A band that have been around for a long time are SAMAEL, through the years they have released several albums. After the albums "Blood Ritual" and "Worship Him" has SAMAEL according my (Whodan) opinion just became worse and worse. But still there are many that likes them and thats why we have this interview here on Apostasia. All answers in this interview by Xy.

Interview by Anne "the American Metalgoddes"      

 

You just released Exodus, an EP. Why not a full length?
The songs for Exodus were actually recorded in the same session as our last album, Passage. It was a long session. We chose to wait to release them until now, to sort of bridge the gap between albums. We are working on new songs right now.

I seemed like it was a bout time for you to release something, Passage came out in 1996. I was expecting a full length though. When do you plan on recording again?

 

The plan right now is weíre looking for a small tour to do, an opening spot for the early fall. If we get that, we plan to record right after that. If we donít get a tour, weíll just keep on working on songs.

I was going to ask you about touring. I know you are playing a festival in Istanbul, Turkey this weekend. Do you have anything else planned for the rest of the summer?
Weíre looking to maybe go to South America in August, but nothing is concrete yet. Then Europe in the fall, and record after that.

Youíve toured the States before, any plans to come back?
Yes, itís possible. We toured there in 1994, which was a long time ago. I think the reaction was pretty all right, even though people hardly knew the band. It was a nice experience. If we have the opportunity to go back we will.

 

It would probably be next year after you release the new album, right?
Yes, most likely.

Since Rebellion, your music and lyrics have matured with each new release. What is it in your life experience do you think has contributed to this maturity?
I think a band is the reflection of what the members are all about. For me I think it is the union of four persons, four personalities, which can do something together. And I guess we have grown up, and that is reflected in the music and lyrics. We try to change a little with each album, search new sides of things by keeping an open mind.

Xy, you write all the music, do the drum programming, and play the keyboards. What input do the other members have in composing?
I think they have a lot of input in before and after I bring something to the band. We speak a lot about what direction they want me to go with songs. We chose together how some songs should sound. And then I try to write and describe what they explained to me. The same with lyrics, I try to make them fit with the theme.

When you compose do you do any soul searching, or draw on experiences from your life to gain inspiration? Like Passage was kind of trippy and spacey, where do you grab your inspiration from?
I think it comes from my imagination a little bit. We try to create something which yeah, is kind of trippy. We try to create something that if you come to a show you can forget your life for awhile. Lyrics come from a lot of things, mainly the music, but also from things you see, people you meet. Everything has a influence on you, and then on the music.

Vorph writes most of the lyrics, do you know where he draws his inspiration comes from?

 

When we first started the band he would get influence from reading. He reads a lot of books. And we have always been based around the paranormal. I think on Passage he drew more from personal experience, so maybe more people could relate. He tries to show an experience, describe it in song, so maybe people can find themselves within it.

Do the lyrics have personal meaning for him?
Pretty much.

How important are they to him?
He puts a lot of thought into them. And you know when you do something, you have to stand behind it. So yeah, it takes time to be sure of what you want to say. When youíre in a band, you have a lot of influence on people. So you have to think twice before you present a message.

 

So you take that into consideration, what message is going to be there and how people are going to take that message?
The most important thing is you have to do what you feel, not what you think people will like. As long as you feel it and it comes from your heart, then you have to think as well what youíre giving to the people, because they will be influenced by it. So you have to think of it before hand.

You and Vorph are brothers. Can you describe your relationship?
Ummm... When we were young we were very close. We were best friends for years and years. Maybe now, as weíve grown up, weíve gone a little bit our own ways. But we still have a really good relationship.

Would you say youíre still be best friends?

 

Samael band picture

Well, (laughs) it used to be for sure a long....Yes, still. If you have a really strong relationship, and you share everything with somebody when you are young, then there comes a time when you want to pick your own direction. So now maybe we are just trying to get our own lives.

 

I guess since youíve spent so much time with him over the years, you just need to have a little time to yourself, and the same for him also.
Oh yes. I think itís important to have a break. And also with the band. We had a pretty long break just recently.
We stopped playing for like six months. Everybody went their own way and had their own experiences. Then when you come back together you create something even stronger. Youíve learned something on your own, and then you come back and share it. And I think thatís what creates....creativity!

Would you or the other members of your band consider yourselves spiritual kind of people, or maybe more in touch with whatís inside of you more than say regular people walking down the street everyday?
Sometimes you end up feeling pretty strongly about things. I think when people search inside of themselves, they are the sort of people who know things. And they chose to know it, but never speak about it. Yeah, screw it, I feel things more than other people. I feel things are changing, and yeah, something has to happen pretty soon. When you share those feeling with others you discover, actually to your relief, they feel the same, and then you donít feel so alone.

With each new release the keyboards and techno influence expands. Do you ever foresee a time when you would break all ties with your metal roots?
No, I donít think so. Our roots are pretty strong. This is something that is pretty much inside of us. We can not break them. But we try to keep up with the times. Yeah, we use more keyboards, and maybe on the next album we will go for some more songs a little bit more electronic I would say, but not really techno. We use sounds, some more modern sounds. I think itís something we will do a little bit more.

What kind of music fans do you think SAMAEL music appeals to or could appeal to?
Actually, I donít know. Sometimes I meet people who really shock me. When you play a gig you use that to meet people. Itís hard to have view on everything. I think itís people who try to search for something, and give of themselves as well. The way I see it with SAMAEL, as we step up with every album, people who follow the band expect us to progress, and would be disappointed if we did exactly the same album twice. Thatís what I think, I could be wrong. So I think with the next one we will try some new elements, but also keep the same line.

Are you happy with the success youíve had? Would you like to touch more people with your music?
Yeah! As long as you do something you feel is right. If you trust in what youíre doing, that is what is important to me. And if you are true to yourself and can reach more people than I have nothing against it. You should share it with more people!

When did you start playing music?
When I was like six years old, I took piano lessons. Then I quit for a while. When I was twelve I picked up the guitar. And then I taught my brother how to play the drums.

Were your parents supportive of your ambitions to play music?
My father was into music as a hobby, I think that influenced us. But when it went from just liking music to actually making a career of it, they were not so supportive. So we had to prove to them we could do it.

Did you and your brother know at a young age what you wanted to do with your life, to play music?
Yeah, I knew. There was something inside me telling me to do it.

Did it start as a hobby at first and then you grew more serious with it?
No actually. When we started we knew right away that we wanted to do something with it. Then we realized it was not so easy. When I was fourteen I knew I was going to do something in music, I just wasnít sure what direction I wanted to go in. Even as get older, I think I will stay in music in some way because it is truly inside of me.

Youíre starting to get into producing right?
Yeah, I produced one band so far, ROTTING CHRIST. We toured with them, and we discussed it, and I wanted to try it. It was a great experience.

I have to tell you, A Dead Poem, the ROTTING CHRIST album you produced, came out really well. I love it!
Thank you!

Have other bands approached you to produce them?
Yes, a couple. I might do it again. I donít want to get into it too much right now because I have SAMAEL to concentrate on. And I think if you produce too many bands you start to lose the uniqueness of the types of sounds. Iím definitely not going to it with SAMAEL, because then you have to chose what to put your energy into. But I think I will produce again.

Well, itís something to keep in mind for the future....
What do you mean?

Oh you know, twenty years from now when youíre too old to be in a band, you can be a big record producer!
(Laughs) Yeah, itís a great job. So yeah, it could be. I might do that later on.

Will you record with Waldemar Sorychta at Woodhouse studios again?
We are not really sure right now. We might try to change and work with somebody else. We might try a different producer and mixer, get two different persons, two different views. Nothing is decided. Weíve just been working on songs. When weíre done weíll decide that.

Because youíve been pretty consistent with him, youíve used him for the last four recordings.
Yeah, so maybe it would be nice to try something else. He is really good, itís not like we have to change. But maybe it would be good to try a change. We really donít know for sure right now.

But you do know for sure you will record in the fall, and hopefully release it by the end of the year.
Yes, I think so.

So whatís in your CD player right now? What are you listening to?
Strapping Young Lad, The Prodigy. And some classical as well. Have you checked out the remix I did of Passage?

Yes I did! I like It! (Xy did a classical remix of Passage called Xytras)
Itís different.

You did that all electronically right?
Yes.

Would you ever like to do a symphonic SAMAEL album? With a full orchestra, strings and all?
Yeah sure, (laughs) why not? But you have to make sure the compositions would fit.

That would be interesting!
Yes It would!

Well, I guess Iíll let you go so you can get ready for your trip. You leave tomorrow right?
Yes.

Will you try to see some of Istanbul?
Yes. We arrive early Friday so weíll have Friday night to go out.

What do you think you can expect from The Turkish music fans?
I have no clue! But it should be good.

Well good luck and have fun. And Thanks Xy!
Thank you Anne, Iíll let you know how it goes. And take care.