After having been part of Chile’s cult Death Metal act DOMINUS XUL for a short period of time, the brothers Rodolfo (guitars / vocals) and Alvaro Sequeida (drums) formed Melektaus in the beginning of 2002 with the intention to play brutal and dark Death Metal, magnified with lyrics based on magic-spiritual experiences and selected occult readings. The first line-up was completed by Francisco Cornejo on bass and Fernando Villalobos on guitars. A little later that year they already recorded their first release, the "Promo 2002", at Sade Studios with Juan Pablo Donoso. That 3 song promo gained them some excellent reviews around the world, but apart from a bunch of shows, together with bands like Dark Funeral, Pandemia, Behemoth, Gorgoroth, Funeratus, Vader etc. nothing really happened anymore until the year 2004… At that time the band finally returned to the studio to record their long awaited first full length album "Transcendence Through Ethereal Scourge", which recently was released through Spain’s Grotesque Productions and as expected it turned out totally amazing! Expect nothing but brutal, sinister, dark, occult Death Metal the way it was meant to be played! The following interview, which originally was supposed to be answered by Rodolfo, was done by Alvaro and Fernando (bass player Francisco is no longer part of MELEKTAUS anymore)… Enjoy!
Greetings Rodolfo… to accomplish this interview it took us approximately three years!! We originally intended to do a MELEKTAUS feature right after your "Promo 2002" got released, but for some strange reasons it never turned into reality… Do you have any idea what the problems were at the time?
Alvaro: "First of all, Rodolfo is not able to answer this interview due to a personal problem (wich doesn’t concern the band), but it’s nothing extremely serious. Perhaps, one of the reasons why we couldn’t answer your interview before was because, there was a thousand problems with our respective computers, to format the computer all over again and all that crap, you know, and we lost a lot of interviews and material, and maybe between all those interviews we misplaced yours. It has been a while ago so I don’t remember it with much accuracy. Well, but we won’t fail this time and we’ll answer to all of ye doubts."
Why did it actually took you so long to return to the scene with a full length album? What have you done in between the release of the promo and the album?
Fernando: "We’ve always wanted to make things right. That’s why we took so long in releasing our full length, because we dedicated a lot of time in the composition (both lyrical and musical), and spent a lot of time promoting our material playing in several places in Chile and finally we dedicated time looking for the proper record label."
I read somewhere that the "Promo 2002" also came out as a split release with GORHOTH… What can you tell us about that? Who released that, were you in touch with GORHOTH before already and was it a vinyl or CD release?
Fernando: "That’s right, that split was released by a Chilean zine called “Noise And Shit”. They were interested in releasing our material and GORHOTH’s. They released a cassette called “Split Your Head Vol. 1” (together with the sixth edition of the zine), on which, on one side there is our debut demo, and on the other side GORHOTH’s debut demo."
Did you actually gain much label interest through the release of the promo or was it first and foremost meant for magazines in order to get the name MELEKTAUS out to the underground?
Alvaro: "Actually, as you say, it was because of the recognition we had, that we started to gain in the underground, both national and international. We didn’t realize that our promotional material was spreading like fire, and that was because many friendly hands helped us to promote our material without us asking for it. It was a really important help, and we are extremely grateful for it. We know that in Europe our material is very appreciated, more than here, in our own land. It was when the negotiation with Grotesque Music started. They offered us a much more worthy deal than any other record label, and the result of such alliance has been very gratifying, they have done amazing work."
Talking about the band’s name… what does it mean to you? It seems you have a very strong lyrical concept, so is the name part of that as well? Tell us a bit more about all that!
Fernando: "MELEKTAUS is the name that was given to the most high deity of the Yezidis, a religious group located in Kurdistan, in the north-east of Irak. Antrophologically speaking, MELEKTAUS is the first and most ancient version of Satan, but very distant from the judeochristian conception of itself. MELEKTAUS is a representation that each human being is a power itself, and within the Yezidis beliefs, God is only a compasive and merciful agent that does not deserve any kind of cult. In our lyrical contents, MELEKTAUS is a band with magical / spiritual / ideological content. My lyrics are mainly focused on the invisible contact, and many times unconscious, that man have with the true Gods, I mean, the cosmic potencies that guides you but doesn’t determine the natural path of men (in difference with the slave doctrines of christianism and similars). Such potencies have existed through all the history of man and being known with different names. My lyrics talk about that the man who is able to establish a true and permanent communion with his spirit could understand and manipulate his environment in a better way. Therefore, in MELEKTAUS you won’t find the systematic attack against christianism that is used these days by so many Metal bands who like to abuse this subject, or gore lyrics (for my taste, a very boring and repetitive content). MELEKTAUS is about powers of the spirit against matter, about magical spiritual experiences, about how the human being must unattach from false idols and defeat beliefs, etc. The source of inspiration of the band is the Thelemic philosophy from Aleister Crowley and collaborators."
When and how did you finally hook up with Spain’s Grotesque Productions for the release of your debut album and did you have any other options as well?
Fernando: "It was all through Messenger: at first I sent e-mails to several record labels which contained our bio with a song attached from our record, ready to hear. Xtreem Music was, originally, interested in us, but later Dave Rotten desist the offering because he couldn’t affort it. Grotesque Music found out through Xtreem Music (a Spanish record label also) that we were looking for a record label from Chile. Later he contacted me, we elaborated a contract from both parts, we signed it and sent all the material for its later manufacture in Spain. Talking of promotion, Grotesque Music distributes our material in several countries, such as USA, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Checks Republics, Slovakia, Greece, Japan, Russia, Netherlands, Norway, Finland among others."
Tell us a bit about the recordings of the album, like where you recorded, why you decided to go there, how long you have been in the studio, who produced it and so on?
Fernando: "The recording of this album was a hard work for the band and for Juan Pablo (drummer of SADISM, who recorded our album). We decided to record there for two reasons: the quality of the equipment in Sade Studios and the experience of Juan Pablo in extreme Metal. We recorded, mixed and mastered this album between July 2004 and January 2005. The recording of the album took a little time, what took more time was the mixing and mastering. When we thought that everything was ready, some of us found out little details that should be improved, we were all very demanding with this work. And the result we got was very satisfying."
In your early days MELEKTAUS was always related to DOMINUS XUL, another brutal Death Metal horde from Chile, because of the fact that your bassplayer Francisco Cornejo originally used to be a member of DOMINUS XUL… I never really found out how everything developed from there, so did he form MELKTAUS after leaving DOMINUS XUL or was the band already existing at the time? Why did DOMINUS XUL cease to exist by the way?
Alvaro: "To be honest, Francisco Cornejo was only a bass player, he never had any influence in the formation of MELEKTAUS and he never was a very active member in Dominus Xul. He was with us in the beginning of MELEKTAUS, but due to repeated irresponsabilities he was expelled from the band. Mainly Dominus Xul ceased to exist because we – the members that remained before the death of Danny Grave (vocalist) – decided to end the band, because a lot of musicians played in the band and have no right to get hold of the effort of that people. With my brother Rodolfo, we just stayed in the band the last two years of the existence of Dominus Xul, and a lot of people told us to keep with the legacy that Danny Grave and all the musicians that participated in the band left. But the most right and decent thing to do, was to finish the band. Its cycle was accomplished."
What about MELEKAUS’ live experiences thus far… in your infosheet there’s a bunch of support shows mentioned, so tell us a bit about them, like how you got the opportunity to play with them, if you got treated well by the bigger bands, how the crowds reacted on MELEKTAUS and so on? Was it always local shows or across the country?
Alvaro: "In every show we’ve played with foreign bands, we came out victorious, we’ve stand equal to equal with bands that have much more experience talking of live shows. To name a few bands we’ve played with are Behemoth, Deicide, Vader, Pandemia, Gorgoroth, Dark Funeral… We’ve played in front of audiences with more Black Metal tendences than Death Metal, but we knew how to involve them in the brutality of our music and in our performance. Talking about the personal relations, we’ve shared with certain bands, but not with all, actually, our main goal isn’t to get to know people of foreign bands, our main goal is just to represent the Chilean Death Metal. With the only band that we’ve played in other regions of our country was with VADER, but due to problems with the people of the production, we decided we wouldn’t be the support band of VADER through the rest of the tour."
Let’s talk a little bit about your music… it’s pretty obvious that you’re not into the idea of writing music that fits into a certain fashion or that’s supposed to be innovative… your goal obviously is to deliver blasphemous, brutal oldschool Death Metal exclusively! So, when did you start listening to this form of music yourselves and which bands / albums inspired you so much that you started to play music on your own?
Alvaro: "I must admit that the first musical influence for me, from the Metal genre, was Metallica ("Master Of Puppets"). Then I realized that METALLICA was just a crumb of what brutality really is. Then I started to inform myself about more bands, styles and others, until I found what really apassionates me, Death Metal, and from that moment I haven’t stopped getting influences from different bands, as much of national as international bands. I could name a lot of bands and albums that have influenced me, I could give you a huge list (Immolation, Incantation, Angel Corpse, Nile, Morbid Angel, national bands like Magnanimvs, Dethroner, Defacing, etc.) but I listen to other musical genres also, like Jazz or Progressive."
Fernando: "Personally, I felt inspired to play music by albums like "Show No Mercy" or "Hell Awaits" of SLAYER, I felt that extreme music filled me up totally and I kept adquiring new material in the same line. Then I found in Death Metal a new power and I decided to take it. The first albums of Deicide, Morbid Angel, Adramelech, Sinister, Monstrosity, Autopsy were and they are true inspiring jewels, together with album released by the new generation of brutal Death Metal bands (Angel Corpse, Nile, etc.)."
Was MELEKTAUS the first band for you all (except Francisco of course) or have you already been involved in other acts prior to MELEKTAUS?
Alvaro: "Like a band on my own, none. Personally I’ve participated in other bands before (Dominus Xul) but actually I’m just playing in Melektaus and in a Black War Metal band called Occidens. I remember that with Rodolfo we went to Fernando’s garage when we were at school, playing some songs of Metallica, but always playing some Morbid Angel or Slayer stuff to brutalize those evenings a little bit. As you can see, in MELEKTAUS, besides of the bonds that we have in sharing this passion called Death Metal, there’s also bonds of friendship, we’re joined in a professional and personal level, and in my opinion, I think that those things are reflected in what we are achieving, being in the top of Death Metal in Chile, and now invading Europe, but always keeping in our cabals, and never despising anyone, even the opposite, supporting in a 100% the national scene. Always with the other members of MELEKTAUS, we hang out and drink some beers, we have a lot of fun with what we do."
How would you characterize each member of the band in a few words? What are your interests besides music?
Alvaro: "Difficult question… I don’t like to be a judge of anyone. I accept every member of the band as they are, with their flaws and virtues, as I said before, we are great friends. Sorry if my answer sounds like I was evading your question, but I prefer to leave it that way, who wants to judge someone, must do it following their own experiences. The members of MELEKTAUS obviously have another interests, we cannot dedicate ourselves 100% to the band, I mean, at least not in here. Some of us study, other members of the band work."
Which new releases managed to impress you lately? Tell us a couple of newer albums that you personally consider essential.
Fernando: "CRANIUM – "Speed Metal Sentence", EMETH – "Insidious", HATE ETERNAL – "I Monarch", ANGEL CORPSE – "The Inexorable", BEHEMOTH – "Demigod", DEEDS OF FLESH – "Crown Of Souls", HATE – "Lord Is Avenger", IMMOLATION – "Unholy Cult", INTERNECINE – "The Book Of Lambs", NILE – all, MELECHESH – "Sphynx", NECROPHAGIST – "Epitaph", ORIGIN – "Echoes Of Decimation", SUFFOCATION – "Souls To Deny", VADER – "The Beast", VITAL REMAINS – "Dechristianize"."
How’s the local scene in your area for brutal Death Metal these days? Are there any other bands worth being mentioned? Do you have many possibilities to play out live or record material?
Fernando: "There are several prominent bands like Magnanimvs, Totten Korps, Godless, Death Smell, Dethroner, Defacing, Burning Flesh, Gorhoth, Norphelida and Sheolgeenna (both RIP). Some of them have albums, other just demos."
Ok, I guess we have covered everything by now… if there’s anything else you’d like to add / mention, feel free to do so now… Cheers and all the best!
Alvaro: "Thank you very much for your support from the distance, someday we’ll be brutalizing your lands, so get ready! Thanks a lot to all those who support us unconditionally, we will never dissapoint you! Thanks to the true followers of Death Metal and MELEKTAUS. A personal greeting to my friend Maria Paz Pazuzu, thanxs for your time, great work, cheers!!!"
Band contact: Rodolfo Arnarldo Sequeida Honorato, Bartolo Soto 3890, San Miguel, Santiago de Chile, Chile, email: firstname.lastname@example.org