Here’s our first interview with a German band! ANCST comes from Berlin and brings the DIY ethics and a punk vibe to their sick black metal outfit. They are another band expanding the limits of this music which is always welcome. Check them out live as well, since they will be touring in Europe in March/April!
Please talk about the music and the aesthetics of ANCST.
Tom: ANCST is a hardcore / extreme metal hybrid from Berlin, Germany that incorporates bits of black metal, blackened crust, death metal, metallic hardcore and noise in our sound.
Its really a mix of stuff we like with the lyrical focus on personal as well as social and political topics. regarding aesthetics we borrow a lot from 90s black metal and hardcore stuff minus the black metal uniform. no seriously, a lot of our artworks and visual stuff is a mix of xerox black & white collage stuff and old landscape paintings. we like to keep things negative but with a spark of hope in there.
Black metal is not known for being a “political” genre unlike other extreme music like grindcore and some death/thrash metal bands. Except for some nazi (or pseudo nazi) outfits, I wasn’t aware of that many bands taking politics and social themes as their main theme in black metal related music, which is exactly what your band does. Could you talk more that? How do you converge the darkness of black metal in to this so called “social agenda”?
Tom: I think there is a lot of other “dark” stuff besides the typical occult and mystic topics black metal deals with. It can be really dark in your own real life also. and what about the social darkness that surrounds us? shit that is happening everyday? I mean we are talking negative things here, perfect to fit with musical aspects of the black metal genre.
But we are not a “real” black metal band. We don’t need to fit into a certain aesthetic. we just do what we like and deal with stuff that is important to us. there is no definition of what black metal should sound like for us and which lyrical themes we need to include in our music. we have very little in common with real/orthodox black metal bands.
How is the reaction of the black metal audiences? Do you get some orthodox responses because of that?
Tom: No not really. I thought there will be more shit talk to be honest but instead we had a lot of traditional black metal fans reaching out to us and stating that they like the music and the lyrical topics. wasn’t expecting this but its awesome.
You call yourselves a “Collective”. Why is that? Do you have other people involved in the work of ANCST?
Tom: Well, that goes back to our start where people from our social bubble / circle of friends took part in some of the songs or helped out with certain things regarding the band. that happened in a time where there was no stable line up except for Torsten and me. nova days we are having a much more traditional line up. more of a real band than the collective it was at the beginning. but the idea of getting different people involved with the band still exists and is being worked on.
You come from a hardcore background. How did black metal come to you guys? Was it natural to mix this music with your old hardcore influences?
Tom: For my part, I initially come from an extreme metal background and have been listening to black metal long before I found out about DIY hardcore. But it was hardcore punk that got me, you know? the ideas, the music and the community. if it was natural? I think so. If you remember there was this whole metalcore thing going on a few years ago and before the whole thing blew up to the MTV size and into the mainstream there was the whole metallic hardcore, 90’s stuff and the proto metalcore bands. the hardcore / extreme metal crossover. I always really liked that stuff because it combined what I loved about metal and what I loved about hardcore. So ANCST can be seen somewhere in that tradition. the rest of our “collective” has similar influences. we all share a love for extreme metal and hardcore.
You’re a relatively new band, beginning in 2011, but your discography is quite big for only 4 years. You seem to be a very hard working band, right? What’s your full discography?
Tom: nah, not as hard working as you think haha but you have to do something everyday to keep up with all the stuff. here is the discography:
Demo tape (2012, skull witch, mustard mustache)
“the humane condition” EP tape (2013, dark omen)
“lamenting a dying world” EP cd (2013, kingdom ov fear)
split w/ Hiveburner tape (2013, skull witch, mustard mustache)
“in turmoil” tape (US version) (2013, fragile branch)
“november” cd (2013, DIY)
“cyncis & outcasts” split tape/cd w/ Smutecni Slavnost (2014, yehonala)
split w/ D/A A/D tape (2014, yehonala)
“in turmoil” LP (2014, vendetta, wooaaargh, yehonala)
“taima” tape (2014, wooaaargh, puzzle)
“in turmoil” tape (SEA version) (2014, cintaitubuta)
In lines with this hard working thing, you also run a label. Do you think that coming from this punk hardcore scene had infused the DIY ethics in the band? Also, what did you released so far?
Tom: Ive been running small labels for nearly 10 years now out of the need to have a platform to release my own stuff and music from friends. I’ve been operating yehonala tapes since 2006 but a had a break of several years in between and resurrected the label in the last years cause I missed it. besides yehonala I have run small tape labels like skull witch and powerviolence tape label Obi Wahn. A list of releases would be huge (its over 100 releases in total) so I just mention a few ones I really like. the most famous would be first output of Berlin based mathcore band war from a harlots mouth back in 2007 and the re-release in 2014. I also put out stuff for UK chaos core band rolo tomassi and UK synth grinders cutting pink with knives. Not really trve metal but I really liked the releases. in the last years I have put out stuff for USBM bands such as Anagnorisis or Torrid Husk and tapes for new European bands such as Ekranoplan, Smutecni Slavnost or scramz revivalists Fuck, Wolves!. Also I have a focus on noise releases and have put out several ambient/ noise only tapes with Tooth Decay, Ancst, D/AA/D. Skull witch records which was put to an end in 2013 has released stuff for our other band Afterlife Kids and for a few other bands, mostly from the Berlin DIY scene.
The whole DIY thing is really important. it teaches you that you can go wherever you want, but you have to do it yourself. I never believed in all that “we need a label” or “we need to get signed” nonsense. in today’s music landscape you don’t need that anymore. the tools to put out your own record are available for everyone, recording is easy if you want to learn it and the whole business side of things is an open book if you know what you are searching for. I love doing label work, promotion, booking or marketing myself. it really is fun and important when you want to do things independently.
BUT we are on a label also. a few to be honest. being on a label isn’t that bad after all haha. Currently we are working with Vendetta and Wooaaargh here in Germany. they take care of distributing our stuff and help us with promotion and marketing. handshake deal awesomeness!
you can check out our label yehonala tapes here:
ANCST is going out on a European tour through 5 countries. Do you tour a lot? Can we expect more live gigs in 2015? What’s on your pipeline?
Tom: Its 8 country’s in total. 18 days together with our label mates Children Of God from California. It will be awesome and we are really looking forward to our first “big” euro tour. We try to tour a lot and make 2015 count but real life often gets in the way and music isn’t paying the bills so its back to your side job, to your children, your girlfriend and the daily grind. But we have a lot of stuff lined up for 2015. Its going to be our most busy year so far. Our new split LP with German post black metal outfit AST will be released in march on Vendetta and our yet untitled LP is nearly finished and will be off to the pressing plant in a month or so. We have a few ideas for more releases and will definitely put out a few more vinyl releases as well as a few tape releases this year.
if you want to check us out live we would be happy to see you here:
20.03. – Ger, Leipzig, Atari
21.03. – Cz, Prague, Café na půl cesty w/ gattaca
22.03. – Cz, Olomouc, SF Mini Ramp w/ gattaca
23.03. – At, Wien, EKH w/ Schattenlicht, Allochiria
24.03. – Sl, Lubjana, Club Gromka
25.03. – Ger, München, cafe Marat
26.03. – Ch, Zürich, Klubi
27.03. – Ger, Freiburg, White Rabbit @ slack line city fest II w/ pessimistic lines
28.03. – Ger, Darmstadt, Oetinger Villa
29.03. – Ger, Köln, Privat
30.03. – Bel, Gent, tba w/ daggers, heartfelt
31.03. – Uk, Brighton, Sticky Mikes Frog bar
01.04. – Uk, Manchester, tba
02.04. – Uk, Leeds, tba
03.04. – Uk, London, tba
04.04. – Nl, Utrecht, dB’s
05.04. – Ger, Mühlheim, AZ @ Fiducia Fest w/ trainwreck, jungbluth & more
06.04. – Ger, Berlin,Tiefgrund @ Vendetta Fest w/ thou, svffer, throwers, jungbluth
you can stay updated at our facebook tour event: https://www.facebook.com/events/385660351594881
Well, thanks for the interview. Now you have your space. Danke!
Tom: I thank you for your time dude. It has been a pleasure answering your questions and I wish you good luck with the Mondo Satania Blog. thank you!
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