1.For those who have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
IN CAUDA VENENUM is two French musicians, N.K.L.S. and I, Ictus. We play a kind of Epic Black Metal with Post Rock influences and French lyrics.
2.Recently you have released an album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
Some people call it Atmospheric or Post Black Metal. To describe it in term of inspirational bands, I would list ALTAR OF PLAGUES, LUNAR AURORA and WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM for the dark, progressive and solemn aspects. We are also inspired by bands like DRUDKH, NOKTURNAL MORTUM and PRIMORDIAL for the epic side. To conclude, I am a big fan of ANOREXIA NERVOSA, FALL OF EFRAFA and Post Rock bands like JUNIUS, TOUNDRA and TOTORRO and I think these influences can be heard in our music.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
This first album depicts human passions from utopia to fatalism, and illustrates the porosity between life and death through such themes as Art, History and Legacy. It is about the need for utopia and the strength needed to create and about leaving a legacy that will still be here after our death. We explored both sides: from the dead creator to the receiver of this legacy, who is alive.
I am also personaly very interested in the European utopian artistic movements of the early twentieth century, and this album is actually a tribute to Walter Gropius, one of the greatest utopist who funded the Bauhaus School after WWII.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'In Cauda Venenum'?
In cauda venenum is a latine/roman phrase translation The poison in the tail (in reference to the scorpion). It was originally used to describe a text or a speech which starts nicely to make the audience or the adversary comfortable, and suddenly ending in a sharp and nasty tone. But for us, this phrase also describes life itself. We all have one common fate, which is death. We know everything could suddenly turn wrong unpredictably, for us or for the people we care about. Life has taught me not to ignore how vicious it can get, and not to be blinded by the present, as comfortable as it could be. It may seem pessimistic, but I think fatalism and vanity can be quite healthy and sane to project ourself in Life.
5.Currently there are only 2 members in the band, are you planning on expanding the line up in the future or do you chose to remain a duo?
During 2009-2010, I was alone and I wrote 4 « proto tracks » over 15min using a drum machine. Then N.K.L.S. joined me as a drummer, which was extremely beneficial to our music. He is a friend. We played as a duo (guitar + drums) between 2005 and 2006, so we knew we could make things work pretty well for IN CAUDA VENENUM. As a drummer, he brought a different feeling and an approach of our music I would have never been able to capture had I continued to use a drum machine. An important point I would like to insist on is that he isn’t an exclusively Extreme Metal drummer. He enjoys double bass and blast beats, but his musical background is made up of groovy and minimalistic mid tempo drums with open/close hi-hat and lots of cymbal variations. That’s why he was able to bring an extra dimension to the songs, so we decided to re-write all the songs to fit his style. He was so involved in the process that he started learning guitar and he added some of the atmospheres and arrangements you can ear on the album.
The only difficulty is that we don’t live nearby, so everything is done on-line. It takes much more time than if we were to work side by side, but this is how things are and we have to deal with it. That is partly why we decided to focus on two 21min tracks for the first album. The two others will be the logical follow-up and will conclude this tetralogy.
Since the release of the album, I have met people who could be a part of our next release, but I can’t really announce anything just yet.
6.The album was released on Emanations, are you happy with the support they have given you so far?
Emanations is a young subdivision of the French label Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions which features great bands in its roster: THE GREAT OLD ONES, PARAMNESIA, REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER, PENSEES NOCTURNES, … I'm personaly involved with this label as a graphic designer and I am also in charge of manufacturing process. We created Emanations to promote undergound bands like IN CAUDA VENENUM. As musicians, it gives us the possibility to share our music through an already established network and fan base, which is wonderful for a band which does not play live shows for the time being.
7.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
I must admit that we were surprised the first time we sent something to Canada and to the US. I can't explain why, but we've had very good feedback from Eastern Europe too. Maybe because of the French lyrics...
8.Are any of the band members also involved with any other musical projects or bands these days?
IN CAUDA VENENUM is my main band but I have also a side project with N.K.L.S., something more instinctive, primitive and raw, with shorter tracks and more thrashy and catchy riffs. This project is inspired by the Tchernobyl accident.
During the writing process of our album, N.K.L.S. wrote about 10 songs for his side project: an epic progressive metal band in the vein of BATHORY or MOONSORROW.
9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
We are already about 80% through writing our next album. It is the logical follow-up to our first full length. Our musical approach is similar, and if you like the first one, you should love its sequel.
10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
(As I listed influences in the first question, I suggest not to repeat it here and rather focus on albums I’m listening nowadays)
Right now I mostly listen to GLACIATION (FR), which is simply a pure masterpiece of French « High-End » Black Metal. The upcoming albums of MAIEUTISTE (FR) and REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER (FR) are also constantly playing at home. You can ear some tracks and pre-order these albums at http://lesacteursdelombre.net/productions/
11.What are some of your non musical interests?
Considering my schedule between my job, managing Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions and writing for IN CAUDA VENENUM, I can say that Music takes actually the most of my time… However, I try to read books when possible. If I can recommend some books, I would say The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy, By Reason of Insanity, by Shane Stevens, Sukkwan Island, by David Vann and the masterpiece autobiography 3,096 Days, by Natascha Kampusch. These books really moved me and inspired me to write music for IN CAUDA VENENUM.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thank you for promoting our work and giving us the opportunity to talk about our music. I hope this interview will provide the listeners with some key elements to better appreciate our music.