Leading band of the French black metal scene (they've once again proven it with the split CD 'War versus Cultus Sanguine), Seth have, we have to admit it, a strong reputation, and some declarations made by their charismatic leaders had provoked some problems here in France. Still, in a sunny July day, in one of Bordeaux's bar, I've been able to talk with two cool guys, Vycomte Vampyr Arkames (vocals) and Alsvid (drums):
Right now for Seth, the news are the release of this split CD with Cultus Sanguine. What can you tell us, especially concerning the choice of the covers and so on?
Vycomte Vampyr Arkames :The choice of the covers… In fact, it's because I am a big fan of Depeche Mode since I'm fifteen, this is my favourite band, and it happens that I've proposed the other guys to cover Depeche Mode. But basically, it hadn't been decided by Seth, but by Season Of Mist, who had decided that for each 'War' CD, there would be a non metal cover. But it has never been the case, because the other bands have been allowed to cover metal bands, and us not. So we were wondering what we could cover, and at the beginning we were thinking of Fields Of The Nephilim. I've told Lord Vincent (ndlr: from Winds Of Sirius, to whom I say hello) about it, and he told us they would be the ones covering FOTN. So I've told Joey and Roberto from Cultus Sanguine about covering Depeche Mode, and they found it was perfect.
But isn't it a problem for you, that Cultus Sanguine covered the same Depeche Mode track as you?
VVA : We have told them we would do 'Behind The Wheel', I had
called them, and they had said it could be cool to cover the same song. Anyway
this isn't the same cover, they sound all in all very different. They have
followed us and made the same…
Alsvid : It's quite in the logic of the 'War' CD's, because like that you can compare the versions made by the twi bands.
VVA : It's not a competition, it's not a war. We were quite happy to do that with them, they are hyper cool. But here, on the same track, you can really judge what a band is capable of.
Concerning the two new songs on the split CD, do they show the direction you are taking for the new album or not?
VVA : In fact, let's say it's quite in the vein of 'Les Blessures
De L'Ame', but in a better way. 'Corpus Et Anima', the first track, will appear
on the album 'L'Excellence' too, and those two tracks are still with keyboards,
but faster, more technical. We have really worked more and been more mature
this time, but it's not the orientation of the album. Anyway, on the album,
there are far less keyboards, only some special parts. But it's more like
guitars, aggression, violence and technique. It's really a change of direction
A : 'War' is even a transition, we have gone into a completely different way.
By the way, you had recorded a lot of keyboards with Chloe, a friend of mine… Why did you destroy it all? Because you didn't like it?
VVA : At the end, we didn't like it, we didn't find it fantastic. It sounded like we had heard it thousands times before. So we listened to the album without the keys, and then we got blown, and we decided to forget the keys. We have just kept them in the essential parts, like in some breaks or atmospheric passages where there were weird sounds and innovating ideas. So we kept that and destroyed the rest. We didn't want to make al album like 'Les Blessures De L'Ame' that was quite beautiful. We wanted something violent.
You've also kept the keys on your Mayhem cover, was it because it was innovating too?
VVA : Yes, exactly. But on the whole album, there must be something like three or four apparitions of the keys, like fifteen seconds or so. And we also think of touring in Europe, so we thought that having a keyboard player wasn't easy, and that it was just a member who was there doing nothing, or not a lot. And as we want to be violent and have a huge sound, we prefer to have huge guitars and no keys.
So, what about this European tour then? With whom? When?
VVA : When Herve (ndlr: Osmose's boss) will propose us something interesting… We'll have to select that, and we'll do only one tour, but it will be good. He had once proposed us Immortal, but it didn't work, and the same went for a proposal with Dimmu Borgir and Children Of Bodom. So it will also depend from what he'll propose us.
And if you had the choice, who would it be with?
VVA : I'd like Marduk! (ndlr: then a small pause because Alsvid
got called by his mother) But apart from Marduk…
Alsvid : Dark Funeral… as opening act ! (laughs)
VVA : Or a band like Satyricon or Emperor. Fast, violent and technical bands, I'd like that.
A : My real choices wouldn't be in the black metal world. If there's a band I'd really love to tour with, that's Morbid Angel. But it wouldn't be such a good idea. So Marduk would be good too.
OK! Let's talk about your labels now. Why did you leave Season Of Mist?
VVA (quite embarrassed): Because we wanted a more professional
label, corresponding to Seth, giving us the means to succeed, and most of all
that would believe in our music. So about one year ago, we were still on SOM,
and Herve told me he had liked 'Les Blessures De L'Ame', and that if we were
looking for a label, it would be ok. So he signed us.
Alsvid : From a practical point of view, there was also the distribution problem. I had received letters from Italy, Sweden, Norway, saying it was impossible to get the album there. We really wanted to have an important distribution, and with Osmose, there's no problem with that!
VVA : For us, anyway, there has been a lack of distribution, and maybe also of motivation from the label, though Osmose are ready to work.
And they've allowed you to make two videos, right?
VVA : Yes, we've made two videos. One will be used on France 2 (ndlr: a major French channel), and the other will be on a CD-Rom. Those are the two first tracks of 'L'Excellence'. The first song is 'Die Weihe', which means 'Consecration' in German, it will be shown on France 2, and will also appear on samplers, so everyone will know it.
What is exactly going to be this thing with France 2?
VVA : In fact, a journalist had contacted Herve because she wanted to make something with Seth. She had realised we were singing in French, that there was a 'diabolic' side, and so on. Basically, Herve had said no, because he didn't want us to have problems with journalists. But it was juste because she wanted us to join a talk-show about the devil and the links between good and evil. So we finally made two videos and a short interview. That will be shown between October and December.
OK, let's talk about your side-projects then… What about you VVA?
VVA : Right now I have three. I have a project called Total Eclipse, we have made one track, which we'll finish at the beginning of next year, and that's a metal and trance project. I have told Peter Tagtgren about it, in order for him to play the guitars, and he'll see that. But if he's ok, we'll record at his place. Then there's Morningrise. It a band from friends of mine who have asked me to sing on it, it's been reviewed in the new Metallian issue, and they'll try to get a label. And finally, there's Hellreaper, which is and old-vein thrash black metal band, influenced by Destruction and so on, with Alsvid and Morningrise's guitar player.
Do you have any infos about the band's name, their style?
VVA : Yes,
it's called Void, and if I don't make a mistake, the demo has been reviewed ten
out of ten in the English mag Terrorizer, and it would be in the vein of
Dodheimsgard, period 'Satanic Arts'.
Alsvid : Yes, with a lot of hype violent passages, and some small passages with clear voices a la Enslaved. So it sounds a lot like Dodheimsgard.
Just as a conclusion, what do you think of the Napster case?
Alsvid : I
am personally studying law. And
I can perfectly understand the position of the musicians, because they get
ripped off. But at the same time, Metallica is a huge band, so they're really…
But giving the music of others like that can be a nuisance for small bands like
us. People will prefer to pirate the album instead of buying it, which is a
shame for the survival of small bands. It can be excessive to get in the court
for that, but it's also justified. There's also another position, which is that
is makes you publicity. That's why I'm not more in favour of that…
VVA : You can do like us, and put your tracks as Real Audio on the site, so that you can listen to them on www.innomineseth.com , but you can't download them.
OK, thanks! One last word?
Alsvid : Hmmmm, nothing!
VVA :Me neither! Hails Osmose! Both together: Hello to all the ladies, come and see us!