Auroch Brings Music Back "From Forgotten Worlds" And Discusses The Cthulhu Mythos In The Metal Scene
Canadian black/death metal act Auroch has been on a whirlwind ride these last few months, wrapping up the Canadian Abomination Tour, getting signed to a label, and now gearing up for the official release of debut full-length album "From Forgotten Worlds."
Amidst all the momentum, I got in touch with Auroch's Sebastian Montesi to see what he had to say about the band's recent success, as well as to discuss the dark cosmic horror at the center of the group's music. In the full interview below you can find Seb's thoughts on translating the Cthulhu mythos into musical expression, the best representation of the mythos in movies and games, and the band's excitement to begin touring internationally.
xFiruath: Just the other day you guys got signed with Hellthrasher. Tell me about how that whole process went down.
Sebastion: We put out this promo track, the title track from our record “From Forgotten Worlds.” As you would expect or hope a few offers started streaming in. There were a bunch of different things, but there was one that fulfilled most of what we were looking for and it was a really cool opportunity. They liked the track and they wanted to put out the record and distribute it through Europe and North America and a little bit of South America. We haven’t worked through a label before since this is our first album and we were very pleased with the offer.
xFiruath: When were the tracks for this album recorded?
Sebastion: We started recording in early May, actually the 1st of May, and we went back and forth between a bunch of different studios. By the time we finally had everything recorded and engineered the drums were done at one place, the guitars at another place, vocals overdubbed and this and that, we were done by mid-June. It was strenuous but we were pleased with the end result.
xFiruath: Auroch has a Lovecraft theme going on, but what specifically do the lyrics deal with on the album?
Sebastion: A lot of the time when people hear that it’s a “Lovecraftian theme,” I mean I personally think that’s kind of overdone, and in a lot of ways it’s mostly just Lovecraftian in essence and concept. We’re not for example paraphrasing “At The Mountains of Madness” or anything like that. The concept is more the condemnation and the questioning of modern convention. In some songs we try and break down the man-imposed constraints of time, the imposition of faith, the limiting views. If one wanted to take a step back and analyze us from the most liberal perspective possible, I guess the message, although there’s not really an actual message, touches on keeping an open mind and keeping an open view, but it’s darker than that.
xFiruath: What’s the best representation you’ve ever seen of the Cthulhu Mythos in any media?
Sebastion: The best interpretation of the stories? No sort of film I’ve seen has ever really blown me away. The black and white Call of Cthulhu that came out a few years back was pretty well done.
xFiruath: You're talking about the silent film?
Sebastion: Yeah the silent one was pretty well done for what it was. It was a little gimmicky, and I know they have another one now for “Whisperer in Darkness.” I’m not actually much of a video game person, but I did play “Dark Corners of the Earth.” I simply had to get it because of what it was, and that was absolutely horrifying as a survival horror video game. That was very dark and bleak and the images in that were really cool. As far as a direct representation of one of the stories, that was probably the best one. It’s hard a thing to capture, you know what I mean? The imagery is so desolate and it’s so grand. It’s sort of funny, because it’s a bit of a paradox. It’s trying to capture something that says humans are completely incapable of understanding, so trying to put it in human medium is kind of funny if you think about it.
xFiruath: Did you hear about the new movie version of “At the Mountains of Madness?” It was going to be done by Guillermo del Toro and star Tom Cruise and be the biggest budget Lovecraft movie ever, but it just got officially canceled a few months back.
Sebastion: Maybe that was for the better. I think the long term affect that would have had would have put a taint or a bit of a sour taste in the mouth of people who have known and latched onto these stories for a long time. I think a lot of Lovecraft’s horror is the unknown and the unknowable. Putting direct Hollywood images to it wouldn’t maybe have been fair to the original representation of its creator.
xFiruath: How do you translate those themes into your music, and what sort of genre would you say the end result sounds like within metal?
Sebastion: We’re a death metal band, as far as I can hear. I’ve seen people call us blackened death metal or tech-death, but I don’t know. I think people are often more concerned on how they can put a name on it than on what it is. We’re fans of all that stuff, death metal, grindcore, black metal, whatever. I guess it all sort of shines through at one point or another. As far as how we capture that Lovecraftian element, aside from the lyrics, there’s a lot of parts in the songs that are structured around either a hidden Lovecraft theme or structured around numerical patterns that correlate to Lovecraft. They are frequent and in every song. I leave that up to anyone who has the wherewithal to sit down and figure it out.
xFiruath: Are any of you guys working with other projects right now?
Sebastion: Our other guitar player has his own little project under his name, Paul Ouzounov. That can be found online for anyone who wants to look that up.
xFiruath: What are you listening to and what music are you looking forward to that’s coming soon?
Sebastion: A lot of different shit for sure. We all listen to a wide variety of stuff. In terms of death metal this has been a really fantastic year. There’s a Russian brutal death metal release earlier this year from Abominable Putridity. That was an excellent slam record. Degial released what might be the album of the year with “Death Striking Wings.” It’s old school Satanic death metal with a sort of black metal aesthetic to it. Weapon also put out a song from their new record.
xFiruath: How did your recent tour go and did you see anything interesting on the road?
Sebastion: Touring Canada is always good. We can’t wait to get out of Canada, and that’s the next immediate thing on the agenda. We had an excellent show in Edmonton and some of the smaller towns that were craving extreme, brutal metal. It was just a short jaunt, but it was good to hit the road and play these songs to get people anticipating the record.
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