Gorath - About Mayas and metal
First of all I would like to thank you for a great album I could add to my collection.
'Thank you for the compliment. The Fourth Era receives very positive feedback from the media. Most of the magazines give a score of around 80/100. During the writing process of the first songs I already had a good feeling about this album.'
Gorath was founded as a one man project. When did you decide it was time to turn it into a complete band?
'Actually Gorath is still a one- man band. After I quit with my other band, Gorath became a priority and could not be called a project anymore. Bands like Burzum and Bathory are/ weren’t projects as well. People kept on asking when Gorath would perform live. But after a period of many live performances together with other people, I absolutely wasn’t into in playing in a band with a democratic structure. But the current session musicians gave me trust in a good ending, so I was positive about the collaboration. With members of Panchrysia, Suhrim and Leng Tch’E on my side you can be sure Gorath will be there on stage. The band-like cooperation is so satisfying I will use real drums on the next album. That is for sure. Then Gorath can be compared with bands like Satyricon or Watain, who consist of regular members who are assisted by session musicians on stage.'
The band members also play in other (well-known) bands like Ancient Rites and Aborted. Is Gorath a main project or more a side project?
'The former guitarist Raf of Ancient Rites produced the album. That is the only thing that connects him to Gorath. I had the intention to give hime some space for some experiments with guitar tunes, because he is an excellent guitarist and a tremendous songwriter. Unfortunately there wasn’t any space left. Guitarist Devenster also plays in Leng Tch’E, but he also had a huge amount of sessionjobs. So he was indeed the live guitarist of Aborted during their last U.S. tour. He had just a few days to learn that set. The members of Gorath are mere session musicians, but their contribution during arrangements of new songs or new idea’s are welcome as well, which I really appreciate.'
The production of The Fourth Era is very clear and I really like it. Who did you work with to get this result?
'Raf mixed and mastered the cd of my other band Theudo just before. I had my demo mixed and mastered in a very good local studio before that. Gorath’s album should have been finished there as well. But it went a little different, and it also led to some judicial consequences. So it was obvious I went to Raf and his Rosecreek studio. Fortunatly, ‘cause the result is not bad at all. Because of his experiences with Ancient Rites, Raf knew exactly what I wanted and he used the same software as I, which eased the process. In my own Crestfallen studio I record all parts and then I let them finish by a professional. Someone like Raf has more perception in transposing certain frequencies and balancing the sound.'
The Fourth Era is a concept album. Can you tell something about it and what inspired you to use this concept? And how you are personally connected to this subject?
'I always had interests in history and geography. Especially the more alternative theories caught my attention. I don’t exactly know how anymore, but probably some theory linked me to the Maya story. The combination of their scientific framework and great respect for nature appealed to me. By the way, their doomsday-prophecies are recurring facts in several ancient cultures, like the Egyptians and the Sumerians. Even our church tells about the Deluge and the apocalypse. The Maya’s had it calculated mathematically. Their portrait of an era ends in December 2012. Then the earth will be in the centre of the universe (and in the middle of the sign of the archer as well). They see it as a milestone in their history and that fifth rebirth will lead mankind into a new era. A golden era. Nowadays this is very much alive if you think of the greenhouse effect and overpopulation of our species.
Complete spiritual freedom is achievable in my opinion if mankind would be depleted. That is why I don’t have any doubts about the fact, that in one decade a new ice age of enormous proportions will occur, that will lead to the end of our western civilisation. Then mankind will be ready for a new beginning. All that mixed with traditional Mayan folklore can be found on The Fourth Era. A good thing is the fact that each of the songs has a deeper meaning and are not about some random subjects.
I recommend everyone to read the lyrics and without obligations to be engrossed in this matter. There is so much to know about this, this is just the tip of the iceberg.'
Can you tell which songs on ‘The Fourth Era’ are your favourites and why?
'‘The Fitfth Birth’ pleases me because of the guest vocals by Peter (vocalist/guitarist of the belgian Thurisaz). I also like ‘Sagittarius’ very much because of the groove. A live favourite is ‘Create & Renew’.
On your website it says you are about to record a new album this year, and it will be a concept album again. What is it about this time?
'All lyrics have been written by Jurgen (also in Theudo) and demanded a lot of research. I don’t want to give anything away, but none of the songs will have an English title. This time each song will have a explanation in the booklet. Jurgen also wrote ‘The Astronaut Of Palenque’ for The Fourth Era. The lyrics are about the Mayas that tell about Votan, a prophet that came from the sea with a dragonship and taught them everything. The man was supposed to have a long beard, blue eyes and a white skin. These things refer to the Vikings and Wotan. Obviously were the travelling Norsemen in contact with Central America long before we knew about it.'
Every band makes progress (well they should). I guess you had some progression as well?
'Progress is relative. In my perspective the songs on The Fourth Era have more their own characters as on the last album. Next to that, there are quite some bands that show no musical progress at all and are liked for that fact. For most black metal fans ‘progress’ is a filthy word. I see progress not always as a musical change, but as a progression of the complete package as well, especially the sound, the artwork and the content of the lyrics. The next album already has been written and goes back to the more traditional black metal. The songs are way faster and longer as before. But I’ve already heard that Gorath evolves more into a band with its own style with the new songs. The new songs fall more in one line with each other and don’t ramble from one subject to another. Progression?'
How is the cooperation with your label Descent Productions?
'Good. A while ago Gorath had a contract at the American Black Owl Records (who also contracted Martyr from the Netherlands) and the dude behind the label kept all his promises. But after the release I never heard much of him anymore. The communication was stolid. Decent Productions are settled in Tilburg (The Netherlands), just a few hours driving from my hometown. Our communication is excellent and I’m very pleased about the effort of the label. After Elite I never contacted other labels. I just put up the whole European distribution for Elite and I wasn’t in the mood for business. I knew Geert (owner of Decent Productions) through Vampire Magazine for which we both wrote. He told me about plans for a new record label. I was in for a new adventure immediately. And I’m not the only one who had faith. Bands like Ikuinen Kamos, Mar de Grises and Cor Scorpii chose for quality as well by choosing for Descent Productions. Just like all the other starting labels there are some things that need improvement, but you know that when you want to cooperate with a new label.'
Are you about to promote your music to the fans? In other words: When will you visit us to treat us on a live performance?
'7 gigs are planned. I expect us to play live until September, and then it’s time for the next album. We’ve got some dates for Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands. The first gig will be in Hasselt, my hometown, march 31st. After 10 years this is the first time playing live with Gorath, I’m thrilled. We had the opportunity to tour with Taake and Vreid, but we had to cancel that. Also because of my job, I couldn’t leave. The next album will include a small tour as well. But Gorath never will be a band playing live that much.'
If you were in charge of a tour or festival, what other bands would be on stage? What would be the greatest line-up that could support Gorath?
'Until about 5 years ago I arranged gigs quite often. I really would like to arrange a neat festival again. I’m thinking about Belphegor, Melechesh and Secrets Of The Moon. Add Gorath to the line up as well and you’ll get quite a nice playbill. I’m not dreaming of mega line ups with bands like Slayer or Kreator. I'd rather play with bands that are close to me.'
You are a reviewer yourself, is that an advantage as a musician in your eyes?
'Not necessarily. Making a review is quite simple, it’s either good or bad, or perhaps something in between. You check what is good and what is not, and you elucidate in your review. But I listen quite often to certain patterns in the music, and if that one kick and cymbal are placed right in the beat. These technical views are not meant to be elucidated in a review. I don’t think people are waiting for that. I’m nearly always involved in music and I have a huge knowledge. That is why I choose for ‘namedropping’ quite often. When I read a review I want to know what genre it is and if the band can be compared to other bands. I quite often get in touch with bands that are really good- and some of their ideas inspire me which result in new ideas. That variety is inspiring. So I think writing for a magazine has advantages for being a musician.'
What do you think of Britney’s new haircut?
'Neat! Altough I prefer seeing her in that red latexsuite in her video ‘Oops ! I did it again’.'
'Keep it dark!'