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Silent Stream of Godless Elegy Interview

Silent Stream of Godless Elegy Interview
Performed in April 2011 via email
Silent Stream of Godless Elegy


Max:  Greetings from Sonic Cathedral! For our readers who might not be too familiar with Silent Stream of Godless Elegy, could you tell us a little about the band?

Radek:  Hi, Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy is folk-doom-metal band coming from Moravia, the most eastern part of present Czech Republic. We play for about fifteen years and have six albums so far. The new one - „Návaz - contains nine tracks in total time about fifty minutes. As well as our previous albums, the new one is in the veins of our own view to what’s called “folk-metal” today. But this is the first time we have “a big name” concerning the album as “Návaz” was recorded, mixed and co-produced by Roland Grapow in his Grapow Studios. The album was released worldwide in January 17 by Season Of Mist.

Max:  You’ve just released your 5th full length album, Návaz. What’s the reception been like for the new record?

Radek:  All seems pretty fine. To tell the truth we were little bit tense as “Návaz” is our first album released worldwide, so for most of fans and journalists it’s the first contact with our music. But they like it and that’s what makes us very happy!

Max:  Návaz is your first album released on the international label Season of Mist. How did you get in contact with the label and is the band happy with the arrangement?

Radek:  Well, it was quite simple. After recording, I guess in April or May 2011, I asked Roland Grapow to mix in advance some tracks he likes for kind of virtual promo-pack being sent to labels. I published it to our website and sent the address to about thirty of forty labels. Only few of them even responded, but Season Of Mist were one of them who did. Then we have discussed some terms and signed a deal in September. But the first free slot in Season Of Mist was January 17, 2011. So here we are. :)
Is the band happy? Man, it still sounds like a dream! Finally, after fifteen years, we release an album supported by such a great label as Season Of Mist, we are on the same roster as Septic Flesh, Cynic or Morbid Angel. What can I say about that? Amazing! We hope to bring ourselves to attention of all open-minded fans all over the world. And we hope to play live for them!

Max:  SSOGE has been mostly an underground band, relatively unknown outside of your home country. Now that the album has been released on an international label, do you see the music reaching a wider audience compared to previous albums?

Radek:  No doubt about that. We have tons of reviews, tons of feedback from fans across the world, it is quite incomparable to our previous position. Anyway, all flesh is grass…

Max:  Folk metal these days seems to have become a diluted genre full of bands singing mostly drinking songs and lacking any real folk elements, yet SSOGE’s music seems to seamlessly combine folk and metal into one cohesive sound. How do you guys do it? What’s the process like behind writing this type of music?

Radek:  Yes, definitely, I really don’t like this “boozy folky outfit one may raise drinking horns” part of folk-metal. Of course there are great bands doing this, but there’s so much shitty crap as well that I’m allergic to the most of that stuff. You know, despite that folk-metal hype, there are leaders and there are tons of followers which want just to exploit the current popularity of the genre. It depends on each fan if he prefers originals to fakes... As for SSOGE - honestly, I don’t like this cliché, but it’s a natural way for us. You know, more and more we are interested in our roots and it has to show in our music as well. It is not about “folk-metal is trendy now”, we exist for more than fifteen years and still go our way, not looking out for what others do. And I dare to claim our style is kind of unique. We simply make music that goes from us…

Max:  Your 2004 album Relic Dances was the first album to fully incorporate folk elements into your original doom metal sound. What influenced the band to change their sound?

Radek:  Huge personal changes first of all :) You know, it was in 2001, being awarded Czech Grammy for the first time, I had to kick off most of band-members as I really hate somebody acts like a rock-star. So there was a rebirth, new line-up and me as the main composer. And “Relic Dances” album was the first result of those matters. I love doom/death metal and I love our folklore. So why not to join them into one piece? :)

Max:  Though there were some songs on the Osamělí EP, released in 2006, sung in Czech, Návaz is your first album fully written in your native language. What made you guys decide to switch over completely to your mother tongue?

Radek:  Let me explain. In 2004, recording “Relic Dances”, we were already thinking about using Czech language. But we had no time to realize that as we were pretty busy and had limited budget and time in recording studio. So it came in 2006 with bonus album “Osamělí” and to tell the truth it was kind of break as we found Czech language fits much better our music than English! However, it was a big dilemma about the language for “Návaz” album. But after all we decided to use our native one as it seems to be a logical way – we play music with strong folk roots, so why should we use English? I think (and hope) it’s a right way for us and we will continue that though maybe it’s not the best choice as for marketing side of business.


Silent Stream of Godless Elegy


Max:  The lyrics on the new album deal mostly with nature and pagan mythology. Where do you get your inspiration? Since the lyrics are in Czech, could you tell us a little about what each song is about?

Radek:  All lyrics were written by Hanka, our female vocalist, and there is a theme that connects them - respect for nature and female cult. You know, Hanka had to read tons of books kind of legends, myths, Slavic encyclopedias and stuff like that, because she is very conscientious being teacher of Czech language. So we go back to pagan times, when man lived in step with nature, revered a female cult and met nymphs in the wood… Ok, here you are:

MOKOŠ / Earth Mother: “Mokoš” is the Goddes of the Earth, her equivalent is Hera in Greek mythology or Juno in Roman. She is angry at the warriors who shed blood and she refused to receive their bodies back. They plead for her forgiveness, their wives pray for them. In the end Mother Earth, wounded and filthy from warriors blood, forgives them and let them rest in her embrace, at the place they arosed from.

ZLATOHLAV / Golden Head: It comes of a local legend about a treasure hidden in a mount. Man and his wife are searching for the treasure but don’t know they can wake up the Evil (Golden Head the Snake) in the mount. But they do and the only way to survive is that wife has to sacrifice herself. She looks at the Golden Head 's eyes and turns into stone. Maybe she is still there nowadays and you can hear her singing or lamenting from time to time.

SKRYJ HLAVU DO DLANÍ / Hide Your Head into Hands: Story is about a man who cannot avoid his destiny. He is half a man, half a wolf, but neither people not the wolves have accepted him to the flock. So he just roams the Earth, alone all the time.

PŘÍSAHÁM / Promise: It's about the oath of two little children, a boy and a girl. They promise faith and love each other and run away from the dominion of the cross to find a new land where they could keep their old habits and style of life.

SLAVA is story about pagan celebration of a winter solstice called "Kračún" here, so it is about dancing, singing and having good time at the feast...

SUDICE / The Fate: Probably the most intimate and gentle song we have ever done. The story is about two Fates standing by the cradle and foretelling the future for the child. These two are not good and bad ones as it is always in fairy tales, but both are good ones, and they compete to foretell as much good things as they can.

DVA STÍNY MÁM / I Have Two Shadows: The story is about a witch who can appear in the flames of fire. She can harm you, she can bring disease or even a death by a wind, or invoke a love or hate. You can recognize her as she has two shadows while sun is shining.

PRAMEN, CO VÍ / Thinking spring: It's a tribute to natural elements, to water and wind. Wind brings a rain, announce death and fight. Water keeps us alive, but it can destroy us as-well.

SAMODIVA / Fay: Kind of erotic doomy song. An undine allures and seduces a tired and erratic man. He, drugged by her singing, comes to her. They dance and have sex until the man expires.

All happy stories, aren’t they? :)

Max:  My co-writer Sara always asks the bands she interviews this question, so I figured I might too: If you had to pick a song from Návaz as your favorite, which would it be? Mine would have to be a tie between “Sudice” and “Dva Stíny Mám.”

Radek:  Well, it’s difficult, you know, it’s like babies – you can’t say you love one more than another. Or maybe you can? I don’t know, I have only one kid at the moment. :) Ok, as for the album, tracks are really diverse, from death/doom styled “Dva stiny mam” to kind of folkish lullaby “Sudice”. There are some we use to play live for some time (“Slava”, “Skryj hlavu do dlani”, “Mokos”), so now I enjoy more some others like “Pramen, co vi” or “Prisaham”. To tell the truth, every time I leave the recording studio I hate the whole stuff as it is kind of brainwashing to listen to it again and again. What a relief to return to “Navaz” stuff a year from recording sessions. :)

Max:  The band recently shot a video for the song “Skryj Hlavu Do Dlaní” (translation: “Hide Your Head in Your Hands”). What was that like? Why did you choose this song, and are you happy with the result?

Radek:  This song is for me kind of “everything you always wanted to know about SSOGE but were afraid to ask” :))) As its length is about more than seven minutes, we had to make an edit version of course. The storyline is connected with the lyrics, so it seems to be magical and atmospheric. Few days ago I saw the video without post-production and man, it looks great! Really looking forward to see it complete.

Max:  What are your plans for the band this year? Are there any plans to tour outside the Czech Republic in support of the new album?

Radek:  As for touring outside the Czech Republic, of course we would like to support our new album live as much as possible, I guess Season Of Mist are negotiating with some booking agencies just now, so we’ll see. We’ll keep you updated through our myspace/twitter/facebook profiles and our website www.ssoge.com. Stay tuned! Here in CR we are touring just now with our former label-mates ENDLESS and it is very fine. We enjoy to share our feelings and emotions with audience. To emit energy and to receive it back amplified hundred times.

Max:  If you could support any band on a world tour, who would it be and why?

Radek:  Generally speaking I would say Gaate first, but they don’t exist anymore. Ok, as for metal genre, there are two names that come to my mind - Orphaned Land and Amorphis. Why? Simply I love them and feel the same vibe in our music…


Silent Stream of Godless Elegy


Max:  Any final words to our readers at Sonic Cathedral?

Radek:  Dive into our new album NÁVAZ and listen to the Moravian elegy!

Max:  On behalf of myself and Sonic Cathedral, I’d like to thank you very much for doing this interview for us! Hope to see you on the road sometime soon!

Radek:  Thank you for your support! Hope to see you, all our dear fans, on the road soon too.

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