Discussions with artists, musicians, writers, and magicians with a Satanic perspective.
Discussions with artists, musicians, writers, and magicians with a Satanic perspective.
Posted on Monday February 13, 2017
Conducted & Translated by Der Rabe
Hello Carl. Thank you for taking the time to give an interview to Der Rabe.
As a starter, how would you explain Satanism to someone who comes again and again with the same old arguments like child molestation, animal sacrifice, and church burnings, to name but a few? It is after all difficult to make it clear to these bigoted humans and also to the media that this is bollocks.
I think the main thing to do is point to the web site of the Church of Satan, where everything is so clearly stated. And, in extension, to LaVey’s own writings. If the people in question are intelligent enough to do that, then maybe A) nothing needs to be explained by you, or B) an interesting conversation could arise.
How did you personally arrive at this philosophy?
In my teens I felt attracted to Nietzsche but also to a magical approach to life. Of course, Aleister Crowley pops up immediately with his Thelemic philosophy. And LaVey. So that’s what happened. I read a lot of books, and resonated with some of these writers and ideas. LaVey and his Satanism was one of these things I found invaluable, giving credence to both psychological and magical facets of the human mind, and connected to a Nietzschean philosophy.
We know each other for quite some time now and I do know that you personally got to meet Anton Szandor LaVey. How did you meet him and what person was he?
I was fascinated by LaVey and his Church and had read all of his writings. At the same time I was also obsessed with American pop culture, including movie stars like Jayne Mansfield. Given that she knew LaVey, I was inspired to write a song called Sweet Jayne, which I recorded with my band at the time: White Stains. I sent him the record and he wrote a really nice letter back, and making me a member at the same time. Then I went over to San Francisco to see him several times. He was an amazingly intelligent and humorous man who led a very interesting life. He was also supportive of what I was doing in terms of my own writing and publishing, and that initial inspiration has never really faded away for me.
You are not only a musician and a filmmaker but you also write and publish books. Your new book “California Infernal“ was published recently. A wonderful collection of photographs of LaVey and Jayne Mansfield. How did you get to make this project and what does it mean to you?
It was like a ”full circle” experience. My original inspiration (meaning LaVey’s relationship with Jayne Mansfield) and that record led to my meeting LaVey. This was in 1987/88. In 2013 or thereabouts a Swedish collector, Alf Wahlgren, showed me his collection of photographer Walter Fischer’s prints and negatives. And they were all of LaVey and Jayne, and also the early days of the Church. I was thrown back into the original inspiration and it was really fun. We decided to make a book, and that became California Infernal. That gave me a chance to tell that old story again, and also to have LaVey’s old friend Kenneth Anger write a short memento-text. It really became an amazing book!
California Infernal available from trapart.net
As you know, Der Rabe is a German speaking outpost for the Church of Satan. What is your opinion in general on the understanding of Satanism in German speaking countries? Do you see any differences when one considers that the founder of modern day Satanism and the Church of Satan, Anton Szandor LaVey, lived in America?
Hard to answer. The philosophy of indulgence and life enhancement with inclusions of ritual is of course universally applicable. LaVey wove in sources from many parts of the world to create an ultra-pragmatic and applicable method. And of course the information should be available in different languages and cultures. So Der Rabe is an inevitable manifestation of that need.
Do you think that Satanism and the understanding for its philosophy have changed after LaVey’s death, considering that one has to keep up with the times?
Movements or groups always encounter many difficulties after a strong leader has passed. But I’m happy to say that the Church of Satan seems stronger than ever before. The publishing of new canonical books (Gilmore, Johnson et al) is a sign of health and a movement forward. I think that general understanding and tolerance of the Church has increased greatly. It’s all in the presentation, isn’t it?
Is occultism and Satanism similar to surrealism and realism? Or how do you connect to the occult part of the philosophy, if such a thing does exist after all?
Although the Church has declared a secular and atheist stance, there is still an open-minded attitude towards occult technologies and methods. It all lies with the individual; to what degree he or she wants to include occult methods or mind-frames. The hocus pocus is not at all necessary. On a personal level, I integrate ritual and have a belief in “supra-causal” methods for affecting changes in life. But that’s me.
Photo Copyright from Vanessa Sinclaire
I would like to address an actual subject. The cruelty we encounter today with war and terrorism in God’s name is hardly imaginable. I want to mention that this drama repeats itself in history again and again and what is considered normal in some Muslim circles is not different from how Christians acted during the crusades. What do you think how this is going to develop and how Europe will look like in the future?
It certainly seems like an increased polarity is happening, in the US and Europe. I find this very unfortunate because it simplifies the game considerably and thereby decreases the potential for creative pragmatism and a genuine appreciation of individualism and liberty – two seminal Satanic qualities. Action now merely triggers reaction, and when people and cultures are afraid, this process goes spiral. I’m a strong believer in cultural heterogeneity, and the monotheistic mind-frame always brings a weak “monoculture” (Christian, Muslim, Jewish etc). Unenlightened monotheism is to blame for basically everything that’s going wrong today, and it even endangers the planet as such. If I were in charge, I’d make sure that people keep their religion at home. It should be banned in public places and dialogues. If people in public offices are publicly devout within any form of monotheism, they should be fired. It’s especially sad that Christianity, which is the weakest form of these three evils, is allowed to permeate political life, like it apparently is in the US. Applying a Christian matrix on anything is a guaranteed path to rapid failure.
Finally, what are your plans for the future? Do you have any new projects we can be looking forward to?
I’m doing my best at trying to enjoy life to the maximum, and I’m pretty good at that now. So I write, make music and films, and also publish books that interest and inspire me (and hopefully others), like The Fenris Wolf series. So the future basically means more of that: life enhancement via culture. It’s great now and also will be in the future!
Thank you for your time and all the best for the future!
Thank you! And the same to you and Der Rabe.
Posted on Friday September 23, 2016
Reign in Hell: An Interview with Gost by Reverend Raul Antony
a feature for The Black Flame—September, LI A.S.
Over the past 10 years synthwave has transformed from a small niche genre that raised eye brows in Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2011 film Drive to record labels such as Blood Music pulling millions of views on YouTube and fans of the smash-hit Netflix show Stranger Things clamoring for a soundtrack vinyl treatment.
Heavily inspired by new wave, 1980′s films, soundtracks, and video games, the genre developed a retro-futuristic aesthetic found in projects such as Perturbator (Black Flame Interview), Carpenter Brut, Power Glove, Com Truise, and more. Among these artists a ghost haunts the genre, pulling more heavily from classic slasher films, Satanic literature, and bass rich contemporary electronic music. His upcoming album, “Non Paradisi”, is described as “a loose musical adaptation of John Milton’s epic poem “Paradise Lost,” concerning Lucifer’s fall from Heaven and ensuing ascent from the Lake of Fire”. At the end of the month Gost will launch an international tour in the United State and Europe, with shows already selling out. I’ve had the pleasure to talk to the man behind this infernal project and discuss some of his influences, Satanism & the Church of Satan, horror films and the throw-back horror trend, Stranger Things, his new album, and his brand new music video, all from a Satanic perspective. Enjoy!
As Satanists we embrace the power of symbols, mythologies, and archetypes that capture abstract ideas, emotions, and our understanding of the universe. Many Satanic artists create their own personas that they develop through their art. Can you give our readers a brief summary of the symbolism and mythology behind your character, Gost?
Gost is the physical vessel for the demon(s) known as Baalberith, the bringer of death, purveyor of truth, prince of Hell and the demon who guides men towards blasphemy. His mission is to spread the dark gospel of the master light bringer through this human form of music and perversion. Obliging human kind with dignity and the recognition of the dignity given.
The thing that brought you to my attention was your use of Anton LaVey’s Black House for your self-titled release. In previous interviews you mentioned that your attraction to Satanism and Satanic imagery was primarily a reaction against the Christian society around you growing up. Over time, has it become something more meaningful to you? Have you read LaVey’s work?
Yes, what started as a stone cast towards anti-theism has very much become a way of life and general philosophy personally… I have read The Satanic Bible, yes.
And what was your reaction to reading LaVey? What inspired you to include the photo of the Black House (Church of Satan headquarters) on your release? It seems to me that it was a nod to your influences.
I enjoy reading LaVey very much. Aside from the image itself being very striking, I align Gost quite closely with the ceremonial aspects that the Church of Satan uses. More than a nod, more like a giant flag!
Based on your Reddit AMA you stated that you are an atheist that understands and appreciates the power of religion and myths. Is that correct?
Yes, this is correct however, Gost allows me to employ some of the parts of Satanism that I like into the art.
I know other journalists are either spooked or just have a passing interest in your use of Satanic imagery. Do you think being published here on The Black Flame is a way of “giving the devil his due”? In private you said being published here is a dream come true for you, would you say that is an acknowledgement of the Church of Satan's influence on your work?
In a sense, yes, this interview and the project as a whole is for the glory of the devil. I do not mind at all! It is an honor to be aligned with the Church of Satan in any way!
As I noted in my interview with Perturbator, I believe there’s something innately Satanic in horror-themed synthwave music. Creating new environments, new symbols and mythologies, and using the power of the past are all important to Satanism, and the pentagrams are fun too! I think there’s a dark current flowing through three artists in particular: yourself, Perturbator, and Carpenter Brut… something you’re tapping into maybe without knowing it. Do you feel like the three of you are operating on similar aesthetic, creative, and musical wavelengths? In what ways would you say you stand out?
We are all close personally and artistically. Synthwave has brought us together on a personal level and it just so happens we all come from very similar backgrounds musically as well. We all naturally and separately create a similar aesthetic and enjoy some of the same themes but it has been purely coincidental… I have been told that I am the darkest and the heaviest of the three which is something I completely agree with. Respectively though, we are all quite different in my opinion.
Let’s talk music. I understand you’re influenced by Justice, which I can hear in your use of fat, distorted synth pads. It gives your flavor of synthwave a more electric guitar sound. In some ways I hear a more modern EDM/Dance influence than a straight throwback Tangerine Dream sound. Was this the intention or just how it ended up?
I am definitely hugely influenced by Justice, Tangerine Dream and modern EDM. I think if any of these three influences in particular stands out more than another it is merely the personal experience and opinion of the listener. For me I take elements of many influences when I am writing for Gost. I am also constantly trying to evoke new or different influence in hopes of growing as an artist.
Some of my favorite tracks of yours are ones which have vocals, including Without A Trace which features Hayley Stewart from Dead Astronauts and Don’t Panic from your collaboration with Dedderz (such a high energy track, it’s my go-to when I’m at the gym). How did you come about working with Hayley Stewart and Dedderz?
With Hayley, Perturbator had already worked with her and I liked what she did with him so I had Perturbator put us in contact. Hayley is amazing to work with! Her tracks always come back polished and ready to plug into the track with very little extra work from me. Dedderz contacted me to re-work Don’t Panic. They gave me several tracks to choose from and Don’t Panic was the obvious choice for me because of the energy in the vocals themselves. Definitely happy with the end result of working with Dedderz.
What are your thoughts on remixing, both remixing others and people remixing you? Is there anything you’d like to hear done with your music?
Personally, I can be a bit tentative to work with people because in general I do not enjoy collaborating very much. As long as the original song is something I feel I can work with and I am allowed to do what I want with my version I enjoy re-working others tracks. Perturbator (Link) and Dance With The Dead (Link) have done remixes for Gost and I was really happy with their work. All I want to hear in a remix of my work is a solid effort and originality.
I’ll make you a noise/harsh industrial remix.
For sure! Just let me know what song you’d like to remix!
I understand you’re a fan of classic slasher horror films like Nightmare on Elm Street and the work of John Carpenter. Are you a fan of any modern horror films? Along with retro-influenced synthwave there have been throwback horror films that have been trying to capture the visual and soundtrack elements of the late 70’s and 80’s. Have you seen these films and what are your thoughts on modern movies going back to the past?
Yes. I really enjoyed the new Evil Dead, Starry Eyes, The House of The Devil, We Are Still Here, House of 1000 Corpses, and It Follows to name a few. Personally I have no problem with artists of any medium conjuring the past for use in modern work. I do, however, think there is a fine line between using the past as an influence to create something new and ripping the past without attempting to add something new and fresh.
Have you seen Stranger Things? It seems like the S U R V I V E soundtrack has created a wave of interest in synthwave.
I have like three times through already! Great series and I can’t wait for the sequel. The soundtrack has created a new buzz but it was definitely not the soundtrack alone. Without the incredible work of everyone involved in the series we wouldn’t even be talking about the soundtrack. So well done all around!
What can you tell us about your new upcoming album, “Non Paradisi”? Any surprises or new developments in your sound that we can look forward to?
I can tell you this album is much more of a journey into hell than Behemoth ever was. It is a much more thought out play through. There are heavy tracks indeed but I took my time in places much more on Non Paradisi than I did with Behemoth. Coupled with the artwork this album is a much deeper experience in my opinion. There are some more ambitious sound attempts on Non Paradisi for sure. I am ready for everyone to walk through hell with me on this one!
How was it working with Valenberg on the new video? Did you have any input on the story or concept?
Valenberg is an amazing artist. He is very open to working with others to achieve the best end result possible, which is so rare. I communicated with Valenberg through Blood Music during the process of the Arise video. Blood Music was extremely hands on with the video (co-directed) and I added to or approved many of the concepts and imagery.
How would you describe the narrative in the video? Seems like a variation on Milton’s Paradise Lost, which is outstanding.
Yes it is exactly that! The video picks up as the war in heaven has ended and Lucifer is cast out of heaven into the lake of fire. We changed things up a bit by casting Gost (Baal) as the right hand of Lucifer. In our version, Gost is instrumental in helping Lucifer rise from the lake of fire and triumphantly claim his new throne without the unjust hand of God controlling his every move.
It seems like Blood Music has become a nexus of dark synthwave culture, bringing together musicians such as yourself, visual artist Førtifem who created your upcoming album art, and director Daniel Schwartz who directed the video for Maleficarum. How did you come about to work with Blood Music? Has this inspired you to expand on the universe of Gost/Baalberith?
I became aware of Blood Music through them working with Perturbator. Perturbator pushed me to contact and work with Blood Music from the beginning. Blood Music has been exponential in my ability to make Gost available on a worldwide scale. My ambition for the universe of Gost was always there but without Blood Music I would be nowhere near where I am today.
Among your latest news is your upcoming tour in support of your new album. Your Helsinki show with Perturbator sold out in record time, congrats! What can fans expect from your live performances this time around?
You can expect a lot of energy as always. My set this go around is much longer than the last tour and I will be playing quite a bit of older material as well as some of the new record as well. I do have a few surprises planned here and there but for that people will just have to wait and see.
I think your Gost character would do great as a comic book or even video game like Splatterhouse. Thought about doing more with your project outside of music?
There have actually been talks of a comic yes but unfortunately nothing has panned out quite yet… I am not opposed to such a thing as long as the the artist and writer are completely on-board to stay true to the character.
What are you currently listening to right now?
I’ve had the newest Lorn release on repeat as well as the newest White Lung album. Perturbator introduced me to The Devil’s Blood on our last tour together and it’s become a staple as well!
Thank you for your time! Send my regards to James Perturbator and have a blast on your tour! Hail Satan!
Of course! Thanks and I will say hello to James! Hail Satan!