Greetings Xaphan, as far as I know you rejected interviews for 6 years until 2015, why was that and what made you be more open to press in 2015?
Hey Adrian. Yeah, it's been a while since we've done any interviews. There's been a few here and there since 2009 but for the most part we've stayed silent. More so because there wasn't much to say. Now we have a new album in the works and are active again there's no reason not to take on interviews.
You're gearing up for a new tour with Wormreich, how do you feel? What's your current line-up and how stable do you think it is?
I'm looking forward to getting back out there with Wormreich as our direct support for these dates. As many know, they along with Khaotika were our support acts last year when we had to cancel the last show of the mini tour due to the accident both bands were involved in. So it's fucking awesome that almost a year later we'll be doing it again with them. I only wish that Ian and Paul were still around to be doing it. As for our lineup, it's still myself on guitar/vocals and Hammer on drums and rounded out by Hag (ex-Pact) on vocals, Armanen on bass, and Necrol on guitar. The lineup is the most stable and devastating one this band has had to date. However due to Hammer's work schedule we'll be using Sin from Secrets She Kept to fill on drums.
How did the Wormreich / Khaotika accident from last year affected Kult ov Azazel as a band and as individuals?
As a band, I would say it affected Wormreich and Khaotika more so than us. They lost members. We were in our own vehicle ahead of them so we had minimal loss as far as instruments go since they were hauling some of our gear in their trailer. The individual effects, I can only speak for myself. It was a difficult time for a few months after returning. An unknown fact is that myself and Hag were the ones that had to identify the body of Nick, Khaotika's drummer. It was then that we both knew three people had died on scene since Nick lay next to two covered bodies. So that made things a bit difficult a few months afterwards for me. I saw that kid's face every day, not the face I had seen from the venues or shows, but his face after that moment of death. That shit will stay with me forever.
Your motorcycle accident followed later in the year, are you still recovering from it?
That was Hag who had a motorcycle accident last year. In fact, he had two of them. Both he has recovered fully from so all is good on that front.
The Dawn of Luciferian Enlightenment demo was released by yourselves this year, how are the reactions so far? It was released digitally only, why not on CD or tape? Will these track be featured on the album as well?
The four tracks on the demo will be on the full length album, Violators of the Covenant. The reactions so far have been quite positive so far. The original intent of the demo was and still is to shop it to labels for a new recording contract since we are free agents at this point. We figured since it would be circulated around to labels that we might as well make it available to our fans since it had been six years since we had released any new material. We also wanted people to hear what we are creating with this new lineup as well. We may end up releasing it on CD or tape format at some point but for now it's only available in a digital release at kultovazazel.bandcamp.com.
Is your deal with Arctic Music over? If so I believe you're still in good relations with them, correct? At least Phil (Malevolent Creation and founder of Arctic Music) did a solo on the demo...
Our contract with Arctic Music was up in 2010. I am still tight with Phil. In fact I see him just about every day when I am at the studio my buddy owns and Kult ov Azazel works out of. I actually was going to buy the label in 2014 and ran it for a year and released albums by Hod, Ptahil, and Vein Collector. After a year of running it I decided it was way too much work and ultimately seemed like an endless money pit I was throwing cash into.
I saw you were looking for labels to release the upcoming album, have you found a suitable one? I'm curious, what means a good label deal for KoA, what do you have to be offered to agree with a label?
At this point we have not found a label home. I believe Alpha Omega is waiting to shop the demo until these dates are done and over with. Label wise, we are looking for one that will give us a decent budget to record the album and future albums, have major distribution and can supply tour support when needed. So basically we are looking to go with a bigger label than say a label like Arctic Music was.
Violators of the Covenant is the name of the upcoming album, what can you tell us about the title and the tracks featured on it? Have you already decided a studio where to record it? What about an artist to do the cover artwork? Are you set to release it this year?
The title comes from something I was reading years ago about The Nephilim, Azazel being one of them, which had said they had violated their covenant with the Lord when they began intermingling sexually and having offspring with the human race.
So that's where the idea for the album title came from. Track wise, the album will contain ten and we'll be recording it at S.B.S. Studio here in Fort Lauderdale. The same place I tracked and mixed the demo versions and where I enginnered the tracking of guitars and bass on Malevolent Creation's "Dead Man's Path" album. We have not decided on an artist yet for the artwork. That's something we're still working on. As for its release, we are hoping to have it out by this year but that all depends on if we find a suitable label or not over the next couple of months.
Lyrics are very important for KoA, please tell us about the lyrical part of the new album.
The album will be a presentation of sonic black magick, each song differing in lyrical criteria whether it covers traveling the dark Qlippothic spheres of abyssic consciousness or channeling the energy currents of the Dark Gods. For example, the song “Into The Belly of The Beast” on the new demo theme wise is about astral thought projection and ego transcendence with meditation and self reflection as the vehicle by which the subconscious mind is explored as a descent into the dark spheres of the mind. With “Corpus Edimus, Sanguinem Bibimus” we make note of the symbolic cannibalism and flocking together of Christ’s sheep. But for the most part the reoccurring themes within the album are homage’s to the ancient Dark Gods and the destruction and disdain those forces harbor towards humanity.
Music wise will there be any major changes or will you follow the path already presented by the recent demo?
Our direction has never wavered so one can expect the same as what is heard on the new demo.
You've got new booking, new management, probably will have a new label, too, so is this like a new beginning for the band?
I don't know if I would say it's like the beginning of the band but it is definitely a step up in the game. Having Alpha Omega on our side will only benefit us in stepping up to the next level label and touring wise.
You're pretty active on social media and very close to your supproters from what I saw, is this an important aspect for the band? A lot of BM bands prefer to keep a mystical, hidden aura around them and never reply to comments or emails in order to enhance their scary image, while you seem to be quite friendly...
Friendly may be an over exaggerated adjective used to describe me. I would say I am social, meaning if someone that is into the band has a question then I will respond. Personally, I am not one to shun those that lend their support to this band so if answering a question or responding to a post makes all the difference to them then I will oblige. Outside of the band page I am a shit stirrer on the internet.
Why do you use pseudonyms/aliases and not real names? Do they have a specific meaning, or how you chose them? Does one of you pick the pseudonym for each in the band or each member comes with his own name?
Each member has chosen their own infernal name in the band. Some came into the band from their previous bands using the same alias. I chose mine because like I previous said I am a shit stirrer and that's exactly what Xaphan was. He was the one angel to suggest that Lucifer set Heaven ablaze in the tale of the war in Heaven. He was then reduced to fan the flames of Hell after the casting out. Like corpse paint, the infernal name helps in the transformation into that entity before live rituals.
In your early days you had Finnish band Azazel confronting you regarding the band name. They are still alive as a band, but so are many other new Azazel bands, so looking back to it are you glad you changed moniker back then?
I am. Even then in the beginning there were like I think last count before we changed the band name somewhere close to 8 other bands using Azazel as a band name. By adding to the name at the time it helped us keep the identity we had established but from that point on separated us from all the other bands using the same moniker.
You're from South Florida, definitely not a place that makes you think Black Metal when you hear of it. How's the local BM scene over there? And I'm also curious how's the support you're getting from the local fans?
That is true, Florida is not known as a hotbed for black metal. On the scene, there's not really a black metal one here. A metal scene, yes, black metal, no. That still doesn't stop us from drawing decent attendances when we do play locally. I also think we are the only South Florida band playing traditional black metal with the imagery and corpse paint. I can't think of any others here doing that. There are black thrash and black death bands but none that stick specifically to the blueprint set forth by the elders.
Since your next tour is approaching tell us if you're preparing anything special for your live appearances. What props do you use in live shows? Have you ever had problems because of your Satanic image and attitude?
Those that saw us last year with the new lineup will know what to expect. Those that did not will have to show up to find out or wait for videos of the shows to surface on the internet. And we have never had any problems due to our image or beliefs.
Thanks a lot for your time, best of luck for the upcoming shows and we're all eagerly waiting for the new album to drop!
We are looking forward to the album dropping too! In the meantime, those interested in new music from us can find "The Dawn of Luciferian Enlightenment" at kultovazazel.bandcamp.com. Thank you for the interview and interest in Kult ov Azazel.
Interview by Adrian