Interview: Saklas (2022) | From The Bowels Of Perdition

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What exactly is the chaos meditation and are you still in the process of mastering it, as the title of the opening song indicates?

R: Mastering the chaos means gaining knowledge and wisdom to stay strong in the face of any adversity, while the meditation entails the awareness of such possibility, to face the universe in its complexity, with admiration. It’s the path of the spiritual warrior, the one who sits in the dark, the one who sees beyond.

Mastering any particular prayer or meditation technique in the Abrahamic or Indian religions is a way of reaching higher spiritual planes. Is that the same purpose of the chaos meditation, albeit with a different kind of spirituality?

R: Maybe, but the concept is about maintaining awareness while breathing in the chaos. It’s important to stay awake on a spiritual level and immerse yourself in strengthening the mind beyond the hostility of visible reality, in order to find the liberation of the mind within darkness and chaos, and empower the spirit to a higher level of understanding within existential nihilism.

Who is the one that swallowed god the album title refers to?

R: The mind that swallows reality, the ouroboros or the eternal path of ruination, the prison of the mind in the reality of darkness and despair, or your own being, mind, or spirit immersed in that thought pattern, the pattern of physical existence prison.

Together with Samael and Yaldabaoth, Saklas is one of the three synonyms for the demiurge, which apparently translates as fool. Did you choose the word Saklas to name the band after because of some hidden significance behind that particular meaning or merely because you liked the way the word resonated phonetically?

R: Saklas, as you say, originates from the concept of demiurge, the mind that traps the world of thoughts into its own world, the matter reality. Saklas, as the cosmic view, becomes from the cycles of eternity, the eternity of despair. We choose the word saklas because of its meaning, the absurd, the stupidity, the avantgarde vision of reality that’s nothing more than putrid absurd existence through the patterns of the mind prison.

Do you have a keen interest in the gnostic ideas and systems the word Saklas originates from or do you see the mysticism behind them only as a fitting counterpart to the ethereal atmosphere of your music, without being too invested in the whole narrative?

R: As musicians, we are permanently searching for new concepts, and we take every knowledge and every view to create our own view. So, the name Saklas is only the door to see what you can’t see when you are done with the empty concepts of existence. And yes, this is not only a concept taken from Gnosticism, but from a lot of other cultures and books we read. Saklas is only a name, but the demiurge has a thousand shapes ˗ think of the concept of the cosmic horror of Azatoth from the books of H.P. Lovecraft.

Saklas Interview 2022 (The One Who Swallowed God)

Considering that you have a rather broad and eclectic mindset when it comes to songwriting, would you say that the band’s sound is eventually going to outgrow its current framework, or do you see it developing within that framework, by becoming even more atmospheric, psychedelic, and progressive?

R: We are currently looking for a more psychedelic and aggressive sound, that contains more horror, avantgarde, trance-like rhythmic progressions that explode beyond what we managed to do on The One Who Swallowed God. We always seek to explore different things in our compositions, without leaving behind the influences that make us who we are. Innovating is difficult, so we are always looking for simple horizons, defined by the hostility of our music and mixed with the psychedelic trance and madness that we try to express in our sound. Our aim is to take the listener to the world of cosmic and psychedelic horror.

As a black metal band with a prominent psychedelic vibe, would you say that writing psychedelic music requires a particular psychedelic mindset?

R: In the words of great late Bill Hicks, you need to be really fucking high on drugs (laughs).

Was the prominent use of keyboards on this album driven by your love for the dark classical music in the vein of Mahler and Shostakovich or by people like Steinar Sverd Johnsen or Svein Egil Hatlevik, for example, who revolutionized the use of keyboards within the black metal idiom?

J: Classical, contemporary, and experimental music have always been my big passions. Already as a child, I developed a huge love for Bach and Chopin, mostly for their more melancholic passages. Later I discovered Shostakovich and Malher, and they blew my brains out with those dissonant harmonies. I even took some inspiration from Penderecki and his atonal works. These big artists have been a huge influence and inspiration in my life in general, and of course, they greatly influenced the way I composed the pianos and keyboards for this album.

The bands that sound very similar to Saklas are rather sparse these days. Do you take pride in that or do you perhaps feel slightly alienated from everything that is going on around you, in a way that affects you negatively?

R: We don’t pay too much attention to that, we just try to express what we want. Obviously, it was always the idea to do something different from the trendy stuff.

Speaking of the shortage of bands that sound like Saklas, could you name a few, past or present, that you feel bear at least some stylistic kinship and resemblance to what you are doing?

R: We are of course influenced by what we have been listening to since our youth, both black metal and avantgarde, bands like Dødheimsgard, Ved Buens Ende, Mayhem, Virus, Arcturus, Satyricon, and also the bands of the dissonant new age such as Convulsing, Ad Nauseam, etc.

Do you feel any kind of sonic, aesthetic, or even spiritual connection with the mid ’90s symphonic black metal scene?

R: In a certain way yes, but not completely, since we have influences from many styles and bands that we have been listening to throughout our entire lives. But yes, we were and still are influenced by many iconic black metal bands from the ’90s and 2000s.

Saklas Interview 2022 (Promo)

Do you see yourselves as troubled or content, angry or peaceful, hateful or loving people, and are your music and those personal traits completely unrelated or in direct correlation?

R: I’d say that we are very philosophical, in a certain way. Obviously, within our minds we have incarnated the emotions that cause liberation of the mind, anger, pain, love, romance, disgust for the reality in which we live, etc. All that leads us to seek existential answers to our vague and ephemeral earthly existence. We are always attentive and insightful to find the concepts that will lead to better understanding and maturation of the mind and spirit, the will, so we don’t just let ourselves be carried away by emotions, which are ephemeral and vague. We use our minds in a practical way to maintain our sanity within the total concept of what we refer to as the universe, in which every yin has its yang. We focus on the horror generated by the energies of the universe in which we are immersed, in order to strengthen our minds and take what we call illusion one step further.

Do you see ego as a means of harnessing progress and success in life or as a hindrance to obtaining inner peace? Do you see it as a gift or a curse?

R: The ego is a part of our undeniable nature, and for that very reason dominating chaos is part of strengthening yourself to the point that the ego does not dominate you anymore, that you dominate the ego instead, which is the moment when the will overcomes. Inner peace is the comfort of the false seeker, since only in chaos are the lessons from which to learn and strengthen the mind. Only from darkness the light is born, and not the light in the sense of goodness, but in the sense of knowledge that transcends the illusion of existence. That light will help you find inner peace.

Do you feel that mankind has never been more shallow and ignorant than in this particular moment in history, despite all the technological and scientific development, and that all the advantages of modern living are actually more detrimental than beneficial to our psyche and intellect?

R: Ignorance comes from fear, and this new age of information without depth, mixed with lies and totally banal, is the most obvious and easiest way to reach control of the population and minds in general. That is how they work the collective thought patterns of the demiurge, just like the Christians did and varieties of cultures and dogmas throughout history. It is what we are living today, that control, that greed, that desire is part of the fear, the mind of the predator or Saklas, absorbing within its infinite self-contemplation. That is the very nature of prison, having all our minds imbued with that superfluous reality and full of ignorance, which limits us to observe and magnify the spirit, together with the enormous universe and nature that the cosmos gives us. Nature is vile and hostile, but at the same time balanced within entropy. The same laws of physics and thermodynamics show us that every cycle has its end and a new beginning.


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