An Interview With Cernunnos Of Haeresiarchs Of Dis
Band Photo: Haeresiarchs of Dis (?)
California based black metal band Hæresiarchs of Dis released their debut album "Overture" in 2008. The band's front man Cernunnos spoke with me about the album's concept, his views on musical expression, and the plan for a new upcoming full length album.
xFiruath: How long have you been involved in the music industry and was there one definitive moment when you realized you wanted to be a musician?
Cernunnos: Music has been intertwined into everything I do for as long as I can remember, having performed or been directly involved in music on and off since the end of the 80's in different bands under various guises and genres, but as far as the industry, that is something I am indifferent to. The process of creation for me is in direct antithesis to the industry, society and people. I create music because I feel I must. It is no different to me than creating visual art or writing, all of it done through a desire to express. If I were to keep it all bottled up inside, I might burst. It is a release and a personal triumph against my own inner demons and obsessions, fears, and anger.
The musician part arrived as a byproduct to this creation. What fueled the metal influence? Perhaps my exposure to metal in the 80’s, in particular Mercyful Fate and Celtic Frost. But from then a lot happened. My path became obscure as new avenues opened. Eventually the disgust for humanity and what society deems "right and wrong," and the whole brainwashing that is imposed on people in the USA steered me back to the darker recesses of extreme expression.
xFiruath: If someone had never heard Haeresiarchs of Dis before how would you describe the sound of the music to them?
Cernunnos: Black metal. From there it is up to the listener to decide for themselves where the sound falls in place. Everyone experiences input differently, whether it is sounds, sights, or tastes. All of us have our own individual interpretation derived from individual experience, preferences and impressions. I never like to describe my own creations. It is to me something more than others can fathom, something deep in my psyche that I identify with personally, and to that extent I am my own worst critic. Regardless, Hæresiarchs of Dis at its most fundamental level is aggressive and transcending.
xFiruath: Is there a story behind the name of the band?
Cernunnos: Hæresiarchs of Dis started as a project called Dis. The name is inspired by Dante's writings of hell. Much of Inferno's imagery influenced the Overture release. Several name changes ensued including Malebolgia of Dis, Walls of Dis and Seven Darks of Dis before I decided on Hæresiarchs of Dis.
xFiruath: Where did you record “Overture” and did you work with anyone or was it self-produced?
Cernunnos: Overture is self-produced, done in-home, and composed, recorded and conceptualized by myself. It is a work that began as an idea over a decade ago. At first it was artistic imagery and prose, then evolved into a very basic metal endeavor and eventually completed into what it is today. I had contributors on this project, Viridis Vir for additional samples and Gilles de Rais on accordion, both of whom I have known for a very long time and equally share a passion for exploiting existences' idiosyncrasies and absurdities.
xFiruath: Tell me about the lyrical content of “Overture.” What is the average song dealing with?
Cernunnos: The whole album deals with ideas and thoughts we have been taught are wrong and unwholesome. While each song is its own piece with its own theme, a separate tale like in a collection of short stories, they all fall into the same modus operand.
xFiruath: What’s going on with Haeresiarchs of Dis now? Do you plan on any live shows or a new release anytime in the near future?
Cernunnos: I am in the process of creating and recording new material for the next CD. This will be another full length. I do not do live shows. I have been asked and offered musicians for live and studio performances, but declined. Hæresiarchs of Dis to me is a very personal and reclusive experience.
xFiruath: What sort of bands do you personally enjoy listening to and what do you dig about them?
Cernunnos: I do not have any particular bands that I can single out. For me it is about feeling inspired, and to that extent depends on my mood and appetite. Three-fourths of everything I have been listing to in the last two years is black metal and classical composers. I am constantly acquiring new black metal whether it be more ambient, thrash, or gothic I care little, as long as it has something to offer me. The trappings I seek out and acquire are always influential things that I can digest to later regurgitate into something creative of my own.
xFiruath: On your dream tour, who would you tour with and where would you want to go?
Cernunnos: I did some touring in the early nineties. Just was not a great interest or experience for me. What I did, I enjoyed at the time, but now I rather spend my energies creating the material, not promoting it. On a more surreal note, I can imagine a show with Emperor or Mayhem in Norway back in the early days of the scene. Many times that is the feeling, the sensation of when it all felt like the threat of an emerging cult, which I try to capture while composing.
xFiruath: How do you feel about the state of black metal today versus where it started and how it’s evolved over time?
Cernunnos: I am locked in my own personal realm with black metal. I see what I like and dismiss that which does not appeal to me. To me it has remained static, a state of mind burning with inner rage and bleak landscapes, always lurking somewhere between that Gustave Dore etching and Paradise Lost. Popularity and trends do not interest me and like anything else in this life black metal means something different to different people. I will always see the blackest, most vile part, for that is what I embrace about it.
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