In this installment, I have the pleasure of presenting my interview with Germany’s Imperium Dekadenz who were kind enough to answer my questions via email. Find out more about their upcoming opus and more below.
Let me start off by expressing my gratitude for setting aside some of your time to join me for this interview. Ever since I discovered Imperium Dekadenz myself, a single word persisted no matter the album being played – passion.
Generally, art can be very easily distinguished from being forced and authentic. You demonstrate clear as day the importance of being real and faithful to who you are as a whole, which is why your legacy sounds so immersive and unique by its traits. Being on the verge of releasing your 6th full-length “When We Are Forgotten”, could you reflect on the evolution of Imperium Dekadenz as well as yourselves as creative minds along the way?
We always tried to improve the production process, because in the early albums the process was quiet chaotic. Since the last two albums we found a good workflow and that made it possible to have an even higher concentration on the songs. When you getting older, time is becoming more and rare. So the main goal always was to have 100% passion on the album and that is the point why many people want to follow us thru all the years.
From my standpoint, your work summarizes very intimate journeying; an introspection of the soul, I’d say. Nostalgia particularly, is a very prominent companion no matter, which album I’d point at. I feel like it is a vital part of the overall essence of your works and I’d like to ask what draws you to it?
Yes indeed, I see you have done some investigations. Probably we are missing the moods and feelings from these days. It is a very strong emotion for us and that is a good soil to be creative. But I can already tell you that the new album will not be that nostalgic, it is more about reflection and transformation.
I do notice how much attention and effort you bring forth in every stage of the production of a release, including artwork. As an artist myself, the visual aspect is equally important for an album for it supports the contents inside. Looking at the cover of “When We Are Forgotten” strikes me with an overwhelming sense of where one reaches the end of his life cycle, thus washes way. Could you share what led you to portray the visual identity of the album this way?
The cover is very important for us. It is the face of the whole work and transports the feeling and meaning of the songs. As always it was a long way until we were pleased with the result, but from the beginning we had the plan to show a transformation. You could imagine that the figure is a goddess dissolving with the unknown darkness. The candles will burn down more and more and only total darkness will remain… until she is forgotten.
Lyrics is another quite an emphasized fragment in your work and it is evident that there is a great deal of thought involved. What I like about the way you write your texts is the fact that they promote racking one’s brains. There is an underlying message, which demands some effort on the listener’s side to get into the full spectrum, as it were. In that sense, how did you approach the writing of your upcoming record in terms of thematics, complexity and commonality pertaining to your older releases?
In the last albums we often used an historical background to tell stories with a message. “When We Are Forgotten” is the first album without any historical backgrounds, but much more personal and reflective. We were a bit tired of historical backgrounds in our lyrics, because the words become a bit more distant to the listener. Like a kind of a filter. Our goal was to become more intimate and darker, closer to our souls and I think we reached it.
In conclusion speaking of your upcoming opus “When We Are Forgotten”, could you share what is the overarching meaning that wraps the entire record as a whole?
It is not a concept album with one truth or meaning. As already mentioned it is about transformation and self-reflection. Thinking about ourselves will hopefully lead the listener to think about him- or herself. Getting older means to see things much more relative then in years you were younger. Vespasian and me had the wish to become less epic, historical and excessive but more intimated, darker, passionate, harsher and even more authentic. We are sure that we reached that goal.
Allow me to change the course of our discussion. I’ve read in an older interview with yourself that Imperium Dekadenz is not your primary occupation. Regardless if that changed or not, what are your thoughts on art – business and the limitations surrounding these two when connected together as a work life?
We still have full time jobs and it is still hard to find the time and energy which Imperium Dekadenz deserves. My job generates hate and hate is a good motor for art. On the other side my job brings me back to the ground and gives me the money to be independent for my art. Which is a good thing, because making music to survive will probably lead you to compromises and compromises will lead to lose the magic. So both worlds – art and business – have a symbiosis together.
Black metal as originally perceived as an act of rebellion, has evolved into a rich palette of shades. Every artist adds his personal touch and understanding and with the aid of this genre, a new angle appears reflecting their world / existential view, state of mind etc. In your eyes, what would be a spot on summary of Imperium Dekadenz and your legacy overall?
The rebellion is over, but we have to hold the flag still high to feel alive. There is no rebellion in Black Metal any more if you ask me, but it is important to carry on the spiritual freedom and depth in our hearts to make it different to the mainstream.
Imperium Dekadenz is a kind of a castle on a high rock surrounded by a forest. Hidden and dark were you can retreat from your life, being alone and fulfilled with spirit and emotions. It is not against something, it’s there to make you stronger. Maybe someone wouldn’t call it Black Metal anymore, but that is the meaning of Black Metal for us since 25 years now.
You’ve been very open that your inspirations come from various bands, personal experience and history. As far as the way I understand your craft, it is also a clear act of open-mindedness with a strong notion of painting emotions in a very influencing manner. The emotional deepness that goes into your work raises my curiosity in terms of what you currently use as food for thought. In this sense, how much does spirituality, the mind & consciousness and the human relation to nature weighs in your creative thinking?
Well I think this is a very deep going question which cannot be answered in detail here. For the music it is very hard to describe the processes in our mind. Basically there is a basic mood or longing for emotion that drives you to specific riffs and melodies. It is definitely not a clear thought, but a kind of magic coming out of you.
Of course that magic is generated and pushed by other art. Regarding the lyrics I am crawling in my life and thoughts which touching me emotionally and mentally. It is important for me to have lyrics which are timeless. Of course the lyrics with a historical background have a fix timeframe, but the meaning of it is timeless. It is important to be honest with yourself else the listener (or reader) will feel that it is not authentic.
When it comes to self-expression in its absolute purest form, I believe that art is the means that one needs. Although, it is a tool that embodies freedom no matter the underlying message, it can also build up very thick walls separating people into groups. What is your take on limiting beliefs and prejudice meeting black metal?
Art should always be free and unlimited, but it is a sad thing that art is abused to reach goals far out from spirituality in all epochs of human history.
In closing, let me challenge you with a philosophical question. What is the greatest achievement and most miserable fall of humanity to date?
I will answer that question with a ‘joke’: Two planets are meeting together. The one planet says. Oh wow a long time not seen… you are looking terrible. The other planet says, indeed I have humans. The other planet encounters, well yes that is horrible …but don’t worry that will pass.
Thanks for your work and willingness to answer my question! It’s up to you how to end this session.
Thank you for giving us the chance to share our thoughts and we hope you will enjoy our latest work when the new album is released.
All the best