As Fontes Do Negrume
SARTEGOS is band from the Iberian Peninsula operating in a restless and dangerous waters of Death / Black Metal. They originated in 2008 as a one man band by Rou Sartegos (guitar, bass, vocals) and Vindok joined two years later on drums. So far they offered two demos "A La Serpe Escarnio" '10 and "Mortualha" '11. Till in 2013 they issued crazy "As Fontes Do Negrume" EP. I reviewed this stuff and I liked it so much I decided to ask SARTEGOS for an interview. I think these basic information about the band are sufficient for the editorial, all others you will learn from the extensive interview. Answers were provided by Rou.
Hell-o to Spain! Could you write something about SARTEGOS? You are much unknown band over here and many ones have no idea of your existence. What about the formation of the band? Can you introduce both members?
Hi there! Rou writing here. Well, actually I come from Galiza (a land on the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, under the rule of Spain, but with a different culture, language and landscape) and I don’t consider myself Spanish. Moreover I’m living in London since November 2013 so we should maybe say hello to England now.
SARTEGOS is a band formed in 2008 in order to play an old fashioned Black/Death Metal style. First demo (“A Serpe do Escarnio”) was recorded entirely by me in 2009 and auto-released in 2010 on pro-tape format. After the release of this first demo, Vindok started playing drums with me in the band, and after some time we recorded the second demo (“Mortualha”) which was released again on protape format by Chalice Of Blood Angel Prods. in July 2011. Then, one year later, we recorded the first mini-album of the band, called “As Fontes do Negrume”. This one was released on the three formats by three different labels: vinyl by I-Voidhanger Records, CD by Bloody Productions and tape by Caverna Abismal/Egg of Nihilism. After the release of the mini album I came to live in London and I stopped to rehearse with Vindok, so you can say the band came back to be only me (Vindok will be continuing collaborating playing drums, though). Right now I am mixing two new tracks we recorded for a split with the French band Ysengrin.
Among SARTEGOS influences you can find names like Demoncy, Mortuary Drape, Mayhem, Profanatica, Varathron, Acheron, early Rotting Christ, early Tiamat, Archgoat, etc.
Hope this interview can help SARTEGOS to be a little bit better known in your area.
What a vision have you go to form band with? Did you have any clear idea how it will all sound, what riffs to use, what sound will be characteristic for the band?
At the very beginning this was an idea me and my comrade Karles from Apokatastasis fanzine had in mind: to create a Black/Death Metal band inspired by old names like Demoncy, Mortuary Drape or Profanatica. For some reasons we didn’t manage to start rehearsing together so at some point I started the band on my own. Anyway, I consider this the very beginning of the band.
We had in our minds how it should have sounded and which types of riffs we would use, but when I carried on with the band alone, all developed only under my point of view, of course.
But to sum up: yes, you can say I had a clear idea about how all should be.
I had not the opportunity to hear your first demos; they were 'A Serpe Do Escarnio' and 'Mortualha'. Could you write something about these recordings? What kind of responses have you got by critics?
Well, “A Serpe do Escarnio” was the first Sartegos recording and it was kind of a challenge because the recording equipment I had at the time was basically rubbish. I had in mind what I wanted to do but I was not sure if the result was going to be as expected. At the end, it turned out to be better than expected so I was quite satisfied with it. For a first demo is ok and sound is good as well. The only thing is that I had to use a drum machine for this first demotape and although its sound is not so bad, is not like a real one.
“Mortualha” was recorded in better conditions and with a real drummer and you can notice it because the sound is more organic and powerful. Composition is also better in this second demo and the tracks included are darker and more direct than the ones in the previous demo. I would say that the guitar sound on “Mortualha” is very good (although guitars are a little bit too loud in the mix).
Reviews were quite good about both first and second demo. Some of them more enthusiastic, some other less, but very good in general, I would say. Usually people like more “Mortualha” than “A Serpe...” but I also came across a couple of guys who liked more the first one.
If you haven’t listen to the demos yet, I-Voidhanger will be re-releasing them on CD, as a compilation, on 2015, so it will be good opportunity to get them. Anyway, I think both demos should be still available somewhere at some distros around the world.
Your last stuff is so far 'As Fontes Do Negrume' EP from last year, five tracks plus an instrumental intro and outro. How are you satisfied with this EP? In the review I emphasized especially grim atmosphere, strong moments in most songs and excellent underground sound...
Still after more than two years after the recordings, I am very satisfied with the mini-album (or EP), to be honest. Maybe now I would change some things regarding the sound, but minor things. Together with the 2 new tracks I’ve just recorded for the upcoming split with Ysengrin, the songs included in the mini-album are the best Sartegos stuff.
From my point of view it is important that every song has those strong moments like you said. Something you will remember after listening to the whole recording.
From my perspective, I like most Deitam Sangue Os Muros and O Dragom tracks; both are the purest essence of your personality to me. Which song would you highlighted as an author?
I like all of them but I would say “Lostregos sob as Tumbas” and “O Dragom”. “O Dragom” is a great song and a little bit different from the rest of the tracks so I think it is easier for everyone to remember that song after listening to the entire mini-album. Besides that, I think our personality lies in every of our songs.
Highest value, as I said, in my opinion, is the atmosphere you succeeded to achieve. I used words and comparisons like dug graves, white old bones, skulls with unknown disturbing symbols, old creaking mortuary door and spells flying in the air of the ancient cemetery. I even mentioned that your work reminds me Lovecraft´s “The Hound” short story. Do you find atmosphere in your music the most important, or it is just one of the means?
Thanks for your words and good comparisons indeed.
Yes, atmosphere is very important in Sartegos, in fact one of the most important things. Even if the music would be perfectly executed and the sound would be massive, if it lacks of atmosphere, then it wouldn’t be valid for Sartegos.
This is because the aim with the band is to transmit a certain feeling and atmosphere, to create some mental landscapes on the listener and if this atmosphere or feeling is not there, then it is pointless to continue with the band.
Listening to Sartegos should be like waking up inside an abandoned crypt, surrounded by the humid and the stench of death filling your lungs. Should be like witnessing a coven at midnight in the forest. Should be like a travel to the darkest corners of the Universe.
How do you compose material? Do you have any special way of writing, for example to induce a certain state of consciousness, environment, etc.? What do you always feel when you know the song is already done?
Usually all starts with a riff or two. Then I try to build a coherent structure adding some more riffs and changes until I get the skeleton of the song. After that, I put this together with the drum parts at the rehearsal place (not really like that anymore, since I’m in London and we do not rehearse, though). Then I compose the second guitars, bass lines, vocals,...
Usually when at first I get the right riffs I get that thing clicking in my mind saying: ok, these riffs will make a very good Sartegos song.
I do not use drugs or altered states of consciousness to create music or lyrics but in most of the cases I need to be in a certain environment or in a certain mood.
Can you write where do you get your inspiration for your lyrics and who writes them? What importance do you give to your lyrics? Many bands take a lyric page only as an element of the atmosphere or just as a fun cliché. Do words you write mean something more to you? What subjects inspire you most?
I write all the lyrics and there are many things and subjects that can be a source of inspiration: some decadent or nocturne landscapes, books, the multidimensional universe, subjects like some forms of occultism or luciferianism, history, my own thoughts or interpretations about those subjects, dreams, the night and the unknown, the death, etc.
Lyrics in Sartegos are very important, but to a certain extent. I mean, when I write my lyrics I try to help building that atmosphere, I try to help building what Sartegos is about, putting in some concepts, ideas and mental landscapes. For me it’s not about trying to write an essay about the occult or philosophy but just to write lyrics for a Death/Black Metal band. My lyrics are very important for me and all is serious here, don’t take me wrong, but I ain’t no scholar and I’m not trying to write a book.
Another question would be about inspiration in music, which bands influenced the way you sound now? Does it all apply only to metal music? Do you hear over the same bands you listened to in the beginning when you approached such music first? Which album you consider as your favorite and why?
Our sound got inspired by bands like Demoncy, Varathron, Profanatica, Mayhem, Archgoat, Mortuary Drape, Acheron, early Rotting Christ or early Tiamat. To be honest, I like some non-metal stuff, but it doesn’t have any influence in Sartegos. When I was a teenager I used to listen to a lot of punk. Nowadays I don’t explore outside of metal too much.
I keep on listening to the classics I started with from time to time. You can never forget those ones, but of course is every now and then.
It’s nearly impossible to say only one favourite album, even if we restrain this to Black and Death Metal only. I would say “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” but it is very hard to say only one. The reason why? I think it’s obvious: it’s the masterpiece of Black Metal. Its atmosphere, compositions, riffs, vocals are amazing and unique!!
What do you think about current Spanish Death / Black scene? I think Teitanblood now stirred up quite the level of darkness with their new 'Death' CD, but certainly they said enough also about Proclamation. Which bands would you still recommend from your country?
Well, if there is something called a Spanish scene, then I would say you can find there some very good bands like the ones you quoted, but for me the best one now is Domains. If you haven’t listened to them yet, do it! You won’t regret it.
I like a lot Teitanblood, but I haven’t listened to their last album yet. About Proclamation, I have to say they bored me after a couple of albums. Their best stuff is the demo “Imperial jaws of ire”.
From Galiza I would recommend you Balmog and the last album of The Last Twilight.
You use Spanish language in your lyrics, why did you decide this? Do you think it will sound more mysterious and exotic to most fans?
The language I use is not Spanish, but Galician. The reason is because it is my native tongue so I can express myself better and I feel more confident using it. Sartegos is a very personal thing so I had clear in my mind since the beginning that I would be using Galician. Also, there are enough bands growling in English out there and some of them they don’t know even why they are using English. Some of them they just do it because it is what is established. Besides, I think Galician adds a very special feeling and personality to the band and sounds mysterious indeed. At least to me.
Have you played any live sets, and if so, how did it turn out? Do you take SARTEGOS more as a live or a studio band? Which position you prefer, creation and recording, or show it all live as a ritual?
Sartegos didn’t play live yet, and with the current situation (me living in London) I doubt this will be happening in a near (and not so near) future. The band never had more than two members and I don’t like very much the idea of hiring session musicians to play live so that’s one of the main reasons why we remained as a studio/rehearsal band up till now.
I prefer the creation and rehearsal, but I don’t like very much the recording sessions: I have to record (I mean, play) every instrument apart from the drums + I have to be controlling the recording equipment so it’s quite a lot of job for me.
New 'As Fontes Do Negrume' album is almost a year out, what are you doing now and working on? Do you have any idea how your new songs will sound and what format your new thing comes out in? Will you change something in your music or we can look forward to the next portion of sepulchral disgust?
I have just finished the mixing for two brand new tracks that will be included in the upcoming split 12” vinyl with the French band Ysengrin. There is a plan to release this split also on CD and tape, but nothing is confirmed yet.
The split will be dealing with the Albedo stage of Alchemic process.
Music is very similar to the ones included in “As Fontes do Negrume” but maybe with a bit more weird approach. If you liked our previous stuff, you will like these two new tracks too. Our part of the split will be 15 minutes in total and these new tracks have been recorded and composed in purpose for this split. No discarded stuff from previous recordings or anything.
Ok, that would be all on my part, if I forgot something, you can write anything for the fans here in Slovakia. Thank you for this great interview and wish SARTEGOS a lot of dark inspiration and keep the flame of madness burning as long as possible, thanks again.
I have been driving across your country and visiting some places there like Tatra Mountains, Orava and Spissky castle, etc. in 2008 (I missed Csjethe castle, though). Great country, I liked it a lot.
If you are interested in Sartegos, you can write me at email@example.com
Keep your eyes open for the new split with Ysengrin. It will be out somewhen in 2015.
Thanks for the interview.
Rou 18/10/2014 28.10.2014 Mortuary