and all this bullshit… The well-thinking attitude in Metal is one of the things I despise the most in my whole life, it’s in stark contrast with the values this genre was built on, especially when we come to Black Metal and extreme forms of Metal. It’s the same thing that destroyed real Punk/Hardcore in the ‘80s, it’s destroying Metal nowadays. The new generations are a bunch of wimps, and I’m not talking in regards to the music itself (which sucks anyways) but in regards to the attitude they brought to the table. Some people should not really get mixed with extreme Metal if they’re afraid of being extreme.
As nostalgia, Forgotten Tomb had bloody shows in the early times of the band, first in Italy and shocked the audience for a while but then you quitted all suicidal acts in sight on stage. How do you remember those times? Nowadays there are still examples regarding live self-destructive shows, how do you see them?
The whole suicidal and nihilistic image became a cliché over the years and as a consequence I think it has lost the dangerous power it had back in the days. Aside from our first show in 2002 where I came on stage with bloody scars and stuff like that we’ve never used any shock-value elements during our shows, so we can say we’ve never been into this stuff. I was into self-harm “privately” for a while in my life at that time but it wasn’t something that I wanted to show on-stage any longer. Everybody is free to do what they want with their music or stage-antics, we just didn’t feel it was necessary to us and we’re still comfortable with going on-stage, kicking ass and going home. Probably if I wouldn’t have to play guitar on live-shows I could certainly be a bit more scenic, but after so many years being a 4-piece we’re reluctant to have another guitar-player just because of that. I think the music is strong enough to say fuck off to theatrics, even if I know for a lot of Metal fans it’s more important how you act on stage than what you play. But we’ve always been anti-spectacular so I guess we’ll keep on being true to ourselves and to our stripped-down, no-frills image. This said, on album covers and booklets we certainly have some very strong and shocking material at times, but that is part of our concept and of what we are so we cannot change that, if we do something it means we believe in it, it’s not merely shock-value.
Speaking of extremity, the term jouissance is explained as a gap between desire and joy. If you go further on pleasure, there you find suffering. So, do you think if arts, say Forgotten Tomb cannot exist if there is no suffering?
It certainly helps. It also depends on what one feels as “suffering”. I’m mostly desensitized these days, though I guess my “suffering” mostly comes from unstable life situations, lack of almost everything, failures, disappointments, poverty, getting older, not being able to fulfill my aims in life, hating the place where I live and not being allowed to kill as much people as possible without getting caught and imprisoned. I also have some health issues from time to time that are extremely painful. All that stuff combined together causes me a lot of distress and I guess that’s the real suffering of being an adult, compared to the juvenile depression that I might have had 15 years ago or so. Life is way worse now, though if you listen to the music I do nowadays you’ll notice an angry edge to it, I don’t revel in depression anymore. It’s more of a pissed-off, desperate nihilism. I think it can only get worse, unless I win at the lottery and I suddenly become a millionaire, which on the other hand would allow me to delve definitively into high-profile vice and perversion (which would be another inspiring factor nevertheless).
Hurt Yourself And The Ones You Love title brings me to misanthropy which reminds me our very old interview in 2009 for my black metal zine called Acedia. You pointed out a contradiction in misanthropy term since people mix it up with individual hatred or disgust to all human being. 6 years after, with that influential title you came up, what would you like to say about misanthropy?
“Misanthropy” is a misused term which I try to avoid these days, ‘cause apparently for some it’s not what it’s meant to be (a strong dislike for society rules and for several kinds of people or for human kind in general) but it’s just a way to hide their unsuitableness in this world and their nerd-like attitude. You know, all these kids that are unable to have friends or a girlfriend use to call themselves “misanthropes”, while they’re actually just creeps! I can stay in crowded bars, have a laugh with strangers, shake your hand if needed, but it doesn’t mean I like all these people, it just means I know how to behave on the streets. Many serial-killers were apparently social and respectable people, therefore they were not misanthropes? You get the point. This said, I certainly spend a lot of time at home and I prefer to hang out to certain places instead of others, and I seriously dislike a lot of people too. I don’t know if this makes me a misanthrope or not, but it’s a term that reminds me of those young nerdy Black Metal misfits who don’t have a life, so I try to avoid it as much as possible these days.
Both with lyrical and musical wise, Forgotten Tomb has always related with melancholy or a music of melancholy. How do you define this mood in Forgotten Tomb and in your personal life?
Everybody changes from when they’re 19 to when they’re 35, otherwise it would be a huge problem. This said, I didn’t change that much at all when it comes to my vision of life, band and people. I still think most of humanity should perish as soon as possible, therefore the death of others is always a nice thing for me. In regards to myself, I’ve never been a constantly depressed person, if not for a bunch of years in my teenage years/early twenties. I think all artists go through some very dark times in their lives, with higher highs and lower lows than regular people, but I always said that this doesn’t mean that someone is constantly depressed or pissed-off. Every album captures an image of that particular moment when the songs were written, like a photograph. Press and fans want to portray a precise image of artists like me, because everything you say in interviews and on the albums helps them to sell magazines/get more views, but life is made of many facets. Most of the stuff I had the chance to read about me online is often taken out of context and used to bash me somehow. Truth is, you can’t really judge people basing on what you read/hear around. These days I’d say I’m very disillusioned and most of the time I’m quite a loner, but this doesn’t mean I’m necessarily depressed. I’m beyond that point in life, I got used to things going wrong most of the time, no big deal. I’m not happy about how things are going in my life but I’m not depressed, I’m quite desensitized. I don’t cry over myself, quite the opposite. I enjoy the few things in life that I like and that’s it, there’s not much else you can do (unless you win at the lottery, like I said earlier).
As a personal curiosity that I want to ask you; this year we contributed to an international exhibitionwith my mother’s painting called“treatment of melancholy by music”. In the painting, a quartet is playing Jacqueline Du Pre for the victim who vigorously suffers from melancholy. What kind of treatment would you like to use to treat melancholy if you can?
I don’t want to treat melancholy, I want everybody to suffer as much as possible and as a musician I do everything I can to fulfill this vision. Personally speaking, I’m not sure I want to get rid of my melancholy either, and I guess it’s even impossible ‘cause I was born this way.
Last question is for Italian band… The great bitter, Amarone or Tuscany delicacies or Gavi, etc., which one is your sine qua non? Do you think if the wine fits black metal more than other drinks in terms of enthusiasm and sophisticated atmosphere?
This is definitely my favourite question, since I’m a HUGE wine freak! I only drink wine (and some cocktails from time to time). My favourites are white sparkling dry wines, especially those done by “méthode champenoise”, champagne-like fermentation. So I basically drink Franciacorta, Prosecco and Champagne, depending on how much money I have at that particular moment. Italian and french wines are obviously my favourites. I like some red too from time to time, but mostly if I’m having a good dinner which goes along with it nicely (in winter, usually). In regards to cocktails, I’m very fond of Jim Beam & Cola, but I prefer using canned Coke. Mojito is cool too, and Moscow Mule. İ don’t know what fits Black Metal better, but I think most of the black metallers sipping red wine are posers who don’t know shit about it and just want to show off. Beers and whiskey are still going strong in the Metal area, from what I see when we’re touring. Having good wine outside of Italy and France is incredibly difficult.
Thank you for the interview. Please share your last words for Filhakikat readers.
Thanx for the interview. Hurt yourself and the ones you love, then come seeing us live on our tour in autumn. Cheers
Röportaj: Zeynep Çolakoğlu