Summon: How did the band get started?
Sandaramet: I have been listening to Black Metal for the majority of my life. I have played guitar for over 10 years. While I have been involved in a wide variety of music, none satisfied me for more than an extremely short period of time. In 2015, after really studying what one-man Black Metal bands were capable of and being inspired by a form of music that actually spoke to who I am, more than just a musician, I dedicated myself to creating a one man project. Prior to Atel, I had no experience doing vocals, recording instruments, producing music, drums, or writing lyrics. Atel to me, like all real Black Metal, is more than just a band/music.
Summon: What kind of music do you play?
Sandaramet: Black Metal. No cross-over, no genre blending.
Summon: How has the fan response been?
Sandaramet: Slow and steady. There are a lot of good “underground” Black Metal cults out there right now and it is very difficult to stand out or even be known. I refuse to self promote or engage in social media. My bandcamp is more than enough. With that said, the motivation and drive behind Atel is personal and necessary. I keep putting out music because I must. I do not seek recognition or fame. The fact that I have received positive feedback from others is welcomed, but I would still do it regardless. In short, fan response has surprised me. It is very international and consistent.
Summon: Where did the band name come from?
Sandaramet: I wanted to use something in my native tongue and also something that had not been used before. Atel’s primary motivation is hatred. Atel is Armenian for “To hate.”
Summon: Introduce the band members and what they do in the band.
Sandaramet: I am Sandaramet. Currently, I am responsible for all aspects of Atel. This includes production. The current session drummer that will be featured on the upcoming full-length album is Dave Ferrara of Ritual. He has been very helpful to Atel and welcoming. He has more involvement then my previous session drummer because I value his experience, but he respects me in that I have complete creative direction. The full-length is also the first time someone else is involved in producing the music.
Summon: Who writes the music? Lyrics?
Sandaramet: I write all music and lyrics.
Summon: And where do the lyric ideas come from?
Sandaramet: I treat every song as a concept or in some cases as a series of concepts. I get inspired by the overall atmosphere of the song and work the lyrics into what the instruments evoke and my intentions behind writing the song in the first place. Darkness is the primary origin.
Summon: What is your view in Satanism and Occultism?
Sandaramet: I believe Black Metal is inherently Satanic music. I do not think these two things should or can be separated. I embrace Satanic ideology, whether it be creationist or humanist Satanism, in my music because there are many concepts which I identify with given their relationship to my own beliefs on existence and their logical connection to this world. But, I would not consider myself an actual practicing Satanist of any form. Most that do are lying. I am very interested in the Occult, but again, the time and energy that is required to actually genuinely be involved in Occultism and its ways is no small task and it is not something that comes easy. I embrace no aspect of Occultism is my music because I would be disingenuous if I did. Again, most embrace the imagery and the language, but have no substance backing it.
Summon: How many albums/CD’s have you released?
Sandaramet: As of writing this, I have released two demos and one split. The demos are Demolishing Life, Embracing Death and Cold Misanthropic Wilderness. The split is with Orgy of Carrion who shares membership with me on Defiled Light.
Summon: Tell me about some the songs on the latest CD?
Sandaramet: Because I am very satisfied with the three-movement song that is Isolation on the split, I will speak on that. I tried a new method of very lo-fi production style because I feel that aligns with the signature sound of the Defiled Light horde. I very much appreciate that sound and wanted to try my own take on it. As you will hear with upcoming splits I am working on, I approach them with inspiration from the musicians I am working with, rather than sticking to one sound. The songs are meant to capture misanthropy and withdrawal from society and humanity. I used a variety of rhythms and abrupt changes which are two things that are regular to the Atel sound. I also really pushed myself vocally as I finally have an actual mic to work with. Atel’s sound is always very intentional, but is also very low budget. Isolation I-III is the first release from me where the vocals are not recorded directly onto a cell phone.
Summon: Do you have any side projects?
Sandaramet: I just released a demo for my side project even though I told myself I would never have one. It is another solo project but prefer it to remain completely anonymous and unrelated to Atel.
Summon: Who are some of your musical influences?
Sandaramet: I listen to so much Black Metal it is ridiculous. I discover new influences on a daily basis. I would say that Judas Iscariot is my greatest influence even if my sound doesn’t necessarily match his. I very much enjoy Sapthuran, Drowning the Light, Striborg, Mutiilation, Blood Red Fog, Cosmic Church, Ildjarn, Satanic Warmaster, Baptism, Clandestine Blaze, Paysage D’Hiver, Katharsis, Goatmoon (old), Nargaroth, Sargeist, and Vardan.
Summon: Which current bands?
Sandaramet: Currently, I stick to the “underground” and use my labels to discover current bands. Everyone on Defiled Light is worth listening to. Same with Cvlminis/Rigorism. I discovered Derthror, Blutkrieg, and Funeral Rain today, for example. Others include Necro Forest, Saudade, Natanas, Breizh Occult, Nartvind/Eloe Noir, Kadotus, Axis of Light, etc. etc.
Summon: What is the band like when you play live?
Sandaramet: No live shows. Atel is meant to invoke a personal journey for the listener.
Summon: What do you think of the US Black Metal/Death Metal scene?
Sandaramet: USBM for the most part is not actually Black Metal. It’s a bunch of sheep pretending to play dark music because they may enjoy the general sound. It is often hidden under the guise of “atmospheric black metal” but really is lead-heavy, over produced bullshit. A lot of the guitars are using constant major tonality and have forced layers of atmosphere that just conflicts and you can tell it’s from a poser. Others want to add influences from other genres of music or their personal agenda in a way that directly conflicts with the basic tenants of Black Metal.
At the same time, for every 2-3 shit wannabe horse and pony show Watain worshipers there is at least 1 true, pure Black Metal cult out there if you’re looking. A lot of guys in the US, contrary to popular belief put out a ton of great Black Metal, you just have to find it. Most are one man projects.
Summon: What do you think of the Overseas scenes?
Sandaramet: Quite simply, the overseas scenes, whether it is in South American or Europe or wherever, have always been better than what we have in the United States.
Summon: What are some of new favorite black metal/death metal bands?
Sandaramet: I’m being redundant but Sanguine Relic, Orgy of Carrion, and Abuhlzgal (Defiled Light) are my favorite new Black Metal bands. While they are not Black Metal, Dragged Into Sunlight is really something else. Sacrificial Massacre is good too. I’m forgetting a ton.
Summon: When do you guys plan on writing any new material?
Sandaramet: 2016 will see the release of Atel’s first full length, three more splits at the very least, and an EP. I am constantly writing new material.
Summon: What does the future hold for the band??
Sandaramet: I would like to continue to spread the message of hatred though Atel on a larger distribution scale if that is what the dark path dictates.
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