The Wood Is His 'Hood
CoC speaks with Shamaatae, a.k.a. Arckanum
by: Henry Akeley
Black metal's pre-eminent pagan praiser of Pan, solo Swede Shamaatae esteems the forest's fearsome force. His most recent release, _Kostogher_, combines blasting, straight-ahead black metal with grim backwoods atmospheres, producing impressive results. (See my review in CoC #21.) It's the second in a planned four-album forest epic, which will be supplemented by a book, as well as a reportedly more ambient side project, Tassemarkers Vaeruld. Intrigued by all this timberland terror, I faxed the forest to find out more.

CoC: Compared to your debut, _Kostogher_ has a much grimmer and more primitive production, which (I feel) greatly enhances the overall power of the music. How did you change your approach to the production process for this recording?

Shamaatae: The only difference between the two albums is the change of studio. _Fran Marder_ was recorded in Abyss Studio, where I got the clean and "trendish" black metal sound, which I didn't and still do not like. Beware my third LP, _Kampen_, and face the primitiveness and the grim demons from Kaos.

CoC: Do you think that the sound of _Kostogher_ is the best sound for Arckanum? Or could your sound become even more raw and ferocious on future releases?

S: No, I don't think _Kostogher_ is the best sound of Arckanum. No sound is the best for Arckanum: I am a living and revolving cosmos of Kaos. I can't stay as one and in one way - I am several, and my demons and I are the tentacles of Pan. We make rawer and rawer creations for each day to come.

CoC: It is said that you performed some kind of ritual in the studio during the recording of _Kostogher_. Is this true? In general, how does ritual relate to your musical art? Do you think of the music itself as a kind of rite? Are you especially interested in the rites of any particular tradition, or in rites of your own creation, or perhaps both?

S: Yes, I performed a ritual in the studio during the recording of the intro, or the introduction of the track "Skoghens Minnen V Ekks". The ritual is performed by us: the forest and its creatures and me. I have only used it once and it seems to fulfill its purpose.

CoC: Is Arckanum a one-man project by your own choice, or by necessity?

S: Both. My inner and instinct took in place. [The fax is illegible at this point, so "took in" may not be what Shamaatae actually wrote. Can't tell. -- Steve]

CoC: Many (indeed, most) bands who play a style of music similar to your own proclaim allegiance to Satan, whereas the works of Arckanum are inspired by, and dedicated to, the great god Pan. Do you see any important differences between Satanic sources of inspiration and your own brand of nature-centered mysticism? Do you see any important similarities?

S: Yes, I see important similarities. There are a lot of thoughts and ways of living in Satanism that I strongly agree with. But I have my own religion, and I stay with it, and I am faithful strongly to Pan. As a Satanist, you worship yourself and count your ego first, to be strong and not to be wounded. I live by nature, and we agree, so if I didn't call myself an Arkanist, I would definitely call myself a Satanist. But I do not believe in Satan, nor in God. Those two fuck-ups can't exist, not in my way of thinking. Kaos is the only thing lasting. Kaos is the mother of everything.

CoC: The concept of Kaos seems to play an important role in your art. What does this idea represent within the worldview of Arckanum?

S: As I just said, Kaos is the mother of everything and is the only thing that will last forever. Kaos is one of the pillars of my religion. I live by, in, and of Kaos. I am a man from and of Kaos.

CoC: Clearly, forests are a great source of inspiration for your art. Do you find other natural places similarly inspiring? (Meadows, marshes, caves, swamps?) Or is there something unique to the forest which you find especially potent? What is it about the forest which you find so powerfully inspiring?

S: I love everything within the forest landscapes, caves, marshes, swamps, etc. What I find so powerful with the forest is the chaos that is pulsing through its veins, the sides and worlds that are so well hidden that they might take five human lives to find. To see the darkness as the key to a new dimension and as a burning candle through paths that are gone in daylight. I think the spirit world in forests is very important to remember, and not to destroy the beauty of their kind. Societies are ruled by money, and cash rules the stupid so-called humans that destroy the forest landscapes just to get power and money. The damn fools are reaching for the wrong power. Money ain't shit, and the same goes for humans. If I am going to rule, I'll kill, rape and burn the human bodies to a crisp and fuckin' piss on their ashes.

CoC: What do you think is in store for a civilization which turns its back on Nature?

S: I don't know, but if there is a Hell (which I don't believe!), I hope they burn and burn while their beloved and their children get raped by the large-dick-demons and lacerated by glowing razors.

CoC: _Fran Marder_ and _Kostogher_ are the first two parts of a planned four-part series of works. What can you tell us about the next two parts? How will they relate to _Fran Marder_ and _Kostogher_, musically and thematically?

S: I wanted to release all four albums as one, but I saw the impossibility, so I had to release them as four albums. So I don't see any difference between the four albums. They are just sorted in four different sides/ages. You will hear differences in the sound, of course, but not much. My new albums are not as the four-part epic; it's another age.

CoC: I have heard that you are also planning a book. Please tell us more. Is the book a collection of lyrics? Poems? Ritual? Philosophy? Artwork? How will the book add to the totality of your/Arckanum's self-expression?

S: I cannot tell that much about the book. But I've included the things you named.

CoC: What can you tell us about your side project, Tassemarkers Vaeruld?

S: It's a kind of ritual gathering that Sataros and I have created to honor our mighty world Kaos and Pan and the Red Dragon. The album will have two different chapters which raise our egos over the supreme seas of blood. We cannot just go into the studio and record the whole album, because our magic plays a big part in this creation, and we have to listen to its ways.

CoC: Thank you for your artistry, and for taking the time to reply to this interview. Any parting words?

S: Thank you for supporting the darkest sides of our tribe. May Pan rape your Nymphs and your light.

(article submitted 12/8/1997)

7/8/1998 A Wasylyk 2 Arckanum - Kampen
6/7/1997 S Hoeltzel 9 Arckanum - Kostogher
5/10/1996 A Bromley 6 Arckanum - Fran Marder
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