(Comrade Aleks has remained busy in these shut-in times and has brought us this engaging interview with Sam D. Durango, founding guitarist for the German band Rage of Samedi, whose latest album Blood Ritual was released in January of this plague year by Argonauta Records.)
Okay, so I was intrigued by whether the German sludge-doom outfit Rage Of Samedi had any connection with the voodoo creed as they’re named after one of most respected deities of that Afro-Caribbean cult. And the release of their third album Blood Ritual in January 2020 through Argonauta Records only stirred up my interest more. Are they that pious? Are they into catchy voodoo rhythms and riffs? What kind of shit is happening on the Blood Ritual artwork?
A lot of highly improtant questions disturbed me, so I approached Rage Of Samedi’s guitarist Sam D. Durango and learned a lot about how to stay cool, strong, and healthy.
Hi Sam! How are you? What’s going on in Rage Of Samedi’s temple?
Hey Aleks! Nice to meet you man! Thanks for giving us the opportunity for this interview. First of all, we’re well. Our latest album has been out since mid-January and it’s selling very well and we got great feedback for it. We’re very proud of it! A big disappointment is that we had to cancel our tour in April due to that Covid-19 shit. But we have to take care of ourselves and mostly we also have to take care of our fans and friends. So it’s the best decision to wait until this ‘crisis’ is over before going to shows again.
The band was started in 2012 — what were your aims back then? And what’s your attitude towards voodoo? Did you choose this name just because it sounds right or are you seriously into that?
In 2012 my aim was to play in a band where I’m just playing guitar. At that time I had another band where I was on vocals and guitar. So I talked with Lou, our vocalist, and with Ian and Paul McKay, and so we started. For the band’s name we searched for something/someone that has a dark and at the same time a positive meaning. Baron Samedi was the perfect choice for this, with his scary look and his mystic meaning, but as a protecter in a good way.
We’re not really into religion at all but in our opinion Voodoo is one of the few religions that is meant to be practiced in harmony with our mother nature.
Your debut album Sign is quite relaxed, an almost psychedelic piece of sludgy metal. What formed Rage Of Samedi’s sound back then?
In Rage Of Samedi we always write what we want to. 🙂 At first we met and just wanted to see which direction we’d like to choose. It was clear that we wanted to do some heavy and evil shit. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to develop and take all our influences and put them together. We had some changes in the line-up. Sign and the following EP were written just by me cuz I was the only guitarist. Then we decided to include a second guitar player and Paul, who decided to leave the band, was replaced by Nicolas. Dixie as second guitarist had a lot of influence on our second album Children Of The Black Sun. So has Nicolas as our bass player on Blood Ritual. We’re already working on new material and I am sooo looking forward to what Thor’s influences will be on that stuff. He replaced Dixie who, left because of sports and his job and stuff.
Children Of The Black Sun sounds like a direct heir of Sign. Were you satisfied with Rage Of Samedi’s sound back then? Did you aim to keep it further almost untouched?
Children Of The Black Sun always will have a special standing in Rage Of Samedi‘s history. We recorded that piece of music live in the studio and we wanted to have a cold and dark aggressive piece of shit! Think we could realize that. 😀
Really? You did record this album live? How was it?
Yeah, indeed. It was a cool experience, and we exactly reached what we wanted. To get this ice cold and ‘depressive’ and disturbing sound on that album. But it was hard to mix that record, so we learned a lot about recording theory. 🙂
Rage Of Samedi – Blood Ritual
How often did you play live in his period? Was it easy task to find venues for Rage Of Samedi?
Cuz’ of our life aside from the band (family, jobs and all that) we’re not able to play that much over the year, but we already played about 70 shows so far. It’s not about the quantity, it’s the quality that counts. 🙂 We had the chance to play some real nice support gigs with bands like Crowbar, Lord Vicar, EyeHateGod, Monolord, to name some, and we had some cool festivals, like Malta Doom and Freak Valley in our history.
We always work hard, also behind the scenes, so we could get some cool contacts around the scene and found some really good friends, so I would say it’s not that hard anymore to get cool shows together.
Hey! You did accompany top bands! How did you manage to get on these gigs?
Over the years we had a lot of good luck with support shows and we got really cool connections. Anyway, it’s been hard work the whole time. It’s a lot of writing e-mails and being on the phone and stuff. But if you don’t get lazy (and we never were) and stay on focus it gets easier from time to time cuz we could made us a name in the scene.
Actually I don’t know many sludge bands from Germany. Which bands would you mention as the most potent ones in the local scene?
Indeed, there are not many bands in our genre. In our local scene we just know our friends Turin Horse. We’ve known these guys for a few years from other bands around and played a few shows with them. Really cool guys, and if you get the chance to listen to them they’ll crush your skull!!! Love them!!!
You are from the Rhineland-Palatinate region. Does your environment show itself somehow through Rage Of Samedi’s songs?
It’s easy living here where we come from. Most of the time it’s a really boring small city with about 33K citizens. You have to see the big picture of what’s happening around the globe, what has been and is still done to our mother earth, to understand why we write that angry and drastic kind of music and lyrics.
Rage Of Samedi – Live
The first time I sawseen the Blood Ritual artwork, I was expecting harder and crueler stuff. What was your vision of the album when you entered the studio?
At first the cover was hand-painted by Xavier Gonzalez at ‘No Master Studios’. He just got the album title and some infos and facts about the history and background of the band, and he created a cover that shows exactly what we wanna say with our lyrics. Headless people who follow and pray to false gods. At the end they all die like lemmings after a senseless life!! Lou, our vocalist writes a lot of critical stuff about society, religion, humankind… we’re old punk rockers… what do you expect? 😀 And we wanted dick pics on it, and naked asses and a decapitated guy…!! 😀
Well… I dare to ask what did you want to express through pics of dicks and asses? It’s totally in the vein of a lot of TV shows everyone can find on major channels.
That was just a joke! 😀 We didn’t tell Xavier to paint it that way. That’s how we enter the planet and that’s how we leave it.
How did the recording session go? How intensively did you work at the studio?
Nicolas, our bass player produced the whole album and also made the mix. At first it was a bit difficult for me to follow his ‘rules’, because I had to change my whole guitar sound and stuff. 😀
But when we were done with the recording, we didn’t see him for two weeks and he came back with a mix that blew us all away!! He did an amazing job with that and I’d never change that again. Check out ‘Perrault Audio’!!!!
We have the comfortable position that we have all we need to make good recordings, so we don’t have to pay someone else for that. Also our label boss Gero of ARGONAUTA RECORDS gave us all the time we needed to create Blood Ritual. We always work very intensively together, but it wasn’t like a ‘two-day-marathon-recording-session’. We took our time.
Rage Of Samedi – I Spit Hate
There’s the ‘Charlie Says pt.2’ song on the album, and there was a first part in the EP A Psychopath Job Is Done…!. Does it appeal to the Charlie Manson story?
Both songs are quotes by Charles Manson, right! Pt. 1 was an interlude of an acoustic song I wrote many, many years ago. For this one, we sampled some original Manson quotes. In Pt. 2 the quotes are interpreted by our singer Lou.
What attracted you to Manson’s story? I still don’t have a clue how he turned out to be this iconic figure.
We don’t want to idealize Manson as this iconic figure. He was just as intelligent as he was a psychopath. He found a way to manipulate people to murder for him and those people followed him like they’d follow a prophet or a god. Our latest album is just a mirror to our modern society. We tried make the transfer from Charlie to today’s leaders. Today it is possible to lead the mightiest country in the world when you’re a psycho.
Sam, your bandmate Nick also runs the doom project The Whiteness of the Whale. The title is killer, but do you know if it’s active?
Nicolas has a lot of musical activities, a lot of projects he works on. Whiteness Of The Whale is on hiatus at the moment. He mostly focuses on his solo stuff and Rage Of Samedi. His solo music would generally be considered singer-songwriter stuff, but that expression doesn’t describe the music properly in its entirety. It is kind of Dark Acoustic Doom I’d say, very expressive and very intensive. Give it a listen! It’s absolutely worth it!!!
Thank you for the interview Sam! I hope all problems concerning the virus and the panic it causes will be solved soon and you’ll be able to return to Rage Of Samedi’s usual activity.
We’d like to thank you my friend for these cool questions and the possibility to talk about our band and music. And we would like to thank our families, friends and fans who have supported us such a long time!! We also hope to get back on the road soon again. Meantime, we go on writing new stuff for the next album. 🙂
Stay cool, strong and healthy…and metal as FUCK!!!