Interview mit Andras Nagy von Sear Bliss

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„Letters From The Edge“ is one of those albums where the cover artwork already reveals a lot about the music. But SEAR BLISS mastermind Andras Nagy reveals even more about the masterpiece of progressive Black Metal in an interview.

Your new album „Letters From The Edge“ has just been released. After all those years in the business, were you still nervous before the release?
Not nervous but very excited. Actually I had the same feeling and enthusiasm I felt when we released our first album „Phantoms“ back in ‘96. The reason for this is that the chemistry in the band is so good now and we wrote the album in a pretty old school way.“

How do your fans react on the album? It’s a bit more progressive and diverse, a bit less black metal once more. Are there people who complain about that?
The reactions are really good. People seem to dig the album, even though it’s a pretty difficult one and requires time. I’ve heard of just a very few complains, saying that our new album is post black metal. I didn’t even heard of the term post black metal and I don’t know what it represents. We are far too old to jump on any new trend.This makes the album more diverse, on the one hand, but sometimes almost a little kitschy („Abandoned Peaks“). What inspires you for this slight change regarding the musical approach?
Our previous album was released six years ago and we released only two albums in the last ten years actually, therefor it’s natural that there are changes in our music as we grow older. We are pretty open minded on the other hand, never afraid of exploring different paths. However, the main reason for the change of the musical approach is that we wrote this album in a very old fashioned way. Very different compared to how the last few albums were written. We rented an old castle in the countryside in the middle of winter and put the whole album together as a band. We wanted to avoid the impersonal approach of writing music on the internet. So, in the end, all these changes resulted in a different album. In addition to that, I believe we have the best line up in the history of the band now.

Compared with „The Arcane Odyssey“ from 2007 it’s not real „black metal“ anymore, some could say. Was this development intentional? What do you think about black metal, do you listen still a lot to traditional black metal?
Oh yeah, I still listen to black metal a lot. But many other tunes as well. On the other hand, SEAR BLISS never was a traditional black metal band. Our influences have always been more diverse. Plus we never had two albums with the same line-up, however, I think this sequence will brake now. To answer your question, nothing was intentional. We just expressed what we felt. We didn’t care about genres or expectations. In black metal, I always liked innovative bands. I believe black metal must be innovative. Following certain clichés and rules are not my cup of tea.

As black-metal-band with trombone, SEAR BLISS have been outstanding – don’t you fear to give up this extraordinary status when jumping into the huge pool of „avantgardish-bm-bands“?
At the age of 40, I don’t really fear of what others think. People already know that all our albums differ from each other. On the other hand, our previous album Eternal Recurrence was way more „avantgardish“. In case of „Letters From The Edge“ the only thing that matters for us is that it is our most personal album so far, and writing such a record is a very sincere thing. It is beyond the limitations of genres.

What is „Letters From The Edge“ about, is there a lyrical concept, and how important are the lyrics for you at all?
Oh yes, there is a really heavy lyrical concept this time. Previously, lyrics played a different kind of role in SEAR BLISS. Now they tell real stories and they are of course extremely important for me. The lines are brutally honest and writing them gave me a great relief afterwards. The amount of pain, anger and frustration in them is terrifying but also sort of therapic. „Letters From The Edge“ is about what I’ve been through personally lately.

The artwork is a very modern, expressionistic painting. Why is this picture the perfect visualisation for the music, and what can you tell us about the picture? Was it painted as artwork for the album, or where did you find it?
Like I said, the whole album is very personal in every way, so we decided to add something personal to the visual aspect too. This painting is actually a so-called body print, made by our guitar player Attila. He used carefully selected colours on his body and rolled over on a canvas. The result was both symbolic and substantive. Also, in the booklet we used my handwriting which contributes well to this personal atmosphere.

Would you say, your work with Arkhē influenced you regarding the songwriting for „Letters From The Edge“?
Maybe a little bit. But only in terms of experience. To write the Arkhē album was a really huge effort and probably it gave me some skills and helped me to express myself better but I write music for SEAR BLISS in a totally different state of mind. The Arkhē album is kind of a solo album. SEAR BLISS is more like a band.

By the way: Will there be another Arkhē-Release in the future?
Yes, definitely. I have already started writing music for a new album but right now SEAR BLISS takes all priority. My plan is to work on it closely next year. Arkhē became a complete band meanwhile, so hopefully it won’t take so long this time. I’m pretty excited. I have some very interesting new tunes already written. Can’t wait to record them.

What are the next steps with SEAR BLISS now? Are you planning to go on tour with the new album?
We definitely want to go on tour with this album and we already have many shows booked for 2019. Regarding German dates, we will play in Dark Easter Metal Meeting in April and Dark Troll Festival in May. Can’t wait!

Thank you for the interview! Please let us do a short brainstorming in the end of this interview. What comes in your mind first reading the following terms:
Good beer and krautrock.
Religion: An excuse for wars, tool for mass hypnosis, source of stupidity.
Trombone: Zoltan, our trombone player J
Black Metal: Darkthrone – Under a funeral moon
Your favorite album at the moment: Manes – „Slow Motion Death Sequence“
SEAR BLISS in 10 years: Probably still around.

Once again thanks for your time. The last words are yours – is there anything left you want to tell our readers?
Thanks very much for your support. I appreciate it a lot.


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