Like a whirlwind bringing chaos, SVARTGHAST shows itself to the world with its
magnificent debut album entitled "Perdition" taking us down a
hellish path where there is no light.
Such work has not gone unnoticed within extreme metal, and this is why
we had the need to contact with "Choronzon" (Göran Setitus) to talk
about the secrets of this Swedish Symphonic Black Metal band.
...And lo, the birth of a new era
The dark, eternal night embrace the world, veiling all in shadow and
(Luciferian Dawn lyric - "Perdition"
1 - Before starting, we want to thank you
for allowing us to carry
out this interview with all the South American hordes ... !!)
Thank you for your interest and your support.
2 - I have to confess that when we listened to "Perdition" we were
really surprised, it is an impeccable album with a high quality
production. But before we talk about it, I would like you to tell us -
How was this impious symphonic black metal seed called SVARTGHAST born?
Azazel and I met early 2017, when the band he was playing in back then,
had a gig at the place I work. We found out that we had a lot in common,
regarding black metal and music in general. So we started to talk
regularly and the idea was born to create some music together.
We met up later that year, in august if I remember correctly, and locked
ourselves in Azazel's studio overnight, with lots of beer and no real
plan other than to write some music. The result was the song “Luciferian
Dawn”, which is the last song on the “Perdition” album. We basically had
nothing when we started that afternoon and a fully recorded song in the
morning after. Of course, we re-recorded it for the album, but the
version that is on the album is actually not at all far from that first
recording. Same arrangements, same lyrics, a little more orchestrations,
but not at all far off.
So, after that song, we felt that we had created something that needed
to be explored further and the symphonic black metal act that is now
known as SVARTGHAST was born.
3 - Was SVARTGHAST planned from the beginning to make this kind of black
metal or all happened while the ideas and rehearsals were being put into
SVARTGHAST has been a studio project since its inception, so we don’t
rehearse. But yes, the intention was always to write symphonic black
metal, influenced by the 90’s scene, but with a slight modern touch. We
decided to go with extended range instruments (7-stringed guitars,
5-stringed bass) to get that feeling of modern metal and we really feel
that we succeeded with this. The reviews and comments from fans has also
confirmed that our aim to honour the 90’s symphonic black metal scene
has been successful.
4- How was the recording process for "Perdition" because you and Azazel
are multi-instrumentalists? - How were the tasks divided?
Even though me and Azazel live pretty close to each other, we both work
irregular hours, so it was a challenge to find out how to work on the
compositions and arrangements. The writing process was mostly done
separately, me working in my studio and Azazel in his, but with a shared
online cloud service where everything was stored for easy access. So, we
both worked with the same project files, but from our own studios and at
different times. Then we had occasional “arrangement meetings”, where we
met up and arranged, edited and adjusted the material we had written.
During the pre-production, we both wrote for all instruments, but when
we recorded the album, we divided the instrumental duties for continuity
of sound and style of playing. We chose not to include any specific
instrument duties in the album booklet, because we felt that it wasn’t
important to point out who had done what, since we both did all of it in
But, for those curious, Azazel recorded the bass for the album, he is a
fantastic pianist and an awesome bass player, and also his gear for bass
was just right for this. I recorded the guitars, since that is my main
instrument, as well as most of the vocals. When it comes to the
orchestrations, pianos, drums and such, we both worked on those.
5 - Why "Perdition" as a title?
The process of choosing a fitting title for an album is quite difficult,
in my opinion. You need a title that fits the entire album, be it a song
title, a lyrical phrase or something else that works as a title. After
some contemplation we decided that the song title “Perdition” was the
best choice, since the word itself describes the general lyrical content
6 - The lyrics of SVARTHGHAST's songs are blasphemous and apocalyptic,
"The Presage of Eternal Fire" is a clear example of this. - Do they
follow a concept or are they separate stories?
I have always steered clear of outright satanic and blasphemous lyrics,
and mostly written lyrics based on horror, death and the occult. I have
always felt others have done a better job writing about infernal visions
and the devil, but when we started to write for the album, I realized
that I needed to explore that side of black metal lyrics. “Luciferian
Dawn” had already paved the path, lyrically, so I stayed on that path
and tried to describe my visions of Hell, my perspective of Lucifer and
my contempt for religion.
You are right about the lyrical content is apocalyptic and blasphemous,
“The Presage of Eternal Fire” is no exception, but there is no
conceptual continuous story within the lyrics, other than that they all
describe different infernal, apocalyptic imagery.
7 - Why was the painting “A kísértetek órája” (“Ghost Hour”) by the
Hungarian Mihály Zichy chosen for the album cover?
We had an idea of using photos for the entire booklet, photos taken
locally by us, and so we did. Howerever, we didn’t find anything we felt
suitable for a cover. So searching the internet we found the painting
and just felt it suited the album atmosphere perfectly. And since it was
public domain, we saw no reason not to use it. Later, after release, we
learned that it had been used already by another band, but we don’t
really care. It is a beautiful painting and it fits perfectly to our
8 - We know that you have an extensive career on the scene since the
glorious 90's having been part of bands like SETHERIAL among many
others. - How did that influence SVARTGHAST's music?
I would be lying if I said it had no influence on my music. I was a
creative part of SETHERIAL for 11 years and owe a lot of my skills
within this genre to that band and that period of my life. All you do as
a musician influences and develops your style and crafts, both technical
skill as well as your creative expression.
However, after I left SETHERIAL in 2007, I have done so many other
different things, played different genres, relearning picking technique
and guitar playing after an accident to my left hand, which are more
relevant when it comes to influences and my style of playing guitar
today, in my opinion. I am not saying my old experiences with playing in
various extreme metal bands has been unimportant, but I left the extreme
metal scene entirely, for 10 years, doing other stuff that gave me an
even broader perspective musically.
Also, Azazel has an equal part of influence on our music, and he does
not have a background as a black metal musician before SVARTGHAST. Yet
our styles of writing are very similar, most often my contributions work
perfectly with his and vice versa. I am very grateful to have found
someone who shares my own vision of how black metal should sound and
that also is an exceptional musician and composer. In my opinion,
SVARTGHAST creates better black metal than any other band I’ve been a
part of and Azazel is as much a reason for this as I am.
In the fall of 2019, we decided to send out some hooks to a few select
labels, just to see if it sparked some interest. We sent out emails to 7
or 8 labels, without even having material for a full album, and only
rough vocals recorded on one of the pre-production songs. We actually
never expected any responses and the few replies we got were not
particularly interested. So, after quite some time we got a reply from
Dusktone, where they explained our mail had gotten stuck in their junk
mail filter, that they were interested and wanted to hear more. We
started a dialogue and found their contract offer satisfactory, so we
signed with them and they have been great so far. We are very satisfied
with Dusktone, they are very dedicated and genuinely invested in not
only our music, but all our label mates releases as well. Their artist
roster is very strong and filled with very talented musicians.
10 - How was the reception of the album within the extreme metal scene?
So far, so good. The responses have been all positive, the reviews have
all been on the high end of the scale, some closer to middle, but I have
not seen a bad review so far. The reception from fellow musicians within
the scene has been great and for me, it has been fun to reconnect with a
scene I haven’t been a part of for 10 years. Things have certainly
changed, but change is inevitable. It’s nice to see that some fans still
remember me, though.
SVARTGHAST - "Luciferian Dawn" - Lyric Video
11 - You also have your own StemCellar studio and are working on another
project called OMNIA MORITUR as a vocalist, what can you tell us about
OMNIA MORITUR is a Norwegian band, I am the only Swedish member. And
yes, I handle the vocals on the upcoming debut album, as well as the
production. Label and release date has not yet been made official, but
expect a release some time after this summer (2021). Musically, it is
difficult to describe, it really sounds like nothing else, but it
lingers somewhere between orchestral death and doom metal. I’ve been a
member since 2018, but the other guys have been working on the material
some years before I joined. It’s an album I am very proud of and I never
really thought of myself as a vocalist before joining the band, but
after joining OMNIA MORITUR, I have really started to appreciate my own
vocal skills and range.
12 - Do you have any other bands or projects working at Stemcellar
Studio that could be revealed?
Stemcellar Studio is my haven when it comes to my music. It is where I
write, record, mix and master my own music. Unfortunately, writing and
producing music has not been able to pay my bills or put food on my
table, so I work a full time day job. But when I have the time, and the
opportunity presents itself, I do freelance mix and mastering jobs.
Mostly smaller jobs, like HAIMAD’s latest EP, “The Return”, or HOGSTUL’s
releases, but also other stuff like music for games and other media.
I do have some stuff lined up for production work soon, but I can’t
share what it is until the clients go public themselves. Those
interested can follow
where I post what’s going on in my studio.
13 - Have you thought about working on a solo project again?
I have so many ideas that I would like to work on, but it’s difficult to
find time for them while working full time, having several
bands/projects and taking freelance jobs on top of that. My wife once
asked me how many hours I think a day has, since I have a hard time
saying “no” when I am offered a project I think sounds fun to do.
But yes, I have released solo stuff before, last year (2020) I released
a digital EP with instrumental orchestral music under my real name,
which is available on all streaming platforms. The EP is called “Solace”
and was released by Fingered Productions.
I am currently working on a solo album based in black metal, but with a
lot of inspiration from different genres, as well as containing
experimental and industrial elements. It is still in a very early stage
and I have just started to arrange some of the material I have written
so far. The plan is to make a full length album and I have material for
about 10 minutes so far, but most of it is not arranged and there are no
lyrics written either.
Since I don’t have a label for this release yet, and since I am no way
near a finished product, I am not gonna go public with a name for this
project. Also, it is kind of nice not having a deadline for delivery
hanging over my head. At least not for now.
14 - There are many things that have changed since you did your first
steps back in the 90's, some have changed positively, but others we know
they really suck.
- How do you see the current extreme metal scene talking about bands and
also talking about zines, web-zines, etc ...?
Yes, it is definitely a different scene today than it was back in the
90’s. The internet was still a new thing and when I started with extreme
metal, snail mail, flyers and cassette trading was still the best way to
discover new music, get your name around and keep in touch with people
within the scene.
But since the internet was made available for me, I’ve always had an
online presence and promoted my music personally and directly with fans.
I see no reason to change this with my return, as I feel that it is
important with a personal connection with the fans. In SVARTGHAST, we
handle our social media ourselves, so all requests and messages are
answered by us. I think this approach is a good one and also makes the
fans feel they are appreciated.
Then there is that inevitable change that comes with technological
progression. There is an abundance of new bands, webzines, labels and
such, and that is a good thing. However, it is way more difficult to get
noticed and even though reviews and responses are good, there is very
little media interest from zines, webzines, radio or video channels. I
don’t know why it is like this, but I guess SVARTGHAST is still too
small and new to spark any interest from zines and webzines.
15 - What kind of metal did you listen to when you were a teenager?
I listened to METALLICA a lot in my teens, but also bands like IRON
MAIDEN and RUNNING WILD. In my mid teens, around 92-93 i think, I was
introduced to death metal and was completely mind blown. That’s when my
fascination for extreme metal was born and I still hold bands like
ENTOMBED, CARNAGE, DEICIDE and MORBID ANGEL in high regard. There’s
something about old school death metal that just makes me happy.
16 - How is the current situation about the Covid-19 virus in Sweden?
Sweden has suffered more than our neighboring countries. I believe this
has to do with our laws not allowing the government to force a lockdown
in peacetime, as our neighbors can do, but I am not sure. Instead we
have had recommendations of social distancing, working from home and
limiting the number of allowed persons in public areas, restaurants and
stores. It has pretty much been business as usual, perhaps not to the
same extent as before the pandemic, but we have had a pretty open
Sweden is close to starting the last phase of vaccinations, so hopefully
we can get back to the way things were, soon. I haven’t been to Norway
since before the pandemic, so I am really looking forward to being able
to go there, meet up with the OMNIA MORITUR-guys and rehearse some.
17 - As a closing to this interview, we want to thank you again for your
time (greetings for Azazel too) and we leave you the freedom to say what
you wish to the South American metalheads!
Thank you again for the interview and for your support!
And to those who read this interview: If you like your metal black,
symphonic and inspired by the glorious era of the 90’s, SVARTGHAST will
not disappoint you. “Perdition” is available on CD, LP and digitally,