In today’s installment I introduce German black metal act Cruda Sorte in possibly the longest and most insightful interview that I’ve ever conducted so far. I’ve had the opportunity to discuss various topics with the band’s mastermind Nathanael.
Salutations guys! Cruda Sorte has never been discussed in-depth on SBM e-zine before and I would like you to tell us a bit about the story of the band. According to metal-archives it all started in 2005. Can you elaborate on Cruda Sorte’s history?
I think there is still not so much information in the web, especially outside Germany. So thanks for the opportunity to enlighten – at least a bit – the path of Cruda Sorte.
It is right: the band started as a project in 2005, founded by myself. I had some riffs and was very keen into this so called Depressive Suicidal Black Metal. After a few months, Ohyra joined as a drummer, which was back then really beneficial to the whole thing. And it also transformed the project more into a band. As joined forces we started to write and release material for the first two demos. In fact, there was also material for another split release with Vrångbild but after one year, or so, we parted ways and Cruda Sorte was more or less inactive.
Fortunately, M.v.V. decided to join and to finalize the split material which was then released together with Veineliis as the “Nature of Suffering” split album. And yeah, that was the starting point for these lasting productive years with “Innozenz”, “Tollwutkult” and finally “Nekrolog”.
Due to private reasons M.v.V. was forced to leave the band, but since I decided to play live with Cruda Sorte, I have to ask some guys for live performance anyhow. So, we have now a “real” four piece band.
It’s clear to me that you pay homage to the underground, unpolished and dissonant state of black metal just the way it was conceived. From the sound production to the artworks, it all leads to the roots, so to speak. What sources of inspiration push you to go that direction? You are welcome to share any band names if they are some that influence your works.
Well, yeah, especially “Tollwutkult” was intended to be a piece of work in the old veins. Nothing was polished; it is more a rehearsal than a real EP. Certainly, we could have realized a more virtuous output, but that was never intended! We wanted to keep the spirit from the rehearsal alive.
We are also very strongly connected to the, let’s say, “classic” records and influences. And sometimes we also realize during the rehearsal sessions “Oh, that’s really kind of Mayhem or Vlad Tepes”. But fuck it, we never intended to be known for new progressive approaches in Black Metal, we just wanted to do our thing. Even though we really like this old school approach, we try to bring some own character in it. I think it works, but the listener has to decide as well.
Personally, I am really influenced by Darkthrone, The Ruins of Beverast, Dissection, Lunar Aurora, The Gault, Weakling, Paysage d’hiver and of course (old) Burzum.
In January the 1st 2016, you released your sophomore full-length titled “Nekrolog.” How did the writing and recording process go for you? Also, did the final outcome live up to your expectations?
When we rehearsed for “Nekrolog” we felt that this is some kind of music that needs a more organic sound to discover every side of it. For sure, we didn’t want a plastic-produced soft “Black” Metal sound, but we felt the deepness, the heaviness and the sinister atmosphere. So we invested a lot more time into the writing and recording process, we tried different things and settings to achieve our goal. For instance, we used significantly less reverb on the instruments than before.
We are really happy with the result. For dubbing the tapes I was damned to listen to it a few hundred times and after all I still enjoy it – which was not the case with Innozenz and Tollwutkult after this process. Personally, it accomplished the test of time.
Primarily, your lyrics explore the depths of Satanism and emit complete and utter disgust with religion, where Christianity is the main figure that Cruda Sorte opposes to. Have you continued to evolve that lyrical direction in “Nekrolog” and generally how much has your writing style changed over the years?
In fact, Cruda Sorte was from the beginning – even though we were considered as DSBM – strongly connected to anti-religious topics, especially Anti-Christianity. The term “Satanism” is here of course important, as it is for me the ultimate state of rebellion against religion, religious organizations and in particular Christianity. But we are no satanists. I am really interested in those topics, connected bands and I am for sure a sympathiser of this idea. But that’s it. Basically, my thoughts on Satanism have been nailed down in the lyrics for the trilogy Innozenz – Tollwutkult – Nekrolog.
But let’s make one thing clear: even though we consider ourselves as anti-religious, we have nothing against their people. We do not like the idea, the organization and yes, I think, religion is more a cancer than a remedy for people. But it is nothing wrong about worshipping Christ or whatever. It is just not our thing and we’d like to revolt against the institution Church, the arrogance and dogmatic narrow-mindedness.
With regards to the writing style it is now a bit different since the music often exists before the lyrics. This was ten years ago vice versa. Good thing here is that I am more able to capture the feeling of the music and to have more fitting lyrics. And I invest a lot more time in writing lyrics. I think I worked for two months on the lyrics for the new record.
While researching for more information about Cruda Sorte, I noticed that it is not part of any social networks as well as there were no signs of having live performances by now. What’s the reason to remain away from communities such as Facebook and Myspace? Do you plan to perform live rituals in the near future?
Personally, I do not like Facebook or social networks. In private I am active in music boards, but that’s it. For Black Metal and our label ERK it simply doesn’t fit. Maybe not everyone would agree, and perhaps we would reach more people, but it is how it is. Beside of that, we set up a web site and a bandcamp page. Strictly speaking, these pages are also contributions to social interaction in the internet, but webpages are nowadays for a bunch of bands even more historical, ha ha. So, that seems to be inconsequent, but as a label I have to think at least a bit economically.
With live appearances it looks a bit different: We never wanted to kiss anybody’s ass for getting the opportunity, which is often necessary here in Berlin. You have to buy tickets, play for five bored guys, provide the backline, but get only a few beers if you are lucky. We simply didn’t want to share some of our very personal sights within this context. But we, or at least me, never intended to be a studio only band. And the guys behind the Tommyhaus requested us being part some kind of a Blackened Easter Meeting in March. And well, as stated in the beginning, I asked some close friends with whom I played in several constellations before, they agreed, we figured out a set and played the gig. It was a great experience and we want to continue with it.
How important is Cruda Sorte in your life? Have you set any long-term goals for it?
As you might imagine, it was very important during the last weeks and months. First, there was the writing, recording and mixing for the record, than pre-release issues like artwork, dubbing etc. and finally the release with reviews, interviews, feedback and discussion. Then there was the preparation for the concert with practicing, shirt prints, dubbing more tapes – so, it is a big part, but especially after releasing “Nekrolog” I felt quite relieved. It was such a long journey which started with “Innozenz” over two years ago and it was always of such high importance. By the beginning of January it was time to let it go, to focus on new goals, like the concerts.
But we have no long-term goals for Cruda Sorte. Two months ago I was not even sure to continue with it, as “Nekrolog” was basically some kind of a mile stone. But after investing a lot of energy into this live concert, I think there will be something in the future, at least we all agreed on some ongoing stuff.
What does black metal stand for, in your point of view? Do you agree that it can be perceived as a path to enlightenment and ascension rather than just war against all things holy?
Hm. Very difficult to say for me…I connect a broad variety of feelings to black metal. This is of course the music that made me be, so yes, I’d agree that it can be a path to enlightenment and ascension. But not for everybody and not always with the same intensity.
But in fact it was in the very beginning a strong rebellion against society, religion, parents, moralities etc. started by young angry kids. That’s why I’m always a bit confused, when some “bm-elitists” start to argue, what is really black metal, what it cannot be, what is rubbish, you know? Yes, I am also not the biggest fan of the so called Post BM wave, but I am fine with that. They can do whatever the fuck they want, they also can label it black metal – I do not care. It just doesn’t fit for me. But I hate the ideological meta-level, which was constructed by the listeners then. Especially when they start to judge what is allowed and what not…anyways, through Black Metal it was for me – yes, this sounds cliché – possible to find a path through this life, to find peace of mind, personal freedom and also a valve for strong and intense feelings about for instance religion or death. It is a personal thing and it surrounds me, even though I am not an everyday listener of this kind of music anymore.
It is often considered as misanthropic and hateful music and I’d also agree here, but simple hate against everything and everybody was for me not logical. It is not very difficult to despise humanity, just have a look at the newspaper, the web, the street where you are living, and the shit you’re eating, the breath you’re taking…there are enough good reasons to hate mankind. And I try to escape in music, to escape crowded places (which is quite often necessary in Berlin…)…but it is for me neither a logical nor an intelligent solution to hate everybody, to wish to kill humans or to be happy if some shit like in Paris happens. This is often said in this specific scene and I am pretty sure that it is mostly articulated by members of the affluent society, sitting in their safe rooms, trolling around on the net and trying to find a way of life for being evil. I can reject humanity and today’s society without thinking this way – and try to channel those strong feelings into music.
Apart from your followers who are familiar with the essence of your music, do you share your principles and philosophy of opposition to Christianity openly with people from your everyday life? If yes, what’s the most common response that you receive?
Yes, for sure. In the former GDR the Christianity is not that present any more like for instance in Bavaria. So, I am living in a very atheist place and it is not that challenging to share my thoughts on religion or my rejection of Christianity. As you might imagine, most people agree or simply do not care. But I work in another city which is more religious and there I try to avoid discussions about that, especially when I am at work.
In private I am also mostly surrounded by people who know me and know my thoughts and have no problem with that. It is also not like the opposition to religion is a key part of being me or getting in touch with people. It is simply an important aspect of my music and probably one of the main reasons for doing this. I think most people know that as well.
I’ve never asked this question before and I hope you can give me an answer to it for it’s a little tricky. What is the problem with society nowadays and how, in your opinion can be changed for the better?
Haha, that is quite interesting and I really wish there would be the ONE problem. But I think I got you right. Nowadays society is dominated and influenced by restlessness in every aspect of life, especially in the so-called industrial countries. Everything has to be done the fast way; you are not able to find peace for yourself. We develop new technologies every day, which have more performance, are working stronger or are simply smaller than before. But we forget us, we forget the planet. We are producing so much crap and rubbish just to sell it, just to make some guys happy for one day, and for what? For being a slave to our own created technology, for being alone and isolated as long as you have 1000 friends on facebook. I am not a saint in this case, I am also part of this, but I realized and try to part ways with it.
Well, there are for sure a lot more problems, unfortunately, but I think it would be beneficial for mankind to think more about the future of their own race, about their children, about keeping this whole thing called “earth” in some way alive. I don’t want to sound like a green pagan folk dude, but these are things I think about a lot in the last months. It is also not about going back to nature, living in the woods and without electricity – that would be impossible for mankind – but living together WITH the nature.
As a last question, could you name the 10 greatest sins of humanity?
Puh, I do not know if I get ten, but let’s give it a try. But this is not ranked.
The first I would admit is stupidity. It is the root cause for so many sins and failures that have been conducted by mankind, also the aforementioned focussing on the “fast way of live” without recognition of connected problems. And I do not mean the intellectual capacity of human beings but the ignorance of the bigger picture.
Second thing would also be related to the first one since I would admit fascism, Nazism, racism and all related narrow-minded ideologies which are based upon the questionable fact that somebody was born in a “nice” country, with the “right” colour, the “correct” sexual orientation and the “most blessing” religion. As I said, Black Metal is for me a lot about personal freedom and every part of this bullshit is connected to avoid exactly this.
Religious fanaticism which was recently visible in Paris and Brussels or also within the so called “Islamic State” would be the third sin. Don’t get me wrong, I do not think, that Muslims are the only radical fighters for religion. In the United States you have plenty of those people and they are or were part of their government. Yes, they do not place explosives in a city or shoot the audience of a rock concert but if George W. Bush says that God has advised him to do bombings in Afghanistan and Iraq I do not know if there is such a big difference.
Ha, I think three are enough here, at least I hope so.
Thanks for being kind enough to answer the questions. Your last words are..?
I have to thank you for the opportunity to do this interview!