An Interview with Selvans…
Greetings over there. Allow me, please, to thank you for taking your time to answer this interview. It is highly appreciated. Well, congratulations on the release of your début full-length album Lupercalia. In my modest opinion, it features of perfect balance between extreme music and beauty atmosphere. Tell us about it, the concepts, the main influences when it comes to the creations of the lyrics and the music itself when it comes to the historical elements.
Selvans Haruspex – Thanks! “Lupercalia” is a trip through the ancient Italy, from the Etruscans culture to the middle-southern Italy folklore after the WWII.
As I’ve already said in other interviews, this album has no lyrical concept and the 100% Italic atmosphere is the common element! There is no space for protagonists, good examples, no glory or other good feelings in this album, the sense of tragic prevails; only the last song – “N.A.F.H.” – is not placed in a specific national or historical context.
As I’m sending you this interview with all questions, I’m not sure if you’ve answered this in the previous question, but if you did, please, let us detail a bit more about this subject. Selvans have stated and I quote that the band was “born to celebrate the inner spirit of the Italic lands, through the recreation of the cults and the folklore of the different ethnic groups that have dwelt in Italy from age to age; expressing this concept by means of sound, lyrics and aesthetics”. I have been to your country, one of my favourite destinies, and yes, everywhere you go, if you are a History admirer, you are impressed, you breathe the past and imagine what happened there. Enlighten us about these different ethnic groups as well as their folklore and how you got interested in this subject. Is it mainly about the Etruscan mythology?
Selvans Haruspex – Romans and Etruscans are surely the most significant examples of ‘italic’ society and culture so they deserved this attention. There are also other ethnic groups that dwelled in middle-southern Italy: volsci, samintes, frentani, pelgni, marruccini, marsi, vestini etc who had similar cults and legends… Selvans music is also inspired by the contemporary folklore.
Since this has a relation to the preceding question, the band has some quite stylish, classy promo pictures. Is there any professional involvement from others in the development of these visual concepts that you have or did you create them completely on your own? I believe that the masks have something to do with Lupercalia… could you explain the meaning behind the band’s “appearance/ looks”? Forgive me if I am being a bit repetitive, but, since I am highly impressed with your music, I feel like learning more and more about Selvans.
Selvans Haruspex – Yes, I have a group of chosen professionists that work under my guide. I imagine the design of all the images and the iconography of Selvans. Our masks and costumes are inspired by the figure of the priests in the etruscan (haruspex and fulguriators) and roman (augurs) cultures, and the masks are directly inspired by the ‘Hirpi Sorani’ myth.
Still on this subject, there are many dramatic moments in Lupercalia; in fact, “eargasm” inducing for those that are admirers of this musical genre. I also find it very pleasing that, as stated on the official website, this is not one of those “let’s get drunk and be merry” folk metal albums. Is this something that is connected to the band’s as well as the album’s “concept”, treating the past with respect or something simply related to your tastes in music or a blend/ mix of both?
The past has to be studied and considered with respect. We do not consider our music as ‘folk metal’ because this term is an empty tag. Most of the folk metal bands n Europe (and not only) mystifies history like in a fucking Hollywood movie and there also is the bad habit to mix folklore, “franchising” fantasy imagery, beer fest atmosphere and other random things. Some of these respectable artists would need a history lesson: they would discover that our ancestors were not all heroes and didn’t come out from an Asterix and Obelix comic book.
In a way connected to the previous question, it is a known fact that Folk/Pagan Metal has become a genre on its own in the Metal scene. Every day we see so many bands emerging, but, unfortunately many of them are mere clones or pretty bad ones. How do you feel over this “overflow” on the genre?
Selvans Haruspex – This phenomenon has been pushed by the big labels: many bands raped history and traditions but I think that it is now going out of fashion…Only those who really believe in the importance of this themes will remain, the other will sink ito the anonymity fucked by their lack of own ideas.
Musically speaking, and yes, this is a generic question, but, let us know which musicians, in some sort of way, have influenced you, not only when it comes to the metal genre, as well as the folk. How did you get in contact with such artists and what drew your attention to metal as well as folk music? Essentially, what and who made you enjoy these musical styles…
Selvans Haruspex – First of all Inchiuvatu, without whom the idea of black metal with traditional italian music influences would have never been there, and also the Eastern examples of heathen black metal like Nokturnal Mortum, Negura Bunget and Kroda, who play this genre with a more ‘wood’ attitude in comparison to Inchiuvatu. Another influence is the sound of our ancient culture especially the work of Walter Maioli and Synaulia.
On a previous interview, which I did with the Austrian band Abigor, one of the answers was that and I quote “Black Metal releases are comprehensive works of art! The cover in good quality, booklet artwork, lyrics, CD or LP carefully mastered – this can be an ultimate and even enlightening experience.” Having in mind that you have stated that all have been aesthetically linked when it comes to Selvans, how important is the cover art and booklets for the band? What can you tell us about the A5 digipack CD edition to be released by Avantgarde Music? From a few pictures that I have seen, it looks gorgeous.
Selvans Haruspex – I totally agree with T.T. , aesthetics is really important in this project; the design of all our artwork comes from my mind, I want the listener to be thrown in the forest of his conscience: there he will stand naked in front of himself and he could not lie.
Nowadays many bands are only aesthetics and gorgeous ‘products’, our work is really complex, so we were looking for someone who cares about all the aspects of a black metal album, we found that someone in Roberto Mammarella and the result is what you can see.
How do you feel about the Italian metal scene lately as well as the underground? I believe that Italy has always presented us with some amazing bands, but, for some time, the country was mostly known for the Power Metal music. In your view, has the situation for extreme metal bands improved in any way in Italy?
Selvans Haruspex – I believe there are many valiant realities in the Italian scene: Caronte, The Clearing Path, Shores of Null, Progenie Terrestre Pura, Eyelessight, Void of Sleep and others, but there is also a lot of shit.
With modern technology anyone can make an album, open a pseudo fan base on facebook and spread his shit all over the web (and therefore the world..) pretending to be something different from reality: this is the plague of Italy; there a lot of fat fags, who were regularly bullied as children, that are now trying to take their revenge on society making black metal from behind a computer screen and a facebook page.
As for the pagan theme, are you interested in paganism as a theory, as a study of past cultures (and present as well, in fact) or do you actually deal with paganism as a believe and a practice? Being a student of paganism or a believer, what are the forms/ types of paganism that mostly interest you?
Selvans Haruspex – We are interested in the study of all the Italic pre-Romans paganisms and cults.
Besides all we have already talked about, there is this “usual” question that I always ask: what do you personally enjoy doing when not studying, working or creating/ playing music. Are you the party “till die guy “or do you prefer relaxing at home, watching a movie or drinking something? Any favourite movies or TV shows, book series, artists, hobbies that you would like to share with us? And back to Italy, I am a huge fan of Italian cinema, from the classic ones (Neorealism, for instance), the horror and giallo from the 70’s, the Polizieschi, commedia all’italiana, up to the contemporary existencial drama movies. How do you feel about the Italian cinema?
Selvans Haruspex – I like to do sport, to reflect and enjoy nature, mountains and woods in our native land, but I also like to spend time drinking with my bandmate Sethlans, Acheron, Cordyceps, HK and the other guys of our ‘circle’.
I’m not a ‘movie fanatic’ – I prefer reading books – but I love the Italian cinema and I know that it’s much more appreciated out of Italy (like almost everything). The latest fim I’ve seen at the cinema is Stefano Sollima ‘Suburra’ and I higly recommend it to you!
Alas we reach the end of this interview. I would like to, one more time, thank you for the opportunity. I wish you and the band the best in your present and future personal and professional plans. Do you have any last words for our readers?
Selvans Haruspex – Thank you for the interview and to all Metal Maniac readers.
All images belong to their rightful owners as noted in the pictures (Francesco Ferri, Ivan Cenerini, Jalog.fm, Danielediegidio.it – Daniele Di Egidio, among others).November 10, 2015