Index:
  Vampire Magazine (Netherlands), December 2005
Lords of Metal (Netherlands), December 2005
Metalfan (Netherlands), January 2006

Mouldy archive (new page):
Negura (Romania), 2003
Ablaze (Germany), 2001
Imhotep (Norway), 2001


Vampire Magazine
Rahab interviewed by Isaak of Vampire Magazine

First of all congratulations with the release of 'Camera'! How has it been received so far?

Rahab: Thank you very much. The response we have had so far has been extremely good, surpassing any expectations. I'm convinced that less positive reviews and feedback will follow in due time, but until now it's really nothing but praises and (near) maximum scores. Although it is not a key-drive, it is always nice to hear people are enjoying what we have created, especially after the long and intensive labour. We're also very pleased ourselves with our beautiful twins

Ordo Draconis is clearly a band that think and compose beyond well-known paths, patterns and metal-dogmas. This is especially unusual for a Dutch band. How do you explain this?

I think every band will probably approach their music in the way they feel most comfortable with. How precisely other bands do so, and if that is very different from Ordo Draconis' approach I can't really tell, nor is it any concern really. Fact is that Ordo Draconis' members are quite open-minded when it comes to musical styles and influences. On top of that, we enjoy (musical) challenges. Basically everything that supports the mood we aim to create or the emotion we want to get across goes. I do not see why we should restrict ourselves to a limited part of the toolbox - sometimes one is in need of a screwdriver, sometimes of a crowbar. The expansion of the toolbox compared to our previous album "The Wing & the Burden" has been one of the reasons for our former vocalist and drummer to leave; clearly they were not feeling comfortable with the more experimental edge that was introduced into Ordo Draconis' music.

In an earlier interview you've mentioned that the Dutch metal scene has not produced much of any significance. Have you seen any progression these last few years and what position do you want Ordo Draconis to have within the Dutch scene and abroad?

Hahaha, wow nice research - since I didn't remember making such a blunt statement I looked up the interview... and what can I say: it wasn't me hehehe. It was our keyboard player replying to that one... so death threats should be sent to him! No, but seriously - the interviewer did not mention "Dutch metal scene", but "your scene" in his question. Mir-h iD interpreted that as the Dutch black metal scene rather than the Dutch metal scene in total - of course he is aware that in other metal subgenres like death and doom metal for instance Dutch bands have done quite a bit of pioneering. Also the interpretation of the word "significance" might have differed a bit between the two of you. I think Mir-h iD is more or less referring to how well known or influential Dutch black metal bands had been until that point rather than commenting on how good their music was, but that is just my interpretation. To be honest, I'm not that much up to date when it comes to the evolution of the Dutch metal scene in general or the Dutch black metal scene in particular. Some new comers that managed to arouse my interest are Carach Angren, Control Human Delete and Dimensional Psychosis. Concerning our position in the scene, it should be clear that with the release of "Camera Obscura" we are aiming at world domination! (are you pondering what I'm pondering?) But seriously, I consider music art - and that view leaves little space for the concept of competition. I do not have a view of Ordo Draconis' position in the sense of ranking. I do have the impression that we kind of drifted off from boundaries of the conventional subgenres... and I don't think I really mind. Black metal still is the subgenre we feel closest related to. I hope that with the release of "Camera Obscura" we will be able to reach a lot of metal fans within both the Dutch and the international metal scene.

How is the writing process in the band? Is there hierarchy?

There is not really a hierarchical structure within the band, though people tend to take up roles that suit them best. Mir-h iD, 1337_Misanthrope and yours truly are responsible for composing the Ordo Draconis songs. We work on the basis of consensus as much as we can, and we almost always succeed, but like with any cooperation sometimes small compromises have to be made. Most of the time, we work from a certain concept or a certain idea. This can be both musically and thematically and often combined. The extent to which this offers a structure to the song differs from song to song. Subsequently the three of us work together on how we fill in the idea with small pieces of music that we had composed individually. It's also during these sessions we try to implement references, small musical jokes and further subtleties in the songs. Finally the actual lyrics to the song are written.

Some parts of the album are very organic while others are extremely digital. Does the band compose in all sorts of ways on all kinds of instruments?

I guess you might say so - the composing band members already have different approaches when it comes to writing their individual parts. For instance 1337_Misanthrope has more of an intuitive jamming approach, while I hear the music before I know how to play it... or even before I'm actually able to play it. The other two guys are multi-instrumentalists; this provides them relatively much freedom when composing; Mir-h iD also plays guitar quite well and manages a bit on drums and bass as well, and 1337_Misanthrope is both an OK drummer and a very good bass-player. For "Camera Obscura" the three of us also started programming music on PC, using music software, samples, softsynths, etc - this offered us quite some additional possibilities. It also proved very useful for the parts sung by the choir; apart from getting some impression of what their parts would sound like - these programs also had options for printing their sheet music.

The lyrics on CD 1 "The Star Chamber reviews" are a concept. Tell us how this came to be. (Was there music first and after that the lyrical concept or the other way around?) Could you explain to our readers the (lyrical) concept of "The Star Chamber Reviews"

Well the concept was kind of like an expanding entity, really haha. In the very, very beginning it just concerned one song. During secondary school I read the play "Lucifer" by the renowned Dutch playwright Joost van de Vondel. I was particularly fascinated by the angle of approach Vondel chose for his play, Lucifer not being the typical villain, but rather an anti-hero drawn into a tragic situation and standing up for his beliefs and values with pride and accepting the consequences of his actions. It's hard not to sympathize with this character. I proposed to do something with the subject to the other guys. Clearly we had to "ordonize" things a bit and decided to create a song in two parts. The first part would describe the course of events and the second would reflected on these events in a court of law setting, The same musical themes were used in both parts, though in the second part they were slightly reworked - a twist of truth if you want. It is in this second part that we included an excerpt from Vondel's play. For the sake of nostalgia we even found a former Dutch teacher of ours willing to do the narration, haha. Under this constellation, the song "Mock Trial" was born - in essence it is quite an old song - older than most of the material featured on "The Wing & the Burden". Now this Vondel-fellow had written another play entitled "Adam in Exile" ("Adam in Ballingschap"), dealing with the fall of man; another fascinating topic and we decided to do a song on this theme ("The Writhing Tongue") after one on the fall of the angels. Though for the second song we didn't look that much over Vondel's aged shoulder. It more and more became a challenge to treat these cliché-subjects - let's face it in both literature and metal lyrics they have turned up thousands of times - in an innovative way, so they became interesting and fresh again. The most extreme example of this has become "Neuron Gutter, Neutron Star", which deals with the apocalypse in an industrialized post modern setting. Various elements from the Revelations of St John were picked up, cleaned out, restyled, industrialized, digitalized and made ready for post modern society. It's is kind of difficult to comment on the complete concept in just a few lines. Basically the actual songs on "The Star Chamber Reviews" deal with Lucifer's finest or darkest hours according to Christian lore: the fall of the angels, the fall of man and the apocalypse. On a somewhat deeper level, the songs deal with concepts of truth, knowledge and perspective.

Did you plan 'Camera' to be this varied and majestic from the beginning or is it just the way it turned out to be.

Well, things kind of evolved, like I already mentioned in the previous question, in particular for the "The Star Chamber Reviews" CD. One song became two; two songs became three. Then we decided we wanted to make a kind of unity, by linking the songs together through interludes and of course the concept should have an intro and an outro. These parts were very suitable for trying something different - experimenting around a bit. I believe also the large time span over which the material has been written has contributed to the variety of the album. Next to that musical tastes and hence our musical influences of the members contributing to the composing cover a broad musical spectrum. And on top of that we enjoy musical challenges - for instance, we did want to do some experiments with a choir. So I wouldn't really say it was planned like this from the very beginning, but we kind of had it coming.

The album has taken a few years to be written and recorded. I've read that it especially took a long time to record all the vocals. Why is that?

It's true - it was in particular the recording of the choir parts and its preparations that required a lot of time. It was a very educative experience though. First we had to familiarize ourselves with the possibilities and limitations of choir voices. Working with multiple melody lines for the vocals was also quite new to us. We wanted to try out a couple of different things and not stick to some kind of Therion copy. For instance we wanted to try something with Gregorian chant, a part a bit in the vein of the songs from the Carmina Burana by Carl Orff but also a part with more jazz and film music influences - to give a few examples. The communication with the choir was really a clash of cultures, and therefore a very interesting experience! These guys and girls are used to read their lines from paper music and communicate about music in an utterly different way. Clearing things out with respect to what they would be able to sing and preparing the music in such a way that they would be able to work with it also required a lot of time. The actual choir rehearsals were in a relatively short time span before the actual recording. In that sense, despite the long preparations, the choir experiment was still kind of pressure cooked. Considering that for all of the choir members but one it was their first studio experience, I think they have done a more than fine job!

You've been to 5 studios to make 'Camera' the way it is. That's a lot. Which studios have you been to and why?

Because we wanted to use different voices for the different characters in the songs of the conceptual "The Star Chamber Reviews" CD, we had to find quite a few good vocalists. Not all of these people, including the choir, were to keen on going all the way to Karlsruhe to record their parts. It was in the Tidal Wave Studio in Karlsruhe that all the instruments were recorded and the mixing was done. All in all "Camera Obscura" came to be in two studios in Gouda, two studios in Karlsruhe and one in Porta Westfalica.

How did you get all those guest musicians to appear and who are they?

Hahaha.. the old-boys network eh! But seriously, we have been around for quite a few years and over the years we got in touch with quite a few people. In a number of cases, special friendships grew and some of these people we approached to make a contribution to "Camera Obscura". Because at the time of the recording we were without a drummer, we had decided to work with a session musician. A friend of mine, Alboin from the German bands Enid and Geist, got me in touch with Moritz Neuner, who has mistreated or is mistreating the skins in a seemingly endless list of renowned bands including Dornenreich, Abigor, Darkwell and Atrocity. He was very much interested in working with us and liked our avantgardistic approach to our music. After 2 years without a drummer and finally deciding to work with a session drummer ironically enough, two drummers contacted us while we were in the studio recording "Camera Obscura". One of them was our current drummer Marco - who was playing in Altar before he joined us. The complete list of guest musicians is mentioned in the CD booklets; some of them are mentioned with their own name, others with nicknames, for legal reasons - what really matters to us is that we know who these people are and that their contributions are on the album.

After my review you sent me an email. Though my review was extremely positive, you would have liked it to be more complete. You seem like a perfectionist. Which is good obviously but aren't you afraid when it comes to making music that thinking things over too much is damaging the emotional impact and honesty?

Let me start by putting straight that I am not trying to tell you how to do your job as a reviewer, nor do I feel the slightest urge to. I do have my personal view of course and there were some elements in your review that struck me; it was clear that you had enjoyed the album a lot - which is of course nice to read as an artist - but somehow the reason why felt a bit missing.. there must have been more than that it was different from what you hear mostly. As a reader who wants to be informed, I would have been interested in that (hadn't I known all the details already of course, like in this particular case, hehe). Anyway...now for your actual question - which is a fairly interesting one from a rhetorical point of view. What you suggest is that perfectionists (might) think too much, and that thinking too much makes music less honest and reduces emotional impact, right? I guess it is clear by now that we give a lot of thought to what we do musically, and we enjoy that a lot - I don't think it necessarily leads to rigidity or sterility. For the music we play, we put exactly the right amount of thought into it, hehe. I think we are perfectionists in the sense that we are trying to get the best we possibly can, but we are also realists enough to see in certain aspects the means are restricted and limiting the outcome. I believe things start to go wrong when you are perfectionist in such a way that you stop trying or keep on rejecting results. I do not think that giving something a lot of thought makes it less honest, possibly less intuitive. In my view, certain aspects of the composing for Ordo Draconis can be and are done intuitively, other aspects like conceptualization require more conscious thought. With respect to emotional impact and honesty, I think that the recording and then in particular, the number of takes and the cutting and pasting of parts will be more of a concern than the composing... but in particular when musicians do not have the skills to play what they want to, or when they have so much skill that they try to get the smallest thingings out and the whole thing loses "the feel".

I am not a child of the black metal scene so I am not familiar with your earliest releases. 'Camera' has some references to black metal but it's way beyond. Do you want to break with that scene? Do you think it has bled to death?

We do not think in terms of being part of a particular scene - we simply do our thing and that is that. If I were to appoint a metal subgenre to which our music is related to closest, then that would be black metal, not in the least because it is relatively undefined in terms of music. If other people believe that, what we are doing nowadays has nothing to do with black metal anymore, then that's also fine with me. I think on our previous releases our music could be characterized as black metal more easily. However, I think it is important to offer people some indication of what you sound like as a band, and it is therefore that we decided to label the music "post-black metal"; to indicate our black metal roots, but to also make clear that people shouldn't expect something like Darkthrone or Cradle of Filth for that matter. No, I don't think that black metal has bled to death at all - despite a mighty legion of poor copycats active in the black metal scene, there is still a lot of interesting stuff coming out... fortunately!

When doing research after your band I noticed the press is enthusiastic but a lot of fans/listeners call Ordo Draconis arrogant and pretentious. How do you react to this and how did this come?

Hmmm I'm curious for your sources - I do check the internet every now and then (I assume that's where you got your info from) and I don't really have the general impression that we're viewed as being arrogant. Don't think it would make too much sense either - so in that sense I'm a bit surprised I guess. I'd like to hear what grounds people would have to state we're arrogant. Possibly it is simply based on a misinterpretation or a misunderstanding of the context in which we made a certain statement - like with your question on the Dutch scene... Personally, I would say we're ambitious and self-convinced, or better: self-aware, rather than pretentious and/or arrogant.... But other people may think differently...I don't know.

Tell us about Ordo Draconis and Opus Magnum Productions. Are you their only signing?

Yes we are the only band on Opus Magnum. Opus Magnum Productions is a small underground label run by a rather mysterious Hermes. Our previous album "The Wing & the Burden" had been released through Skaldic Art Productions, the label from Vratyas Vakyas from Falkenbach. However, this label does no longer exist. When it became clear that "Camera Obscura" was not going to be released through Skaldic Art we started looking for other options. Then Opus Magnum came into the picture. Especially the label's views on art and philosophy resembled our own strikingly closely and though quite some time went by before the mystical marriage between label and band was concluded, there had been an instant click. For the time being I'm convinced we're on the right label. I think Opus Magnum's policy is quite different from most labels - we have really all the (artistic) freedom we could ask for, in every aspect, and we have influence on how things are done with respect to our album, but on the other hand the label is demanding when it comes to commitment. And it makes sense I guess: why should a label believe in you if you don't believe in yourself? Why should a label invest a lot, if you're not willing to work your ass of yourself to reach your own goals? And on the other hand, if you work your ass off - you should also be permitted to say a few words on how things are to be done.

I hoped you liked this interview. Do you have anything to add?

Yes, I've enjoyed this interview a lot - thank you very much! Well if your readers got 'till here, I think I've taken enough of their time. Let me finish off with the following: People interested in knowing a bit more about Ordo Draconis and our latest record, please check out our homepage: www.ordodraconis.com - there are a couple of mp3's from the new album on the site. "Camera Obscura" can be directly purchased from us for 20 euros (inc p&p) - feel free to get in touch (rahab@ordodraconis.com). Finally, after Portugal, we also plan to do a number of concerts in the Netherlands in support of the new album, so I hope to see you all there!



Metalfan
Een interview met Mir-h iD van Ordo Draconis door Rik

Ordo Draconis stond enige jaren terug nog vooral bekend als één van de vele theatrale black metalbands. Afgelopen jaar leverde de band met het tweeluik "Camera Obscura" echter een bijzonder eigenzinnig, innovatief en gewaagd werkstuk af, dat veel van de luisteraar vraagt, maar ook veel terug geeft. "Camera Obscura pt. I: The Star Chamber Reviews" en "Camera Obscura pt. II: A View with A Room" mogen met recht bestempeld worden als twee van de meest originele albums van 2005. De hoogste tijd voor een interview met toetsenist Mir-h ID dus.

Jullie hebben de laatste jaren nogal wat bezettingswisselingen doorgemaakt. Kun je iets meer vertellen over de situatie na The Wing & the Burden? Als ik dat album vergelijk met het nieuwe materiaal, kan ik me voorstellen dat er behoorlijk wat discussie is geweest over de muzikale directie van de band...

Na het debuut The Wing & the Burden hebben we in de persoon van BM een vaste bassist aangetrokken. Moloch (zang) en Arco (drums) zijn enige tijd later uit de band gestapt. Ze konden zich namelijk niet meer vinden, hoewel om individueel verschillende redenen, in de richting die we aan het inslaan waren en de daarbij passende werkwijze. Na toch zo'n vijf of zes jaren van toewijding hebben ze er een punt achter gezet. Het is niet zo dat we vervolgens een plotselinge aandrang voelden om eens met z'n allen rond de tafel te gaan zitten en 't over een heel andere boeg te gaan gooien, maar logischerwijs is sinds hun vertrek wel de nodige 'elleboogruimte' ontstaan. Uiteraard is daarmee wel het één en ander veranderd ten opzichte van het vorige album. Je hoort wat nieuwe geluiden, waaronder een andere drummer (Moritz Neuner, sessie), bassist (BM) en zanger (Philip) dan op het debuut. Tel daarbij op een heus koor en verscheidene gastzangers en gastsprekers. De beide gitaristen hebben hun bezigheden ook uitgebreid met wat programmeerwerk, zoals de synths en samples voor "Vesper X", "Angeldust" en "Debris" (eerste CD) of het intro/outro op de tweede CD. Op Camera Obscura hebben we ook een geluid dat organischer is en beter bij ons past, en dit mede dankzij de niet geringe verdiensten van onze producer/engineer Patrick Damiani (TidalWave Studio in Karlsruhe). Tenslotte moet je niet vergeten dat er ruim vier jaren liggen tussen het uitbrengen van het debuut en Camera Obscura. Gedurende zo'n periode kan uiteraard een hoop gebeuren. Discussie? Ik moet eerlijk bekennen dat we over het algemeen wel af en toe meer 'lullen dan spelen', en dat is er de laatste jaren zeker niet minder op geworden. Dat is wel nodig om te voorkomen dat je langs elkaar heen gaat werken. Dit kan lastig zijn omdat je muzikaal gezien soms over geheel andere referentiepunten beschikt of omdat muzikale visie zich niet altijd gemakkelijk in woorden laat vatten, maar dat maakt 't er niet minder belangrijk op. Zeker wanneer je je met iets als een conceptalbum bezighoudt. Je kan er voor kiezen om gewoon een liedje met een bepaalde 'feel' te schrijven en er vervolgens wat teksten bij bedenken. Daar is helemaal niets mis mee, maar bij ons zijn beide zaken van meet af aan wat nauwer op elkaar afgestemd.

Jullie zijn na The Wing & the Burden ook nog van label gewisseld. Waarom?

The Wing & the Burden is destijds uitgekomen op Skaldic Art Productions, een label dat door de man achter Falkenbach was opgericht om undergroundbands te helpen los van de gedachte of 't een paar centen in het laadje brengt of niet. Daarmee heeft hij natuurlijk wel zekere commerciële risico's genomen, en dat, denk ik althans, heeft 't label de das om gedaan. Er zijn de afgelopen jaren wel vaker labels over de kop gegaan, zoals recentelijk nog Elitist Records. Je ziet ook dat sommige labels alleen het hoofd boven water kunnen houden door bijvoorbeeld de distro/mailorder tot eerste prioriteit verheffen of alleen bands te tekenen die toch weinig geld investeren in de productie van hun album. Nu ben ik ook weer geen doemdenker hoor, maar, terug naar ons verhaal, Skaldic Art is niet meer. We waren tijdig ingelicht zodat we op voorhand op zoek konden gaan naar een nieuw label. Zo zijn we in contact gekomen met Opus Magnum Productions, dat nu Camera Obscura heeft uitgebracht. De labeleigenaar is een vriend van ons die zichzelf Hermes noemt. Een vreselijk pompeuze kerel, moet ik zeggen, met beperkte middelen, maar wel een toegewijde, integere gast die ons onvoorwaardelijke vrijheid geeft in ons doen en laten. En dat is zeldzamer dan de meesten misschien denken.

Kun je het concept achter Camera Obscura wat meer toelichten?

Toen we nog niet eens het donkerbruine vermoeden hadden dat 't weerbarstige materiaal zich in twee schijven zou opsplitsen (hoe vies dat ook mag klinken), waren de ruwe basisthema's kennis en macht, en daarmee de onderlinge relaties of juist 't gebrek eraan. Dat heeft zich zo uitgekristalliseerd in een aantal nummers. "Sirius Fever" handelt bijvoorbeeld over pseudo-wetenschap en westerse ideeën over primitivisme, terwijl "The Don of Venice" teruggrijpt naar de Urfaust. Eén van de andere nummers is echter een beetje uit de hand gelopen en heet nu Camera Obscura pt 1: The Star Chamber Reviews. Een soort staat binnen een staat. Om meteen maar een bruggetje te slaan, dat wordingsproces sluit merkwaardig genoeg aan bij de hierop gebruikte thematiek, die van Lucifer, de politiek leider die het goddelijk plan voorgoed van koers doet veranderen. We vallen namelijk terug op voor black metal begrippen vreselijk afgezaagde materie: de val van de engelen, de val van de mensheid en een visioen van die ene grote 'val' aan het einde der tijden. In eerste instantie zou ik misschien ook m'n bedenkingen plaatsen als dergelijke clichés weer eens van stal worden gehaald, maar feit is dat ze wel beter uitgemolken hadden mogen worden. Hoewel 't niet populair is om dit voor criminelen te doen, hebben we geprobeerd het personage, of variaties daarop, psychologisch 'eerlijker' te benaderen, en niet slechts als symbool of theologisch concept neergezet, of als de antropologische 'Ander'. Symbolisme speelt wel een rol, maar meer als iets dynamisch en veranderlijks, bijvoorbeeld als onderdeel van de manier waarop personages uiting geven aan hun conflicterende inzichten. In welke mate je moet sympathiseren met de tragische helden laat ik wel in het midden. Er komt overigens in het hele verhaal geen God voor. Die kun je eerder zien als de mascotte van de schepping. Een soort McDonald clown.

Hoe is het idee voor het Camera Obscura-tweeluik eigenlijk ontstaan en hoe heeft dit omvangrijke project zich door de loop der jaren ontwikkeld? Zijn jullie problemen tegengekomen?

De ontstaansgeschiedenis is een aardig complex proces geweest, waarbij me elke keer weer nieuwe dingen opvallen wanneer ik er aan terugdenk. De problemen die we zijn tegengekomen zijn eigenlijk vooral de uitdagingen die we onszelf hebben aangedaan - dus we mogen niet achteraf gaan mekkeren. Ik denk dat ik daarnet wat de inhoud betreft al een tipje van de sluier heb gelicht. Dan kan ik hier een beetje ingaan op de praktische kant van het gebeuren. Zoals gezegd hadden we niet van tevoren bedacht dat er twee CDs zouden komen. Het materiaal bleek zich gewoon te hoog te hebben opgestapeld om op één CD ondergebracht te kunnen worden. Die voorbereiding heeft veel voeten in de aarde gehad. Lange tijd hebben we ook niet in een typisch bandverband gespeeld, want na het vertrek van Arco (drums) werkten en oefenden we met voorgeprogrammeerde drums. Dit zijn ook de drums op basis waarvan Moritz Neuner (ex-Abigor, ex-Dornenreich, Atrocity, etc.) zijn partijen voor Camera Obscura heeft ingespeeld – fantastisch overigens hoe hij het klaarspeelt om met clicktrack-begeleiding toch nog een geweldige groove neer te zetten. Behalve zonder échte drums hebben we voor een lange periode ook zonder zang geoefend. Tyrann/Philip (tevens actief in de band Vindsval) is weliswaar betrekkelijk snel na het vertrek van Moloch tot de band toegetreden, maar hij woont in Karlsruhe (Duitsland) – dat is voor een wekelijkse oefensessie net een paar kilometers te ver. Voordat we de definitieve stap zetten om de studio in te gaan zijn er nog verscheidene proefopnames gemaakt om de nummers nog eens kritisch onder de loep te kunnen nemen. Op de agenda stonden tevens de koorpartijen en de bijdragen van gastzangers. Daar is een hoop praktisch werk, soms zelfs nachtwerk, bij komen kijken. Overigens maakten we 't de koorleden niet makkelijk, maar ze maakten zich er dan ook niet makkelijk vanaf. Binnen de band denk ik dat de moeilijkheden enigszins van persoon tot persoon zullen verschillen. Dat is logisch ook, want iedereen leeft zich uit op weer iets anders. Zo heb ik zelf wel even moeten wennen aan de manier van teksten schrijven, omdat soms eerst en vooral de interactie tussen personages je aandacht vergt. Dat is waaruit motivatie en emotie moeten blijken en die kun je dan niet altijd in lange monologen gaan verwerken. Het verschil tussen de publieke en persoonlijke kant van een personage wordt daarmee ook wat anders vormgegeven. Daarnaast is het ook lastig om zulke gewichtige en verheven thema's op een enigszins natuurlijke, onverstijfde manier te verwoorden zonder je schuldig te maken aan die gevreesde 'cringe factor'.

Het tweede gedeelte van Camera Obscura is geen onderdeel meer van het concept, als ik het goed heb begrepen, maar bestaat uit een aantal niet direct gerelateerde nummers. Waarom krijgt het dan toch de naam Camera Obscura mee?

Concepten zijn natuurlijk niet eigen aan conceptalbums. Het ligt er een beetje aan hoe je het begrip 'conceptalbum' wilt hanteren, want zoals ik eerder heb geprobeerd te schetsen, gaat achter het geheel wel degelijk een concept schuil. De nummers op het tweede gedeelte zijn thematisch verbonden en in die hoedanigheid wordt er in de teksten soms ook gebruik gemaakt van terugkerende beeldelementen, hetzij specifiek toegespitst op hun functie in het nummer zelf. Het eerste gedeelte vormt in die zin nog een nauwer verbonden geheel, maar het is ook meer een conceptalbum in de zin dat de individuele nummers aan elkaar worden gelijmd door een verhaallijn. Daarmee voldoet 't denk ik beter aan de gangbare definitie van 'conceptalbum' dan A View with a Room. De overkoepelende titel Camera Obscura betekent letterlijk 'donkere kamer' en verwijst concreet naar de voorganger van de camera, een apparaat dat veel voor de kunst en wetenschap heeft betekend. En dat terwijl 't feitelijk gewoon een doos/kamer met een gaatje erin is, die dan na een nodige opknapbeurt tot van alles in staat blijkt te zijn. Meer in metaforische zin vertoont 't allerlei overeenkomsten met de manier waarop de mens, met zijn vele zintuiglijke hulpmiddelen, de wereld in zich opneemt, verwerkt, compact maakt, rangschikt – of juist in een doosje wegstopt om er verder niet meer naar om te kijken – juist die vervaging en vervlakking (zie ook "Vesper X"). Projectie is hierbij iets wat zich doorzet naar de fysieke wereld, want we doen er natuurlijk van alles mee en ruwweg materialiseert onze belevingswereld zich als een camera obscura, of delen we deze in meerdere fysieke compartimenten in. Het interessante aan de titel is dat hij tegelijkertijd associaties oproept met ruimte en begrenzing, wat dan ook in de ondertitels tot uiting komt, The Star Chamber Reviews en A View with a Room. Overigens hoop ik niet dat luisteraars een link leggen naar de tenenkrommende conceptalbums die nog wel eens in de progrock en de latere progmetal zijn gemaakt, maar gelukkig kleeft er sinds bands als Tool en Radiohead enzo niet meer zo'n 'kazig' stigma aan die term als voorheen.

Hoe willen jullie de muziek van Camera Obscura ooit live gaan spelen? Zijn jullie niet bang dat de muziek live aan zijn gelaagdheid moet inboeten?

Ik zie het doel van live spelen niet als 't herkauwen van de 'luistermuziek' die je op CD ten gehore brengt. Niet dat we 't hele concept van live-spelen radikaal willen omgooien, zoals een experimentele rockband als Sun City Girls schijnt te doen, maar de accenten liggen wel wat anders. Gelaagdheid blijft belangrijk, maar 't vereist toch een bepaald transparant geluid dat het best tot stand komt in de opnamestudio. Live wordt 't überhaupt al gauw fysieker, wat ook zo z'n aantrekkelijke kanten heeft. Zachtere, subtielere momenten lenen zich hier evenmin voor en worden dan ook tot een minimum beperkt of aangepast. Daarbij komt ook wel dat bepaalde stukken exclusief voor het album zijn geschreven, terwijl we bij andere nummers ermee rekening hebben gehouden dat ze op het podium tot hun recht moeten kunnen komen. De zang wordt live overigens verzorgd door 1337_Misanthrope, Rahab en mijzelf.

Zit er nog een (grote) tour aan te komen, of gaan jullie eerst de accu weer opladen?

We zullen zeker wat optredens gaan doen om dit album te promoten en ons gezicht te laten zien. Het eerstvolgende optreden dat ik met zekerheid kan bevestigen zal zijn op 14 januari 2006 in De Gonz in Gouda (www.degonz.nl). Het zal de laatste keer zijn op die locatie, want de sociëteit zal gaan verhuizen. Een heuse Europese tournee lijkt me nog toekomstmuziek, maar is niet volkomen uitgesloten. In oktober hebben we zelfs al een mini-tour in Portugal gedaan met de Portugese band Epping Forest. Het is de bedoeling dat die gasten ergens in de nabije toekomst naar Nederland komen om met ons een paar optredens neer te zetten.

Kun je wat meer toelichting geven over het idee achter het (nogal bizarre) artwork?

De ontwerp(st)er heet Jessica Groenewegen. Zij heeft onze thematische en esthetische ideeën fantastisch weten vorm te geven. Eigenlijk zou het artwork voor zich moeten spreken, maar ik kan wel wat hulpmiddelen aanreiken. De directe overeenkomst tussen de beide hoezen is natuurlijk het perspectief van de 'donkere kamer', en dat is weer Nederlands voor camera obscura. Daarnaast zie je een soort omgekeerd Indonesisch schaduwspel (wajang kulit) - omgekeerd in de zin dat 't om lichte, perifere verschijningen gaat tegen een donkere achter-/ondergrond. Voor sommige beeldelementen hebben we direct kunnen putten uit de teksten, zoals de zendmast (het machtsbolwerk dat in "Neuron Gutter, Neutron Star" wordt belaagd door een soort van mediapiraat), de vliegen (lord of the flies, de spionnen van "Espionage") of de dokter met zijn zgn. pestmasker ('Dr Schnabel' in "Dancefloor Clinic"). Niet dat 't een bonte ratjetoe is geworden van elementen die lukraak bij elkaar zijn gesmeten, maar ze bleken ook in het bredere verband goed bruikbaar. Die vliegen, smoezelige ziektebrengers én meesters van het recyclen, lenen zich er bijvoorbeeld prima voor om verval en tegelijkertijd continuïteit uit te drukken. Het parapluvormige scherm op de eerste schijf The Star Chamber Reviews maakt deel uit van een systeem dat een panopticon wordt genoemd (ja, dat is toevallig ook de titel van een Isis-album). Dit verwijst naar een bepaald architecturaal ontwerp voor een gevangenis, waarvan het idee is dat de bewakers de gevangenen kunnen zien en horen, maar niet andersom. De filosoof Michel Foucault gebruikt die term ook om het belangrijkste mechanisme aan te duiden waarmee machtsstructuren in stand worden gehouden – zie daar weer het thema 'kennis en macht'. Op weer een andere manier brengt het onder de loep nemen van de facetogen van een vlieg (die hij nodig heeft om te jagen of juist objecten uit de weg te gaan) een bepaalde spanning teweeg tussen zien en gezien worden. Op de hoes van de tweede CD A View with a Room kijk je mee over de schouder van een speurder of gangster, met gleufhoed en al, die zo uit een film noir weggelopen lijkt te zijn. En dat klopt ook. Een aantal kenmerken van dat filmgenre bleek in onze context goed te werken, zoals het suggestieve visuele décor, dat voor een belangrijk deel door bepaalde licht- en schaduweffecten bepaald wordt; of de psychologische strijd van de doortastende, maar niet onkreukbare en uiteindelijk tragische held. Denk bijvoorbeeld aan de figuur Faust in "The Don of Venice". In het algemeen kun je stellen dat hier uitgelicht is de idee van visie als wapen, alsook de hieraan inherente terugslag. Als kijker wordt je overigens betrokken, bijna medeplichtig gemaakt. Misschien denk je 'bah, vingers op het boekje', maar als je eens goed kijkt zal je zien dat je vingerafdruk deel uitmaakt van de hoes. Ik hoop dat ik zo genoeg aanwijzingen heb gegeven die enige houvast kunnen bieden.

Hebben jullie al nagedacht over toekomstplannen? Zal jullie stijl zich in de toekomst weer wat meer richting het oude werk gaan richten, of zullen jullie deze experimenteerdrift nog verder proberen uit te werken?

Het is eerlijk gezegd wat vreemd en onwennig om te praten over je nieuwe plaat wanneer je zelf al een berg nieuwe muziek hebt geschreven en enige muzikale ontwikkeling hebt doorgemaakt. Voor m'n gevoel ligt Camera Obscura al wat jaartjes achter me, terwijl ik inmiddels al behoorlijk wat muziek thuis heb opgenomen, compleet met (voorgeprogrammeerde) drums, bas, gitaar en toetsen, ed. Maar als groep zijn we nog maar net begonnen met het werken aan nieuw material - het is dus nog te vroeg om iets zinnigs te zeggen. Ik denk wel dat stijlvreemde elementen beter geïntegreerd zullen worden. En dat 't volgende album geen drieling wordt, maar gewoon één CD. De motivatie en toewijding zit er ook goed bij iedereen in. Eerlijk gezegd vind ik onszelf niet zo experimenteel, maar dat zegt misschien meer over het genre dan over ons. We zullen zeker niet teruggaan naar het oude werk, hoewel het altijd mogelijk is dat oude thema's nog even een metamorfose ondergaan. Voorlopig zullen luisteraars nog wel een hele kluif hebben aan Camera Obscura, lijkt me.

Nog laatste woorden?

Zeer bedankt voor het interview en succes met Metalfan. Als ik mag afsluiten met wat schaamteloze spam: de twee CDs van Camera Obscura zijn samen € 20,-, inclusief verzending. Je kunt direct via ons bestellen door een e-mail sturen naar rahab@ordodraconis.com. Samples zijn te beluisteren op een tweetal plaatsen: op onze website www.ordodraconis.com, en op de MySpace-pagina www.myspace.com/ordodraconis. Er zijn tevens longsleeves en T-shirts van Camera Obscura verkrijgbaar: bezoek de website voor meer info. Als er zalen geïnteresseerd zijn om ons voor optredens te boeken, zijn ze meer dan welkom om even contact met ons op te nemen via hetzelfde e-mailadres hierboven.



Lords of Metal

Ordo Draconis (Orde Van De Draak) is een Hongaars instituut wat zijn oorsprong rond het jaar 1400 heeft. De orde hield zich toendertijd vooral bezig met het beschermen van Europa tegen de expansionele driften van het Ottomaanse rijk. De orde bestaat nog steeds en zet zich nu in voor culturen die zich inzetten voor de rechten en waarden van anderen. Check deze link voor een uitgebreide uitleg. Daarnaast staat deze naam ook garant voor een degelijke Nederlandse post-black metal band. En het is een band waar we wel degelijk trots op mogen zijn. Hun vorige werk ken ik niet, dus mijn mening is geheel en al op hun nieuwste dubbel-cd gebaseerd. Gezien hun hoge score was een interview onvermijdelijk. Mir-h iD nam namens Ordo Draconis de antwoorden voor zijn rekening.

First and foremost: welcome to Lords Of Metal. Would you care to introduce yourselves to our readers? Where does the name Ordo Draconis come from? Does any of you have a history in other bands?

Hi, Carl. Go ahead, that's three questions fired at me right away, hehe. Thanks very much for your interest in us, the intie and the excellent review. I'm flattered and I'll do my best to keep the answers vibrant with soaring energy and staggering degrees of almost unbearable interestingness, but I can't promise you anything, ok?

1. Ordo Draconis started out as a five-piece outfit in 1996. We've put out two demos, "When the Cycle Ends" (rehearsal-cum-demo-tape, 1997) and "In Speculis Noctis" (MCD, 1999), followed by only our debut album ("The Wing & the Burden", 2001) and now there's the double treat "Camera Obscura pt 1: The Star Chamber Reviews" and "Camera Obscura pt 2: A View with a Room" (2005).

We've had a few line-up changes after "The Wing …". BM joined us on bass, while Moloch (vocals) and Arco (drums) quit the band in 2002. Philip (vocals) replaced Moloch the same year. On "Camera Obscura" we were fortunate enough to borrow the skills of session skinsman Moritz Neuner (Dornenreich, ex-Abigor, Atrocity, etc.), but we had been without a permanent drummer until just after the recordings. That's when Marco (ex-Altar) stepped in. In overview, the current line-up consists of Philip (vocals), 1337_Misanthrope (guitar), Rahab (guitar), BM (bass), Marco (drums) and myself, Mir-h iD (synths).

2. The band name is Latin for 'the order of the dragon'. One way to look at it is to interpret the dragon as a symbol which could represent various stages in the alchemical process of transmutation, and not only that: it works like a caveat, much like the Greek Ladon, to keep rash fortune-hunters at bay. The jeopardy, the passion and the anguish involved in struggling, in 'burning your fingers' at whatever cost, are part and parcel of that same process. And if we associate draco 'dragon' with a mythological chaos dragon like Tiamat and accept the primary, abstract meaning of ordo as '(a state of) order', the band name gives further meaning to the metaphysical side of the alchemical story. A dynamic system of polarities emerges in which chaos has an integral, even vitalizing function beyond simply the disruption of order. This way, chaos has its own order. We can also reverse the relation and say it's about overcoming or shaping that physical and metaphysical mess (which not only practitioners of alchemy felt they had to put up with but which is in fact far more mundane). As a signifier intended to make sense of a language, you could say the name also relates to the idea of language being interlocked, language grappling with language from the inside out – that would be a quaint yet relevant way of reading an ourobouros (a snake or dragon eating its own tail, or two snakes/dragons eating one another's tails). If time serves me well, I'll write up some more on this in the still-to-come and always-under-construction FAQ section of our website.

3. We may not have so much on offer for those helpless against name-dropping, but here goes:

Tyrann (Philip) – our Luxembourg's man, though now a resident of Karlsruhe (Germany), also sings in Vindsval and Falkenbach. In addition, he did guest vocals for some other bands. He may have a member profile on Vindsval's website (www.vindsval.de). More bands should have a Luxembourgian in their line-up. They're great to have around.
Rahab and BM – they've been session members in Falkenbach. I'm not sure, however, what the situation is like right now.
BM – he used to play guitar in a black metal band until they split up.
1337_Misanthrope – he's often had more than one band at a time. Examples are Dark Remains, Weltbrand, Bad Wurm (RIP) and Sick of Sanity (RIP).
Marco (drums) – the better known metal bands he's been involved in include Altar and Blind Justice.
Mir-h iD (synths) - I've been perfectly monogamous since we started Ordo Draconis, even though I do spend a fair amount of time making music at home. I've toyed around with some ideas, both musically concrete and vaguely conceptual, for a project of my own, but I have yet to find the time for it.

I would like to congratulate you with 'Camera Obscura'. Are you satisfied with the results and how have the reactions been so far?

Thanks very much! It's been a big baby and I can still feel the afterpains. We haven't received any major exposure so far, because still more preparation is being made to promote the album. You're actually among the first to have received a promo. But the reactions that have come to us, from reviewers as well as fans, have been nothing short of overwhelming. Not knowing what to expect, it all caught me quite by surprise, actually. Of course, there's always parts in reviews you don't agree with, references which don't make sense. Some people seem to have picked out the jazz element, while it's limited to the intro only (first impressions, right), but I can't complain. Am I satisfied with the results? To the extent that I can be satisfied with anything I do, as after all I am my own toughest critic, my answer should be fairly positive. I can still feel the nausea of having been so utterly immersed in the whole thing, but let's say the nausea has never felt this good before. There's an amazing amount of hard work and time we've put into this album. If it wasn't for the band, I would have graduated by now. I'm not going to blow my own trumpet here (no dirty pun intended), but as you can hear, it seems to have paid off dividends. I should not forget to mention here that our producer/engineer Patrick of Tidalwave Studios (Karlsruhe, Germany) deserves kudos for the excellent, open, natural sound of the album.

A Camera Obscura is of course Latin for 'dark room', but there is more to it than this superficial meaning. (Readers: use www.google.com to find out). Why did you choose this title?

A camera obscura (indeed, Latin for 'dark room') is a darkened chamber or box with one aperture through which external objects project their images upside-down onto a facing surface. Often a lens and mirror are placed to correct the image. This simple piece of equipment has meant a great deal for the arts and sciences. For instance, the discovery of the natural phenomenon which underlies the camera obscura disproved the long-held view that eyes sent out beams to scan objects; it's been used for a variety of astronomic purposes; it's famous as a drawing aid for artists and as a theatrical device for entertainment and illusion; and it can be called the forerunner of the modern camera. As such it came in various sizes, from small boxes to entire public rooms. Yeah, there's plenty of elaborate descriptions, complete with pictures, to be found on the internet. So, the camera obscura is the dark room into which the world outside is tricked, admitted and trapped, squeezed, laid out and reorganized. It could simply be the human mind, but taking into account our senses have acquired all kinds of auxiliary extensions it may be much larger than that. And the whole is larger than the sum of its parts. Scattered throughout the lyrics, you'll find references to all kinds of rooms and boxes, which toy with the idea of the camera obscura. Just look at the two CD (sub)titles, for instance (to recap: "The Star Chamber Reviews" and "A View with a Room"). I'll leave it up to the listener/reader to explore the variety of ways in which the imagery is manipulated in the lyrics, sometimes even to the point of being turned inside out, like when it becomes a projection of its own.

The two discs present a kaleidoscope of music. Is there anything to say about how this concept/music came into being?

There is probably too much to be said about it, but I'll try to give you an idea. The music has been written over a span of about six years, perhaps more. While initially we had something like 'knowledge and power' as an overarching theme, the idea for the first disc actually started out with only one song ("Mock Trial"). This one song became like a state within a state, becoming gradually rounded out by more material until the conceptual beast could claim an entire disc of its own – this, of course, became "The Star Chamber Reviews". Going back to the earliest stage again, Rahab suggested we could develop, in our own way, some of the themes and approaches that the Dutch seventeenth-century playwright Joost van den Vondel adopted in his play Lucifer. In the end, the lyrics appear to have little to do with it, but one quote in "Mock Trial" still stands out as an homage to the man. So, that's how we took up this terrible cliché of Lucifer's fall from grace. From there, we went on to include the way Lucifer drags everything along with him, leading up to the fall of man and eventually the apocalyptic 'fall' of the world. It's not like we were going to handle the whole human condition on one CD, but this way we could extrapolate some of the themes that were developed in "Mock Trial" and find new contexts to contribute to them. The lyrics home in on the smaller, human level, as well as some trans/post-human issues (although "Neuron Gutter, Neutron Star" is more on collective behavior, casting all that went before in stark relief). I think I already briefly referred to the connotations of a camera obscura with the small vs. the vast (inherent also in the word star chamber), so there you go. The songs on the second disc "A View with a Room" deal with some issues already explored on the first one, but in contexts of different subject matter. The album was planned to appear as one single disc, but it grew and grew until we had no better option but to split it into two discs. Well then, I've probably said more about the lyrics (more so than the music actually) than I set out to do, but all of this is just to show briefly some of the ways in which blueprints for songs developed into a work of 'kaleidoscopic' proportions.

There are so many different aspects to the music on CO, that it would be impossible to make those songs come across live as they do on disc. How will you ever be able to play anything live and not lose too much of a song?

The fact that we don't play the entire album, but selected songs from it, helps us in part to sidestep that problem. Some songs weren't designed to be played live anyhow, so that gave us free rein when we wrote and recorded them. As for the songs we do play, it's important to understand that playing live is a different ball game altogether. It basically means that your priorities shift. An album is carefully layered for the pleasure of the listener, and that may particularly apply to us, but subtleties - a little sample here, a guitar effect there - can easily get lost in a live situation, seeing as the balance isn't always perfect. On the other hand, it's not unlikely you'll hear details which you may not have noticed on CD (and some people imagine they hear more than there actually is, especially those who spin the CD in the back of their minds). A gig is also more physical, perhaps more visceral. All of which is not to say we never have to make any adjustments in order to avoid obvious gaps. Some things we have to work around, definitely, but often it's a matter of putting the accent somewhere else or giving it a twist. I think we're creative enough for that.

You have done a couple of live performances in Portugal. Why Portugal? How was the experience? When will you be doing shows in Holland?

Late October, we did three gigs in Portugal – two in the north and one in Lissabon. We teamed up with our Portuguese friends from Epping Forest, a high-speed black metal band, who played two gigs with us. It was an amazing experience, I can tell you. The people who made it possible for us to go on the mini-tour were Pinto (Epping Forest) and his girlfriend, with whom our guitarist Rahab had been in contact for some time. And what an absolutely great job they did. Our drummer Marco couldn't get time off, but Pinto had the strength of character to fill in for him, hitting his way through an otherwise daunting setlist. Mind you, that means he had to play two bands on Friday night (Epping Forest and us), two again on Saturday night, one on Sunday (us) and one on Monday (Epping Forest). As if lack of sleep and long drives weren't enough for the overachieving macho man.

No dates have been confirmed yet, but it looks like we're playing De Gonz in Gouda on the 14th of January (2006). It'll be the last chance to us there, because the club will be moving to a new location. With any luck, Epping Forest will play with us in The Netherlands sometime in the future. For now, all I can say to your readers is: keep an eye on the gigs section of our website (www.ordodraconis.com).

Putting out a concept album is always tricky. I remember Geddy Lee of Rush stating that he thought it very difficult to get a concept story across to the audience by means of music and lyrics. Aren't you worried that your story will not or only partly come across to the listener?

Of course I hope people will move their lazy arses and, eh, sit down and read the lyrics at all. I'm not sure if the lyrics should be more important than if you write them for individual, unconnected songs. It's true that there's more to read and that the individual lyrics depend on one another in order to make sense. But the lyrics are specially designed to be meaningful not just in relation to the whole, but also as independent, self-contained units. You can dive into one and still get so much out of it. You can also read and re-read more, like in a hermeneutic circle, and your understanding of them may grow profounder. Funnily enough, if you forget the narrative context and perhaps bring more of your own perspective to the text, there may be more you can pick up on. This more individualistic reading is just as important to me. The problem which Geddy Lee brought up there, though, probably has more to do with having the music follow the story-line and conjuring up the proper images for you the visualize the story. That, I believe, takes some skill, experience and imagination. For us, it certainly was a tough nut to crack; we sometimes had to rack our brains over it and let it sink again until a solution offered itself to us. Partial as I am of course, I think we did pretty well.

The musical background of the band members must be worlds apart. Is there a combining factor among you and what is it?

We've all contributed to the same album and worked with the same producer? I don't know. We're all very dedicated, reasonably open-minded, like to take on challenges, prefer our music to have character, all pretty much clichés you've heard a million times before. We do have varying tastes in music, but we won't let eclecticism get in the way too much. It's also the diversity which counts. Imagine if we were all good at playing the triangle, and nothing besides.

As practically any black metal band, you used to wear corpse-paint. A lot can be said about this interesting feature of our subgenre: from theatrical showmanship, to ludicrous foolishness, or a way for the early black metal church-burning criminals to be able to perform live without being recognized. What are your ideas and why did you decide to stop wearing the paint?

Yeah, we used to hate being recognized on the street every single day, but now we love the friggin attention, haha. It's true, you can 'feast' a lot of perspectives on the subject of make-up, from Oscar Wilde's Truth of Masks to 'makeability' (Machbarkeit), or whatever anthropological angle it is from which you'd like to analyze it to death. With black metal I thought corpse-paint was basically a good way to emphasize the ugly and impersonal side of the music, which in turn may help you 'to get in the mood'. That a 16-old kid could effectively use it to hide the spots of his age was sometimes added into the bargain, of course. Predictably, it became one of those trappings that bands (and fans) took over unthinkingly and so it simply lost its effect. That painted faces were becoming more common in the nu-rock/mallcore scene didn't really help either I guess. Corpse-paint was actually getting old by the time we started to wear it, which would 've been in 1997. We stopped doing it, probably in 2000, primarily because our link with the type of black metal that had the best claim on corpsepaint, had become too tenuous. It no longer tallied well with the picture we had of the course we were taking. To be honest, there were also reasons of a more practical nature which gave us a kick in the right direction. All that hassle before and after the gig, with guitars covered in a suspicious mixture of powder and sweat (admittedly, the heat from fire-breathing may have helped a hand here), certainly doesn't get you 'in the mood'. Once you had washed your face with soap or whatever you found within reach, for one day you still had these feminine black rims around your eyes. We looked like fuckin' HIM (of all bands). So much for our 'evil' period.

People always tend to idealize the underground scene. What is the underground scene? Do you consider yourselves an underground band and why? Do you tend to idealize it?

Using the term underground has the benefit of sounding 'subversive', 'not selling out' and suggests an association with subversive culture, a sense of belonging to a community. It doesn't say if a band is worth your attention or not, but saying 'lesser-known metal band' doesn't quite create the same impact. We could call ourselves an underground band for the simple reason that it's the scene where we came from and the scene to which we've always contributed some music (which, of course, doesn't mean that other people can't listen to our music). I don't think I'm the type of person to idealize it. I do appreciate the genuine enthusiasm with which fans organize gigs, set up distros/mailorders, labels, magazines, trade music, create all kinds of communities to discuss and recommend music, etc. Your own magazine is a telling example of that. On the downside, the metal scene also tends to be hugely conservative and narrow-minded, although things may have changed for the better.

Two rather personal questions: what is your life's philosophy? And if you could change one thing about the world we live in, what would it be?

You ask me to summarize my philosophy of life, my worldview, just like that? That's a tough one. I'm an atheist, but not a religious one – that means agnostic most of the time, as we can't rule out the possibility of there being a world other than the natural one. I doubt there's many people who can actually live their life's philosophy, if they have one at all. Personal integrity is important to me, but it's not so self-evident. We often sacrifice it when we want to play along in our social games. I'm afraid I'll have to go mad if I really want to answer your second question – so much to choose from and so much opportunity to blunder.

The festive season is upon us again and the commercial aspects are hard to ignore. Do you think your new CD will be lying under the Christmas tree?

Yeah, squeezed in between the latest Harry Potter and a mobile Rudolf Rednose sex-toy.

We have come to the final part of this little interview. And to make sure we do not end it on a sad note, I have a couple of so-called or-statements. Please choose one of each. You do not have to explain your choice; you may of course if you really want to. It is just some silly thing I came up with and I would like to see if and how it works.

Coffee or tea: – coffee, no sugar, no milk.
God or Satan: – both, but you can call me Mir-h iD.
Black or white: – black (no sugar, no milk)
Day or night: – I can't sleep with all that coffee.
Left or right: – just put it on the table.
Ham or cheese: – what, to go with the coffee?
Man or woman: – woman! I'm a man though.
Snakes or ladders: – nah, boring board game
Young or old: – why, fresh coffee
Flora or fauna: – oh, are we going to the zoo?
Optimist or pessimist: – I think we really are going to the zoo.
Cart or horse: – On horse back. What's a cart without a horse?
Up or down: – It's up the road. Don't we have any other means of transport?
Car or bike: – We can go on foot.
Walk or run: – I feel like running. What's that you're poking in your eye?
Knife or fork: – Can't you see it yourself? What were you trying to hit anyway?
Spider or fly: – this is getting too silly for me.

Thank you for your time and energy. I will leave the final words to you.

Thanks very much for the interview, Carl. It's been an honor. Usually I get tedious set-questions, so this interview was great to do for a change. For readers who'd like to have a listen, I've put up two songs on our MySpace account (www.myspace.com/ordodraconis) and low-fi samples are available for download on our website: www.ordodraconis.com. (Better still, buy the album!)