Slava Igor! I would like to ask about the beginning of Casus Belli. When did Casus Belli’s grain start growing and what happened later?
Slava! That were very, very ancient times, times of nearly 1999. I don’t know if it makes sense to come back there, a lot of things happened in my and Casus Belli’s life. But, in short: death-grind band called Undertaker from Szczecin, my friends, had an idea to organise a gig. We had to play some death and blackmetal covers and all members of our team had to sing. Just for fun. However this gig didn’t take place, Undertaker split up, but Krzysiek and Rafał, who were the engines, had a next idea for playing with me as a vocalist. On 1999 they couldn’t see other possibility than playing with me as a vocal. I had been active in slavic neo-pagan movement and I thought, that this band would be a good supplement to my way. We started to work and we saw that we had a good drive, although I was absolutely debutant. Our work had a good speed and during the first check we had the first vocal line for a track.
In 2000 Cacus Belli released first (and the only one) album „Kalos Kai Agathos”. This material was, in my opinion, very important part of Polish pagan metal history. Please retain in our memory its message, lyrics and times...
Thanks for your good opinion. As I told, our work was going so fast and when the news about our band became popular, there happened to find one person, who wanted to release it and to make a small label especially for this material. Less than one year after beginning of our recording work, in 2000, we were sitting in the studio, just about to release the whole album. A few months later „Kalos...” quite well-known and well-received material in the metal and pagan environment. A bit later „Kalos...” went to Metal Mind Productions and was released again the following year .
The message of this album is enclosed in the triangle: the name of the band - tittle of the album - and the cover. These elements are complementary and create a special message alltogether. Casus Belli is a term taken from the theory international law and means: „an event or act used to justify a war”. „Kalos Kai Agathos” means „Good and Beautiful”, a model according to which aristocratic young people were brought up in ancient Greece. In this model there is a balance between the physical and the spiritual elements which both create a very powerful, outstanding human being, capable of ecstatic feelings and devotion to the idea. This is quite opposite to the Christian idea, where holiness is obtained by sufffering, rejection and deep disgrace of human body. This is also different from the contemporary’s extreme tear beetween the physically weak intellectual and muscular stupid „mucho”.
The idea, which I want to talk about, and which identifies the third element – the cover of album, is expressed by the picture of Copernicus by Polish artist Stanisław Szukalski. Apart from the whole context of the artist (who for Polish heathens is very important and symbolic one) his monumental presentation of a great Polish astronomer strikes the viewer with the beautiful and powerful body, controlled by genius brain of Copernicus. His hairdo resembles the shape of horns, which are the symbol of power and revolt. This genius holds in his hands the astronomical instrument. We have to remember that this hero destroyed Christian law and vision of Earth as a center of the Universe. Copernicus revert the main role of Sun in our world. All of these elements are included in the Casus Belli’s lyrics, presenting different motifs from neopagan ideas. I recall Nietsche, I talk about pantheism, I talk about the struggle for our pagan ideals. This is not so clear, but intelligent people will understand it.
11 years later Casus Belli released EP „Sequel of Generations”. Is this the preview of a new full length album?
The plan was that I would release this EP under the label of my publishing house „Triglav”, then we would send it to some labels, magazines and find an official publisher, who would pay for the good studio and would finally release the album. Unfortunately, we are so much fond of creating music, but not selling it. We haven’t dealt with this matter so much during the whole year. We have too much other things on our heads, and the publisher is not to find himself, heh.
Let’s come back to pagan message in your music. When you write the new lyrics do you search for inspiration in old historical cronicles, legends, folk beliefs and ethnographic materials?
No, I don’t. I deal more with the broader message. I search more among the philosophers, the Idea and my own ideas. So, on the more general level and more basic and not so detailed as the presentation in a myth. Of course, a myth, a legend or a tale is much more catchy and easier to understand, but I leave it to the others.
You are a very important person in Warriors Team of City of Tiglav from Szczecin (Drużyna Grodu Trzygłowa), you are an important person in Polish pagan religious association Rodzima Wiara too. How do you manage to combine it with playing?
In addition I make movies, give TV shows, write books and articles, run publishing house, create historical exhibitions, give lectures, organise festivals and shows, I excercise... We go around the world with our team, whose members, incidentally, are not all from Szczecin. I’m one from the Jomsvikings’ crew, I also act in Rodzima Wiara. And, above all, I bring up my son. Is it possible? Yes, it is!
Tell us about your team, called Drużyna Grodu Trzygłowa.
Drużyna Grodu Trzygłowa is a Team of Slavic Warriors. We are not only historical reconstruction team, we are real warriors. This effect is very important and has an effect on our everyday life. Apart from Szczecin we have our units in Warsaw, Poznań, we have some people in England and Holland too. My warriors are bounded by the threads of friendship, common struggle, common journey – it cannot be compared to anything else. This team consists of adult people, who have families, jobs, companies and their affairs – but are knights primarily. Our team is a part of Jomsborg Army, the biggest army of contemporary Viking movement. This army has more than 600 people all over Europe, Texas, Canada and Australia. Apart from the slavic and the vikings projects our team has smaller ones – German barbarians from I-II century AD and the Polish Army from 1945. Since several years I have been still preparing Greek hoplites from the beginning of the fifth century BC.
Pagan metal scene has undergone several changes, not only in Poland but in all Europe as well. A lot of bands have come out from the underground, and play, like Russian Arkona, big tours all over Europe. How do you assess the development of the pagan metal scene from the perspective of the last 12 years? And where is the place for Casus Belli in pagan metal world?
I don’t observe the scene, I’m just working on my own. Casus Belli was a pioneer of our scene, then we put up this „business” for 9 years. Eighteen months ago we reactivated, recorded EP and two another tracks which are published in Internet. That’s all. We will see what happens in the nearest future. If we speed up our steps, then it will be sensible to answer to your question.
Do you have any favourite representatives of pagan metal? And beyond pagan metal scene?
Yes, I do, but this is my secret, heh.
Let’s go back to „Sequel of Generations”... Do you think about live gigs, or is this only a studio project now?
We would like to play gigs, but we have some problems with finding good musicians to our line-up. We would like to create something more interesting than „only playing concerts” but it needs more time.
Thanx for intie.
Thank you too. Slava!
Interviewed by Vilcin
Answers by Igor Górewicz