Kult Ov Azazel - Update of Music and Darkness (Xaphan) - Online Nov 2006
Having enjoyed the solid "The World. The Flesh & The Devil", I checked in with Xathan from Kult Of Azazel after the band had done some touring down South.
Hello guys, Stephen from "The Metal Observer" here. First off, thanks for talking to us about the band. Briefly, how did KULT OF AZAZEL form? The band began in 1999. At first it was Xul, I and a drummer who within a week after the formation moved out of state. From that point until 2001 we had nothing but drummer problems, many came and went, some made it onto recordings but our vision never wavered. It was after the “Triumph Of Fire” recording that I met Hammer of all places in Europe and by the summer of 2001 we had found the final piece of the puzzle. During the writing/recording of “Oculus Infernum” the decision was made to bring a second guitarist into the fold. Since this decision we have had a revolving door so to speak with guitarist. First it was Nocturath and then VJS who appeared on “The World, The Flesh & The Devil” and at the current time the position is held by Necrol.
You have a new split CD/CD-Rom that just came out with the band VROLOK. How did that come about? Diabolus and I have been in contact with each other for many years so to be honest I don’t quite remember. I believe it just came up in one of our phone conversations. There wasn’t a “eureka” moment involved so not much a story behind it.
Florida is known primarily for its Death Metal, was there a different reaction from any audiences toward a powerful Black Metal outfit? Maybe in the beginning as I remember the first show we played locally was following DIVINE EMPIRE in 1999 and had to play at . The place was packed and by the time we went on there remained maybe 30 people at best, the night before Memorial Day and the bar was opened and serving until ! It sucked but after that night the word spread and the next time we played more people showed up. As time went on the more we played the more people we started drawing and now we have a heavy draw when we do decide to play in Fort Lauderdale.
I grew up in the Tampa area, so I've been around underground Metal for 20+ years. For a State better known for Disney, suffocating heat and old people, why is it, well, so fucking Metal!? I can’t really answer that since I myself was raised in Tennessee. I guess it’s so Metal because it has spawned a lot of the bands over the years probably the most per capita in the US post 1989. I came to Florida because it seemed at the time, in 1992, the most Metal place I could live plus I moved to continue my education at an institute in Fort Lauderdale. There’s was absolutely no Metal scene going on in Tennessee so Florida seemed the logical place to move for a Metalhead in the early 90’s.
The one aspect of bands that I always like to know is how the writing process goes for you? When and how do you deal with lyrics? After “Triumph Of Fire” I became the primary writer when it comes to the music and lyrics so every process is different. Usually it begins with a riff. Sometimes all the riffs come right to me and sometimes it’s just a riff that stays with me until I write another that fits to my liking. Once the riffs are there we get together as a band and Hammer writes the drum patterns/beats he’s going to do and we re-work the arrangement. From that point we demo track the drums and guitar which I bring home to listen to and at which time I give it a song title and began to write the lyrics. So lyrics and title are always the last to come in my writing process. It’s the overall vibe of the music which determines these factors yet the idea is always there in the back of my mind in a sense in the form of a theme, etc.
From "Triumph Of Fire" to the latest album, the ass kicking "The World, The Flesh & The Devil", I noticed some slower passages, with a more Death Metal riffing. Do you see it that way and was their a conscious decision to really throw in some crushing work along with the blazing Black Metal you play? “Triumph Of Fire” was a good album but not what I would myself call a shining moment when compared to “The World, The Flesh & The Devil”. So when writing for the past two albums I didn’t want to back ourselves into a corner or continue to rehash album after album. So yes there was a conscious decision to write slower and some mid paced stuff because I find it boring to play just for the sake of being fast. We have never set forth to be the fastest band besides the fact I think we’ve already established we can “blast, blast, blast” not to mention I want to evolve both musically and as a whole.
I seem to recall you guys saying older bands like SLAYER, MERCYFUL FATE etc. were big influences on you. Do you have any non-Metal influences, bands or musicians? Any bands out there just now you are digging? For me my biggest inspirations come more from the underground explosion of the early to mid eighties since it is the music I grew up on and still love. As for non Metal bands, I also have been highly inspired by BLACK FLAG being the most notable although this isn’t heard in the music I write. Other non Metal influences would be THE SISTERS OF MERCY, MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT (their earlier satanic work), BIG BLACK, DOOM, EXTREME NOISE TERROR, NAUSEA, DESTROY!, APOCALYPSE, early DRI and COC, CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER, FANG, I guess this list is endless. Again none of which will be heard in my playing style or that comes out in our music.
Being open Hedonists and having a healthy disdain for monotheism is a mark of Black Metal, but I never think anyone asks bands how they came to their belief system. Anyone want to take a jab at that? Do you get sick of questions about the Satanism and hedonism in your lyrics? Being I grew up in the South this isn’t too hard to explain. Tennessee back then was firmly gripped and immersed in Christianity. Growing up I was constantly taught that this was evil, the devil this and the devil that all the usual bullshit that is spouted by religious people. As I got older I noticed that I identified with “evil” more than what I was taught was “good”. And being brought up to believe in God or the Devil I started seeking out books on Satanism which lead me down many paths. In my early teens I came across LaVey and that opened a whole new world to me. From there I delved deeper and since the age of 11 I have come into my own styled ideology and practices. Yet I guess that doesn’t explain my disdain and total resentment towards monotheism but I think you and the readers will get the notion from what I have previous said that it all stemmed from my upbringing in Tennessee and has only deepened over all these years.
You've been working on a new album, how is that coming along? Any chance you want to share the title if you've decided it yet? We were working on one but things have changed and it’s been postponed and studio time canceled. No rescheduling has been worked out so there’s no idea when we’ll pick things back up. So with that said, there was/is a working title but we’ll keep that to ourselves until our activities resume.
I also noticed you've been working with Jeff Becerra from POSSESSED on the new album. That must be cool as hell, how did you hook up with him? I wrote to Jeff asking if he’d be interested in collaborating with me on a new song for the now postponed album. POSSESSED and his lyrics have been influential since I got a copy of "Seven Churches" in 1984 since that day I've been a huge POSSESSED fan. In my book they rank right up with VENOM as inspirations. But anyhow, I figured he’d either not respond or say he had no interest but it was quite the opposite. Jeff and I have actually become very close friends through this collaboration. He’s a hella killer guy!
What are the chances we'll see you guys over here on the West Coast soon? Also, I'm sure many of the international fans would love to know if you have any plans for a tour outside the US? At the current moment you, the West Coast and international fans would have a better chance of seeing hell freeze over. We will be playing our last live show on October 24th opening for CELTIC FROST.
Any final words for the fans? Thanks Stephen for your support and the patience during the answering process. Our website is www.kultovazazel.com and people who are interested in KULT OV AZAZEL can find all pertinent information on the band there. Bestial hails to all that have supported the band over the years!
For the discography, please have a look in the band history!