ANTAEUS – Control and Abuse!
Antaeus has been injecting Khaos into the extreme-metal scene for over a decade now, without receiving the respect and attention that they surely deserve. So far, the French hell legion have released some tapes, EP’s and 3 full-length albums. "Blood Libels", the latest and by far best album, was released upon the masses in the autumn of 2006 and sees Antaeus stronger, more focused and darker than ever before. After witnessing their stunning live performance in London in the fall of 2006, following the release of "Blood Libels", there was simply no other way than to send a bunch of questions to the X Nave Kathedral. MkM (vocals) and LSK (bass) gave some insight into the mutating beast that is Antaeus. Word as Weapons!
It seems a lot of people have misunderstood the name of the band. Why was the name Antaeus chosen in the first place and what was it meant to symbolize?
MkM: It is commonly known that words might have several interpretations or historical backgrounds, especially for names. We did not choose Antaeus referring to this Greek myth. And actually, the one responsible for this choice is not in the band anymore. He chose it due to the Lycans curse related to it and the family that got connected to it, a metaphor for misanthropy under a circle of nine years. Depending on the folklore you might base this ‘legend’ about, be it French or Russian or Greek as well, the curse would mostly reveal the beast within when facing outsiders of the family, facing ‘the others’. Not that I care much myself, to be honest, but it had nothing to do with the invicible god from Greece. We kept the name since it would have been a failure to change the name when we had all the French scene and others against us. We did stand proud.
Could you elaborate on the whole philosophical/ideological side of Antaeus? Your lyrics are certainly a far cry from all the usual mediocre shit bands who just ‘praise Satan’ and ‘kill the Christians’ without really knowing what the fuck they are singing about. We find your lyrics to be extremely well-written, cryptic and satanic, so it would be interesting to know what really lies behind them. Is it up to each so-called individual to interpret the words for himself?
MkM: Yes. I have decided not to comment anymore on the lyrics since there have been way too many endless talks about it. Those interested should give them a reading. The only ‘point’ that differs from the previous album is that "Blood Libels" shows a more personal approach this time. Somehow exhibit in the way it got exposed.
Outside of music what inspires you in life? Is there a deeper connection between what you see, read and hear and what is inspiring musically and lyrically? What are the absolute main inspirations for Antaeus?
MkM: Outside of music I do not have time for anything personal. My day work allows me to go on with the band and it pays the food. All the rest is given to the work that Antaeus implies. It has been years since I had a day off, nor the time to think for myself. Now that Antaeus is not a live band anymore, I will have time to focus on more personal matters, including reading and writing. Antaeus is us within.
Please explain the title of each Antaeus full-length album and how each one is linked to the belief system of the band.
MkM: The first album was the raw incarnation of what we were, the first step, violent, noisy, taking shape and emerging from us. "De Principii Evangelikum" had been a more mature yet colder restrained version of us, somehow limiting what could be. "Blood Libels" shows the final version, what we were striving for. The offering, the action, the glorification, the active hands of fate reaching their Goal.
According to an older interview, certain architecture is somewhat of an inspiration at times. Is the song “Nave X Kathedral” an example of this?
MkM: Not really. I was more referring to the Grandeur and aspirations of visual magnificence. Building structures as offering, erecting from the ground a choir of Cult… “Nave X Kathedral” was just depicting it, but the song structure in itself did not have that approach I was referring to.
It was recently stated that the band will play the last gig ever at the Arnhem Metal Meeting Festival in Holland. Will Antaeus continue as a studio band in the future or simply just disband?
MkM: Nothing is sure as of now. We might as well disband. Zvn did quit the band after the recording. Servvs got kicked out after the tour. Right now only Lsk (bass), Set (guitars) and I (vocals) would remain. We do not plan on trying to hire any members, since we know there are none around that could fit, and that we do not have the money to get a session drummer from abroad.
Are live inspirations an important part of the band’s destructive cycle or merely a necessity?
MkM: Live inspirations? You mean performing live? Fuck that… We do not perform live anymore, it will be that way hopefully for quite some time. I, myself on a PERSONAL level (which seems to be hard to understand for some) NEVER did find anything worth the experience of performing our ritual live.
MkM, there have been quite a lot of members in Antaeus during its existence. Has it not been frustrating to see people leave the band and then being forced to find new suitable members, or were they simply asked to leave the band due to lack of dedication or something? What is demanded from a member?
MkM: Both did happen, we kicked some members, we had other quitting us. Most of them were kicked out since they would not fit in or reveal themselves to be idiots from whom we could not expect anything. What was demanded from a member? We had to search first in those people we have been in touch with, in a way or another. Most likely we tried to hire individuals we had seen under live performances, to see their essence. That is how we did recruit Lsk and Zvn for instance. Since AT THAT POINT, Antaeus was still a live performing band, which we are not now.
Being affiliated with Norma Evangelium Diaboli must suit Antaeus perfectly in the sense of finally being tied to a label with very strong ideological and philosophical foundation as well as a number of extremely strong artists that support this label’s aim?
MkM: Yes, a logical step forward.
Care to comment on the time when you were signed to Baphomet Records and then Osmose Productions later on. There is obviously a big difference between these two labels and Norma Evangelium Diaboli in terms of having a strong focus on the ideological side of music. What went wrong with past labels?
MkM: Some labels are out there just to get money from a market, while NED would be a serious label, supporting its bands and accomplishing a dedicated work in view to propose the best out of this scene. As simple as that. Baphomet records never really existed, Killjoy just had his name affiliated to that name, and would sell license to either Redstream or Necropolis or any other label willing to press cheap releases. Bands would go without studio budget, not get any copies of the release… And it was risk-free for those pressing the items. About Osmose, we were not considered at all within their ranks and we did sign right at the same time when they decided to sign tons of bands and see who would come out in matters of sales (without any promotion). It nearly killed us to own that much money to them, so we knew we could not go on with the label, since "Blood Libels" would have been ruined. Usual thing with labels/bands not getting along, the contract ties them to each other and somehow the label always wins. This time, after some year, we managed to get an agreement on quitting them without filling our contract (seven years, three albums).
MkM, you have contributed lyrics to bands such as Watain (“Puzzles of Flesh”), Triumphator (“From Under to Below”), Temple of Baal (“Death Inquisition”) among others. Do these ‘guest appearances’ give you an outlet not possible to manifest through Antaeus, or was it simply a matter of lending support to the mentioned acts?
MkM: Just a connection with individuals whose work is supported by me. Not that they do care either. Triumphator mostly had lyrics written by others than the initial duo. Temple of Baal: I used to be part of it, and Watain, we used to be in touch on regular basis. Arioch of Funeral Mist, Drakh of Katharsis, Conscicide of Bhaobhan Sidhe, Nornagest of Enthroned also did contribute by providing lyrics we did use with Antaeus.
Speaking of other activities how active are your other projects Aosoth and Tenebrare? Also, please give the readers a bit more insight into each project and what kind of outlet do they give you compared to your main act?
MkM: Aosoth is still going strong, taking me more time than Antaeus, actually. Tenebrare, I got kicked out from the band, they are now called Dokimatia, performing black metal with medieval occult references. I still get along with them and support the band, but did not have the time to go further on. My main act is not Antaeus.
Aosoth should soon have out those splits EP’s: one with Temple Of Baal (Debemur Morti Prod.), one with Sargeist (Asphyxiate Records), one with Malkhebre (Battleskrs Prod). The full-length is composed, I should be recording the vocals in a near future. Expect some killer straight to the point black metal. The sound is really massive so far. No labels did sign us yet.
LSK, you are involved in a number of acts besides Antaeus, namely Hell Militia, Vorkreist and Love Lies Bleeding. Please shed some light on these acts, musically and ideologically. What is your main priority and do you have a hard time finding the time for all these activities?
LSK: Actually I was being in Vorkreist and Hell Militia before I got asked to join Antaeus, so I wouldn’t consider any of the bands I’m a part of as ‘main’ or ‘side projects’ because I’m fully involved in all of them. They are parts of the same sphere, but exploring different paths to express the black essence. Our message can take different shapes, and that’s why I need different bands to express them. Hell Militia is expressing Satan’s essence a more sickening way, entangling chaotic dirty sounds to poisoning hideous praising of His unshaped grotesque face. I’d say Vorkreist is more creating an intoxicating violent atmosphere that shows a more brutal and hateful aggressiveness through raw satanic message. About Love Lies Bleeding, it is the project from Vorkreist’s guitar player, AK, who I’m helping as session musician for the studio recordings, so it doesn’t demand the same involvement as the bands I’m a full-time member in. I consider all my projects to be priority, but there are periods when I need to get more involved in any of them, or other times when one of the bands is taking a slower pace, which makes it possible to handle them all. Thus I never considered this as a hobby or spare time occupation, so of course it takes a lot of time, sometimes even too much. But the black words need to be spread. This lack of time may also explain why I sometimes badly deal with delays when it comes to answer interviews for example…
Do you consider Antaeus a part of the orthodox movement within black metal and why/why not?
MkM: Have we ever claimed to belong to this; did we ever use the term ‘orthodox’ to describe our work? Then I guess we shall not enter this subject. The orthodox black metal movement is composed of some selected bands and shall not be used by any others.
The topic of Khaos now and again shows its ugly face within your lyrics. What does the word/subject constitute for you personally? What is your opinion on anti-cosmic orders such as the much talked about Misanthropic Luciferian Order?
MkM: ‘Much talked about’, recently maybe. I recall some years ago that the MLO would remain less exposed than what it has been lately. I respect and hail those involved within this path, but too many did try to get infos on that movement without embracing its essence. Khaos, we try to put it into a frame and expose a glimpse of it. On a personal level, it is an exposition of what composes my life and surrounding.
Which artists get your wholehearted support both musically and ideologically, regardless of genre, origin and time? Any words on the French scene in particular?
MkM: Diamanda Galas, Beherit, Blasphemy, Sadistik Exekution, Nuclear Death, Incantation, Immolation, Dark Throne, Genocide Organ, Throwing Gristles… are inspirations. About artists fully getting support: check the bands affiliated with Norma Evangelium Diaboli. None of the members involved in those bands are unknown to us. We did meet, have known each other for years and we do know what they stand for. About the French scene, what did you mean? We have no connections or so with it. Most of the acts around here have only done their best to deny us or spit at us.
The atmosphere found in Antaeus can at times give the same kind of feeling as really dark ambient/noise artists. Is this something that could be seen as a source of inspiration?
MkM: We do have interests in those audio fields, yet it is NOT an inspiration. I myself would often use those sounds while working, it does provide the ‘aura’ I would seek. My music collection is still limited, but I might have around 100 different releases in that genre. Not a ‘connoisseur’ yet, but having interest in that scene, they are usually providing a great work, be it on the sound or the visual propaganda that goes with it.
Your latest album "Blood Libels" is in our opinion by far your strongest offering in all aspects. If possible, lift the veil from the creative process of this magnum opus?
MkM: Four years in the making. Frustration. We knew we could not go on with Osmose, we could not let them have this.
Do you still cut your flesh on a regular basis? Elaborate on this self mutilation ‘theme’ (if you will) as it in your case surely differs from pathetic-emo children seeking the attention of mommy and daddy.
MkM: I’ve been practising what I preach for the last 15 years. It is not an attention seeker, nor a will to commit suicide, otherwise I would have chosen other places in view to reach the right places in view to let the blood flow for good. I will not elaborate on the matter, since it has been done way too much in the past and I have not planned to defend myself upon accusation, since I do not care for those. Any flesh destroyed is flesh for the Lord.
MKM, as the main man behind the label Spikekult, what kind of experience was gained from this? What were the reasons for ultimately putting it to rest? Apart from Norma Evangelium Diaboli, are there any labels out there that get your total support?
MkM: Spikekult had been one of my biggest mistakes. I should not have done this label nor support the bands that were inked to it. Nothing against them since most are valuable bands (in my opinion), but it was just pointless for me to put so much energy in that field, considering that the only thing I did achieve was a failure. I wish I could break all the bones from the pathetic piece of shit selling those EP’s on Ebay nowadays. All those fuckers that were complaining on the prices, since five dollars would be too much, and sell make profit out of it. That scene really got me disgusted. FUCK SPIKEKULT and fuck that era. I wish I never had done this piece of crap.
NED is the one and only label that would reach that level of perfection on every level. Labels like Ajna, Lupus Lounge, Southern Lord are very good at their work, but they do propose another ‘genre’, so it could not be compared.
MKM: Regarding your health issues (asthma, diabetes) have these ‘curses’ ever been a stumbling block musically speaking (live shows and recordings for instance) In a prior interview, you in fact stated that it was sometimes like a blessing dealing with these obstacles, allowing you to see things from a totally different perspective.
MkM: It is a blessing. It does maintain myself in a negative approach of life. There is no hope, asthma would be the nicest part of it, the worst would reside in some other health complications (getting blind, nerves infection, aneurism…). I do not expect anything that would make my life easier. With time, and pain, you try to distance yourself from the left hand path, if not yet engulfed in it. It is a blessing not to have this possible distance. It does help me to stay focused on what has been my way of handling things. Live-wise, it did limit us, and also is a reason why we cannot go on.
The true meaning of the term black / death metal in your personal opinion?
MkM: The essence of black metal with the violence and oppression of death metal. Term often used, but most bands did fail in achieving that gathering.
Anything else you wish to get off your scarred chest before ending this interview?
MkM: Only what has been tattooed there.