|Daniel Valerian and Andi Blasphemer (vocalist)
Our interview with vocalist of BLASPHEMER (Surabaya Black Metal)
By: Kieran James and Dimas Valerian
Interpretation by: Dimas Valerian
Extra Comments By; Dimas, Daniel, and Verrel Valerian
Date: 5 December 2014 @ Daniel Valerian’s house, Jemursari, Surabaya
Kieran James (Busuk Webzine): Please tell us the history of the band.
Andi BLASPHEMER: We were formed in 1998 with minimal knowledge about Black Metal. We just had a spirit to learn more and more about Black Metal. In the first year of our journey we had a single titled “Question”. The second song was “Kuasa Setan” (Setan Throne). After 2000 the band did not exist for ten years because we had no players and some of us had to work. We started again in 2010 with many changes in the line-up. Now we have a fixed line-up with a spirit to build again the band. We just released a single “Dust from the Dark Past” and then we released the EP with the same title as the single.
|Dimas and Verrel Valerian
KJ: What are your main musical influences?
B: The one and only MARDUK.
KJ: This EP sounds like NIFELHEIM, Heavy Metal with Black Metal vocals. MARDUK is usually fast and this band is sometimes slow to grinding.
Daniel Valerian (VALERIAN keyboardist): MARDUK has one or two slow songs but the others are fast.
KJ: Why do you like to play Black Metal instead of Death Metal or Power Metal?
B: First, because it matched with my soul. Every human has a dark side of himself. For example, drunk, sex, violence, evil deeds, passion to kill or rape someone. This is the side of Satan. It did not come from human beings. I want to show to the people that we have the energy like that, the dark energy (to show to all people). Some people did not show the energy like that. But I do not want to be a hypocrite. I want to show what I want and what I can do.
KJ: What do you think of Black Metal scene in Surabaya?
B: In the past the BM scene in Surabaya was awful because there was minimal knowledge about BM. But now most of the people in the BM scene here use it as a style and a fashion. They do not have a real vision or a real ideology. The people just use BM shirts and accessories but when their girlfriend left they cry and say blah, blah, blah on social media, etc.
KJ: What do you think about CRADLE OF FILTH and DUMMY BURGER?
B: I think that DB is great but I think that CRADLE is trendy music with mystic. They try to look Satanic but they play trend. Europe does not admit that there is a scene in Asia.
KJ: What is your favourite Indo BM band?
B: RITUAL ORCHESTRA (Malang) and DRY (Surabaya).
KJ: What is your comment about WARKVLT [Bandung]?
B: They have same influences as us. We have not heard WARKVLT songs but we know about WARKVLT.
KJ: What is your comment about SEREIGNOS [Kediri]?
B: Nice and evil music.
|Verrel and RIdwan Valerian
KJ: Willy Damien (UMBRA MORTIS) says Indonesian BM is mostly fake people because the band members are Muslims but use satanic imagery. Then you have TENGKORAK on the other side of the spectrum. What do you think about this?
B: In BLASPHEMER there is no religion. When you come and join BLASPHEMER you must leave all but it is only onstage and when we gather as BLASPHEMER. But when we are back to our real-life we are just common people also.
KJ: Oki of DEATH VOMIT says it is stupid for Indo BM bands to write anti-Christian lyrics when Indonesia is not a Christian country. What do you think?
B: Most of the people that abuse Christianity that claim that they are a BM person are f***ing trendy people that know nothing about BM. Another reason is that they are afraid of FPI. In Surabaya there were lots of BM bands. But since they learnt more and knew that BM is hard to learn many left BM. The essence or ideology of BM is very hard to do.
KJ: Is it possible to have Islamic BM such as TENGKORAK ideology mixed with BM?
B: It is impossible but there are many bands that claim they are BM but they bring Islamic lyrics into the music. They didn’t understand anything about BM. They are just posers and trendy people. To combine Islam and BM is a very, very impossible thing.
KJ: What is your plan for the future for the band?
B: The first thing is we want to stay as one band from Surabaya, East Java that is committed to play BM with maximum brutality, maximum energy, and maximum spirit, and to keep on creating in the BM scene. We also hope to let people know that there is a BM band in Indo which plays hard and fast like BLSPHEMER.
KJ: Do you think the current band line-up can be stable?
B: I believe so. It should be stable until the end hopefully.
KJ: Some of the songs on your EP sound like traditional Heavy Metal with BM vocals. Is this on purpose or just by accident?
B: It is already organized. As soon as people hear at first they can accept it. If it is played at a slower tempo then they can accept it more easily.
|Daniel and Andi
Dimas Valerian (VALERIAN guitarist): In the metal scene in Indo DM in my opinion is Number One for commercial and some (not all) bands can get popularity and money from DM. Do you think BM can or cannot become successful?
B: It can become successful with consistency. My strategy is just to be fully committed and dedicated to my music.
Dimas Valerian: With music like BM or PM it is hard to get total dedication because it is hard to get continuity. Many bands play BM for just one or two years. Then they think they can compete with DM. Then they very quickly give up.
KJ: On the opening song on your EP why do you use the sound effect of the rain and the marching?
B: The rain comes from the past and the marching walk is a mass of people that come from the past. It is a symbol of the past that there were people now and then. It is a symbol to describe marching footsteps. It is a symbol of what the dust means and of what people did in the past. It is also just an aural effect.
KJ: In Bandung, Abah of WARKVLT says there is discrimination against BM bands because the gigs are controlled by DM people. Does that happen in Surabaya?
B: We don’t get discrimination from DM in Surabaya but one time we got discrimination in Sidoarjo from hardcore. There was sabotage. The HC people sabotaged the sound on the stage. At the stage the guitar sound had distortion. Off-stage for the audience it sounded clean (without any distortion). It may have been a discrimination against us.
Dimas Valerian: I’m really sure it would not happen in Surabaya. Surabaya is a mix of genres without discrimination but...
Verrel Valerian (VALERIAN drummer): The audience is still different. The BM audience of course they will go to the front of the stage for the BM bands. But when DEVAROCK plays PM they might go away from the stage because they do not understand.
|Andi and Kieran James
KJ: What do you think of Indo BM people putting Norway flags on their jackets or walls?
B: It makes sense because most people think BM came from Norway.
Daniel Valerian: BM is a genre; Norway is a country. The two things are really different.
KJ: Where would you like to play a show where you have not played before?
B: Everywhere and anywhere with good quality of sound and equipment and welcoming and supportive audience.
KJ: Because we are here in Daniel’s house and some members of VALERIAN are here so I must ask you: What is your comment about VALERIAN [Surabaya Power Metal]?
B: Good band with good quality.
KJ: Have you got any message for the supporters of the band?
B: Be yourself, don’t be hypocritical, and don’t lie to yourself. Stay away from trends!