HEAD OF THE DEMON has released only one album in 2012, but the bands is composed by dedicated and experienced entities. Since a new recordig is to be delivered in the upcoming moons, I decided to let the vessel of all things unpure and frightening speak plainly. Please welcome the words of Kosta, known for his past work with GODS OF GRIEF, A MIND CONFUSED, KAAMOS or SATURNALIA TEMPLE.
Greetings Kosta. It’s always a pleasure to talk with you. Especially now, that HEAD OF THE DEMON will be our main interest for this conversation. What did lead you to drift away from SATURNALIA TEMPLE? How did the idea of starting such a slow and mesmerizing band come in sight?
– I think the main issue was that I was fed up with playing music, in a band, under rules of a scene, that I don’t recognize and which I refuse to have an impact or influence on me. This has not to do specifically with Saturnalia Temple, but pretty much all bands I had and was playing in at the time as well. So I decided to quit all my musical enterprises and seriously ponder if I should just quit writing music all together. I did and it worked for maybe a year. Then my creative urge put a guitar in my hand, which I hadn’t played for several months. And I started jamming for myself and eventually I also started writing riffs that I’ve never done before. Slowly the idea and inspiration for creating a new vessel/entity emerged. And now it is known under the moniker Head of the Demon.
Whereas the name of the band clearly refers to a quite infernal topic, it appears that most of the lyrics from your first full-length are inspired by the lovecraftian universe and matters. Why such a choice? Are you going to stick with that topic on your new recordings?
– It is not so much a choice as serving a function for the current that sought to manifest. One can say that the debut dealt with the entities and forces that have been popularized by Lovecraft through his mythos and expanded and further developed by others. So, Lovecratian it surely is but from the magico/occult perspective. The focus is on what he speaks about, the Ancient ones, the Elder ones, the otherworldly titans that seek entrance to this world etc. It came to saturate the music and aura and it fully manifested with the debut LP. But we won’t be lingering on this topic for the next release. I am not against it theoretically. But I don’t believe that we will return to it either. For the new recording there’s no trace of what you ask. But let me put it this way. The new manifestation will be just as thorough as the previous one. Equally occult and magical but not lingering on the Lovecraftian themes. But rather on the philosophy of the LHP and elaboration on its practice out of a highly personal approach.
There’s something pretty personal in the music of HEAD OF THE DEMON. Whereas many doom bands tend to play with a very low tuning, yours is pretty high/standard. Then, there’s not so much distortion on your guitar sound. That gives a thin and haunting result. No double bass drums are to be heard either. And there are almost never any chords in your music. Everything is played note by note. In what terms should we understand that these aesthetical choices help you to channel the essence of the band?
– Thank you very much! I take that as a big compliment. When starting out I did have a very down tuned guitar, to B, and also loads of distortion. But as we were trying out some of the songs and riffs we gradually changed the settings so that our idea would come across as best as possible. Which resulted in me tuning up the guitar to regular E, as well as turning down the distortion so that the guitar would become “acoustically sensitive”. Meaning that it works a bit like a piano, depending on how hard you play on the guitar it either distorts or plays acoustic. A very simple sound in one regard, but hard to handle so that it sounds good. Since every little mistake is very clear. Anyhow, this seemed to have a way more haunting and eerie soundscape than the tons of distortion and down tuned guitars created. It somehow created a “silence” between the tones which made the shadow manifest through it. Thus the eerie essence needn’t hide behind a wall of effects and distortion.
The music of HEAD OF THE DEMON is slow, repetitive, and almost creates a feeling of discomfort. Still, one might easily get attracted to it for these very same reasons. To manage to find a personal style is not something easy and might be fragile. How did you envision the successor to your first album, as I know you’ve been in the studio quite recently? What differences can you spot already between these two creations of the band?
– I don’t think we envisioned a successor or a follow up the way you phrase it. I simply started writing material and used gut feeling to discriminate between it. And then, eventually, we had some new songs. So in that regard I believe we all consider both albums to stand on their own feet. And not being a follow up in a direct sense. There are some differences which I find quite big, but I doubt the listener will notice them too much. But one thing I believe is the biggest difference is that this album is maybe more dynamic. Since it was much more of a group effort. And we also recorded it live which adds to the dynamics too. The new album is recorded and completed by now too so there should be a release date or the likes in a near future.
HEAD OF THE DEMON is a rare band when it comes to concerts. I assume it’s planned to remain out of the ordinary. What were your most interesting concerts? I remember you played at the Heavy Days in Doomtown in Copenhagen last year. I recall you got in touch with Marcelo and EVIL SPIRIT. Can you tell us how you discovered each other’s band and realized that you had more than one interest in common?
– We don’t see playing live as a means to an end. But rather consider the offers we get and see if we find it worth it from lots of perspectives. And if we feel it all adds up to the standard we wish to uphold we go ahead with it, mostly. I personally feel that I want to spend my time writing and creating music. So that is my priority with Head of the Demon. Everything else comes after that. We’ve only played live twice so far, the debut show being Black Harvest with tons of great bands. And also at Doomtown in Denmark. Both were great in their own way. And as for Marcelo, let me put it this way, Root united us!
PoisoNoisE is here to bring any kind of relevant music to its readers. So, could you please name us 3 bands from nowadays and 3 bands or composers from the past that you think we should pay attention to? I hereby thank you for your time. You might as well mention here any further information that we need to know about that demonic head.
– Well, here are three bands from the past and present you should check out. Past: Samhain, Hawkwind, Zero Kama. Present: Reveal, Ominous Resurrection, Aluk Todolo. Second album should be coming out during spring I believe. Meanwhile you can listen to the first one and enter its labyrinths. Thank you very much Nathaniel for the interview and interest in Head of the Demon.