Interview with Dagon (guitars/vox) | By Morgan Y. Evans
Since 1988 Inquisition have stalked the shadows, leaving a trail of whispered rumors and peeled faces. The duo’s newest album is Obscure Verses For The Multiverse and it truly does operate on many planes of existence. From the gargled, chant-like vocals from some Lovecraftian ghoul nightmare to the intoxicating, madhouse guitar parts, to explosive but not showboating percussion, Inquisition are asking the questions you won’t, staring into the void and drawing strength from the contest of wills.
How difficult was Obscure Verses For The Multiverse to pull off? Did you have a certain outcome in mind, like casting a spell or drawing a graph/blueprint?
This album was created from a vision. When I say vision, I mean from a result of many months of mentally and emotionally searching for the identity this album would have. I like surprises to be in the details, the small things. I like changes and our evolution from album to album to be in the small things, in the details. The visions I use to search for those small things and details are very spiritual, emotional and technical.
Specifically on this album I wanted to show a mature level of musicianship. I wanted to create music, great music, and memorable music- beautiful, vicious, brutal, and obscure music all in one. I wanted our music to convey the spirit of black metal (obscure emotion, music that summons occult feeling, music and song that stems from the third eye and follows no rule other than the rule of Satan as the self), yet at the same time allow for the guitars and drums to roam free without constraints of a genre limiting us to produce music that does not come across as fresh or exciting. Happy, sad, monumental, dark, somber and depressive emotions are all there because I wanted that. I like to express and express everything that the guitar tells me to express. If I don’t then I am not being true to our listeners. If I leave something out because it’s too happy to some people, I won’t leave it out. Why? Because Inquisition’s black metal should express all emotions, the art is in knowing how to make it happen. That was the vision, the big picture on this album. The bottom line is making an album that was extremely expressive, full of major and minor scales working together to carry the listener far through multiple levels of feeling and thought laid out on a traditional grid or pattern that songwriting has worked so well with for centuries- repetitive and memorable riffs and passages leaving you full.
Do you think technology is out to “drive out the witches,” so to speak? Companies like Monsanto rob us of our own homeopathic medicines and ecological heritage or deny those who walk different paths. Governments find ways to subjugate, like China in Tibet. Or ignore compassion. Are there answers in obscure verses? Technology could become a knowledge controlling virtual Necronomicon of raw data capable of almost anything, depending on the course of events.
Technology is the new Satan, the great beast that will replace humans who do not seek new heights in every level. Scientists are the wizards; astronomers are the keepers of very important secrets and doctors that could possibly make humans immortal one day, in theory at least. Singularity is real and already begun. The food chain is real and we are at the top still, but are already starting to slide down as machine replaces many-many things only man was capable of doing once upon a time. Once machines evolve to full consciousness we will possibly evolve into a non physical entity where only our mind, our spirit will be useful but these bodies we carry around will be ruled out as useless. That will prove how valuable our spirit truly is and we are headed in that direction now. I feel these amazing heights we are achieving are no coincidence. We are alien DNA. The universe is intelligent and does nothing by accident. Annunaki, God… whatever it is it is very smart and nothing here is by accident. That being said, our technological evolution is no accident and proves the great Satan is busy following a billion year old agenda. Most people do not realize that their reality is not real at all. It is what they see and perceive but it is not real. Like color, color is what you perceive but that color does not really exist at all and simply a different variety of atoms and light reflections. Reality is the truth and we have not seen the truth yet. Of course in common speech I know what reality means, but in a deeper sense it is all a dream, an illusion. We are being distracted by the pleasures of life as it passes quickly while those with important agendas watch us function like apes in a cage.
There is a defiance to Inquisition. You seem to not fail to question things. And it feels like the essence of what punk rock music was supposed to stand for as well, not answering to stupid rules.
It’s good to question rule makers and it’s also good to follow your intuition. Never let anyone, ever keep you down when you have goals and agendas to follow. I don’t care what you believe in, leave us alone and do your thing and we will do ours. Nature will allow those who should float to float and those who should sink to sink. That’s in life and in the professional world. We are a bit unconventional as a band being a two piece, the association to a particular band all the time, the vocal style, signing to the label we did, performing shows everywhere with many different types of bands. Yet, notice we don’t care. We do, but we don’t. We don’t because sometimes people’s critique can be due to the wrong reasons, people who want you to fail. It pisses them off to see such an unconventional band run with it and basically make a living off it. We apply the same strategies we did in the deep underground as we do now… get the music out there, perform with a passion and don’t look to the sides, only forward. When someone sets rules and judges you as being wrong for not following those rules, question them and question their reason. I find it quite interesting. I find immense enjoyment seeing their frustration consume them because their rules had no way of manipulating me into conforming to their sense of leadership. I find that interesting also. Satanism is that, the spiritual guide that follows intuition, your best rulebook. Decisions we make at times may not make us the ‘cool guys’, but trust me, our choices are authentic and we feel good about that. Some people should try it. It works.
As a duo with massive tones and power, Inquisition are in some ways perfect BM. You can be both basic/low-fi or very tight or chaotic and big in volume or effect, depending on the values considered and included. And tempos are examined like in the heroic Bathory ways, giving credence to slower or faster metal. Blood, fire and death. The slow riffs sometimes remind me of the a darker strain hypnotic moods you’d expect to find in slide guitar that I love in indie rock like Come or Telecaster desert rock or Across Tundras stuff. So cool to hear!
A guitar is capable of many things. A guitar player can make it do many-many things depending on his frame of mind. He can tune as low as possible and never go past the third fret and distort his guitar so much its near noise, or you can be all over that fret board and display a wide variety of tempos and melodies and be a tone chaser searching for the perfect tone in his mind. It is an art and art is all about what you wish to do with it.
The irony is that to some people we are the most simple and basic band ever, but with time they begin to realize the complexities come in a different way than compared to other bands. Some people said about the new album that we are doing the same old thing, yet at the same time they are saying this album is nothing like the old albums, yet they say… I don’t think most even know what to feel or think. Just listen and you will find variety in a good way and new elements while old elements are refined and fine- tuned. A good way meaning that with all the different rhythms and riffs, it all boils down to Inquisition and remains focused in our genre. I also notice Metalheads today enjoy many different styles of music; they really honestly like many different genres even outside of Metal. Not all will admit it; it’s their little secret you see. Yet when they hear a Black metal band incorporate something unexpected they get uncomfortable, some do, some don’t. With Inquisition, you either get it or you don’t. No real science. And yes, if you can appreciate a variety of styles silently compressed into Black Metal tastefully done then I know you understand the reality of music. It’s all fractions and variations all musicians of all styles share.
The slow, maze-like riffs on this album on “Force of the Floating Tomb” into the gripping and impactful start of “Darkness Flows towards Unseen Horizons” are especially powerful, moody and empowering. I walk away from this music feeling like I want to move a mountain. Do you have a specific place in mind to take your mood when you play?
Absolutely, right above us, all around us at night. The cosmos is the portal to all dimensions and realities. Is that not amazing? That mood of empowerment you mention is really a key word to our style. Darkness and evil moods is only one aspect of our music that comes and goes, it is not the entire theme or mood. We play with dynamics and multiple moods. We bring you down; we bring you up and then throw you into the void of darkness. It is what we do; it is our style. Nature has dynamics, the cosmos has massive dynamics and it demands respect. That is inspiring and I hope our music can be a theme for it. Cosmos, nature, quantum mechanics are the main sources of inspiration. While Satan is the symbol of its forces.
There have been many powerful black metal influenced works lately. Sister by In Solitude. Murmur’s S/T. Satyricon’s new album, I love. The Vision Bleak’s more rock yet still dark Witching Hour record with the sick song “Hexenmeister.” Watain’s anticipated new one, The Wild Hunt. These releases all have atmospherics and depth but not just pretension. The best black metal or occult rock comes from a deeper personal or spiritual place. Like in Yoga at first the Hatha Yoga popular in the West turned into basically a mellow exercise class instead of holding spiritual depth for individuals. Do you feel camaraderie with other “black metal” bands or just cast your own nets into the darkness/follow your own path of Satan? I for one can very much appreciate Dissection’s Maha Kali material, even as a bi-sexual. We are all flawed and perfect beings in the whole cosmos, no?
Satanism is the path of intuition in my world. I place emphasis on ‘my world.’ You know, ‘the force’ mentioned in a movie we all know talks about… that force is your inner voice, your third eye, your gut feeling, your intuition. The force of Satan is the enemy of god because that ‘god’ does not want you to think for yourself. That god is the church and institutions, stupid cults and useless freaks who lead those sects. Black Metal is based on this, individual thought on a spiritual level. Black Metal without spirituality is simply empty angry music, and that is fine, but remember we are talking about Black Metal. If I am wrong, than I guess I need to create a new title for my genre but in my world Black Metal must be spiritual. How do you honestly know if the Black Metal band you like is spiritual or not? Well, how does the music make you feel? If you don’t look at the album cover, don’t read the lyrics, how does the music affect you? What are the lyrics about and what is the overall theme? From there on you know the rest. Its difficult mentioning this because everyone knows this one way or another. I may sound like I’m talking about something no one has ever pointed out, but for some reason people like the reassurance that the artist behind the creations are made of more than just air.
I like things fairly balanced in Inquisition. I want substance on all levels. People should always do their best and not only worry about extreme-extreme-extreme but also quality and substance on an extreme level. Of course, darkness always present yet morphing into different ritual patterns.
What is some literature that has inspired your way of looking at the world differently? I was just looking at an architecture book on New Orleans to captivate my attention. Or the film Mother Joan Of The Angels/Matka Joanna od Aniolów looks at repressed sexuality for Nuns and in exorcism.
We have so much information and sensory overload now it’s a matter of what you want to know and how much you want to know about it. Carl Sagan once said how amazing it was that a small $5.00 paperback book that fits in the palm of your hand holds information that was once a secret and took centuries to write because gathering that information was so challenging. Today, we can read things that once upon a time was not allowed to be read and was only for the elite of society. It’s a powerful thing to be able to read and learn anything you want.
UFO phenomena and Sitchin books right now, Dinosaur history and paleontology is a big one for me in the last couple of years. Anything astronomy related. Those are the big ones for me recently. Everything that happens on earth, from its evolution of species to its history of mankind is quite amazing. But everything that happened before it amazes me more.
Why are people still so shocked by dumb things? We can have a fun but very provocative video like Die Antwoord’s “Cookie Thumper” not banned but freak out about pop stars baring flesh or being sexual, “twerking” or David Bowie’s awesome “The Next Day,” where Bowie plays a type of Christ.
Different people and different cultures clash and create these kinds of situations. Sometimes applying logic is good, emotions can make people do things that don’t make sense. Religion is something to blame for that too, if not almost entirely.
Do you think music is a route to better fertility of mind, spirit and body? Sound manipulation is an alchemy unto itself.
Of course, and what’s really amazing to me is how the human brain processes those frequencies and hears it as music. For example I don’t think animals hear music as we do, they possibly just hear sound or noise and not an organized collection of harmony.
Our brains need it, like food, music seems to help the brain function and be healthy so it’s not only a spiritual relationship but physical, and the brain benefits. That being said, music is magic. Invisible forces in the form of audio that make us think, feel and react.
I also wonder about different tastes and likes. What frequencies are in Metal that we enjoy so much that are not in other styles of music? I feel the guitar has a lot to do with it, the high overdriven sound of the amplifier seems to put a heavy spell on people; a particular sound in Metal not found much in other genres of Music joined by obscure minor scales. Music is spiritual and mathematical all in one.
What are some places you would like to perform your music? “Infinite Interstellar Genocide” in an outdoor setting would be frighteningly somber.
In a small cave with no PA, only direct sound from the band’s backline. Vocals through a small combo amp.