This interview with Silenius and Protector of Summoning was done by e-mail by Carlos Martin Cuevas in January 2006.

J.R.R. Tolkien's work has been a recurrent topic in the whole heavy metal history, and the Austrian Black Metal band Summoning is one of the most well-known of those bands worshiping his books (among other topics). I consider their Black Metal with orchestal arrangements the best vehicle to carry you in a dream to Middle Earth... As a new album is supposed to come in a few months, I got in contact with them for the following interview.

Hello guys, nice to hold this interview with you. How are you doing?
Silenius: Hello, in the moment we are very stressed because right now we are doing the final mix of the new album, which hopefully will be out in a few months. Right now we are listening to the last mix in order to check if anything is perfect or if still something is need to be done.

First of all I would like to ask you about your official website. It has been almost completely down for some months; just a couple of sections seem to work. What happened?
Protector: I am sorry for that, but the problem is a data-base problem, which I could solve but as the recording and mixing process of Summoning is so time consuming I don't find any time at all for this. But as soon as the album is finished I will fix the problem.

As the website is not working there is no recent information about the next album. How advanced is the recording process? Could you calculate an approximate release date?
Protector: For a long time we had some problems with the guitar sound 'cause we needed to get a sound that pleases both of us, but now we finally found the perfect sound for both of us. We want the sound to be loud and agressive, but on the other hand not to mask any keyboard tunes, so we had to find the best compromise and to filter the right frequencies to avoid any collision between keyboards and guitar sound. Now the guitars sound louder and heavier than ever before.

Could you anticipate any exclusive news for Tartarean Desire? Album name? Any song title?
Still we have neither an album name nor any song names (for now we only use some temporary names in order to be able to talk about the songs), but finding names is always the thing we do last, 'cause all other aspects are much more important for us.

In 2003 you released the “Lost Tales” EP. Those two songs are Summoning’s most atmospheric material ever. Will you follow this path with the new album? Or will it be a continuation of the sound of “Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame”?
We always made clear that "Lost Tales" is only a release of old demo songs from times of "Dol Guldur"; it was never meant to be a real album release, this is why we also did not add any guitars to it. Therefore the next CD will definitely not follow any paths of "Lost Tales" but "LMHSYF". This means there will be guitars on it (and even louder ones than on LMHSYF).

Surely there will be some slight changes (the guitars will play in a more floating arpeggio style and the kettledrums will be more complicated), but apart from that we keep our style.

In your last albums you introduced some dialogue samples from movies (Lord of the Rings…). Did you make a formal request to the film company asking for permission? Was it a complex bureaucratic process?
Silenius: To be honest; we did not ask, but as the samples are very short I think it is ok. At least we did not get any problems so far, and I hope you wont tell Them ;-)

I have been searching for Summoning shirts on the Internet and they are quite difficult to find. I only found some with the “Lugburz” picture. In fact I read (if I remember well…) that you were not interested in publishing more shirts. I honestly think that your album covers are beautiful as well as the band logo, and they would look great on a shirt or pullover… Are you considering the possibility of releasing new clothes?
Silenius: Napalm Records made some reprints of Dol Guldur, Minas Morgul and Stronghold and a new edition of Lugburz for the first time. I don’t know if they are all sold or not but if you are interested, Napalm Records is the best to contact.

I am sure that with the release of the new album there will be again a need for old shirts and I am sure Napalm will do some reprints again. <å> Protector: As Napalm Records is fortunately doing all promo stuff and all work for us, we only need to concentrate on music and therefore we are not involved in subjects such as Merchandising.

You both are involved in many bands/projects apart from Summoning, such as Die Verbannten Kinder Evas, Raventhrone, Ice Ages, Kreuzweg Ost, etc. Are any of these bands (or others that I may not have mentioned) releasing any album soon? Do you consider Summoning your main band (and the rest, consequently, as side projects) or do you place all at the same level?
Protector: For us all projects have absolutely the same importance; or better said, the project has the most importance that is most actual. So at the moment Summoning has the top priority for me as I am working for it now; but as soon as I will stop the work for Summoning I will start working for the songs for "Die Verbannten Kinder Evas", then of course this project will have the main priority for me. After that I will finish my already existing "Ice Ages" songs.

What can you tell us about the Austrian extreme metal scene? What are your favourite bands within it?
Silenius: To be honest I don’t follow too much the Austrian metal scene, but of course there are some bands who made their way to the public like Dornenreich, Belphegor and some more.

Protector: I also am not very informed about the Austrian scene so I can only name the bands I personally know which are "Amestigon" (old school black metal) and "Dismal" (progressive Death / Black Metal).

I have heard that the drums for Summoning are not played by a drum machine, but with keyboards. Something like assigning a key for the snare, another for each tom, etc etc. Is this true? Why did you choose this particular method instead of the typical computer one?
Protector: For me it is the most logic way. We are using keyboards for all our orchestral instruments; for strings, for horn, piano etc. Why should we not use it for Drums as well?

I never worked with any drum computers, but as far as I understood it a drum-machine is just a low-level keyboard, reduced to drum sounds, and played with some buttons instead of those piano keys; but a drum-machine is not connected more or less to a computer than my keyboard is, cause I also control my keyboard with midi by my computer.

Apart from Austria, in which country are you most popular? What about the USA? Japan? Do you receive many emails/letters from your fans? Which is the stangest country where you are known to have fans?
Protector: Actually we hardly receive mails from Austria. I think a band of the own country is never so interessting for a person than a band from far away. I think that people can create much more mistery around a band that is far away than other bands. We also hardly get any mails from USA and I think I never got a single Mail from any person from UK.

So the main fan reaction comes from German and Russia. After that contries like Italy, Poland and Turkey follow.

The most unusual country so far I received mail from was IRAN, cause actually I thought that listening to such music is forbidden there, cause of the religious dictatorship.

Silenius: Not to forget Greece; those fans always gave us very fanatical response.

You are one of the most popular bands whose lyrics are inspired by Tolkien. Which other bands with a similar approach do you like?
Silenius: Of course Falkenbach; also this band has a total different concept. There are a lot of similarities, such as long epic melody lines nearly no breaks, very few bandfotos, no rockstar image.

I guess you will have been asked about it so many times, hehe, but, what’s your opinion on Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy?
Silenius: A perfect translation of the books, as far as the books are translatable. All those people who mock that Peter Jackson did not a 1:1 translation of the book should shut up because that is simply not impossible so he did the best he could, each character has turned out very carefully and the whole world turned out just the same as I imagined it while reading the books.

This movie has spread Tolkien’s fame all over the world to the level of trend. Do you think this benefits Summoning?
Silenius: Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know, but all in all I think those who did not like fantasy topics before won't like it after having seen the film or listening to a summoning CD is the same if I watch a star wars movie: Of course I think it is great when I watch it, but I would not start to read science fiction books or listen to CDs which have a robotic or war machine flair.

Now that we are approaching the end, a more personal question. What is a normal day in your everyday life like? What are your hobbies apart from music and literature?
Protector: Apart from my job I am doing a regular job as programmer, 'cause the money we get from summoning is only enough to pay half of a rent of an average flat in Vienna. We would have to sell 100 times more records to be able to live from that and we actually aimed for this or wasted any thoughts on it.

So apart from the bands I am involved in spend my time with my girlfriend and go sometimes out in order to meet friends. I also play a lot of oriental percussion (Darabukas) in my freetime, so that I don't loose the connection to real hand made music ;-)

I'd like to leave this kind of quest for the end. I will tell you a proper name (place, band, person, etc) and you just have to give your opinion:

Pungent Stench
Silenius: Martin is a good friend of mine. We did together the Kreuzweg Ost Project, meanwhile I don’t see him to often anymore because he is always on tour but up and thn we go on a beer and talk about the latest news.

Alf Poier
Silenius: Not my cup of tea, but his anarchic humour has its own style within the Austrian comedy scene and I was very surprised when I saw him once with his girlfriend at the death in june concert.

Adolf Hitler
Protector: A narrow minded fanatic who put so much damage to his country and the world. He created a system where people only had to obey and any individuality was forbidden, and only art he considered as art was allowed. I really whish that any of those NSBM bands could live a single day in the III Reich and try to make their music there, so that they finally could see what shit is going on in their heads;-)

Silenius: In former times some people compared their music with ours, but I don’t see to much similarities and to be honest I am not very familiar with the music.

The EU
Protector: I am no EU fan and in the past I voted against it. It more and more turns out to be only a organisation for the richest people in the world, whereas all others don't have any advantages about it. Things just get more and more expensive due to it.

Neptune Towers (Electronic ambient project from Fenriz from Darkthrone)
Silenius: Somehow I like both releases. This deep space ambient music reflects very good the topic and it was very brave of Fenriz to release them because I don’t think too much black metal fans are into this kind of music.

Well, that’s all. Thank you very much for your answers. Would you like to say anything more to our readers?
Silenius: Thanks for the interview and "Up the hammers" to all our fans.

That's all, folks. Just a few months left before being able to enjoy their next masterpiece...

Links of interest: