PYTANKA INTERVIEW - 2001
1. many people thought you would not be able to make anything new in
your style, you must have been aware of this fat, weren't you?
It would have been not problem to us to change our style, but the fact is we don't want to. We always made clear that "Summoning", the concept within the music always shall stand deeply connected to the realms of Tolkien. That's what we like to do; that's what we can do best and that's what Summoning is all about.
For me the need to change the style means just that the band hasn't enough ideas to continue with it. I think it is much more easy to pretend new ideas by integrating to many new elements to the music, than to write real new tunes.
2. "let mortal heroes ..." though being continuation of your
previous album is slightly different. Was the way you worked on that material
different from what you used to work like in the past?
It is strange; some people think that we didn't change at all; others see a big change in our new CD. Anyway I think that the changes we made on "Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame" are not as big as for example the change between our first CD "Lugburz" and the second one "Minas Morgul". At this time we changed from a quite ordinary Black Metal band into an epic, bombastic fantasy black metal band. Since then we kept this style and only made decent changes. One of the new things on "Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame" is that we concentrated more on the keyboards (and its polyphonic) as well as on the drum sounds again. On our last CD "Stronghold" we concentrated mainly on the guitars (and wanted to make them more complex and to carry more melody information), but didn't care too much about the polyphonic structures of the orchestra sounds. On "Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame" we combined the strengths of the old and new CDs.
3. more electronics, more medieval parts, this is the way you progressed.
It seems that you are not so close to metal sound any more?
I think that the CD which was less close to metal was "Nightshade Forest", because the guitars on this album were very quiet and weak. Since then the guitars played a much more dominant role. I think that the current CD of Summoning is not farer way from metal than our second CD "Minas Morgul"; there are not more electronics or medieval parts on it.
4. listening to "let mortal ... " one might have impression
that the guitar sound is really unnecessary on this album and the guitars only
destroy the atmosphere. What do you think of that?
I don't think so; they keep the music more aggressive. Withouth the guitars our vocals wouldn't make sense anymore; and without the vocals the drums wouldn't be so necessary. If we would stop using guitars Summoning would soon become a normal Darkwave bands; but for summoning the aggressive and bombastic element is very important. I could understand this point better if you were talking about the older releases, where the guitars only had a accompaniment function; but now when the guitars carry more rhythmic and melodic information (mainly in the more quiet parts), I think that they are more important than ever.
5. there are a lot of elements on "let mortal... " similar
to ice ages compositions, would you agree?
No I really don't think so. The music of "Ice Ages" creates a very dark, solitude, frightening world of the future, where as "Summoning" spreads the feeling of a pathetic and bombastic fantasy world. In many aspects those projects are quite opposite.
Summoning only uses sounds similar to classical orchestra sound together with kettle drums and marching drums, whereas "Ice Ages" only uses pure electronic sounds with machine alike sounds for the rhythm.
6. electronically based, inspired, you tend to go into this dark, goth,
electro direction, but actually this is what you do in ice ages so what is the
use of doing the same in summoning?
Sorry, but I really don't understand what you mean. I don't know any aspect on our new CD which is now more close to electronic based music than on our older CDs. I would even say that there are less electronic elements in Summoning than in the years before, where we sometimes used some strange sounds or percussions for our intros, whereas nowadays the instruments have a more real feeling than before.
8. based on myths, legends, tolkien's stories, your lyrics are perfectly
reflected through your music. Tell me what is created first, is it the sounds
or is it the words?
In the song creation process the adding of the lyrics is the very latest thing we do. Only if the keyboards, guitars and drum sounds are totally complete, we start to search for the right lyric to the right song, and adapt its rhythm to the song rhythm.
10. and now what you think of the actual motion picture if you saw that?
I really liked the movie of course there are always things that could be complained or don't come along with the own imagination of the book. But all in all I think this movie translation couldn't have done better; the only thing I was surprised comparing the movie with the old book was that a really great battle was missing, but I think that makes the watcher only curious to watch the next part.
11. some people say there is no point writing lyrics about nonexisting
creatures and worlds as it is the reality, our reality that we should be concentrated
on. What is your relation to that? Do you think there is still some room for
imagination in our society?
I think that especially in these days were everything is much more logic than before, the need to go into an unreal fantasy world is more important than ever. I have nothing against the logic way of thinking (I spend much of my time programming on the computer for example), but I think that creating a fantasy world is a good contrast to it.
12. Fantasy was once very special, very sophisticated, do not you think
it has been devaluated by commercialization ?
Basically fantasy literature developed from European mythology, so maybe you mean for example call the "Nibelungenlied" or the "Edda" to be sophisticated. Modern fantasy literature is definitely based on Tolkiens "Lord of the Rings", and with that boom this kind of sword and sorcery literature became very popular since the 60thies. Of course there are a lot of bad common or look a like publishing but the same could be said for any other form of art. So I see nothing bad or special in nowadays fantasy.
13. there is a sticker placed on the plastic case of your album that
says: "a tribute to tolkien's lord of the rings" do not you think
it is a little pathetic to use such expressions?
The idea of this sticker was not ours; it was from "Napalm Records". For me the sticker is neither good nor bad; it is a simple small peace of paper that doesn't change the music at all. I also don't understand the big indignation this sticker caused for some summoning fans; the power of the sticker reminds me a bit on the power of the ring from "Lord Of The Rings", so small and so evil :) But fortunately you only have to unpack the CD to get rid of this sticker (and don't have to carry if to Mordor) :)
14. the thing that impresses me most on the new album is the vocal. The
vocal lines really developed since your last output. They are no longer typical
black-metal screams, but very dark, mysterious murmurs. Why did you change that
I don't really see such a strong change of our vocals on our new CD. I think that the change between "Nightshade Forest" and "Stronghold" was bigger. Comparing to the vocals of our very first Summoning releases I think that they are just a bit less chaotic and carry more rhythmical information than before.
15. your music, although bombastic and pompous, definitely lacks the
power of real sound, what I mean is that you use so many orchestral elements
made on computer which makes them very shallow (don't get me wrong), recording
it with a real orchestra (even a small one) would really give your music a kick.
But the point is do you want to do such a thing?
We never will use a real orchestra or real classical instruments for "Summoning". To hire some classical musicians (who probably would not even like the lines we would force them to play), would remind me rather on a casted boy-band, than on an underground metal band. We like to have our music perfect under control and to be as independent as possible. We even don't care at all if the instruments sound as "real" as possible; "Summoning" definitely doesn't want to simulate classical music; I like the sometimes unreal feeling the keyboard orchestra sounds create. I even think that if I would hire some classical musician the music would sound more classic and real, but surely get less bombastic (because a few musician don't have the power than the sample of hundreds of musician of the keyboard).
Once I would have mixed any real, classical instruments in my way, I think that many people would still say that the orchestra-instruments still sound "unreal". I would surely be able to mix the keyboard sounds so that they sound more real, but I don't see any reason for that.