Ayloss is the sole member of Spectral Lore, a band that each time brings something new on a scene that has been plagued by mediocre. This Is Black Metal Webzine talked with him not only for the most recent work, but also about the past and his views in life.
This Is Black Metal: A distinctive of Spectral Lore is that each album is different than the previous ones, you always evolve your sound. So, in this new work, the split CD with Jute Gyte, you followed a somehow more “Doom” mood. Which differences do you note comparing it to the previous albums?
Ayloss: Ι divine my albums into two groups, full-length albums and split albums, obviously. The second group is a completely different story. I aspired, being a one-man band and missing the aspect of collaboration in the daily grind of writing and producing music by myself, to achieve it through the split albums. So, all of them up to now have been conceptual, featuring collaboration to some degree between the two parts. I always thought it was interesting to become influenced from the other band/project in these kind of albums, so what you hear in “Helian” is somewhat Spectral Lore through the lens of (my understanding of) Jute Gyte. But it was also the aesthetic and structure of the poem “Helian” that lent itself to the Doom/slower approach.
TIBM: How came up the collaboration with Jute Gyte and how did you decide to set to music, each one with its own style, a poem?
Ayloss: I had first asked Adam for a collaboration years ago, he was interested and we had some cool conversations, but communication ceased at some point, don’t remember why. He came back to me about a year ago, telling me he was making a new series of split albums and he’d like for Spectral Lore to participate, so it was a no-brainer for me, as Jute Gyte is one of the few projects that I follow closely in the scene.
Spectral Lore / Jute Gyte – Helian (full split)
TIBM: It’s not the first time that toy are inspired from a poem, you’ve also done this and on the Sentinel album. But though in Sentinel there was present n “heroic, warlike aesthetic”, here I notice a melancholic curve, thus this doom mood I mentioned at the beginning. Do you agree?
Ayloss: Definitely. The heroic/motivational aspect is very important, but I personally believe it should come at equal measures with tragedy, doubt, melancholy, distress, all the negative emotions that we necessarily have to pass through, in order to reach to the good stuff. The dream of a painless existence is self-sabotaging, you know, and we need to remember it, otherwise we can very easily be alienated by false positivist doctrines. In addition, I’m not too keen in artistic visions that represent such monolithic accounts either. For instance this “always powerful, never defeated” rhetoric that’s classic in Metal, ok it’s exciting in theory, who wouldn’t want to be some Nietzschean God, but what happens in the real world when somebody tries to function like that? We need to remember that overconfidence is misleading and we fuck up a lot of times too, right?
Having said that, I also wanted to move to murkier territories with my music this time, as after “III” I felt this aspect was kind of dormant. So, again, this all tied well with “Helian” and its prophetic premonition of Europe’s descent into ruin and barbarism.
Spectral Lore – Sentinel
TIBM: You have declared that your lyrics are like a vehicle, a way to raise your concerns and your own opinions on life subjects. After all these years, do you think that you became wiser? Or have you been closer on your personal searching?
Ayloss: I’m just a bit wiser than when I was 20 years old, starting Spectral Lore. I’ve had to shift my paradigm quite a few times along the way and kill a lot of the ‘holy cows’ that I grew up with. So I hadn’t come any closer to my quest/destination, as it has shifted, so to speak. Still, I am heading somewhere. I always believe that everything happening in earth, in humans, animals or in cosmic scale, matters extremely and transcendently. I still believe that there is a greater purpose to life, not only in our esoteric search, but also in our actions and their effects in the future, in what we experience and create together as human civilization, be it science, relationships, history, or art. Finally, I still hope that it all ends in a good way: that the essence of the universe is welcoming and death is only an illusion.
Specific-wise, it might be a good idea to embrace that we have no idea where we are heading, though. And even if we do, to accept that it’ll look like a different place than what we thought it would be. This helps with denial and self-fulfilled prophecies. Accepting change is the most-life affirming thing there is, and truth is grander than our adolescent phantasies. Hmm, it sounds like I might have a new destination!
TIBM: If you allow me, I divide the work of Spectral Lore in two eras, the first and more experimenting with I and II, and the second one including the split with Locust Leaves and Mare Cognitum as and the III album. Which finds in in a more epic doom, triumphant could say even optimistic, especially with the III. Has changed over the years your compositional ability and aspect?
Ayloss: I don’t feel it has changed a lot, it has only embellished. Making music was always one of the few things that came to me naturally. I’m actually much more instinctual rather than theoretical, I like something, I play it, I sculpt some sound, I see where it will lead me.
TIBM: Since I arbitrary divided the work of Spectral Lore in periods, I think that you are now on the third era, the most introverted. I mean Voyager/Fossils have done with your own personal searching, as and the Gnosis, which due to several eastern music influences it has, I’d like to describe with an imprecise term, “rempetiko Black Metal”. What should we expect, as it concerns the music, in the future?
Ayloss: I have no idea what to expect myself! I’ve been working in two SL full-length albums slowly over the years. I’m not sure if both will come out, but hopefully. I’m concerned about pummeling the world with mediocre music nowadays, we really have such a lot of good music that goes unlistened, that we need to take a step behind and ask ourselves if we have anything worthwhile to communicate, or are we just taking space. But I will definitely continue to make music, I’m doing new albums with Divine Element and working on some Dungeon Synth stuff. About Spectral Lore, there’s a new split album getting finished and definitely being on its way, though. But I won’t say more yet.
TIBM: Voyager is a reference to space, and to the first human made object that skipped the boundaries of our solar system. How much seizes you space? Were you like other young kids , like me, who wanted to be astronauts? Are you fanning of Star Trek or sci-fi in general?
Ayloss: Yeah, I always liked space. It’s one of the few things that can grasp our psyche and imbue it with a sense of wonder and transcendental purpose. I believe we definitely need this sort of inspiration nowadays, to survive in a world that is both full of soullessness and fake spirituality at the same time. (I didn’t want to be an astronaut and I didn’t like Star Trek either, I liked Star Wars, by the way).
We aren’t going to space any sooner than we absolutely need though and we need to be wary of capitalistic prospects like that Elon Musk guy and the Mars One project, who are selling hope to the public through elitist Silicon Valley techno-religion talk. Saving Earth from ruin from the neo-liberal profit accumulation machines is actually much more important right now. We need to be more care-takers and less explorers, in the (reverse) way that Nolan’s Interstellar would put it, let’s say! So I prefer to ponder about space while reading articles about thousand light years’ away exoplanets and speculative sci-fi novels and 4x games. It should be awesome just to think that we can be one of the last generations that kept Earth and humanity intact, to allow their grand-(grand)-children to sail into the unknown, and maybe even immortality itself? Oops. Carried myself away again there.
Spectral Lore – Vojager (Full EP)
TIBM: Another band you are partaking is Divine Element. We can say that is a “normal” band, since it consists of other members too. Are there any thoughts of adding eg a drummer to Spectral Lore, either as a guest or a permanent member? To tell you the truth, I’d love to hear physical drums on a future release…
Ayloss: Ι hear you, I’ve heard that from other people as well, but Spectral Lore was always about doing things my way in quirky weird ways. I love to be able to program drums and place every single hit by myself. Then again, in some other moments I think that as a project turns outward, it’s not just for myself anymore. Maybe I’ll do it eventually just to break the rule once, maybe.
TIBM: I don’t know if you are responsible for Divine Element’s lyrics, but you mention that the last work is a fiction/cosmogony you made up, somewhat like D&D. Do you like D&D?
Ayloss: I’m a huge fan of D&D, one of my best friends is actually running a campaign right now and we are having a hell of a time. I wish more people nowadays would care about D&D and pay notice to its social, creative and transformative qualities, which go way beyond the stereotypical and linear scenarios and gameplay found in most computer RPG. It can’t be compared, especially if you run a campaign with like-minded creative people that aren’t just interested in mechanics and dices. MAKE STORIES AND LIVE THEM OUT, PEOPLE!
Divine Element – Thaurachs of Borsu
TIBM: You pay special attention to the artwork each release of yours bears, all the covers are astonishing. Of course, unsurpassed is the cover of III and Gnosis. How important is for you such a detail?
Ayloss: It’s very important, it sucks to limit yourself to one sense/art medium, so to speak. Well, I could never paint or draw, so at least I could choose good albums covers, you know.
TIBM: Most of your works have been released through I, Voidhanger. Obviously you must be quite pleased with Luciano…
Ayloss: I’m very happy with I, Voidhanger and Luciano is clearly one of the best persons in the Metal scene, with his unwavering enthusiasm and support to small projects that don’t really make any money, when he could have signed some big names.
TIBM: Let’s talk now for more personal subjects. From your FB personal account, you have several times posted subjects regarding violence to women and equality between genders. Last year, occurred in USA, the Weinstein scandal and the accusations against Decapitated. The subject of sexual harassment and rape is pretty serious and reprehensible, but are these a bit exaggerated? I mean, for example it has been noticed that in some tourist regions of Greece, are coming female tourists from England, who say that they have been raped, just to get some insurance compensation. Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not saying this in general…
Ayloss: Let me get that straight: you’re asking if the accounts of sexual harassment in the wake of the me too movement might be excessive in America and you somewhat link that with false rape accusations in Crete? The logic of this is so riddled with flaky assumptions, that the best way I can respond to it, is by returning the question to you. Is a question by default neutral in its provocation for conversation?
Let’s see some facts before delving into the specifics. Since you mentioned America, according to the US Department of Justice, out of 1000 rapes, 310 are reported to the police, 57 reports lead to an arrest, 11 cases get referred to prosecutors, 7 cases will lead to a felony conviction, 6 rapists will be incarcerated. That means that out of 1000 committed rapes, 994 perpetrators walk free.
That statistic should suffice to answer your question, if only we could manage to comprehend the amount of repression that women have been facing historically. And if women are having such a hard time to report such a hideous crime as rape, just imagine about sexual harassment from all powerful media morguls, right? So, we’re shocked and think of hyperbole when the veil comes down one way. But it was all along there, in the shadows.
So, I don’t know about Crete, but even if it’s true, should it change a lot in the discussion concerning rape, about supporting and believing rape victims according to the relationship of every case to the statistics, about not taking court decisions as divine truth without learning specifics about each case and forming an opinion?
TIBM: As a member of the BM scene, if you consider yourself as a part of it, how alien are for you thoughts and opinions that “BM should be as it concerns lyrics and vies, extreme, we shouldn’t get shocked from swastikas etc”? I’m saying this, because the last few years several lives have been cancelled in the USA from antifascist groups.
Ayloss: Once again, I’m more interested in answering with questions. So, to these people that say these kind of things, I want to ask them directly:
What do you think you have achieved by not getting shocked/offended by a swastika? Do you believe that other people are ‘scared’ of it? And that in turn makes you somewhat more hardcore?
It seems to me that when Black-Metallers say that BM “should be extreme” they disguise an is for an ought. When they place an ought about ‘extremity’ next to plea about ‘not getting shocked’ from nazi imagery, the deduction is obvious: Black Metal is supposed to have nazi imagery. What this really means is; I want nazi imagery in Black Metal. What really this means is; I want nazi imagery.
I believe that the high-jacking of Black Metal by nazis and nazi-philes nearly destroyed the genre, up to the point where personally, I don’t feel comfortable belonging in it. We need to be absolutely vigilant and consistent to save anything that can be still saved. That means not crying like babies if our obviously very fascist favorite band that supposedly does not identify as such, happened to get some gig of theirs cancelled “by” antifa (when most of these supposed cases are just antifas letting know gig organizers of some band’s background).
In general, nazism and nationalism are one of the greatest self-eating viruses of humanity and not acknowledging their graveness and danger in 2018, is mind-boggling suicide. It’s also the same for creating artificial borders between politics and art, just because it’s convenient to separate art and artist for our personal consumption. But the inner truth of the matter, concerns us, the listeners and co-creators. Why did we get into a genre with such a problematic history in the first place? What does this say about us? How can we go on as usual after we’ve learned, instead of doing a radical re-conceptualization, according to better values, as we should have had? The answers to all of these questions are hard and uneasy, yet, I’ve still got hopes for the latter. Until then, fuck nazis and kick them out of shows and anywhere else, even if you, or reader, does not agree with everything above: it’s very important.
TIBM: Since we reached the end, add whatever you want!
Ayloss: Thanks. Let’s take music and art seriously.
Spectral Lore – III