Greetings. It's a huge pleasure for me to have you on our pages and make you some questions, as well as a fan as for your influence. How are you doing? Any news from the band that could be of any interest for our readers?
Colin: hey man.it's nice of you to contact us with your questions it's always heartwarming to see people actually care.
any news... well.it's pretty interesting.we're working on four acoustic songs right now.to
fill a very limited picture disc 10". it's really a challenge for us.but we felt it was our time
to do so. slowly but surely we started writing for the next album.some clips coming, a dvd still ...
as for shows we are preparing our most special show 'till this day in the city theatre in kortrijk
our hometown, where it all started 10 years ago.this is pretty much what I worked to all these
Even if you already released four albums and other shorter recordings, Amenra is not that reknown in Spain, so it would be nice if you could introduce us a bit in your history and evolution and let us know your motivations to create a band like this one if you don't mind.
Colin: we started amenra in the year of our lord 1999.ten years ago now.as far as the band goes we are best friends in the first place. and that's what drives us, our lives together, our families. we knew from day one, we did not want to be a band like the others. we saw what we had, this medium, to spread hope spread awareness, the beauty in life.. knowledge. every artform we master, we try to make it breathe the same message or sphere..we see our music as a weapon sometimes when it doesn't smash you in the face with a sledgehammer, it cuts you deep. it hurts you. and us aswell.
it's done it's purpose, when you lose yourself in it.
Your website is entitled “Church Of Ra”, which was the god of the sun in ancient Egypt, your monicker includes his name too (in it's full state, Amen-Ra) and you use some sort of logo which seems like some dark sun which rays are crow claws, so lots of references to Ra. What kind of meaning is hidden under this monicker and simbology? Does it have a spiritual meaning for you or it was more focused on a strong simbology of the light?
Colin: we all walk in the direction of the light.or we should..but where's daylight, there is nighttime.that's where we come in the picture.we try to assist our listeners through this darkness. times where it all comes down on us, and it does and it will eventually.that's where we all need eachother. we all need to have eachothers back. trust. friendship.
we get our symbols from everywhere, from every beliefsystem, and created our own. christianity, free masonry, you name it. symbols and metaphors are what we use to come across..
By the way, still about a similar subject, what can you tell us about those “Mass” titles, do you have a religious or mystical approach with them or they represent more a personal ritual, like a call for help? And do you see your live performances as that kind of group ritual which is a mass? Do you try to make the audience feel/share your energy to transform it into one global thing?
Colin: yes. you've pretty much given the answer alongside your question.
we started of calling each song a prayer.a story i told, to someone/something out there.you maybe... something personal.a call for help maybe.looking for rest or support in a way. all prayers got bundled in a mass, our albums.
live we try to create a certain service, mass feel, where everyone looks into him or herself.trying to stand still with what keeps him or her busy.introspect, to each his own...
There's no doubt that the point that really captured my attention from your music is the sense of drowning into such deep and thick ambiences. Few bands gave me that feeling recently, and I can only think about Year Of No Light, apart of you. What's your opinion? Is this a main goal when you start writing your songs, the athmosphere?
Colin: you have to be able to drown in it, like i said before to lose yourself in it. forget what happens directly around you and dig deeper. answers will come, questions will be answered.only if you want them to. we don't stop writing unless 'we feel it' , whatever that may be.
Another very important point of your music are those monotonous riffs which help the listener to loose into a black spiral, slowly but with no way to exit, and that you improved on “Mass IIII”. Is this a main priority for you when you write songs, to let people enter them with no exit possible? Is this definitely the path you will follow for your next album?
Colin: you never know what the future will bring.it might. it's what we do or did for sure.
On the other side we have the vocals. What's their main purpose in your music in your point of view? If you had to choose the effect they have on your listeners, would you prefer message understanding or making them thrill with their sound and intonation?
Colin: for each his own, i say.i would not prefer anything.i can only hope someone can get as much out of amenra as i can. i only write for myself.it's my story, my therapy. i do always make it as abstract as possible.so people can reflect it on themselves. using metaphors or imagery.makes man's fantasy or real life experiences create their own world.
I must admit that the first time I listened to “Mass IIII” (my first encounter with your music) I didn't like them (the vocals) that much, but now I just love them. Colin is capable of making me feel lots of different things, but mainly a total and profound despair and pain. What hurts so much in his head to be able to transmit it so well?
i just don't care.i'm not a musician in amenra, i'm not out to prove myself. when i scream i do so for it sole purpose that it was intended to pure and honest expressing of emotion. No compromise.the more i hurt myself, the louder i scream.
i'm up there for myself, i am not an entertainer.
everyones hurt, if not now they will be some times in life, you will understand me some times you won't
So, I can't avoid asking you about the words spread by that voice, as I'm sure they have a part of importance on their feeling but, unfortunately, the lyrics aren't included in your albums. What do titles like “Der Dodennaker”, “Le gardien des rêves” or “Razoreater” hide? Do you put some part of yourselves on them? In positive case, it seems life's pretty dark for you in Belgium...
Colin: it depends what album you have.
lyrics are always there.you have to look deeper.
they're all on the site too.
they hide me, as much as they show me from the inside out.
de dodenakker - dutch our native language. it's a poetic way to talk about. death 'the dead acre' our earth holds our dead.
we feed on them, and learn from them.despair and missing someone.
'le gardien des reves' french 'the keeper of dreams' it's what keeps us all alive at times...love.
'razoreater' english about never losing hope, never going down without a fight eating razors...dying from the inside.bleeding internally.being hurt.and not speaking about it to no one.yet we need to.to survive.friendship is a beautiful thing..
and life is dark everywhere. but we carry the fire follow us.
Do you feel like a negative band, and like negative people, towards life, society or any other level of your existence? What do you think about people praising negativity? Is this a realistic position towards life from a human person point of view in your opinion or just a trend followed by teens or non rational people?
Colin: we are more than positive, we preach darkness, to show a light..one said.there is no better teacher than adversity..i follow that. from time to time.humans need to open up again.shit has to happen for them to see again.see how beautiful life itself can be.
a realistic view on life, that's it indeed.better to foresee and anticipate.then be caught on surprise.
Could you describe me what you think when you read these words:
- Loneliness: we re all and always on our own.decisions about life are only be made by ourselves for better and for worse. no matter what good friends you have, sometimes you can feel the loneliest person on earth.everyone can.
- Depression: we will not bow, and rest assured we will walk our head up high.no matter what.life is a fight, it's a war out there.
- Darkness: 'only his shadow stands by him, but then it gets dark , and deserts him'
- Defeat: there is no such thing. losing means winning. always. we learn and become stronger and smarter of it.
- Death: sleep.a long dream.as long as we have made our stay worthwhile.nothing is eternal.
I think the cover of “Mass IIII” is the kind of artwork which,although being quite simple, reflects just perfectly what the listener is going to find inside, a total darkness, simple, pure and straight to the bone. Who was in charge of it and what meaning or visual evidences should we try to find on it? As I said before, the lyrics are not included. Did you prefer to present it more like a picture, combining the visual and the music?
Colin: lyrics are included. i do art direction.our good friend kluze does the job.no one understands us better.
it depends on what you talk about cd version or vinyl... IIII was darker than III. III=day IIII=night. full circle.
me kluze and dwid.went out and drove through belgium and took pictures, talked about it etc.
i go and get books from libraries..kluze makes a whole out of it...tries to come as close to our ideas as he can.
'la tombe de dieu' ,
'the uncertain darkness',
and 'faith from afar'
I own your “Mass III” and “Mass IIII” albums, but it's almost impossible to get the two first ones. Could you explain us a bit the major differences between them and those newer recordings? Is there any chance that they could be re-released? On the contrary, why did you decide to re-release your two last albums on a double CD now, if they are so recent and “Mass III-II” even had a vinyl edition?
Colin: they are still available.yet very underground. I is us looking for our music.II is us finding it III and IIII
your answer : because someone wanted to, and it offered US people to by our music without paying shitloads of money for it, how's that?
I've read somewhere that you were going to play with two reknown Metal bands like Samael and My Dying Bride, which I find a really suitable gig for you, as your heavy enough for a Metal audience and as dark as those two classical bands. How do you feel about that? Do you know/like those bands? Do you have any approach to the Metal scene?
Still about that, how do you see the recent approach between Hardcore and Metal scenes, just as we can see with a style like yours? Which side do you feel closer and why? Does your opinion have more to do with the musical or the ideological side?
Colin: i do not think in 'sides' ... we belong nowhere and everywhere, that is our strength.
I've seen quite a lot of different thoughts about all the Post-Hardcore/Post-Metal scene, and some claiming that all the bands sound just like “Cult Of NeurIsis” and stuff like that. What do you think about this? Is there really a difference between these and other underground musical scenes, which are always full of clones but with some great and more or less original bands too? Do you see yourselves as some kind of highly influenced band by those three mastodons or you feel closer to other influences?
Colin: cult of luna, isis no. neurosis yes.
they have become friends through the years.and they will always be the band
that paved the path we walk on.we will eternally be grateful to them.
blood driven passionate and sincere.
we try to pain our own way.
we are influenced by everything around us, every band we see hear or speak to.
our feelings and emotions while writing are our foremost important influence.
I can only end hoping to see Amenra's name grow bigger and bigger, as you deserve it. Thanks a lot for your time and keep on making us tremble with your music. In case you would like to add anything else, just do it...
thank you for this.
Gia Thanatos is a webzine dedicated to music for the apocalyptic times. No matter the scene or genre it comes from, and mainly chosen according to its author's taste.