maanantai 21. marraskuuta 2011
The Devil's Blood - Paradox Forevermore
The Devil's Blood is hardly a band enslaved in time. Neither is this interview which was done with mainman Selim Lemouchi in September 2009. What helps is that we didn't spend too much time discussing the band's then-current album The Time Of No Time Evermore per se. In the wake of the Devil's troops' second album The Thousandfold Epicentre, there are already many voices calling out, chanting the band's glory, but The Thousandfold Epicentre being the masterpiece it is, I can't help but join the choir.
An interview with Selim Lemouchi of The Devil's Blood.
Originally published in Imperiumi.net, September 2009.
I know you get this a lot these days, but I think congratulations are in order for an outstanding debut full-length! What were your expectations for public response once you'd finished working on The Time Of No Time Evermore?
- To be perfectly honest my expectations were always very low, the main reason for this is the fact that I myself have enough trust in my music to know that just finishing the album and everything surrounding that is enough to be totally proud on it. Apart from that it is good to see that so many people are excited and feel there is something of value to found inside but this does not change the way we go about making music or performing live in any way.
This might sound paradoxical, because I'm conducting an interview here myself, but I've always wondered what kind of an experience interviews are for a band like The Devil's Blood. I mean, when it's obvious than the band stands for a lot more than the usual rock n' roll mechanics, do you ever feel uncomfortable sharing your ideas about your chosen spiritual path and so on?
- A mixed experience, I have to say the general level of the interviewers is dreadfully low. This really annoys me from time to time having to answer the totally inane and childish questions over and over again. But also it can be a very rewarding process if the interviewer has done his homework and has come up with the right question to really allow us to say something worth reading.
This might be a brave assumption, but the way I understand, you don't want The Devil's Blood's job to be explaining their work to their listeners, let alone converting the listeners to similar beliefs. So what function do interviews serve for you personally and The Devil's Blood collective? Are you at peace with the fact that there's quite a bit of this sort of "mundane" stuff to be considered when the band reaches a certain level of renown?
- Yes, I am. And although I do not see myself as a "evangelist" I do see the possibility of opening people to our message and attuning them more and more to the Sinister energies we try to invoke. In this capacity interviews can become the instigating factor for a wide scope of realization processes in the mind of the reader.
It would seem that The Time Of No Time Evermore will take The Devil's Blood's popularity to new heights, although it's still probably farfetched that with the no-compromise attitude the music would bring the food on your table... If it one day would, though, would that change anything with how you feel and see The Devil's Blood?
- I'm not sure, making money was never the goal of course and I see no real changes in that any time soon. If we could however make decent living out of it I see no reason to not do that. It would allow us to dedicate even more of our time and energy into The Devil's Blood and that would be good thing doubtlessly.
One thing that might also prevent The Devil's Blood to rise to world-fame is the very contradictive nature of the band. Like you said it yourself in an interview with Lords of Metal, some of your non-musical inspirations to write music include: "Sex, Death, Excess, Art, Drugs and Alcohol, Magick, Satan, God, Love, Hate, Contradiction, Hypocrisy..." Bearing this in mind, it's obvious that not all of your listeners can (or even want to) touch but the mere surface of your being. So, what do these listeners - and your "fans" in general - mean to the band?
- Contradiction and Paradox are the main inspirations behind The Devil's Blood as they are primary heralds of Chaos in the minds of men. As these contradicting images flow from our music and from our words so may the people start to see the beautiful horror that is at its heart. What these people, our "fans", mean to us is a chance to do what we want to do. We'd like them to open their mind to the spiritual but if for some reason they are unable to and make due with just the rock n roll aspect of the band that is fine too.
Continuing with the thread of contradiction and extremity, how difficult is it for you to keep the band together and not let it slip to a total unbalance? How important is tension for the success of the band? On the other hand, is balance in any way or sense of the word something you strive for with The Devil's Blood?
- It is hard, but as we are serious people that know where we are and what we want we usually get past our internal "strifes" in a professional way. Our dynamic allows to work very professional up to certain point and after that loose ourselves in chaos and disorder. There is a sort of balance there which we try to push as far as it will go. Sometimes however these scales slide and strange things happen usually when these mindsets are combined with copious alcohol usage. Here's another paradox; in order to instigate chaos in the minds of the listener/watcher/seeker you must apply a modicum of order to bring across these images in a comprehensive way. Organisation is in this case Chaos born.
Actually, how do you define success in The Devil's Blood's context?
- To be able to do what it is we do the way we want, when we want, how we want. To instigate extremism in the listener both internally and externally. To make Art that sings of Glory that is coming.
You've been very open in interviews, and in many of them you've talked about your drug use. How big of a learning experience was that time for you personally, or was it indeed just something that was hindering you, in other words, did the learning only come after you'd gone through rehab?
- 50/50 I guess, it took some time for to learn that I was not someone who could use drugs as a "recreational" thing but that the bondage of addiction was too close for me. I kicked that habit as best I could and I feel glad I did.
“We are not heavy metal, we are what becomes heavy metal.“ That's again another quote from an earlier interview. I have to say I like the way that statement sounds, but it still begs a further question: What has originally set you on this trail of creating music? Do you think "divine providence" has had anything to do with that?
- Maybe not Divine in the common explanation of that term but, yes. I believe I opened myself to influences that pushed through me their source of inspiration and this, flowing through the landscapes of my personality became the music and words of The Devil's Blood. As to that quote; it was more a reaction to people misguidedly cornering us as a heavy metal band, which we are not.
The recent decade has seen a resurgence of sort in occult metal/rock, at least when it comes to the themes and imagery many of the bands nowadays use. Do you see The Devil's Blood as part of any kind of scene or movement, (and did any contemporary artists play a part in your spiritual awakening)? Or would you rather see The Devil's Blood considered as an entity unto itself?
- The bands and artists that have opened me to this have been discussed many times before and that is a matter of public record. I do not see The Devil's Blood as a part of any scene whatsoever. I think we are an independent entity who can stand proudly on its own. That is not to say we do not respect or admire many of these artists and bands. We simply feel no need for this kind "organised" thinking as this will doubtlessly lead to dogma.
I know that it's not your policy to comment extensively on any interpretations on the lyrics, but I just have to ask the following question. I'll Be Your Ghost feels and reads very much like a love song to me. However, there's also a strong sense of (Faustian) submission/surrendering to a greater force in the song. So, how close are love and submission in your books?
- They are certainly very closely connected. And in this song I did voice both in equal measure.
In an interview for the Austrian Stormbringer, you say that hedonism plays "a very important role indeed" in The Devil’s Blood: "Excess, debauchery and transgression of every kind would be a very important piece of the puzzle. We call on our audience to provide us with their energy and to let their souls sink deeper into the darkness and chaos that lies waiting. So, violence, sex, drugs, alcohol... all these things are or could be a part of our ritual in order to achieve our goals?" But does asceticism have a place in your personal way/view of life?
- Yes. Growth through self-denial and self-affirmation equally. Another fine paradox.
In a recent interview with the Finnish Inferno you stated that with The Time Of No Time Evermore you've come to the end of the first full circle. How do you expect the second circle to unfold, then? Do you already consider The Time Of No Time Evermore a thing of the past and look forward to starting anew?
- In a way it is just that, a thing of the past. And perhaps through the live presentation it will grow even further and reach new heights creatively. On the other hand I am a restless person and I would enjoy writing at this moment very much. Alas, I am but a little vessel on a vast ocean of creative force and I will have to wait for the winds to blow again and then perhaps I can get a glimpse on the new shores it will bring me to.
A very good, recent mini-documentary on Selim's views on life, death and inspiration (by the Dutch FaceCulture).