TTI: SeroLogiikal Scars (Vertex Of Dementiia) literally made me turn off my brain and witness it with all my other senses, which is an effect music has on me more and more seldom these days. I want to thank you for that. Does this flattering opinion from a complete stranger change anything about the way you feel about your own music or are you completely devoid of doubt that you have created something highly idiosyncratic, sincere, passionate and profound, regardless of how others respond to it?
Khraâl Vri*ïl: First of all, fukkchiing thankkchz for your bliisteriing words concerning the Cerviiks. Sometimes, maybe from an unknown source of pressure, I perceive my work from a strange manic-depression view. Like a bit of mental self-laceration within a bipolar turmoil, consisting of shells like totally uninteresting and absolutely genius, thrown from one extreme to another. Thus I can’t refer to other people’s responses. But these are only my emotions, they don’t apply to the rest of the band.
Okkhulus Siirs: Positive feedback and acknowledgment are of course motivating to some extent. Yes, it makes me proud to read that our music means something to you, of course. But does feedback change my personal relation to our music? I cannot think of that ever to happen. To me our music is very personal and self-expressive. All of our songs have a very spontaneous and unforced edge to them. An outsider’s opinion may raise meta-talk, but it won’t affect the essence of what we are doing. There is total confidence about what we are doing because we love what we are doing, but we would not raise claims to matter to anybody else. It is special to us and that is the only factor we can honestly influence.
TTI: Killing Technology, Dimension Hatröss and Nothingface are, to me, one of the most impressive strings of three consecutive albums in entire metal history. Having said that, I feel that SeroLogiikal Scars (Vertex Of Dementiia) perfectly captures that very same stellar, forward-thinking attitude of early Voivod and translates it into death metal idiom. Is this a fitting comparison in your opinion and would you deem Voivod an important influence?
Khraâl Vri*ïl: Absolutely. I’d mention the Killing Technology, Dimension Hatröss and Nothingface triangle as my main influence besides stuff like Carbonized, old Therion, Coroner or Order From Chaos.
TTI: What is the biggest difference between Heptaëdrone and this album? What are features that suggest progression and improvement, and what are those that keep both releases inseparable?
Okkhulus Siirs: The biggest difference lies within the production. Heptaëdrone was born within eight hours with the help of a semi-professional obstetrician, so to say. The umbilical chord was cut right in the middle with a blunt breadknife and the spawn was neither bathed nor nursed. The rough mix became the master track and it was a bit thin, thus it was doubled and buried under a layer of reverb. SeroLogiikal Scars was recorded in a professional studio within four days. We did two six-hour live recording sessions, one entire day for additional guitars and vocals, and one day dedicated to listening to and mixing the material. Second, third or fourth takes were no problem time-wise and the producer was doing one hell of an amazing job. He captured exactly what we wanted to sound like and what we actually do sound like when rehearsing, minus the moldy stone walls and the low ceiling of our rehearsal space. Features that keep both records inseparable? To me every aspect has remained the same apart from the production. It doesn’t feel odd at any time when we rehearse a mix of both releases for our upcoming live shows.
TTI: Presuming that Khthoniik is derived from word chthonic and Cerviiks from Latin medical term cervix, would it be accurate to translate your name somewhere along the lines of the passage through the underworld? In addition, can you briefly reflect on how and why you came up with this strange, improvised writing style? Is that yet another reference to Voivod, or maybe even to French zeuhl legends Magma?
Khraâl Vri*ïl: Kobaïa Iss Dëh Hündïn! You’re the first who ever noticed that Magma affinity, of course there’s a relation to the one and only Zeuhl Monoliith in my case. To me the name is more like a colour, a sound or an odour, maybe translations can be like Abyss, Chasm, Spiiral, or what ever you like, it’s the listeners’ decision.
TTI: What does the album title SeroLogiikal Scars (Vertex Of Dementiia) mean exactly?
Okkhulus Siirs: Serological scars mark imprints and remains within our circulatory system that can often be traced but seldom be explained. They can serve as proof for a person having suffered from a certain disease in the pastime and so these scars tell a lot about exposure to and incorporation of antibodies. Nowadays, in a lot of cases for certain types of diseases you can’t tell whether a serological scar is the result of disease in the classic sense or the result of vaccination. Now consider a person who, confronted with a serological scar, can’t remember to ever have suffered any such disease nor has undergone vaccination consciously. That’s the vertex of dementia or, the point in time where the mental sphere is being afflicted as well. Would be a safe means to control people, wouldn’t it? In a metaphorical sense such power relations and interrupted or reversed causalities govern our lives.
TTI: Would you say that design of your logo is complementary with pictures you paint with your music on this album? Can you explain more closely a connection between visual and musical sides of Khthoniik Cerviiks experience?
Khraâl Vri*ïl: I was always fascinated by bands that created their own musical, lyrical and visual concepts, especially Voivod, Hellhammer and Sadistik Exekution. Art in general and the Cerviiks in particular should be seen as an entire whole, all moraines connected, melting into a pulsating core, neurotransmission.
TTI: As a German band, do you belong to a certain scene or brotherhood of bands, or are you more of a lone wolf entity? Would you say there is something intrinsically German about your sound, the way you musically think, your attitude? In that regard, what are the most distinctive features of North Rhine-Westphalian mentality, according to German stereotypes, and in which way they affect you as artists and Khthoniik Cerviiks as a band?
Okkhulus Siirs: Personally, I do not think we’re part of a special brotherhood of bands. I mean, everybody knows the one or other guy who plays in this or that band, Ohourobohortiik Ssphäross and Khraâl Vri*ïl do or did have their part in other bands and you’ll meet the same people around here every time you paint the towns, but I’m not inclined to feel part of a group of people or a network. Regarding the second part of the question, I can’t see anything typically or inherently German within our sound or attitude though I have been thinking about this very question quite a long while. The federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia covers quite a multi-faceted area in terms of regional culture and historic and contemporary tradition and development. Ruhr area, that’s where we have grown up and live today, still is marked by a strong working class mentality notwithstanding rapid structural changes and the decline of heavy industry. As soon as hard rock, punk and heavy metal surfaced, this area has become sort of a catalyst with more and more bands and talented musicians emerging. Maybe it’s commonly accepted here to just do it, whatever it may be.
TTI: Those last 70 seconds of Schizophradio (KC Exhalement 2.0: Technocide Inertiia), opening riff progression of SeroLogiikal Scars (Sequence 1.0: Vertex Of Dementiia), climax that takes place at 0:29 mark of Miindwrecked (Project Eigengalaxy) or those four beautifully odd guitar chords at the beginning of Biinary Epitome (Spyder’s Web) are just a few small fragments that make this album so special. Are you able to make this kind of delicate choice yourself and to pick some bits, or even entire songs, that you like better than others?
Khraâl Vri*ïl: Sure, there are some special fragments that make me close my eyes and let shivers run down my spine during rehearsals, live appearances and when I become aware of them from the record. Indeed some are the same you mention.
Okkhulus Siirs: In fear I could realize weaknesses and inconsistencies I usually tend not to listen to our music after mixing is done. Only once each time we get our free copies of a release. But when playing the songs at rehearsal, there are lots of special moments and SeroLogiikal Scars (Sequence 2.0: Veiled Viiral Vektor) is my favourite song of the album.
TTI: As far as recognizing and discovering new talent is concerned, many people consider Iron Bonehead Productions one of the leading underground metal labels in the world at the moment. Do you share this opinion?
Khraâl Vri*ïl: Besides Iron Bonehead I would also mention Ván Records as an important force when it comes to discover new and interesting talents. We’re very pleased with Iron Bonehead’s support and everything works just fine. Actually I’m into the music scene for 25 years and I’ve never had such a satisfying label.
Okkhulus Siirs: Aesthetics-wise we feel a 100% at home on their roster because we decide on our aesthetics independently. Support and constructive opinions are always granted by the label which is a perfect basis for collaboration.
TTI: Speaking of Iron Bonehead, in newsletter that came together with digital promo, they underlined revolutionary nature of your music and put you in the same category with Bölzer and Cult Of Fire, their most prominent and probably best-selling acts. Do you mind being in company of those two bands and, from strictly artistic perspective, do you feel that your music is susceptible to be widely accepted and properly understood by many?
Okkhulus Siirs: It is good in the way that it shows that our label has confidence in us and our abilities. It is indeed a bit flattering as well, yes. Since we do not compose or record music with the aim of gaining acceptance and appreciation, we take it as it comes without setting ourselves goals or shit. I’m pleased to hear we have just sold 300 LPs shortly after the release, but I do not think that we’d ever sell 3000. So the answer to your question is probably no.
TTI: In that regard, what is the measure of success you wish for Khthoniik Cerviiks and did you start this band without any ambition in mind, apart from sheer joy of creating music?
Khraâl Vri*ïl: There was no measure of success, I was totally astonished and surprised about the reactions and how things kept going from there. I just create as I’ve ever done, all those ideas are coming to me, it’s just feeling and devotion.
Okkhulus Siirs: It’s like Khraâl Vri*ïl said, we have never talked about goals or measures of success and personally I do not care for success. Take everything as it comes, like mentioned before.
TTI: When it comes to performing live, how do you balance between rational and irrational in those situations, and how difficult is to get back to normal excitement and adrenaline free mental state after you’re off the stage?
Okkhulus Siirs: To expose myself to an audience is an issue to me actually, since consciousness tends to take over in dangerous situations naturally. After a gig I feel released and free to dedicate myself to the irrational again.
TTI: A casual correspondence we had prior to this interview left me under impression that you are calm, pleasant and well-mannered, which are essentially completely opposite qualities to those your music would be normally attributed with. Is there an explanation for that contradiction?
Okkhulus Siirs: I can’t see a contradiction there. I think that purposeful contact among strangers mediated through the most impersonal channel available will always leave a lot of room for interpretation. However, regarding our particular correspondence, you approached us in a friendly manner and since we agreed to your plans, you received polite answers. I would not consider email conversation as real conversation because it doesn’t transmit any personality at all.
Khraâl Vri*ïl: Although I’m sure that this question goes out to Okkhulus Siirs, I’d like to place some words here. If you dare to take a look at the declining artiificial World 2.0 and her last breath mirage unfolding rapidly, there’s no other way of writing in my case. An endless fall and collapse, an endless struggle between my own and the status quo black hole, twisting and mingling, everflowing edge, heading towards spiiral ascendancy, no way out, all controls are set.
TTI: If you were to define your temper by comparing it to a weather, how would you do that?
Okkhulus Siirs: Okay, let me try. I best like 10 to 15 degrees Celsius, a mix of slight haziness and sunshine, but with a constant decent rainfall. You know, these days are appealing somehow climate-wise, but nevertheless you almost won’t see anybody else outside. I don’t know actually how to link that with my temper, sorry.
Khraâl Vri*ïl: If there’s a between the worlds weather situation, whose infinite grey aspects could imagine the manifold trinity of .:all:nihil:and:beyond:. colours, sounds and odours, it maybe would fit. This is Khaorta calling, trans saturnalia whiplash, skeleton of creation, so very very close, but also afraid and sad.
TTI: Is originality a mandatory ingredient to a good band and what do you think is more important in music, writing good songs or sounding different from all other bands out there?
Okkhulus Siirs: Originality is an opinion which is subjective and therefore a personal decision on the side of the listener. The problem you’re addressing, I think, is that lots of people are overcharged when asked for their opinion which is why they consult or fight other people’s ideas of originality thus trying to turn original into a generic category.
TTI: Since your lyrics deal with mental health issues, I would like to know what are your feelings towards aging? Are you afraid of getting old, ill and dependable?
Khraâl Vri*ïl: I’m more afraid of becoming disabled in general and thus being dependable, not of getting old and ill. All those mental diseases aren’t connected with any stage of your own age, it’s more like an inheritance or implant when you were thrown into life. I regard the word illness the same as the word time, just a humanoiid dogmatiikch shape, according to which everything uncontrollable must be dangerous.
Okkhulus Siirs: The word aging itself describes physical and mental decay. It’s natural to become incontinent and nuts sooner or later. I would be glad not to suffer from it for a long time, but rather die quickly. I’m afraid of mental disorders which befall young and fit persons all of a sudden. Schizophrenia, paranoia, anxiety disorders and the like. Metabolistic parasites that may slumber for decades and then suddenly push their host into endless vicious circles mounting in total loss of personality and all valuable character traits.
TTI: Do you hope for an afterlife or would you like to die completely, both with body and with soul? Does absolute nothingness feel more appealing to any form of perpetual existence?
Okkhulus Siirs: Today more and more people tend to technically outsource their souls. Hence, imagine a horrible catastrophe happening in an urban setting and from the piles of debris you can hear the cacophonous symphony of a thousand unanswered smartphone rings. Personal tragedy on the one hand, one quick and soon forgotten news coverage on the other, and a thousand digital identities that remain accessible for years on the third. I would rather die completely.
Khraâl Vri*ïl: And in strange aeons even death may die. To me non-being isn’t contrary to any religious concept. You can feel yourself displaced anywhere and anytime. My life feels more like dying completely than death him/herself, there’s a great difference between nothing and .:nihil:..
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