Sargeist -  Shatraug

Over the years Sargeist have released 5 studio albums but you are always releasing new music in the form of EPs or splits. “Unbound” was the last studio album to be released by Sargeist in 2018 followed by the 2019 EP “Death Veneration”. Can we expect to hear yet another new release from Sargeist in 2020?

We're currently working on a full length split release with Serpent Noir as well as plenty of other new songs, quite possible a new full-length but no idea if these will be finished in 2020 or later. I don't really make plans when something should be out nor force it to happen as I keep on writing music either way. The longer songs remain in demo stage the longer time is the judge and all that works quite perfect for me. I've done this since forever and it happens many times that ideas I had years ago sound perfectly good later on, or more usually the other way around.


How do you feel the current line up of Sargeist compares to previous line ups and how much of a say have Abysmal, Gruft and Profundus had towards new music for the band seeing as Sargeist started off as your solo project?

You forget VJS whom without I doubt Sargeist would be going on as fully charged as it does. The previous line-up was practically still a solo project as I wrote everything and when it comes to music I still do the majority of it, but everyone has been given the liberty to take reins for their contribution. Every band needs someone to be the driving force behind it, that one primary motor who sets the direction it flows towards, but what I've learned throughout the years is that a real band needs to give it's members plenty of room for creativity if they so incline. You're in the band, do your part. Otherwise I could just record everything alone and be done with it but my vision is just one vision, combining the scale of everyone involved brings out the be(a)st.

In April of last year I spoke with Infection and he said that Horna were close to finishing your follow up to 2015’s  “Hengen Tulet”. Do you have any further news on when we can expect to hear the new album, a title for the new release and what lyrical theme can we expect on this album?

Yes, the new album "Kuoleman Kirjo" is done, mixed and mastered and right now just waiting for cover arts to be finished. Translation of the album title is "The Spectrum of Death" and this is directly what the album is about - death and it's multiple faces, practices, worship and meaning. Musically speaking, it's the first album I composed in it's entirety together with Infection and the core idea was to fill in all the gaps we thought all previous albums had. "Kuoleman Kirjo" should be out later this year in time for the planned tour.


At the beginning of last year you ran into some troubles with Antifa on your US tour with Horna in which to great credit to yourselves you managed to complete the tour with only one show being cancelled. What do you believe can be done to help prevent these groups from interfering in the Black Metal scene?

The less publicity they are given the better. Black Metal has never bowed down to anyone nor has it ever been about anything else than gospel of the Devil and as such, fundamentally religious. Otherwise it's just extreme music and that's what I believe in. Far too many extreme musicians just doing it for the sound and not willingly, or knowingly, carrying the torch. I have nothing against Antifa and the likes going against real fascists, nazis, racists and such but it would be best for them to focus on it and not make a target out of thin air or shallow relations and also focus on what unites us, not what tears us apart. The only judgement a person should have is that based on his behavior, an asshole is an asshole no matter what.

Surely there are people out there with completely different beliefs from people within black metal that are doing far greater harm to the world and to others than musicians on stage doing what they love. Why do you think that they are targeting black metal and not focusing on more damaging and influencing people in the world?

Simple, it's relatively safe and easy. If you can slander someone who isn't likely to shoot you in the face, taking that step becomes less of an obstacle. In the end they are showcasing basic human nature at it's worst, exploiting every chance to shine their badges and be the "better" man by doing worse. This applies to far too many.

You are a musician who is constantly creating new music with many active side projects such as Necroslut, Finnentum and Black Stench. How do you decide which riffs, lyrics etc to use for which bands and you must have an endless back catalogue of music to use?

As it is, constant is the right word. I keep on writing music, sometimes already with a mindset knowing which project it's for, or at other times, just relieving pressure off that obsession, because that's what it feels like - being obsessed, or quite frankly, possessed. There are times I can be still for weeks, but it keeps building up and yes, my notebooks are filled with ideas of different sorts. Some of them end up being recorded, but more than half never do. The selection is based purely on feeling, but lyrics are always written with that specific project in mind, as that's one of the main decisive traits to separate them, not always the sound itself.

With some of your projects you play all of the instruments and perform vocals also. Do you have a personal preference to which instrument you prefer to play and which instrument do you prefer performing live with the most?

I play only guitar live and that's what I love doing. Recording vocals is fun but on stage I gave up that in the 90's already, it just feels awkward to me to face the audience and be the voice of the band. I may or may not do it in the future, you never know.


You obviously got discharged from the Finnish Military in 2000, if that certain incident didn’t happen in your life then do you think that you would have still had the musical career that you have had and was Black Metal influential on your life choices back then?

I lived and breathed the same as I still do and as it goes, my beliefs and principles took over and I could not stand such authority over myself any more then than now. I have no doubt it would've been the same for my musical endeavours had I finished like I wanted to, but in the end I think I learned everything I needed out of it either way.

The Finnish Black Metal scene is quite unique and also seems to be quite a close community with members of different bands being in several bands. What makes the Finnish Black Metal scene different from it’s Scandinavian counterparts?

I don't think it's that different. There's always different groups of people with their own circle-jerk going on and working with people you already know to be able to rely on makes more sense in the long run. Having more people from outside your circles can be a gamble and when it comes to touring and live shows in general, a safe bet is the better option. You need people that you can look in the face day to day for longer periods and let's be real, Black Metal is not a genre where the most stable linger.

Finally, what can we expect from Shatraug and your multiple projects throughout the course of 2020 and are there any new projects on the horizon?

To sum it up, a new Horna full-length, a full-length from project Striges, possibly new Sargeist, possibly something entirely new and most hopefully a return to stage sooner rather than later.

Thank you for taking time out to speak to me and I wish you all the best for the remainder 2020.

Catch Horna on tour with Belphegor, Incantation and Necrosy around Europe later this year.


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