I would like to start this interview by showing you my gratitude to you for answering these questions. I’ll try my best.
Siculicidium: Let’s do it!
We will discuss Siculicidium’s works in a whole, but first, I would like to talk about one aspect that caught my attention, that is, your lyrics also talk about Yukio Mishima’s philosophy and patriotism. He is truly one of my favourite authors and I sincerely hope more people would read his works, especially in the times we are living. How Mishima has influenced your lyrical works? Which are your favourite books and aspects of his lives?
Lugosi: Wrong, Siculicidium lyrics are not dealing/talk with Mishima philosphy and patriotism! Of course I really like & appreciate Mishima’s work and his life also had a big impact on me, but lyrically Siculicidium is a total different thing.
With Wolfsgrey (my other band) we did 2 Eps, lyrically EP „A” with songs like „Sun, Steel & Anger”, „Devotion”, „Die Like a Man!” were influenced by Mishima’s short story „Patriotism”, „Forbidden Colors”, „The Temple of the Golden Pavilion” and the autobiographical essay „Sun and Steel”. On „D” Ep, song called „Sunday Morning Massacre” is also had some influences from Mishima’s novels, that’s it.
I read lots of novels of Mishima, my faves are: „The Temple of the Golden Pavilion”, one of the best books I ever read is the „Confessions of a Mask”, „Acts of Worship” also great, and I really enjoyed „The Sound of Waves”, „After the Banquet”. He wrote a bloody lot! One life is not enough to read his books!
His movie „Patriotism” also a must see movie for everyone:
If someone is not familiar with Yukio’s life, novels & films I could recommend to start with „Life & Death of Yukio Mishima” by Henry Scott Stokes!
Back to Siculicidium, almost all lyrics are available in records, or easily you can find them on the internet, majority was written in Hungarian and really hard to translate to English (hard for me…) Lyrics are dealing with life & inevitable end/death, occult, our bloody history, traditional symbolism, inner forest poetry, transcendental melancholy, long way to eternity, decay and so on.
Pestifer: All the lyrics are written by Lugosi, I never asked him where the influences are from, but I do find spiritual joy in the works of Yukio Mishima and other japanese artists. I like the way Yukio Mishima portrays the ideal man. A thinker, a fighter, and most important: loyalty and honour above all, these are defintely not things to negociate with and quite rare qualities these days. You can easily see that the Yukio’s model of how man should be and act is nothing like the present western society promotes the „ideal of man”. We have a lot to learn from the land of the rising sun.
Still concerning the lyrical subject, please, tell us about the lyrics in “Land Beyond the Forest”, if they differ from your previous works or not.
Lugosi: “Land Beyond The Forest” is a concept MLP (except the last Swans cover) dealing with medieval spirituality, superstitions, pagan fears, ancient beliefs, mysteries, riddles, especially Transylvanian ones! Dark folklore from the land beyond the forest: Transylvania. 2 from the 3 cover songs are also dealing with medieval era, perfectly fitting in the album’s concept. All lyrical concepts are coming from ancient books, local tales and one movie this time.
Pestifer: They differ a bit from our previous works. Though we were often mis-labeled as pagan, we had mostly “modern age” or at least universal themes in our lyrics. This time lyrics are in English. Sami of Reverend Bizarre pushed us to this title “Land Beyond The Forest” and suggested some English lyrics, so why not, only this time. He painted the cover, so we simply swimmed along with his ideas, nothing forced though, everything naturally. “Land Beyond The Forest” translates as Transylvania btw.
I always find the artwork related to your music/ releases interesting/ intriguing. I own a “A rothadó virágok színüket vesztik” t-shirt not only because I highly enjoy the band’s music, but also the artwork itself. As for the latest one, it was designed by Sami Hynninen, an artist I deeply admire in all his endeavours. I truly believe that you hold this aspect of your art in regard. But, being that said, how important is it for the band? Could you talk a bit about this, tell us if the meaning behind it connected to the music created on “Land Beyond the Forest”?
Lugosi: Artwork is not just an extension of music, it’s an essential part of the release. Music, graphics, lyrics work together just as body, soul and mind. Everything must be connected to the other two.
“A rothadó virágok színüket vesztik” artwork was painted by our long time collaborator, designer Meriel Longmore from UK, she made the „Lélekösvény” LP and digipack CD reissue covers also and the „Keringők (Valses)” EP cover too!
First album artwork „Utolsó vágta az Univerzumban” was made by me. The second album „Hosszú út az örökkévalóságba” was painted by the semi-legendary Shaun Beaudry from Savannah, Georgia, USA!
The artwork of the latest LP was painted by Sami Albert Hynninen from the legendary Reverend Bizarre, especially for Siculicidium, the whole concept of the MLP and the title also coming from Sami! Lyrics, concept, artwork and every visual aspect is very important in Siculicidium! Remember: black metal is more than just music!
Pestifer: We start to work on artwork only after the music is recorded. We prefer not giving too many details about how the artwork should be and I think a real artist doesn’t need too much guidance, the music will guide him. I am more than satisfied how artists like Meriel Longmore, Shaun Beaudry or Sami Hynninen painted our music.
Back a bit to Siculicidium’s history. Why did you decide to name your band that way? I am aware about your history and that is why I admire your people so much, for being so resilient, surviving all the terrible things that happened to the throughout history. Aside political movements, which you have stated that you are not involved with, how this fact influenced your music and you, as a human being?
Lugosi: I always wanted a special name with real meaning and the Latin language (dead language) is also nice! Siculicidium was a mass murder committed against Székelys by the Habsburg army in 1764, under Maria Theresa.
The Latin word SICULICIDIUM is coming from Siculus (Székely) & Cidium (carnage, massacre).
Adding up the values of the letters as Roman numerals, the result is exactly the year of the massacre, a real chronogram.
Difficult times raise hard and survival people always! We are not interested in any political movements, is too tight for us!
Pestifer: We started with a different name back then, and before the first demo came out, Lugosi suggested this name, and that’s how it stayed. There are lot of Pentagrams, Tormentors, Leviathans, but there’s only one SICULICIDIUM.
In a way connected to the previous question, I ask you to tell us what draws you to create music. What inspires you to play the style of music that you do. What influences you when it comes to your musical process? Be it about life, the artists, literature (which was already covered in another question, I hope) or none of that at all.
Lugosi: Music, books, films are inspiring us to making music. 70’s, 80’s heavy metal, 80’s thrash metal, 90’s black metal, power electronics, experimental, noise music are the main influences and of course literature, novels by Hamvas Bela, Mishima, Borges, Vonnegut, U.Eco, P.K.Dick, G. Grass, Murakami, Nietzsche, W.Sandor, Kafka,Cs. Geza, Kundera, Hrabal, Evola, etc etc just name a few, gave us lots of inspirations!
Pestifer: Life has the biggest impact always, because life is everything is that sorrounds us. I am a lot into books and movies, some of the writers I read: Umberto Eco, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Julius Evola, Bohumil Hrabal, Gaston Leroux, H.P. Lovecraft, Ambrose Pierce, Edgar Allan Poe, Philip K. Dick, Stephen King, Douglas Adams, Oscar Wilde, and what not. About music, I always had this urge to create music. Even as a child, before touching an instrument. It’s a way of self-expressing. Musically everything from Robert Johnson to Beherit. Blues can be darker sometimes than Black Metal. I am also into gospel and folk and industrial. Dead Can Dance, Death In June, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Joy Division, 16 HP, The Cure, Beherit, Sarcofago, Sepultura (early), Sodom, Bathory, Manowar, Candlemass, first album Mayhem, Immortal.
Still in this matter, I would like to ask you how you got involved with metal music. When and how you got involved with extreme metal music? Was it about the dark atmosphere, rebellion? What drew your attention to this musical style? Or better, if you prefer/ wish, tell us your first contacts with music and how this evolved into learning/ playing and, eventually, founding a band.
Lugosi: I was infected by extreme music in 1989, before that I just listened some pop music occasionally. The Hungarian legend Pokolgep conducted me to the extreme music, followed by Tormentor, Bathory, Beherit and the 90’s death metal!
In early 2000 one day I’m just wake up and I have had a feeling that it’s the perfect time to founding a band, better said a musical project. When I met Pestifer first time I knew that we will doing lots of crazy shit together, the rest is history.
Pestifer: I grew up in the 80s, early 90s, 80s was still a communist regime. My father had a connection who brought music cassettes ‚undercover’ from the west block. Mostly it was Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Beatles, Black Sabbath, Rolling Stones, Eagles, Vangelis, Bon Jovi also some pop like Abba, Alphaville, Pet Shop Boys. Vinyls were only a few, and only East-European folk, rock and pop, nothing spectacular. Early 90s came with a regime-change and a lot of new rock music to my ears. I got into metal in the first part of the 90s with bands like Black Sabbath, Metallica, Sepultura, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Slayer, Voivod, Queensryche, Amorphis, Samael, Saint Vitus, Death, Obituary, Deicide, then black metal came my way.
I played in several high-school bands before Siculicidium where almost all members wanted to play covers. Black metal was always so much more than music. It was a step out from the bands who were playing just to get fame or impress girls. Life is too short for playing covers. Get your own thing done.
Back to “Land Beyond the Forest” and now I want to ask you about the musical aspects. How do you rank It compared to your previous releases? Comparing “Land Beyond the Forest” and “Hosszú út az örökkévalóságba” or “A rothadó virágok színüket vesztik” or even “Utolsó vágta az Univerzumban” for that matter, in your opinion, what are the main changes, musically speaking and, for those that don’t know the band and might be checking them, were there any lineup changes?
Lugosi: „Land Beyond The Forest” is the new EP, rank it any way you want. I’m not hearing big changes comparing the previous albums, we have some new instruments, gears by the way, but I’m not hearing too much technical evolution, maybe regression heh.
Siculicidium is and always will be Pestifer & Lugosi Bela, Pestifer responsible for music and arrangements, Lugosi for lyrics/concept and vocals! Other musicians are guest and friendly sidekicks helping us to recording our craziness!
Pestifer: I think the songs are more focused, the writing process meant also that I cut out all the unwanted parts from the songs, practically speaking, I wanted to shorten the songs to the themes and riffs necessary, I preferred shorter and more focused songwriting. It’s the first time I am autocenzurazing myself in such effective way. This will be the new law.
I always enjoy asking a few questions about the man behind the music, just in order to try to understand better the person that creates the sounds I enjoy listening to. Of course, I don’t ask anything intrusive. I would like you to let us know some of your favourite activities, hobbies, movies, etc, what you enjoy doing in your free time. I have read about the region you live and seen some pictures. It truly looks stunning. I would love to visit it someday. Could you talk a bit about it as well? I am a traveller and always enjoy getting “tips” from the locals. Google is a trap, most times.
Lugosi: I’m really interested in doing sports, football, snowboarding in powder snow in wild mountains, winter time. Biking, reading books, listening music and watching some cool movies in company with some delicious beers.
Transylvania is a good place for visiting, mountains, forests, old castles, crazy people, cheap drinks, beautiful girls.
Pestifer: I love music and sounds, trying to capture as much as I can from this life, from the environment. I prefer long weekends with trips into the wild. Summer is good as it is the Winter, I don’t whine, I love all seasons. Whenever I can, I play the guitar and the bass, or the keyboards. I always read a book, or more books at the same time. Always busy. Transylvania is a portal to another world, don’t take it as a Hollywood movie script, but time can stand still here and magic is there for those who can see.
The most important question of this interview. Perhaps of all interviews ever conducted. Let’s say you’re abducted by aliens. They haul you aboard the mother ship; take you back to their planet as a curiosity. Now, would you rather be in their zoo or their circus and why? Of course, this is a silly question, from Seinfeld, just to lighten up a bit. If I could, I would ask others just for the fun, but I don’t want to take too much of your time. Well, not more than what I have already taken.
Lugosi: I have no idea who is Seinfeld, very sorry for my bluntness. I don’t think that the aliens wanted me alive or dead, they are always landing in the USA, so we are safe here in Transylvania!
Pestifer: Zoo or circus? Sounds similar like a political vote debate between two shady candidates. I prefer zoo, at least I can have some more privacy than in a circus and I have a chance to escape.
Siculicidium has been alive for quite some time, since 2003, if I’m not mistaken. On the thirteen years of its life, which were the lessons that you have learned to keep the band alive, to record an album… and what do you think that the future holds of Siculicidium? And what do you wish it would happen for the band?
Lugosi: Yes, we started in 2003, time is ticking very fast. We are the most selfish band/project ever, lesson that we learned: never gave a flying fuck about other’s people opinion just walk your own path! Future holds in the hands of strong and we are strong. I wish one more good album and some vinyl versions of our previous releases, as mine fovourite format for listening music!
Pestifer: As answering this it’s 14 years of Siculicidium, time flies. Lesson is to keep faitful to your brothers, do your thing, even if it’s not hyped, write good songs, believe in what you’re doing. Only a creator could know what the future holds. As for me, I see a few more healthy albums in the future, some of the material is already written. It would be interesting to perform a few live rituals, if we count session members, we are 4 people in 4 different locations, which is not so promising, but time will tell.
Alas, we have reached the end of this interview. I thank you all kindly one more time for your answers and patience. I also would like to wish you all the best in all your plans, be them personal or professional. I leave you with the last words of the interview.
Lugosi: Thank you for your interest in Siculicidium.
January 21, 2017