Schammasch - Interview III 12.4.
With only one week to go til the epic Schammasch show at Roadburn Festival, excitement is growing (and in the Schammasch camp maybe also the nervousness). A 110 minute set will guide the festival goers through the 'Triangle' cosmos in a unique live experience. In the third and last part of the interview, C.S.R. therefore talks some more about Schammasch's aesthetic stage vision and life on the road.
(If you haven’t already, read part I or II of the interview.)
The Metal Phenomenon: Schammasch seems like a band that generally puts a lot of thought into an overall aesthetic appearance, from the covers to the stage clothes. Is this something you envisioned from the beginning?
C.S.R: In the very beginnings of the band many things happened on a pretty naive, unexperienced level, I more or less just started with ideas deriving from, to each other, very opposite directions which didn't work properly together. It took years for the whole idea that is Schammasch to gain a proper shape and body. We didn't use the strong visual elements that we use nowadays back in the early days. At some point after Contradiction was recorded I felt more and more need for a more accurate visual reflection of the music and its message on stage, also I kind of felt naked with only my more or less daily looks during shows, it just started to be inappropriate
TMP: Why did you choose the stage clothes and appearance you have?
C.S.R: Simple aesthetical reasons, they are classical Indian ceremony garbs with some adjustments. We chose them for their mystical vibes.
Schammasch (Photo by Ester Segarra)
TMP: The different elements of Schammasch’s approach and appearance, the music, the visuals, the texts – how do you weigh them and put them in relation to each other?
C.S.R: They are just different faces of one body. At their cores, they are meant to express the same thing. It's like building a body, there is a skeleton, organs, skin inside/outside as well as certain vibes surrounding it. The music is the body, the words are its skin.
TMP: It seems that in the past few years, there are suddenly more good Swiss metal bands appearing. Why do you think that is – are there suddenly better Swiss metal bands around than let’s say 10-20 years ago when I was still living in Switzerland or are international audiences just more aware of those bands, thanks to the internet, their own marketing?
C.S.R: Hard to say, the growing international connections definitely have something to do with that phenomenon though. When it comes to black metal I think a lot of Swiss people got aware of the French "wave" from around 2006 including bands like Antaeus, DsO, Mütiilation, Blut aus Nord, Hell Militia etc. which might have had an impact. That's how I've experienced it back then at least. Probably the whole thing is just due to the fact that it got easier for bands to get started during that time as you said.
TMP: You were on tour with Inquisition and Rotting Christ last autumn. How were the audience reactions to your shows?
C.S.R: Overall very good, so were the sale numbers. It was surprising to us how many people there were every evening to watch us even though we played the opening slot of four bands. It was a very successful tour to all involved bands despite a lot of technical shit that happened.
TMP: How do you bring the different atmospheres of the music to live situations, how do you manage to create that space?
C.S.R: We simply have to renounce playing material from 'The Supernal Clear Light', or at least we had to so far, for that will change at the upcoming Roadburn show. But with standard show situations it's too much effort and too much equipment to deal with. Although we use parts from the ambient material as intro/interludiums during the shows which works well enough. Instead of trying too hard to do the impossible, we try to focus on what works best live in order to get the best result within the range of music which is available. That formula worked quite well so far. Also, we always try to play sets with a good enough balance of brute force, slow gloom and mysticism.
TMP: Touring is intense, how do you manage to keep the energy, the intensity up for each show?
C.S.R: I don't think there is any plan for that. Touring is a very bizarre overall situation to me, you completely drift apart from what's a normal daily life. There is almost no privacy. Everyone's gotta find their own way how to deal with that. I for myself just fight myself through it, day by day and try not to get swallowed by the madness too much.
TMP: What can we expect from Schammasch in the future, near and far?
C.S.R: We are about to release our next work, a much shorter record, which will be the first of a series of recs, based on different parts of a linguistic masterpiece of the 19th century. There will be much more space for certain elements which were but slightly touched on 'Triangle' and 'Contradiction'. After this release, we will focus on the next full length album, for which there is already a title as well. Besides that, there is the Roadburn show in April which will definitely be the most difficult and also important show we played so far.
TMP: Anything to add?
C.S.R: Thanks for your thorough and intelligent questions, that's something that's happening rather rarely. Good luck with Metal Phenomenon and see you at Roadburn!
– – –
Latest news and everything else can be found on Schammasch’s website.