Greetings Ignigarak and welcome to Voices From The Darkside. You originally started out with the band PORTA SALOMONIIS way back in 1998, but apart from a 4 song rehearsal tape, it seems you didn’t release anything else officially, did you?
“First of all, horns up devil worshippers of the Black Metal of Death!!! How are you Frank? Well, the first years were quite hard as a band, it was almost impossible to work professionally in those years for us, so we started only with this recording and with very few live gigs. In fact, we debuted as PORTA SALOMONIIS in the south of Chile and not in our capital, where we live now and that’s where our career as a band started.”
According to Metal Archives that rehearsal tape was physically released on cassette via Arte Pagano. Tell us a bit more about that label and how many copies got spread through them…
“That release was made by Vilú from Arte Pagano, who edited this tape with only 200 copies, which were sold among national bangers and distributed among some magazines that were around in those years in the national underground.”
Was it a pro-printed release, with cover and everything?
“Hell yeah, it was made with a black and white cover where baphomet came out fornicating the Nazarene Dog… really bizarre hahaha!”
Is it a spelling error on Metal Archives or was it really released as “Rehersal 1999” instead of “Rehearsal 1999”?
“That is a mistake of the people who upload the material of the bands there… it must say “Rehearsal 1999″, we are not administrators of that Metal Archives page.”
How long did the band exist as PORTA SALOMONIIS and why did you split-up after such a short period of time already? Did you play any shows as PORTA SALOMONIIS?
“The band PORTA SALOMONIIS was around for about 2 to 3 years and we played many underground shows inside and outside of Santiago. We had the opportunity to play with DOMINUS XUL, GORHOTH, NGENECHEN, NORPHELIDA, SHEOLGEENNA, BLOODY CROSS etc., all local bands.”
What happened to the other original members after you parted ways?
“Only me and Kakoxul (vocals) stayed, the rest of those members no longer exist. They disappeared and they are people who do not interest me to say hello to. This is not for wimps!!!”
After PORTA SALOMONIIS you’ve been involved in the bands GORHOTH and BLASART for a couple of years. Did you personally form those bands or did they already exist when you joined them? Why didn’t they work out for you in the long run then?
“In 1999 I joined GORHOTH and worked a couple of years with them. But I had to leave the band for personal reasons. In those years I was about to graduate from university as a civil engineer, so I decided to postpone the participation in all kinds of bands for a while. After a couple of years, in 2007, I was invited to join BLASART and was practically 3 years working with them. I was the composer of practically all, the lyrics and musical arrangements. We worked together until the relationship between us was wearing out, so I decided to start PORTA DAEMONIUM, where I have maintained until today.”
When exactly did you decide to start PORTA DAEMONIUM then? Is there a musical difference between PORTA DAEMONIUM and PORTA SALOMONIIS or is is basically a comeback, just with a slightly changed moniker?
“In 2006 I decided to resume all the work that had been postponed for various reasons. At first it was complex, since there was a lot of rotation of musicians and due to this instability our work was slow. PORTA DAEMONIUM is the continuation of what had been PORTA SALOMONIIS, but we changed our style of making music a bit more. Since the beginning we made perverse Black Metal, but we decided to change it more to Black / Death Metal and even more perverse than what we had been doing before.”
Which bands / musicians had the strongest musical influence on PORTA DAEMONIUM and what topics do you cover in your lyrics?
“Our most direct musical influences are ancient MORBID ANGEL, IMMOLATION, DEAD CONGREGATION, HYPOCRISY and our lyrics speak about the left hand path, Demons, Daat, the Sitra Ahra, the Qliphot, Azerate and all the entities on the other side. We are a Satanist band!
Between 2011 and 2016, prior to the release of your debut album “Serpent Of Chaos”, you released a couple of songs digitally… Three of them were just rehearsal recordings, but there’s also the two tracks ‘Porta Daemonium’ and ‘The Blood Of The Dark Madness’, which ended up on the album as well. Are those digital singles the same recordings that are featured on the album or did you re-record them for that?
“Many of our songs that were presented previously were to show part of the process in which we were at that time, to test sounds and equipment, that could achieve the definitive sound that we wanted for our album. None of those recordings themselves were part of our album. The songs were recorded again at Torture Chamber studios of our friend Francisco Cautín of TORTURER. That is where we recorded our debut album with an analog console. After this process we reached an agreement with Tomas Skogsberg of Sunlight Studio in Sweden and started working with him. We sent him all our recorded tracks and he was able to do the last mixing and mastering of this work.”
Both songs also came out on a CD entitled “Demo MMXVI” in January 2016… was it a real CD with pro-printed cover and everything or just a CD-R?
“It was just a CD-R, but used for promotion, therefore it also included a cover and lyrics of the songs that came with that edition.”
Why did you mainly go for digital appetizers prior to the album release? Was it because it is cheaper that way or do you think that times have changed so much already that physical demos have become a relic of the past by now?
“This was part of the process we went through as a band in search of our sound and we wanted to share parts of our work with the people, who followed our band through the years. I do not think that physical material such as demos have become a relic of the past, as you mentioned. I think that in recent years they have taken on a lot of value, especially in South America and especially here in Chile. There’s a big revival of tapes and endless high-quality decks where you can already listen to music and enjoy the high standard of quality in brutality. We have released 2 pro tapes in luxury editions and with a really brutal sound.”
In May 2016 you finally released your debut full length “Serpent Of Chaos”… Why are there two labels involved in the CD edition (Iron, Blood And Death Corporation and Insidious Co.) and which version do you personally prefer: digipak or jewel case CD?
“Well, the first edition was made by Insidious Co. in Chile. This edition was made as a deluxe digipak format and the launch was made with NOCTURNUS A.D. in Santiago de Chile. At that time our producer Fabian Ortiz did all the production for this album and brought Mike Browning from the US with NOCTURNUS A.D. for this tremendous assault. Later it was released in Mexico through Iron, Blood & Death Corporation as a jewel case CD edition and we started working with Antonio of Iron, Blood & Death Corporation to this day. He is a great guy and we are very comfortable working with him. I personally like both editions since each one has its own particularity and inside they have different arts, always thinking of the most fervent collectors of the Black Metal of Death.”
The album was also released as a limited cassette edition via Soul Reaper… Was Soul Reaper already involved right from the beginning or did they offer you to release it on cassette after the album was already out for a while? How many copies were pressed of the cassette edition?
“Soul Reaper offered us to release our album in a limited and luxury edition of 100 copies after the album had already been around in Chile, Mexico, Germany, Italy, England, Poland, USA, etc. Pablo, owner of Soul Reaper, offered us to release it on tape, but as an ultra-limited luxury edition only for collectors (this edition is really brutal)… and with them we are still working. Their editions are really murderous… Aaaaarrrggghh!”
About a year later “Serpent Of Chaos” also came out as a limited 12″ vinyl edition in two different colors via Blood Harvest. How did that deal with Blood Harvest Records come about, which colors were available and was it also released as a regular, unlimited black vinyl edition?
“Indeed, after our album had been out in different corners of the world, the possibility of making our first vinyl 12” came up through Rodrigo from Blood Harvest Records. He was interested in our work and decided to offer us to release this album on black vinyl and a limited edition of petrol green in 180 grams. It is a very good edition and we were very happy with this work. Listening to the vinyl is as if you were inside the caverns of hell. It is the 4th edition of “Serpent Of Chaos” and all in different formats. It was really glorious to know that we could achieve our first vinyl released in Europe, which would result in a lot of coverage in various fanzines on the other side of the world.”
Did you play any shows in support of the album release or after? If so, tell us a bit more how they turned out and with which bands you shared the stage at that time.
“As I mentioned before, the release of this album was with NOCTURNUS A.D. Thanks to the management of Fabian Ortiz from Insidious Co., who, in collaboration with other people, was able to make it possible that maestro Mike Browning could devastate Santiago that night. It was a really brutal day, after which we made several live presentations on different local stages, sharing the stage with bands like UNAUSSPRECHLICHEN KULTEN, EXECUTOR, POISONOUS (Bra), FORCE OF DARKNESS, TORTURER, ATOMIC AGGRESSOR, DEATH YELL etc.”
What else have you done after the release of the album? Why did it take you more than two years to come up with just one song, ‘Returning To Tiamat’, which you again just released digitally?
“After a year of promoting the album, I made some changes in the line-up of PORTA DAEMONIUM. We were joined by Rodolfo Sequeida from MELEKTAUS (a band of which I am the producer and booking manager) on guitars. We composed a 7″ EP, which we did as a split together with DENYING NAZARENE. It was released on Iron, Blood & Death Corporation and Soul Reaper as digipak and pro tape editions simultaneously.”
You just mentioned it already… in 2019 Iron, Blood And Death Corporation released the split CD “Emancifestation From Sinister Side” with DENYING NAZARENE, another cool Death Metal band from Chile…
“Yes, it was also produced by me and we released it in alliance with Iron, Blood & Death Corporation on digipak. The whole recording process was new and we did the sessions of both bands at SADE studios with Juan Pablo Donoso from SADISM and PENTAGRAM (Chi). We were very satisfied with the sound that we achieved and the quality of the recording, since we wanted a sound that was more organic, but maintaining the brutality that characterizes us and at the same time achieving a more defined sound than our previous production.”
That split CD featured ‘Returning To Tiamat’ along with two other new ones, namely ‘Via Sinistra’ and ‘The Voice Of The Exiled’… are they from the same recording session as ‘Returning To Tiamat’ or have they been finished later?
“That’s right, they are from the same recording session that we did at SADE studios with Juan Pablo Donoso on the console.”
Who had the idea for this split CD? Was it maybe because DENYING NAZARENE’s guitar player Rodolfo Sequeida had just joined PORTA DEAMONIUM about a year prior to the release and you wanted to support those guys a bit more through this release?
“The idea of doing this split was mine. I knew that DENYING NAZARENE was preparing new material and I proposed to do this work. That’s where I started working as a producer and I decided to do this alliance. As I mentioned earlier, I decided that both bands should record this production at SADE studios. I have been a fan of DENYING NAZARENE for many years, and we are also very close friends with Hugo Fuenzalida, their drummer. Rodolfo Sequeida was already in PORTA DAEMONIUM for a little more of year to that date.”
The cover artwork is pretty impressive. Tell us a bit more about its origin and the artist, who did it. Was it created exclusively for the split release or did you just buy the rights for one of his creations?
“The result of “Emancifestation From Sinister Side” as a production was really killer since we decided to work with an artist named Juan Pablo Villalobos, who did the cover art for this album and Claudio Hernández, drummer of MAGNANIMVS, who did all the interior design and illustration for this production. It really was an intense job of hard work to be able to achieve the final product that I wanted as a producer. The artwork was made exclusively for this production. We tried to cover the lyrical concept of both bands and translate it into a single work. On the left side of it you see a hellish war, where demons devour angels and on the other side appears Tiamat, destroying the trinity. The sketch was made by me and the artist developed it with all his skill and technique to achieve what we wanted in hellish tones, so that it would give that expression of chaos and madness. To achieve the final product we had several conversations with Juan Pablo Villalobos and we even took him to a couple of rehearsals of PORTA DAEMONIUM, so that he could soak up our energy and channel everything into this work of art. Rodolfo Sequeida was the one who introduced me to the artist and I must say that I am really satisfied with his professionalism and his work. This masterpiece was really killer!”
In the good old PORTA DAEMONIUM tradition you released just one new song, ‘Forgotten Cults Of Illegitimate Kingdoms’, about a year later digitally again… was it already clear at that point that it would end up on “The Southern Spirits Old Chants”, the split CD with Colombia’s FUNESTUS BELLUM, which came out at the end of 2020 via Tanatofobia Productions? Or did you get the offer for that split because Tanatofobia heard that song and asked you for more material for this release?
“We made this single because of the pandemic conditions in 2020 to keep our name out. But suddenly Tanatophobia Productions appeared and offered us to do a split in conjunction with FUNESTUS BELLUM from Colombia, who managed this production, given the little time we had. It was not our plan to record something new at that time, so we decided to extract some previous recordings and include this one new song, since it was only going to be used exclusively for a lyrics video of the promotional single. We decided to include it, so that there would be a physical record of ‘Forgotten Cults Of Illegitimate Kingdoms’. Once the compilation was made, we decided to name the production “The Southern Spirits Old Chants”. It came out on pro CD, and it turned out really good and very old school made, only in black and white. We are very satisfied with this work which was launched at the end of last year.”
What can you tell us about FUNESTUS BELLUM, the band that you share the split CD with? What kind of connection do you have with them?
“The most direct communication with the Colombian band is Kakoxul, our vocalist, who has direct contact with one of the members of FUNESTUS BELLUM. In fact, the title of the production was made between them. Personally I find what the band does very brutal and we are happy to have made an alliance with our black South American brothers!”
What is currently happening with PORTA DAEMONIUM? Have you already written any new material? Will there be a new album, EP or split coming up sometime? Who’s in the current line-up of the band and do you consider it as the strongest so far?
“At the moment PORTA DAEMONIUM is composing the next full length with a new line-up. We hope to have news later this year and present a full length that we think will be one of the best PORTA DAEMONIUM works, since we consider this the strongest line-up we have had so far. The band’s new line-up is: Kakoxul – vocals, Gonzalo Townsend – bass, Hugo Fuenzalida – drums, Rodolfo Sequeida – guitars and myself, Jhon Ignigarak – guitars.”
Ok, Ignigarak… that’s about it, I guess. Thanks for taking the time. All the best for you and the rest of PORTA DAEMONIUM. I’ll leave the last words to you.
“Thank you Frank, for your time and thank you very much for the support of PORTA DAEMONIUM. We want to give a greeting to all the courts of hell and all the bangers of the world of Death music and all those who follow the path of the left hand! Crush and spit out weakness, always keep the black flame burning and be in eternal blasphemy. Greetings from the Chilean hell… Ignigarak greets you, Voices From The Darkside rules!”
Live pics: Sergio Mella / www.sergiomella.cl
Interview: Frank Stöver