1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
First of all, we want to thank you for the opportunity allowed to us to speak about Mascharat. The project of Mascharat began to take shape in 2010. The main purpose was to create black metal, which mainly could harmonize our intention and personal taste, using symbols that result from our interest in the mask and the carnival tradition in which we have portrayed and developed as concept our interest in literature, philosophy, religion, and so on.
2.So far you have released a demo and a full length, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on both of the recordings and also how do they differ from each other?
Since we lacked some members, we were searching for a drummer to complete the line-up, and for that reason there was a programmed drum in the Demo. We had less budget and we choose to focus, despite the low quality, on the concept and also release something that could make Mascharat become active. With the full-length we completed the line-up and we had also the chance to develop the concept, evolving and researching a better sound that could fit with the atmosphere that we had in mind for the songs.
3.The band has been around since 2010 but so far has only put out 2 releases, can you tell us a little bit more about the gaps in between releases?
The gap between the Demo and the album was due to the fact that we had to complete our line up and also to logistic reasons, since at the moment we live in different countries, and that slowed down the production a bit. In general, however, we do not like to force the creative process and give ourselves deadlines because we prefer to be as spontaneous and natural as possible.
4.The lyrics on the new album are a concept album, can you tell us a little bit more about the story line?
The songs develop a proper allegorical story, that could be split in two parts. The first one (Bauta, Médecin de peste, Mora) tells about the meeting between the Man and three Masks of the venetian tradition, who show him how his philosophical and religious certainties (to which we refer mainly by means of Christian dogmas and values) are illusory in the research of the Truth. The second part (Simulacri “Simulacrum”, Iniziazione “Initiation”, Rito “Rite”) tells about Man's attempt to redeem himself, as he tries to find the Truth through an initiation rite that the Masks offer to him. At the end of the rite, that definitively drives the Man away from dogmas and his previous convictions and brings him to repudiate himself, he is anyway not allowed to obtain the desired Knowledge.
5.The lyrics also show a good knowledge of the occult, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in the esoteric arts?
Esoterism and occultism have a strong influence on our lyrics, as well as literature and philosophy, and we always read (a lot) before composing new material. It is very important to us to research the real meaning of symbols because we don’t want to use them just for mere aesthetical purposes. In addition, we can also say that our intention is not to repeat passively concepts and dogmas (wherever they come from), but to use them to elaborate something new in harmony of our aesthetic and philosophy. In that sense, we are not just a concept on the Venetian carnival and we have no interest to reproduce it’s tradition in a folkloristic or in a philological reconstruction.
6.You also show an interest in literature and carnival traditions, what are some of your interests in those areas?
Our band is strongly inspired by venetian masks and the original meaning that they have in relation to the Carnival tradition. Masks are not just an ornamental object, but mostly an instrument that can set the man free by allowing him to emancipate himself (even just for a little period) from the rules of society and religion. From paganism to catholicism, Carnival has always been a period in which every kind of convention could be invalidated and mocked or subverted. What inspires us more than the Carnival of Origins is precisely this principle of overturning, in addition to the fact that it is a chaotic and subversive celebration that is born and develops within a very strong moral system like the Catholic one. In other words, not only the Carnival claims the hidden side of human nature, but it imposes it as a necessity of humanity itself.
7.I know that the bands name comes from Arabic and means joke, prank or track, how does this name fit in with the musical style that you play?
The name of the band mainly fits with the path that is represented also from the songs of the album. The mask’s joke has a destructive force in itself because it has the power to annihilate the human certainties and we think that it can also be perceived by our way to play black metal. Otherwise, it is not just about violence, what we’d like to represent with our music is also the ironical point of view of the masks (the Man free from his human nature) on the emptiness of humanity.
However, we didn’t want to ascribe all with our unique interpretation and we let listeners making themselves opinions that could maybe divert from ours or can integrate something more by themselves.
8.Has the band done any live shows yet?
We played live in summer 2014, when we released the Demo, and it was good, but, as we previously told, living in different countries could it make things a bit harder in preparing ourselves for live performances.
9.The album was released on 'Seance Records', can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
We finished the recording in 2016 and we were searching a label that could be fit with our music style. We contacted many labels, Italians at first (because of our lyrics and our origin), then overseas, and Séance Records was among them. One of the reasons that motivated us to collaborate with Séance, in addition to their releases in line with our music style, was their genuine interest in our concept and not just for our music. We are really happy with that and we are still always in contact with them.
10.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
We can tell how the feedback was by who has written something about our album. Most of the review, but also private messages, were really positive. We saw that them who asked us something regarding our album was really interested in concept’s background or some aspect we treated, and we are really happy when it could arouse interest in other listeners and approaching them to the themes developed by us.
11.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
We are working on new material, but at the moment we can’t define how it will exactly be. It depends also on our inspirations and on what will fit musically better with our next themes.
12.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?
We are manly inspired, like many other bands, from early black metal bands, like for example the well-known Enslaved, Satyricon, Emperor, and many others, but we are open anyway to any other musical influences that allow us to express the themes we deal with in the best way. Each of us then has his own tastes and his particular influences that transcend even black metal and that also have a fairly high importance.
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
We would like to thank OccultBlackMetalZine for the interest about our music and for this occasion to present our first album. We would like to thank also everyone that spend their time in listening and supporting us and encourage the debating on music and contents. We invite everyone who is interested in our music to contact us on Facebook or via mail to let us know their opinion about our music.