About Me

Interview with Summoning

Summoning is a band that doesn’t need presentations! Metal Imperium had a conversation with Protector and Silenius to know more about the band's new album "In Doom We Come", set to be released in January 2018, the year that marks the 25th anniversary of the band's existence.

M.I. - Hello! It’s a pleasure to interview you again. Your records are awesome and I am a huge fan! Hope you have been fine! The band has posted a photograph on Facebook which shows discs with the new album and fans went wild… what can they expect of the new album?

Silenius: this time they can expect a kind of follow up to OMD, that’s because basically all songs are made out from riffs and half-finished songs from that session. We also tried to make a similar sound and a similar concept, so more or less you can compare it a little bit to “Twilight of the goods" to "Hammerheart" or "Ancient Dreams" to "Nightfall". The only "new" thing is the vocal style of protector in his songs. We realised a lot of surprised fan reactions and that´s kind of funny, because this new perceived vocal style is by the way a very old one, that was used on Stronghold for the first time. On the other side we again made 3 instrumental songs for the album. This is also not new but since “Dol guldur” we did not use instrumental songs too often in our releases, as far as I can remember just as a bonus for the last one, and of course to be seen beside the usual intro songs.

M.I. - We already know it’s called “With doom we come”… why?

Silenius: normally I have a piece of paper on which I write down proposed song titles out from poems or songs or other lyrics. Usually I have around 50 different words or phrases from which I can choose. some of those snippets i used for song titles and for quite a long time "conquest" was supposed to be the end title of the album, but somehow I was not quite satisfied with it because it reminded me a lot of the movie "conquest of paradise" and the song from "Vangelis", but in the end I found this phrase "with doom we come" from the song of the Ents marching to Isengard and I kind of liked this phrase and so it became the title of the album. 

M.I. - New album “With doom we come” will be released in January 2018 and it is long waited by your fans… why did it take you almost 5 years to release new material?

Silenius: Protector will explain it in the following questions, so I make it short. First of all 5 years is not really long for Summoning. As far as I can remember it took us 7 years to release "Old Mornings Dawn" and second the album was composed quite fast - I think within 1 or 2 years within the last release. But then, when we had to find the right sound, a lot of troubles arose which Protector will explain later. 

M.I. - I’ve read that the new album, stylistically will be a continuation of “Old Morning’s Dawn”, including similar depressive atmospheres and the integration of material intended for said album. Is that correct? Why wasn’t it included in OMD then? Why 5 years to release material that was already written?

Protector: it was our plan for OMD to make more songs than we will use, so that we can choose which one is best and drop the ones that we don’t like so much. Anyway after the release we realised that the song-fragments and riffs which we left over, where too good to throw them away but we could also not put them on the CD because the CD was already very long. So right after the release of OMD I was quite active and worked on those song fragments and quite soon there were already some kind of semi-finished songs ... but then the troubles came with Silenius and is new super pedantery concerning the sound, what slowed us really down.

M.I. - Also the melody lines might harken back to the older material, specifically “Oath Bound” and “Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your fame”. Why this return to your roots? 

Protector: hmm .... we hear this for the first time, no one compared the new album with those albums before - the choice of the songs we decided to leave for "In doom we come" was not done because of some stylistic preferences. For us the songs on the new album are more or less in the style of OMD; most of the melodies were created at that time and the sound settings of the last mix did also not change very much.

M.I. - Are you still inspired by Tolkien’s work? From which poems or writings did you extract/ inspire your lyrics for this album?

Silenius: yes of course, and this will not change as long as Summoning exists. I think meanwhile it is clear for everyone that the only reason for the existence of Summoning is to make musical translations and musical pictures from middle earth. This is what Summoning is all about, nothing more, nothing less. But of course besides using lyrics from Tolkien himself we also used again lyrics from different writers and poets; some unknown and some more famous. I think one is from Edgar Allen Poe, and one of the fans already realised that this lyric already was used for "Arcturus" in one of their older releases.  

M.I. - The band said that “The past years have been a time of troubles, setbacks, disputes - and of resulting frustration.” What happened? Did these problems influence the emotions portrayed in the new album?

Protector: as described before, the new songs started quite fast but got stuck after a while, when Silenius joined the mix. I already made some finished songs and mixed them as good as I thought in order to present them to Silenius so that he could give comments on it, tell me what he thought was good and what he wanted to improve (as we always do), but this time he was totally unsatisfied with almost everything I did. Instead of fixing some small mistakes we almost rearranged many songs, constantly switched some orchestral sound, then switched them back, changed the octave pitch etc. This was a really horrible time for me, because we did not progress in sound for more than 2 years. The whole time I had no idea what Silenius did not like about the song, I just did what he said while losing more and more my passion, and not understanding any of his commands, but I kept my patience. Finally when I thought that this boring period was over and we checked the sound in order to prepare it for a release he started saying that the sound was shitty, that he couldn’t understand why I liked the guitar-sound (which is 100% the same like the one on OMD, which he liked very much) etc. etc. so I understood that it was not a matter of sound, but rather a matter of some psychologic changes in Silenius that caused all the problems. I was already about to give Summoning up, because Summoning always meant passion for me, and not some boring monotonous job-like routine. Anyway, after that we had some talks, Silenius came back to reality and the album could continue in a satisfying way. 

M.I. - The band hasn’t been active live and doesn’t seem to have the intention to do it… however, I bet you have received quite attractive proposals to do it… why do you keep on turning them down? Would you consider saying Yes if someone offered you the right conditions?

Protector: the reasons why we don’t play live did not change during all those decades. We simply don’t consider Summoning as music made for the stages, but as music made to listen at home in a relaxed atmosphere. 95% of our time while we work with Summoning we spend on composition, mixing of the sound etc. Only a small percentage of the time we spend with singing and I spend with recording the guitars. As the base of our music is created with keyboard which we record as midi directly after we composed them, there is no need for any rehearsals, and one I finished playing the guitar-riffs for a song, I am happy that it’s over and never play that riff again. So you can see, the physical act of playing a song is totally not the centre of Summoning, but any live concert would exactly focus on that act. I guess nobody enjoys watching a band that does something on stage that they don’t really like. Good live musicians must love standing on the stage and love playing their instrument - they should be people who would suffer if they have to spend some days without being able to play their instruments, not people like us who are happy not to touch our instruments for many years. We prefer to use our rare time beside our jobs to create new songs, but not to reproduce the old ones. 

M.I. - The year of 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the band… will the new album be a way to celebrate this special milestone? Did you ever expect to be in the music industry for so long? Are you planning on doing anything special to mark the occasion? (Like a concert? That would be awesome!!!)

Protector: well, to be honest I never expected anything and I never really cared. I did not even care those times if we get a contract or not, it just happened because Silenius put some effort on it. 

Silenius: no, there will not be any special celebration and the new album also shall not be seen as a kind of anniversary release. Napalm Records always ask us for a complete box set, but somehow I do not want to release such a thing, simply because I am too lazy for such a big work to collect all the old stuff, write a kind of memory sheet for all releases, make a special mix and so on and so on... I have seen the immense work TT from Abigor had with its box set so this scared me away from doing it. Maybe this will be a kind of topic when Summoning is over and out and this would be a kind of final release. All in all of course when we started with Summoning we never would have thought to be so long active, but now we are of course thankful for what we have achieved. Somehow we have found a kind of niche for this band and fans seem to like this music. so that is of course a great success for us. 

M.I. - Of all your releases, which do you think portrays the essence of Summoning the best?

Protector: I always give the same answer to that question: for me it is always the last album, as the last one reflects my current taste of music most. If there was anything on the current album that I would not be totally satisfied with, then I would have done it differently. My musical taste changes of course, and so does the music of Summoning – in the past I liked for example those palm-mut guitar-riffs which you can hear on LMHSYF, but when I got bored about them I played the guitars more in an open style as I do now. Of course there are quite legendary albums like "minas morgul" because it created the real musical revolution, changing our style from traditional black metal to something new, but this does not make it the best album for me, because the newer ones are far more advanced and with much more melodic and rhythm details.

M.I. - Summoning are so enigmatic and mysterious… do you think it helps increase your cult status?

Silenius: maybe, I am not sure. What is sure that most of the other bands like to present themselves in any ways, may it be photos, may it be facebook presentation, or are simply live touring. We do the complete opposite and put ourselves as persons always away from Summoning and the music. Meanwhile we are just  kind of avatar pictures of us, and this brings this mysterious look. And of course we have never changed our presentation and musical concept since the beginning. Even Lugburz had a lot of similarities to the later style and concept of what Summoning is all about. 

M.I. - The band only has 2 members: Protector and Silenius… it’s the best way for you to work? Are you perfectionists?

Protector: I think the fact that we are only a duo explains why after so many years we did not break up. Most bands split because of tensions of one or more members between each other. We also had those tensions recently but as we were just two people we could fix them quite fast. Apart from that there is simply no need for any third person, because there is no musical task left that we could not do on our own. We both write melodies for the album but have different musical jobs afterwards. Silenius deals with the choice of lyrics and the choice of the paintings for the artwork, while I deal with the recording, mixing, and layout of the paintings he chose. Those jobs don’t interfere with each other and are enough to create a complete perfect Summoning album. Any additional member would just disturb and make things more complicated.

M.I. - All of your 8 full-lengths have been released by Napalm Records which means they are probably doing a good job. What’s the most important quality in a label? What should musicians look for in a label when signing a record deal?

Silenius: I think the reason why we are still on Napalm is because they are not far away from us and the communication therefore is very easy. Max is a good friend of mine and they have been supporting us right from the beginning and like everything we do musically… I like the continuation. Of course a lot has changed over all those years and meanwhile we are the last dinosaurs on this label which has changed their presentation and their bands drastically since the beginning. I think nowadays Summoning has not really a chance to be signed under a label as Napalm and compared to the other bands Summoning does not fit at all to their present band rooster, but that is not really important. On the other hand, Napalm is a big commercial label nowadays which of course has more possibilities in terms of advertising or distribution than smaller independent labels do not have.  

M.I. - Are you a fan of Game of Thrones, considering it seems to be quite Tolkien-ish?

Silenius: no, at least for me, I am a fan of this tv-series, but of course in contrary to Tolkien this fantasy world takes its fascination less from the fantasy elements but more from the cruel politics which is presented there. 

M.I. - Wolfspell Records have released a very cool tribute sampler called "In Mordor where the shadows are" of a lot of bands doing their own version of Summoning songs from all decades. How flattered do you feel? Have you listened to this? What’s your opinion about it?

Silenius: yes I really liked this compilation a lot. The whole presentation is great and the majority of bands really did a great job. I think there are a few bands among this compilation which have the potential to get big. That’s for example a big difference to the tribute sampler "and in the darkness bind them" which was released some years before. The creator of this sampler also did a great job when it comes to the presentation, but honestly there are more bands included who did just an average job, or could have done better.

M.I. - It was a pleasure talking to you again. Please share a message with all your Portuguese fans.

Silenius: thanks a lot for this great interview and as always: up the hammers to all our fans in Portugal. 

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca