Interview with Attic

Metal Addicts – Hi guys! This Poleto, and I’m with Metal Addicts. Congrats for your album “Sanctimonious.” As I wrote in my review, I really thought you were a black metal band. By the way, I felt a great deal of Merciful Fate in your effort, and some people stand up for the theory that they are one of the forefathers of black metal along with Venom. Have you ever considered that position?

Attic – Hi Poleto, this is Chris, I’m the bass guy for Attic, thanks for your interview request.

So to answer your first question: First of all thanks for your words, regarding our new record. It has been a long journey since our debut on Dec. 2012 and we worked on it ever since and almost until the end of the recording sessions, to give every single of the 13 Tracks a appropriate fine-tuning. Since 2012 we’ve been touring and playing live a lot, there was a lineup change regarding our drummer and thus to create “Sanctimonious” was a quite versatile process .

The comparison of  Mercyful Fate and Venom being the forefathers of Black Metal is interesting and I must admit, I thought about such thing in the past in some way. I think both, MF and Venom, have had a huge influence when it comes to the aggression of their guitar play and especially the looks of Cronos to be set as a mark for BM Performance. Venom wrote the Song “Black Metal”, and so I think without them we’d never came across that name as such an important and fundamental pillar in nowadays extreme and as well occult Metal scene, not even by coincidence. But maybe we can go back and find the forefathers and roots as well in the outfits of Kiss and in the morbid fascination of death and dying in Alice Cooper’s stage performance, and those two named have had a major Influence in MF and Venom later, so that they as well could be the ancestors of BM nowadays and especially in the early 90s. But since you asked, for me, in my personal opinion, the child that later grew up to be the Black Metal as we call it today  was spawned with the first riffs of Quorthon’s “Hades” on his first Bathory album  in 1984.

Metal Addicts“Sanctimonious” is a concept album. It tells the story of four characters: Sister Alice (Age 21), Abbess Margaret (Age 71), Sister Joan (Age 28), Prioress Clare (Age 43) in a convent. The cover art is pretty nice and related to the story. I saw an implied tough critique to the Roman Catholic Church and its procedures. You guys did a great job in using the terms in Latin and telling some details of life in a cloister. How did you come up with the idea? Are you religious in some sort? Will the following album be a concept too?

Attic – Well, religion is a construable term, but if you mean, if we’re followers of the Christ and if this gave us the influence and will to write “Sanctimonious”, the answer is definitely a No! In fact I think this album – even if you can’t find any relations to Satanic or Anti-Christian terms this time (in opposite to our debut)- will be seen as a threat to christian belief by most observant christians and the story told considered as not even possible. Even if comparable cases as the story of “Sanctimonious” just have been revealed in England recently. But these haven’t been the influence for us as well. In fact, Meister Cagliostro came up with the first Ideas for the album in the early days of ATTIC and developed a raw story already during the making of “The Invocation” and shortly after. Very soon it was sure, where this horror story shall take place, and especially when, and from this day on It was time to study the history books, to make sure, the listener and fan will have a flawless experience, listening to the album. This as well in the content of the story as in the architecture shown on those more than 10 Illustrations, which were created for us by Misanthropic-Arts. The cover was again, as the first album created by Markus Vesper, and both artists worked very well and effective with the band, our music, lyrics and imagination so that we all together could visualize “Sanctimonious” easier and faster than expected. And together with the knowledge in valuable LP and CD envelopes of  Ván Records and Druckwerkstatt, we managed to assemble this great works as one to an extraordinary and unique outcome.

It’s fun that you ask me about the third album, as the second one is still hot from the  pressing plant, but actually during the making, we had some great results in the rehearsal room, which were musically and lyrically just not fitting for “Sanctimonious” yet still they were as ambitious and well conceived. But to answer your question: the third album will be about a certain topic, but to this day its not planned to be a concept album as such. One reason, why almost 5 years have passed during the first release, was, that creating a concept album with such detail takes time. If we wanted to create another concept album, we’d do it straight away, and then take the time again, even if its another five years. But we don’t have the need and ambition to do this right now, since the ideas and concepts for the follow up are already great  and we don’t want to do all the same again. Who knows, maybe the fouth one will be.

Metal Addicts – Many of the good names for metal bands are already taken, but you came up with a very nice one. Who suggested it? Where does the inspiration come from?

Attic – An attic is a dark and spooky place where you can lie down things from your personal past and this is what we do with our music where we put in things of us for someone else to find. If you want to get to know something about us you have to search on the “ATTIC” because this is where we store our thoughts and emotions. I don’t remember who got  the idea but we liked everything that we associate with this word no matter if it is something personal or just memories to horror movies or something like that. It is a strong word with a lot to imagine about.

Metal Addicts – Some time ago, Amon Amarth commented that they were lucky because they started playing in the 1990s when the musical industry was different and they could make a living with selling albums. Mastodon also commented that they have to get a lot of gigs to make some money, and by some sort, that think that is not healthy. In addition to that, Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer told that you have to be much more creative these days. How about you guys? Is it difficult to get gigs? Any plans to play overseas outside Europe?

Attic – Oh, you’ve just opened the box of the Pandora for me, since it’s a topic, which occupies me a lot. And I don’t know where to start. I think that Amon Amarth were very lucky to have started up in that period as a lot of bands were. You could just plug in your guitar and create a complete new genre. Especially in the 80s that was the case. But I honestly must admit: even with the love for the bands of the 80s, as they almost didn’t make any mistakes with their music in that era, many, and I mean MANY bands wouldn’t have any chance with the same music these days. And if they’d find a great and big audience, they wouldn’t make a living on it as they do today. And that’s no offense, in fact, they created something for eternity, and we all (yes, including me) love it. I don’t want to name special bands, since I love most of those I would name now, and I don’t wanna be seen as if I wouldn’t appreciate what they have done for us today, and for the music back then.

But I would agree with Schaffer: Nowadays you have to be more creative, because you can’t invent something new, and if you do the old stuff, people get bored or want to stick with the bands and albums they already knew and which has established and approved. Just look at  Insane from Italy with their Slayer tribute in 2005 or Guillotine from Sweden with their Kreator tribute in 1997. Both great albums and almost the same music as of their Idols, yet they didn’t get as much attention as they deserved, even if there’s such a huge Slayer and Kreator community. Highly appreciated in underground metal though. But sill: where are these bands today. We’re living in a world of constant growth and expansion. Sadly this reflects as well on the music. The old school Metal lovers are getting less and less. People want to hear either totally new stuff or the as I said approved one. You need to find a way, to make them say “hey, wow its something new, but it reminds me of…” and that’s difficult to not just recycle old stuff that has already been there. And if you do the same thing the following album, as on the one before, is not innovative enough. If you deliver something new, its not good enough as the one before. A long time ago, I told my singer, the second album is gonna suck. And that’s not because we were bad musicians, or the fans have a bad taste, that’s because its difficult, to find the balance of creating something new, but still is the stuff, the people expect, since they fell in love with your band. Lets hope that I’m wrong, haha.

Since we in ATTIC don’t want to change our music and style, that’s why we put so much effort in the albums story and layout, the videos of the title track and the “Hound of Heaven” and as well our live shows, that we try to expand as much as it is possible for an underground band. And we start with that before every show, as we always try to bring a compilation of music with us, which we’ve selected to bring the people in the right mood and spread the right atmosphere for an ATTIC ritual. You not only need to stay musically but also visually in the minds of the people, to establish for a longer time. And that’s as well were Schaffer is right, you can’t just start to play, and rely on your great musical abilities, like back then. Today, the shows are the – let’s simply and sadly call it – product you make the money with, if you aim for that and try to make a living on it. But this as well is a vicious circle. If you want to make a living as an underground band, you have to play everywhere at any time. This makes you less attractive for the fans in a long term, and the people sooner or later won’t show up for your concerts. So the only way of getting out of that circle, is to grow extraordinary fast. It’s possible, but hard, and not always successful. And that’s a topic that bothers me a lot. Luckily for us its not difficult to get gigs, but maybe that’s as well because of the look of our live shows. There is a “Sanctimonious” tour planned for later that year, and of course we would love to play overseas, as US or Japan, to spread our music even more, but we still didn’t get any offers yet.

Metal Addicts – I watched the official video for “The Hound Of Heaven” and I noticed the two guitarists playing with Gibson’s Flying Vs as the mighty Accept used to. Is Accept a great influence in your career?

Attic“The Hound of Heaven” is the manifestation of the story on a third level along with the music and the drawings, and I hope that every viewer will get the whole story latest when being familiar with the rest of the album. And well, even if Accept formed our musical taste in a notable way, the choice of the guitars was not influenced by them. Flying Vs just kick ass, and they noticed that as one of the first bands, haha. So, if someone would disassemble our music, they would not only find Accept in it, but as well a lot of the impressions, that Iron Maiden did on us with their two-part guitar riffs, Judas Priest in the faster ones, and even if we don’t want to do black or extreme metal, you’ll find riffs on the new album, which will remind you of “Denial of God,” “Dissection” and even “Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin” and those Giallo movie soundtracks of the 60s and 70s.

Metal Addicts – Talking about influences, it’s impossible not to mention the great taste of early Merciful Fate in “Sanctimonious,” mainly the singer. Did it come naturally? How to avoid comparisons?

Attic – It’s impossible to avoid them. In fact, almost everywhere we play, there is at least two or three persons comparing us to them. And that’s okay, if they hear that in our music. Its only sad, when people come up to us and tell us, we’re just a cheap copy, because that was never and will never be intended. At least musically. So we actually don’t agree that much with that whole MF/KD comparison, but of course see the similarity in the Vocals and the live shows pretty much. There was a time, we wanted to avoid any comparisons but we pretty soon had to recapitulate, since our ambition and the sacred look of our shows are in the end getting in their direction and thus I again can understand all the People comparing us. So finally we even played a cover of MF’s Black Funeral at Keep it true Festival in 2013, which is also available on YouTube, for those interested.

Meister Cagliostro started up singing in his early days as a teenager. And the main influences for him back then were indeed the King, Rob Halford, and Crimson Glory’s Midnight, alongside other people he really admires and who influenced his singing as for Example James Rivera, Tim Baker and Gerrit Mutz of Sacred Steel.

Metal Addicts – Well, I guess that’s all. Congrats for the great effort. Wish you the best! Keep the Metal rolling!

Attic – Thank you very much, and as well again for the review of our Album. I hope “Sanctimonious” will be as exciting to listen to for everyone, as it was for us in the making.  August 18th will teach all of you a lesson in utter Horror and darkened Heavy Metal. Cheers!