(On September 1st The Sinister Flame released the second album by the German black metal band Baxaxaxa, and its impending release prompted Comrade Aleks to reach out to the band’s drummer Condemptor for an interview, which we now present today.)
German black metal act Baxaxaxa was formed in Niederwerrn, Bavaria in 1992. The demon after which the band was named didn’t help them much from the start, and Baxaxaxa was disbanded in the very same year after recording the Hellfire demo. And more than strange – Baxaxaxa was resurrected in 2017 by its original drummer Condemptor.
He gathered around himself a few more musicians (partly his colleagues from another black metal outfit, Ungod) and slowly new songs started to appear. The band’s new satanic exercises entitled De Vermis Mysteriis was released on September 1st.
Moreover, Baxaxaxa is going to hit the road and bring some black metal enlightenment to law-abiding citizens of Seattle, Los Angeles, Austin, Ridgewood, and Lombard on the second decade of September.
Hi Condemptor! How are you? How does the promotion of your new album De Vermis Mysteriis go?
Hello! I am fine, thank you. The promotion is doing well, most people seem to like it, and the reviews are o.k., too. So everything is fine about Baxaxaxa at the moment.
Patrick “Traumatic” isn’t just Baxaxaxa’s vocalist but also the owner of Iron Bonehead Productions, so why did you choose to release De Vermis Mysteriis through The Sinister Flame? Didn’t you want to have control over the release in your hands?
Patrick does not want to have double the work with being a bandmember and releasing the album. But since he got a whole bunch of experience in releasing and promoting music you can be sure that we still are in control over our release. Not that we have to do a lot. The Sinister Flame is a highly professional and reliable label.
You promoted De Vermis Mysteriis with the new song “Above the Stellar Gateway” — does it grant better exposure to the new material?
For us, it does. It is mystic, atmospheric with some kind of aggression in it. We think this song is a proper summary of the album.
How long did you work on De Vermis Mysteriis? Did you have a specific goal when you started to compose it?
No. As always, we just write the songs that come to us. It is more like the music finds us than we create the music. Sounds pathetic, I know. But that is how we feel.
What’s your criteria of the songs’ quality? Do you sometimes “receive” music or ideas which don’t fit Baxaxaxa?
Yes, of course. Sometimes we write riffs that do not fit to Baxaxaxa. In that case we use them for Ungod. Or – sometimes – we find ourselves in a dead end as far as the songwriting is concerned. In that case we drop the riffs and restart. We had another song for De Vermis Mysteriis but in the end we felt that it did not fit to us or the album. It felt like some kind of bastard child. So we kicked the song.
As time passes, the number of metal bands only increases. Do you see it as a problem? It’s easy to miss a new release by “the old guys” sometimes, as it could easily drown in the flood of new albums.
Yes, that is one of the problems of the modern Metal Scene. But it is pointless to pity that. We must face the facts and deal with them. And I think, we do that.
Do you still enjoy discovering new bands of your kind?
Yes, for sure. Even if I do not really look for new bands.
You’ve kept on drumming in the Ungod band since its foundation in 1991. How do you differentiate your contributions to Baxaxaxa and Ungod? How do you see the core differences between the bands?
My drumming is the same. More or less. Ungod‘s got more faster parts. But that is it. The main difference is the keyboard that creates a special atmosphere for Baxaxaxa. Baxaxaxa may be a bit more “sophisticated” than Ungod.
I read your interview where you dissented against calling the band’s gigs “rituals,” pointing out that the “ritualistic” attitude is a part of the show like AC/DC “gun salutes”. Don’t you really see any sense in using pigs’ heads or pentagram decorations in black metal gigs?
Of course, I do. I also see the sense for AC/DC‘s gun salutes. I totally understand that you add a visual concept to your live shows. But this does not make them rituals in my opinion.
A ritual can be anything that challenges your mind and has some influences on your personal “outside” world. A ritual is something private, something with a special personal goal that you want to achieve. It is nothing you do in front of an audience for the sake of amusement.
And, I am sorry to say, Black Metal concerts are entertainment. If you like that idea or not. At least this is how I feel it. If someone else thinks that playing live in front of an audience is a ritual, well… whatever floats your boat.
But doesn’t it work this way – the more people who are involved in the show, the more energy circulates in the atmosphere? By the way, are you interested in the technical and practical side of occult or whatever rituals?
Perhaps it works this way to some. And that is fine because it is a very personal thing. To me a ritual is something private, something to develop your own personality, something that can link you to your inner self, something to give you strength and discipline for a life full of challenges.
If someone feels that by standing in front of an audience with beer in hands, touching their girlfriends (or boyfriends, no matter) and joking around in a party mood, fine. Please: Do not misunderstand me. There is absolutely nothing wrong about drinking beer, making out with each other, and partying. But that is simply not the way I (!) feel about a ritual.
Well, I do not want to talk too much about that, because it is a very personal thing to me. Just this: I am serious about all the things I do and say.
How do you spend Baxaxaxa’s gigs according this? Do you use some special equipment? Can you imagine the band’s show with you wearing only t-shirts and jeans (okay, and shoes, right)?
Yes. Sure. We dress different for the stage and we use skulls, bones, fire. And we would not enter the stage in Bermuda shorts, sandals, or any type of casual clothing. This would destroy the mood, the performance, and I think it would even spoil the show. That is not the point. But to play a Black Metal Show with everything that is needed to present the band and the music in a proper way does not make a ritual out of a concert. As I said before: if someone defines this to be a ritual, ok. It is just simply not my definition.
Baxaxaxa makes an impression of the band having a serious attitude towards anti-Christian or satanic ideology. How does it work for you regarding your activity in Baxaxaxa? Do you have a kind of ultimate purpose when you create your music?
No, I really do not. The purpose is to channel my and our creativity. To work on some kind of art, together with people who share the same ideas and visions by still being individuals. Baxaxaxa is for sure Anti-Christian and follows a satanic ideology. But that is also something each member defines in their own way.
How was your anti-Christian position formed? Was it just life observations, some special case, or an example of some other bands? You know… like the wide-spread and effective influences of Mercyful Fate.
In the beginning there was just a musical interest. That is true and that is something I do not want to deny. And yes, King Diamond had an influence on me. As the years went by, I started to read philosophical and occult literature. And as I grew older, I started to realize that the concept of Christian Religion is made to enslave people and to obtain power.
Anyway: Today I do not consider the church or Christian religion to be an enemy although I feel strongly opposed to their teachings. At least in Germany we are more enslaved by the spirit of the so-called modern world, than by Christian religion.
Do you see black metal as an effective anti-Christian/satanic propaganda instrument? It seems that many pop and R’n’B stars, moviemakers, politicians, etc., do Satan’s job much more pertly and actively.
No, not really. Because of the facts you already told. Black Metal is nothing that can change anything. The people in control do not care one second about some kind of underground music. With Black Metal you can only reach people who have already found their way or at least started on their personal way to free their mind.
But your question implies that you consider the devil’s work to be a negative thing. That is not how we see it. Lucifer is the bringer of light. May be different if you focus more on the theistic or the philosophical approach on satanism. But that leads too far for an interview.
De Vermis Mysteriis is a fictional book invented by Robert Bloch and incorporated by H. P. Lovecrfat into his mythology. How does it correspond with Baxaxaxa’s concept?
Why not? Fiction can help you find your mood and approach to your inner self. Fiction for example can be a part of a ritual. So occult fiction is a perfect addition to our concept.
So, are there songs directly influenced by Lovecraft in De Vermis Mysteriis?
Not all of them are. But, yes, some are.
Condemptor, you have been into black metal for over three decades. How does the experience of performing black metal nowadays differ from the experience you gained back in the ’90s?
Back Metal was more mystic back then. Today a lot of mysticism got lost in social networks. Today you can see Black Metal musicians eating ice cream or standing in line at McDonalds on Facebook or Instagram. Of course, they also did that in the early ’90s (at least most of them did!). But you did not see this. The musicians and the music were a mystery.
That is one side of the coin. The other side is that you can get a bigger audience today. We also use social media and it is good to keep or get in direct contact with the people who like your music. Back then we wrote letters, traded tapes, put flyers in the envelopes, and ordered tapes from bands we knew nothing about except for something you read on a xeroxed notice you found in one of those envelopes.
Young kids surely cannot imagine how it was to order a tape with music you never heard and just read about on a typewriter-written flyer. They will never understand how exiting this was. And how disappointing, too. So today it is different. And we liked it more back then. But why did we like it more? Because we were young in the ’80s and ’90s. If we would be young today, we would see it differently for sure.
As far as the live performance is concerned, I cannot tell you much about it. Although being a part of the Black Metal scene for over three decades, we didn’t start playing live until 2016. I just played some concerts with projects. But I cannot really compare the old days to the modern times as far as this is concerned.
Okay, that is all for today! Thank you for the interview. There’s just one last question left: What are your further plans for Baxaxaxa for the rest of 2023?
For Baxaxaxa there are only concerts in 2023. We play a small US Tour, and festivals in Israel, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Together with the promotion of our new album that is enough for the remainder of 2023.
BAXAXAXA Tour Schedule for 2023:
- September – Seattle,WA (USA) @ Substation
- September – Los Angeles, CA (USA) @ Catch One
- September – Austin, TX (USA) @ Hotel Vegas
- September – Ridgewood, NY (USA) @ TV Eye
- September – Lombard, IL (USA) @ Brauer House
- October – Tel Aviv (Israel) @ Gargarin
- October – Prague (Czech Republic) @ Meet Factory
- October – Bielsko-Biala (Poland) @ Rudeboy Club