Interviewed: Vorph
Band: Samael
Latest Album: Reign of Light (2005)
Interviewed by Dave
Links of Interest:
Samael Official Website
Nuclear Blast America

I'll be the first to admit it. I am pretty new to Switzerland's Samael. I recieved a promo and not knowing what to expect, I plugged it in. I think with the band having a background featuring dark metal I expected something quite different than what I got. That is meant in a very positive way. I think the band really transcends beyond any type of classifications. We know they are metal, but there really is much more to the band than just metal. It's very visual and should prove to be very appealing in my estimation. I had a chance to chat with lead vocalist Vorph for a few minutes. I found the conversation informative and fun at the same time. I hope you feel the same!
Heavy Metal Resource: Hi Vorph! Appreciate you taking the time to do this with me. I wanted to mention to you in the beginning that I am really a new fan of the band so I will probably be geared to that with some of the questions. I read the bio sheet on the band and was surprised after listening to the record that the band has it's roots as a dark metal band. I don't believe the new album really gives this away. What kind of a fanbase has this album been pulling to this point with this sound?

Vorph: Well, where we started from, it was metal. There was a metal core to our sound and from there we have tried to incorporate different elements. Whatever it is from electronic music, Gothic music and some ethnic stuff as well. Whatever we feel like incorporating into it we try. What is important for us is that it makes sense and hopefully the result will be reasonable.

H.M.R : Stefan Glaumann mixed the album for you. Some may be familiar with his work on the last two Rammstein releases. I don't really want to try to draw comparisons in the bands, but in some ways there is a similarity, but in many others there is not. I was wondering if when Stefan came in if you feel he had any influence through the sound with the new record.

Vorph: Well, for quite a long time we wanted to work with Stefan. We knew his work from Clawfinger. He has this really clinical way to mix where you can hear everything, every little detail. Our new music is kind of complex, there is alot of things going on at the same time. We were just sure that he would be the right person to make everything clear and there. Yeah, we are very happy with the results really.

H.M.R : Yeah, I think the album sounds amazing from that standpoint. It sounds really rich and heavy. He did a great job.

Vorph: Yeah, Definitely.

H.M.R : My website is based in the States, but I do cater to a worldwide audience. This next question is based more on the fans in the States. I was just curious on what kind of fanbase exists here in the States.

Vorph: In America, I could not tell. The last time we played there was in 2003. We were still touring for our previous album which was released in 1999. We were touring with Strapping Young Lad and Cathedral which are totally different bands, one being extremely fast and aggressive and the other being more doom. It was kind of a good mix between two different extremes and we were just fitting in somwhere in there. I cannot really define the audience of people. I am not trying to pop a label on their head or whatever.

H.M.R : I think with the new record you definitely have a potential of broadening your fanbase here in the States if the album is promoted well. There seems to be a bit of a shift in the sound of things in the scene currently and with the sound of your record, I can't help but think that this would be good for the band. Anyway, you mentioned in the previous answer about the time between the previous records release and the time you were touring. I was just gonna have you talk a bit about that.

Vorph: Okay, as I mentioned the album was released in 1999. At the time we really weren't ready to go out on tour in Europe. We were wanting to try different things. We were discussing with our record company to move on because we were about to end of our contract with them.  We then decided to work on this specific project which was more electronic music. The record is called 'Era One' , but it actually never went out so far. We did give it to Century Media in 2002. From the outside it may look like we haven't done much because that album wasn't released. We then toured Europe in 2003 and went back to America and worked on the new album.

H.M.R : I took the time to browse through the lyrics of the album, and there is quite a bit there. I was wondering where you draw from subject-wise for your albums during the writing process.

Vorph: Usually I am not trying to develop a concept or to get into a topic especially for this one. I have the music and we kind of share the work that way. Xy is dong all of the music and I do the lyrics. I just listen to the song and say what the song is telling me. The music speaks to my soul in a way and I just try to put words on it. It's just like free expression without having deep thought in what it all means or whatever to say what I feel.

H.M.R : The American release just streeted in February on Nuclear Blast. I guess it is actually just licensed to Nuclear Blast. Is this gonna be like a one off with Nuclear Blast or is there something dealt in multi album?

Vorph: Actually, we have Nuclear Blast on for two albums, so the next one will be with them as well.

H.M.R : I believe most of your back catalog is released, at least here in the States on Century Media.

Vorph: Yeah, everything was on Century Media before, yeah.

H.M.R : I'm guessing that it will definitely be different with this record as you are licensing it to Nuclear Blast. With the previous albums I guess the label handled the work on it.

Vorph: Yeah, with Century Media we actually signed a deal and we gave them everything. That really was our first step into this business and we did not have a clue how it worked. With time we kind of figured it out a little bit and tried to find a best way for us to keep our integrity and still keep some control on our music, not just giving to the label and say whatever you do you do. I think this way we become full aware of what is going on and speaking of Nuclear Blast, I don't know how it's gonna  work. So far, we're kind of happy. The album is just out. They are still keeping in contact with us and we are talking about a tour in America. We are gonna see how it works. I am kind of positive for the future, so we'll see.

H.M.R : That's good to hear.

Vorph: I know in America they are kind of bound together. They share some people so it's not like going in totally opposite directions leaving Century Media and going to Nuclear Blast. They kind of cover the same ground but they work differently I think.

H.M.R : One of the things I wanted to mention was that I liked the inclusion of the video for 'Telepath'.

Vorph: Yeah, on the American release. There is also the remix 'Telepathic' added as a bonus track as well. This song was added to the single in Europe for the song 'Telepath.

H.M.R : Okay. With that video, which was really cool, I was wondering if you were gonna shoot any more for this album.

Vorph: We might. We don't have anything planned at the moment. We are going to play some festivals in Europe here this Summer and we will see about shooting some stuff from these festivals for something, but don't know at the moment. We'll see what kind of material we get and if we can use it for something.

H.M.R : I did want to look at touring, speaking of. I believe you have done some touring in Europe on the album already.

Vorph: Yeah, just when the album came out.

H.M.R : Okay, and you did mention that you would be playing some dates here in the U.S. at some point, but there is nothing really concrete at the moment?

Vorph: Not really. We are talking about September and this Fall. This is what we are looking for at the moment.

H.M.R : There are quite a few festivals in Europe and at the moment that seems to be where your base is. I would definitely put my priorities there for the moment. Then you could bring the show here. I was curious about the stage show. Watching the video, you sense just how visual this band is. Do you take this visual element to the stage?

Vorph: For 3 or 4 years now we have been working with projection so we try to have a multimedia presence in the show as well. Before it was like really simple with a computer, but now we have a friend working on special animation that he's doing by himself. We are going to try to develop this thing a little bit further on the next tour I think.

H.M.R : I kind of thought so. That was the whole reason I asked that question. Where I am new to the band, based on the video, I felt that the band were probably very visual in the stage show. That should be very cool to see. Just following up on the tour, if you could tour with anyone out there, who would you pick?

Vorph: Hmmm, I don't know. I wouldn't mind touring at all with Slayer. I was a big fan of the band for a long time and I think we all in the band respect  what they did. So yeah, Slayer.

H.M.R : Yeah, I've seen Slayer live and they are extremely energetic. The fans really get into what they do live.

Vorph: Yeah, in Germany they are huge as well.

H.M.R : Just out of curiosity, what does the band listen to in their spare time?

Vorph: I'm pretty much open to just about anything. I just try to find music that fits my mood. If I want to chill a little or I am driving the car, it just kind of depends. I like to listen to the radio, it doesn't matter much to me really. The more different, the better it is to me.

H.M.R : I just wanted to backtrack for just a second. I mentioned the style of the record earlier and was surprise at the dark metal classification. Do you still feel the band falls into this label? I hear bands like Slayer or Venom and they definitely would fall into this category. Samael to me just doesn't sound like this type of metal.

Vorph: How does it sound then?

H.M.R : It's a bit Industrial to me, but it's definitely metal, no doubts about that. I think from an American Standpoint, American fans would definitely feel dark metal is more along the lines of Venom and Slayer, fast thrashy type stuff. Samael is heavy, with distinct clarity at the same time.

Vorph: Yeah, there is probably Industrial influence and elctronic influence. We have been working with alot of different stuff. The turning point was in the United States where we started working with a drum machine and from there we tried to bring out this side of the band as well. We were trying to find new sounds to work with.

H.M.R : I really didn't have a whole lot more for you today. There has been a little time now between the European release and the American release. I was just wondering in closing if there was anything else you wanted to mention or get out there to the fans that we may have missed here.

Vorph: The main thing for us at the moment for America is that we are waiting to go there and play. This is really what we are waiting for. The sooner the better.

H.M.R : Well, once again I appreciate the interview. Thanks again!

Vorph: Thanks very much!

Samael - Reign of Light available now!