1349 "Stirring the Cauldron"

By Dr. Abner Mality

The silence has broken. The howling wind from the North is heard in the land once more and it bears the name 1349. The Norwegian masters of frigid black metal have shaken off a brief slumber and returned to stir up a "Massive Cauldron of Chaos" ...the title of their stinging new album.

This isn't Wormwood's first trip to the rodeo with 1349. Some years back I snagged a chat with guitarist Archaon. This time I'm privileged to speak to the veteran bassist Seidemann about 1349's black metal philosophy, the new album and much else besides. Put on a parka, grab a flaming torch and follow me to Seidemann's lair...

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: It's been four years since the last 1349 album. Has most of the time since then been spent creating it or did you just feel you needed the time to "recharge"?

SEIDERMANN: We have been touring quite a lot the last couple of years, I've had some personal issues requiring quite some time away from the band. And 1349 is not the kind of band that has to release albums every year, we have to have an album that is better than the previous one ready and this task gets progressively more difficult with every release.

WC: The title of the album is "Massive Cauldron of Chaos". Does that refer to the Earth itself and the human race or is there a different meaning to it?

S: we like to keep things open for interpretation so people will have to think a bit and make up their own minds. Too much spoon-feeding going on in the world. For me the title is a metaphor for the music of 1349 on this album, but that is MY interpretation.

WC: The album's riffing has a cold, "machine-like" feel to it. Did you draw any influence from industrial music for the songs?

S: The main influences for this album were 70s rock and 80s thrash through a 1349 filter. Black metal the 1349 way has always been icy cold and strict and it might seem industrial to some but we have no direct influence from that genre.

WC:  "MCoC" is very stripped down and intros, no samples, no effects. Is this minimal style the direction 1349 will be exploring in the future or is it just restricted to this album?

 S: This felt right for this album. The only thing I can tell you about the future is that you can expect the unexpected.

WC: The visual look of the band is quite different in recently promo pics. The classic corpse paint and spikes look is gone and there's something still dark but a lot more subtle in place. Has the time for the traditional black metal look passed?

S: We did recently do some photos without spikes and paint, these were however just for that session since it was done inside a mine deep within the earth and it felt right there. The rest of our promo pics are 1349 as people know us. For 1349 the «traditional» black metal look is an integral part of our visual side and will remain.

WC: In the 90's and even early 2000's, black metal was still the aggressive intruder in the music scene. That no longer seems to be the case. How can this style stay relevant?

S: As long as music moves people and the people making the music do it to express something the music itself will stay relevant. The style itself will mutate and change and people will fall off and others come to replace them. Evolution.

WC:  It's a hard line between satisfying the fans and keeping your own creative urges satisfied. How much do you feel you can experiment without alienating the fans? I know "Revelations of the Black Flame" was a very polarizing record.

S: I am enough of an asshole to make music for my own sake. Other people liking it is good but not a prerequisite. There is too much mediocrity, so it is good to make something that forces the listener to take a stand. Love or hate are strong emotions, so if an album provokes either it is a good thing. The worst is if it provokes no reaction at all or just mediocrity.

WC:. I'm interested in the lyric idea behind "Mengele's". Of course he was the infamous Nazi concentration camp doctor. What were you trying to express with this song?

 S: The main idea behind this is how fucked up things get when you give humans power over others. How humanity is capable of so much horror and craziness, cruelty and insanity in the name of one crazy idea or religion or politics.

WC:  "Godslayer" is another song that I'd like to know about. Is there more to this than just the usual "anti-god" philosophy?

S: "Godslayer" is dark poetry, 1349 takes pride in not really bothering to much with christianity or satan or god or all that rubbish. We see humanity groping blindly in the chaos, and how religions and politics are tools to control and dominate others. This is more important than yelling about how satan is evil and so are you.

WC:. Do you have an idea of how 1349 will evolve in the future? I'm guessing it probably won't be four years until the next record.

 S: We will evolve and go in the direction 1349 takes us. This is a bit beyond our control.

WC: What live plans do you have? Any idea of coming over to the States?

S: We will do a European tour in November, then hopefully pop over to the States as soon as possible in 2015. I personally enjoy touring the States and would love to come back there many more times.

WC: If you could ask any 3 people from history to dinner, who would they be?

S: I would invite at least one master chef from somewhere to actually make the dinner, it would have been nice to meet H.P.Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe.

WC:. Are the same ideas that drove the band in the beginning the same ones that motivate you know or have those ideas changed through time?

S: 1349 has always been about making black metal the 1349 way and thus the answer to your is yes, they are the same, and yes they change through time.

WC: What was the last CD or release you picked up just because you wanted to hear the band?

S: Black Crown Initiate – "The Wreckage of Stars". We toured with those guys and they were amazing live so i really wanted to hear the album.

WC: What was the last live show you saw just because you wanted to see the band?

S: Huun Huur Tu, the Tuvan throatsinging masters.

WC:  In the history of 1349, has there ever been a "Spinal Tap" moment where things went wrong that you could share with the fans?

S: If i wanted this interview to be a bible-sized brick I could tell you of Spinal Tap moments, but since I'm saving these things for the eventual book in the future I will once again be an asshole and share nothing.

WC: Final thoughts or remarks?

 S: Thank you for the interview, See you on tour!