Drakon is one of the members of MZ 412, one of the most influent dark industrial bands of the last decade. After many years of activity with his main band he felt the need to explore sounds and emotional sensations even more, so he formed other two projects: Beyond Sensory Experience and Al-Wahaar Dhin. They both explore different musical grounds and respect MZ 412; but they are all part of Drakhon’s path.
Chain D.L.K.: What are the main differences between your side projects Al-Wahaar Dhin / Beyond Sensory Experience and MZ412?
Drakhon: There are obviously a lot of differences between my side projects and MZ 412. Firstly MZ 412, today, consists of three different people with strong individual wills. What you hear as MZ 412 is then the result of a compromise between these wills. Secondly, MZ 412 is a well-known act with a specific artistic direction and, naturally, this direction sets the framework for the creative work performed. When it comes to collaborations, like i. e. Beyond Sensory Experience and Nordvagr/Drakh, the basic principle is to combine different ideas and influences in order to create something fresh and interesting outside the basic MZ 412 framework. As a result of that approach the creative process is looser, compared to MZ 412, and each project gets its own unique direction dependent on the people participating. With Al-Wahaar Dhin, or any other solo project of mine like Sublime Musing or Spyah, the aim is to pursue my own ideas and full-fill my own musical desires. Maybe some collaboration dynamics are lost but on the other hand I don’t have to compromise with other people, which means that I can focus more on the aspects I find interesting. In that respect solo projects becomes the ultimate ego-trip, but it is naturally highly appreciated if other people like what I put out there as well.
Chain D.L.K.: Why did you feel the urge to form new projects?
Drakhon: I have always had an urge to realize my musical ambitions and as a result of that different projects and different constellations are born. As you have seen with MZ 412 it is possible to diversify the music to some extent but naturally you have more creative freedom when forming different side projects. I currently have a lot of different side projects going on, some of them with material ready for release, others at the drawing board stage. I do, however, want each and every side project to have a definite and unique identity. It would be devastating if the side projects just were a variation of the MZ 412 concept. Having said that, it is clear in my mind that you should always expect the unexpected from my side project releases. A musical nightmare would be to wake up when I’m 50 and realize that I have only repeated myself for the last decade or so. Zero development equals death! Most acts, if it is dark-ambient, BM, trance or whatever has difficulties in developing and diversifying their basic concept. It seems like once you have found the winning recipe you are bound to repeat it, in infinitum. But, be warned, if that continues you will sooner or later end up like Rolling Stones or some other rock-dinosaur only dressed up in a less expensive costume.
Chain D.L.K.: While MZ 412 seems to deal with spiritualism embracing an Anti Christian point of view (tell me if I’m wrong about this), Al-Wahaar Dhin seems taking his inspiration from the middle East spirituality. Can you talk about this?
Drakhon: Using symbols which most people are familiar with as a universal platform serves as an effective means of communication. And, essentially, art is all about communication. I believe that most people nowadays, after September 11th, know that Christianity is only one part of the spiritual maelstrom and that it is unavoidable not to be confronted with other religions and cultures when globalization strikes us like a huge tide. To me, it becomes extremely obvious that we need a different perspective on the whole. The spiritual leadership of Al-Wahaar Dhin may well serve as one piece of a puzzle in obtaining such a perspective.
Chain D.L.K.: If the previous projects deal with spirituality, from the writings of Beyond Sensory Experience this project seems based on a scientific approach to sounds/life. At this point, can you clear off things by telling us the main differences between the projects?
Drakhon: This project is the result of long discussions regarding music, life and art between K. Meizter and myself. During this period we founded a scientific rationale covering these topics. During this process we also started making music that would embrace the rationale in a comprehensive manner. The initial phase of the creative process was very open and we did not limit ourselves to any specific type or of music or genre. There are actually plenty of early recordings with a totally different sound to them. It was not until late 2002 when the unique and varied dark-ambient vibe settled as the sound of BSE. It was, however, the natural result of the developed rationale.
Chain D.L.K.: If it’s possible, can you talk about your experiences which brought you to study or be interested in scientific and spiritual issues?
Drakhon: Actually there is not much to talk about here. I cannot think of any experience or incident in particular that made me study or embrace these issues. I just find it interesting to study what drives the human race to its different endpoints. Science and religion are like different poles on the globe that some people try desperate to combine in order to make sense of the world. Personally, I have always found science interesting and religion stupid so I guess that is where I’m coming from.
Chain D.L.K.: Did you reach any conclusion?
Drakhon: If someone claims that they got it all figured out then you know that they are lying.
Chain D.L.K.: On the Beyond Sensory Experience you team up with the scientist/artist K. Meitzer. Can you talk about him and what he brought to the project under the philosophical aspect?
Drakhon: K. Meizter is an important new acquaintance that I’d made when moving to a new town. He serves as a perfect link between science and philosophy musically. He is a profound thinker and addresses the “big issues” in a comprehensive and logical manner that fits the BSE approach. His musical knowledge is also vast without actually having been a musician before. With Beyond Sensory Experience we wanted to raise some fundamental questions using the correlations between music, science and philosophy as the template. In this sped up world where everybody searches for quick and easy solutions in life we felt it was important to turn it the other way around. Instead of feeding people with trivial answers, which are obviously of no good, we wanted to make people start asking themselves the right questions. In a way you could argue that the knowledge is hidden within the concept of BSE and that you only have to discover what is in there for you. Embrace the korrelation trilogy and discover the solitude of Beyond Sensory Experience.
Chain D.L.K.: I always had a curiosity about MZ412. Do you think that a sort of crusade against Christian religion could be useful to convince people that religion is only a social drug? Why did you take these images on your first records?
Drakhon: It is not our aim to tell people what is wrong or what is right in the world. We are not the ones who improve the world, or the ones who imply that everybody should convert to Satanism or some other useful philosophy. It is, however, important to get people’s attention and to point out the rotten carcasses in our society. In that respect, I believe that MZ412 always have been down to the point.
Chain D.L.K.: Don’t you think that these sort of things could only heat up the hearts of young people that don’t have any ideas about what to do with their lives? Don’t you think that young people could think about how to become the new Burzum?
Drakhon: No, I do not agree with you here. Again, it is not our job to brainwash people. Essentially, we are all born with a brain, primitive or advanced, and as a result of that we are able to make our own decisions. As an indubitable consequence of that we are also responsible for our decisions and actions, good or bad. If someone decides to burn up a church or just meditate to our music, it is, indeed, up to him or her. And I certainly do not like to generalize young people as stupid people; stupid people will remain stupid whatever age. Just because you don’t have a sense of direction in life does not mean that you could get away with murder. In my mind, you’ll take “the easy way out” if you start blaming your decisions and actions on other people or circumstances. Our world has just no room for self-pity or blame.
Chain D.L.K.: I think that these sort of things are useful to divide people and don’t help reaching the target. Don’t you agree with me?
Drakhon: Again, I do not agree with you. In my opinion you are focusing on the wrong issues. The fact is that we present art to the world. Then how the world chooses to interpret our art is essentially beyond our control. Good art makes people think and I believe that we are successful in doing just that.
Chain D.L.K.: Let’s talk about music again…The music on “Tortuna” and “The 3rd Power Of Alfta” is really evocative and dark. Did you produce these recordings thinking about the way to raise a certain effect on the audience or is it functional for yourself first?
Drakhon: Great back to the essentials, music, finally! I have found that dark atmospheres and sadness in music works calming and meditative for me. In a sense, I always aim to create music that I, first and foremost, enjoy myself, but if I was the only one who enjoyed my music I believe that it would be somewhat of a failure. So, I really hope that there are a lot of people out there who enjoy what I’m doing, but naturally there are no guarantees in that beforehand. As a short answer to your second question above it is not my intention to raise certain effects in other people when I make music. I try to avoid thinking like that because it is virtually impossible to grasp what effect my, or any, music would have on a possible record buyer since everyone comes from a different background. This individual background, genes and culture, serves as the foundation for their entire musical experience. I. e. each person listening to “Tortuna” or “The Third Power Of Alfta” will have a different listening experience all together. That’s where the music will evoke a different effect for each individual exposed to the music. Some similarities are to be expected but it is not an easy task to predict such mass effects. There is, actually, extensive research being performed regarding this subject and it is really an interesting topic to discuss further.
Chain D.L.K.: By the way you talk about them, “Tortuna” and “Alfta” are two kinds of entities. Can you talk about them?
Drakhon: Let’s start with “Tortuna” which is the first part of our trilogy investigating the correlation between numbers, music and life. I’m particularly proud of the music of “Tortuna” because it is really ambient and dark without being boring. To me the music of BSE is really accessible. I believe that “Tortuna” is the one album, in my personal catalogue, that I have listen to the most and still I discover new things hiding within the music. The second part of the trilogy, “Urmula”, is about to be released in June and takes off were “Tortuna” left off. If you like “Tortuna” you will not be disappointed with “Urmula”. In fact, the trilogy could be regarded as three different perspectives on one single object. Each part has a unique approach but they are also very much related. The third part of the trilogy is currently being recorded and the entire trilogy is to be released on Old Europa Café before the end of 2003. With “The Third Power Of Alfta” it is a whole different story. I wanted to investigate if it was possible to create interesting up-tempo music and still maintain a dark mysterious vibe. In my opinion this is a groundbreaking piece of work because it deals with a whole range of issues musically. I created rhythmic mantras and combined them with voice samples, mainly Arabic form the Koran. To me this mixture creates a surreal trance – evil – ambient vibe. Each rhythm pattern is improvised in a restricted manner in order to emphasize the meditative feel without losing movement. The orchestration and mixing is really crude in order to preserve the genuine feel of the music. After setting up the rigid basic rules of Al-Wahaar Dhin the creative process run extremely smooth. Just within a few months the entire “The Third Power Of Alfta” album was completed. Then the real work began. Releasing material that doesn’t fit, the narrow minds of most record companies, is not an easy task. But finally Fluttering Dragon took a chance and released the material. A second CD is currently being recorded but there is no release date or record label decided for the time being.
Chain D.L.K.: Any final thoughts?
Drakhon: Appearance is not what counts so don’t settle with becoming just another wannabe! Finally, buy the music you find interesting – burn everything else.
[interviewed by Maurizio Pustianaz] [proofreading by Erica Breyer]