Secrets Of The Moon
Could be Secrets of the Moon the climax of modern Black Steel? Should Black Metal be known only as underground necro blasphemy, or we also need calculated and good sounding BM records? Everyone should decide for himself, personally I think that harsh and obscure UG releases and professional records are both needed. Ruthless and primitive music, but Black Metal records which are heading to progressive grounds are equally desired, as long as both can convey the quality and atmosphere which are indispensable for this genre. SotM walks the way of professional and deliberate Black Metal, without losing the basic elements of Black Steel, delivering more than standard music. Bleak and ruthless, but still professional in all details. The band’s leader sG answered this interview right after the recording of their new masterpiece -Antithesis-, a new milestone in extreme metal. (interview taken from the Cross Of Black Steel magazine Issue # 2, done by Robert Sun in July 2006)
Secrets of the Moon came to life more than a decade ago. Can you introduce us to the most important facts about Secrets of the Moon from its birth to the present days? Were you involved in other musical projects before besides Secrets of the Moon?
Secrets of the Moon was formed in 1995. Yesterday we celebrated our 11th birthday. Like all bands we did a couple of demos before started to release some vinyls. At the moment we prepare to release our third album "Antithesis" which is scheduled for September 15th 2006. Watch out!
How do you remember the early times? It was hard back then for a band like yours? What are the main differences between the mid 90’s and the nowadays Black Metal scene?
It was indeed harder because there was nothing like an internet which nowadays helps a lot of young bands to get their shit started. We had to write our asses of, cooperated with many figures in the worldwide underground. We tried to spread our name by tapetrading, and flyers which seems pretty DEAD today. The difference that I see today is that there are way too many bands appearing from nowhere and get high attention.
The name - Secrets of the Moon - has a very special mysterious vibe. What does it means to you and why did you choose it?
It's s so long ago when we chose to use this name. In this time the band concept was pretty much influenced by astrological sciences that's why the name was perfect. Nowadays we are still aware that the name doesn't bound us musically. It has a very wide background. The moon is still escorting us...
Secrets of the Moon is often described as a dark and occult band. What comes to your mind when you hear “occult”? It is essential for a BM to be occult or obscure, or it’s just an alternative?
For me it's essential that a Black Metal band has a very dark background to grand musical blackness. It may be obscure or even precious as long as it presents a unique form of expression. What comes to my mind when I hear the word "occult"? Well, the occult science is an everlasting bringer of influences to me. That's what is important here.
The use of pseudonyms in Black Metal scene is frequently used. Pseudonyms and occultism have a kinda connection between them. What is a reason for you, as a musician to use pseudonyms and what is the meaning of the band members’ pseudonyms?
The reason is that we don't want our personal lives being shown. A birth name represents privacy to me which I yearn for when Iam not presenting the band Secrets of the Moon. I dont't feel ashamed by it, many people outthere know my real name but still it is up to us what to do and how to present us. I don't want to talk about their meanings.
What is the essence of Black Metal in your own vision? How it should be sounded and how not? Do you think BM has (or should have) a role of BM in our contemporary culture?
I think esotericism and spirituality gain more and more cultural popularity which I feel connected with Black Metal, yes. I don't think that Black Metal plays a role though. The essence of Black Metal should lie in the minds and hearts of the protagonists. We have found our own expression of Black Metal and so every serious individual should. So, to bring it to a point: Black Metal is not for the masses but should remain being deep personal music.
How do you reach to play this style of music and who had the biggest impact on your music? And what kind of music do you listen these days? Do you listen to much non-metal music in general?
The biggest impact on our music? Well, we had... I don't think there's a band which we focus on. Celtic Frost had a huge influence on the extreme metal world. They are godfathers to us. I rarely listen to "true" metal these days. I like progessive rock music a lot. King Crimson, Porcupine Tree, up to progressive metal chaos like Meshuggah, Voivod or Strapping Young Lad.
Do you have any musical training? Do you think it is good for a musician to learn musical theory or it is better to discover everything alone and to create his own style? Or a combination of both?
I would say a combination of both. Musical training is very important as well as theory. It helps a lot to write coherent guitar lines. It's good to know why a riff sounds like it sounds.
How does composing of a song look like in Secrets of the Moon? Do you go to the rehearsal room, or do you prefer to write them in a most somber and gloomy places?
The Guitars come up with riffings and song structures and finally we try to create a song from it all together in the rehearsal room. These riffs are arranged at home, all alone. I need a special mood to come to the point and to let my imgaginations flow. I work with a 4 track recorder to work with different guitarlines then, composing leads and stuff. It works good but the mood is very very important.
As for your lyrics, what are they about? What are your ways to get inspiration?
It's the mood again... I feel when time has come to take a pencil and to write. I don't want to talk about their content though. All lyrics are very different in their approaches. It's impossible to describe them in a few words.
Which is your personal favorite SotM release and why? Which is the worst for you?
My favorite release is our new Album. It's the first of our recordings which I use to listen at home. There is no worst actually. Each release transports a special feeling to me. It's more about the remembrance, not about the actual music.
The Secrets of the Moon albums sounds professional, very fresh and tight-played. Do you think that Black Metal should sound only this way? What do you think of the so-called “necro style” BM?
No, as I said before. Black Metal should diversify a lot in its approach. Secrets of the Moon albums must sound professional because the music does a lot of "talking". With a bad production it would sound messy. Still I like raw productions as long as they transport atmosphere and are NOT simply bad.
About 50 gigs have been performed so far by your band. Does live performances are important for you? It’s hard to transmit the feeling of your music live? Do you have some special show you put on while playing live?
Live performances are important to us even though we don't play too often. We choose from a lot of offers. Sometimes a live show carries atmosphere and strength, sometimes it feels boring and lifeless. It's an interaction of many things. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes not.
What is your opinion about the growing scene of "National Socialist Black Metal"? Do any politic views and beliefs should have its place in music, or politics should be totally neglected?
I don't give a shit!
How do you see death? Are you afraid of dying? What do you think it's happening after we die? Do you believe in any kind of afterlife?
I am not afraid of dying. I see death as the ultimate. Man becomes god.
You believe in any kind of Supreme Being? How do you see religions and their role in modern society?
I don't believe in a supreme being. Religions are the scourges of mankind. They will lead us into our own graves.
If your music could be a soundtrack for a movie or a piece of a theatre drama and it would be up to you to decide, which movies/drama’s soundtrack would you choose?
I don't know. A French interviewer compared Secrets of the Moon with Lost Highway by David Lynch some while ago. That feels good because I am a great fan of his movies.
Are you following with attention zines, websites? What do you think about mp3 and file-sharing programs? Do you use the internet to download music?
No, I do not download music. When a band catches my interest I buy their record. I see a record as a work of art. It's not only about the music but about the visual and audial outcome in general. I prefer printed magazines as well. I don't feel well with reading stories at the screen. The internet helps us to make the band more and more popular though. It has become the most important media for underground music.
What was the latest album you purchased? Are there any new bands which captured your attention?
I bought two records lately. 10.000 days by Tool and Monotheist by Celtic Frost. Both albums are fantastic. New bands? Let me think...
Your official website gives almost zero information about the band. Why is that so?
Because some guys are working on a new one. It will be online in couple of days with the release of the new record.
Please tell us in a few words what do you think about:
a. Death penalty.
Sometimes necessary, sometimes a mistake
c. Church burnings
d. Adolf Hitler
Never heard of
Don't give a shit
Don't care about musical nomenclature
g. the new Darkthrone LP
Did not hear it
You have worked with a lot of record labels in the past (Darkwind Records, Sombre Records, Cicatrix, Spikekult/Akedia and Prophecy Productions now). What do you think of the labels for which you were signed to in the past? Which was the most effective label and which was the most disappointing?
There were no disappointings because each label stood behind us and supported us with great enthusiasm. The most effective one is our current label for sure because they know how to handle the business. I am very satisfied with their work. Still we are very honored to have cooperated with cult labels like Sombre Records or Spikekult to name only a few. We owe them a lot!
Any advises for young bands regarding record labels and record deals?
Have long in depths talks before signing a contract with a label and prepare for the worst to not get disappointed at the end.
What pushes you to continue making music, as black metal isn't the most profitable business in this world? What is your goal with Secrets of the Moon?
To continue working on good music which affects personally. I don't give a shit about a "status". It's just all about us being satisfied.
What is a normal day in your everyday life like? What are your hobbies apart from music? Aside from the band, any of you guys have permanent full time jobs?
Yes, we have full time jobs. I am working as a graphic designer and so each member lives his very own life apart from the band. The band connects us. That's all I want to say here.
You recently recorded a cover version for a Dead Can Dance song on DCD Tribute by Black Lotus Records, which is quite surprising for a BM band. Whose was this idea? Are you a fan of DCD? Did you enjoy the other covers from that double CD?
Yes, I am a great fan of the band. We were asked to join this compilation and so we did. Unfortunately I do not own the CD myself at the moment so I could not yet occupy closer with it. I remember that I liked some material on it after a first short listen.
A new album – Antithesis – will appear this year. What would be the new album sound like and what is the concept behind? Will there be any musical differences between the new and the previous ones? Any experiments?
The promotional CDs will be sent tomorrow. I am curious what the press says. As I said previously, I am very satisfied with the album. It's our darkest and outrighteous album so far. No experiments, just intense music.
Thank you very much for your time. If there’s anything else you want to share with us, feel free to say it!
Thanks a lot for your interview and your support. It was a great one. Sorry for answering so shortly but time is my worst enemy at the moment! - sG
by Robert Sun