HEAD OF THE DEMON (EN)

– Hello, thanks for taking your time, hope you are all healthy over there. Has the whole pandemic situation affected the band’s activity and the work surrounding the release of the new album in any way?
Hello! All is well thank you… Initially I believed that the pandemic would affect us more than it actually has. A cancelled release gig is more or less the only thing that has gone sour for us. There were no delays or the likes with the release itself and everything went according to plan. I can asume however that the shipping and distribution of the album has been stalled from time to time but other than that nothing else as far as I know. 

– This new opus is “Deadly Black Doom”, which comes out 4 years after your previous “Sathanas Trismegistos” was released. How was the process of starting to create this new album like? Was it something organic or did you set out to work on something new?
If I recall we started working on different ideas pretty much after the recording of Sathanas Trismegistos. Usually it takes us about a year between the finished writing of an album to record it. In that period we usually focus foremost on details and lyrics of the songs and the vocal arrangements. Which means that the writing doesn’t stop so there is usually some new stuff to try out as soon as we are done in the studio. But we are we working very organic and also trying to keep in our mind that we don’t want the new stuff to sound like the previous. So we discriminate pretty hard when it comes to that. Since we wish to push our creativity in for us unknown direction. However, we are guided and overseen by the intelligence that once ignited this creative stream we call Head of the Demon.

Photo by: Linn Vilmann

– This is your third record. A Trinity of albums. Does this have any meaning to you?
Yes it does. We have reached a certain point with this third album that calls for reinvention. I feel very much that this third record is a synthesis of the first two albums, which somehow birthed this third one. And now, for the future we need to work very hard to reinvent us without loosing ourselves. But on a general note the third album always carries a specific significance in a band’s lifespan and I have had mixed emotions about it until I came to the conclusion that it is only the third album in a strain of creative expressions that yields under the moniker of Head of the Demon.


– I read for you your debut album was a way to channel something. When I interviewed you in support of “Sathanas Trismegistos” you said that album was basically a vessel. But what’s this new “Deadly Black Doom”?
Another vessel.

– “Deadly Black Doom” is darker, harsher, than its predecesor in different ways. From what or where did this darker edge blossom?
This is something we always had present in Head of the Demon. But on Sathanas Trismegistos there was this idea in the back of my head that I wanted to make it quite 60’s inspired. So for Deadly Black Doom we didn’t have that in mind and thus it turned out differently in sound but also in the songs. So it is both more aggressive and also heavier and more distorted than the previous one.

– But it also has a rockier vibe, which I think it’s something you’ve always had, but this time manages to really shine through, creating an interesting contrast with the aforementioned also harsher feeling. Is contrast something you strive for? Something necessary?
If with contrast you mean dynamic then definitely. From the very first songs we wrote, By Titan Hand, to the latest ones we have always tried to give the songs a life of their own. In order to create this you need to work with dynamics in quite subtle ways, depending on how the rest of the song and its riffs are. But we do spend a lot of time on such details indeed.

– Where does the inspiration of HEAD OF THE DEMON come from? From inwards or outwards? Since it seems most of it comes from your personal, spiritual evolution/workings.
Foremost from the intelligence that once started it all. But it is intimately linked with spiritual practices, processess and sheer creativity. That is where this intelligence thrives.

– This time you split the recording between 2 studios. Why?
The main reason is that the studio we use in Stockholm had sold off its analog 24 channel tape recorder to a studio that is in the middle of Sweden. We wanted to use it and also record live as we did with the previous album so the solution was to rent the studio and go there with our engineer. This we did and it turned out that the studio is a great one. Once built for radio broadcasting every angle and room has sound as its main purpose. It also has equipment that is highly uncommon in todays studio environments that have become almost completely digitalized now. So we managed to use some of that stuff as well, like a plate reverb that is part of the entire soundscape and production. After we recorded the songs we brought them back to Stockholm to continue working with vocals, mixing and mastering in the studio that we have used since the first recording. 

– In fact one of them was far from where you are based. What effect did this have on the process and on the final result/working method?
Yes, it is located in Sundsvall and is about 40 miles away from where we reside. But working like this is something we really enjoyed and plan to do again. The band was there for an entire weekend which gave us plenty of time to immerse ourselves fully into the recording since “no one could go home”. We also resided in the studio that has guest rooms, kitchen and a sauna so we made ourselves very comfortable there. I believe it served to focus our minds to a fuller degree on the recording since it wasn’t needed elsewhere and just hanging out results in quite alot of spontaneous ideas and mischief.

– Always a 4 years gap between albums. Does HEAD OF THE DEMON have some kind of cyclic nature? Is something revealing itself through this?
This is something we haven’t done on purpose and only became aware of now for the third album and its release. Probably it has some kind of cyclic nature as you say that has revealed itself unto us. And it is some kind of subconscioss process that has emerged and become known to us.

– With your music you manage to give an image to the main ideas behind your albums. Do you set first an idea and then work around it or how is the creative process in the band? What’s the main theme/idea behind this new “Deadly Black Doom”?
Usually I come up with riffs and some musical parts that I feel is “Head of the Demon”, meaning based on the core that the band is an outlet for. Take it to the rehearsal space and work with it to see how it develops and then just let it zimmer until it is either done or rancid and we throw it away. Sometimes it is just a riff or riffs, other times it is a feeling that needs tunes to clothe it. Other times it is a vision that needs translation into music. So I’d say that often times it is an idea that comes first and then whence it has materialized in a song it points toward the direction it wishes to go. From there we just follow it.

– Is there a main lyric writer in the band? Most of your lyrics and ideas are pretty much rooted in the Draconian tradition. Spiritually, do the paths of all the members in the band cross?
Yes, that would be me. I have so far written all the lyrics for our releases besides one, Voidsoul, which was written by our vocalist Saibot. And you assert right that they deal with the Typhonian/Draconian tradition. I wouldn’t say that the path crosses for all the members, but for a majority they do.

– Talking about lyrics, how do you approach them and what language do you choose to communicate?
Lyrics are always written after the songs are completed musically. Usually the song and feeling of it convey a theme or topic that I base the lyric on. So far I have written foremost in English, but I have for a long time had the desire to write in Swedish. I don’t know if that will happen in the future, but it is one of the things I would like to do.

– All this about the new album being said, and excluding the words on its title; how would you describe it in just 3 words?
Heavy, satanic and meditative.

– Leaving the new record aside, to what extent does the band name reflect what you as a band are? There’s some formulae behind al-ghūl. How much of a rational, conscious concept/effort is there in what you do?
Rational thought is in the back ground when it comes to Head of the Demon. Since its conception was of an inspirational current that wished to convey itself. We, as persons, have very little to say about things in its unfolding. It is much more of a work to translate and manifest it into tangible form than anything else really. If we, as persons, wish to do something that isn’t in the interest of the genii we won’t succeed. And if the genii wishes to do something that we, as persons, feel is not in our power, it makes sure it happens. That’s pretty much what I can say about it. Since we are also quite in the dark regarding it, and so it will remain I believe.

– And before we wrap this interview up, what are now your near-future plans? What are you focusing on right now as a band?
Since we are in the middle of a pandemic it is hard to make concrete plans. We hope to play some live shows in the near future to promote the new album and also write new material. Maybe a tour…. but we’ll see…

– That’s all from our side, thank you once more for answering our interview. If you’d like to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thank you Tania for this great interview and your support. Deadly Black Doom is upon us!

Tania Giménez

tania@queensofsteel.com

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