– Hello, thanks for taking the time. What are you currently up to?
Thank you for taking the time to interview us. Today I’ve just been working around the house. Fixed a couple things & then recorded session vocals for a local band in my area.
– First of all, if you don’t mind I would like you to share some history of the band.
Well my brother & I started this band in 1996. The main influence & essence has always been witchcraft. Our family bloodlines tie back to puritanical time here in America & it has always been one of my favorite subjects. It also was something that just came natural.
– And why did you pick the name “Ceremonial Castings”?
It was fate. I believe this name came to us & there was no way we could pull away from it. In the stage of deciding on a name this one appeared on a paper of notes I had written down. While the two words were not connected to each other in any way shape or form they sat on top of each other in this exact order. It just seemed like it was meant to be & the name was something that perfectly fit what & who we are & is original enough to withhold. There will only be one Ceremonial Castings.
– You have recently released your latest “March of the Deathcult”; how did you come up with the idea of releasing an album like this?
Since the release of ‘Salem 1692’ we have been re-releasing & re-recording older material. It seems that our cult following has arose quite a bit since 2008 & this is our way of getting a physical copy of our older material into the hands of our new fans.
– All songs are taken from “Midnight Deathcult Phenomena” and “Universal Funeral March”. Why did you want to give these concrete tunes a second change? As I think they now sound quite better.
Some of the songs on these albums are some of my favorites. We felt that we couldn’t let these songs fade away without proper recognition as a key element & timeline that has made us who we are today. These records along with ‘Into the Black Forest of Witchery” are the albums where we found our sound & direction I believe. They’ve always been an important part of our history & we wanted to share that.
– In fact these tracks have been re-recorded and remastered; are you satisfied with how did they end up?
Satisfied? Not really. It’s pretty rare that I am satisfied with an outcome of an album. There are always things that I personally would have done different or taken more time on if I had the opportunity. We always seem to give ourselves a deadline & I think deadlines often make us feel rushed. That is definitely something we’re going to try & change in the future.
– You have also included the cover songs for VENOM’S “Manitou” and EMPEROR’s “Night of the Gravelss Souls”; why this ones? I mean, didn’t you think about featuring “The Gate of Nanna” as well?
I really enjoyed covering ‘The Gate Of Nanna’ however I think that cover needs to be re-done. Once again the quality of it just lacks & I feel while we were showing tribute to an influence at the time it would be nice to properly do that in the future once again. The Emperor & Venom track I was pleased with how they sounded & felt fit this release more.
– And are there any other songs you would like to cover?
We are always covering songs here & there. We have a split or EP we’re working on that features a cover of Whiplash’s ‘Stirring The Cauldron’ that I am excited about. We also will eventually be finishing our Type O Negative cover in memory of the late Peter Steele. As far as other covers go I am sure there will be many in the future. I personally enjoy taking songs & making them my own, especially ones that make people question it before hearing.
– I see the cover artwork is new; could you please shed some light on this? (Who crafted the art, how did you work on it, etc.)
Every album we contact Kris Verwimp. I present him with an idea/vision that I have in my head & he elaborates on it. His version is always so different then what I have in my head & thankfully so as every piece of art he does is absolutely amazing. In many ways I feel like Kris is apart of what we do. Without the incredible work he does I believe our albums wouldn’t get the first initial glance from unfamiliars.
– All your albums have been released by your own label, Dark Forest. Is this a positive thing for the band? Is it so in financial terms as well?
The one thing positive is how big our following has become without any help from anyone else! I find it mesmerizing that people all over the world on every continent are talking about our music. I’d say a good 65-70% of our online mail orders go to foreign countries. From Europe to South Africa to Japan, Malaysia & Australia. It not only amazes me that this has happened without label & distro support but it also makes me very thankful that people in every part of the world are connecting to our visions of art & enjoy what we do!
The other part that I find very positive is that we have complete freedom to what we wish with our music. There is no part of me interested in crafting another persons wish. If we do sign to a label in the future it will be under our terms & conditions. I believe in what we do & it is what I live for. I could not cope with someone else telling me how & what to write.
– Now that you have done some shows and touring I read you have some other projects in mind as well, what could you tell us about it?
Well all of the Castings’ members have side projects that we do alone or with one another. While these projects are not as important as CC to us, it is another way for us to express ourselves in a different light so to speak. Our drummer has a project under his own name ‘Matt Mattern’ that is very influenced by music like Dead Can Dance & soundtracks like Conan The Barbarian. It is very neo-classical & very well done. Nick has his solo project Mysticism Black that is a very dark spiritual black metal act. He also does this live on occasion with our drummer as a two piece. Without being bias I do say they are amazing to watch live & invoke something from deep within you that most acts do not. I myself have a solo project Serpent Lord that I need to get back to working on soon. I also hope to bring this to a live setting eventually. My brother Nick & I also have a recording project The Dead that we wish to do live one day. It is kind of like a mix of old Misfits meets old Cannibal Corpse. Very punky & gory. A strange mix, but something I really enjoy. We have some other projects that we’re working on & hope to get out this year as well. One of the main bands Nick & I are doing together now is called Motorthrone. We are writing material & playing some big shows here & there. The new stuff is in vein of Impaled Nazarene. Razor, & Venom. While all this is going on CC has a ton of things already in the works. As you can see we are very busy!
– In fact it seems like you are already working on your next album; could you please elaborate a bit? Beside the recording process, I’m specially interested on the concept behind this upcoming release.
Well we have a lot of different things happening. The album you speak of is a new concept album we are currently working on that is all about Cthulhu. We are very excited about this release. I personally believe it is the best stuff we have ever done. I’m sure people will be surprised when it comes out. The album itself will be a test of our mind, existence & the parallel dimensions that we don’t recognize in our everyday lives. The album will also have an entire dark ambient nexus throughout it’s entirety.
While we’ve pushed this album forward & in front of another full length & possible split/ep it will not be the next release to come out. It looks like our first official live album will be coming out sometime next year & hopefully sooner than later. While we release this live album it will give us time to shop our Cthulhu themed album to labels in hope of taking the next step. If for some reason that doesn’t happen then we’ll either release it ourselves or release the other material we have sitting on the back burner. Eventually the Cthulhu album will see the light of day. If nothing else we’ll release it ourselves down the road.
– Though all your albums have been critically acclaimed, you are not a really known band in Europe yet; what do you think is the main reason behind this? What do you think could be the ultimate way to get into the European industry as well?
I believe this has a lot to do with no label support yet. In fact we also manage ourselves. So without another set of hands to push publicity it is hard to reach that next level. We also think a European tour would be a success for us. We are looking into that in the future. I know there are some bands over there that we could contact & tour with. Really what it comes down to is the funds & the possibility of equipment. Our keyboard rig is something that will not be easily shipped. I imagine renting is an option but we just haven’t looked that far into it yet.
While we continue on our journey & tread heavy through tragic times we do appreciate those in Europe that do support us. Our fans will be behind us & with their support & help nothing will stop us. There will be a time that we reach your shores & it will be great thanks to you & many other supporters that we arrive!
– The Black Metal scene in the US seems to be growing stronger each day, anyway I think you guys have managed to build your own place into the scene with a really personal sound but; what do you think makes you guys standout among some other bands?
I think there is a lot that makes us stand out. For one I believe we have our own sound. When you hear CC you know it’s CC. While you may find similarities within the genre we still sound different. I’ve been told our riffs & songwriting also makes us stand out. I think this is true, today it seems a lot of acts in this genre focus more on how they look, how they sound & what people will think rather than strictly on the music. We know who we are, we know why we are here. There is no internal struggle with ourselves to fit in or be “accepted”.
I also feel that the lack of symphonic black metal in this day & age is another reason we stand out. I am sure there are plenty symphonic bands out there but is it symphonic just for the sake of being symphonic. Regardless, I feel our craft is a balanced one. I can’t say there are many bands in our genre that have the aggression we do either. Maybe that is another thing that makes us stand out. But these are just opinions. I think the real answer is that people recognize hard work, dedication & respect. We have all these things for what we do & there is no alternative actions behind it.
– And what other US BM acts could you suggest?
There are quite a few USBM bands that I like & listen to & it seems I always forget some when answering these questions. I would definitely recommend:
Von, Absu, Inquisition, Averse Sefira, Lightning Swords Of Death, Vesperian Sorrow, Goatwhore, Krallice, Weakling & Wolves In The Throne Room. I think all these bands are doing something unique & in their own way. Unfortunately most of America’s scene has been over saturated with hipsters just trying to re-create someone else’s sound. It has a big lack of integrity but if you dig deep enough you can find some really good gems I didn’t mention. In the end I guess it is all opinions anyways.
– That is it. Thanks once more for answering to our questions. If you now want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thank you very much for the interview. We appreciate the support & help. Thanks to all our fans that stick by us & continue to support us! Hails & Cheers!