Infernal Dominion, India presents an exclusive and extensive interview with the maniacal MKM from the legendary French underground black metal horde ''AntaeuS'' and also ''Aosoth''. AntaeuS recently got active for the Deathkult Open Air Fest and would be invading US soil this December at the esteemed Rites of Darkness 3 Festival. Read below to get an insight about the band's history through MKM's words.
ID: Greetings MKM. How has 2011 been for you so far?
MKM: So far : exhaustive but in a constructive/destructive way. Numerous highs & lows. Still some months till it’s over and what better way can I have to end this year than being at the rites of darkness in Texas with Antaeus.
ID: The diabolical entity named AntaeuS was conceived by your devious minds way back in the 90's and it has been pumelling the underground black metal masses ever since with its gritty and maniacal onslaughts. Hence it would be intriguing to hear an in-depth insight about the band's conception and your experiences all throughout this unwholesome ride.
MKM: Good thing I do like to answer interview in reverse otherwise I would have stopped there. I’ll let you wonder more about this, since out of negativity and chaos : there is nothing else to expect than Chaos itself. That could sum up all that did happen since the early 90s up to now.
MKM at Deathkult Open Air 2011
ID: The mid 90's was the time when you guys were busy laying the foundation of AntaeuS' militant satanik black noise and that era is also infamous for the notorious ''Les Légions Noires'' who were gaining momentum in France and across Europe. What do you think about that so-called French ''Black Metal Inner Circle'' and did you have any personal experiences with them?
MKM: I’d start with “Black legions” & not “Les légions noires” since I barely ever heard that french translation until the early 2000... Guess it was meant to be more exotic or so, or french sounding whatever... Yes got a few death threat back then, more or less the only contacts we had. The french scene was quite easy to divide : either you were NSBM and you had the support from zine and the audience, or you were part of the black legions and you had that “cult” aura... Since Antaeus was a band from Paris, not performing nsbm nor “scandinavean black metal” with all its cliché, we did not fit anywhere, yet we never did change to adapt. The only one I got to meet and spend more time with : Will from Mutiilation & now in Hell Militia, a great fucked up guy, Hail to him
ID: Enlighten us about the significance of the name ''AntaeuS'' and how was it created.
MKM: Antaeus was created by the main guy behind Tragos Adein. The band was just meant to be a side project of him nothing more. I took the command at some point, all the earlier works of A are rather embarrassing to me, but knew there was something to create through this entity.... I do consider the “worthy” era of the band starts with the release of that split tape with eternal majesty. The name was taken from a local tale that would describe a curse, turning a family into werewolves when in touch with other humans. Not related to the greek god then, unlike what many did think.
ID: AntaeuS' visual and aural propaganda revels in chaos, hate and self mutilation. The slogan 'Anti God, Anti Music, Anti You' gives an idea of the misanthropic and hateful ideologies of your band. However, topics of mutilation, misanthropy and satanism have become extremely cliched in the black metal scenario. Albeit AntaeuS seems to be an entity which believes in the term ''practice what you preach''. What are you opinions about this?
MKM: Almost forgot about this sentence... Am even wondering if that came from us or was a description we had on some zine and that did stick at some point?! If you do check the lyrics of Antaeus, I do doubt we really fit in the “clichés” of the genre... Always have been written in a weird way, all are meant to expose something at a special time, and provide an aura of themselves. Different personalities, all into one. If we had a few sentences which ended up in being catch phrases and “cliché” as you did mention, then too bad for us if that’s all you would remember. Yet the goal was to expose something genuine and let it burn out, in audio format.
ID: It is apparent that AntaeuS is a portal for your innermost feelings of remorse, beliefs and a rejection of naive, orthodox ideals which have plagiarized the world since time immemorial. Black/death metal is the perfect form of sonic chaos which can express these ideas but not many bands achieve the level of self expression. What do you feel about this? How has AntaeuS shaped or changed your personality over these years of playing satanik aural chaos?
MKM: We are One. Simple, I do consider myself being in communion with Antaeus and somehow the band will really stop when the core will die, either the guitar player or myself. I did evolve at the same time as the band and my devotion to it went beyond limits.
ID: What does spirituality and philosophy hold for you? Do you seek wisdom from any esoteric texts or groups?
MKM: At each age its own new step, turning 36 soon, I can see the change in me through the years, with new experiences, confrontations, visions... Since a reclusive way of life has been choosen, reading and self reflection did indeed take an important part of my life. It was needed. Am I in contact with groups of any genre : not anymore. Was 15 years ago or so, still have numerous books & scriptures, essays... I happen to reread some and see a different side of it, then I know that the writer had something to offer since it wasnt one dimensional but could extend to more insights.
ID: What is your opinion on theistic or ''orthodox'' satanism, a belief which has been propagated quite profoundly in underground black metal circles since almost a decade now.
MKM: I do consider that this should have been the one & only path for the genre. Having to “add” the orthodox term in itself did prove that the scene was lost in its core. Black metal : Satan.
ID: It's a matter of fact that AntaeuS' audio terror is meant for a limited audience which can connect to your music and thoughts in the most righteous manner. But I personally feel that AntaeuS is still a very underrated act and not many give you the credit which your influential and experienced horde actually deserves. I assume that there have been quite a lot of turbulence's within your horde and the music business, which of course is shitty. What do you have to say about this?
MKM: If we were a German or a Swedish band, things would have been really different. Yet with all our hard works and the years of devotion, we did manage to have the respect of some diehard supporters and comrades we can rely on. After that, this is what matters the most. Of course it would have been better to have more “average” conditions and not always been seen like shit from most zine/promoters/labels... but those who did dare work with us, they all had to face problems and yet, at their own levels, this was already something that many bands barely ever have. Norma Evangelium Diaboli has been the label that somehow saved us and made “Blood Libels” possible, otherwise we would have stopped after “De Principii Evangelikum”, there were so many tensions within the band back then, we had a major split line up wise, but still had the rage to go on & we knew we had the support of the label, so we went on. Though having to face a drastic situation again, we just couldn’t restart once more at that point + we already had tried nearly ALL the possibilities of line up possible in F
rance & nearby countries... we even tried a drummer from E ... but since we couldn’t pay any musicians session : we had to stop the live performance aspect. This + being exhausted of having sacrificed so much, distance was needed. stonia
ID: Why is there a frequent usage of the alphabet ''K'' instead of ''C'' on your album names/song titles? The same could be said for your peers Katharsis. An obsession with Sadistik Exekution's ways I assume?
MKM: That used to be used from my fanzine/distribution era, just for the impact in the spelling & bringing back magiK in words. Also z instead of s and so on, but all that turned into a gimmick after a while, it’s been years... weird to get a question now about a subject which is somehow dead. But yes, Sadistik exekution have been an amazing discovery back then, yet anything done after kaos, any live show or project they had : not my thing. About Katharsis : I cannot answer to that since as said just before I never really paid much attention since it never was of any importance, just a way of typing/deformation at some point.
ID: Talking about Katharsis, they released a split 7'' with your band in 2009 which was the last release from your end. Apparently there are some line-up troubles which have marred the AntaeuS camp and you have put the band on hold. But are there any chances of another album in the making?
MKM: We had a split 7” with them, thus one track only. And that got out while it had been talked about for years. Just took long to have it done, such releases are not an easy task – making sure both acts would have material available and exclusive somehow. The Katharsis side is really intense and fucked up, just as their album out at the same time, I do assume it’s from the same recording session. Our side : we did not even meet each at all since the tour in late 2006. We did not see each other in studio either, the others went on their own to do their part, BST found a session drummer & I did my vocals afterwards. Any chances about another album : no idea. Most likely not, since nothing has been composed nor did we see each other apart from reh’ and that Deathkult performance.
AntaeuS/Katharsis Split 7''
ID: There seems to be a good connection between AntaeuS and Katharsis which are two of the best underground black metal groups in
Europe. Both the bands were formed around the same time and also released their debut LP's during the same year as well. What are your comments on this unholy union?
MKM: I am not in touch with Katharsis anymore, I respect the band fully and they did achieve something close to a masterpiece with Fourth Reich. Often gets to play some older demos from them, just too bad the chanteloup creations versions were dubbed on such lame tape... We did physically meet less than 5 times in total I guess since we’ve first been in touch a decade ago.
ID: AntaeuS have never been an extensively touring band, if I am right? Is there a specific reason behind this or has it mostly been a rather unjustly affair on the part of promoters who didn't really live up to your potentials? Which gigs would you count as your best and worst out of the ones which you have done?
MKM: Never been a touring band? Mmmm what do you mean. Thought we did perform live way too much myself... and doing two tours was more than enough. Xmass fest in 2003 for DPE & the tour with Secrets of the Moon for Blood Libels. The first tour was a tour support, so at our own cost (through our label) thus quite expensive and indeed difficult conditions. Second was a mistake but on personal level and the worst line up we ever had to perform live.
Worst : the list would be too extensive, guess nearly 90% of the gigs outside Paris were not worth being remembered, unless for the souvenirs you could get from events turning bad : hard to go through at the time & after some years, you just get to recall that, indeed, such shit can happen and you can get over it. Very good gig :
Athens, with Dead Congregation & nearly all in . Different crowd for us there obviously, anywhere else in E Paris urope, it’s usually a very dead audience, lame conditions on stage. And since we couldn’t afford paying a sound guy to come with us, each time the local guy was doing whatever he felt like doing, never paying attention to the band’s request : thus impossible to go through performance. I’d say that 1 gig out of 20 I would hear on stage what was going on. Trust me, I could never thank enough when a sound engineer would just do his work.
About the Rites of Darkness Fest : very much looking forward to it, but being the last band or so to perform on that fest implies a lot of pressure – and considering my issues with being in a social situation... stress/alcohol/fucking things up...
ID: How was your LIVE experience at the recently concluded Deathkult Open Air Fest?
MKM: Deathkult was an interesting event, managed to see new bands that really got my interest : Thorybos, Essenz for instance. On the first day, all the bands had to experience a very horrible sound on stage, did listen to a few standing not too far from the drummer and that got me suspicious about the gig we would do on the following day. Yet starting from Hell militia’s performance : sound turned out really good, Dead Congregation were massive, Necros Christos & Archgoat were a perfect ending to that underground fest. Small fest, I guess 400 people or so, which would be the average audience a small gig would get in late 90... But thks to the promoter : it has been very risky to set up such fest with so small underground bands !
ID: AntaeuS are going to invade American soil during December 2011 for the Rites of Darkness 3 Fest which might be the best underground extreme metal festival in US since years. Any personal favorites from that impeccable line-up?
MKM: Demigod : the must watch band for me. Also looking forward to see Weapon, Funebrarum, Urfaust... seriously cannot name them all since the whole fest in itself is covering a wide spectrum of the extreme underground scene. Also glad that Hell Militia are making it as well now. I guess I’ll be watching nearly all the bands from the distance. And hope to meet up with some contacts I haven’t seen in years, jeff from Averse Sefira for instance, great guy and curious about his new band !
ID: Tell us about your record label Spikekult Records? When was it found and is it still active? What were your associations with Norma Evangelium Diaboli?
MKM: SPK is active again... it somehow did start around 94 or so when was doing a distribution of demos from foreign bands in the Paris area, at gigs and so on... and then did start to release my own demos and mcd, vinyls and so on. To be honest, since all the shit and issues with releases meant to be out & then cancelled, I sometimes even forget I would have had this release out. And I do consider some releases being mostly SPK ones while the name was not on it, like the Antaeus/Eternal Majesty split tape – since out of the 700 covers or so, I must have spread 90% of it. Implications with NED : providing some help and contacts at first and helping the start, then couldn’t have the time & means necessary, also we do live very far away from each other.
ID: You were also doing a zine called as Impaired Zine? Is it still around?
MKM: No, I only did three issues myself, then the second editor kept on doing it for a while, but he was mostly into grindcore then. Thus not really my field of interest. That zine has just been one side of my implication within the scene, when it made sense for me to do my best to support some bands. Yet you get to learn that most people backstab you afterwards anyway. Small print run each time, around 300 copies, xerox & cut and paste lay out. First issue took me forever though, since first interviews were sent in 1990 & 1991...
ID: I absolutely love the frenetic militant approach which your first two albums ''Cut Your Flesh and Worship Satan'' and ''De Principii Evangelikum''. The brutal, war-like and hatred surged atonal chaos sets your horde apart from many wankers and manifests a feeling of pure misanthrophy and destruction. How do you personally assess these two terrific works of sonic blasphemy?
MKM: Since I cannot stand listening to my voice and am not among those artists being always self praising : I didn’t even own those albums myself nor would I ever play them again. Though for the Deathkult fest, prior to it, I ended up re-listening to them.... really something I cannot stand. But I can understand that outsiders can find the violence they do seek. CYFAWS was, as most first album done by any band, a collection of earlier demo tracks, covering more or less five years, and had the “first time” recording approach : tracks mostly composed on impulses, basic straight in your face approach. DPE was mostly composed while I was away from
ID: On the other hand, ''Blood Libels'' was a slightly different and a more evolved output from you guys. It was extremely brutal and hateful like the first two records but with a tad different flavor this time. One could actually put a band as chaotic as Marduk in comparison after hearing this great album. Everything from the production to the compositions are top notch and charged with an aura of sickness. What are your thoughts about this album? Tell us about the conceptual and musical evilution which were employed here.
MKM: Sorry but I have been really talking over and over about “Blood Libels”, up to the point it gets me sick now, this must be the most fullfilling record of Antaeus for me, yet the most destructive and having had such a bad surrounding to it. Yet “Marduk”? I do respect Marduk, even more since Arioch/Mortuus did join, but the guitar riff & structures are really very different, also Antaeus has way less melodies.
(The comparison with Marduk was put merely due to the amount of sonic chaos their albums manifest and it is no ways similar to AntaeuS, albeit being on a same nihilistic and war-like black metal plane)
ID: You have also done vocals for yet another amazing band called as ''Aosoth'' which has Baal Shem Tov from Balrog, VI and Genital Grinder on guitars, bass and drums. I must say that your latest release ''III'' has been one of my most favorites of this year and it has raised the bar for dissonant, unorthodox and chaotic black metal. How did this band come into being and how has your experience been so far?
MKM: Aosoth has been my side project since 2002. We’ve had different band members in the past & also very distinct era sound wise, while the first split with Antaeus was basic black metal with mid tempo patterns drum wise, we then went on with a more raw approach (which got reedited on the split cd version released by Battleskrs), then did come a demo time which was mostly industrial ambiant & screams (no guitars) – when we got to record blood libels in 2006, we did discuss with Bst, about again doing a band together (we were also in the same band back in 99 or 2000, can’t recall exactly + we’ve known each other for years) thus we did do two splits ep with Aosoth and got the deal to have an album out through Total Holocaust Records. At first we were not meant to perform live and Aosoth was to remain a studio project – yet he convinced me to go back on stage, but since my latest experiences with Antaeus wouldn’t really get me to be willing to go through such events... i was skeptical; yet our first gig in paris (with Nehemah & others) ended up really good and we went on. In the past years we had maybe 5 to 10 different band members I guess, there is nothing “fixed”. Only INRVI did join as permanent for this album.
ID: The eerie piano parts and the overall oppressive atmosphere on ''III'' was highly commendable and it worked wonders for the album. Who composed the piano parts? You have also used some ambient intros for AntaeuS, some of which had inputs from Diamanda Galas' works. Any special reasons behind it?
MKM: BST is responsible for all those elements on this III recording which he achieved with Hostis's collaboration. They both did a very good job which was truely fitting. As far as Antaeus goes : we had numerous “guest” for that matter through the years, sometimes it was our drummer achieving those sounds, other time my guitar player or different individuals with whom we worked, Hostis, Melek tha... Diamanda Galas has been a key in the Antaeus world, her “sono l’antechristo” was included in the devotee intro/live intro (so early works) and as a closure to the blood libels album. Am a die hard collector of her early works and got the chance to witness her live performances, sadly not at the right time... Still quite an experience, seems like you can perceive demons coming out of her voice & taking shapes in audio wave caressing you.
ID: Aosoth is a dark female entity in the pantheon of ''Order of the Nine Angels''. Is the band associated with that cult and preaching their ideas in your lyrical themes?
MKM: The first recording done in late 2002 was solely composed of rituals from the ONA. The first album kept strong connection lyric wise, yet anything after has barely not many obvious links. Nor do we consider ourselves as a representative of the Order, we just have similar points of views.
ID: The Aosoth logo and the artwork for ''III'' was designed by Erik from Watain and it looks very sinister indeed. How and why did you choose him to work on the graphics?
MKM: Erik did the logo from Aosoth, that is correct. No he did not do the layout. I did, upon my visions & the concept related to Aosoth. Also the vinyl version, first album : black cover black wax, second album black cover white wax, third album white cover, transparent vinyl. Erik did the logo in 2002 and you can recognize his grat graphic work easily, a very skilled man, but it has really nothing to do with the kind of lay out we went for. Yet I wish we could afford having a lay out done by him in the future, but considering his costs and MOSTLY his agenda... doubt it would ever be possible.
ID: How has the reception for ''III'' been so far? Have you been playing LIVE with Aosoth often these days?
MKM: Media wise : very good, almost unexpected... considering the kind of reviews we got for the previous albums and the constant ghost of Antaeus being mentionned... now that Aosoth did gain its own identity according to those who did finaly got to see the band as an act on its own and not the follow up to a band that is not dead either, that made us gain more respect. Does that change anything else when it comes to our conditions or the sales : of course not. Only noticeable thing : it was very easy to find many ways to download the album, which is a good sign : means there is an interest, and even less sales than the previous album. So better reviews : more download – more failure for the label.
And no we haven’t played live since that tour in february/march and there are no plans for any future gig with the band either, not that I know of. Anyway considering there is a vacant position for : drummer & second guitar player and a lack of time/money to fix that. Guess that no gig would have happened for the III era. Impossible to perform most of the tracks from ashes of angels & all the tracks of III without a second guitar player.
This situation is ok for me though, the last 18 gigs we did were not worth it, apart from the one just after the tour, opening for Urgehal : better audience for us and more violent sound on stage.
INRVI - AosothID: Is it true that ''III'' would be released as an instrumental album sometime soon? When and which label?
MKM: Yes, correct and should be at the pressing plant by now and out in September 011. This will be done on my own label (Spikekult) since it has been my desire to have this version out. Once again I will point out that this was not a decision of the band, but my OWN. The lp will be pressed under 300 copies (initialy meant to be 100 copies but as always, many problems did occur) and on vinyl only. So no : this is not meant to generate profit or anything. Aosoth is not a band that sells enough to cover its own cost so FUCK OFF to those morons thinking they are smartasses with such comments. Having been mostly listening to the working tracks prior to the recording, I can assure you that an instrumental version of III is an interesting audio experience, giving it a different texture and allowing mind wandering.
BST - Aosoth/AntaeuS/VI/Balrog etc.
ID: What are your opinions about the current French and European black metal scenario? Given the fact that you are a veteran, it is important to understand your view points on what the scene of today means to you.
MKM: Couldn’t care less... as simple as that. It’s somehow the same 2% of great bands done by great individuals and the rest. I prefer to support fully a limited selection of individuals in labels/bands/zine than having to mention the countless wankers around that will end up anyway in fading away from the scene or just fuckin backstab us.
ID: This is a clichéd question but I'd still love to know about the most influential extreme metal records for you. Which albums/bands compelled you to embark the path of black metal for your life?
MKM: Who knows? Bathory “Under the Sign of the Black Mark”, Mayhem (Dead vocals), DarkThrone, all up to Panzerfaust, Nuclear Death, Beherit up to drawing down the Moon... Blasphemy, Diamanda Galas haunting chants... Fields of the Nephilim aura, early 90s death metal like Rottrevore, Funebre, Traumatic, Immolation, Incantation, Goreaphobia... And apart from its lyrical content, the first Brutal Truth album has the kind of production which I did find violent when it came out. There is no album that would be considered as “the one that made me go this way” yet if I would have to pick up must have from the past years, I’d go with Funeral Mist “Salvation”, DsO & their mass grave aesthetic track, Katharsis and “Fourth Reich”.
ID: Are you also interested in other forms of music outside metal?
MKM: Considering I do not listen to “metal”... then yes. Black metal and death metal are really the only metal genre I would have in my collection, traditional heavy/speed/hard rock and so on : never been into that even as a kid. As many : got to listen to those bands for a start but they never did provide me what I was seeking through music. BST & INRVI being more “guitar players” at first, they would mention numerous bands. I guess that not being a musician, my approach is different. Do see it as a minor Art that yet captures my attention and can provide the audio violence or sickness I would need. Most of the acts I have been listening to lately, Whitehouse (powerelectronics), Karjalan Sissit, Brighter Death Now, Sophia, Genocide Organ, Der Blutharsh (early period), Grey wolves... AmenRa is a more “saturated” guitar genre...
ID: What does the future behold for both AntaeuS and Aosoth?
MKM: One thing I did learn from all of this : nothing is ever to be planned. Nothing is stable, all is chaotic so there is nothing I can really tell. 90% of today’s plan could be destroyed in the coming days or weeks or months. Until one thing has been done, processed & is behind us : then yes I would believe it did happen, otherwise : nothing is for sure. No comfort here, no support whatsoever, only problems to face, one at a time.
ID: Last but not the least, I would like to express immense gratitude towards you for taking your precious time off to answer this in depth interview. Infernal Dominion and its followers would certainly wish for more torments from your sinister hordes in the near future. You may express your final words for the interview now.
MKM: Hails to you for the support and this interview that did cover a bit too much of history for me !!!
Official AntaeuS Page - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Antaeus/142351639134528
Official Aosoth Page - https://www.facebook.com/aosoth
Spikekult Records - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spikekult-rek/181870821880929
LIVE Pictures from Deathkult Open Air, courtesy Somnyum -