Chain D.L.K.: The name you chose is taken from “Revelation”17:3 and 13:1 (“And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns”, and 13:1 “And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names”) and “Daniel” 7:7 (“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns). What made you choose this subject and how do you think it is related to your sound?
TenHornedBeast: One day in 2003 the name came to me from somewhere/nowhere as I sat and watched shadows moving across a wall. I “saw” the name as I have written it, as one word rather than three separate words. As soon as the epiphany occurred I knew that this was important and something that I should pursue. I am reluctant to agree to the name coming from the Book of Revelations because that is not how it happened. Obviously there are several beasts with ten horns mentioned in various books of both the old and new testaments but I did not sit with a Bible and flick through the pages until I happened upon a good name. I am equally reluctant to agree to the biblical interpretation of the TenHornedBeast or the later explanation of either Alexandrian and/or Roman imperialism. The horned beasts that the Hebrew prophets feared were an atavistic resurgence of the ancient Earth from a time in human prehistory when men, beasts and gods were the same. This Current was shocking and fearful and inherently “negative” and “retrogressive” – which is why I identify with it so strongly.I think my “sound” and the idea of the TenHornedBeast have grown around each other and one has strengthened the other. I wanted a sound that was vast and dark but also organic and vital.
Chain D.L.K.: From what I read in your Myspace page, Endura has not ended, so, what led you to start the TenHornedBeast project and what differences are there compared to Endura?
TenHornedBeast: I need to correct the info on the MySpace page if that is the impression that is given. Let me say once and for all that Endura has ended as a functioning creative vehicle, the last recording we did as Endura was 6 years ago in 2001, which was the song “Medicine of the Poor” for the Infernal Proteus project, since then there has been nothing. The differences between TenHornedBeast and Endura are profound. Endura was a very creative union of the influences, ideas and techniques of Stephen and myself, we both played to our strengths and the music of Endura benefited from that. With TenHornedBeast I am responsible for everything – I write and record all of the material on my own and I am responsible for the aesthetic direction of the project – with no exceptions. It is quite literally my visions.
Chain D.L.K.: Endura always gave me a feeling of a personal search through magick and occultism. TenHornedBeast, instead, because of the sound and some titles such as “Oppression Sacrament” or “In The Teeth Of The Wolf” gives me the idea of a great destruction where everything has been lost. Can you explain your point of view?
TenHornedBeast: I know that nothing is lost, even after total destruction the seeds remain. This is something I have learned from watching my children grow, it has triggered very deep memories of my own childhood, not just vague impressions but clear memories of specific incidents when I was 2 or 3 years old and these have given me a much clearer direction in my life and work. I also know that “memories” can be accessed from the deep ancient past and these can also be used to provide a star to travel by.The main difference between now and the period with Endura is that I am now much less tolerant and much less prepared to suffer fools than I was and as a result the Current has shifted, it is focused inwards on me and my experience rather than outwards towards a search for some external “truth”. Personally I find the ideas and emotions expressed on “The Sacred Truth” uplifting and life-affirming, if you don’t see that I suspect you may be viewing these things from the wrong end of the wolf.
Chain D.L.K.: TenHornedBeast’s sound is based on drones created with treated conventional rock instruments. Can you tell something about the creative process behind this sound and what brought you to that?
TenHornedBeast: It just felt right. When I began to record on my own around 2002/3 I initially thought of continuing the sound and concepts that I had explored with Endura. I had a lot of ideas sketched out for the album-that-never-was, “Contra Mundum”, but when I came to actually flesh out the ideas I found that I couldn’t record anything that I felt was authentic and convincing using that style of music. I also felt that I was having to “force” the material and in contrast the sounds and ideas that coalesced into TenHornedBeast were literally bursting out and demanding my attention, so it was out with the old and in with the new.The “creative process” is quite simple – I work on the material until I have something as close as possible to the sounds I hear in my head. Some tracks are built around a riff, others around a long wavering drone and others just seem to erupt fully formed as if the ideas were given to me. I sometimes play old material and can not remember recording it or how I got the sound. I also record quite quickly and loosely but then can take a long time to edit and polish the sounds. One of the things I feel strongly about is that I do not release anything until I am 100% satisfied with every aspect of it.
Chain D.L.K.: Tracks like “Our lady of the lightning bolt” or “In the teeth of the wolf” (the latter is 22 minutes long) are long suites where the listener finds itself floating into a dark magmatic sound. When you composed them did you think about the effect they should have or did you just let the stream flow?
TenHornedBeast: I never think about how the audience will react to the material, it is enough that I am satisfied with it. Trying to second-guess what an unknown third party will take from your music is futile.22 Minutes is not particularly long for a TenHornedBeast track. The track I recorded as part of the split album with Marzuraan is called “The Law Of The Needle” and is 28 minutes long and I have similar length tracks under construction for future releases. One of the techniques I use is to record long tracks and edit them down, so most pieces probably started life about 50% longer than the finished version. I usually record at a very slow tempo – occasionally with no tempo at all – so themes need time to develop and vary. It can be challenging to maintain sufficient momentum over a long piece but that is where the strength of the composition and the source sounds come into play.
Chain D.L.K.: “The sacred truth” is your first album which hasn’t been printed in a limited edition. Do you think you’ll make the old ones available again?
TenHornedBeast: No, there are no plans to release two CD-r releases from 2004 and 2005, they were released in limited editions for just that reason, the value of their scarcity. However, several of the tracks have been re-recorded and re-worked into new pieces for future releases, which I think is a much more economical and creative use of the material than just re-pressing the albums on to CD.The track “Father of the Frosts”, which was originally released on the 2005 album “Woe To You O Earth And Sea” has been re-recorded and will be released on the “Hunts & Wars” album next year, I am much happier with the new version which is tighter and heavier and is closer to the spirit I wanted to express. I am also re-working “Give Death, Take Death” at the moment – not for a specific release just because I wanted to expand and enlarge on the original composition for my own satisfaction. It is now about 20 minutes long and I have no plans to release it commercially.
Chain D.L.K.: Inside the digipack you wrote that: “One of the best means of preparation for a new and bolder life is to be found in the destruction of the standards which the modern age has laboured to impart to man. The best answer to the high treason of the spirit against life is high treason of the spirit against the spirit, to be a part of this blasting operation is one of the great and sacred truths of our time”.
- what kind of destruction are you talking about? De-programming of social behaviours?
- In your opinion, what kind of method works best for this purpose?
- Do you think your music could be part of this process or is it a sort of soundtrack to it?
TenHornedBeast: I am talking about the conscious rejection of the codes, morals and standards of the “modern world”. I really want as little to do with it as possible, I feel that it is toxic and poisonous and best avoided. However, I don’t believe anybody else can provide an answer for you or that there is any kind of political solution – science has yet to invent an instrument sensitive enough to measure how little I care about politics – but I believe that by making a conscious act of will to remove yourself from the evils of the modern world you can insulate yourself from its wickedness and regain some of the autonomy and strength than is rightfully yours. TenHornedBeast is my soundtrack and one of the weapons I employ to achieve my own personal “de-programming”, if it works for other people that would be a bonus.
Chain D.L.K.: From what you say, this is a kind of magical process where you take out energy from evil things by not caring about them. I always had mixed emotions about this process applied to social life, because I can’t control the situation in any case: if you spend your energy by trying to awake people’s social consciousness it’s like trying to kill a giant with a needle but if you “retire” to meditation/personal growth, there are fewer people struggling for a better place to live, because politicians are free to do whatever they want… Even start talking about WWIII!
TenHornedBeast: It is more than just “not caring”, it is the rejection of these things and replacing them with something that is antithetical and hostile. I have rejected democracy and replaced it with autonomy. I have rejected equality and replaced it with elitism. I have rejected the cults of weakness, feeble-mindedness and mediocrity that thrive in the modern world and replaced them with something that makes me stronger and allows me, in the words of Mel Lyman, to see something as it really is.You are correct – you can’t control the wider situation, and I would not suggest that you waste your time trying, but you can control yourself. Everything ultimately reduces down to You. You need to assume control over your own Will. I do not care about trying to awaken other people’s “social consciousness” nor do I expect people to struggle for a better place to live on my behalf. In fact I delight in people’s ignorance and stupidity because if they are prepared to accept the status quo they deserve no better – the track “Oppression Sacrament” is not a criticism, it is an affirmation and celebration of the state of oppression and a call for its veneration as a sacrament for those who would stand apart.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s next for TenHornedBeast and what about Endura?
TenHornedBeast: In the summer of 2007 Cold Spring Records suggested that I remix and redevelop several of the tracks from “The Sacred Truth”. I worked on this project during July and August and finally came out with five new compositions, three remixes/expansions/contractions of songs from the album and two totally new pieces that are in a similar style. I am glad that Cold Spring provided the opportunity for this project because revisiting the material was very rewarding and I feel that I was able to rework the material into something that is both new and continues the atmosphere of the album. I have named this remix album “My Horns Are A Flame To Draw Down The Truth”, it will be released on Cold Spring Records.In 2006 I recorded a long piece called “The Law Of The Needle” for a split album with Newcastle band Marzuraan. At the beginning we didn’t have any label in mind for this project but London independent label Aurora Borealis will release this in early 2008.The next full length TenHornedBeast album will be called “Hunts & Wars”, I already have this 90% complete but I’m waiting for the dust to settle on the current releases before I put the finishing touches to it. This should be released on Cold Spring when the time comes but with so much else happening there is no need to rush .Aesthetic Death, who released in the 1996 Endura album “Liber Leviathan” are re-releasing select titles from their back catalogue in limited vinyl editions, they have already released some of the Esoteric material and “Liber Leviathan” is next, the art is being prepared as I type this. Also Cold Spring have asked me to gather together all the non-album tracks from Endura onto a double CD. This will cover the period from 1993-2002 and should see a lot of very hard to find songs that were originally released on obscure compilation CD’s and vinyl releases gathered together for the first time.
Visit TenHornedBeast on the web at:
[interviewed by Maurizio Pustianaz] [proofreading by Marco Pustianaz]