Paganus Doctrina is a Black Metal band that could well enter the Guiness World Records for having taken almost 20 years to release their debut “Omnipotense Aeterne Diabolous”… but, one thing is for sure, it has worth the wait! U. Xerxes.H., the founding member of this satanic band from Costa Rica has had a conversation with Pest Webzine to enlighten us about the album, Black Metal in America and much more.
What is the main goal of Paganus Doctrina? How can a band from a warm, tropical country create such gloomy, dark music?
Greetings to the readers of Pest Webzine and thank you so much for granting me the chance to talk a bit about what’s going on within the coven known as PAGANUS DOCTRINA.
Well, to me it doesn’t matter the location a band comes from to create dark and obscure music. It is us, the tools behind the craft that carry the gift to celebrate it the way we can. Paganus Doctrina’s goal is actually simple: celebrate through music the allegiance I have made to the Luciferian fire within me. This music is in honor of him and only him, that’s all. I choose Black Metal since it is the music I connect myself the best with and it breeds itself naturally in me.
Howcome the band has been around (on and off) ever since 1995 (20 years) and only this year has the debut “Omnipotense Aeterne Diabolous” been released. What changed for Paganus Doctrina in these 20 years?
Actually, we disbanded back in 1998 and got back together in 2006. So, we could say we were not that active. I blame it in two reasons: first and foremost I guess I’m a pain in the ass person to work with. I choose to get the guys to help me out with the band in a picky way and at the same time that leads me to the second reason; and that is that I think there are only a few people here able to stand me in my demands, basically that’s all. I actually don’t know if the next record is gonna be recorded with the same line-up, I hope so since I find G.Damaethyan and L.Demogorgon the kind of people I feel myself confortable working with. We’ll see.
You released the demo “Natural Inbio de Paganismo” in 1995, then you did 2 splits (one in 1996 and one in 2008). What did you learn in those years in which the band was a bit “dormant”?
Basically, I learnt to write the kind of music I actually wanted to expel to the world. Back in the day I joined the band just as the vocalist and thus the demo and the 1996 split CD were both recorded with me handling the vocals only. As the rest of the crew wanted to go in different ways I decided to keep the band going in spite of not being able to play guitar at all. So, I depended on the ability of others to write songs. When I got back in 2006 I already had random ideas and riffs created all by myself and had already learnt enough to write and perform the music I wanted and that’s the result you see in the split CD of 2008 and the debut album. But I must recognize the valuable help of G. Damaethyan and L.Demogorgon to accomplish the result we all wanted to unleash in the “OaD” album.
The album was recorded, mixed and mastered back in 2012 but only saw the light of day in 2015. How did this affect the band?
It affected us drastically I must say. We all had the hope to release the album in early 2013 in order to keep the band a bit more active writing material. The recording was exhausting and we just wanted to have the album ready. In the meantime we lost contact with each other and I guess somehow the other guys lost interest in the band along the way and focused in other projects. That’s the reason I don’t know if we are going to make it together for the second record. I personally changed a lot and I guess the other guys changed too so the energy is not going to be the same, at least at this very point of our lives I guess. We are not a band that plays gigs, so we just get together to write songs and release them. That’s something that also doesn’t allow us to spend more time together. Anyway, we’ll see.
The album was only released in 2015, after Ashen Productions established an allegiance with Satanic Productions from Mexico. Why was there the need to create and allegiance?
As far as I know Ashen Production couldn’t afford to release the record due to financial problems and that’s what lead the album to get delayed in the first stance. So, the years started to pass by and that’s how Satanic Records contacted me to ask what had happened. Aerly Rangel, Satanic Records’ owner, is a friend of mine since 2008 and he asked me to arrange something with the label in a sort of partnership in order to release the record once and for all... From then on the labels started to work together and that’s how finally “OaD” was spawned from darkness.
Ashen Productions is listed as your label but it is based in Austria. Why have you opted for an European label instead of an American one? Is this still your label or not?
No, they aren’t our label anymore. We just signed for one record deal. We opted for ASHEN PRODUCTIONS because the offer they gave us suited us the best at that moment. Right now we have no label and we are looking for one for the next record. We hope to find another label to work with in a reliable and pleasant way soon.
The lyrical themes of the band seem to be Satanism and misanthropy. What attracts you to these these themes? What else inspires Paganus Doctrina?
The one and only theme in PAGANUS DOCTRINA is Satanism. There’s no need for something else. What does attract me to Satanism? Let’s put it this way: it called me, calls me and always will call me just as much as I have always called it myself through daily acts. Satanism is an all-day practice not just a “thing” most of black metal kids flatter with the aim of adorning their music and image in order to fit the pretentious market of today’s black metal scene.
How is the creative process? Who writes the lyrics? And the riffs?
90% of the music that is in the album was written all by myself unless it is specified in the credits. But the arrangement of the songs were all collectively done by the three of us. The lyrics were written in the same degree by myself with interventions of former members such as my longtime friend Balpehor H.C from MORBID FUNERAL. Most of the riffs of the record were mine, I brought them all into the rehearsal room and from there on we collectively transformed them into songs. That’s the way the album came to life.
The title tracks are either in Spanish or Latin and all the lyrics are in your native tongue. Do you feel the lyrics would lose intensity if you wrote them in English?
Absolutely! No doubt about it!
Your official biography states “We are not musicians! “O.A.D. is a Luciferian sonic manifestation than rather something planned. Saying the album was something consciously planned is not accurate, it just took shape during rehearsals and even during the recording itself. So, we conclude we are just tools of a greater goal, still we don’t understand it completely…”… care to elaborate on this?
This is something I still hold on to. Although there are friends and others who still want to call us musicians but I tend to disagree with all of them. I need way more to be called such a thing. I don’t know the technical knowledge of music neither my other mates in the band. We didn’t receive lessons of how to write or create songs nor do we have the ability to read music as other amazing talented musicians can. So, that’s the reason I will always say we are not musicians and the result in the album is of a need to express ourselves with the few skills we have developed over the years in exaltation of the Luciferian Rebellious Fire within us, which was the main goal greater than ourselves in the first place. Kind of idealistic perhaps, but that’s the way I see it.
On January 7th of 2015, the band posted an update which stated “we actually feel all our work will be finally revealed in honor of Him and only Him! So... keep your eyes wide open folks! Adoramus te... glorificamus te..”. This is undoubtedly dedicated to Satan. Why? Is the album a tribute to him and his ideas?
This album as much as everything done in the coven of PAGANUS DOCTRINA is in honour of the rebellious fire of Satan, the knowledge of Lucifer. Archetypes, values and practice surrounding Him. Why? Simple, because I decided myself to be that way.
The cover “was based on a biblical artwork but with some modifications in order to evoke the current ethos behind the music and lyrics. Those with mind and knowledge to read behind the elements will understand easily its meaning... Under His Will”. Who designed it?
The concept was collectively done. At that time I had a friend from a Guatemalan band which we both together started with ideas to elaborate the final outcome. The drawing was done by a Chilean friend called Daniel Corcuera from the band SLAGUHTBBATH. But the whole layout in the record was accomplished by drummer G. Damaethyan. I guess the album cover says everything about the nature surrounding its music.
“And thus Thy word meant Death” seems to be the band’s motto. Why this one in particular?
Death seen as a metaphor for deconstruction of the self. It means we are in constant change, killing our old selves to become greater in spirit. That’s basically the meaning behind the motto you mentioned. The archetype of Ouroborous eating itself represents it at its best.
U. Xerxes.H. is the only member that only has been involved in one other project. The other 2 members have a huge list of ex- bands. How difficult is it dealing with all members that are involved in more than one project at the same time?
It’s not that difficult actually. The difficult thing is myself I guess, ha ha ha! No seriously, it somehow affect us because once they focus themselves in other projects the time for PAGANUS DOCTRINA is less. However, to be honest, that’s not the main problem. The problem is to find the right moment where the three of us would be in the mood to collectively bring life to new songs for the band. Right now we aren’t so we’ll have to wait a bit more for a new recording.
If Encyclopaedia Metallum is correct, U.Xerxes.H and former member Balpehor H.C run Call to the Infernal Hordes magazine. U.Xerxes.H and former members Balpehor H.C, and Agharoth run Occult Records. You seem to be busy in the underground scene. Do you live off music? If you have a job is it related to music?
No! I don’t live off music as much as I want to! The zine and the label are now over. I don’t have time nor will I have time for them at this moment of my life. I have a job not related to music but it is a job I like a lot. Being an architect is something I love as much as the music itself. So, no problem on that.
In your facebook page, in January 2015 you wrote that you wouldn’t play live ever. Why? Have you changed your mind now that the album has been released and people are loving it?
No, it hasn’t changed a bit. We are not going to play live, EVER! The reason is simple: we simply don’t see ourselves on stage playing the entertainer role. We want the music to speak for itself for those willing to enter it by purchasing the record and let their spirits get possessed by the energy within it. We don’t want our personalities to get preponderance in the crafting and goal of the music. That’s the way why we see ourselves as mere tools and tools sometimes get dirty and contaminated during the process. So, the music, the relevant outcome is the one that matters the most. I don’t want it to be contaminated by the aspects of our personalities that are not relevant in the music and concept.
Considering the fact that the band has been rehearsing for many years, do you have material that wasn’t included in “O.A.D.”? What will you do with it?
Yeah, I have a lot of material that didn’t make it to the album but certainly it will be featured in other releases. Perhaps a new album or perhaps a smaller format such as a split Cd or Ep. We’ll see.
How is the scene in Costa Rica? Any bands/fanzines worth mentioning? Is there a sense of unity among the bands or are you “enemies”?
There was a time I was fond to support the local scene as much as my strength would allow me. But the scene today is unimportant to me at all. There are good bands as there are pure average garbage bands as well. I support just what I like. If you want, listen to something of CORPSE GARDEN’s latest record and the new Ep of PSEUDOSTRATIFFIED EPITHELLIUM. The latest ALASTOR SANGUINARY AMBRYO album is a killer album too. And don’t forget to check my other band called INSEPULTO, we released our second album last year called “The Necrodex”. INSEPULTO’s vocalist The Master Butcher has a parallel project with Swedish guitarist Rogga Johansson called NECROGOD, check their debut ep too.
Unity? No! There is a false image of “unity” among bands but most of the time they stab each other’s backs when they have the opportunity to do so. I guess that pictures almost everything about the scene here.
What’s the most difficult thing about being a musician in Costa Rica?
Not having the support from labels and the need to do it all by ourselves is the major problem for most of the musicians here. You have to work hard to get noticed by the international scene in order to have the real support from a label. Besides, the “metal fan base” here barely supports the bands the way it should be: purchasing their records and attending their shows.
Black metal seems to be the most popular genre within metal in South/Central America. Do you have any idea why this happens?
Well, not in Costa Rica! In South America the thing is different since they celebrate it with fire burning passion unusual to my lands. I don’t know what is it but Black Metal is fierce there.
What do you wish for 2016, both for your band and for yourself?
Well what I wish for myself is not important. I wish for the band to get into the mood to craft and record new material. I hope it would be with the line-up that brought to life the “OaD” album but that’s something I don’t dare to estimate myself.
Please share a message with Pest’s readers. Cheers!
Thank you so much for the interview! We really appreciate it. Those interested in our album, contact Satanic Records to get it: firstname.lastname@example.org
We have t-shirts and patches if interested. For more updates just get a visit to www.facebook.com/paganusdoctrina
Interview by Sonia Fonseca