Protector and Silenius, the two founding members of SUMMONING, unequalled austrian epic black metal band, active on the scene since the middle of the 90’s, agreed to answer guitariste-metal.fr questions about their pasts and their future projects.
How are you and how SUMMONING doing ?
At the moment we are working on some songs which have remained from the Old mornings dawn session. There are several songs, some in the ore and some in the less complete stadium and also some riffs which could be worked on to make a song out of them. The goal is to make a kind of limited, maybe only vinyl edition out of these songs. But it needs time; I think there won’t be any releases until the end of the year.
Let’s speak a little bit about your introduction to music, how did you fall into it ?
I started learning an instrument when i was a young child in primary school, as many other kids I started with a flute. Later I learned to play piano for some years in a music school, and later when I was a teenager, I started to play bass guitar on my own. I started as an ABBA fan like many other kids in my age of those times, and then I changed to the KISS camp. When i became a teenager I started to listen to more and harder stuff. I think its natural in those times that you get very attracted to anything that’s most brutal and fast and so on, to challenge musical boundaries.
I started to learn classical drums when I was a teenager, and then played in a lousy school band some cover versions as rock drummer. Later I got into a progressive thrash/deathmetal band till I finally joined SUMMONING.
What was your musician / band inspiration at this time ? What are your musician / band inspiration now ?
When we started SUMMONING the main inspiration was of course the second wave of norwegian black metal, which was of course very revolutionary in the beginning of the 90’s and replaced the death metal scene from its throne of brutality. Of course beside that there were a lot of different inspirations, mainly of different metal bands of different genres. Since the end of the 90’s i have explored most metal scenes and it became a little bit boring for me and since then I have changed my interest to more electronic music, especially dark ambient and industrial music.
Do you remember the first concert you saw?
As far as I can remember the first metal concert which I could remember was a RUNNING WILD gig in Vienna, with the first band being ANGEL DUST. To be honest I can not remember much from this concert and I never was a big running wild fan, but in that time every metal concert was interesting and attractive for me.
And on the other side, do you have some memories about your first gig ? Was everything s excepted ?
In those times it was very important for me to show everyone that I belonged to the metal scene, and so I bought a metal shirt, but to be honest meanwhile I have not a single shirt from that time anymore. But as far as I remember, most of them were from death metal bands.
How did you learn music/guitar– self-taught or lessons?
I never really learned it. I was more into drums and used the guitar more in the rhymic thrash metal way to also play rhythms on it, but I never learned the guitar in a classical way.
What was your first guitar model ?
Actually one of the cheapest guitars. A kind of ironbird guitar set from bc-ritch with a small amp. It was an offer from the magazine “metal hammer”.
What is your live rig / studio gears ?
As we dont play live gigs, we dont have any live rigs. For a long time we have used virtual amps and distortions for our recordings. We don’t give a fuck about expensive equipments, I dont even have a guitar on my own, and borrow it from friends for the current release.
Could you please share some information about your gear (guitar, amp, pedals) for each album?
We have no idea, we never look at the labels of the devices we use. Anyway they all virtual meanwhile.
What is a standard guitar warm up / training for you ?
First of all I have no training, and second I compose most of the guitar riffs on the keyboard and only play them later for the recording since Stronghold. After that I focus on the next riff and forget the last one. Sorry but we are really no live band.
Don’t do it as we do. This works just with SUMMONING but not with any other band:-)
On a weekly basis, about how much time do you spend practicing?
We never practice nowadays. In the beginning, when SUMMONING still was a real band with a real drummer, we had a practicing room and had regular practicing sessions. The first album even was recorded in our rehearsal room, but later, when we kicked out the drummer, everything changed and since that moment we have seen ourselves as composers, not as musicians.
Let’s speak now about the band, SUMMONING, which I really love for many reasons, like for your creativity, the ambiance, the thema chosen and so on. I prefer to warn you, here is a serious bunch of questions, but I do hope that these questions will really help to better promote the band !
Could you please share information about how did you start to create SUMMONING ?
We started the band similar to lots of other teenager bands. All of us made first musical steps in different bands or band-like formations. We met somewhere in Vienna in some pub totally drunk of course. But I think it’s natural that being a metal fan you sooner or later want to start a serious band. In those days black metal was total underground and as far as I know, we have been a first one in Austria to make this kind of music and so everything started very chaotically but always with a kind consequence and we never gave up.
Why did you choose the name “SUMMONING” for the band name ? Obvisiouly you were quite inspired by JRR Tolkien.
In the beginning we where not really inspired by Tolkien so much, but the black metal topic was far more influencial in the beginning. The term SUMMONING was inspired by a DARKTHRONE LP where the lead singer called his vocals “diabolical summoning” or something like that. That was the birth of our name, but of course we did not think too much about this.
I really appreciate your guitar composition, the melodies are always warm and cold at the same time, melodic, atmospheric and powerfull. Do you have some licks in your “book” for that ? What is your way to get it?
Well as I said before, i compose the guitars – with a guitar sound – on the keyboard before I play them on a real guitar. I feel freer with 10 fingers than with 5. Anyway the aspect that’s most important for me is not to play just those mainstream power-chords, but other intervals that match to the harmonies of the other instruments. For me the guitar is not just some instrument that just gives a fuller sound, but should be an instrument like all others, playing melodies like all others, just differing in the use of heavy distortion.
How are the song created? Do you create the “tabs” for each instruments by your own or with Silenius ?
As I said, I compose them on the keys and then store the MIDI files so that later I remember the notes to be able to play them finally on the guitar.
How was your latest album “Old Mornings Dawn” welcomed by the public ?
All in all the reactions have been really great, but of course there are always some critics as well. We realised that those who like oath bound the most dont like our new albums that much because they think it’s not that epic as the last one. But all in all it’s like always when we have released a new album; it has to stand the test of time. That means that a real judement of that album will only be possible in one or two years, when the album is already old.
Your label has been Napalm Records since your first album. Why did you choose to work with them ?
We know max of Napalm Records since nearly the beginning. That means we signed with him when the labe was just a very small unknown metal label, which just a handfull releases out. We never knew that this label would be one of the leading metal labels 20 years later so it’s quite comfortable not to search for a new label all the time.
If you had to give a few words about each SUMMONING album, how would you describe each album?
The only black metal album in the sense of what you think a black metal album should sound like. Very rough mixed, very chaotical, with a big fuck off attitude, like it was cool in that time.
The beginning of finding our style and this style of course began with the departure of our drummer Tifixion and the lyrical change to tolkien topics.
Very similar to minas morgul, but maybe a little bit darker and more monotonous. Sill the black metal influences are rather high on that album. A least higher than on Minas Morgul.
Nght shade forest:
The only cd which was not recorded in the Hörnix studio, nor in our home studio, but in a studio in Liechtenstein. Seeing it from nowadays, we did not like the guitar sound on this album, it’s far too silent but later we realised that a lot of people liked this album a lot because of the distanced atmosphere of the recording.
The most commercial album of SUMMONING seeing it from the sound and songwriting. I think it’s simpler and less polyphonic than the others. It has a rather clear sound. A lot of the older black metal fans did not like this album at all, but on the other side we got a whole new younger generation which started to explore SUMMONING with this album. We also started to use palm mute riff in contrary to all albums before.
Let mortal heroes sing your fame:
When the album came out there was not too much response and many people think it was not that good as Stronghold, but meanwhile that more and more people think that this album was the most perfect form of SUMMONING. On this album we those clear choirs which became a kind of trademark for all follow albums.
A mini cd with just two songs from an old session. These songs are no metal at all and we wanted to show that SUMMONING also can work without all the metal ingredients.
This is the albums with the song “Land of the dead” which seemed to be the most liked song by our fans and it also includes the song sung in the language of mordor which is also quite popular within our fanbase. So maybe this album is a kind of reference for us.
Old mornings dawn:
Maybe the most melancholical album in our discography.
What was the biggest success / sales for SUMMONING ?
Of course the older releases had more sales because nowardays the cd sales are shrinking no matte how good an album is. I think we had our peek during the time between stronghold and oathbound.
What do you think about the Austria metal scene? The scene is not so well known in France.
Of course the Austrian scene is a very small one but of course some well known bands,not only the older ones like PUNGENT STENCH or BELPHEGOR but only some new ones like THE SORROW, who got international attention. All in all we are not too much integrated in any kind of metal scene here. Maybe we are simply too lazy to be more active.
Speaking about the metal scene, have you ever heard that SUMMONING is now one, or maybe the leader, of this genre ? Your albums are often considered to a masterpiece. What do you think about that ?
What we realised that during the last years is that some new bands were rising. They transport similar epic or ambient influences within their music as we do and have a similar way of composing. Most of those bands are gathered on labels like Northern Silence or Nordvis Produktion.
If you had to describe your feelings about SUMMONING, what do you will like to share ?
The most important thing is that we still have a kind of fire in our heart to continue with our music. That’s not self-evident. Some years ago there was a time when i lost all my interest for SUMMONING. But fortunately menwhile the fire for the band burns again, and we hope to continue with it as long as possible.
You were active on some band like DIE VERBANNTEN KINDER EVAS and ICE AGES. May we hope to see new release with you into this band ?
I have no plans so far for any new Die Verbannten Kinder Evas album, but I surely will make and ICE AGES. I already have a lot of ideas and already worked on some sound for the next songs.
The latest album was released a year ago, do you have some idea about a next release?
In the meantime we are working on all the missing songs from the Old mornings dawn session. There are quite a lot and we want to make a kind of limited edition which should be seen as a kind of second part of Old mornings dawn like Nightshade Forests was for Dol Guldur. But it is too early to say anything detailed about all those songs. I hope that in the end of this year we will see in which direction this goes.
Do you have a last word for the french reader ?
A big hail to all our fans in France. Up the hammers.