Saturday, December 03, 2011

Interview: Ceremonial Castings

Ceremonial Castings are a black metal band that hail from Battleground, Washington. Founded in 1996 by Lord Serpent (vocals, guitars, bass) and his brother OldNick (keyboards), the duo have released six full-lengths album to date and are an occult phenomenon. Enlisting drummer Blood Hammer in 2002, they carry out ambient live magicks to a large group of underground followers.

The following interview takes place between December 2010 - January 2011.

Side Note from Villi Thorne:
"I stumbled upon Ceremonial Castings years ago by complete accident, and I wasn't looking for anything particular. I just kept hitting the random button on Encyclopaedia Metallum hoping to find something new to listen to. I found it. Since I first heard "Into the Black Forest of Witchery", the band's first full-length release, I was hooked. I'm quite honestly astonished that they aren't more well known, and I find their music to be abundantly better than any of the more well known black metal bands (Dimmu Borgir, for example).
When I decided to start this website, they were the first band I went to interview. I was surprised to receive a reply that said yes, so I would like to give a big thank you to Lord Serpent. I would also like to congratulate the band on their seventh full-length masterpiece, March of the Deathcult."
To listen to some of their stuff for free, check them out on their official Facebook. You can also buy merch there as well.

The interview is done between Villi Thorne and Lord Serpent.

Hail and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to do this interview. How have you all been doing?
We have been extremely busy & anxious to get back to the stage once again. Right now we are slowly adding some new elements to our live ritual. We plan on recording a live DVD on our return show at the 3rd annual Northwestern Black Circle Festival this year. We are a band that never sleeps, even if we may take a break from preforming we are always constantly working to the next level.

This year you guys released a very nice compilation CD, "Beast In Black", which contains previously released tracks as demos or live tracks, and some unheard covers. Good stuff! However, are you guys currently working on any fresh material in the studio, or writing anything new?
We have 2 full lengths & a split partially recorded that we plan to finish this year, there are also 2 more full lengths that are being written as we speak & close to completion. Of course we won't be recording those until we finish the previous works. One of the albums we are currently writing right now is a concept album much like Salem 1692. Although that album will lean more towards a different occult phenom.

Throughout the years, Ceremonial Castings has covered many Black Metal songs. Who are your biggest inspirations musically, and what are your over all inspirations behind the material you release?
Obviously growing up we had a lot of influence from many other black metal bands. But in this day I think our inspiration come more from our own mind & images as well as historical events & of course the unknown to the human mind. Oddly enough most of our musical influence doesn't come from other the "meta genre".

It's not unusual to see releases become limited to a certain number of copies such as "Immortal Black Art" and "Barbaric Is The Beast". What made you decide to limit these two releases to 1,000 copies each?
Every release has been limited to 1,000 copies. I think it is a good number of hard copies for now. With the power of technology most people these days don't care for the hard copy. It's an understandable concept. I am sure later on in life we will re-master & release these classics but it probably won't be for another 10+ years.

You guys mostly tour around in Washington and Oregon. Any plans on expanding touring to the rest of the USA and maybe Canada?
In 2008 we toured half the country & in 2007 did a west coast tour. Another west coast tour is in the works for 2011. We hope to due a full US tour hopefully next year, but when you work as fast as we do sometimes funds are not always there to do so. Canada may come in the future, being so close to the country it would only make sense. Unfortunately I know it is a hard thing for some bands to enter the country to tour. I imagine with what we do & what we bring there is no way we would be allowed into the country. And I personally would rather not put on a half-ass demonstration of our live magicks.

Unfortunately, one thing we don't see too often anymore in many live Black Metal shows are awesome stage props. Ceremonial Castings seems to have it right when it comes to a live show, however. What are some of your favorite things to have on stage, and how does this bring a deeper connection between you and the audience?
Our stage atmosphere has always been something very important to us. We will be bringing some new elements to our live show this year. I can't say that I have a favorite piece or item on stage because they are all important for our focus. The connection between us & the audience I believe doesn't come from what is on stage but what is in us. The audience may feel drawn in by what they see, but it is our & their actions that bring us together. We are not rockstars, we care about the people that care about our art & they can see that. This makes everything real. There is no persona to Ceremonial Castings. We may wear the garb but there are no masks involved with us. We give our everything to what we believe in.

Out of the studio and in your spare time, what do you and the rest of the band enjoy doing?
MMA (mixed martial arts) is a huge part of our lives. We are big supporters of the MMA world & are constantly keeping up with the sport. Hand to Hand Combat has always been a big interest to us. Other than that we are not so different than most people. We enjoy normal things like everyone else. Although personally every 3 to 5 seconds my thought process reverts back to the arts of Ceremonial Castings. My mind never wanders to far from future plans, I don't think it could even if I wanted it to.

There are so many genres and sub-genres of metal. What made you really want to become a Black Metal band, and what does it mean to you?
When we started it just came natural. We often experimented with different type of music & to this day think we are not so limited to just one genre. We've always incorporated much more than just what some call a "genre". Black Metal is a very controversial thing. It is a way of life, it is an attitude, it is an some maybe. But today it is a just a name. Two words thrown together so easy that it's loosing meaning. Poisoned if you will. But we will never stray from our path. We follow nothing other than our own path & our own path will lead us further towards our legacy. Instead of following the footsteps of others we rather make our own footsteps. "The Road Less Traveled" if you will.

Ceremonial Castings has been around for almost 15 years. Did you ever think the band would last as long as it has, and what is it that keeps you going strong as a band?
Absolutely. This band will exist until we die. We are enslaved under the great spell. We can never is our blood flow.

Well once again, thank you for your time! Enjoy the holidays and a headbanging New Year to you guys!
You as well my friend. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Cheers!


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