HeavyHardMetalmania spoke with the charismatic Belgian artist "Somber Von Plaag" since the galaxy near The pillars of creation from the Eagle Nebula where the word 'Ugh' resonates on and on and on and on ...., passing through Ugh! and Misantrof ANTIrecords until the next EP! DO NOT MISS THE INTERVIEW ... BELOW!
|The Way To Ugh!|
Nuno Ribeiro - Origin: Some distant other side of a black hole reversed in the mirror of our galaxy near The pillars of creation from the Eagle Nebula where the word 'Ugh' resonates on and on and on and on....
With so much choice in the universe, why this planet to spread the "Plague"?
Somber Von Plaag - Because all the other planets where life exists, evolution and history actually did have their respective impacts, they (the other planets and their inhabitants) were all too perfect. Actually this was the only place with such an abundance of stupidity that it provides several lifetimes of wonderful mockery. Assuming that the subject doesn’t destruct itself before that time of course :)
NR - Who was your host before you reincarnated and transformed into Somber Von Plaag?
Was it random? If not, why that choice?
SVP - Haha good question! Too bad Somber lost his galactical memory upon entering earth’s atmosphere so I don’t remember.
NR - The arrival of this sarcastic entity, was soon accepted within the Misantrof antirecords, led by "Misanthrope" and "anti religious" Daniel Vrangsinn.
What can make join the "Axis of Evil": Somber, Vrangsinn and Misantrof beyond the free and legal download?
SVP - It’s an absolutely brilliant form of co operation. Misantrof ANTIRecords provides us, the new artists, a wide starting platform with it’s contacts and distribution network. It offers an internet based place where our art can be legally downloaded for free, while we keep feeding it with art on our behalf. I know shit about all that programming stuff but I want my art to be offered in a professional way without any financial interferences whatsoever so that’s where Misantrof ANTIRecords comes in very handy for an artist like myself. That and of course the guidance and advice from Daniel, which has already proven to be a major blessing at times. I am very thankful to him for taking Plaag in. It’s nice to share that platform with bands like Beyond The Morninglight, Neongod, Profane Prayer etc., I mean they’re all quality bands/projects. What’s also great about Misantrof is that they have a pretty neat collection of Archives where you can legally download lot’s of cool stuff too. Sometimes it’s sad to see that people tend to forget that there are hard working people behind all that, who really put in an effort to give all that stuff for free.
NR - We were in 2009 and it was with these words that Somber Von Plaag was presented to the public Misantrof antirecords:
The latest arrival to the Misantrof ANTIRecords family performs the black'n'roll style with a smile. This track is a solid proof that PLAAG deserve to be a part of this exclusive division of Misantrof.
Do you Still feel that smile?
SVP - Absolutely!
NR - You wrote a comment on FB saying something like this: "I do not want praises ... I do want people to buy my records!
SVP - Very true. You see, I want to eliminate the commercial and/or financial issues of a label. I think many of these companies fuck over a lot of good bands in their early days which can result in tragic things for honest and true artists who simply want to do their shit and spread their art. It is my (probably overly naïve) goal to achieve a level of financial balance between the art I make and the ones that consume it. I will release 200 copies of an album because I can afford to, if I would be able to afford more I would gladly do so of course. And because ‘I can afford to’ means I maxed out my credit card to do so I would be happy to get that cash back of course. Now the thing is, it didn’t turn out to be a risk after all because it did pay itself back and it even got me to buy some new gear too. Gear, which on it’s turn will be used to create the second physical release to be offered to the crowd. You give me the means to provide you with Black ‘n Roll stuff and Fuck You Metal, it’s efficient, it’s easy but most of all, it’s honest. There’s enough financial shit to worry about in this earthly life already, I don’t want that in my art. Of course praises are equally good fuel too, no question about that. Maybe I should have added ‘alone’ after ‘praises’ to make it absolutely crystal clear.
NR - Do you regret something?
SVP - No.
NR - Or was it a cry of revolt by the non-correspondence of the target audience?
SVP - No, it was an honest remark.
NR - I grew up in a time that I listened to what it was provided it was not a free choice; the offer was based on the profits of labels.
The Web brought a new form of communication and "free" access to data, many artists today have a legion of fans that was not possible without this tool. Many have realized that is not selling records that will make money, but with live gigs and selling merchandise.
It was with this idea that "Ugh!" was made available to download legally and free?
SVP - Yes. And the fact that I think art should be freely accessable to the public anyway. Which doesn’t mean the artist shouldn’t get paid for what he’s doing, he has to live and eat in this world as well. He has a lot of options in merchandising, live shows, co-ops with other projects, etc. To make a living. Like museums for instance, they shouldn’t have to charge you for entering. I mean, you pay taxes, come on. Let your government save some cash on their own wages and pay for that stuff. It is your nature given right to see and hear what your species is evolving like on a cultural level. Ah whatever man, I could go on for ages haha.
NR - I like your work; I ran the download of "Ugh!” why should I buy the CD? What I am to gain by it? Argues to convince me to buy it!
SVP - Well, you would be supporting what it stands for and make it grow. If I can succeed in surviving in this world this way, who knows how many others will follow. That way the whole establishment could be reformed. (Told you, naïve) The bad seeds, the excess baggage, will soon be gone that way. You see, it’s one thing to like an artist, it’s another to actually support him or her and really wanting them to keep on creating and wanting to see them develop and grow. If you feel in your gut that it has something ‘edgy and different’, something that’s worthy in your eyes to be ‘out there’ and to be followed. Then you can choose to support them to have a financial base by buying the physical releases. In my case, to be honest I spent a lot on the booklet. Since the music is out there anyway I tried to make the point by adding all the lyrics, some photo’s, 8 pages, nice and shiny, I made a point of it to hand number each copy in order to make it more unique and for that of course also limiting the release to 200 copies. So of all the people that downloaded the released album you and only a few others on that total number of Plaag listeners would be the proud owner of a limited physical genuine Plaag product you can actually hold in your hands. I promise you here and now I will never ever re-lease it. For the upcoming EP however, the finances will go to the music, ‘UGH!’ was and still is a really big lesson. Regarding the free download thing I will let you, the crowds be the ones to make it a free download. I am sure after or even before the release will be official it will be on the net anyway.
|The Way To Ugh!|
NR - Now let us turn your "war paint" Ugh!
Defined as Blackened Rock 'n Roll we can find here and there some influences however it is certainly a breath of fresh metal and it has plenty of room around it to expand, but we will concentrate in the lyrical content :
What / Which message / s of the album Ugh!? Why this name?
SVP - I just fucking love that word man, don’t you?! Horns up for Tom G Warrior on putting that word in ‘our’ music. Overall message? Hmmm… humanity is depraved and I don’t think to high of it, a guy that’s mad at the world like so many others before him and maybe after him too, nothing new actually, it’s as old as rock ‘n roll itself.
NR – To bring the idea to the receptor, explains to us the message, track by track in Somber`s head!
Somber `s Out
SVP - Title says it all. The painter is dead when Somber is out. Somber comes alive in those lyrics, hence it’s the first song on the album.
NR - My Satan
SVP - Well this is tricky, it’s open to interpretation but to me it means that I will always have my idea of right and wrong, not yours, not anyone else’s. I hate those stupid discussions about religion and Satanism and stuff and how to interpret this and that. It is so relative. It is meaningless to discuss that. Not any other single human being will ever change your opinion and gut feel to these matters, no matter what. You were born with it and it is your instinct. It is unique. It is your task to explore this on your own. But again, that’s just my point of view.
NR - Save Your Prayers
SVP - Sarcasm. Pure sarcasm.
NR - Silently Beaten To Death
SVP - A big fuck you to certain systems in this strange society.
NR - Carl
SVP - Kind of coincidental. A good friend told me about a painter named Joe Coleman who made some portraits of Carl Panzram. Since I am interested in anything related to serial killers I took a look and found it to be remarkable. It gave me an itch to have a go for it too but since the paintings were so absolutely great I thought, nah whatever, I’ll only get frustrated, let’s make a song about it instead. (And besides, Somber was out so painting wasn’t really an option after all) The song has a sad interlude to it which kind of builds up a bit because I think he had a very sad life when he was a young kid.
NR - Blessed By Fire
SVP - My own personal and very humble homage to Quorthon. It should be way more orchestral and theatrical but I did it with the means I had when I needed to do it.
NR - All That You See
SVP - A big fuck you to the black metal posers. A genre that had to pay so many dues already and they fuck it up even more, day after day.
NR - Steelteethed
SVP - Sarcasm, there’s lot’s of sarcasm in me.
NR - Christmas Time (The birth of a retarded child)
SVP - A song I wrote especially for the MISANTROF ANTIrecords ANTIchristmas vol. 2 release, who’s views and ways of working I fully support of course, and I really had a laugh writing the lyrics. I hate the whole misinterpretation and commercialization of the matter. It absolutely disgusts me. This is one of the subjects where we have developed so utterly and ironically wrong as a species that it becomes almost unbearable to watch sometimes.
NR - I Hear You Weep
SVP - The stupidity I see in the news has a deep impact on me sometimes, it can make me very angry and sad and then this stuff somehow find’s it’s way out.
NR - Vaderland
SVP - Now there’s something so un politically correct this is going to follow me forever I think. (Another lesson.) Here’s the deal: I was about 15 when I walked in to a group of friends listening to some oi/skin music. I expected to hear something rather dull to be honest, some of my friends who were into that stuff already told me it had a lot of ‘metal’ and punk to it. Now since I absolutely hate punk rock and stuff like that I really had the lowest expectations but what I happened to hear was a song that somehow got to me. I understood nothing of the lyrics, it was sung in German, but I simply adored the melody line in it. It was so fragile and it was sung so falsely yet so pure that somehow I could almost feel how hard and well he meant it. In a certain way I connected to the sound and atmosphere of it and I learned the bands name was Nordwind and that the song was named Vaterland. I also learned recently, that they themselves have covered it from yet another band which name I just can’t seem to remember. That was also the period I got my first guitar… so go figure. I learned how to play it of course. I made it one of my ‘practice’ tunes. So when I finally had some gear to start recording music about a year and a half ago, the first thing I did was recording that song, to check it out you know, what I could do with the gear and how it worked and everything. I started toying with the tracks and guitars on it and I found it to be so nice and satisfying that I decided to keep it and put it on a myspace page. So it was actually the first ever recording… how’s that for a bad start haha. A cover of a right winged band. Of course I will not pretend I didn’t know it was band of that genre but I just happen to love a lot of genres and I am very open to music, how stupid, intelligent, or meaningless the lyrics might be. I’m a GWAR fan for crying out loud. Please note though that I still don’t fully understand the lyrics, to be honest I never really bothered I just assumed that it has something to do with love for your country, where I really don’t see an issue, and I never gave it any more thought actually. Also note that I only reproduced the song, not the context of it, I didn’t reproduce the lyrics. But hey, not that it matters because most human beings out there are prejudiced and evil and hypocrite anyway and have banned me to the obscure world of the prohibited underground fascist band boys club or something, or are going to do so anyway after reading this no matter what :)
NR - 03/05/2011: First show was a success! The live PLAAG era has begun!
Black Metal lives not only, but also of “preaching” the word "door to door"! Why so late?
SVP - I don’t like gatherings. It’s personal, nothing more to it. Razend, the exquisite live Plaag drummer persuaded me finally as I recall it. Apart from Lava we go way back together as friends. Lava was introduced by me. I met Lava a few years ago through a mutual friend and I immediately recognized a brother in him. Through the years the bond grew stronger and now we’re solid tight. Yeah I have faith in this quartet. Triest is an amazingly talented guitar player and actually the first guitar player I ever learned from when I was a kid. I guess that and the combination of other things made me decide to make Plaag alive after all. Let’s see where we can exhibit this stuff shall we?
NR - You also have a parallel project with your bass "LAVA" called “Lava Von Plaag” defines us this project!
SVP - It’s cool! Although he is a live member and not a creative member in Plaag, there is a whole lot more to this guy than meets the eye. Lava’s mind works in mysteriously rocking ways, that’s how he produces the songs he makes under that name. He always felt there was something missing though, how beautiful and sometimes sad his melodies were, something lacked. It needed a voice. So he finally let me in on it, he’s very secretive you know, and he told me he wanted me to see if I could come up with any lyrics. He gave me his initial thoughts and ideas of the lyrical content and I started writing the vocal lines and words to it and that’s how we’ve been doing that so far. So it’s actually all his work basically. Always eager to hear one of his new creations actually, it always surprises me.
NR - I know you're working on new material, gives us here a preview of what to expect and when!
SVP- I am working on a new EP indeed, it will have 5 new songs and hopefully a video on it. It will be totally self funded again but this time I will have the help and experience of three fellow Plaag warriors so it’s gonna be a slighthly upgraded Plaag. There is growth, that is good. It will still be me playing and writing everything on the recording, apart from the drums maybe, that I am not sure of yet. Musically there is a slight change in the flow of the songs. It’s a bit more... catchy I guess. A bit more mature and meaner maybe... yeah meaner for sure!
NR - A few last words to spread the word to the feeble minds of the sheep!
SVP - Ugh! And hail to you all who believe in mass mockery. Thx for all the support worldwide, you all rule, remember that without you guys and girls there would be no platform for this.
NR – Thank you Somber was an honor this search of views.
SVP - Cheers mate.
|The Way To Ugh! |
The Way To Ugh!