Semen Datura and the purity of isolation
Formed in 1997 in the desolate landscape of East Germany. Semen Datura made a name for themselves in the German black metal by putting out three opus of depressive and isolative black metal to the masses. Now signed to ATMF. Semen Datura recently released their fourth opus of oppressive, dark canvas of isolation title "Einsamkeit". Here's an indepth interview with guitarist and vocalist Conrath.
Guten Tag my friends how's it going?
Guten Tag! Thanks, we're right.
First can you give the readers a brief history of the band and how Semen Datura came in being?
Formed 1997 in East Germany to perform dark and raw metal. Since then we released one Demotape "MXVII", one EP "Black Wings" and three full-lenghts, "This Love Is Dead" (2001), "Vineta Pt.I" (2005) and the new work "Einsamkeit". The last one is definetly our Opus Magnum so far. It's more than another album. It's our blood and our requiem.
The band hooked with ATMF to me is new label what attracted the band to sign with ATMF? before signing to ATMF were there other offers from other labels?
We selected a handful related labels. Today a label should be more than a record dealer. I think a label should be a kind of guarantor for high quality releases. ATMF has a unique back catalogue and we felt the guys are professional and serious. We got something about three offers and decided for ATMF.
They recently released your debut album "Einsamkeit". What does "Einsamkeit" translate in English?
Einsamkeit is a the german word for isolation, solitude and forlornless. It's not just a phrase for me since I explored the depths of an depressive episode. We put all related impressions into the work to create a mirror of the inner nature. Very authentic and rid of conventions and restrictions.
What the reviews been so far on the album?
We got mostly very good reviews so far. It means a lot for us to see that people understand our expression. It's good to get feedback after a long periode of isolation. But the honest opinion of a "fan" that tells us his impressions by listening the music means more than reviews.
When the band first got formed what were the bands influences at the time of the bands formation?
We were influenced by the second wave of european black metal. It was like the answer of a inner question. The purity, the mystery and the darkness of bands like Dissection, Emperor or Burzum pushed the term "music" to a new level. It has nothing to do with conventional rock or metal.
Name some of the tracks on "Einsamkeit" that really stand out to you and why?
The song "Unter Bleigrauen Wolkenlasten" is one of my favorits. I think this song is more like a wide landscape or a closed story of a book. Dark, methaphorical lyrics, expressive unconventional vocalisation and different levels of riffing. Furthermore with innovative drumming and autarchic basslines. "Psychokrieg" is outstanding too. I mean we worked over three years for the album and just the best songs are already on the disk. It's difficult for me to pick some songs. The listener should decide which songs are favorites. I think the favorits change... it depends on the own mood.
Most of the songs on the album were sung in your native tongue you feel it's easier for you to sing the songs in german than in English?
It has nothing to do with what is easy or what is difficult. It's just more pure and unfiltered. In your own language you have no wall between the thoughts and the voice. The album is very personal and it was our ambition to create a honest mirror of our inner selves. Furthermore I think the German tongue is suitable to the music. We think in German and the music is a reflection of our thinking.
One thing I have to admit to you when I reveiw the album it was hard to pin the band down far as musically it was very hard to review your album but it was challenging which in my own opinon great.
I haven't read your review so far. So I'm not able to talk about the "challenging". I look forwards to read the review.
What's your opinon of the German metal scene now these days? There's a lot of good bands coming out of Germany like Endstille, Dark Fortress and many others. You feel that these bands been helpful in getting the German metal the recogintion it deserves?
The scene of these days is more like a grey mass. You have to search and to pick out deep from the underground to find especially acts. At the festivals or in the mainstream magazines you will find so much stupidity, uninspired copycats and senseless provocateurs... it's sad. But I think there were very good and innovative bands in Germany the last ten years. I can suggest Grabnebelfürsten, Todtgelichter or Lunar Aurora. The scene of Italy or France is interessting too. It's always nice and refreshing to see that people are really creative, individual and with the will to push boundaries.
What are the bands plans for touring and festival appearances?
It depends on organizers. If somebody is really interessted we will do all to make a event happen. But we are not that party-band for alcoholics. Most organizers in Germany are just about to sell quantities of beer and the music is subordinate. We look foreward to play some special shows... Hope dies last.
What kind of listeners Semen Datura try to attract? Seem like it takes a special kind of listener to get into your music.
We don't have the ambition to select the listeners. It's more a natural selection. If you are a person that knows the depths of isolation, melancholia, fury and a glimmer of hope than the album could be the right one for you. Furthermore you should like dark music, black metal with experimental edges. Today everybody has a lot of possibilities to listen to our music on the website or the so called "social networks". Do it and than decide.
So who came up with the band name and why you decided to call the band Semen Datura? when I seen the band name I said to myself what the fuck?
The name is our metaphor for 'origin of the night'. Datura are plants of the solanum family, for example the 'Mandragora Officinarum' which is known as the plant of the witches. The term 'Semen' is latin and means the essence you put into the earth, the origin of the plant. As we chose the name nobody thought "what a fuck”. It's just a problem of some English speaking people who think the only meaning of the word "Semen” is the sperm of a man. But that's not true and Germans don't eat Sauerkraut every day.
I would like to thank you for the interview and I also like to say merry xmas to you and your bandmates. Anything else you like to add?
Thanks for the interest in our band.