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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Heresiarch interview

There hasn't been a new post here since May 2015 and I've been hassling N.H from Wellington New Zealand's Heresiarch to do an interview here since at least 2011.  So it's only appropriate that he gets to break the drought....

1) It’s been awhile since your 2014 Wælwulf ep. What’s been happening with Heresiarch since then?

After Wælwulf, we did shows in NZ and Black Conjuration IV Fest in Australia, at the time I was also doing drums and then bass for Vesicant. For 2015 we were inactive.

This year we recruited N.O on drums, now have J.B back in the lineup and for the first time have a lineup with all members in the same city. We've been working on new material for our full length since. Recently we recorded our track for the split with Genocide Shrines, Trepanation and Serpents Athirst which will be out on Dark Descent and Cyclopean Eye in 2017.

Wælwulf 7" cover
2) Having your line up all in the same city must be a significant change for you. What aspects do you think that does to enhance Heresiarch? If any, what were the advantages of the previous two lines ups that were national and then trans tasman?

Being able to regularly rehearse as a full band has further developed our music, the writing process and presentation of live material.

There were definite advantages in the previous recording lineups but they were independent of location... Each individual involved to date has made important contributions to the band with commitment, experience and musicianship.

3) How did this 4 way split come about? What was the deciding factor for the combination of bands? Tell us about your contribution toward it.

I've been in contact with Genocide Shrines before the "Devanation Monumentemples" EP was released in 2012, we have mutual respect for each other’s music and ideology.

I was in Sri Lanka recently and discussed with Genocide Shrines and Serpents Athirst members, we all agreed on the bands involved and labels to work with. Trepanation are also on board which are one of the best NZ band's today, the track they’ve recorded is pure savagery.

Each band will be contributing one new song to this release, our track represents how the new material for the coming album will sound.

Preview of the Heresiarch contribution to the split

4) Looking ahead from the split, what else is on the horizon for Heresiarch at the moment?

The priority for this year has been working on new material, we’re working on the last songs currently.

We recently played with Immolation at Valhalla in Wellington which was our first live appearance in over 2 years. In November/December we have gigs lined up with Trepanation in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch alongside some newer bands such as Desolation Horns and Exaltation. We’re discussing opportunities for next year but our focus is towards building the foundations for the new era of Heresiarch.

5) Tell us about this album. Please give an idea about lyrical and musical themes, titles, intended release date and anything else we could expect.

The title is Death Ordinance, it is being composed with a lyrical and musical narrative, similar to what was done with Wælwulf but further expanded.

Each song has a specific place in the album and is written accordingly, it’s important that the full length album is complete, rather than a collection of songs. Release dates will be given by Dark Descent when it is time to, our focus is on composing the material to reflect the vision rather than meeting an arbitrary deadline. One of the tracks features on the coming split and will give an indication.

6) So with ‘Death Ordinance’ being consistent with what we heard on the Wælwulf ep, can we expect to hear more of the dynamic, complex song writing such as that on the track ‘Endethraest’? Also will we see the artwork of Nick Keller again? If so what concept might that take?

The songs composed are more developed than previous material. The addition of C.S has contributed a new element of song writing which still reflects the sound or Heresiarch. The concept, theme and structure of the album is all planned, referenced and we are ensuring that each song composed reflects this.

We are likely to be working with a different artist for the album, our music and lyrics are very visual so the suitable artist will have plenty to draw influence from.

Nick Keller's gatefold inside cover art for the 2011 'Hammer of Intransigence' ep
7) Could you please expand on some of the lyrical themes contained on the Wælwulf ep and how they may be developing on future material?

Wælwulf took a different turn compositionally and lyrically to the previous releases, at the time I was the only member composing material and I drew on a lot more of my personal influences rather than musical.

There’s an atavistic narrative through the piece balancing primitivism and a more reflective underpinning philosophy. The lyrics draw influence from Germanic, specifically Anglo-Saxon historic and literary texts such as Brunaburh and Maldon. There’s allusions to Ragnarök\ Götterdämmerung, with an Anti-Theistic approach (murder of gods, rejection of hope, destiny and fate) as well as implications to the present.

That theme will be expanded on later as a "saga”, but won't be on the album. The album expands on the composition and flow found in Wælwulf, with each track having a specific purpose in the scheme of the album. This is why the Obsecrating, Hammer and Wælwulf were individual demos and EP's rather than recorded together as an album.

8) I guess that leads to a few questions. In your view, how do you see pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon history having implications in the present day? Where did you become interested in these things? Does this suggest that ideas for future Heresiarch EPs might be in their embryonic form?

Numerous historic texts are still applied to the present day which multitudes adhere to with mindless devotion. The lyrical content can draw influence from an event or text without specifically referring to it, there are parallels with multiple cultures and eras throughout history.

There’s no suggestion to foster spurious relationships with old gods and tribes, or escape reality and romanticise the past. Wælwulf recounts multiple references whilst having an application to the present, in mind, attitude and will.

The follow up to the album is already taking form. It will feature previous and unreleased material recorded as a cohesive release.
9) Tell us about the process or processes you use to write your music. What is working particularly well at the moment?

C.S and I consistently work on new material together as well as separately. We focus on each track\section of the album specifically, if something is more fitting elsewhere it will be designated so.

Each tracks place in the overall composition is specific and if it doesn’t reflect this, it is discarded, writing with a greater context in mind has worked well.

10) What aesthetic theme are you considering for your future live shows?

We will be building on what we’ve used previously with smoke, lighting and minimal “crowd pleasing” interaction. Creating an inclusive atmosphere does not reflect our music, in a live setting the listener should be able to experience this, rather than participate in a group activity. The audience should feel as though they are being watched just as much as the band.

11) You say you want "minimal crowd pleasing" in your live show and that you want the audience "to feel though they are being watched". How do you see your audience? If you don't want them to be pleased, for what reason should they come to see Heresiarch play live? 

Those familiar with our sound and releases should know what to expect, we’re not going to strike up conversations and share anecdotes between songs. The live atmosphere is a representation of the sound and vision of the band.

12) Do you have a set idea of what you’re aiming for with Heresiarch’s music? I mean, do you feel like you’re making that music right now? Or are you still exploring the path towards your end goal?

Yes, we are very specific with what we are working towards. The new material written is the best representation of the band musically and thematically and is the most purposeful manifestation of Heresiarch. Throughout each release the music and ideas have evolved while maintaining the underpinning identity of the band, the end goal is likely to evolve with time as well.

13) You’ve talked about influences, be they personal or musical, but what inspires you to keep pushing ahead with Heresiarch today?

We will continue forwards until there is nothing more to say/do, at this stage there is no conclusive end in sight. Even during periods of inactivity we have used the time to formulate and develop ideas for the future, those ideas give purpose and become the motive for continuing. If this changes, the band will cease.

Special thanks to Craig Hayes of Six Noises for his assistance with this interview.

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