The second band of this issue is the German Black Metal sorcerer HÄXENZIJRKELL band, which means Coven in English. This is a typical band for our fanzine, so far they have released a little, "Demo I" ´16, "Des Lasters Der Zauberey" EP ´16 and the latest "... Von Glut Und Wirbelrauch" EP ´18. Already at the first listening to "... Von Glut Und Wirbelrauch" I knew I had to contact the band unequivocally and it happened. They immediately responded to send them tailored questions. HÄXENZIJRKELL consists of two wizards, P. (drums) and MK (vocals and guitar). Their music is minimalistic, the riffs are repeated over and over with the sound like from cellar, but with the scragging atmosphere. Important is a certain catchiness and especially the spiritual aura of witchcraft, but the word belongs to MK (guit, vox).
Traditionally I always ask this question at the beginning. Why did you name HÄXENZIJRKELL, what does this name mean to you? Many bands are simply named by a suitable "metal" name to fit it into their message. What about you? Also the logo is quite uncommon. Who is its author?
Well, Häxenzijrkell is a deformed version of the German word for coven: “Hexenzirkel”. We altered the spelling of the word, because we wanted to achieve a rather harsh looking and sounding word, faintly reminiscent of the old dialect of our home area.
Pretty close to where the two of us grew up, there is this so called „Hexentanzplatz“ in the woods. It used to be the keep of a long gone castle, but was referred to as a place where the witches used to dance ever since. Obviously, that stuck in our heads and inspired us.
The logo was drawn by Spectres of Kringa and he did a damn good job, didn’t he?
You have released one demo and two EP's, you always come with a very short materials. Do you enjoy releasing short materials, even if the songs are always relatively long? Will you continue this style or you think we will ever see a full-length?
It’s not like we did that on purpose. Take „Des Lasters der Zauberey“ for example: those two tracks belong to each other; they support each other. To add anything else would have just not been fitting and completely ruin the atmosphere.
Concerning future plans: There’s a split with a companioned band upcoming, most likely within the next few months via Amor Fati Productions. Also, yes we do have plans for a full-lenght at some point in the future. But as always, time will tell. We don’t really plan ahead and just let the music flow through us and see what happens.
Besides your own understanding of Black Metal, you have also typical sound, which is literally imaginative and full of dramatic understanding of darkness, dirtiness and cruelty. Would you prove to give up this sound for full-length? Do you think you would use such a "terrible" and excruciating sound even for the debut album?
Most likely, yes. Our rather Lo-Fi or – as you call it – „terrible“ sound is quite crucial for the whole atmosphere. It’s just the result of how we work and we are really comfortable with it. It adds a lot of coldness and unearthliness to the atmosphere. I’ve always been a fan of that rather acute and clashing guitar sound and, obviously, tape recorders. We just kept the recording process as simple as possible and the result speaks for itself. It’s exactly the atmosphere, we wanted to achieve with or for Häxenzijrkell.
Your music is built on a bewitching atmosphere, as if there were connected worlds of deadliness and sorcery. Listening to it I feel as if you were recording it in an old tomb with the buried witch and candles where you did something forbidden. How do you try to consolidate and emphasize the atmosphere?
Hahaha, yeah. An old tomb would be absolutely perfect. But no, for the time being we are restricted to our rehearsal room. However, if you have any useable old tombs nearby, let us know. We actually record and rehearse in darkness. With only the lights of the amplifiers illuminating the room. No candles, nothing. Darkness by my friend, so to speak.
What all inspire you to write music? Is it all in your heads and inside, or you are visiting strange places where you absorb the atmosphere of old cemeteries, crypts, places where someone died or something similar?
I’d rather mention vintage horror movies, lovecraftian writings, Edgar Allan Poe or historical essays on witchcraft, death worship or folklore as an influence. Sure, the atmosphere of those you mentioned is striking and inspiring, but our main influences lie elsewhere.
Could you say some of your tracks were made in more special circumstances than others? Are you convinced your music is highly personal with internal energy and strength? Some bands write music mechanically and just exclude or leave the riffs they like, then there can be feel some sterility and calculation in the recording...
Sure. It is highly personal, since it is our own work and we put a lot of effort in it. As mentioned earlier, we don’t really sit down and write riffs or songs. It is more a natural process, I’d say. We set up our recording gear, which basically consists out of an old 4-track and some mics, turn the light off, burn some incense and see where it takes us. That‘s how we recorded the demotape as well as the two eps.
Obviously, „Lughnasadh“ is kinda special for us. Mainly, because it was the starting point for our work as „Häxenzijrkell“. So without „Lughnasadh“, there would have been no „Häxenzijrkell“.
Do you use altered states of consciousness at writing process or you prefer a clear mind? Do you think the use of light or heavy drugs can help an artist to achieve deeper or different perceptions of creation? Can it open new options or only extend them to some extent?
Obviously, drugs can help artists to broaden their very scope of mind. Just look at Pink Floyd for instance. However drugs won’t suddenly improve your technical skills – so, extending the options to a certain degree, yes. As mentioned before, with Häxenzijrkell there is no traditional writing process at all. We don’t write songs, we rather „receive“ them. Our music is our very own journey beyond – we want to unlock hidden gateways.
How do your dreams and visions interfere with your music? Do you have experiences with sleep paralysis and what does it mean to you? Do you ever have had such strange dreams that you feel strong anxiety or fear after awakening? Have you ever experienced something very strange or even paranormal in the content of sleep?
I’ve been experiencing some sorts of sleep paralysis ever since my early childhood. Throughout the years I’ve basically seen everything from shadow people lurking in the room to black holes emerging out of nowhere and dragging you into the abyss, shifting and screaming faces on walls or loud, metallic voices and sounds. So, yes, I’m quite used to a strong anxiety after waking up or rather after having such an experience.
We haven’t really dealt with these topics yet, musically or lyrically. But it has been on my mind for a long time anyways, so at some point we might try to work with it.
Do you think witchcraft is only one and should not be divided into black and white? Some witches used both types at the same time as needed. Do you think if a man (the wizard) uses the black magic within witchcraft, will it come back to him in some way later?
Sure, depending on it’s purpose, witchcraft can be divided into black and white, even so the root remains the same. However, if you’re skilled enough, you should be able to prevent any negative backlash.
It is already known that in the Middle Ages many women have been killed, and perhaps most of them wrongly. The Church has also devised such absurdities they have been able to burn the woman by virtue of her mother's sign. Do you think it was a mass hysteria of church institutions to show their power or it could be case of real sorcery?
I’d rather say it’s been a mixture of both: Superstition and truth.
Necromancy may be attributed to sorcery as well. There is case of the Erichto witch sleeping in the tombs surrounded by bones and burial objects to contact the dead. She asked Sextus (the son of the Roman ruler) to bring her a fresh human body (meat) in which the energy was still flowing, but it had no injured mouth, throat or lung to speak. During the ritual they learned that Sextus will lose a war and die. Do you think it's more a legend and a myth, or it can be based on the truth? Do similar stories fascinate you?
Since Erichto as a character appears in a few other writings (Dante’s Divine Comedy or Goethe’s Faust), I guess it’s safe to say that this is more of a legend or fiction. However ancient Greece and Italy was full of folklore about sorcery, which is most likely based on some true facts. It’s fascinating nevertheless.
Do you know some cases of witchcraft in places you came from, or its surroundings, where witchcraft was once done and you visit them?
There are a few tales, yes. One of the most striking stories might be the one about the leathery bridge. I'll try to cut it short: During a siege, the devil buildt a leathery bridge between two castles to save the life of the lord of the castle. Apparently, the devil once was a guest at the lord's castle and, by building that bridge, returned the hospitality.
Also, the mirrored text in the booklet of "Des Lasters der Zauberey" is an abstract of the interrogation of Christine Teipel a nine year old girl, who claimed to be a witch and was later convicted as such.
Great movies about witchcraft are, for example, Czech Witchhammer 1969, or Häxan 1922. Have you seen these movies and what is your attitude to them? Which cinematographic works most influenced you?
Well, the samples in „Des Lasters der Zauberey“ are lifted from Czech Witchhammer, so yes, we’ve seen it. Fantastic movie. Same goes for Häxan. Although Häxan is probably way more popular than Witchhammer. Can’t recommend it enough, though. Oh, and watch Hagazussa. That movie is just breathtaking.
I’ve got a thing for vintage horror movies anyways. So I’d cite nearly everything starring either Vincent Price or Peter Cushing – these old hammer movies, you know? – as an influence on us. Those movies just had the right atmosphere and are a neverending source for samples.
MK 7.3.2019 Mortuary
Des Teufels schwarze Hand