Trials & Tribulations

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For a decade now, Slovenia’s Dekadent have toiled in the underground with little fanfare or recognition, only exalted by those few in the know about this superb band. Maybe it’s the band’s geographical location. Or the band’s chosen style of un-traditional black metal that focuses on cinematic atmospheric and uplifting harmonies. But for whatever reason the band never seemed to get the recognition it deserved with their three prior albums, notably 2011s sumptuous Venera : Trial & Tribulation, my first exposure to the band.

Well hopefully, album number four, simply titled Veritas (Latin for ‘truth’) , will change the band’s fortunes as band founder Artur Felicijan took to the now popular crowd funding route to get the album physically released. And the album is a stunner, continuing the band’s soaring atmospherics and gorgeous atmospheres, and even adding a little more aggression, baring more black metal teeth than before. So I caught up with the wonderfully amicable Artur to find out more about Dekadent’s past, present and future…

So here’s the obligatory, boring opening question-can you give the the history of the formation and start of Dekadent?

Dekadent started out as a one-man project in 2005. I had some time on my hands and decided to try writing some black metal music after a 3 years hiatus. The first song I did was called ‘Dekadent’. After a while I recorded the other songs for the demo that later became the Manifestation of Seasonal Bleeding album. At that time the project was still called Vigred and later on I switched the song name and the band name. Hence, the song is now called ‘Vigred’ and the band works under its current name. 

How would you describe Dekadent’s sound? It’s loosely black metal but not in typical terms?

Whether way you look at Dekadent I think it falls into the black metal category. 10 or 15 years ago I bet I would want Dekadent labelled as something really unique and cool, but I am totally okay with being categorized as black metal. Sometimes we get dubbed as atmospheric black metal or symphonic, but it really doesn’t matter. I personally liked my music described as white metal, but just recently I learned it is actually already taken by the Christian fundamentalists. So, I much rather stay under the black metal category, haha.  

When you started Dekadent did you want to play black metal that was more cinematic, or even ‘happy’ and  ‘uplifting ‘ as opposed to the usual tropes?

First and foremost I wanted to play the music I wanted to hear. I have a some sort of deep affection for these specific harmonies and melodies for as long as I remember. Whether I heard them in early rock or classical music, I found them as if written especially for my soul. Since I was a really young boy, like 4 or 5 years old, I had sung these melodies that are still present in my music today. I combined this ‘harmonic identity’ with my love for extreme metal. I love metal and all sorts of music, but I feel black metal suits me best for composing. I find writing black metal very therapeutic.  

How is it you have had trouble with releasing albums with labels? You’ve publicly stated for the release of this album about not getting ripped off any more — what happened?

I had some good experience with our first label, which is now defunct, but I got massively screwed by the last label we were working with. Dekadent’s 2011 album ‘Venera: Trial & Tribulation’ suffered a lot because of that. The label did nothing whatsoever to get the album to the right people, they stole all the copyright, forged the contracts and made up a ton of other bullshit that drained Dekadent financially and morally. The matter is now being settled legally.

I thought later the main mistake was them not being a metal label, but I learned metal labels can be all about money also. I had a deal signed with an underground label Blood Music from Finland. I had ‘Veritas’ complete and ready for production, but the guy changed his mind. Luckily, I found in the meantime how BandCamp works and discovered PledgeMusic so I was glad we were free as this guy also wanted all the rights without reasonable compensation. 

You recently reached the 100% fund raising goal to physically release the new album. How satisfying is that?

After all the trouble it feels like a new start for Dekadent. It is an incredible feeling to see that the people who matter most honestly care about your music.  

Was there any doubt?

Sure. I think we were one of the few extreme metal bands, let alone black metal, as the whole fund-raising movement is a lot closer to the indie culture. We decided to go safe and not be greedy, which helped us in reaching our goal. 

Does the fact this album physical release being funded by fans make it ay more special than other releases?

Yes, of course, I find it most special. In a way it feels a lot more natural when the listener pays directly to the author. I believe we strengthened our fanbase this way and got some new followers from the places we wouldn’t have otherwise.  

How important was it for a physical release in the day and age of digital and bandcamp releases?

Less important than in the past, but I think Dekadent fans are eager to hold the album in their hands as well. Black metal seems as one of those last genres where demand for physical releases is still strong. 

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Is this how future Dekadent albums will be released?

Possibly. We will see how the trend of fundraising will continue as there is so much of this everywhere for everything. I hope people don’t get fed up with it or worse- ripped off. 

The new album seems to have a little more aggression and angst that the last albums- are you angrier?

Even though I feel very blessed and fulfilled privately, I took the opportunity to truly express my thoughts on this album. I drifted away from the pure romanticism I was much delved in on the previous album. Veritas has a more rational approach in terms of lyricism. 

Speaking of lyrics, is there a central concept to this album?

It is all about the grand truth or the great lie, hence Veritas. The songs talk about love, politics and spirituality. Most of the lyrics are based on my personal experience and observations. Whether I talk about religion, relationships or political views, it is more or less about how I deal with being honest about it. I always felt one of the main strengths of Dekadent is its honest approach. I tried to take a hit or two myself with these lyrics, but I had to cover the details with metaphors, otherwise I might offend quite a few people, haha. 

Dekadent seems to be one of those bands that the masses haven’t really heard about yet, but one that is often considered elite by those in the know. Would you prefer to be a bigger more ‘famous’ band or enjoy your cult status within the circles of a a more privileged few?

Certainly it is flattering to be considered elite, but as to any artist, it matters to me that my music reaches wider audience. I don’t intend to please everybody or to adjust my music to a particular demand, but I do what I do because I want to say something and if more people hears me, the more my message comes across.

In the end I value the ‘privileged few’ the most and they are the ones who actually helped me put ‘Veritas’ into realization.  

Is being from Slovenia part of the reason for less world reknown?

I think it is THE reason. Not wanting to look for excuses, but with every album we’ve proved that quality is there and the band is getting better and better, while maintaining its unique character. And if we were from anywhere else, I think we would have a much easier way out. Labels don’t support bands from Slovenia because we are such a small market and they find it too risky in a business sense. Thankfully, platforms like BandCamp and Pledgemusic exist which finally opened some new doors for us. Those of the fans’ which also matter the most. 

Whats next for you and Dekadent? Are you in any other projects?

As I said, this whole PledgeMusic experience gave Dekadent some necessary boost. We are playing shows now here and there and we plan to go abroad next month to meet new fans and play in different venues. I am already drafting some new ideas for Dekadent, but there is no rush, ‘Veritas’ is still in production, so first things first.

I have a secret project that I already released but do not wish to be publicly affiliated with. As of now, I find it too embarrassing and funny to reveal myself in it, haha. Time will tell.

https://dekadent.bandcamp.com/

http://www.dekadent.si/

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    great writeup, glad to see this band is finally getting some more recognition. Deliverance of the Fall blew me away and this is still on track, so far, to be in my top 5 for the year.


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