An Interview with Otargos…
Greetings. It is for me a great honour to be able to share some words with a band that I admire its works. Thank you for the opportunity. Well, I heard the new album Xeno Kaos and it is indeed, in my humble view, a very impressive release. I felt like I heard an organized chaos, fast, cold, violent, but still atmospheric. How hard it is for the band to create such diverse “landscapes”? As a matter of fact, please, enlighten us about the composition process, how Otargos works in this field? How does it work, do you write the lyrics first and then compose the music adapting to its “moods” or the opposite way?
Dagoth – Thanx for your words about the band and the new album! Of course it’s an hard work. the OTARGOS composition process still the same since many years in fact I, Ulrich (Aka Dagoth), compose all alone, isolated. Of course when I have a new project I present it to the rest of the band and listen to their feelings. Most of the time I compose music before lyrix but in fact when I start composing riffs images and thematics automatically appear in in the same time my head… just like I am filming a movie or writing a novel, Each rhythm, each note, each chord bring an emotion I work a lot on that, not on the complexity.
Sometimes I have a precise theme in my head before and then I compose the music that could fit the best!
As for the lyrical thematic of the band, you explore fields that are more different when it comes to extreme metal. As for this album, Xeno Kaos, they were, as you have mentioned in the band’s official pages and several other interviews, they deal with the Warhammer 40K universe and cosmology. Please, let us know how the Warhammer 40K universe has influenced Xeno Kaos both lyrically and musically.
Dagoth – I am a W40K fan since I was young! This universe always inspired me along the years and the OTARGOS albums, such as cosmology and physics. Since APEX TERROR I decided to make W40K my principal thematic, It was a kind of old “dream” and I think the OTARGOS new era music completely fits. I plunged myself into the violence of W40K onslaughts and wars to create “XENO-KAOS”.
Have the “new” members of Otargos, and I use the quotation marks as they’re not really new to the band, as we all now, but, if I’m not mistaken, this is the first album with the new line-up, so, back to the question, have they contributed to Xeno Kaos with ideas? How have they contributed for this new release? Besides that, how has been the whole “relationship/ friendship” among all of you been?
Dagoth – You’re right! This is the first album with the new line-up! As I said even if I compose all, I let the others the right to bring their ideas, I’m not a dictator (… not all the time!) especially concerning the drums. I compose just basic drumlines, John after that express himself with a real playing.
Relationship is important for us, we are a band but we have also to be friends, it’s an important point for us!
Looking at the cover art of this album, I think that it truly fits the mood of Xeno Kaos. Having that in mind, I ask you to, please, talk a bit about this, why the band chose this particular one and tell us if the meaning behind it connected to the music created. In addition to that, how important are the cover art and booklets for the band? I was introduced to your band by “accident” not quite long ago, in 2010 when I saw the cover “No God, No Satan” and decided to buy the album simply because of it. Fortunately, my intuition was correct and I got to know a band which music highly pleases me.
Dagoth – The cover had to fit to the lyrix and “XENO-KAOS” thema. We wanted something cosmic artefact-like. Artwork is really important for us, and it always been. Most of the time the cover art is the first thing you see, so it have to be explicit and reflecting what’s inside. For XENO-KAOS we searched for something mysterious, mystic and alien.
M. Pliszke, bass player, realized all XENO-KAOS artwork. We prefer deal personally with a maximum thing, especially artwork cause it’s not so easy to explain what we really want and imagine.
Otargos has been described as having a very energetic, powerful live performance. Have you ever thought about, someday, releasing a live work, a DVD, being more specific, as the band has already released a live album, for those that cannot attend, for any reason, your concerts? Of course, there is Youtube out there, but it is never the same thing in terms of quality as well as truly supporting the band. Still concerning live performances, could you share with us some of the best and worst experiences you had in these years of touring?
Dagoth – A live DVD was sensed to be released few years ago but unfortunately we encountered some hardware problems after the show and the sound recording was fucked up. OTARGOS always been lucky! HA HA…
We plan to realise a new one but we don’t know when yet, maybe during 2016. Hard to tell you the worst and best moment we had…. The best is certainly yet to come!
In the years of Otargos’ existence, many things have, in some sort of way, changed. From the earlier works focusing more on Black Metal and satanic lyrics to a more diverse, death, black and industrial inspired sound, featuring, as mentioned before, a different approach to the lyrics, more scientific and cosmic. Is this something that was a reflection of you as a human being, he changes, the evolving? Do you have any regrets or anything that you would like to change, at all, when it comes to your musical career?
Dagoth – Yes, as creator of OTARGOS and principal composer/writer it’s exactly a reflection of my personal evolution. At the beginning, to be honest, I was young, I was inspired by classic black metal and its folklore; without searching for more. Later I grew up and forged my own opinion, personality, way of thinking and my vision of “life” “death” “religion” etc etc etc… My music simply followed my evolution. OTARGOS is so an “honest” band, we never searched to be what are not just to be a part of a scene or to appear more “evil” or “true”.
Of course have I regrets, some big mistakes was made, some bad decisions was made… but it’s too late nothing can be perfect and errors mean to evolve!
I read an interview with you, a few days ago, in which you were very realistic and concluded that a band like Otargos, due to its extreme sounding, will not “last” as Scorpions, celebrating fifty years. Anyways, in my personal opinion, I believe that the band has still a long road ahead, but you, how do you see Otargos’ future? What do you expect and want to happen to the band in the following years?
Dagoth – HAHAHA.. yes I said that! But in fact I was saying that I’m not sure 70 years old I’ll be interested to play extreme metal! Maybe in a Scorpions cover band! But, I’m far to be 70, so at this time OTARGOS has still a long road ahead, yes! Just like any musician: Festivals, tours, albums… that what I want for the future for OTARGOS
This whole illegal downloading has really gotten out of hand and I guess it is simply impossible to prevent it. In your opinion, what bands and labels can do in order to reduce the losses caused by this? Vinyl, limited editions? What about the bootlegging, especially when it comes to the merchandising, do you have an idea of the losses this has caused to the band? Do you feel that the crowdfunding idea can help the bands to prevent, at least a small fraction, of losses due to this uncontrollable phenomena?
Dagoth – It’s a big question and to be honest I don’t see any solution. Limited editions and Vinyl’s can’t really reduce this loss cause it cost a lot to manufacture them. Merchandise such as clothes still a good option… until we will be able to download textiles!
Crowdfunding is a good idea, but you have to motivate your audience. I’m not sure the extreme metal scene has the best audience for it… too young, too moneyless.
The French extreme Metal scene has always been very rich, perhaps my favourite one. In my modest opinion, you can find very interesting band in every style and that for quite some time as well. How do you personally feel about the current state of the scene? Are there any bands that you feel like that haven’t gotten their due deserve attention in the French scenario?
Dagoth – You’re certainly right, there a lot of good bands in France but I’m not the best guy to talk about it! I’m a kind of hermit and don’t try to search and listen new things. I’m still glued to my old Maiden, Guns, Scorpions, Slayer & Co …
The problem in France is that “metal” is absolutely not supported by medias and people. Another point, I noticed French audience is really too dispatched, for instance “death-metalers” and “black-metalers” never mix … I didn’t found this abroad.
As I always ask, this is the “more” personal side of this interview. Besides all we have been talking about, I would like to ask you to, please, share with us your personal preferences favourite activities, movies, hobbies, if any… if you’re more of a wine guy or beer, I personally love French wine from the region Otargos originally comes from, well, whatever you’d like to share with us about yourself.
Dagoth – I spent much of my time composing or playing guitar but beside the music I have common activities and hobbies. I own 4 snakes and 1 tarantula, I’m passionated by guitars, of course, especially Gibson’s and I prefer Vodka rather than beer…. I take care of my belly!! Ha ha ha!
Ha yes, I am Reebok Pump collector, I’m always searching for old unique models.
As you guessed I’m an Horror and Sci-Fi movies, I’m waiting so impatiently the new Star Wars!!!
And so we reach the end of this interview. I would like to, one more time, thank you for your time and patience. I also want to wish the best for the band in your present and future plans. Do you have any last words for our readers?
Dagoth – “XENO-KAOS” will be released November13th… But you can right now Preorder the 100ex limited “XENO-KAOS” box!!
It contains collector goodies and limited digipack version of “XENO-KAOS” with bonus track! We also launched a Crowdfunding campaign for “XENO-KAOS” collector Vinyl and Tape!!
Check it out at WWW.KAOTOXIN.COM!!
Thanx for all this questions!
All photos belong to their rightful owners.October 29, 2015