ARDE (DEU) – Interview – 26/04/2022 🇬🇧


Versión en español

For those of you who might not be familiar with the name ARDE, this is your chance to get to know this excellent international atmospheric black metal band «with punk attitude», who released its second album, Ancestral Cult, during the turbulent 2021.

Subterráneo Webzine: Welcome! We always like to start by asking who’s answering the questions and what’s on your player while you do so. Any interesting musical recommendations?

Kato: Hey thanks for the opportunity, I’m the vocalist in the band, and right now I was listening to the newest outputs by MALIGNANT ALTAR and MESHUGGAH… Only crazy shit on my player for recovering from my job.

Łukasz: hello, I’m Łukasz and I play drums in the band. Thank you for giving us this chance to talk about the band and other stuff on the pages of the Subterráneo Webzine. It is truly appreciated! Right now I listen to HELDE, a black metal band from Basque Country, highly recommended. As well, please check TERYKY from Hamburg and HEAVY BLEEDING from Gothenburg, great and angry metal-punk!

Subterráneo Webzine: ARDE is a Berlin-based band with members from Spain, Poland, Belgium, and Italy. And you recorded your last album, Ancestral Cult, during the pandemic, having the vocals recorded in Spain, and the guitars and mix done in Berlin. Right? What kind of black magic did you use to make this all happen? (laughs)

Kato: Ancestral black magic we used, and only the right one to make it happen as you said. No, but seriously, we are a bunch of nice people from all those countries and we met here in Berlin. Everyone is here for different reasons, for sure, but our destinies got crossed in this city and that’s how ARDE started at a certain point. The recording process was a bit unusual and the question is: what has not been unusual in the last two years? Due to this pandemic, everyone had their own situation and, at that time, I was seven months between my home Tenerife and Donosti in the Basque Country. My other bandmates stayed in Berlin preparing the pre-production and recorded afterward at the Urban Spree. In Donosti I could use a rehearsal room to prepare myself for the vocals and then I went to the Corsarios Studios of our friend Lolo, a cool guy that already helped us out with our first album. Due to all the restrictions and lockdowns, it was easier for me to record there and not travel to Germany at that time. It was, however, a weird situation and I only can thank my other bandmates for their trust in me…they listened for the first time to the new songs with vocals as they were already recorded.

Łukasz: Yes, last year was crazy and I still feel very privileged that actually, we had a chance to record something. As Kato mentioned, we knew that we can really trust him and that his part will be very well recorded as you can hear on the record. This international mix till now works pretty well and doesn’t look like it will change any time soon!

Subterráneo Webzine: Ancestral Cult addresses the struggle of women over time, the cult of goddesses and the female figure, and the place they hold in ancestral cultures. We must say it is comforting to have a band of almost all-male members coming up with this women’s struggles viewpoint since women are mostly brought up in an objectifying way. I mean, you even mentioned the word uterus… Nature, creation, womanhood, how did this theme come up? What could we miss from its context on a first read/listen?

Kato:  Well, we arranged this album as a conceptual one, that’s an obvious matter when seeing the artwork, reading the lyrics, etc. All the ideas were born just before I entered the band when the others saw a pic of Celia’s sister (our bass player), which also appears in the artwork. From that point, we began talking about why our ancestors paid much respect and had that adoration for the female deities, and for whatever reasons women have been humiliated, prosecuted, and discriminated against over the last centuries. With all those ideas in mind, my task was clearly to transform them into lyrics and express at the same time our anger and determination of what we think it’s a complete failure in our society.

Łukasz: Woman’s struggle is the history of mankind. Ancestral Cult is a concept album that in my personal opinion reflects at some point modern society. Never mind where in the world, any time a group of women is demanding their rights there is always a big resistance against it and almost always the males are the ones who are afraid of losing their dominant positions. This leads to all forms of discrimination against women in today’s world. With this album, we wanted to speak against this discrimination. Feminism is definitely a woman’s struggle, but as a man, I want to be there and support as much as I’m able to. Self-reflection is always a good thing and I believe that it’s a good start in the right direction.

Subterráneo Webzine: We guess this awareness comes with the punk/DIY background most of you have, right? How else do the different scenes and experiences from each member influence your music? We can only see good things coming from a mix like this one.

Kato:  Yes, you are right and that’s definitely a great thing when mixing all of this. Some of the guys in the band grew up with the DIY punk scene or whatever you want to call it. ARDE even started as a D-beat/crust band and then became what it is today, a natural evolution by the way. I personally am probably the one with the most “metal approach” and background in the band, but despite from which scene we all come, we all share this DIY attitude and the fact that we want to send a message of respect with our music. On the other hand, there is this thing that we all come from different countries and live in a foreign land. This might have some influence on the music, but actually, we don’t give a shit about this, what matters is our attitude towards each other and this makes our band work pretty well.

Łukasz: I’m coming from a punk scene and this has been my home for the last twenty years and yes, this political awareness is coming from it. So it was kind of obvious that despite playing black metal this “punk attitude” will be very present and it’s a very important thing for us. I think that the biggest musical influences for ARDE are other black metal bands and maybe, what we call today “nature». It’s this side of us who is looking for a reconnection with it and playing this kind of music might help to find the right path. Metal is great and punx playing metal is even greater! 

Subterráneo Webzine: Amelia Barker composed, and played acoustic guitar and violin, for the song “Síle”; A stunning folk song that works as the equator of the album. As far as we know, she isn’t part of ARDE’s line-up so, could you tell us more about Amelia and her participation in Ancestral Cult?

KatoAmelia is not part of the band, she has her own project called CINDER WELL in Ireland. As an old friend of the band we were interested in making a collaboration, so we just asked her and she delivered this beautiful song, that gives this amazing touch to the whole album. She performed and recorded it by herself. It was simple as that and we are really happy and thankful that it worked so well.

Łukasz: it was a Ruben’s idea. They know each other personally so that’s why Amelia recorded this song for us. I can’t be happier because I truly enjoy CINDER WELL. “Síle” brings an extraordinary touch to the album and we can be only thankful for this collaboration.

Subterráneo Webzine: From a collector/media person’s point of view, releasing music in a physical format must be the closest to Hell on Earth a musician can be. Finding labels that don’t take advantage of the musicians and are willing to pay the costs of the release (or some of it), finding a label that can do all formats, or finding various so you can do them all… Although we don’t know if that’s your specific case, you have worked with two different labels (Darkwoods for the CD version, and Wolves of Hades for the tapes), and you have a vinyl press on its way, which will be released through…? When is it finally coming out?

Kato:  Yes, we are even working with three different labels from different countries as there is also Alerta Antifascista Records from Germany that will release the vinyl version together with Wolves of Hades from Holland. Spanish label Darkwoods put out the CD version in different formats including even a real nice box set. And so here you have again this DIY way of doing things: we asked small labels if they were interested in releasing Ancestral Cult. Some of them we knew from other bands in which we played. We are very grateful and glad that they all support us with this album, we didn’t have to sign anything, it’s mutual trust and DIY… That’s the way we want to keep it.

About the vinyl release, that’s quite a big pain in the ass right now with the well-known delays in the pressing factories around Europe. It’s having a big impact on all releases through small and independent labels. However, we hope to announce the release date soon, probably in May or June.

Subterráneo Webzine: The band has been open about being against NSBM from the very beginning. And, apparently, having an explicit left political stand brings more problems to the table than being outspokenly NSBM. Have you had to «miss out” on any opportunities, or have been called out in any way for having principals? From your point of view, is there another side of the musical coin that is more supportive of antifascism?

Kato:  This is surely a serious topic and we deal with it in a very consequent way. For me being into metal for 30 years now, and observing especially in the black metal scene how things have been developing from all that shit in the ’90s, etc. Well, I think it’s very important to make a clear statement and have a very solid position on this topic. All that white supremacy, antisemitism, xenophobia stuff should completely be banned from all stages and venues around the world. This has absolutely nothing to do with the origins and essence of this music and whoever thinks the other way round should rather stay at home and stuff his mouth with some shit. That’s my personal point of view. We can be happy that there are more and more initiatives that support tolerance and equality welcoming everyone no matter where they come from and giving them the opportunity of enjoying music clean of such fascist ideologies. With ARDE and to this date I didn’t have any bad experiences because of this anti-NSBM statement. With one of my former German bands (SECRETUM) we had to cancel some gigs because there were some bands of that style on the billing. I think it is important to have contacts in different places and thus be able to contrast opinions so that we can be sure and make it very clear that we are not going to share the stage with certain bands. Anyone with a sane mind would or should do the same.

Łukasz: I think that for the so-called “black metal scene» there is free speech for everyone as long as some bands or people are openly anti-fascist. As well as we all know “it should be not about politics” and the openly right-wing bands are having absolutely no problem spreading their racist propaganda meanwhile bands who oppose such a thing are called “gay», “weak» or “not true». Another thing that is very difficult for me to understand is separating the artist from her/his art. Even when the band is apolitical and has a member or members who are having fascist tendencies, then they are tolerated. In a magical way when music is made by fascists or racists but the lyrics are about something completely different It seems to be all fine. And this is the biggest problem for me because I can’t enjoy the art/music of someone who in her/his personal life is a piece of racist shit. Point. From the other side, it’s truly pathetic to watch some black metal bands being asked about their politics and to see how they almost shitting themselves because they are afraid to admit certain things. And who is a coward here…

Till now we didn’t have any issues because of our attitude but it might be because of playing at the venues and with bands who are having similar views. One thing was very weird when after releasing the first album we got a proposal to publish the songs on CD format from one label that had some openly NSBM bands in the catalog too. Literally no interest in politics (laughs).

Suberráneo Webzine: Your next concert will be in May with SPECTRAL WOUND, a band we assume to be against racism, fascism, etc. as they were with Vendetta records (an anti-fascist label), and they have played with queer anarchist bands such as RAGANA… Do you do these kinds of research exercises when you get gigs propositions?

Kato:  Well, I think I just told you something about this with my previous answer. We are really looking forward to this gig as it will be our first live show this year and it will be taking place in Dresden.

Łukasz: Me, personally, I always check this, I mean from where the proposals are coming and with which kind of bands we are going to play. But as I said, we are getting invitations from a very similar group of people so there were no issues till now. I’m very happy about this show, as well because I really like SPECTRAL WOUND, especially after reading one interview with this band in which they mentioned that they have some antifascist lyrics! Looking forward!

Subterráneo Webzine: At Subterráneo we know Kato from his time in DEATH ABOVE, and he was the latest person to join the band, just before the new album, along with the bassist Celia, right? The Spanish band is not active anymore, correct? How did you all get to gather? There’s also Rubén (guitarist) and Łukasz, both from ANCIENT EMBLEM, another band positioned against oppression, including specism. Please, tell us there will be future releases from ANCIENT EMBLEM too!

Kato:  Yes, I played drums for almost 4 years in DEATH ABOVE and I’m happy I had the chance to play all around Spain with them. 2014 I moved back to Tenerife from Berlin, but as I returned to Germany in 2018 I had to leave the band right after I recorded their next and last album. I think to this date that they disbanded.

Łukasz: At some point, we just met here in Berlin. Having friends in common and going to the same venues made it possible and I’m happy about it.

Yes, Ruben and I are playing in ANCIENT EMBLEM. I believe that it’s already been ten years now! We all got to know each other in Basque Country and yes, there will be a new record soon! It will be a split LP with our dear friends from a punk band called DEADACHE (Sweden). Please check them out!

Subterráneo Webzine: We don’t want to miss the chance of mentioning APTERA, a band where Celia plays classic/heavy/stoner doom with another three women, also from different points of the maps. And they are releasing their new album, You Can’t Bury What Still Burns, in June. You recently played with NERVOSA, a band that, when Fernanda Lira was around, expressed many times how they had to continuously deal with the public sexualizing them while on stage. Is this also as scandalous within the doom metal scene?

Celia: Thank you for talking about APTERA and our upcoming album. We have recorded You can’t bury what still burns last year at Hidden planet with Jan Oberg from Earth Ship and it was an amazing and great experience for all of us. I can’t wait for the release on the 17th of June through Ripple Music.

Yes, unfortunately, sexism is still really present in the society we are living in. With APTERA we started to play gigs in 2019 and with the pandemic, we haven’t had the chance to play outside Berlin that much so I can’t tell much about experiencing this kind of behavior. I believe it’s a problem in many places around the world. Venues and organizers should pay more attention and should bring more awareness to this problem. Sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and all form of discrimination should not be tolerated at gigs and anywhere else. People who are confronted with this kind of shit situation and can’t deal with it should not be scared to report it immediately to organizers or anyone responsible for the place. This will just help to change and create a safe place for everyone.

Besides that, music is my passion and I love to share it on stage like NERVOSA which I’ve had the chance to meet recently, Fernanda Lira, and many other great badass women in the music scene. If you believe in yourself and your passion people will respect you and support you.


Subterráneo Webzine: Getting back to ARDE, you are probably still at the starting point of presenting the album live. Have you been invited to any summer festivals or tours? Are you doing your own route?

Kato:  Yes, we have been invited, but sometimes we can afford to join the shows because of our normal jobs or family matters. We will try to play as much as we can do and hope that the situation with concerts gets better after two years of almost nothing going on in Germany because of the covid situation.

Suberráneo Webzine: The current state of living can only be defined with doom metal terms but, music always keeps playing. Are still focusing on Ancestral Cult or are you already working on new material?

Kato:  Yes, for sure we are working on new stuff and we even have the plan to enter a studio this year for recording some new tunes for a split that we will announce when the time is there.

Subterráneo Webzine: This is it for now, ARDE. We are very pleased to be able to give you some space among our pages. Thanks a lot for your time. You may now leave any last comments. See you on stage!

Kato:  I really have to thank you. I am a reader of your Webzine since the very beginning, and you have always supported good stuff, so keep up the good work because it is very important for all the underground movements! Horns up!

Łukasz: it was a pleasure to answer all your questions! Stay healthy! See you!