By Demitri Levantis
Thank you for your time. Let’s start with what inspired you to start the band in the first place; did you have a certain idea or concept to express?
There was the idea of creating a sect living in the woods, being isolated from society in order to face the world’s downfall sardonically and celebrate the end of mankind. A dark concept accompanied by catchy music. Despite this celebrating character, every member has to follow the rules and take part in the hierarchy. If not, the gallows await. It’s also about freedom – its aspects of attainment and illusion; a dance near the abyss and a welcoming of the grand silence that follows the man.
What inspired the band name “Rope Sect” and why did you choose it?
When developing the mentioned concept and writing the background story, the name come to mind quite fast as it’s mainly the core of the project’s content. The rope is the symbol of the sect’s cohesion and its biggest fear at the same time, a Janus-faced icon that swings between life and death.
Your new album’s title “The Great Flood,” what was the inspiration behind it?
Apparently, it’s a reference to the biblical flood transferred to our age, but without the aspect of a god giving a second chance. This great flood is the outcome of all faults people have made and the final consequence of their actions. A human-caused force that is wiping mankind into oblivion. No chosen ones to build up a new society, no gods, no ark. The Rope Sect won’t be spared either; everyone is doomed the same way. Yet, we won’t go down in self-pity and recriminations but rather use the remaining time for creativity, cultivating the cult and dancing towards the ultimate freedom.
Your press release says the album is “perversely inviting but portending great gloom ‘n’ doom,” does this mean you’ve used elements of doom metal or slow yet heavy music to inspire the album?
No, that quote doesn’t refer to any doom metal connection or roots since there hasn’t been a direct inspiration from that genre. The gloom/doom element is more related to the concept and lyrical approach which is quite intended and obvious.
In your musicianship, do you model yourself on anyone? Your vocals, for instance, are slightly reminiscent of Peter Murphy and Andrew Eldritch – are there any musicians like them you take big influence from?
Neither Murphy nor Eldritch was an influence, to be honest. Of course, we are always inspired by music and artists that we surround ourselves with; in my case, I’ve been rather influenced by Katatonia and their vocals in the first place since I’ve started making music. The Chameleons and early Pink Turns Blue can certainly be named as influences for Rope Sect as well. Still, I have to say that I’ve never had any intention to sound like a specific band or genre, I’ve always preferred doing what my own feelings guide me to and what I want to express from inside.
What genres of music did you listen to at a young age, was it post-punk and deathrock or more on the black metal side?
As for myself, I got into post-punk, wave or deathrock quite late. At a young age and when starting to make music, I was moving from grunge to metal and extreme metal quickly. I admit I’ve always been quite picky and can’t say I was seeing myself as a follower of a certain scene or genre, but rather picked those bands from different genres that had this touch of melancholy that has been attracting me until today. I’m certainly rooted in (extreme) metal, but always listened to bands outside this cosmos and never limited myself but followed those who managed to touch me instead.
Did you incorporate any unexpected genres of music for this album? When hearing the album I noticed there were a few sub-genres including a bit of ‘rhythm n blues ‘ and early rock n roll vibe – was this intentional when writing the songs?
None of these influences or sub-genres has really been integrated intentionally or on purpose. The music develops naturally and in most cases, I only notice these influences much later when listening to the recorded material again or getting opinions from other people. On this album, I even used some heavy metal riffs even though I’m not into that genre, but it just came into being as it matched the feeling of the song without thinking about genres or sounds at all. It’s just about the right feeling, not about any musical boundaries.
You had the album mastered by Damian Herring, how did that come about?
We have been in contact with Damian for another project before and also knew him as an excellent musician and audio engineer. He mastered the first two EPs and it was quite clear to choose him for the album again. He always does a great job and is very easy to work with.
You’ve collaborated with Mat “Kvost” McNerny of Hexvessel and Grave Pleasures, how did you guys meet and what did he bring to the album that you really liked?
Mat got in touch after the release of “Personae Ingrate”, which he liked quite much, and asked us to join them as a support band for their Germany gigs with Grave Pleasures. At that time, we haven’t even had concrete live plans or a live drummer yet, but made it happen and supported Grave Pleasures eventually. We stayed in touch and had the idea to collaborate on the album with him contributing lyrics and vocals. His suggestions were fantastic as they matched the album’s concept and vision and I instantly loved his vocal lines. He did not only bring his unique voice and style of writing to the album but also added another dynamic layer and colour. Mat is a great and versatile artist and he really enhanced the album with his contribution and support.
With songs like “Prison of You” and “Non-Serviemus”, is this album an expression of personal feelings or is it inspired more by current affairs and opinions?
Everything is tied to the concept and connected to the sect. It is a story but of course, the songs are inspired by social developments and personal feelings; some more, some less.
It’s like an attempt to look on society from an outside perspective while being aware we have to take all consequences of people’s actions as well. We all go down, no matter who or how many are expediting the world’s ruin. Rope Sect is not political or moralising at all, but we surely notice and get influenced by what’s going on in the world. Still, it is an artistic concept in the first place and we don’t direct ourselves to specific events or affairs.
Do you have a favourite song from the new album and if so, why?
Well, of course, it’s hard to pick any favourites when you’re so close to your own music and it also depends on the aspect you look at, but “Eleutheria” and “Hiraeth” are the most personal ones and have a special meaning for me, so I’m going for them.
What do you make of Germany’s Goth/Post Punk and Metal scenes today, and how have they changed in your time?
I can’t say much about that as Germany is quite divided into many local scenes and I don’t consider us being a part of any. Additionally, we’re quite far off the cultural hotspots locally. The country’s music scene, in general, is very rich and blooming, there many musicians and bands, more and more make their music available which is boon and bane of the internet. I don’t really know about the goth or post-punk scene, but speaking of the metal scene in particular, as in lots of other countries, certain areas have their circles of people that found projects in different constellations while the core stays the same basically. In our area, there is a good handful of active musicians who have various bands or projects and swap around members. However, underground or subcultural concerts get less frequent, people get older (and lazier) or move to bigger places. There is a lack of good concerts in smaller regions whereas people often are glutted in cities like Berlin.
What part of Germany do you hail from and does that area have an influence on the band in any way?
We are from the northern part, but it doesn’t really have any effect on the band or music, at least nothing noticeable I think. Reticence and introversion maybe.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you personally, as well as professionally?
No one in my direct surrounding has been infected or suffered healthwise, but of course, it is influencing everyone’s lives in one way or another. Workplaces are endangered; health, education and economics need to bear a lot, cultural events have been cancelled and nearly brought down to zero. We’ve only had two concerts booked this year so far, but when looking at the general situation of the cultural sector, it’s quite grave. Personally, I’ve mainly used the shutdown to focus on finishing the album and spending time outside at a remote place, far away from everything.
When on tour, what do you like to do between gigs or when you have a day off?
We haven’t played any longer tours or more than three concerts in a row yet, but whenever being on the road, we try to discover as much of the surrounding as possible, use the time to visit the places and just get an impression of the country’s or city’s atmosphere.
Do you have any funny or interesting anecdotes from touring?
Not really, I guess. As mentioned, we haven’t played many shows yet and most of them turned out quite comfortable concerning the circumstances. The first gig in Italy was kind of weird as we played in a small bathroom-like basement room with plaster coming down the walls while performing. The next morning, we were locked in our flat as the organiser forgot to hand us a key but locked the door from outside when leaving, so we waited for about an hour only to learn that there was the organiser’s roommate sleeping next door but not noticing or knowing about us.
What’s been your favourite country or festival you’ve played so far?
Definitely the House of the Holy in the Austrian mountains. The atmosphere is magical there, the people are great and the whole setting can simply be described as breathtaking. A unique experience. The weekend in Moscow was fantastic as well and the crowd was quite enthusiastic.
If you could tour with any band or artist, who would it be and why?
That’s a tough one. I would pick Katatonia or/and Tenhi as both have had an impact on me for so many years and followed my personal and musical development like close friends. It might be an unusual package, but as stated earlier, it’s not about genre limitations at all.
Do you have any other creative outlet or hobbies?
Mainly reading, languages, films, visiting places, more music.
Finally, do you have anything else you’d like to add or say to our readers?
Venerate the rope. Fear the rope. Thank you.
Thank you so much for your time and we wish you all the best for the coming future.
The Great Flood – out now on Iron Bonehead Productions.
1. Divide et Impera
2. Rope of the Just
4. Prison of You
5. The Underground Paradise
7. Flood Flower
8. Non Serviemus
10. Dilluvian Darkness