HORTUS ANIMAE (for Rock Hard Magazine #36)

Interview was prepared by NECRODEUTCHER666 (Rock Hard Magazine #36)

Even though you have been on the scene since 1997, you released only 4 full-length albums. Why? Do you prefer quality over quantity?
Martyr Lucifer: Hi. Of course quality is always more important than quantity. But that’s not the reason. Simply the band has been “frozen” for nearly ten years and during that time we almost didn’t meet with each other.

Tell us something about your career, how the band evolved through the years? What caused the break between 2008 and 2013?
ML: I released the official statement about our break in 2008 but actually we weren’t doing things since 2006, right after we released The Blow of Furious Winds in 2005. It’s not something that we decided, we simply got caught by our life issues, those who moved, those who got married, jobs, etc.
And going to the first part of your question, the band has always had members with an open mind when it comes to music, and even though we never had a too busy live schedule with Hortus Animae we all had different side-projects in different music styles and that’s another factor that helped our evolution through a sound that never seen any boundaries, and that often made Hortus Animae a band really hard to categorize.

What convinced you to bring the band back to life?
ML: It was 2012. We had put out two rather successful releases: the “Funeral Nation” boxset and the “Funeral Nation MMXII” 2 CD compilation. There had been a very positive feedback from fans and press, we started receiving a large amount of mails asking for our return. So... We weren’t really planning it but I think I can say that all of us really had something inside, we still had a big will to do some new Hortus Animae music together again. And then it was more or less easy, we worked a lot and really paced and shortly after we had “Secular Music” in our hands, ready to be released.

After “resurrection” you released only one album – “Secular Music” in 2014. What does the name mean?
ML: In the beginning the working title of the album had to be “At the End of Doomsday”, as one of its leading tracks. But then I came across the “Secular Music” expression. I kinda got flashed, because it really seemed to me like the perfect title for our comeback album, because it fully represents us both musically and conceptually. “Secular Music” basically means that we’ve always had (and still we have today) a “profane” approach to music and lyrics, so we found it particularly iconic to describe in two words our return but also our whole career. The other guys loved it and so we went for it.

This year you released EP “There’s No Sanctuary”. It includes also 4 cover songs of Norwegian legends IMMORTAL, BURZUM, EMPEROR and MAYHEM. Why did you choose these songs? Is it a tribute to these legends?
ML: It’s clearly a tribute to one of the music scenes that contributed alot to our musical development, moreover we just had played (Xmas 2015) a Norwegian Black Metal Tribute gig at the Vampyria Club in Italy, and we had some of those songs still in our hands. The whole EP follows some sort of Norwegian theme, also due to the presence of Liv Kristine in the title track, our personal tribute to the quintessential Black Metal Country.

How did you get to cooperation with Liv Kristine in song “There’s no Sanctuary”? Do you consider cooperation again one day in the future?
ML: We already had worked with Liv many years ago for a cover version of “Summoning of the Muse” for a Dead Can Dance tribute album. We kept in touch among the years and it made sense for us to work with her again to make our return more complete. Of course it is possible that we will work with her again in the future as she is an amazing friend and artist.

What about new album? Do you already have some plans, etc. when you want to release next stuff, which label will you choose and so on…
ML: Right now we don’t have any specific plan about the next album, but we already had talked about it and it’s possible that we will start working on it in 2017. It’s premature to talk about labels for now, but we will surely choose the one that suits our music proposal the most.

Next year you will be celebrating 20 years on the scene, are you planning any special show, celebration or something like that?2016 10 11 185324
ML: Oh yes, time flies fast. Yes, we will play some special commemorative gigs playing songs from all our albums. We’re also preparing a celebratory EP, so many surprises are always on the way, ahah.

What about live performances? Will be part of live shows also Liv Kristine? Will there be possibility to see you live in Czech republic and Slovakia?
ML: We’ve never played live too much, but still we had the chance to play gigs with great acts like Lacuna Coil, Napalm Death and Necrodeath among others. After our comeback we started to play live much more than in the past and, hell yeah, we’re coming to your country during a tour we’ll do through Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia in company of the German thrash metal veterans Necronomicon.
Unfortunately I think it’ll be hard to organize gigs with Liv, due to her busy schedules but... Never say never!

Few of band members are also part of SPACE MIRRORS, it looks like you are (as well as me) fans of H.P. Lovecraft? Do you think his work was really timeless? Is there any Lovecraft’s message in HORTUS ANIMAE work?
ML: I definitely think Lovecraft’s works are timeless. I have a huge collection of his books, even in different editions, in my shelves. But there is almost no trace of his work in Hortus Animae’s lyrics, if not just in the song “Luciferian an Twilight”, an old one. But still together with many other authors he contributed to form my vision and my expressive vehicle.

Any last words?
ML: Thank you for this interview and we really look forward to rocking your country! Cheers!

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