The interview with SICULICIDIUM is our first interview with a Romanian band, which is good, as bands from this country can offer a particularly specific atmosphere and original elements coming from the dark Transylvania. That's right, this duo of musicians smuggled something of their original culture into their compositions and linked it into a strange tangle of dreams, visions and mythology, where they connect with historical events, occultism, death, or symbolism, which are the main themes for their cursed lyricism. SICULICIDIUM already have many experiences, they are known mainly at home in Romania, but also at neighboring Hungary, but hopefully thanks to this interview they will get a few people in our country. The band has already released two full albums, five EPs, some demo and split album. As always, I didn't want the interview to be boring, dull and forced, but readable, fascinating and natural. I touched on a lot of topics you wouldn't normally expect to talk to, and the band was given the opportunity to talk about not so traditional things. See for yourself, one of the best interviews of this issue! Both members Béla Lugosi (vox) and Pestifer (guit, bass) answered the questions.
Greetings to SICVLICIDIVM to Romania. How did this impressive band come into existence and what was the main idea of formation? I am also interested in the name of the band, where does the term come from, what does it mean and what is its meaning in the overall concept of the band?
Lugosi: Siculicidium is a Transylvanian Black Metal band with influences from first and second generation Black Metal, Thrash Metal, Doom Metal and Punk.
Sometimes the band uses trumpets, jaw's harp, acoustic guitars for generating eerie and atmospheric musical landscapes.
The band was formed in 2003. The original core is the same, no line-up changes and other usual metal stuff!
Our name was taken after a massacre of January 1764.
The events remained vivid in the Székely collective memory: in 1905, an obelisk was erected at Madéfalva, on its top carrying a Turul-bird with the wings spread. At the bottom of the stone-pyramid there is a plate with the word SICVLICIDIVM on it (oddly enough, adding up the values of the letters as Roman numerals, the result is exactly the year of the massacre).
The band is consisted of Pestifer and Lugosi Béla, from 2019 our long time comrade Nekroführer is full time member of the band.
Siculicidium plays Transylvanian Black Metal exclusively!
Pestifer: Overall concept was and it is to this same moment to deliver music which stands far from any musical trends. We are developing our inner thoughts, moods, anguish, generally our mental state into notes and lyrics. All my life I was listening and playing music, so when I met Lugosi long time ago, we both knew something wicked will come along the way. It’s been 16 years now since we started and there are no plans to give up soon. The name Siculicidium may not be something very easy to memorize, it’s not a pretentious band name, however it connects us to our heritage, history and culture and there is a plus major benefit of the name: there is no other band with this or similar name.
I have to write right at the beginning that listening to music of SICVLICIDIVM is an interesting experience since it is not a typical Black Metal production of Norwegian or any other classic type. What role does play inspiration by Romanian or other surrounding culture, folklore?
Lugosi: we are not fans of Norwegian Black Metal, so you can’t hear in our music Norwegian influences, when everybody was into Norwegian BM, we listened Finnish BM, Greek BM, Bathory, Tormentor and other non-metal bands like Fields of The Nephilim, Swans, 16 Horsepower or Merzbow!
We are under the influence of Hungarian culture and folklore, Hungarian blood running in our veins!
Pestifer: I do like and listen to some Norwegian BM bands now and then, especially Carpathian Forest – Through Chasm, Caves and Titan Woods is one of the highlights of the second wave, but generally we were and are into Greek, Finnish, South-American or East European scene with bands like Tormentor, Master’s Hammer making a significant impact on our music listening habits.
You have released two full-lengths, five EPs, a demo and one split album, which I would say, is quite a good quantity from the year 2003. What role does SICVLICIDIVM play in your lives? What position does your band have on the Romanian Metal scene?
Lugosi: Our main goal is quality over quantity, so that’s why we are not release too much albums in the last 16 bloody years of existence! The band is very important in our lives we live like Siculicidium and we will die with Siculicidium! Making music, art is not a competition for us, positions, scenes like local and international are beyond from our interests!
Pestifer: We could have released a whole lot more music, but we tend to throw out riffs or complete songs if we are unsatisfied with them. We also don’t like to recycle our themes, so if a riff is too similar to an older one, we move on. I prefer to have less releases, and trying to not suffocate the anyway over flooded BM scene. Whenever we have songs that we are pleased with, they can go into a new release and then you’ll hear about us. I hate when bands are coming out every 1-2 years with a new mediocre run-of-the-mill full-length, it’s just not okay. I am happy with what we have done with Siculicidium and we have plans for the next 5 or more years. I don’t know what position we do have in the Romanian scene, last time I checked I didn’t quite find a healthy underground scene in Romania. I don’t think there is a big interest in Romania for Siculicidium and cliché or not, I don’t care too much, I like to stay silent, work and take care of our things.
Your newest EP is still fresh and music follows your original Black Metal style. Is originality of great importance to you, or you do not take it from this point of view? Are you trying purposely to distinguish yourself from other bands? Your tonality, harmony, but often also rhythm, singing style, language and other elements are really special and unique...
Lugosi: “A Halál és az iránytű” EP. Featuring two exclusive songs, this EP - which tellingly translates to "The death and the compass" in English - is the perfect distillation of the band's bewitching craft. The A-side is an eerie pulse of tension and dread, evoking the most hidden mysteries of the Transylvanian forests, a true and daring slice of Romanian black metal grimness. The B-side deepens the Siculicidium enigma with an overtly deathrocking aspect . This EP is a prelude for the upcoming new album, the gates are open!
Pestifer: Yes, as I previously mentioned uniqueness is of great significance for us. I don’t think we sound similar to other bands, and we never tried to be a version of some celebrated BM band. We are developing our own kind of noise and that’s what we do…
When Romania is said, everybody comes to the typical locations, people, history, Transylvania, Sighisoara, Vlad Tepes, Transylvania, Wallachia and so on. Do all these places, historical connections, wars, personalities affect the creation of SICVLICIDIVM? Which parts of Romania, or monuments, or other locations do you prefer?
Lugosi: yes, of course! Szeklerland (Székelyföld) & Transylvania as a land & historical and mythical place , our cradle and our future grave is always in our mind and spirit!
Pestifer: All those places, but not just! There are a lot of other magnificent places charged with history and darkness, some known to mainstream like Sighisoara, Bran, etc, but the real darkness of Transylvania is yet to be uncovered for the masses, and perhaps it is better this way. We are real nature wanderers, but there are too many places to mention. If you want to come here and want to experience the real Transylvania, you should stay away from the main tourist attractions, at least don’t limit yourself just for them. And yes, it is an influence, the places, the history, at the same time we are not trying to be a mystical medieval influenced mambo jumbo pagan black metal band, we live in the present. We do like penetrating the past, but we live in the present and we do have plans for future.
I am always interested in music influences of the bands, of course, but I never forget to ask about the non-musical ones that I would like to discuss in next questions. So what kind of music did you grow up to, which bands do you think are key in forming SICVLICIDIVM and exist in Romania Metal, or even non-metal bands that have influenced you?
Lugosi: Music, books, films are inspiring us to making music. 70’s, 80’s heavy metal, 80’s thrash metal, 90’s black metal, power electronics, experimental, noise music are the main influences and of course literature, novels by Hamvas Béla, Mishima, Borges, Vonnegut, U.Eco, P.K.Dick, G. Grass, Murakami, Nietzsche, W.Sándor, Kafka, Cs. Geza, Kundera, Hrabal, Evola, etc etc just name a few, gave us lots of inspirations!
Pestifer: Writers I like are: Umberto Eco, Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Edgar Allan Poe, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ambrose Bierce, Philip K. Dick, Anthony Burgess, Gaston Leroux, Szerb Antal, Hamvas Béla, Julio Cortazar, Mircea Eliade, Móricz Zsigmond, Clark Ashton Smith, Cormac McCarthy, Robert Louise Stevenson, Mihail Bulgakov, Aldous Huxley, Hermann Hesse, Bogumil Hrabal, George Orwell, Haruki Murakami and I think the list is endless…
As music, I grew up on classical hard rock and heavy metal of the 70s and 80s, Deep Purple, Sabbath, Maiden, Priest, Mercyful Fate, 80s thrash metal, doom metal like Candlemass, Saint Vitus, then death and black metal, Possessed, Celtic Frost, Sodom, Sarcofago, I like the middle 80s when genres were not so disconnected. Is Celtic Frost a death, a thrash, black or doom metal band? Who can tell? It doesn’t matter. My favorite BM artist is Bathory. Then now and then I listen to a lot of non-metal artists which are sometimes more darker and gloomier than most of the nowadays “modern metal bands”, stuff like Dead Can Dance, Paul Roland, XIII Stoleti, Roky Erickson, Nick Cave, 16 HP, Portishead, Kraftwerk, Laibach, Klaus Schulze, Angelo Badalamenti, Clint Mansell and the whole 80s goth/post-punk scene is something also worth to mention.
What role do dreams play in your creation? Do you write down your dreams in some way, or you simply let them to flow through your consciousness to come and go naturally and you always take something out of them? Is there any your song inspired by dreams?
Lugosi: Sometimes I’m dreaming to playing our songs on stage, in concert, but it’s not a nice dream, it’s just nightmare, and sometimes I have had a dream about just walking down the street and punching the face of some random guys in old clockwork orange style! One new song for the next album was inspired by dreams, but fuck I totally forgot the story!
Pestifer: Interesting question. I used to write my dreams in a diary which I still have. Looking back and re-reading it reveals my past fears, desires, frustrations. I can’t say though that any song or riff or theme was influenced by dreams. But I dream a lot at nights. Who knows anyway what dreams are made of and what is their role? It’s all subconscious, everything is possible, but I never did dream a riff though haha!
Sleep disturbances, especially sleep paralysis play an important role in sleep. I know this is a bit of a personal question, but have you experienced something similar? Did you see shadowy people, or hear strange sounds? How do you remember your first sleep paralysis? What meaning do you attribute to this disorder? Do you think it can be explained from a psychological, physiological, or occult point of view?
Lugosi: luckily I’m a good sleeper, when I hearing the strange sound it’s the usual morning wake up sound from my phone, another boring day to go to work and other usual shit!
“You have wakened not out of sleep, but into a prior dream, and that dream lies within another, and so on, to infinity, which is the number of grains of sand. The path that you are to take is endless, and you will die before you have truly awakened.”
Pestifer: Yes, sleep paralysis is something common with me. I often dream I am in a position where I cannot react to the near-coming threat and I woke up in sweat and screams. Psychological, physiological and occult point of view sometimes is connected, sometimes they are all the same. Sleep paralysis may come from our fears and anxiety, but it’s just a guess, I don’t know precisely, there are people who are smarter in this domain and I don’t want to sound scientifically, because I am not. I hope this is personal enough, I never gone so delicately private in an interview so far.
I always go from sleep on an even deeper theme. How do you personally perceive death? What does it express or symbolize for you? Many cultures, religions, folklore perceive death differently, but they all have something in common. Death is unchanging and will always be shrouded in the greatest veil of mystery. Are you an observer or a worshiper of death? What role does the death theme play for SICVLICIDIVM?
Lugosi: Our latest EP “A halál és az iránytű” (The death and the compass) is dealing with the inevitable death and beyond, the new album also dealing with the inevitable great death!
“Our destiny… is not frightful by being unreal; it is frightful because it is irreversible and iron-clad. Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.”
Pestifer: Death is part of life, and no matter of technical and scientific progress our age is going through, Death is still real. I do not worship Death, but I accept it as a part of life. I have bones and skull in my room, but that is not because I worship death as some of the black metal bands do, but because I think Death is as normal as living life each day, and I want to remember this every day, so I am just an observer of death. Regarding the band it plays an important role, Death is the main subject of our latest 8 songs, from which two are available on our latest EP “A Halál és az iránytű”, the other ones will be on our forthcoming 3rd full-length. Last years it was like a curse of death with many people passing from our families and close circles, like never before, and want it or not, no matter how tough you are, it affects you and you have to work with it. So, our latest songs are our feelings, moods and approach to the spectacle of death.
It is well known that the mysterious forest of Hoia Baciu is located in Romania, surrounded by various superstitions and experiences of people who have visited it or live by it. It is always possible for superstitions and legends to be somehow true. What is your view? Have you been in this forest and experienced something interesting there? Or do you know someone who has had some experiences there? I have read somewhere that, according to certain sources, there was a group of people who tried to open the gate to other dimensions ...
Lugosi: Yes, I remember the time when I was a student in Kolozsvár (Cluj) and that forest was full with techno junkies and other subhumans, if you use lots of drugs you can easily had some experiences and some gates truly will open! In our times a rave festival also was organized in every summer in that forest! Funny memories, but no superstitions!
Pestifer: I visited a lot that forest 15-20 years go. It is said to be the most haunted forest around and I was curious. I had countless visits, even nocturnal ones, waiting for something supernatural, which never happened. But when it is not full of festival people it is a very eerie and silent place with the trees growing in an unnatural curved way. I never experienced anything not normal there, though I explored for that possibility.
Since you started to be interested in mysterious, dark and spiritual things? Have you always been that way or you discovered it later? How much do you penetrate the veil of secrets? Do you read literature of this nature, or you even work with spirituality and occultism personally?
Lugosi: we are trying to read a lot, but time is the enemy!
Pestifer: I am reading a lot I think, though not that much as I would wish. I did tried some spiritual and occultist technics in my youth, leaving me with absolute horror and confusion. Some things should not be tried. I have seen things which disturbed me, I learned from it, but I want to do real things in the present time.
"If you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you"
Finally, just a classic question. Your last album came out in 2013 and since then you have released only two EPs. Is the new album on the way?
Lugosi: yes the 3rd full length album is in the making, if will not be released this years end, will be out for sure next year! Music written, concept done just need to be recording vocals, etc, etc and other studio work.
Thanks for your interest in Siculicidium!
Pestifer: All the material which will be our next full-length record is written and demo-recorded. This summer we are recording the final version of it, expect the same approach as on the 2-song EP we released this year, introspective album about Death with the best songs we have ever done yet.
Thanks for the interesting questions, may the spirits be with you.
Béla Lugosi, Pestifer 1.7.2019 Mortuary
Land Beyond the Forest