– Hello, lots of thanks for answering our interview. How is everything going into the SETH’s camp right now?
We played Hellfest 2 weeks ago while the album has been out for a month by now. We are preparing a few live dates scheduled for September/October.
– You will soon release your first album in 9 years, your first album since you guys came back. This long-awaited opus is entitled «The Howling Spirit». How does it feel having it done and out finally? How has it been like working again together on new material after such a long time?
Actually a lot of the material had been written during the last ten years. All tracks had been thought over, worked and reworked like a hundred times together with Cyriex, whom I played in Decrepit Spectre, without the basic idea of releasing them under the SETH label…We were aware of the fact that some of this material sounded potentially really good and we just reworked these tracks again to a more SETH style to eventually record them. The Howling Spirit is actually the result of a painfully huge song-writing process that we are all very proud of.
– For this new record you’ve got a new bass player, Eguil Voisin so, how has he fitted in?
Helldryk our ex-bass player quit recently. He had been dedicated to the band since 2001 and while truly eager to be part of the band return he felt the need to leave after our very first new live appearance two years ago in Germany. He is now entirely commited in his own band Techny-call x. All this means that we had to get ourserlves a new bass player for the recording of the following as well as tour dates. Eguil, a long time friend who used to play in Lyzanxia and playing with me in Reverence, stepped in and wrote most bass lines for this new album. He was possibly the best to take over as we wanted something heavier with a slight bluesy touch and this also explains why the bass track in this album is possibly more predominant in The Howling Spirit compared with the previous albums.
– Last year you rerelased your debut album, «Les Blessures de l’Âme», with Season of Mist, the same record label that is now releasing your brand new «The Howling Spirit». When you did the mentioned reissue, did you already have in mind releasing new material with Season of Mist?
No, we didnt plan anything like this, didnt plan either the releasing of a new record at the time. Everything started with the German gig opportunity we had which was to play with Bethlehem in southern Germany. I deemed it rather appropriatete to rerelease our first record then, by the time it was released we collected our material, started rehearsing and sent a 2 track demo to SOM, they liked it and we were good to go…
– Digging deeper into this new release; what’s the main concept behind it?
The Howling Spiritis the cohesive spiritual voice haunting the whole album from beginning to end. It is a desperate cry that binds all the tracks altogether. It is more directly alluded to on the two Acts called «Howling Prayers» which are both acoustic guitar interludes. I also wanted to give back SETH some kind of oldschool touch using such an instrument the way we used to do on the first album in the nineties or like At The gates or Dissection did at the time and i guess it helps create this feeling that makes your bones howling, almost like wild hawks do in the nest..The main concept being nature’s self-destruction, the lyrics borrow a lot from authors such as Thoreau or Steinbeck from whom themes such as morality, sin and guilt do exist only for those who believe in them and act negatively on you as a consequence. We welcomed some guests on this album and also lyric writers such as Kvohst ( Hexvessel, ex DHG, ex <Code>), or Steph Buriez from Loudblast, then our singer Black Messiah and I also wrote lyrics.
– And what did you want to depict with its cover artwork?
It illustrates this idea of nature’s destruction with human prints left by strings hanging eyeless hawks’ heads about to fall in the void and despair. It’s been made by Abrakadabra studio https://www.facebook.com/AbrakadabraStudio and our first basspalyer Faucun Noir who also did most illustrations for Les Blessures de L’Ame and the recent reissue.
– Obviously, compared to your previous albums, production on this new effort sounds much modern. How has technology changed throughout these last 9 years you have been on hiatus? Could you say its been a benefit for the new album’s sound?
I wouldnt it sounds more modern, i guess it just sounds better and efficient while the two previous albums sounded way too clinical and artificial. This time we’ve tried to get somethings much more natural to convey the vision we had summed up into the lyrics. The idea was to find the most appropriate sound guy to convey our music at best so we went to record in Drudenhaus in Northern France (Alcest, Vorkreist, Anorexia Nervosa, Ultra Vomit etc..) for about a month spread from September to December 2012. Weneeded to find the right guy that would help us create what we had in mind. Today too many bands find it extremely difficult to know what they really need, leaving the whole work to the sound guy, which explains why so many do have the exact same sound these days (ie. The Swedish BM scene). I believe recording at Drudenhaus Studios was the best option in terms of getting someone patient enough to understand what the band really wants. It took some time but it was definitely for the best.
– I could also say «The Howling Spirit» has some more Death Metal influences. Have you broaden your horizons during these last years? As I guess SETH may have been through a logical and natural evolution.
Our music has always been very diversed. There were some death metal elements in the past as well, though i admit songs like He Whose Heart Is Heavy With Sin does sound really death metal. Still our music is more atmospheric than before without forgetting that BLACK METAL has to be metal indeed…which is why we do also involve a lot of trashy elements. Many bands today tend to overlook this element, thinking that BM should only be atmospheric..
– Anyway I think you have kept all your trademarks, as the huge diversity. What could you say diversity brings to your albums, or what role does it play? As I think it helps enhancing different contrasts your music has.
Diversity too me is just the opposite of what most bands have to offer these days in BM, a mucis style that has grown very dull throughout the years. It think its just necessary to offer something more thorough as BM has clearly been in need of rejuvenation…
– And how important is melody for SETH?
Melody in itself is not important, the main idea being what to do with them, how to incorporate and use them in your track. SETH music is no longer about riffs as
we’ve tried with this album to create a real music landscape, an actual momentum slowly taking shape from the beginning to the end.
– I have always thought you have your own vision toward Black Metal, you are really diverse, being much more than just simply Black Metal, without getting stagnant. Anyway you are still a Black Metal band, with pretty traditional roots I could say. Do you think BM should follow certain set patterns?
I dont like following mucis codes or rules, but i must admit that there are some patterns to follow when you play such a music. We try to be as subtil as possible when it comes to using them which tends to make things even more challenging albums after albums as we’ve made a point to offer different music perspectives in each of our releases.
– All this about «The Howling Spirit» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words? Oppression, strength, spirituality
Oppression, strength, spirituality
– And finally, what are your near-future plans?
Hopefully releasing a video clip for One Ear To The Earth One Eye On Heaven and going on tour as soon as possible !!
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
It was a pleasure to answer this interview Tania, we’re hoping to play again in Spain quite soon !!