Controversial, hate-filled and pure are words that seem to define Poland’s Black Metal band Cień. Their latest release “Fate” will definitely be one of the genre milestones. S. and C. talked to Pest Webzine. Read on…
What does Cień stand for? Why have you opted for this name? Why did you feel the need to create Cień?
S: Hi! In times before Cień, me and Gulver played in the other musical project called Malum. After it was disbanded, we still wanted to create our own music and that’s how Cień was born. Fascinated by Swedish BM band Shining, as well as Polish groups such as Furia and Mgła, we decided to play similar music that would be a mixture of aggression, emotions and melancholy. Name “Cień”, that translates into “Shadow”, seemed to be appropriate – dark, mysterious and in some way intriguing.
Being such misanthropes and anti-humanity… is depressive black metal the best way to express your hatred towards humanity and life?
S: In my opinion, there is no such thing as one appropriate type of music, or art in general, which can manifest your hate or any other feelings. In our case it is black metal because through this music we are able to express our emotions. Yet, listening to our debut album, as well as “Fate”, you can find out that we often reach beyond one musical style, deriving also from doom or even progressive metal.
C: Generally, each genre of metal (but black metal especially) is a very good way to express hatred towards mankind.
The latest album “Fate” was mastered, mixed and produced by Nihil. What can you tell us about it?
S: When we had more than half of the material for “Fate” ready, we started to wonder which place would be suitable for the recording and who might be a good candidate for sound engineering. One of the studios that we have been considering was “Czyściec” run by Nihil. We managed to agree on the terms of the recording sessions (finding good time slots was especially hard due to the fact that Nihil is a very occupied person) and we could begin our cooperation. We were well prepared with all our parts so the recording of all the instruments went really smoothly and we had more time to focus on mixing and mastering. We chose “Czyściec” mainly because we wanted “Fate” to have a more organic sound close to rawer black metal and Nihil, as the leader of Furia, was an appropriate person to arrange and assure that.
C: Cooperation with Nihil was very fruitful and it was also an interesting experience for us. I hope we can go back there for the next recording session.
What’s the main different between “Ecce Homo” released in 2014 and “Fate” released in 2017?
S: There are a few factors that mark a difference between our debut and the latest album “Fate”. First of all, we are more aware of how we’d like to sound nowadays. The new tracks are still complex and rather long, but this time they have been arranged with more hypnotic and repetitive patterns comparing to “Ecce Homo”. In addition to that, the sounding of “Fate” is more organic and natural thus referring to classic black metal.
C: “Fate” is definitely more mature than its predecessor and it reflects the direction that we would like to take our music in the future.
“Fate” includes 6 tracks and 2 are written in your mother tongue. Do you express yourself better in Polish? Does it even make a difference?
C: Actually, I don’t really care if particular lyrics are written in Polish or not. The most important is the message that is sent out, the language itself is only a background for that.
Have you already decided what you will do with the extra tracks that didn’t make it to “Fate”?
S: There are a few more tracks that we recorded during the “Fate” session but the final decision has been taken not to include them in the scope of the album. I think that soon we will decide whether they will be released as an EP or as a split. It would be a pity to keep them “on the shelf”.
What’s the message in the cover for “Fate”?
S: Bartłomiej Kurzok, the artist who prepared the cover and the whole CD inlay, made a piece of tremendous work. The cover art refers to the music and to the lyrics present on the album and, of course, Bartłomiej was acquainted with it before he started off. The cover art and the album content were supposed to be closely connected – and that has been achieved. And the message itself can be found in the lyrics.
What is the message you want to spread through your music?
S: This aspect is unchanged from the very beginning of the band’s creation – our music should carry huge amount of emotions and melancholy. It is supposed to wake up your imagination and make you reconsider your existence and the surrounding world.
C: Our message is to highlight that there is not much help for the human kind.
The band has a compilation “Time of anti-humanity” which includes your demo “Anti humanity” from 2010 and “Time of Desolation” EP from 2011… why have you opted to re-release this material? Has it helped spread your name?
S: The reason why we decided to do this was rather simple – we ran out of all copies of both these releases. The demo and the EP had been prepared and released by the band without any external cooperation. When we finally signed a contract with Old Temple, we and Eryk – the label’s owner – decided to promote the old stuff as a compilation in one CD. Those who couldn’t get our demo or the EP now have an opportunity to discover early phases of the band’s progress.
C: The older releases are still interesting for our fans, we believe that re-releasing them in one CD will make them accessible for those who didn’t have a chance to get the original versions of “Anti-Humanity” and “Time of Desolation”.
You are signed to Old Temple, a Polish label. Why this one in particular? Did you receive offers from other labels? Considering that this is a label from your own country… communication is better?
S: We decided to continue our cooperation with Old Temple because we get along very well. We are constantly in touch with Eryk, who is the owner of the label, and we understand each other – all details related to the date of release, album cover art, CD inlay etc. have been discussed “on the fly” and we have never encountered any issues. The band knows what can be expected from the label and for the time being we have no reason to change it.
I read that you would announce a change that 2018 would bring… what change was that?
S: I think that all readers who are now holding this issue of “Slowly We Rot Magazine” may get these details via our Facebook profile.
You seem to think that society mainly consists of worthless and stupid scum… how difficult is it dealing with life? I mean you must contact people in your jobs and all… how do you deal with that?
S: I am in favor of an assumption that most of us, under certain circumstances, wear some kind of a mask. In order to make life bearable, to facilitate relationships with a client, with your boss, with a team in your work – people must adjust and adapt to coexist on the same ground. Reading everyday news regarding situation in your own country and all around the world, spending most of your day in work or even a simple visit to your local grocery store gives you many reasons to cultivate a very critical attitude towards the others. I reveal my true beliefs and my real attitude towards the surrounding reality only in the presence of those who are closest to me. I don’t need to be a preacher on Facebook or during my lunchbreak at work or at family meetings.
C: The best solution is to isolate from those who are not worthy of your attention. You can exist with this kind of people, but you do not necessarily need to get into some deeper relations with them. It’s a simple waste of time and energy.
You enjoy depicting death in various forms… would you say you think suicide is a solution? Have you ever thought about it? Do you think you’d be able to do it?
S: Suicide is just one of clear indications of how weak a person can be. It is a clear example that people are able to give up on living instead of stepping up and fighting their problems.
C: This idea comes to me on a regular basis. But is it any solution? For some – definitely…
How can you glorify death, pain and suffering so much when many people pay experts in order to ease their own pain? Why do you appreciate it so much?
C: In my opinion suffering makes your existence more conscious. In consequence, it might be a way for self-perfection, a way of your own development. The death itself, on the other hand, is an inseparable companion of our life. It is the only certain thing in your life.
Being a fan of pain, would you say you are a masochist?
C: More psychic than physical.
C. has tried self-mutilation onstage… why? Considering that you are a band that has a growing fanbase and young people might be attending your shows, don’t you think you need to act responsibly onstage as some may view you as a kind of “idol”?
C: I do not see myself as any kind of idol. During that particular event I simply felt that self-mutilation was a right thing to do, that’s all. And I will not hesitate to do it again if I feel like it in the future. If anyone wishes to take me as an example, well, that’s his or hers decision…
The band also avoids verbal contact with the audience for the sake of keeping the message alive… don’t you think fans would appreciate it more if you were more approachable?
C: There is no point in providing any verbal entertainment for an audience during our live shows. It will definitely not go hand in hand with the band’s stage presence.
A few years ago, metal bands in Poland were not very well treated and were seen as outcasts… has the situation changed?
S: I have a feeling that due to recent huge popularity of bands such as Behemoth, Decapitated or Vader (especially in mass and social media) metal music becomes to be treated with respect and is taken more seriously nowadays, e.g. by radio stations. On the other hand, finding a decent place for rehearsals or live show promotion is still problematic in many cases. Unfortunately, people connected to metal music are still often regarded as outcasts, hooligans and potential troublemakers.
There are a few household names in the metal scene in your country: Behemoth, Vader, Vesania but how’s the real Polish underground metal scene?
C: I think Polish underground has really big potential. Apart from names that you mentioned, we need to remember about e.g. Furia, Outre or Arkona – bands that present an international level.
S: If I am to compare Polish underground scene with the ones from e.g. Norway, Sweden or France I must say that our scene is more diversified and has much more to offer.
In your opinion, what are the “purest” Black Metal bands? Musically, which are your influences?
S: The bands that are in my highest esteem for a long, long time are for sure Mgła, Furia and Shining (especially their early material including “Halmstad”). And – of course – Mayhem, Marduk, Peste Noire… I think these are the bands that influenced me the most and shaped my view on black metal music.
Are you satisfied with the genre these days?
S: Well, it’s difficult to say. On one hand – there are many new and valuable bands that try to play BM in their own manner, but still referring to classics. It brings hope that we may encounter something new, fresh and interesting within this genre of music. On the other hand, if you still label e.g. the latest Dimmu Borgir’s “artwork”, or similar plastic-fantastic piece of crap, as black metal – then you may have an impression that BM slowly becomes only a product that is destined to be exploited, digested and put aside.
Please share a message with Pest Webzine readers.
C: Follow your own path, not the crowds.
S: Thank you for the interview. Cultivate hate inside of you.
Interview by Sónia Fonseca