Interview done in 2006.
Belgian’s doom/sludge monsters Amen Ra have been around for quite some time. After being quite impressed with their Mass III album and their live performances we thought it was a good idea to ask Colin some questions.
As Amen Ra isn’t too familiar yet in Holland, can you briefly introduce the band?
We’ve been around since 1999. So that’s a while now.We play some sort of heavy slow entrancing music, it kinda pulls you out of life. Right into your deepest thoughts.
At least if you allow it to.
We’re all about honesty, passion and being humble in everything we do.
The Mass III album has been out for a while now, are you still happy with it?
Yeah, ofcourse we are happy with it. Stoked really. It was the first time we actually could catch our live feel on a small disk.
Believe me.that ain’t easy..but as time passes by you get to see different angles in it and see possibilities that you didn’t see then.
Making music is a process.you know. When you decide to record ityou kinda make it stagnate..that’s why we’re not really fond of going into studios. If you listen to the Mass III songs when played live..that’s where you still hear the evolution in them, they still grow..
Your lyrics seem a little abstract. I do have the feeling they are quite religious though, and with the entire concept around the band (the Ritual of Ra website, ‘Mass’ titles of the cd’s) I was wondering if you were a religious band?
No, it’s not like we’re practising Christians or whatever, i’m not even baptised. I think we’re more agnost that atheist though..anyway..the thing is through the years we somehow created our own beliefsystem on things. Life, the afterlife and all…without making dogmas or life rules out of it. It’s just a certain approach on things on life. Probably like everyone has this link with their friends. We have it with each other and tried to grasp that vision, even though it’ll always stay abstract. The thing is, we do use a lot of Christian iconography and metaphors in lyrics and artwork. Since we’re from Belgium, Europe we’re all connected to this catholic culture. when we look around our villages and cities all you see is catholic churches, schools, cemetaries etc..things are changing, but then again that’s what we saw our entire lives you know..
Also Amen Ra uses a lot of symbolism, mainly dead animals, what’s the main idea behind this?
Death makes everything real and now you know. We started off using dead birds as symbols for an interrupted flight.a liberation decay of a civilisation maybe.
‘een vogel in staat van ontbinding, toont de verwijdering van een ultiem betekenisverlenende centrum. De vogel kan staan voor: de vlucht, de bevrijding, de mogelijkheid van absolute aanschouwing van de wereld (vogelperspectief), terwijl de gehavende vleugels op de beperking, de aardse stoffelijkheid, de gebondenheid aan het lichaam, de gevangenschap van de geest wijzen’
Where does the inspiration for the lyrics come from ?
It would not be an option.to make songs about random stuff.
It always has to cut deep.
Your music, is it written by all members of the band, or are there main songwriters?
The five of us have our say, that’s what makes it so hard and sometimes a slow process.
The music is rather harsh and desperate, but in the song ‘Am Kreuz’ all of a sudden an angel alike female voice comes to shore. Who is this female, and are you planning on trying more experiments like this in ¨ the future?
Lynn Pieters owns the angellike voice you talk about she’s a friend of ours and did a great job,indeed.
We will do as see fit in the future, we have always done stuff with sung parts in it.
Being a man or a woman.it depends on what a song longs for.
You are familiar for playing in rather unusual live settings, I read something about a church a fashion show and a forest. Is there special reason for this, and what are your plans in the future concerning this?
Questions directed to the future make no sense, it’s the now that counts.Maybe yes.maybe no, we will see.
Why did we do it? Because we feel it that way, we have a bigger link with those places than for example a random club or pub it’s more personal you know.
Some of them breathe Amen Ra
If you could play anywhere, any place in the world, where would it be, and why?
Le Jardin des Morts Ghent. I don’t know why..because it feels right
You’ve played with quite some bigger names in the past, what was your favourite band to play with, and why?
Probably Neurosis, because they’re so real. Scott is a good friend of mine and being around him made me feel understood.
What are your plans for the near future?
In the next few months we’ll be
-re-releasing a Mass III Gatefold double lp on SoundDevastationRecords (already out, get it here)
-releasing a dvd on HypertensionRecords
-releasing a split 7? with Hitch on VlasVegasRecords
-a new site
-recording different videoclips
-recording the Mass IV album
Some members of Amen Ra also have side projects, are these just ¨projects or can we expect some more from those in the future concerning albums and gigs?
Maybe we’ll see about that.
¨Alright, that’s all the questions I have got for you. Thanks alot for taking ¨your time, and good luck with the band. Feel free to add something yourself.
Thank you man.
More info on Amen Ra: http://www.ritualofra.com/