Funeral Procession – a Black Metal outfit from Eastfrisia – have been in existence since late autumn 1995. They’ve been standing for true Black Metal virtues, like rejection of Christianity, exultation of all evil, terror and woe. This band has gone through various line-up changes, but one member, being part of the band since January 1998, has remained a consistant and perseverant warrior of the black magic this band emanates – Count Gothmog. Thus – hearken, unworthy worms, what the count has to proclaim…
All hails, Count Gothmog – you’ve been away for quite a while to Wales. Well, as a starter, would please tell us what your time was like there, whether you were able to gather new energies for the band, how you maintained your correspondences and last but not least FUNERAL PROCESSION’s activities?
I really enjoyed my time over there as people seemed to be far more relaxed and less interested in private things as the people in Germany and they also were more tolerant while on the other hand there was a kind of national pride which unfortunately people simply do not feel over here because they are forced to unnaturally feel European or global. In the beginning everything was a bit difficult and I didn’t have much time to think about FUNERAL PROCESSION, yet later when the winter arrived I started to think and make up new things for the band. I finally made up my mind about forthcoming releases etc. The only problem was that I didn’t have my bass-guitar with me, so I haven’t practiced for about a year now. Maintaining correspondence and contacts is no problem at all in the age of internet, I suppose, just find a computer
Inform the readers of this interview about the essence of FUNERAL PROCESSION. What is its core? What is the specific energy that urges you to stick to the band and continue to produce this malicious sound?
FUNERAL PROCESSION is simply total Black Metal, nothing more, nothing less – darkness and hate. I don’t know what keeps me doing this, there must be something really wicked inside of me, especially in this consequence and harshness I lead the band for the last three-four years.
Inform us a bit with regard to FUNERAL PROCESSION’s background. Well, I mean line-up changes and stuff like that… just give us a brief overview and maybe clarify whether there were any stylistic changes due to the turbulent times you had to go through as an artist.
Well, the band was founded some time back in 1995 although the guys had a predecessor before that, they played a few gigs until I joined forces with them at the beginning of 1998. We played three gigs with that line-up and recorded our first demo-tape “Doom”. In 1999 all founding members left the band, so that Iwein and me remained. With a session-drummer, we recorded the Split-7” with Encomium and the song for the “Visions… – A Tribute To Burzum” – compilation. After that we were scheduled to go on tour with Norwegian TAAKE and MANIAC BUTCHER, but due to problems we weren’t able to play that tour. Right after, we had to search a new drummer which we found in Ole from HAGAL, with whom we recorded “Solar Eclipse”, our second demo. However, Iwein left the band after the recording, so the band in the moment is only me, but from 1998 onwards we have always supported by Satyrus Sancti whom I regard rather as a comrade in crime than a session-member. Honestly, I doubt that we changed our style that much. We included some influences here and there and simply the recordings etc. became more professional but on the other hand, FUNERAL PROCESSION is still total Black Metal.
All right then, I reckon that was enough background information for the time being. Give us some insights regarding “Solar Eclipse” – your latest effort. Line-up, songs, concept, the way it was recorded
As said before, we recorded the latest demo as a four-piece, on an analogue four-tracker. The demo includes four songs, has a playing-time of 28 minutes and the first edition is 540 copies. There’s no overall concept but the songs stand for themselves.
Would you mind informing us about your label… I suppose they are brothers in conviction when it comes to Black Metal, aren’t they? How did you get in touch / establish your contact?
Marek, label-boss of Devil Worship Rec. is definitely a brother when it comes to Black Metal. He contacted us already about 12 months before the demo could finally be released and I doubt that without him, the demo would have been released that fast anyway – he came up proposed to do our next release, he was very keen to have it done and this finally convinced me. There is nothing like a contract or anything, the complete work is simply based upon trust, the way the old-school underground worked without thousands of fixed paragraphs etc. etc. He has also released the SAURON-debut and he will be doing something for GRAND BELIAL’S KEY. Sometimes he is not the fastest person, but then we had delays after delays ourselves as well.
How do you embark in composing your blasphemies? Do you lock yourself up in the rehearsal room and pour boiling water all over your body like the ABRUPTUM guys once did in order to accomplish utter dementia… or what? Honestly… how do you compose? Have you ever experimented with different approaches to composing music?
The main approach to compose is my body. Either something inside me wants to get out or I got something hooked in my head and I sometimes, and unluckily not always at the very best moments of this, I am able to converge this maelstrom into a composition. These compositions by the way are not necessarily blasphemous. The next release will at least in its lyrical side not be as anti-(monotheistic) religious as the first two songs of “Solar Eclipse” were with their direct anti-christian / anti-jewish stance. I cannot describe the process of composition really and I doubt that it is important. Sometimes thinking about something like this might spoil the magic. And as a final comment, the way ABRUPTUM have composed is, although very original, something that needs to be recorded at the same time as it is composed like they did in the studio as their masterpieces were of rather ritualistic dimensions.
What is your main inspiration as far as composition of songs is concerned?
Everything and anything. Myself, nature, the environment I live in, I don’t know. There must be a bit of affinity with astral bodies however if you have a look at our song-titles or lyrics which I am not really aware of. I am only astonished that they turn up again and again and again. And winter and darkness are far better times to get creative because you’re no longer so dependent on visual stimuli and the other senses are sharpened.
Is it possible for you to trace back your getting hooked to the Black Metal philosophy? Can you sort of detect certain moments in your past life in which your Black Metal passion was foreshadowed so to speak?
I doubt it. In the end it was, with my development via British Heavy Metal and Death Metal, although just a short period, a long time, and I honestly cannot detect any sort of moment that foreshadowed this. I mean, I always enjoyed the occult and darker side of things, but then, this is not necessarily something that led me to Black Metal, it could also have led me to Gothic, Ritual or Ambient music or whatever.
What are the most important 10 releases for you? Please try to accept this compromise for the sake of the restricted dimension of this interview.
I.) IRON MAIDEN – Powerslave, II.) DISMEMBER – Like An Ever Flowing Stream, III.) BEHERIT – Drawing Down The Moon, IV.) MYSTIFIER – Goëtia, V.) DISSECTION – Storm Of The Light’s Bane, VI.) IMMORTAL – Battles In The North, VII.) MARDUK – Those Of The Unlight, VIII.) BATHORY – Hammerheart, IX.) DARKTHRONE – A Blaze In The Northern Sky, X.) SAMAEL – Ceremony Of Opposites.
What do you find so striking about these?
First of all, you didn’t ask about the ten best but about the ten most important releases, so those in one way or another had a huge impact on me or influenced me. These are not the best albums, ok? Then, the Iron Maiden-album was the first LP I owned myself at the age of seven. The Dismember-album was my first Death Metal-album I owned and I really liked and all the other albums paved my way back in 1995 or earlier to Black Metal. So these are probably more important in the way of musical taste and development than really best albums as otherwise I definitely would need to state bands like EMPEROR, MOONBLOOD or BURZUM, to name just a few. Until I came across Death Metal-albums back around 1992/3, I only listened to bands like IRON MAIDEN, but when I came across DEICIDE’s “Legion” or DISMEMBER’s “Like…”-album this was so radically new and fresh for me, I mean have a look at the backcover of “Like An Ever Flowing Stream” back at that time. Then I got the BEHERIT-album and the 2nd MYSTIFIER taped and I simply couldn’t imagine how intensive, occult and obscure these albums were. I actually had the BEHERIT, the MYSTIFIER and the MARDUK-album before 1995, but I wouldn’t say that I was so dedicated to it back then unlike what was to come from 1995 onwards.
Would you please try to pin down your associations concerning the following key words?!
America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilisation. (Georges Clemenceau)
The forces of nature will prevail!
SATYRICON’s “Dark Medieval Times”
A masterpiece and probably the album of SATYRICON, I’d choose to take with me if I only was allowed to choose one. Utter darkness and one of the few albums that really captured the medieval feelings – something so many bands tried back then and where so few succeeded in.
A person who does not read, which means is not literated, is a poor soul, yet I feel no pity. Reading for me is of far more importance than watching TV or stuff.
When 80% of humanity are average rubbish, is education of importance? However, one of my experiences from the last months is that I personally want to finish my education as soon as possible.
Difficult one, I mean I must admit that I am not really fond of Death Metal due to mostly lack of ideas and I don’t like all those Gore-lyrics on the one hand or those political correctness-lyrics, I don’t like all those jogging-trouser Life Metal-idiots with their friendship to hippie-scum like Greenpeace, and I don’t like rhythmical instead of melodic music, this is obviously why if it comes to Death Metal I always preferred bands like the aforementioned ones. Nowadays it seems like everyone needs to show what a brilliant musician everyone is and how fast they can play and how deep they can grunt. And also this socialising and uniting-stuff just because one listens or plays the same music is definitely not my cup of tea.
I am personally very interested in history, but from many different angles. And I maintain that without knowing your roots, nobody is complete.
What about FUNERAL PROCESSION’s future plans? Will there be a bit more live-activity again? I’d appreciate that!
I honestly doubt that there will be live-gigs in the near future for one simple reason: there is no stable line-up. As long as I don’t have any stable line-up (and this means in the first place a guitar-player as I know at least two drummers who would help me one way or another…), there will be no live exhibition, and even if, FUNERAL PROCESSION will play gigs very selectively, I like playing live, but I do not feel the need to play every- and anywhere. The next release will be the “Legion Cymru” EP and at the moment it looks like for the first time, this will be released in all three forms, yet negotiations with the labels are still in the making. This release will nevertheless not be released before end of 2003 / the beginning of 2004.
What do you think about the fact that certain Black Metal acts irresponsibly and nonchalantly coquet or ogle with fascist contents? Well, I do not think this is a prejudice I have or something… it is something factual. Do you regard such people as besmirching the scene you love, do you think such people should be ignored ‘cause they’re dull and insipid? Express your opinion on this matter, please
Well, well. First of all, Black Metal is emotional, political debates can be emotional, politics itself is not emotional, therefore politics is no part of Black Metal. I personally am not political and I don’t like talking about it in interviews as FUNERAL PROCESSION is a non-political band. However, I obviously came across some persons who are political and especially in Eastern Europe and the US it seems to be quite fashionable to increase the shock value by including NS-ideology in their philosophy. As some may know, however, I was in contact with some persons from that political background, Darken probably the most notorious persons among them, and I personally have never had any problems with those because we never encountered politics as a topic. I don’t like the inclusion of politics within the scene and in the end it really is a threat to the scene, but then not the only one.
Well then… I think that’s it from my side. Cheers for the time it took you to do this interview… all the best for you and FUNERAL PROCESSION. The last words are, of course, yours
Thanks for the interview. Mors Omnia Solvit!
F. Cthulhu E.