Witching Metal Webzine

Witching Metal Webzine

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Interview with S. Slaughter of Séance Records

I recently completed an interview with S. Slaughter of Séance Records/Le Cabinet Des Curiousities, a dedicated black metal label/store from Sydney, NSW.

What differences do you see in the current metal underground compared to when you first got into it?
When I first started getting into underground metal & Australian metal I had never heard of the internet and didn’t own a computer or mobile phone! In the 90s underground metal was booming in Australia without mobile phones, the internet, laptops, home computers, ipods, ipads, mp3s, myspace, facebook etc. Downloading music would have sounded like something to do when you were stoned. We found out about gigs and releases via street press, fliers, magazines, zines, radio shows, local independent record stores & fliers. There was lots of physical letter writing, concealed cash & returning of stamps. You couldn’t preview bands or albums unless someone made you a mix tape or you heard it on a radio show or at a friend’s house. 

Cds in Australia cost a fortune and you had to take a gamble on buying albums you had never heard, but when you did and they were good they were treasured. The price of an album meant that you could only purchase one or two at a time so you had to listen to them over & over, read the lyrics & fully appreciate the whole package so much more than now.
The internet has obviously entirely changed the way that we access music and the world is a completely different place which has changed in a relatively short window of time. Whilst the world was always linked by underground letter writing, fliers & zines it is even more so now. Technology has had both a positive & negative impact on the underground scene. It has made things easier and instant, you can access music 24/7 from anywhere in the world with no waiting time. It has become an invaluable tool for bands to make their music heard on a greater world wide scale than ever before. However the internet and its freedoms have negatively impacted the original vehicles of the underground such as print media, radio & the product of physical music.

Shows can be promoted to so many more people quickly via social networking however attendances to shows have dropped since the 90s. Arguably greater accessibility and technology may have created a general apathy & laziness among people. Access to a large amount of music via download can ultimately lead people to take music for granted.

Plus the internet has aided musical piracy on a large scale which has challenged bands, labels & magazines to adapt in order to be able to survive in the modern climate. These issues will continue to challenge anyone involved with music in the future.
What can you tell about your latest venture Séance Records? What plans do you have for this distro/label? How has the response been to the various releases on Seance records and what are plans for future releases?
Séance Records was founded to release the black metal that we feel strongly connected to. At this stage we have focused close to home by releasing only Australian Black metal however we are open to music from any where in the world. We began with the re-issue of Nazxul’s iconic Black Seed EP & demo material on this CD followed by Pestilential Shadows fourth album, ‘Depths’. Our latest release is the debut album by Erebus Enthroned, ‘Night’s Black Angel’.

All releases have been received positively, the Nazxul recordings were continually in demand warranting this re-issue and the ‘Depth’s’ digi pack by Pestilential Shadows has sold now to be re-issued in a regular jewel case format. Erebus Enthroned have produced a truly superb debut and has proved themselves continually with their intense live show which has made our job relatively easy based on the merits of the album and shows.

Our other focus is releasing high quality pro patches. We grew tired with the low quality of bootleg patches flooding the internet and the fact that none of the bands receive any return from these bootlegs. Therefore we began approaching bands to create these patches which are 100% official and provide the artist with royalties for the merchandise. We have released patches for Sadistik Exekution, Slaughter Lord, Nazxul, Absu, Hate Forest, Mournful Congregation, Portal, Drowning The Light, Mutiilation & many more.

Upcoming releases include ‘Vacuous Spectral Silence’ , the debut by Crowned, ‘Drowning in the Vampyric Sacrament of the Immortals’ a split CD release featuring Drowning the Light & Vampyric Blood (Finland) as well as a split 7” contributed to by Pestilential Shadows & Corvus. More releases shall follow later in the year in addition to more exclusive patches & shirts.

Those upcoming releases sound fucking killer! Crowned's performance in Sydney some months ago was stellar for such a new band.

Asgard musik, a Tasmanian label describes itself as a label that releases bands that it can support ideologically, that black metal is a war against monotheistic faiths and the blind followers which preach and propagate such lies (Since the time of writing this, Asgard's website, along with it's ideology statement has gone down in response to some amount of hacking).  Would you say the intentions behind Seance records are similar to Asgards and if not, what are Seance’s ideological intentions as an underground metal label?

I can not comment the ideology of Asgard as I have not read enough about their particular manifesto.
Séance Records does not have a political agenda; we are not interested in the banter of 20th century political parties, border disputes or race. Black Metal has always spanned the globe regardless of social, political, cultural & class confines. Contrary to the sensationalism of the mid 90’s some of the most interesting work of the genre can be found in the least likely places.
However we do have a strong vision for the bands that we release. First and foremost it is essential that we personally feel strongly about material which equates to deep enthusiasm.

All of our bands are dark in feeling & atmosphere with a leaning towards personal occult motivations & a true conviction in what they do which creates depth and aura to their music.
Séance Records is concerned with art and simply a conduit to expose the artist’s conviction & integrity to the world.
Indeed, the Séance releases in the last two years have been fantastic!

You recently organized and held Armageddon festival earlier this year? Do you feel this was a success? Will Sydney see a return of this festival in 2012 or in years to come? 
Yes we feel that Armageddon festival was a complete success especially after the debacle of the Black Mass cancellation in late 2010. It was a show of unity by all involved and the best line up of old & new Australian Black Metal in one weekend that has ever happened in Australia. It highlighted a true appreciation of the genre within Australia and great enthusiasm from the fans & bands around the country who supported the event.
2012 will host The Devil’s Arcana. This two night festival will again host a line up diverse in the interpretation of black metal ranging from traditional to symphonic, bestial, orthodox, modern & depressive.

Of the 13 bands gathered highlights include Vassafor from New Zealand who shall headline the event. With lineage from Diocletian and various other extreme NZ bands their live show will be a devastating barrage of black noise & bestial atmospheres. Drowning the Light headlines the Friday night event, offering again an exclusive show that shall not be repeated. Ill Omen will unleash their dark occult vibes in the debut live performance by this enigmatic band. The rest of the line up includes, Pestilential Shadows, Spire, Order of Orias, Moon, Wardaemonic, Erebus Enthroned, Nontinuum, Crowned, Sorathian Dawn & Tamerlan
The enthusiasm of every one involved has ensured the continuance of such live events after Armageddon.
I'm really looking forward to the festival. In particular I'm very keen for Vassafor, Moon and Ill Omen's sets, due to being a fan of their various works AND having not witnessed them live yet.
 Corvus are no longer playing due to unforeseeable circumstances.

What influences you to contribute to a scene which, as Hushy, and Luke from Hellbringer have stated in previous Witching Metal interviews before does not measure up to scenes overseas? If given the chance would you prefer to move overseas for another scene?
I can only comment from my own travel experience which probably has not included the same countries as these guys but I have always been proud of the Australian metal scene and have always strongly believed that it has produced more than its fair share of ground breaking, influential & excellent metal bands in relation to our small population. 
How can we compare to London for example which is populated by around the same number of people in the one city as the entire population of Australia. Sure they have the huge festivals and they can drive one hour right into the next country allowing bands to tour constantly but most people attend the festivals and often underground shows are poorly attended due to the apathy created by the attitude of ‘ill catch them next time.. or at that festival’.
 I fully appreciate the quality of life that we have in Australia and would not give that up for anything. I also feel that the scene which we have regardless of proximity to the rest of the world & geographical adversity is to be respected & deserves support.

Are the rewards significant enough in what you do or are your actions out of passion for such great music?
To be in this for the money would be like a delusion of grandeur. Like most bands we are just lucky enough to be able to do what we love and this is enough. I’ve always done a zine, label or shows through out the years so it’s something that I will always continue to do regardless.

With more and more Australian based labels/distros (more or less) closing their doors (Adverse Order Music very recently, Infinite Wisdom and Winterreich in recent years) this is great to hear!

What is your opinion of the NSW metal scene compared to Adelaide both past and present? In your many, many years in this scene, what are your standout memories?
Sydney has the population & economy to support a stronger scene and is really happening In terms of shows, festivals & punters at the moment. Adelaide has really died off over the years probably through lack of independent support from stores and venues for the music which is sad. I will always hold a torch for Adelaide, the brilliant bands from there like Mournful Congregation, Stargazer, Martire, Cauldron Black Ram, Nocturnal etc and the days of Armageddon Adelaide which were huge gatherings of debaucherous metal worship.

Armageddon Adelaide will always stand out despite the overall drunken haziness that clouds its fine memory. Bringing Misery to SA for the first time was truly memorable!! The turn out and response was incredible. People in Adelaide were just rabid to see these legends there.
There have been so many international bands that have been incredible but Black Mass was also a highlight, whilst devastating initially the replacement gig and partying that happened in its stead was outstanding and it ultimately created a larger & better festival. Seeing the reaction to what happened and reading the emails & comments that people wrote gave me actual belief in the fact that people actually care about what happens, the bands involved and what we do.

I'd agree, although i was not around to see the strength of Adelaide's scene at its peak, the bands that come from there (and the occasional brilliant gigs that are held and Martire's recently announced LP(!) ) do illustrate that it was once a lively place for bands

What are your future plans for Le Cabinet des Curiosities?
The store will continue to sell Séance Records releases, black metal, doom & dark music from all over the world. I will continue to force people to listen to obscure bands that I think are excellent and talk shit all day about this band and that album. I will put up your gig poster, stock your zine, demo, cd etc... We want to offer the support that independent stores used to offer the underground back in the day and break the mould of chain store music and killjoy practices like not being able to listen to albums before you buy and all of those listed above. 

Ha! There has been more than one occasion that you've "forced" me to listen to a band unknown to me until that point. Each time has been great and the zines i've gotten have been great reads.

What are some bands you would recommend to the readers of Witching Metal?
Currently in Australia besides our own bands and some of the better known ones I would recommend that people check out Spire, Wardaemonic, Midnight Odyssey, Order of Orias, Corvus, Moon, Thrall, Temple Nightside, Ill Omen, Grave Upheaval, Impetuous Ritual & Ignivomous. Over the waters from NZ try Blood of the Moon, Heresiarch, Diocletian, Vassafor & Witchrist.

Personally, I love Ill Omen's debut album, and demos.  Bands not mentioned; Barshasketh from NZ and Atra from New South Wales, are great too.

Thank you S. Slaughter for taking the time to answer these questions, For a first article, I enjoyed it writing it very much. Do you have any final words?
Thanks for your support! The Séance has concluded.
Séance Records releases are available online from – www.seancerecords.com
And in Sydney you can visit the Séance Records store at –
Le Cabinet des Curiosities
97 Enmore Rd, Enmore
Sydney Australia

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