Hi, Hail Spirit Noir! Your lastest album ‘Mayhem in Blue’ was released last year. How well does it sells so far?
Hallo! The album was released last October so it’s been six months already and apparenty it’s been selling really well although you can never be sure about that. It’s not like we’re making a living out of it. But what I can tell you is that we are out of vinyls and that makes us happy.
First of all, we would like to know about the formation of the band. When and how was it formed? Do you think the band name ‘Hail Spirit Noir’ perfectly decribes your music and philosophy?
The band was formed back in 2010 in Thessaloniki. In the beginning it was Haris’ idea as a sort of tribute to the prog rock music of the 60s and 70s, Italian directors such as Fulci or the soundtracks by John Carpenter and of course black metal. He had put together a few of the songs that appeared on our debut “Pneuma” and he presented Demian and me with them. We figured this was something special and from that point on the band was in motion. The band name suits both the music and the band’s philosophy to a T. The Spirit Noir we praise is more often than not the human nature and its deviousness. You can call it Satan if you prefer.
Okay now tell us something about ‘Mayhem in Blue’ and the lyrical themes behind each track. What are the ideas you wanted to put across?
The lyrics once again are little horror stories with a twist. But you can still find a deeper meaning. The album title and the title track deal with a paradox, a great antithesis that is depicted on the cover artwork too. See, usually the coloyr blue is associated with serenity and calmness while we use it as the complete opposite, absolute chaos. The toitle track is about an environmental nightmare Haris had and is quite brutal. Or how we view the world perhaps. The opening track, “I Mean You Harm” toys with the concept of submission in various relationships and forms. We have a need as a species to constantly be in the lead and the lyrics portray both how that need can be exploited by others and how it manifests itself without us really realizing. It’s the darker side of us whether we like it or not. “Riders To Utopia” is about the different truths and how each individual can form an extremely different version of the truth than anyone else, even if they’ve the exact same experiences. It’s all about the human mind and how it spins tale of its own and in the end it’s all The Devil’s plan. One of the more philosophical tracks is “Lost In Satan’s Charms” as it is about how we are kept from exploring the deepest corners of our mind to expand our horizons by false doctrines and sometimes even members of our own families. It’s about how throughout history thinkers have been jailed, ridiculed and scorned for expressin supposedly heretical views. But they are those that helped move humanity onward. That’s the charm of the devil. The enticing nature of the unknown and the unexplored. A horror story anbout a cannibal tribe eating their young to kee alive the elder members is up next and I think you can easily draw a parallel line with the way we treat each other. As for How to Fly In Blackness that’s a personal track and is best left alone or better yet, get what you can out of it.
Where and when did you record ‘Mayhem in Blue’? Are you satisfied with it?
We believe this is our most accomplished record so far. We recorded guitars, bass, and keyboard parts at Alright Studios in Thessaloniki and then we handed the mixing duties over to Dimitris Douvras at Lunatech Studios in Katerini, where we also tracked vocals and drums. We’ve worked with Dimitris on all our previous releases and he knows how to handle our sound better than anyone. The mix he delivered this time was phenomenal and much of the credit for the sounds you hear on the album is because of his input. He made every little detail audible. Alan Douches blew us away with his Chelsea Wolfe album and we thought he’d be a good fit and indeed, his mastering turned out to be equally effective as he took the mix and made louder yet clear and bright. As you can see we’re really excited and satisfied with the final result.
Are you gonna to release some official band merch?
A couple of T-Shirt designs have been released and there were already two designs that came with the vinyl editions of our previous albums. But If you mean stuff like mugs, hats or what have you, I can’t say I can see that happening soon. But we are working on new designs for more than just T-shirts. You can find what we have so far on our webstore.
What are Hail Spirit Noir’s musical and non-musical influences?
As far as musical influences go, bands like King Crimson, Yes, Eloy, Pink Floyd are among our main inf;uences. Then there;s the music of Goblin which is stunning. Directors such as John Carpenter that composed a lot of their films’ music are inspiring as well. Plus the more avant guard stuff like Popul Vuh and Captain Beefheart more out-there moments. Bands such Thorns Dodheimsgard, Mayhem and Abigor are hugely influential and of course the weirder end of metal like Ved Buens End is always a source for creativity. One of Haris (who is the band’s main composer) most notable influences is Manos Hadjidakis. His work on albums like Reflections is to this day ahead of his time in arrangements and musical ingenuity.
Could you please express your personal views on religion and god?
As you said that’s personal and is a long, long discussion. Plus we are not here to preach or shove our opinions in anyone’s face. That’s religion’s job. What I can tell you to keep thing simple and to the point is that, the concept of god and religion has kept humanity from advancing in more ways than one. It’s a means to manipulating uneducated masses no matter what form of God it is. It could the Islamic god, it could the Christian god, it could be any form of organized religion. It’s usually a way to avoid responsibility by relinquishing anything you do to a supposedly higher being. So, I am not particularly fond of these concepts.
Shall we expect some gigs across USA or Europe near time?
Well, I can’t make any promises but we are finally doing shows! We have a line up for shows with Cons Marg (Until Rain) doing vocals, Sakis Mpantis (ex-Horizon’s End) on the keyboards and Foivos (Agnes Vein, Katavasia) playing drums. Last one was the club night at Inferno Festival in April and we have a couple more lined up with Dark Bombastic Evening In Romania in August being the first of them. The US was and continues to be a really difficult place to go play and now with Trump’s new legislation it might be even worse. We’ll see. I really hope we do get to play there.
When shall fans to expect something new from you? Videoclip, single, documentary etc? Maybe new album or an EP?
We’lll see about a video but the album is still fresh and we’ve just started doing shows for it so it’s too soon to speak of new material.
Thanks a lot for the interview. Speak out to your fans, supporters, critics and our readers before we wrap up!
Thanks for taking the time and for expressing an interest. Hopefully, you like the album as well. Always remember to indulge your Spirit Noir, it will move you upward!