INTERVIEW: Lord Sargofagian – Baptism

BAPTISM have been thriving in Finland’ black meal scene for eighteen years, bringing forward shredding onslaught and darkness. In the wake of their new album V: The Devil’s Fire (read our review here), we interviewed vocalist and guitarist, Lord Sargofagian to get an insight into the new album and future plans.

It’s been just over a year since the release of Gloria Tibi Satana and now V: The Devil’s Fire is set to be released later this month, that’s a relatively short period of time between them, how has the band progressed in that time?

Lord S: Hails! The band is feeling good and has progressed better than ever after the very intensive studio sessions and working with this upcoming V: The Devil’s Fire album. Gloria Tibi Satana was just a compilation with all old 7” ep, and other smaller records, so I do it by myself. No other members were involved with that project. But results were good anyway.

Can you describe the writing and recording process for V: The Devil’s Fire?

Lord S: It all started right after the latest As The Darkness Enters album. There was one song that did not fit any other plans and not in  As The Darkness Enters either. So I started to make some plans for the future album with that Buried with Him song and an idea of a couple of lyrics. It all took so many years and long time, so I feel de-stressed now it’s finally coming out soon. Anyway, every time I make new songs, I have a writing process, it takes a very long time, I feel the need for perfectionism every time. Recording sessions were the easiest after the hardest ever writing process. We changed many things; I mean studio, engineer, artworks etc. So we started from the bottom line, and gave it our best work so far.

What makes V: The Devil’s Fire stand out, what can listeners expect?

Lord S: Listeners can hear just True Black Metal with good production whilst maintaining that raw quality. Also some fresh ideas and some typical trademark riffs of mine as well. Listeners can expect to hear REALLY good music.

What are the messages, themes and concepts on the record?

Lord S: The messages are similar to how my black metal always is, to search for new ways to worship our lord Satan, and putting things together. For example the cover artwork says, here there was three elements of the concept, the lion who stands with the values, eating lamb, Devil’s fire background and pool of blood where it leads to the crimson sea and it grows into a flaming tree…

The history and development of Baptism can be categorised into eras. With Baptism being in era V, would you say this is your strongest era to date?

Lord S: Yes I would say that, the biggest reason why, is our newest line-up and we also have good spirit in our band. No one pisses me off these days and everyone knows what to do live and in the studio. I’m looking forward to many more years to come and maybe Era Six will be the best, but we live in this moment right now.

You’ve experienced a series of lineup changes over time – has this ever affected the band’s natural development?

Lord S: Yes, like I already said, this is natural development, all happened with reason, and I’m good with those moves. And I’m really looking forward to the our future….

What bands/musicians influence your music?

Lord S: I don’t listen to much black metal music nowadays. Nature inspires me a lot nowadays, however if you want to hear what old bands I listen to and what bands started my interest, these are: MAYHEM, BURZUM, SATYRICON, old Norwegian stuff, MÜTIILATIONVLAD TEPES and some French underground. Also there are many good bands outside of black metal music. When I’m writing new music, I don’t listen to any music, it’s mostly thinking, no need to listen any music, therefore I think nothing influences me too much.

What did you enjoy the most about getting V: The Devil’s Fire together?

Lord S: I liked being in the studio the most to make the art, this was the easiest and least stressful part, the writing part is always difficult for me and it takes years….

What are your hopes and aspirations for V: The Devil’s Fire?

Lord S: All my work is done for a while or maybe longer, so I don’t have too much hope about it anymore. I hope people will get the spirit about album, and understand the meaning of my black metal music…

Finland is well known for its thriving metal scene, does this help in promoting your music or do you find there is a lot of competition between bands?

Lord S: I’ve never seen this as some kind of competition between bands…There are some good old scene bands and some new ones. I’m glad if someone is getting a good response and some fans with their music. I think we have first class bands in black metal and some copycats as well, also some good newcomers. Most important is every band makes their  own sound and music…

You’ve just recently played at Flammen Open Air in Germany, how did that performance go for you?

Lord S: The festival was good, also good organisation and hospitality. But our audience was not the best, we need to play in darkness, I don’t like festival shows that much, we are best in the club audience. We want to share spirit and energy in good audiences, black metal needs to be played in darkness, if it’s possible.

It has been quite a while since you last toured, will you be touring sometime in the foreseeable future; will you maybe visit the UK?

Lord S: I hope so. I hope we can play there first sometime soon. I made a new deal with District 19 booking & management, so I hope that helps us to get better live shows, also in UK scene…

We will close by offering you the floor. Is there anything you’d like to say to the readers of Distorted Sound?

Lord S: Thanks for the interview and check out our new album out 22nd of July!

V: The Devil’s Fire is out now via Season of Mist.

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