Black Christ will be familiar to anyone interested to some of the greatest French Black Metal to have been created. He is behind the bands Blessed in Sin and Finis Gloria Dei and was a member of the legendary Funeral – which later became the possibly more legendary Kristallnacht.
He also runs the underground label Blood and Semen, which recently co-released the Ohtar/Dark Fury split CD. Copies of that split and several other B&S releases are available from Todestrieb.
Mighty Hails to Black Christ for the full and interesting replies!!! Also for providing two live photos, see below.
Interview with Black Christ
25 December 2005
Looking at release dates, FUNERAL and BLESSED IN SIN seem to start around the same time, were these your first projects? Anything earlier?
BLESSED IN SIN started in autumn 93; FUNERAL in summer 94.
From 1989 til 1992 I played (or more exactly tried to play) with other young “musicians”.
In 1990 I was guitarist in Bloody Ritual (RIP) with my brother (vocals) who created this band. We were really bad “musicians”, and it did not last so long; so BLOODY RITUAL officially began in 1991, without me; line up included my brother (vocals/bass), 1 guitarist and a drummer (my brother already played with this guitarist in 1989). BLOODY RITUAL (R.I.P.) played Thrash / Death Metal.
I (re)join them from January ’til September 1993 – between their 2 demos, so I never participated to recording nor compositions – just reh and made my first gigs with them. In late September my brother and me left B.RITUAL and created BLESSED IN SIN in October 1993.
Some riffs I composed back then (1991 til 1994) are/will be used for FGD and B.I.S.
When did you start writing music, did you teach yourself? Which bands influenced you most?
I started as soon I had my first guitar, in 1989; I learn by myself and by watching B.Ritual guitarist playing. Bands I listened at this time influenced me, like TRUST, IRON MAIDEN, METALLICA, SLAYER, MANOWAR, AGRESSOR etc. After many years of listening the music of others, I wished to create my own songs.
You and L.F. (or Hades then) were main songwriters for FUNERAL, correct? Which songs did you write?
Why did you not stay with FUNERAL / KRISTALLNACHT?
Yes, I composed the 2nd song on the 1st demo [Coronation In Pure Blasphemy], and only a couple of other riffs (1 on the last song of the 1st demo [Night and Fog] , and the 2nd riff from “For Ressurection…” on the split demo with OSCULUM INFAME).
I left FUNERAL in august 95 after a last reh where I handled bass if I remind well, just before the excellent split demo; I wanted to focus only on BIS; Xaphan were doing vocals and LF played guitars, and as Funeral never had utility for bass or a 2nd guitar…
What IS French black metal the way of BLESSED IN SIN, FUNERAL, KRISTALLNACHT.. What does it take influence from, are there technical characteristics/how do you write, has ‘it’ influenced many others..
When I began BIS there were very few BM bands in France, and most of them were influenced by Scandinavian bands /raw B.M., while myself took inspiration from Heavy Metal and melodic Greek scene like Rotting Christ, Varathron; I listened too bands like Acheron, Impaled Nazarene, and even if I like(d) a lot Scandinavian bands they were not influences on my compositions at this time. Lenrauth composed a big part of FUNERAL and SEIGNEUR VOLAND songs, and all KRISTALLNACHT material, and I can’t answer for him.
Usually there is nothing special about my way of composing, I just play/improvise until I find some “good” ideas, if they come. There is no wonder about “technic”, musical direction or else, just to find riffs I like; I often read in many band’s interview that they don’t want to repeat themselves, while personally I like sometimes to create riffs which are very near of some older riffs of mine. When I wish to create a riff inspired by a precise band, I often fail; so, it’s often after have composed something that I can say it reminds me another band.
With FUNERAL I composed only 1 song in the same way I explained, + 1 riff on the 1st demo I found in the train when we were going to “Marseille” town to record the demo, and about “my” riff on the split demo, I “gave” it to Lenrauth as he made 1 quite similar riff in the same time I did mine, so he’d just had to find a 3rd riff to have a new Funeral song…
I don’t think there are much bands which took influence from BIS; but many took inspiration from Kristallnacht / S.Voland for sure, especially 1 well known finnish band.
The latest BIS, Honor The Anus of Mary, was largely a tribute to classic/influential bands. But what can be expected from future BIS releases?
This LP contains principally cover songs (Barathrum, Acheron, Morbid and Heretic); there are many other bands I’d like to make cover from but not enough time. “Honour the anus..” show another side of B.I.S., different from our past releases, it’s rawer, more primitive and direct; we do not change our music style, but it was a pleasure to play such songs. I have always listened such raw B.M. bands but it’s not something you can hear on my usual compositions. It is our 1st vinyl release so that was interesting to propose something different than “usual BIS” material.
Next album (in preparation) will not be like Honour, but in the “usual” BIS style with some new elements… On the LP, you can hear a raw version of one song which will appear on our 3rd album. B.I.S. will stay B.I.S., but of course I can include some raw riffs in some songs, though most of raw riffs I have /will compose(d) will be used for FINIS GLORIA DEI.
Do you still play live with BIS or FGD? Any plans for future gigs? How many gigs have you played as these bands, most memorable times?
With BIS we have played around 8 gigs only, in 12 year’s existence… Through years, we often had line-up problems, and most of time when we have propositions for a gig we can’t cos we have no drummer for example. And when we have “stable” musicians, no more propositions, or cancelled ones. Recently we had an offer for Holland, hope it will happen…
With FGD we played just 1 chaotic gig in Summer 2005, we were supposed to play with BIS too (with ABSURD as headliner) but an incredible “fight”/massacre between skinheads put an end to the gig. The worst gig for me.
Some better memorable times are the first BIS gig and our 3rd one, both in on our hometown in 1995. There will never be again times like these ones, time has changed, and we have changed.
What can be expected from the FGD album which is planned for 2006 release?
Raw B.M. taking influences from Beherit, Samael, Hellhammer, Blasphemy, Impaled Nazarene…
CD will contains 6 full songs + intro/outro, half of songs comes from the 2nd demo; I have used too some riffs from some unreleased and improvised reh songs.
It will be different from dirty demos, as it’s no more mainly improvised, and the sound will be better (it couldn’t be “worst” than on the demo).
It should be out probably around March 2006. I recorded bass few days ago, now we have to finish keyboard parts (very few ones) and mixage, it shouldn’t be long before it’s finished; but as for BLESSED IN SIN 3rd CD, we record this album little by little.
I’ve gathered many FGD riffs from our demos and reh, improvised, to use for a future release.
Did your activities in France (1996) bring you any notoriety in your country from L’Express or more recent ‘lords of chaos’ book.. and lots of wrong information reported? I think after this time (after release from prison), Funeral became Kristallnacht, correct?
It brought us a lot of problems, very bad reputation, boycott; since I know more than ever what to think about media/justice/”population”/politics… There is not only my name for the which medias were “wrong”… Of course it has spread the name of B.I.S. , but not in a “good” way; before this we were already known in UG scene, and only in UG milieu.
Yes it was probably at this period Funeral changes its name, Lenrauth decided to go on alone, with some other session musicians, anyway Xaphan (vocals) was injailed with myself.
In the BIS booklet for Melancholia Overlord Nasty strikes out against people who turned their back on you while in jail, did many desert you at the time? Their behaviour still lingers in your memory?
Personnally it’s more some contacts I had in UG who “forgot” me, or should I say denied me, some family “members” show hypocrisy or absence etc but it did not surprised us… But much happened when I was injailed so there are many things I’ve haven’t seen, and I don’t care about. Some close people, family and friends, were totally with us. Anyway these are old stories.
Your different projects seem to explore different areas or interests. What does each project represent for you, do they allow you to explore different musical styles and influences?
BIS principal influences are old Greek Metal bands and Heavy Metal, since our begining til today, but there are tons of other inspiration’ sources, so with B.I.S., I use all I compose with which I’m satisfied about. BIS represents a lot for me, I can’t forget 12 years ago when we decided to create this band with my brother, at this time I probably could’nt imagine we’ll still be here in 2006, nor I could imagine all hard times/problems faced.
With FGD it’s primitive B.M., a kind I really love but it was never easy for me to create such riffs, so the first improvised times were good as such riffs came directly when we rehearsed, it couldn’t be more spontaneous.
F.G.D. represents my passion for old dirty and raw B.M., far from “nice melodies with keyboard” of B.I.S., and after all these years it was maybe time again to start something with my long years fiends Lenrauth and Xaphan, and so to make something different from what I do with B.I.S. of course.
I never wanted to play in so many bands/projects, so 2 bands are enough for me; it do not excludes I can make some sessions guitars if needed (like it happened with Desolation Triumphalis and soon, I hope, with ORDO TEMPLI AETERNAE LUCIS).
When was Semen and Blood originally created? What were the original aims of the label? What are you proud to have achieved with S&B, and what are the objectives and hopes for the future of S&B?
it was created in late 2000; at the begining Lenrauth (LF) made Warspirit distro and when SAB was born it was more like a division of WS; then it grew up little by little, and W.S. stop.
In late 96 or 97 I already planned to make a distro/prod called “TRISTESSE” with a friend (E.S.H.), we began to stock few demos and CDs but it was suddenly stop as all my stock and a big part of my personal CDs/tapes etc were stolen by justice… some years after I finally started S.A.B., alone.
My aims were and are to spread (through distribution/production) bands I really like musically or /and really respect.
I never wished to make a big label, so it remains a small underground distro/”label”, and even if I spread around 1 list by year only, I’m quite pleased with S.A.B.; to have released bands such Puritas Virginum, Chemin de Haine, Funerary Call and so on is satisfising for me. In future I just hope to be able to go on that way; it grows little by little.
Sometimes young bands ask for I distribute or release something from them, but I’m not interested. I hardly trust young/new comers when it comes to make a serious band, I’ve seen too much “false” bands who play without passion/dedication and I’m definitively not interested by such guys.
It does not means I spit on every new one, we all have made our first steps 1 day, but S.A.B. is not for them. They better ask to another distros.
What are the members from the old lineups of BIS doing now?
“Thanatos” and “Torregrosa”: the earlier lead guitarists on our demos; the 1st lives in London as far I know, the 2nd is Spanish Teacher at school.
“Amaobscuradeo”: our ex keyboardist (on the demos) is now banker.
“Astaroth”: our 1st drummer, last time I saw him was years ago, he played in an horrible cover’s bands (shitty “variety”music).
“Lord Diabolus” who played drums on” Odes Obscures” demo and “Par le Sang du christ” CD is still the same guy (Maleficum Orgia, Emptyness, among tons of other bands/projects).
“Lenrauth” handled bass with us in several occasions, in 1994 /1995 (like in our 3rd gig) and later, I guess you know what he’s doing now (DESOLATION TRIUMPHALIS CD will be out very soon).
“Dreamlord”: guitarist around 1997 / 1999, he is still into Metal, I saw him rarely. He has never recorded something official with us.
I don’t know for the few other ones, but one thing is certain, is that 90% of them left “metal” (early BIS musicians were “just” into Metal and not B.M) and we don’t see them anymore. Even though BLESSED IN SIN = my brother (lyrics) and myself (-most of- music), all these line-up changes through years had of course really slow down the band, and we never managed to had again musicians as good as we had 10 years ago, on “Odes Obscures” demo. But whatever happened, we have going on until today.
It wasn’t until around 1999/2000 when bands like Kristallnacht, Blessed in Sin started releasing albums on record labels, correct? Did you feel like until then they did not “get” what you were doing, did you have enough material/would you have wanted to release CD-albums in the years before? Who were some of the first labels to approach you with release-deals? Did you have any bad experiences with labels at that time or before?
Yes, in April 1999 we recorded “Melancholia”, without having a deal with a label. K.N. had a deal for a MCD with Darker than Black, and Lenrauth told them that B.I.S. were searching for a label, D.T.B. were interested, as far I remember. In 2000 we signed on A.M.I prod finally; we never been directly in contact with D.T.B., and to work with a French label make things easier.
From 1994 until 1996, we were not thinking about making a CD; it was not a problem of material, as we already had around 90 minutes of compositions so we could had recorded 2 CDs at least.
I guess we were focused on making demos and evolve before going further, even if we had more and more contacts, and many people in UG liked BIS and show interest in us. BLESSED IN SIN was a young band, and it was not like today. Nowadays almost everyone can make a band and have quickly a deal for a CD, while in 1995 it was not the same at all; there were less labels, it was more expensive and really difficult to release a CD. Very few french bands made CDs at this time; bands like Gorgon (self produced), Godkiller, Blut aus nord, Osculum infame and Black legions were the firsts French B.M. bands who had a CD out.
We planned to make a pro tape album in studio on DRAKKAR prod; but we have never been able to record songs in studio, as our lead guitarist suddenly left us, and little by little all fade away; some personal hard times etc.
In 1996 we had lost all musicians, reh place, and then jail in 96. So we were unable to record “properly” our new songs for a tape album, that’s why we gathered reh/live versions of these songs to release our 3rd and last demo, “Odes Obscures”. Finally this tape was released by a friend ‘s small “label”, Armageddon / RNM prod, in 1996 or 97.
In 1997 we found new reh place + musicians, but things were going very slowly, musicians skills were far less good than the ones of our past members, we had no more keyboardist, nor lead guitarist, and the “magic/enthousiasm” of early days were gone. Problems with justice (which last 10 years), and B.M. trend was as never (since it’s even bigger/ worst). So, with the bad drummer we had at this time we were not able to record the album before 1999, and if we had waited for him to be really ready we would still wait…
Funny as I remind in our very early days, a label from poland (or another eastern country) wanted to release something of B.I.S. I don’t know where they had our contact from, as at this time we had recorded nothing, just remember we received many letters from them, but we never sent anything.