ABYSSOS Wherever the Witches Might Fly

Abyssos was always one of my favorites when it comes to vampire extreme metal and horror-like metal (as, for example, Tartaros, Morgul…) This interview was done during the year 2003. with mastermind of Abyssos: Lord Rehn and it was published in the 2nd issue of Hornburg Magazine. Definitely it was one of the most successful interviews during this period.
Let’s focus first on the hottest theme of all- your incredible new project with Sarah Jezebel Deva. First, give us some more information about this project: name, album etc.
My collaboration with Sarah is something very different from what both she and I have ever done before officially. We’re doing something pure orchestral in the vein of film score music, like a movie soundtrack. We both had the same ideas regarding doing something like this and since the timing was right for the both of us to do it we decided to do it together. We are both extremely proud of the result and it’s something we both have strong emotions for. We of course hope that people will enjoy our work together. Anyone of you out there interested in knowing more about our collaboration and listen to some sound clips of our upcoming album is welcome to visit our official website at: http://www.sarahjezebeldeva.com

How did you get in contact Jezebel Deva?
Sarah and I met on a mutual European tour. The band I was in at the time supported the band Sarah sings in. It was on that tour we actually decided to start working together. We spent so much time together during the tour and we got along so well. After the tour was over Sarah visited me here in Sweden and we started working on album.

Is this project also based on some vampire-tales, like in the case of Abyssos?
No, this project is something completely different. Sarah is the one who has written the lyrics for this and every word has come from her own mind and visions. I write all the music and Sarah writes the lyrics on top of the music.

4206Anyway, at this moment, I would like to return to Abyssos. There were some rumours about your third album-but after all, what’s actually happened?
I have an entire album written and ready to be recorded which I have had for quite some time. Unfortunately due to label problems I haven’t been able to record and release the album yet. It’s was quite some time since the last Abyssos album came out and it’s very unsettling for me not being able to release the next album. Unfortunately it costs a lot of money to record, promote and release and album and I have yet to find a label interested in doing that so far. But as soon as a label shows their interest in releasing the next Abyssos opus, I can assure you that it will be recorded and released!

Will there be any difference in sound on a new album, or is it going to be similar to the previous release?
Well, quite a few years has passed by since the last Abyssos album was created, and obviously I as a songwriter have grown in the way I write music today compared to a couple of years ago. I don’t really consider differences as changes; I’d rather use the word progress. Every artist hopefully grows in the way the create over the years when they get more experience, and so does musicians. The way I write may have matured a bit from how I wrote a couple of years ago so there will of course be differences between the last album compared to the new one. The biggest “difference” is that there are more orchestral arrangements on top of the guitars now than it was before.

Have you ended your work in Evergrey for good? And why did you choose to play with this band anyhow?
Yes, I’m no longer a member of Evergrey and haven’t been since January 2002. The bass player in Evergrey asked me if I would like to join them as keyboard player and I accepted. I think Evergrey is one of the best if not the best prog metal band out there today. They are very talented musicians and extremely talented songwriters. It was a privilege to work with them for a while and I think it’s highly disturbing that the world doesn’t realise how good they really are! Even though they are pretty well known over the world they hadn’t in my opinion gotten close to getting the attention they deserve! So if you aren’t familiar with Evergrey you should definitely check them out!

Abyssos have released two albums on Cacophonous Records from England. Were you satisfied this relationship? Are you now searching for another label?
As always there are differences between how a band thinks the label should do their job and how the label does, but overall we were satisfied with their work. We were satisfied to release two albums with them but that was enough for us. Abyssos is currently unsigned and looking for a new label.

4204If I am not so wrong you haven’t so far published any LP version of any of your isssues.
You’re right; we haven’t released anything like that yet. That has nothing to do with us, it’s all up to the label I’m afraid. The label decides what should be printed and how much of it, and there’s unfortunately not much the band can do about it. If it was up to us we would most certainly print LP version, limited edition packages, digi-packs etc. but unfortunately we have no say in those matters. It’s all up to the label and how much money they want to spend on you. Everything is unfortunately about the money.

Who were the former members (if any) of Abyssos and when was the band formed?
Myself, Söderlund who was the drummer and Meidal who played bass, formed Abyssos in 1995. Söderlund and Meidal are no longer members in the band. Abyssos is now and has been for quite some time a one-man act.

What was the main reason that made you choose the name Abyssos? If I am not wrong, it belongs to Greek mythology.
It’s Greek for Devil and we thought it sounded good and would fit us. It was Söderlund who came up with the name and also he who designed our logo.

What is your opinion on many quasi-vampire bands that come from every corner of the world. Doesn’t it look somehow very silly?
Well, it’s very hard today to do something really original that has never been done before. I don’t even really care about a band being original or not, as long as the band and what they are trying to achieve is good I can respect and like what they are doing. It doesn’t bother me if bands copy other bands images or if they try to sound like some band. As long as the quality is good and it’s a good experience to listen to the songs I can enjoy almost anything regarding music!

Also, in addition to my previous question, how do you look upon Cradle of Filth?
I’ve always liked and respected Cradle of Filth! They are very talented and have achieved a lot for themselves and for the entire genre actually. I wish them all the best with everything they do and couldn’t be happier for them!

Do you have any contacts with other bands coming from Sweden- first and foremost; I’m interested in your country fellows called Siebenburgen, who are also inspired with vampire stories?
If you are a musician or if you’re in a band you will most likely know a lot of other band members! It’s part of the entire music culture, keeping everything like one big family. Unfortunately there’s also very much envy and jealousy for others success in the music industry that often leads to bad things being said etc. But that’s something that occurs in every kind of business I’m afraid. But overall the atmosphere is very good among musicians and you basically get to know many people while in the industry.

What town do you come from? Are there any other bands in your hometown? Long time ago, I have read that Setherial are also from your place.
I come from a town called Sundsvall in Sweden. There are actually several bands that originate from here like Setherial, Blot Mine, Sargoth, and Left Hand Solution etc. Even though Sundsvall is a pretty small town we have a big music interest here. We have many good musicians, bands and studios up here that are both involved in underground music as well as mainstream music.

What is the major difference between composing and listening to the music? Do you like to compose the music or write the lyrics first?
Listening to music is all about enjoying the notes and the atmosphere created in a specific song. But of course as a songwriter it’s impossible not to think in the terms of composing when you hear a song since you always listen to how that certain composer did the specific song. My personal opinion about music and lyrics is that I don’t consider lyrics to have anything to do with the music in the creation of a song. If you have a piece of paper with text on it, that text isn’t anything more than a poem! You can’t qualify it as a song until you’ve put the first notes in there in my opinion! Even if you say you’re writing the lyrics to a song, it’s definitely not a song until you start doing the music! Lyrics on a piece of paper aren’t anything else than a poem until you’ve added the music to go with the lyrics. You can of course write the lyrics first and base the entire atmosphere of the song on the lyrics, but still, until you’ve started composing the actual music it’s not a song.

How would you describe the music, art and the entire phenomenon of Abyssos? Could it be labelled as “melodic Black Metal”?
No matter how you label your own music there will always be someone out there that disagrees with you and people stating that you’re wrong for giving it that label. I don’t like labels since it tends to limit the variety of what you can do within a certain music genre without pissing people off for calling it something that it isn’t. That’s why we decided to label ourselves as “witching metal”, a label we created ourselves so that we didn’t have to call ourselves anything we weren’t. But to make it easy I guess you can say that it’s some form of melodic black metal.

Personally, do you believe that vampires or any other unnatural life forms really exist?
No, not at all. The entire Abyssos atmosphere is just as every other extreme metal band that uses some sort of visual contents to give their music more atmosphere, just fiction. We’ve always been very interested in the myth of the vampire, the artwork and everything that surrounds that particular era, but I don’t in any way believe that anything of that kind exist, it’s just a fiction image.

So, if have come to the end of the interview. Any closing words?
First of all I would like to thank you Marko for supporting Abyssos by doing this interview, thanks a lot! Until the next Abyssos creation comes to life you can follow my collaboration with Sarah Jezebel Deva at this address: Contact: http://www.sarahjezebeldeva. com

  • Answers by Lord Rehn
  • Interview by Marko Miranovic