Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"nature mystic black metal": Aethernaeum interview, part 1

Aethernaeum (Germany)
When you hear the music of Aethernaeum you will immediately notice the big-thinking high-quality music. As this zine has documented, Aethernaeum used to be called Alexander Paul Blake, which in 2012 had the wonderful album “Die Rückkehr ins Goldene Zeitalter” (“Return to the Golden Age,” I believe). Now the new name is Aethernaeum, but the spirit of the music—Romaticism, spirituality, nature, folk music and black metal—continues as before, but more ambitious, and with good changes. The 2013 album is called “Wanderungen durch den Daemmerwald” (“Wanderings through the Nebulous Forest,” [more or less, I think!]). This music works a very artistic and intellectual atmosphere, with long songs that cover various moods. When Aethernaeum was called Alexander Paul Blake it was a solo project, now it is a band, but this APB is the same person from the long-running dark, creative metal band Eden weint im Grab (“Eden weeps in its grave”). For now, begin your research with this interview.
www.aethernaeum.de
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Aethernaeum creates a great feeling of atmosphere of a different time and place, not of this present era! Can you explain the band dynamic of the Alexander Paul Blake and Aethernaeum albums?
Alexander Paul Blake: "Thank you for your nice words. I started the whole thing as a solo project under the moniker of Alexander Paul Blake, since I wanted to experiment with Black Metal – a kind of music, which has impressed my since my early youth – aside from my other band Eden Weint Im Grab. I wrote, recorded and mixed everything alone on the debut 'Die Rückkehr ins Goldene Zeitalter', which was released in 2012. And yes, the drums were played on pads and the sounds were samples from real drums, since I didn't have a drummer at that time and wanted to do everything by myself. Some months after the release I decided to turn the solo project into a band and to name it Aethernaeum. I had also written the songs alone for the second album 'Wanderungen durch den Daemmerwald' and recorded the demos alone. But afterwards some other musicians were involved, for example Markus Freitag on the cello, who is now also a part of the official line-up and the Eden Weint Im Grab drummer Zeus X. Machina, who played the drums as session musician. Not everyone of the line-up was involved in the recording because the final line-up established after the recordings were done, so guitars, keyboards, bass and vocals were done mainly by me. It's a kind of a transition album between the solo project and a band."
Why the name change in particular?
Alexander Paul Blake: "We changed the name because we had the feeling that a band named Alexander Paul Blake wouldn't work. Apart from that I wanted to have a name that could be accepted easier among the Black Metal people, since APB was a bit far off for some of them, and I also wanted to express the concept of the band with the name. It's a combination of 'Äther' (engl. ether) and Athenäum, a magazine from the period of German romanticism – so in a way we combine Romanticism and spirituality. As I said, I write the songs alone and I guess I'll always stay the main songwriter of the band, but in the future the other guys will be involved more in the arranging and recording of the songs. I have no problem to produce music completely alone. The big advantage is, that you don't need to make any compromises, don't need to explain or justify anything and can work rather quick. But within a band you can unite the strengths of five people's talents, which is also benefit for an album, as long as there's a clear vision, which everybody follows. I hope this will make our next record even stronger. Let's see. I'm curious, how things will develop."
Now that the album is finished, what are the band objectives in 2013/14? Alexander Paul Blake also has Eden weint im Grab, so this complicates things, correct? Or, maybe not? Eden weint im Grab has six releases since 2004, so APB is very busy.
Alexander Paul Blake: "Of course we want to play live. At the moment our booker tries to arrange some shows in Germany. Unfortunately, not in other countries so far. Actually four of us play in Eden Weint Im Grab as well, so that doesn't make things more complicated, as long as we don't play huge tours all over the globe with one of the bands. And we didn't get a chance to do this until now, since it's really hard to get good show offers as a small band. I'm very busy, that's true, but the reason is more that I need to earn my incomes with other things than recording and playing music, so everything needs to happen in the evening or the weekends, which is a pity sometimes. Concerning the perspectives, I hope for more gigs in 2014 of course and guess that we'll start songwriting in early 2014 for Aethernaeum again, when we've finished the next Eden Weint Im Grab album."
Aethernaeum is based in Berlin, correct? How is the city of Berlin for this creative, imaginative metal music that you play? Is there a good audience for it? (I don't know what is popular right now in Germany!)
Alexander Paul Blake: "I don't care about trends. I guess, Metalcore is still a big trend. And nature mystic Black Metal is definitely not a trend, but nevertheless the interest for our album seemed quite big, mainly in the underground. We have only played one debut gig at the Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig this year so far, so I cannot say anything about the audience in Berlin, but I think there are enough people who look forward to our shows. And I think Berlin is a good town for creative people in general. You have many clubs, musicians, labels, other bands and media here, which is a benefit. But we also have a huge competitive situation, since there are many bands, concerts and releases and sometimes it seems a bit too much. Anyway, nevertheless we love Berlin, that's the reason why we live here."
END OF PART 1. COMING SOON, PART 2.

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