Summon: How did the band get started?
Orlok: The band was started in 1992 and released its first album, The Gospel Of The Horned One, in 1993. All together, we have released fourteen full-length albums over de past two decades, the last one being Ancient Lies And Battle Cries that was just released (April 9th). In the early years, there were line-up changes all the time. Nevertheless, we played live every now and then in the 1993-1997 period. After that, the band has essentially been a one-man project consisting only of myself. This changed in 2013 and the current line-up consists of two people: myself and Zagan. That’s the short version. A really long version can be found here: http://countessmetal.blogspot.nl/p/biography_20.html
Summon: What kind of music do you play?
Orlok: We like to think we play a pretty unique style of metal. We started out as a really primitive Black Metal band, but gradually our music has incorporated more traditional influences. By now, I’d say we play Heavy/Black Metal. Our music is characterized by an uncompromising loyalty to the old Heavy Metal and Black Metal traditions.
Summon: How has the fan response been?
Orlok: Both good and bad. Apparently, we are a ‘love it or hate it’ band. People either really like what we’re doing or they really hate it. Responses are never indifferent. It’s always been like that, for over two decades now.
Summon: Where did the band name come from?
Orlok: The band name, obviously, references Countess Bathory, both the woman and the Venom song. In the band’s early days, Bathory was the main influence, so we took the ‘other half’ of the name of the song Bathory took their name from (even when Quorthon always denied being influenced by Venom).
Summon: Introduce the band members and what they do in the band.
Orlok: Current band members are myself (vocals & bass) and Zagan (guitars). At the moment, we are in the process of assembling a new live line-up. Once this process is completed, we’ll announce this line-up.
Summon: Who writes the music? Lyrics?
Orlok: Most of the music and almost all the lyrics are written by myself. Zagan has also contributed music and the occasional lyric. Arrangements are done by the both of us.
Summon: And where do the lyric ideas come from?
Orlok: Almost everywhere. Something I read, or a movie I saw, or random thoughts I was having at a certain point. Sometimes when I have a few riffs I already have an idea of what kind of lyrics should go with these or sometimes I have a few lines of lyrics and a general idea of what kind of music should go with these. Writing the music and lyrics usually happens more or less simultaneously.
The early lyrics were very much inspired by first-wave BM lyrics, you know, the typical subjects. Later on I began using different subjects too, partly because there’s only so many times you can write what are basically the same lyrics over and over again and partly because there simply were other subjects I wanted to write about as well. However, all lyrics have stayed within the boundaries of what I think are lyrical subjects that fit the music. Basically, that means subject matter dealing with the occult, mythology, history or metal itself.
Summon: What is your view in Satanism and Occultism?
Orlok: I prefer not to discuss my personal beliefs to any specific extent in interviews. I’ll say what I always say: I have certain beliefs and these are, obviously, reflected in my music. Not always in a literal sense, though. And although I am expressing feelings and thoughts and ideas – as any ‘artist’ does, I suppose – I’m certainly not preaching or proselytizing or promoting any kind of ideology. People who are interested in Countess should just listen to the music and read the lyrics – or not, if they don’t feel like it – and interpret the songs for themselves. That being said, I would not mind if my music would entice listeners to think and maybe look at things from a perspective they normally would not have looked from.
Summon: How many albums/CD’s have you released?
Orlok: We have released fourteen full-length albums, as well as two EP’s and a bunch of tapes in the band’s early days. A full discography can be found here: http://countessmetal.blogspot.nl/p/discography_9.html
Summon: Tell me about some the songs on the latest CD?
Orlok: There are ten songs on the new album and they’re all quite different. The record is book ended by two epics, ‘Battle Sky’ and ‘The Last Temple’ with eight shorter songs in between. There’s a lot of variety on the album. Every song has a distinct character of its own. We’ve done basic videos for two tracks, ‘Call Of The Ancient Pantheon’ and ‘By Hammer And Blood’ that people can check out on our official YT channel, http://www.youtube.com/countessmetal
Summon: Do you have any side projects?
Summon: Who are some of your musical influences?
Orlok: Our most important influences are the old Black Metal legends like Venom, Bathory and Hellhammer and traditional Heavy Metal bands like the NWOBHM bands and US epic bands like Manowar, Virgin Steele and Manilla Road.
Summon: Which current bands?
Orlok: No current bands, unless you mean old bands that are still active.
Summon: What is the band like when you play live?
Orlok: We haven’t played live in a long time. Our last gig was in 1997. Back when we did gigs these used to be pretty cool, though. Being a small underground band, we of course played in small venues. You can see some live footage from those days in a couple of video’s on our official YT channel. This year we are returning to the stage, though. We have a couple of shows booked and there may be more to follow.
Summon: Have you guys ever played in another country?
Orlok: Yes, we played several times in Germany. We played in Berlin three years in a row in 1995-1997. No other countries though, but that may change in the future. We have been getting offers for gigs from various countries recently. We’re currently considering these.
Summon: How big of crowd shows up at shows usually?
Orlok: Not that much. As stated previously, we used to play in small venues. Crowds were usually in the 100-300 people range.
Summon: How is the crowd response when you play?
Orlok: It used to be really good. When we started playing crowds usually reacted enthusiastically. You know, people banging their heads and singing along. At one of our gigs in Berlin, someone who frequently attended gigs there told me he’d never seen such an enthusiastic response from the audience to any band before at that venue. Hopefully it will be even better in the future.
Summon: What do you think of the US Black Metal/Death Metal scene?
Orlok: I’m not familiar with the US Black Metal/Death Metal scene, so I don’t have an opinion on that.
Summon: What do you think of the Overseas scenes?
Orlok: I don’t really keep up with any scenes nowadays, so again I don’t have an opinion on that.
Summon: What are some of new favorite black metal/death metal bands?
Summon: When do you guys plan on writing any new material?
Orlok: We’re always writing stuff. When the times comes to record a new album, we look at everything we’ve written since the last album was released and then we select the best songs and ideas for inclusion on the new record.
Summon: What does the future hold for the band??
Orlok: World domination, hopefully. Seriously, we’re not the kind of band that makes long-term plans. We just make the music we want and we will keep on doing that. We take it one objective at a time. Our current objective is playing live again.
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