Interview - Summoning - returning once again into the Middle-Earth

Summoning is back! This information was a great news for all of Austrian's fans, who were patiently waiting for seven years to hear any new material from this legendary band. Well, now when it's out we can at last enjoy it! Check out what Silenius and Protector had to say about their newest, great opus "Old Mornings Dawn", Tolkien's possible reaction on their creativeness and some other things.

1. Hello! First of all I’d like to ask how fans reacted on your new opus? Are they mostly positive or do you also receive some negative messages?
Silenius: First of all - thanks for the interview. The reviews have been very good so far, but of course there are always some bad reviews. After all you have to devide this: those who never liked Summoning of course will not love the new one as well. And for those who have been fans for Summoning there are some „Oath Bound” followers who have been more or less disapointed by - in their oppinion less epic - mood of the album.
Protector: I think it’s important that we always keep our style in one way but never copy our selves at all. Each album is focusing on total different aspect and so naturally some will like one album more and some less. Generally I made the experience that people often have to get used to the albums. A typical scenario is that people always start to like the album before the new one as soon as the new one is released. Our albums seem to be like a good wine that needs some years in the barrel to get the full taste :-)

2. By the way – when did you receive a last letter (written on paper of course ;]) from a fan? Many older musicians say that internet has totally ruined underground and people involved in it. What’s your opinion?
Silenius: In former days I reveiced a lot of written letters and I of course can remember when I did all the interviews handwritten. Nowardays this nearly has died out, but never theless up and then I do receive hand written letters; mainly by older fans who want to be more personal. And I think that’s great of course, allthough it’s of course obvious that internet made a lot of things easier even for an old fashioned guy like me.
Protector: Well I am a programmer and naturally very opened to technology, so for me the possibility to answer interviews and letters via email is a big step forward. I now some miss those old handwritten "personal" letters of the bands they like, but I think the only people who miss my handwritten letters are the ones who never had to read my handwrit

3. OK, but back to your band – let’s focus on your latest release „Old Mornings Dawn”. I know that the reason of the long break you took was lack of inspiration for another material. Well, I must say that it was worth to wait – new album is much better than „Oath Bound”. It also seems to be more melancholic than the previous one. How do you appreciate it now, after almost six months?
Silenius: We are very satisfied with the new album, not only the songs but also the sound. We always said in interviews that compared to „Oath Bound” it has a more melancholical mood while „Oath Bound” was riding into battle with the sword hold up high heroically, the new albums has more this comming home from a battle - wounded and exhausted feeling; and I can remember that one fan said that the new album has a kind of elven feeling. I think he meant that the songs have this mood of a fading with a kind of desperate touch, compared to the elven race leaving Middle Earth.
Protector: Of course we needed more time than ever before for the album, but I think it’s noticable that the listeners got more melodies and rhythms in a single album than ever before. During the long tie we gathered so many ideas that the new album is simply more intense and more filled with details than ever before. I understand that some fans like more the unclearer, less complex songs, but for us it was definitely the step in a direction we wanted.

4. I appreciate very much that you are still putting medieval/ambient elements into your music. Now they sound more synthetic than in the past, but you defenitely kept Summoning’s spirit. Why did you decide to do it again in such way? Have you ever been tempted by the idea of using loads of orchestral samples, overused by many bands nowadays?
Protector: It’s strange, we never had so high quality sound samples of real instruments for our albums than on this album. While in the past I had to use the - for todays perceiving - quite cheap keyboards with short computer memory saving sound loops - while this time we only used fully recorded orchestral sound libraries. Silenius and me are quite surprised about your comment about the sound, but anways sounding synthetic is not a problem for us at all, and we never wanted to sound like classical music. It’s just a bit strange to get such a comment specially on the album with the most realistic sampler sounds.
[Well, you misunderstood me, propably because I’ve used the wrong word. Maybe not synthetic, but it has some hmm, a bit eletronic relish. It’s also being used a bit frugal, with taste. Thanks to that it doesn’t sound like many bands nowadays, which overuse it and create in fact something that sounds like a cheap orchestra, and not a metal music. Your sound is modern, yet it has an original spirit of old recordings – and I like that - Vlad.]

5. Since „Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame” your music is going into more epic areas, and at the same time less dark. Can you explain me why? Did your musical inspirations change a bit during those years?
I think that’s always a matter of individual perceiving because in my opinion the new record sounds fare more dark than for example „Oath Bound”, but I know a lot of fans who think the other way round. What is true is that after „Dol Guldur” our sound basically moved a little bit more away from the black metal influences in a more epic metal direction.
Protector: As Silenius said, it’s really a matter of taste what people perceive as dark. For the black metal scene in the beginning music was most dark if it was most fast, while for me fastness was always more in contrary to darkness, while darkness for me was more connected to slowness and depression. If i look back I think that „Oath Bound” was maybe one of our less darkest album while the new one has much more of those melancholic moods. Specially the final song „Earthshine” on our new album almost sounds like a black metal funeral song to me.

6. Yet there are still some tunes inspired by the older releases. I mean especially tracks „The White Tower” and „Of Pale White Morns and Darkened Eves”. They remind me strongly „Stronghold”. So did you listen much to those old records before composing new songs?
No quite the opposite. We listen the old records after having released the new one to hear the differences in sound and vocals and again we are very astonished that you compare the new one with „Stronghold”. I think among the new reactions we got, this is absolutely unique. Because the new albums is compared with older ones then always the name „Dol Guldur” is mentioned. I think it’s because of it’s similar melancholic dark and sad feelings.
[Beside „Old Mornings Dawn” I was listenning a lot to „Stronghold” while I was writing the questions. So maybe that’s why I associated those two tracks with this album. Yet I can tell that „Dol Guldur” (along with "Nightshade Forests" EP) is also a good association – Vlad.]

7. Some of the tracks have also a bit folk relish. For example an opening of „Caradhras” reminds me a bit celtic music. Do you listen to the traditional european folk music, and can you name your favourite artists?
Silenius: Yes people said, that it remind’s a bit on Loreena McKennitt and that’s true. I really like her music. Other people find some Dead Can Dance influences in the new album and I also can not deny that I listened a lot to their music in former times. Basically I think those comparisons come from the fact the this time we have chosen different world music instrument samples for this album.

8. Now a bit weird question ;]. I know that four of the songs have lyrics which are inspired by Earendil’s character. As a half-elf he could choose one of two destinies – human or elven. If you have been in his shoes what destiny would you choose and why?
Of course elven, there is no doubt. In Tolkien’s universe the elven race always was presented as the most pure, wise and fairest of all, among all others and that’s of course more attractive than everything else.

9. OK, last question about your last release. There are two guests on „Old Mornings Dawn” – David Says and Erika Szucs. Can you tell me who are those people and why did you decide to work with them?
David Says is a professional English speaker, who gave his voice to different tv-jobs like advertisments but also he spoke for computer games. We got the contact over Napalm Records and we think he really did a great job. About Erika Szucs: we can tell you that we presented her on our facebook lately. She is a women from hungary who got in contact with Protector some years ago and lent her voice for the elven spoken parts on our new album. She also did some vocals for "Redhorn" - the different version of „Caradhras” - on our earbook edition.

10. What are your plans for the future? Are you currently composing material for the new album? And what with your side-projects – Ice Ages and Kreuzweg Ost?
In the moment „Nightshade Forest” and „Oath Bound” are released on LP over Napalm Records. In the meantime we work on the missing songs from the „Old Mornings Dawn” session. I am not sure now how many songs we get out of this session, but all of them will be presented on vinyl in the end of next year and after having released all our releases on vinyl over Napalm Records next year we also will release the missing „Lost Tales” EP on vinyl too, via Napalm Records. For Ice Ages and Kreuzweg Ost we have no special plans for the near future. But both bands are still active and we definitely want to release more music somewhen in the future.

11. By the way, can I know why Protector decided to close the chapter bounded with Die Verbannten Kinder Evas?
There was never a decision like that. I simply was not in the mood for that kind of music since many years by now. Noone can say if I will not once make music in that direction again, but so far I am more interessted to work on Summoning and Ice Ages because they present my current taste better.

12. Summoning is one of those bands that really knows how to create an outstanding atmosphere not only with it’s music, but also image. The layout of your albums and photo sessions proves your good taste. Is anyone of you doing something bounded with photography or graphics? I mean not necessarily professionally, but as a kind of hobby
I actually like to deal with layout and photo software a lot. I like to change photos and give them special moods. But of course the result of our booklets are not only because of my technical backgrounds. It’s also the long reserch for new images that Silenius does for each release to get the most suiting pictures for the next release.

13. As we are talking about image, let me ask about it. Some people say that image has no importance at all, and the only thing that counts in music is music itself. And what’s your opinion?
That’s of course complete nonsense, because image is of course very important. The music can be as great as possible but when the presentation is bad no one is interessted to give the music a chance. You always have keep in mind that the cover layout is the first thing a potentional LP or CD buyer gets in contact with. And so the presentation must animate a potentional listener.

14. Since it’s an interview with Summoning there have to be some questions about Tolkien and fantasy literature. So let’s start with the question what was the first fantasy book you have ever read?
I can not remember exactly but I think it was some book of the female writter called "Andre Norton", but her books did not impress me at all. In those times I just bought books just if I like the cover or not because I did not know any writter and never heard for example of Tolkien or other ones. It was just a time of making experiments and slowly find out which of the fantasy literature is cool and which not.

15. I remember like once Christopher Tolkien said that his father wouldn’t enjoy the movies based on his novels if he was still alive. And how do you think he would react on your music?
I am pretty sure he would be shocked. I can not imangine that he would like black metal guitars and vocals and as he was a very christian thinking man he would absolutely be disgusted by our occult image.

16. Oh, and by the way how did you enjoy those movies? I mean especially the last one „Hobbit”. Personally I like „Lord of the Rings” trilogy, but „Hobbit” is too cartoony as on my taste. I will even not comment the fact of making another „trilogy” based on the book that has only 350 pages haha!
I know what you mean. And in some aspects you are right, but nevertheless I liked the movie a lot. You also have to remember that the hobbit originally was meant to be a book for little children and just in the end of the book it became more epic with a glimpse of what has to come in future with Lord of the Rings, so I absolutely have no problem when the new hobbit movie has some childish aspects included.

17. In the ‘90s Austria had quite a creative underground. How would you compare it to the modern austrian metal scene? Are there young bands that you would recommend?
To be honest I don’t over look too much the present metal scene in Austria. As far as I know the band "The Sorrow" have been very successfull nowadays, even if I dont know their music. I like the latest release of Rauhnacht, it’s a side project from Golden Dawn. Otherwise I can not remember any new bands nowardays, but I am pretty sure that there are a lot of them around.

18. As I mentioned Austria I will also ask something about your country’s history. In this year we are celebrating the 330th anniversary of Battle of Vienna. How do you think things would be different if the battle was lost by the european forces?
Well war is always a game for the mighty ones, while the normal people like you and me have to die for it, while the people responsible for that war are never the people dying on the battle fields. Of course all those battles themes are inspring for me in Summoning as well, but I can make a clear distinction between fantasy and reality and I know in war people can not make music.

19. OK, last question will be nice and easy. You have answered many questions and did numerous number of interviews. What was the weirdest question you have ever received?
I can not remember specially any weird quetions, but what I can remember is interview questions in such a bad english that we really did not know to find out the meaning of the question.

20. OK, that’s everything from my side. Thank you very much for your precious time! Last word belongs traditionally to you.
Thanks again for the interview and a big salut to all our fans from your country.

Official trailer for "Old Mornings Dawn":

Photos: band's archieve.
Interview by Vladyka 2013. Please do not copy this interview without HA'Z permission. Respect the copyrights!

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