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Blood Ceremony (Interview)

POLISH VERSION

Blood_Ceremony_logo


The masters of mixing evil doomy riffs with unsettling flute sounds, the band which sometimes is called the child of Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull – Canadian Blood Ceremony will soon visit our country to play in Bydgoszcz, Warsaw and Katowice and Doomsmoker will be one of concerts' patron. We interviewed the bassist Lucas Gadke and the guitarist Sean Kennedy and they told us what are the essentials of 70's music for them, what they plan for the nearest future and what they are looking forward to taste in Poland.


Your Polish concerts are coming soon and we'll be very happy to  see you in our country. These are going to be ones of the last gigs of your European tour which will finish at Hammer of Doom VI. 20 shows, 10 countries, day after day - it's going to be a big effort, isn't it?

 

Lucas: It's a big tour, covering a lot of territory. We're really excited. This will be the first time for most of us in Eastern Europe and we're stoked to be playing these dates in Poland!

 

It's not your first visit to Europe. How does playing here differ from playing in America?

 

Lucas: In America and Canada, sometimes you feel like people take artists less seriously unless you've "made it." We haven't made it and neither have a lot of bands in the heavy music world.

I know that the hospitality from the venues and the enthusiasm of the crowds is certainly different - it's better! People really get into your shows and they want to talk to you and hang with you afterwards. When we were in Europe in April everybody had the best time. The spirit of a festival like Roadburn is overwhelming. Hundreds of music lovers in one place, getting along and overjoyed.

There's a trend in Toronto, our hometown, to pretend like your not enjoying the music, to just stand with your arms crossed. Canadians can be quite reserved, possibly the most reserved in the world! In Europe everyone throws themselves into it, it's awesome. That's a broad statement but I noticed a difference.

Sean: I’ve always loved playing in Toronto, but it’s great to be able to travel and play in other parts of the world.  There’s a feeling in Europe of a strong underground rock movement.

 

 

In 2009 you toured across our continent supporting Electric Wizard and this time you are the headliner. What has changed?

 

Sean: Since the Wizard tour in 2009, we wrote and recorded our follow-up album, Living with the Ancients.  I feel we have grown better as a live band and have a lot more material to choose for our sets, which give it more dynamics.

Lucas: We got a new bass player, he rules.

 

You are strongly inspired by '60s/'70s music. What do you find the most important in it? What is the essence you want to bring to the present day?

 

Sean: It’s essentially the vibe and freedom of this era of music that inspires us.  Personally, the majority of music I listen to comes from the golden era of psych and heavy rock, horror soundtracks and ‘70s Brit-folk.  In a lot of this music, there was a genuine attempt to create a specific atmosphere and sense of drama; but also a willingness to have fun doing it and just playing heavy rock.


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In 70's there were many groups (just to mention Jethro Tull) having a flautist in their line-ups. Today you can hardly come across this instrument in rock bands. Do you have any ideas why?

 

Lucas: Perhaps it's a move away from some of the more progressive elements that came with punk rock and everything it touched. We try not to think about trends or why things aren't popular; we play the music that comes naturally to us. Sometimes the technical problems with the instrument make me see why, but other than that I can't think of a good reason.

Sean: Yeah, I think by the late-‘70s punk brought rock music back to its ‘50s stripped down roots and did away with a lot of the more progressive elements.  I’ve never heard of a hardcore band with a flute player.

 

When I think about retro-rock music, the first country coming to my mind is Sweden where the true 70's sounds revival seems to spread around. Does anyone besides you try to play this way in Canada?

 

Lucas: There are not a lot of hard rock or metal bands in Canada to begin with. The scene in Toronto can feel pretty small sometimes and we will sometimes share the bill with death metal bands which isn't always the best mix perhaps. I personally can't think of bands that are doing what we do in Canada, but maybe I'm just out of touch.

Sean: There are a lot of great vintage rock bands in Sweden today.  Although there are bands here and there playing in this style, there’s nothing comparable in Canada.

 

You can hear opinions that "Living with Ancients" is closer to Coven than to Black Sabbath. Is this the direction Blood Ceremony wants to follow in the future?

 

Lucas: We're definitely trying to bring in more folk and dark folk influences into our music. Coven and Black Widow are huge inspirations for us, but also bands like Steeleye Span and Pentangle. The folk-y parts of the songs are some of the most fun to play and I think, get down to the earthier, darker more pagan style that we love. We really want to get into that atmosphere - that feeling associated with a movie like The Wicker Man. An old grounded mysticism.

 

Your songs - especially the last album - sometimes make me think about film music. What's more, you mention old horrors among the sources of your inspiration as well.  Would you like to make a movie soundtrack one day?

 

Lucas: I've often thought about doing a soundtrack. I love the concept of a band composing for a film the way Goblin did for Argento and Romero. When you hear those films, it brings out the concept of a movie as a collaborative whole even more, you can feel the musicians reacting to the scenes. Creepy keys, doomed guitars, sinister flute... Know any directors?

 

Let's move back in time for a moment - did you take part in any other musical projects before forming Blood Ceremony?

 

Lucas: I have always played music in several bands. Currently I play in about six bands including Blood Ceremony and freelance as well. It's funny because although I've been into heavy music for years and years, and almost exclusively living to heavy music for years, Blood Ceremony is the first "metal" band I've played.

Sean: Blood Ceremony is my first real band.


 

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In Europe both "Blood Ceremony" and "Living with Ancients" were released by Rise Above. How did your collaboration with this label start? I heard the rumor that you tore up the agreement with another company to sign this one up.

 

Sean: It wasn’t as dramatic as all that, although rumors can often run wild on the internet.  After spending our own money on our record and having not signed a deal with anyone else, we decided to release with Rise Above when we received an offer from them.  We had originally planned to release with another label, but they were not able to offer us any support whatsoever.  Rise Above’s roster includes some of our favorite bands, both doom metal and psych folk – it’s a good home for us.

 

The new album, as well as the debut, was very well received. Have you already thought about the follow-up?

 

Lucas: We are already working on new songs for the next album. We want to start recording it next year.

Sean: Yes, we’ve been thinking a lot about a new album.  The ideas are flooding and it’s been fun putting together ideas at practice.  I don’t feel this band has any writer’s block at the moment.

 

What is your attitude towards magic and occultism - is it only aesthetically appealing imagery or something more?

 

Lucas: I would say it's more than just aesthetics. We find these occult images in the books we read, the movies we watch and music we listen to. I'm personally fascinated by pre-Christian spirituality in Europe. Of course, aesthetics plays a big part of it, but we have a habit of going back, looking back at our roots, musically, spiritually. We don't live the lives of neo-pagans but we are drawn to older things, thing with history.

 

There is an awesome George Barre's graphic on the debut's cover and its booklet is filled with occult motives. With regards to the "Living with Ancients" cover, what made you switch to a photograph?

 

Lucas: I think we wanted to showcase the band as individuals more. We really liked it, nice and stark, a little menacing.

Sean: It was a bit of a nod to Coven.  We think it came out alright with the new logo our friend Gaven designed for us.

 

 

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If you could choose one - still active or not - band to share a stage with, who would you choose?

 

Lucas: Oh jeez, that's a tough one. It would be a cop out to say Sabbath.

We were going to share a stage with Cathedral but they pulled out of The Hammer of Doom fest. That's something we'll probably never have a chance to do since they're breaking up. That was a real bummer.

But all in all I'd have to say Scott Reagers-era Saint Vitus.

Sean: Sabbath.

 

Any last words for your fans from Poland?

 

Lucas: We can't wait to meet all of you and see Poland for the first time! I’m looking forward to drinking Polish beers. We have Zywieç in Canada, which is great, but I want to try something produced in a small town – some local brew.

 

Thank you for spending your time and good luck on tour, I'm sure it'll be something tremendous. See you in Warsaw!

 

Sean: Hails – see you in Warsaw!

 

September 2011

 

Thanks goes to Tomek, koalasmuck, Piotr Leszczyński & exodusattack.

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Author: lazylady

 

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