– Hello and first of all, thanks for taking the time. How is everything going right now with SPECTRAL HAZE? What are you currently up to?
Hello, thank you for these interesting questions and your dedication! All is well. Right now we are mixing and mastering the track which will be featured on our upcoming split with Tusmørke on Duplicate Records some time in the first quarter of next year. All is well!
– You have just released your debut full-length album and I guess some people won’t know about you yet so, could you please share some history of the band?
Basically we hooked up through common denominators such as devotion for heavy music and shared interests. We did not know each other all that well in the beginning, at least I did not know Sönik Slöth that well, and did not know Döömdögg at all. I knew Cëlestial Cöbra somewhat from my youth. Elëctric Stärling we got to know through Tusmørke, which is one of our absolutely favorite bands these days. It’s been a genuinely profound experience, and still is, to get to know these guys. They have become my closest friends and I consider myself very lucky to be able to share and create this music with them. Basically we all had/have other bands we played/play with and that is how we got connected; through the community of heavy mental musical practices here in Norway.
– The first thing that caught my attention off the band was your really singular logo. Whos creation was? Was it your idea?
This was the creation and idea of Sönik Slöth The Wise One. The background for it is the Sri Yantra, which is basically a Hindu Tantra symbol for non-duality
– Starting to dig into your album, «I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains». What meaning does it hold? How good do you think fits both the band and the music/lyrics on the opus?
Well, there is an easy answer to this but difficult for an ignorant being such as myself to articulate in detail. Let me state simply to try and avoid confusion that the whole idea behind the concept of the cover art and to a certain extent the lyrics is to use traditional alchemy as a further symbolism for transmuting our personal energies into a singular sonic entity cosmically speaking. Outer space/inner space. Our collective vessel is an imaginary spaceship, namely THE INTERSTELLAR EXPLORATORY VESSEL (IEV). Music is love, although I should be wise not to state that – speaking for myself – I have any certain experienced knowledge of an absolute truth that I know of. This is simply just our serious effort and a devotional aspect of it. The intent of these symbols is to say certain things through the language of form. The whole album came together nicely, without us really having the intent for it to be a concept album. It is in a way beyond our understanding. It is more of an intuitional concept than intellectual. Let me again state humbly that reality is subjective, and these symbols are our way of applying them.
– This being said; what do some of the lyrics on it deal with? I see you are really inspired by eastern culture and philosophy.
This is very true. I am on an intellectual level very interested in, and on a deeper level practicing «eastern philosophy». Already having stated what much of the lyrics is about, let me add that it is a completely personal interpretation of the mythology and symbolism, and in no way may actually represent the actual truth behind the origin of them. I say this because it is important to respect and really know about what one is practicing, and what one is releasing into the world. In the end this is all about the music, and the lyrical aspect of it is somewhat subjective and fantastical. In this way I have been ignorant and arrogant also, but still, I find some truth in what I have chosen to write and sing. I am especially referring to Mercurian Mantra (which is also inspired by sci-fi), Black Gandharvas and Triads and Trisulas. If one is interested in these subjects one should go into it more deeply and thoroughly, and not take my interpretation of them as complete truths. In fact one should not believe in what I have expressed in any other way than purely fictional, only representational of our feelings and imagination. I am not a teacher nor a scholar, simply a seeker. Descent Through The Intravoidal is a conjecture of HP Lovecraft-inspired material and my former sad state of intense paranoia, which I have been fortunate enough to have gotten rid of. It is a very desperate text! I think that One should always Circumambulate Mount Meru for auspiciousness, and to Observe The Centre Of Infinity is to die. These are our limited understandings of these subjects.
– Talking about such; what are some of your non-musical inspirations?
I feel that We are good at inspiring each other in the group, and this is great because it allows us to be more free in our experimentation and sonic adventure. We are also inspired by psychonauts, astronomy, sci-fi, wisdom from the sages, horror and also the frustration that arises out of this samsaric existence is a very powerful and driving force in itself. Last but not least let us not forget about all the great Gandharvas that have been, are now and who is to come!
– And what does the cover artwork represent? I personally think captures the psychedelic/cosmic element in your music. It looks really psychedelic overall, but if you look closer there are a lot of details, as some occult symbols.
As you can see it is a kind of alchemical tablet, or a «wizards» map to what I can only try and to state as «freedom of the soul». But for me to say this can be somewhat dangerous, because again; this is only my limited understanding of the meaning behind these symbols. The Trident (or Trisula) is representative of the destruction of all concepts of this experience we all have, which we collectively call «reality». The meaning of this is to become «one with nothingness». This is just a superficial way of looking at it, and it has a more esoterically profound meaning which I am in no position to further elaborate about. It is an extremely well done work of art by our multi-talented Cëlestial Cöbra, who has a meditative quality to his attention to detail, as it is with all the other arts that he performs as well.
– Musically you are basically considered a Doom Rock band, but I think there’s much more to your music; there’s a certain HAWKWIND flavour, also elements from Psych and Acid Rock, and overall your music I could say is rooted in the 70’s. But how could you describe your music?
I guess we will never lose the Hawkwind-stamp! We are of course very inspired by them, and it is rather obvious, but we never try to BE Hawkwind. I guess it’s just a certain drive and groove which is similar. It makes sense also, because this is what we associate with «space rock», which we are perfectly happy with defining our music as. We take this as a major compliment. All Hail the church of Hawkwind! We simply state our as Psyched Out Doom Rock Rituals. Doom is an atmosphere more than it is a specific type of sound. In a way I could be as cheeky to say that for instance 16 Horsepowers «Sackcloth and Ashes» is doom, or Swans «The Great Annihilator» is doom. Basically I view it as Wino says (paraphrasing): «Doom is a feeling». I know that many people will disagree with me on this, but that’s OK. I beg their pardon. I believe music can be a gateway for «shamanism», and can invoke altered states of mind in and of itself.
– And what been some of the most influential bands for the sound of SPECTRAL HAZE?
Haha! HAWKWIND! From the top of my head, speaking for myself: Captain Beyond, Can, Neu!, Tusmørke, Virus (NOR), Sleep, Electric Wizard, The Wounded Kings (Shadow Over Atlantis), Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Earthless, Pentagram, White Hills, Pink Floyd, Pink Fairies, Darkthrone, Motörhead, various Surf-rock, Erkin Koray, Omar Khorshid, Gong, Steve Hillage, Acid Mothers Temple, BLACKSABBATHBLACKSABBATHBLACKSABBATHBLACKSABBATHBLACKSABBATH, Flower Travellin’ Band, Rush, Judas Priest, Saxon, NEIL YOUNG!, Candlemass, OM!!!!, Urfaust, Burzum, Grails, 13th Floor Elevators, Spirit Caravan, Saint Vitus, Acid King, Blue Öyster Cult, Satan’s Satyrs, Beglomeg, FLIGHT! and the list goes on into infinity… There is so much music yet to discover, and I have probably forgotten my most important inspirations!
– Atmosphere seems to play an important role on the album, you can’t help but being trapped by it. What do you want to convey with your ambiences? Or what are you channeling through them?
I think these particular ambiences you are referring to speaks for themselves.
– Into this ritualistic atmosphere you use repetitive elements that create a mantra and feel almost trance-inducing. I think is easy for the listener to lose all notion of time. Is this something you want to obtain with your music? I mean to pass the barrier of music and become something more emotional.
I think you just stated it very poetically and sincere the way you just did.
– You aren’t afraid of using certain electronic elements. What do they bring to «I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains»?
This is the fifth element to Spectral Haze, a mystical entity which have baptized itself as the Elëctric Stärling. Only he knows the true reason behind the sounds, but they create a very fitting atmosphere to our «celestial vessel», wouldn’t you agree? In a way he actually makes it hover and fills it with more life summoned from the void.
– On the other hand, vocals resound like an echo perfectly integrated into the atmosphere, it feels like another instrument. How did you approach your vocal lines?
Thank you. This is a matter of trying and failing and practice.
– Everything on the album flows on a superbly natural way, in an almost cosmic way, it’s just music to let go to. Do you also compose like this? I mean, do you just go with the flow or ir it a more planned process?
This is where the «ritual» aspect of it comes in. We try to intellectualize the whole ordeal as little as possible, and just try to «let go». It’s kind of a mass-meditation, in a way.
– I experienced this album like a sonic journey that explores different emotions and thoughts, it can be quite reflective at times but, what do you feel when you listen to this album? What different emotions and thoughts do you go through?
For me even though I have listened to it numerous times it’s important not to get consumed by this ego having «accomplished» this piece of art which I have made with my soul brothers. I am proud of it, but I refuse to cling onto it, and would rather praise the songs in a live-format, giving and receiving from the peers, than indulging in further masturbation of the mind. I honestly believe that it is important to let things go and move on to the next phase. It is simply a representation of Spectral Haze anno 2014. That being said I am very satisfied with how the whole album turned out.
– All this about «I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Thank you for the challenge. We should all be better at explaining things simply! How about: Drop outsideinside!(?)
– And as the end of the year is drawing nearer, could you please tell us what have been your 3 favourite albums of 2014 and your less favourite one?
I wish I had listened to more music this year. I cannot give justice to all the great bands that exist out there. Narrowing it down like this is complicated, but I will try, from the top of my head;
Earth – Primitive And Deadly
Tusmørke – Riset Bak Speilet
Black Magic – Wizard’s Spell
– Finally, what are your near-future plans?
There are some shows coming up in Oslo. We’ll probably get down to rocking out some new material soon enough as well.
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thank you so much for having us! Peace upon all beings within the cosmos of the RIFF