(interview) Solnegre – ‘Nowadays extreme metal is part of pop culture and probably a great part of the magic is lost.’

Solnegre from Spain intrigued me with their music, so it was about time for me to talk with them a little for this webzine.

For start, classic fanzine question: how would you describe Solnegre to the readers of this webzine that didn’t hear of your band before?

We are a Doom Death Metal band from a small island amidst the sea. We try to process our negativity and our frustrations into something with purpose, not only as a mean to express how fucked up we, which is easy, are but also in order to turn this darker being into something beautiful and controllable.

What does doom/death metal, mean to you? Or extreme metal in general?

Extreme metal as a way of taking things a bit beyond is a language through which one can connect the dots of its darkest self. It’s the realization of the fact that Art is not always about being constructive, extrovert, or joyful. It’s the supreme recognition that a darker self exists and that it deserves to be heard above the social conventions that pushes everyone to show its best happy face in order to be successful. We were teens in the 90’s teens, so we’ve experienced the extreme metal in its rawest form, when the concerts were stopped or best case you were bombarded by ice cubes from the crowd and people called you ‘nothing but noise’. I recall those as a very good time, a true fight. Nowadays extreme metal is part of pop culture and probably a great part of the magic is lost.

You are releasing single called ‘Vessel Part I: The Night Within’. What can you tell me about this single? What is it about? Is there some deeper concept and philosophical meaning behind the music and lyrics?

Vessel reflects how easy it is to become prey for anxiety and depression, how easy it is to give up and to surrender to an existential void that nothing can fill. This is the inner night we refer to and can be there until the last day you live. The point in my opinion is to reach a non-aggression pact with this feeling, as trying to eliminate this darker self is impossible without being destroyed in the process.

Your release, new opus is coming out in October as far as I understand. How was the writing and recording process? How do you write songs? What comes first, riffs or lyrics? As far as I understand your lyrics deal more with spiritual and personal themes. Are you a spiritual person? What do the lyrics mean for you? Are you more reclusive or open person privately?

I call this form of composition ‘channeling’ because I realize that I’m not 100% conscious of the process. I can be doing some other stuff and here it comes, an idea, a vague melody, a riff…then another, then an arrangement…so I pick the guitar quickly and start recording everything and in minutes, there you have: a song. After this there’s of course a process of trimming down, restructuring and arranging, but the main thing works this way. My best songs come from the worst moments of victimization, from my imposter syndrome, from my sleepless nights, but it’s not like dropping into a rehearsal room and trying this and that, once you start channeling you get full blocks from somewhere else. On our prior projects we used a somewhat more ‘standard’ way of composing but honestly all you get is a soup of riffs, no intention at all and above all, hours of procrastination and wasted time. I always have some concept in mind, and I know what I’m writing about, which is possibly about some personal failure, someone I’ve fucked up, something or someone I will have no more…there’s always purpose in desperation. As per my mood, in general I’m quite misanthropic, I live in my own world and I hardly see the good side of things, or I don’t give a fuck in general what people do. The Pandemic didn’t help and now some agoraphobia breaks every now and then.

Do you guys tour? Did you play anywhere outside of Spain? Do you like to play bigger festivals or smaller club shows? What can we expect if we go to your live gig?

We toured extensively with our past projects, but SolNegre is about studio work only. I don’t feel the need to play these songs live, or at least in front of humans. In fact, I would be ashamed to conduct this exercise of self-exposure live.

Do you know something of Croatia? Do you know any Croatian bands, or have you played in our country?

Of course, we know a lot from you buddies. Even I have some indirect family ties with your country, but never got the chance to play there. Talking about bands, let’s mention the classic and super cool Ashes you Leave from the 90’s especially, and there’s an amazing Doom Metal band called The Old Night that I’ve been following since long ago.

How is the underground music scene in the place where you live? Do you have a strong scene there? How is life in Spain in general?

In general, the Balearic Islands have an amazing scene being as small as they are. Mainland Spain too, of course, but the islands are disproportionately productive in all the areas of extreme metal, and some funny guys call this ‘little Sweden’ not only for the number of Scandinavians trying to get laid and drunk but also for that reason. Having said that I wouldn’t call this ‘a scene’ because each band does its own little war, with a high degree of success by the way. Life in Spain is good if you like to socialize, good weather, good food, cheap drinking and giving a fuck on everything else. None of this I like except food and the drink thing, but hey, this is what it is.

Are there any notorious or scary urban legends in the area where you live?

On a mysterious island amidst the sea? Sure! Hundreds! Lights in the sea, caves that are gates to the underworld, water maidens, monuments from lost civilizations, dragons, lone wanderers on the mountain range, talking animals…. with 8 years I witnessed a mourning lady dressed black running full speed through my grandma’s house and fuck I swear that was real, I recall even the cracking of the floor and the air moving. That thing physically existed. Insane.

Let´s talk about horror. Do you love horror movies and literature? If you do, what are your favorites? Mine are old Hammer horror movies and found footage, also golden era slashers from early eighties. As far the literature goes, my favorite is H.P.Lovecraft, then James Herbert, Adam Nevill, Graham Masterton, Dan Simmons…

Hehe, that’s cool. We grew up with Saturday-hangover horror sessions on the times pre-dating internet, so all that zombie/slasher/weird Sci-Fi/paranormal thing is something we love and admire. About HP Lovecraft yeah, he’s the grandpa of us all and in fact the post-legacy is mostly enjoyable (Derleth, Campbell, Bloch). On Sci-Fi I like Scott Westerfeld, Simmons too, but I’m more on the classics and especially love stories about dystopian worlds. Not really much into horror literature lately but definitely much more into occultism, kabbalah, automatic writing, psychology, anthropology, demonology and things of that sort.

What are plans for immediate future? Classic for the end, is there anything you would like to add? Thank you for being part of Kraykulla Webzine.

We’ll release Vessel on the 29th this month. After this probably a second single probably in June and a full album down the road, probably in October. We are sincerely thankful for your time and for keeping it real and pushing the scene forward. Big cheers to our Croatian friends. Stay Doomed!

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