Galician landscapes SARTEGOS music grows strong like a dark force of nature. The
debut full-length, the mighty “O Sangue Da Noite” is about to be released. Rou,
helmsman of this project told us about the new opus and abouth the dark path
traveled so far. Drink the blood of the
night, hear his voice…
Please tell us how did the band started, what lead you to form SARTEGOS and to
play this kind of music
The idea of
creating Sartegos was born in 2008. First it was an idea that me and Karles
from the Apokatastasis zine had, but for some reasons we couldn't start the
band together at the end, so instead of putting that idea to ice, I carried on
by myself and created the concept and chose the name of the band. It was not
until late 2009 that the first tracks were recorded and released in 2010 as the
first demotape of the band. The idea back then was to play Black/Death Metal in
the vein of classic bands like Profanatica, Demoncy, Mortuary Drape, Mayhem,
Varathron, Acheron, Archgoat, early Rotting Christ etc. I guess at some point
in my life I had the urge to create something dark, aggressive and mysterious
in the form of music.
did not have the opportunity to listen to the debut demo, and I could only hear
a song from the Second one, which seemed a rawer and more primitive version of
what Sartegos is today. How do you look back at these recordings today, what
were your influences back then?
I am still totally
satisfied with those two demos. Of course nowadays I would have done some
things in a different way, but I’m still satisfied with them. They are sincere
testimonies of how was that period in Sartegos so there would be no point in
wanting to change anything or regreting things. The style and the recordings
are rawer compared with the later Sartegos stuff but that’s a normal thing. If
you look at all Sartegos recordings since the first demo, there’s a noticeable
progression or evolution even if the style still remains more or less the same.
then came from, as I said above, Demoncy, Varathron, Profanatica, Acheron,
Mayhem, early Rotting Christ, etc. Many bands too be listed here actually but I
think these are the most obvious. I wanted to achieve a mysterious and dark yet
aggressive atmosphere with the music. Needless to say that those influences are
still there nowadays and at the same time there might be some other hidden
influences back then that are more noticeable now. I always said that almost
everything I listen to and I like (or liked at some point) can be an influence
for Sartegos, another different story is that many influences I have can not be
traceable in Sartegos music.
you have plans to re-release them in the future? Would you like to see them in
a cool vinyl edition?
Yeah there’s a
plan to re-release the two demo-tapes on CD format alongside with the tracks from
the split with Ysengrin as a kind of a bonus, probably next year (2020).
Actually this plan has been in the making for a long time now, but for some
reasons it didn’t materialize so far.
In general I’m not
a big fan of demos pressed on vinyl, to be honest. Well, a compilation pressed
on vinyl could be ok, but still and in this case I would prefer to re-release
the demos on tape or CD format. I’m not quite sure what you exactly mean with
“a cool vinyl edition” by the way, but if that means an edition with all kinds
of extras like for instance a poster, coloured 180 gr vinyl or a really
nice-looking gatefold (for only 1 vinyl) with a polished layout, I’m not into
it. I think it is too much for a demo re-release. Apart from this, I have to
say I’m rather fed up with how many vinyl editions are being handled nowadays.
Vinyl became a huge fetishist trend and we are paying the price now. (I agree, there´s no need for a pink coloured or lilac splatter kind of shit, but a black vinyl with original artwork and early stuff would be nice. And by the way, to some "black metal bands", what´s the point in releasing a BM album on yellow, purple or turquoise vinyl?!!! What´s next? black metal bands playing in a cruise ship in the Caribbean? - Chris)
did you chose SARTEGOS as the name for the band?
into English as sarcophagus, the Galician word Sartegos encircled many of the
things I wanted to convey with the music. A “sartego” is a type of old
sarcophagus made of stone that you can find here in Galicia at many old
churches and cathedrals so as you can see the first and most obvious connection
here is the connection with death, the beyond, the unknown, the past and
Another thing that
made me choose this moniker was also the sonority of the word itself and I also
knew from the beginning that I wanted a name in Galician.
2013 you released “As fontes do negrume”, which gave you international
recognition. How important is this ep for you? What did it mean in terms of
evolution in sound, composition and artistic concept?
The MLP “As Fontes
do Negrume” was indeed a significant step forward for the band and even if it
is not a full album, it appears to me a bit like a debut in a certain way,
taking in account its importance for the band’s history. All became more solid
and inspired with the MLP: the sound is better and more powerful, the style is
more defined and the compositions are also better than before. I remember I
dedicated way more time for recording
and mixing this than what I did for the previous 2 demos. Also, this was the
first time I worked with Moontower Studios (just for the mastering in this
case) and the first time Sartegos had a release pressed on vinyl and on cd with
a proper and pretty good distribution around the world.
cover, if I´m not wrong, depicts a picture of Highgate cemetery, why did you
choose that picture?
are right, the picture used for the cover was taken at Highgate Cemetery in
North London. It was used because, apart from that one being a really
outstanding picture in my opinion, it is in perfect consonance with the album
title and with many concepts you can find in the lyrics. There is, above all,
that strong play there between light and darkness, depicting balance between
them. That picture is also connected with my personal life and that is like a
requirement I try to comply with all
pictures I use for any Sartegos layout, I mean, using photographies that are
connected with my personal experience in some way, taken by people close to me
or by myself and not picking up any random picture from a person I don’t know.
Then you released two Splits, one with Ysengrin and last year with another
Galician band, Balmog. How did you work on these releases? What can you tell us
about those songs and about the bands?
think in both cases it was the other band who proposed to do a split release
and I just had to agree. In the Ysegnrin’s case it was right after we traded
some stuff in 2013 I guess, and with Balmog… well, I have known the guys for
many years and the idea just came up one day. Needless to say that I like both
bands. They are different in style and I think Ysengrin connects more with
Sartegos style than Balmog, but Balmog has at the same time some other features
that make the split also special and unique.
stuff I included in both splits was composed and recorded specifically for
those releases so the tracks are not some discarded stuff from previous
recordings or anything like that. They shine by themselves. The recordings for
the tracks included in “Resvrrezionespiritval” (the split with Ysengrin) were a
bit difficult because at that time I was living in London and I came back to
Galicia for some days to record all my parts. Then I mixed all in London. It
was a bit chaotic but at the end the result was good. These tracks included
some new structures and there is some style progression as well whilst the
track included in the Balmog split has a first part that is more in tune with
some of the early demo-stuff and a second part showing again that move-forward,
including for the first time some clean “backing vocals”.
Now let´s talk about the new stuff, your debut full-length. How long did you
work on this material, how was the writing process?
are a couple of riffs that were maybe composed in 2013 and all the rest aren’t
in any case older than 2015. But the hard work really began in 2017/2018.
That’s when the majority of the stuff was composed, arranged and finalized. The
lyrics were all written in 2018 and early 2019.
writing process was actually very similar to the ones for the previous releases
but with the difference this time that I first programmed the drums and then
passed them to Jordi (the drummer) so he could know how all goes. In the past I
used to go to the rehearsal place with the guitar line structured and the drum
parts and basic patterns in my head and just tell the drummer.
was the studio experience this time? What method of work do you follow once in
always record my parts (guitars, bass, vocals and keyboards) on my own at my
“home studio” which nowadays is no other thing that some basic recording gear
placed in a kind of a rehearsal room in a house in the mountains here in
Galicia, so this time it was more or less the same, but it obviously took way
longer to get all recorded than with previous Sartegos recordings. Once in the
studio I try to be as focused as possible and try to not fuck around and not
second guess myself too much. Regarding drums, Jordi got them recorded at
Moontower Studios in Barcelona and he was extremely quick and efficient, I
would say. Then all was mixed at the same Moontower by Javi Félez and then
mastered at Resonance Sound by Dan Lowndes.
was the first time drums were recorded in such a professional way and it was
the first time also the mix was done by a professional in a proper and decent
studio. All the previous stuff was mixed by me and I think now with the album
you can clearly notice the difference.
would you describe the music on this album and how would you define the
evolution so far? How do you compare it with the previous works?
think the music in “O Sangue da Noite” is still Black/Death Metal, like before,
but this time there is even more Black Metal into it. There is also way more,
let’s say, emotion and epic riffing in general and there is more variation as
well. I would say all is, in a sense, more majestuous, mysterious and epic now,
without forgetting the aggression and dark vibe the previous stuff had. Those
features are still there of course. Compositions in the album are a bit
different from before, more changes, a bit more elaborated, etc.
also included some new things like for example clean backing vocals in some of
the tracks. Well, not so new as there were some clean vocals on the track
included in the split with Balmog, but anyway, in the album I used them again
and gave them more presence.
said that the concept of the album is about the dark side, the night and its
essence. What´s your source of inspiration? What motivates you to embrace the
that was a metaphorical way of describing the album in general (the music, the
layout and also lyricwise) but that doesn’t mean that it is a concept album at
all and neither all the lyrics deal with those specific topics. Some of them
do, some others don’t.
source of inspiration comes mostly from within myself, from my experience and
things I read, I contemplate, things that speak to me or I’m interested in, in
one way or another.
is light and darkness inside of me and to explore and delve into the latter is
a really enriching effort. Darkness is an essential part of the being.
really like the album cover, where has the photo been taken?
picture was taken at the top of a hill during a wonderful and eerie sunset. We
went up there on purpose to take that picture for the cover (and some other
used in the layout). The place has some special meaning for me and it is called
“Eira dos Mouros”.
Tell me about the lyrics of “As Desvesas som dos Lobos”, that, apart from being
one of my favorite songs on the album, I like the lyrics and as far as I know,
it has a special meaning for you. Please tell me more about it.
would say that lyricwise, that song is a bit cliché in the sense that I use the
Wolf to present some concepts like spiritual independence, opposition,
defiance, rebellion or wild erness which has been a common ground in many Black
Metal lyrics since its conception. But that is not a negative thing for me: I
always wanted to use the strong symbolic carachter of the Wolf and its
attributes to create a Sartegos song so here it is.
words in the song title are not mine, though. They were spoken to me by a
half-blind old woman at some place in the mountains in Galicia. I met her by
chance on my way to a forest and when asking which was the best way to go
there, she answered that: “As devesas som dos lobos” (“the forests belong to
wolves” - a “devesa” is a type of forest we have here). That sentence stayed in
my mind since then and resonates inside of me everytime I remember that.
the way, the Wolf has always been very
important in Galician lore, sometimes associated with the Devil.
other songs like “Solpor Dos Misterios” and “Poço e Serpe” you talk about
legends, myths, local folklore of which Galicia is very rich. I think it is
important that this part of the culture is kept alive and that it continues to
be spread through music and other forms... what do you think about the this
subject and the way it is managed nowadays?
exactly. I do not simply tell a story or a legend, I mean, the lyrics are not
only about the legend in question. What I do is using the myth or the legend to
present or talk about other things, trying to put all in common. For instance,
in “Solpor dos Mistérios” I link the local legend of a vampire-witch with
Lilith and her, let’s say, carachteristics. In “Poço e Serpe” I do the same but
with the local legend of a giant snake in a river pool and Leviathan.
I think it is important to keep that part of the culture alive but all has
changed so much in the last decades that I’m afraid all will be reduced (if it’s
not already) to books and songs. Nowadays, utterly decadent western societies
are so proud of their technologic and “scientific” way of understanding the
world that they forgot completely how to interact with the nature surrounding
them and how to read the signs, so to say. All is going down the drain.
have stated and emphasized that Sartegos chooses not to be labeled as a Spanish
band. Sartegos itself is a Galician word, and all the letters of Rou are in
Galician language, so labeling Sartegos as a Spanish band would be a mistake. I
interpret this not as a political issue but as a matter of cultural roots,
something very misunderstood many times today, and which unfortunately is lost
by global fears and pressures…
honestly I don’t feel comfortable at all when somebody refers to Sartegos as a
Spanish band and this comes first and foremost from the facts that I think
Galicia is an identity of its own and different from Spain and that I do not
consider myself as Spanish. Saying this is already political but that is the
most political I will go now if you ask me about this matter. Of course
personally I do have my political ideas (everyone does, even if they say they
are non-political) but I think there is no point in discussing that here.
is no homage to Galicia or anything like gloryfying the culture in Sartegos, no
national proud or things alike and no intention of doing so. The band is not
about that (not at all, actually) and I think it is clear if you read the
think this thing should be treated naturally and as you said, Sartegos is a
Galician word, my native language is Galician and lyrics are all in Galician so
labeling the band as Spanish would be wrong and can lead to misunderstandings.
is the deal with I Voidhanger and Blood Harvest? How about the album being
released in three formats? What format do you like most?
deal is that I, Voidhanger will be releasing the CD and Blood Harvest the vinyl
and tape versions. Personally for a full length I prefer vinyl and cd but
Rodrigo from Blood Harvest wanted to release also the tape and I had nothing
against that. In general I like the three formats, I grew up with dubbed tapes
and cds and for me vinyl came afterwards (my parents didn’t have a turntable so
I had to buy one myself with my first salary) but I’m ok with all three.
What is your point of view about the Galician scene? What do you think about
bands like Balmog, Dioivo, Lostregos…
seem to be some bands and projects around here, yes. Some of them I like, some
others not so much. I do not socialize much with the people in the “scene” (if
you can call it that way. I think there is no scene…), just from time to time
so I’m not wery well informed about what is going on, to be honest.
the bands you quoted I think Balmog has been the undisputed reference in
Galician Black Metal in the last 10 years. Lostregos are very good doing their
pagan thing as well. Dioivo… well, they are bit too weird for me (and I like
weird music in general). You could name other very good bands like Xerion,
which is a classic by now and still going strong, Suspiral or Marthyrium. There
is also one band not to be missed, originally from Cuba but now relocated to
this part of the world, and named Narbeleth.
Now give me your vision of the Spanish scene and the global scene, how
important is it for you to be part of a scene? Do you agree to promote the
motto "support the scene"? And how do you interpret it as a fan?
were and there are very good bands in the Spanish “scene” and in the global
“scene” as well, but in my opinion, if before 2010 all was already saturated
with worldwide bands and releases, in the last decade that situation got even
worse and all is at a point beyond saturation now. It is impossible to pay
attention to all that comes out. At the same time, saying that myself could
sound contradictory, because I have a band and put out releases from time to
time but from the fan perspective, I think all is over saturated, without a
doubt. Then there is that other thing about the internet, which I think
definetly killed and ruined the atmosphere, the feeling and the magic many
releases had in the past. All that is gone… Nowadays all is based on social
networks and people even don’t reply to e-mails anymore. Even that is becoming
outdated now, it’s ridiculous... All is so exposed with lots of information in
just one click, that it becomes boring and meaningless. It is like fast-food
but with music and information.
trends spread so rapidly now and many of the bands follow them so blindly
(well, trends are nothing new of course but anyway…) I guess I’m a bit sick of
the lack of personality, sincerity and good and own ideas in many bands. I’m
not saying you have to be super original, trying new things all the time or
anything like that, don’t get me wrong, but too many bands just repeat ideas,
topics and imagery others created before them without adding nothing of their
own. Again, nothing new, but it reached ridiculous levels in the last years.
this draws me out from checking new bands and releases. I still do it and still
buy albums, of course, but in much less quantity than up to 8 years ago. I’m
much more selective now.
to conclude, for me it is not important nowadays to be part of any scene, as
underground is almost finished and destroyed, and I will only support the bands
I like. (I can only agree with you with every word of this answer - Chris)
Besides music, are there other artistic expressions that interest you?
music, I’m mostly interested in literature and cinema, but to a certain extent in
the case of cinema (it’s been ages since I last watched a movie). Apart from
those, there are other forms of art that I can appreciate even if I’m far from
being an expert on the subject, like photography, architecture or painting.
this record you joined forces with drummer J. Farre, is he a permanent member?
Will you keep Sartegos as a studio project or do you plan to get other
musicians to play live in the future?
was a session member for the album. I wish I could have him as a permanent
member but we live quite far from each other so that’s not possible. Anyway, I
would definetly like to continue having him as a session member in the future,
no doubt about it. He is just an awesome drummer and he did a hell of a job
behind the drumkit for this album so I can not be more grateful for that.
to your last question, Sartegos will stay as a studio band/ project and I have
no plans to take it to a stage. There is no need to.
play a variety of many different instruments, which one do you enjoy playing
instrument I enjoy the most and the one I play often is the guitar. Despite
that the first demo and half of the second one were composed all on bass, from
that moment on I only played bass for the recordings. About keyboards, I have
to confess I have no idea of how to play them, or piano, but I can manage the
instrument for the easy synth-based introductory compositions I need.
you usually go to concerts? Which are the best and the last you have seen?
Yes I like
concerts and although I attend less gigs nowadays than in the past (for several
reasons) I still enjoy a good live concert. One of the last I attended was King
Diamond in summer 2019 and it was one of the best in my fucking life. It is my
favourite heavy metal band and I had been waiting for years and years to see
the band playing live. It was great! I just hope I can attend any of the Europe
dates Mercyful Fate are announcing these days!
gigs I can recall now are Sadistic Intent
and Morbid Angel in 2008, Iron Maiden, Sabbat (the japanese) or
Motörhead alongside with tons of other great gigs I’m forgetting now, for sure.
Which or what have been the albums that you have bought or that you are
listening to lately? What do you think of the latest of Rotting
Christ-Possessed-Nocturnus and Darkthrone?
the last couple of days I’ve been listening to the last Blut Aus Nord album
apart from some Motörhead and Thin Lizzy. Last albums I bought were
Hertogenwald (it is actually a demo-cd and it is a band where Guido from
Ysengrin is involved in), Aethyrick - Praxis, Tymah - Zuhanás, Evohé – Deus
Sive Nature and a couple of cd’s by polish Moriturus. I also received this week
a Diabolus Flagellation tape as a gift from my good old penpal Antti (greetings
mate!) but I didn’t play it yet. Apart from that I recently bought some old
hard rock and prog classics on vinyl like Perfect Strangers by Deep Purple (a true gem, I love it - Chris),
Camel – Moonmadness and ELP’s first album.
haven’t checked the last Rotting Christ, Possessed or Nocturnus albums. I like
the bands quite a lot and I heard really good things about the Possessed one in
particular, but haven’t checked them yet. About the last Darkthrone, I listened
to a few tracks and it didn’t catch my attention. The only one I liked since Cult is Alive was The
Underground Resistance, to tell you the truth.
What´s the strangest place and the most shocking place you have been?
don’t recall now been to any specially shocking place, to be honest. Well, I
visited Auschwitz in 2007 and although I know some people get emotionally
affected when visiting the place and they certainly would consider it as a
shocking place, it didn’t have that effect on me. It has a dark and gloomy
atmosphere indeed but personally I would not define it as shocking.
the strangest or weirdest place I’ve been to… well, if we talk about
landscapes, I would say certain parts of Iceland where you could easily think
you are in Mars, because of the volcanic activity there and the landscape it
creates. If we talk about culture, I guess the strangest place I’ve been to is
What will be the next steps for Sartegos?
now, just wait for “O Sangue da Noite” to be released and see how it goes. The
next step will probably be the release of that Cd compilation I mentioned above
and then, at some point I guess I will start composing new tracks again.
Thanks you for your time, last words are yours…
you very much for the interview and your interest in Sartegos.
who is interested in the band can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the bandcamp