What is the meaning of the band name? Is it Romanian for ‘burn’? Or is it more related to the German Erde? How did you get to this name? Is it signifying the respect you have for earth & nature? Or?
When translated literally, ARDE means BURN. It is a Latin word that means the same in Italian and Spanish too, both languages we share from countries where some of us have lived. As fire symbolizes birth and death, so does rebirth. The ashes that we have been and the flames that we will be, also like when a fire burns through a forest, the old-growth in the forest burns away to allow space for the new forest to emerge from beneath.
ARDE started as a D-Beat/Crust band, but the style evolved to Atmospheric Black Metal. Even though DÖDSRIT went through a similar change, this is not a very common or such an obvious path, in my opinion. How did that happen? Was it a gradual, natural, or rather abrupt shift? Which atmospheric Black Metal bands inspire you? Do you see atmospheric Black Metal as a global style, or do you feel it varies geographically?
Some of us grew with the DIY punk scene or whatever you want to call it, and we played for many years in different bands with different styles. ARDE started as a crust band, but this music changed into something much more atmospheric, which felt somewhat natural. We were always into bands like DARKTHRONE, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM, ALTAR OF PLAGUES, AFSKY, ANTLERS, and many more. It was just the time to try another style and see what happens, but we think attitude is more important than the style of music we play, and it is also sending a message of respect. Definitely! Black Metal is very different in all parts of the world. In Scandinavia, Western Europe, or Cascadia, they have their unique sound and musical interpretation.
How well was the debut received? What did the band learn from it? Still happy with it? Would you do certain things differently if you could re-record?
To our surprise, we got great feedback when our debut album came out, so we were super happy, and this motivated us to keep walking on this long path and learning in all directions. We recorded it on our own, just like the new album.
With band members coming from Spain, Germany, and Belgium, how did you all meet each other? What moment did you all decide to start the band? What event triggered this? Navarro, the former vocalist who sings on the debut, went back to home-country Spain. Kato joined ARDE. Did ARDE & Kato know each other? Were there auditions? How did the partnership come into existence? Did Kato focus on new songs only to record the new full-length, or did he also focus on learning the old songs to play them live? Does he feel the same connection to both old and new songs?
In the first line-up, we also had a member from Venezuela, a good old friend. They were the roots, and after that, we were looking for more members, and we only needed to ask in our friendship circle until we made it up to the line-up we have now. We never had a German member in the band, and right now, we are from Poland, Belgium, Italy, Basque Country, and the Canary Islands. We all met in Berlin, and all of us are here for many different reasons, but luckily our paths crossed, and that is how everything started. As Navarro moved back to Spain, we searched for another vocalist, and a friend of ours recommended us Kato, who has been doing great since then. He started singing the old songs too and mainly focused on the new ones then.
Do you feel at home at the labels WOLVES OF HADES, ALERTA ANTIFASCISTA, and DARKWOODS? Did those labels approach ARDE to sign the band or vice versa? What criteria/values were vital to you to accept or decline offers from these labels? Why several labels? Is it because of different media formats that will be released?
It is more like the way of working in the DIY Punk scene. We asked small labels if they were interested in helping and supporting us with our new record. We knew them from other bands we played, and we have to be super grateful that they still want to support us and help us with the release. We did not have to sign anything, everything is DIY, and we want to work this way truly. We went for several labels because we are used to releasing our records in different formats this way. That is quite a common thing in the DIY Punk/Crust scene.
How do the countries of origin of the band members inspire the identity, vision, mindset, and lyrics of the band? Where do all these visions meet each other?
It does not have anything to do with different countries of origin. It is more about the personal inspiration of each member. The fact that we are all coming from other parts of Europe might influence the music and general vision of the band. The most important thing is that we do not care about all these differences between our places of origin. What matters most is our attitude towards each other, which is making this band work pretty well.
As for many bands, our rehearsal room is our central point of creation, where we all together discuss and speak about how we want to express our music.
What are your expectations & ambitions about the new full-length? What higher purpose does Ancestral Cult have for the band? Do you consider it a concept album, or do all individual tracks stand on their own? The pandemic lock-down seemed a curse for many, but at the same time, it has been a blessing for creative creatures. Were there any challenges you faced in the songwriting process, for example, not being allowed to meet each other? You recorded in both URBAN SPREE in Germany and CORSARIOS ESTUDIOS in Spain. All members seem to have gone to a recording studio in their country of residence. Was this due to the Covid-19 measures? Was CORSARIOS selected because of your friend Lolo? Why did you opt to record at URBAN SPREE?
We do not have bigger ambitions than being personally satisfied with the final result of the recordings. If the people like and enjoy the new album, then we will be more than happy. If not, we will be happy too, just because we are happy with what we did.
Due to the pandemic situation, we had to pause rehearsals. On the other hand, all of us had the time to focus on different things. More time at home was at some point beneficial for the creative process of Ancestral Cult. Some riffs resulted from sitting with a guitar at home and having the time just for that. And yes, it is a conceptual album, as you can see in the lyrics and artwork. We all recorded at URBAN SPREE in Berlin except for Kato. He recorded vocals in the studio of our friend Lolo (Corsarios Studios) in Donosti. Lolo is an old friend of ours. He already helped us with some other bands which some of our members played in in the past. At that lock-down time, Kato was in the Basque Country, and it was easier for him to record there than to come over to Berlin because of the restrictions we had, etc. We chose URBAN SPREE as a friend of ours worked there at that time, and we got the chance to book the studio just for ourselves.
Women play a crucial role in the song texts. Who wrote the lyrics? Which is the main message that you wanted to bring forward? How important are the lyrics for ARDE? Is social engagement a part of the life of the band members? Are the song texts the Crust/Punk roots speaking?
As a conceptual album, we were searching for information about the idea we had in mind, and then Kato was the one to put all these ideas together and transform them into lyrics. We are trying to express a message in the lyrics, call it a political message for us in our way. This time, we try to explain how important it was for our ancestors the female figure and how much respect it deserved. Over time, the female figure was ridiculed, pounded, and exploited to our days, and there is still this thing that many women are fighting against, which is this silly system called patriarchy. In some ways, this album reflects our anger and the wish to destroy it.
The cover art by BROOKESIA STUDIO matches the lyrics well. How did you get to this result? Did you give detailed instructions on what you wanted, did you give them a wildcard, or did you pick an existing piece?
The alter ego of one of our guitar players, Rubén, is BROOKESIA STUDIO, so everything turns easy to do the designs and artworks that we want to implement in our albums and merchandise. That is a huge advantage.
EUROPEAN METAL SCENE
How does ARDE, as an international band, blend in with the European Metal scene? Do you have a connection with some other bands? What bands do you share the stage with often? What German, Spanish, and Belgian underground Metal bands should we keep a close eye on?
As we mentioned before, we have been playing for many years in other projects as well. We have met kind people and bands who turned into friends. It would be unfair to name some of these bands because we surely would forget some of them. We do, however, have contact with the scene of those countries for sure.
The track Síle stands out from the other songs because it contains the clean female vocals of AMELIA BAKER from CINDER WELL. How did you come to the idea? How did the collaboration come to being?
Amelia is also an old friend of ours. We asked her since we always like to collaborate with our friends. She was in for the idea of writing a song like that. She performed and recorded it by herself and sent it to us, simply as that. And by the way, we are super happy and thankful for the result. Her song is beautiful and brings an incredible touch to the whole album.
You cherish the DIY attitude. To what extent does ARDE manage to remain autonomous as much as possible? Which activities are the merit of ARDE? Which activities do you outsource? Is that a conscious choice?
Yes, it is. There is no other way to work as a band. We apply DIY as much as possible. This way, we control all aspects of the music based on decisions taken by all band members. On the other hand, we do not want and have any interest in the mainstream music industry. We are happy where we are now. The independent Punk/Crust/Metal scene is our home.
Can we expect ARDE on stage? What shall we expect of an ARDE gig? Do you prefer small clubs, big venues or festivals? Which visual elements do you use to enhance a show?
Yes, sure! After this Covid break, we now have some shows confirmed and hope there will be more in the future. We like to play for sure, and it does not matter the place or location. We started to create some atmosphere at the shows with candles and an ancient ritual altar.
Anything else you want to get off your chest?
Thanks a lot for having us here and for the interesting questions. We hope we can play live soon in Belgium and we can meet each other.