PORTA NIGRA emerged from the Rhineland a decade ago sans corpsepaint and battle vests, more apt to be found sipping a glass of wine and perusing the works of Schopenhauer and Baudelaire than LaVey and Crowley. No less degenerate, however, the duo of Gilles de Rais (T.) and O. have moved beyond their early explorations of Fin de siècle, added a member in vocalist Tongue, and delivered Schöpfungswut on this, PORTA NIGRA’s 10th year. Lord Randall sat down with instrumentalist and lyricist T. to discuss…
DECADE OF DECADENCE
Interview with T. of PORTA NIGRA
By: Lord Randall
Rebel Extravaganza: In today’s fast-consumption world where we’re getting bombarded with media seemingly even in our sleep, 5 years between albums can find a band releasing an album into an utterly alien culturescape than their last. Why the long wait between Kaiserschnitt and Schopfungswut? Also, while keeping in mind that you’re (in essence) the same band, do you feel you could’ve just as easily made your new album back in 2015?
PORTA NIGRA: I was shocked when I realized, how long it was actually since Kaiserschnitt. It did not feel that long. I can totally understand what you mean with “alien culturescape”. Even though I am of course wired to the big machine like all of us constantly, I had to re-learn how to release an album today.
RX: Do you think that staying true to yourselves above all else can ever be a hindrance? No one makes music who doesn’t want it heard, regardless of how nihilistic the front they put on may be. Not speaking of you, but of artists in general, be it music or another medium.
PN: Many of my favorite bands in my world are unthinkable huge, like godlike entities. But in the real life only make little impact. I don’t understand why that is, but I am sure that they do not think of what others could think of them. I admit, that I want to be heard. I don’t wanna make a stillborn, I want to create something that has a life of its own. So it’s important, that it reaches maybe the few, that can connect to your creation. And if you are passionate, there will always be some souls sharing this passion with you.
RX: Onto the new album, the most notable change is the addition of Tongue on vocal duties. What was it that led you to seek another entity’s contribution? Also, was his joining something that came fluidly over the course of the past 5 years, or a blinding, brilliant decision that came in a flash?
PN: The format for the new songs demanded a true Black Metal soul. As I am not very fond of the so called “Orthodox Black Metal” scene, to put it mildly, our roads never crossed, even though we met occasionally. This collaboration happened because of pure necessity on my side and burning enthusiasm on his side. He is a bit younger fellow with impressive energy levels. Schöpfungswut for me is the proof that two different characters with different agendas can meet on a common ground and create something good. Great experience. I hope it will happen again.
RX: The term “avant-garde” gets tossed around – to me, at least – too often, and has taken on a meaning of “anything different than the norm”, which is far from the truth. I’m sure the first caveman to beat sticks on a rock in rhythm was pretty “out there” for his time, and now everything’s “extreme” or somesuch. If you feel like you have to describe yourself as “avant- garde”, you’re probably nowhere near it, you know?
PN: Oh, absolutely right. Beside the caveman, THE BEATLES were avant-garde. KRAFTWERK were avant-garde. But I doubt anybody who is creating music today with electric guitars and drums can hardly be called avantgarde. You step one millimeter out of the line and suddenly you are so “off”. PORTA NIGRA has never been really “off” except maybe in some lyrics, which I see as my main playing field anyway.