Before the release of Triptykon’s new album “Melana Chasmata” to be released on April 14th, RUL got the chance to meet and have a little chat with Mr Tom Warrior.
Hi Tom, how are you?
Tom Warrior (vocals & guitar): (laughs) Very complex question, it takes hours to answer.
How do you feel before the release of this new record? Confident?
T: Strange. It was a very difficult album to create and I don’t know what to think yet. I’m far too close to the album. I haven’t listened to it yet, so I really don’t know what to think at this point.
Do you have this kind of process before each album release?
T: Not so extreme no. This was unique, it was a difficult album to make and it left its marks and now I’m trying to understand all of this. Maybe one day I’ll listen to it.
But you’ll have to play it live so…
T: Which will be strange because I’ll have to listen to the songs to learn them.
So “Melana Chasmata” is the second record. Its title is also in Greek, why are you so attracted by Greek language?
T: It was a complete coincidence. I’ve got this title for quite some time and I felt it reflected perfectly what the mood of the album was. I can also title an album in French or German or in English, it doesn’t really matter but the title has to fit the album. This was a complete coincidence that there are two Greek titles in a row. The first one was far more symbolic because it’s an important album to me and it was something I wanted to do for Triptykon and also for me personally. This one is really a coincidence.
It means “black, deep depression/valleys”. What feelings make you explore those themes?
T: It’s nothing contrived, it’s simply my life, the experiences of my life, at least the experiences of the past three years. The circumstances of my life were not very easy and the result is of course that you create dark music and that the lyrics aren’t really “happy”. But that’s just a personal thing, it’s my emotions.
Which feelings do you expect from the fans regarding the record?
T: That’s not for me to say. I think if you consume art, if you look at pictures, at sculptures, listen to music then you have to form your own impressions and your mind. I think that’s what exactly what art should do and you don’t want the artist to tell you what to feel. I have my personal ideas from every song but when you listen to the album, you’ll have your own feelings and emotions.
How would you describe this album comparing to the first one?
T: I think it’s a very natural development. The first album was much characterized by hatred and anger because of the disillusion of Celtic Frost, and it was a very unhappy moment. The new album is much more characterized by more personal, more private feelings because the anger has been dealt with, and this is much more Triptykon, it reflects more our frame of mind.
“Black Snow” lasts 12 minutes. What’s the origin and the message of this track?
T: I wrote most of this song in 2008, in Norway in a place that is completely in the country side, hours away from the next city. It’s a cliché I know but it was written in Norway, at night, with snow all around, in the forest… honestly. And of course, at the time, when I just freshly left Celtic Frost, there were like millions of emotions raging inside of me and the song is not about hatred but about feeling alone, feeling desert, that’s very much the feeling.
That’s why it took some time to do this album
T: Very much yeah, it has different feelings that on the first album even though that was written at that time.
Why did you keep it for so long?
T: Well the first one was already 70 minutes long, I think it’s already too long. To me, it’s important that an album has a flow that works, has a logical flow. We recorded more material at that time but it would have been too much. And now is the time to use some of this material because there are good songs. But you know, if you got a song, it doesn’t really need, sometimes, to be on an album. An album has to make sense on its own.
So you have plenty of songs waiting at home?
T: Of course! And I’m also working on the third record right now.
Is there a song that would describe the best the album or do we have to take it entirely?
T: Well the two mains songs of the album are the first one “Tree Of Suffocating Souls” and “Aurorae”. Those are the whole marks of the album, they are the most intense and personal songs and because of that I also chose to be the videos of the album. I think these are really the essence.
What was the main difficulty here?
T: It was something not connected to the band, it was development in our private lives. Three of the members of Triptykon had to deal with significant issues, this is the reason why it took so long. Some of those are drastic and for me personally it necessitated to take a year off from the band, completely away from music. But none of these things are connected to the band.
About the cover, once again you worked with HR Giger. Would you say that he’s the best to understand and draw regarding your music? Did you think of someone else to do it?
T: We thought of someone else and there were many possibilities, many artists that we’ll fit to our music. It was HR Giger’s idea to work again together which was a surprise and an honor at the same time. Of course his art is perfectly suitable for our music but I’m hesitant to repeat myself. In my opinion, he’s the best surrealistic painter of our times. For the time being, we’re doing this but eventually I’ll like to see something else being explored.
Will you stick with your cover “concept”, with the logo not being in the middle etc.?
T: I want to respect the art that we’re using. I think it’s totally disrespectful to put your logo right in the middle of an artwork and I don’t think our logo is more important than an artist’s work so I’m happy to leaving the name outside of the frame, no matter who we worked with. I think it’s pretentious if you think your logo is more important.
What can expect the fans?
T: I don’t know. (laughs) I’ve created the album but… It’s a very difficult album for me as I said and I cannot possibly tell the fans what to expect, it’s Triptykon (laughs) and Triptykon itself is a continuation of Celtic Frost. It’s a difficult album, I think it’s probably difficult to listen to as to create it, but I think that’s a good thing.
Do you understand the fans that are always comparing with the past, with Celtic Frost?
T: Why not. Let them do it, why not. It’s fine. I could compare the new Black Sabbath album “13” to the first Black Sabbath album as well.
And what did you think of it?
T: I think it’s disappointing. It’s Black Sabbath by the numbers but it’s not Black Sabbath being exciting, I’m disappointed. I’m a huge Black Sabbath fan. It’s not a disastrous album but it’s also not a true Black Sabbath album. I’m a fan too and of course I compare music, it’s totally legitimate for fans and to do that too.
T: I began work on the next album. (laughs) But in between that, there’ll be a mini album or an EP at the end of the year or early next year, with some songs that were recorded but never released and also different versions of some songs. And of course we’ll be on tour, playing our music. But my main focus in on the next album.
What did you listen lately? Apart from Black Sabbath
T: I listened to the Australian extreme-metal band Portal and on my way to Paris, I listened to a jazz album by Quincy Jones from 1970 which is actually the music I was listening from months now probably to gain some distance from our album. Like many times in my life, I’m going throw a jazz phase. There are so many release in metal that it’s difficult to catch up everything. Apart from that, I’ve got a huge collection from since 1970 so it’s a mixture of everything really. There’s so much music, it’s impossible to listen to everything that interests you.
Is there anything you still want to achieve in your career?
T: No. I know, it’s disappointing. (laughs) I’ve been granted too many times, things that I thought impossible. I started as a small little musician with no money, no connections, no talent, nothing, in a tiny little village of 1500 people. I’ve never thought that I’ll have a chance as a musician. Now I’ve been doing it for 32 years, that’s amazing, it would be very greedy to ask for more and more. I’m very happy with what I achieved, I did more than I ever dreamt of. Right now, I’m just creating music that I like, I don’t have any specific goals, just want to play music.
We met Gotthard a few weeks ago
T: The Swiss band Gotthard?
T: I’m sorry to hear that. (laughs) I apologize on behalf of Switzerland. (laughs)
And we asked them: why is it hard for Swiss bands to make in this business?
T: Because everybody thinks you sound like Gotthard so they don’t take you seriously. (laughs) Well, the thing is that Switzerland is a very egotistical scene. If you form a new band, nobody will help you, everybody will be jealous of you and they’ll prevent you from having a career. It’s very different than, for example, certain places in England or whatever, where band bands stick together, borrow equipment etc. Switzerland is exactly the opposite. It’s typical for a rich country, everybody becomes selfish, egotistical and bands fight each other, that’s why it’s difficult to make to a level where you can go outside of the country. They are restricted by the mechanisms of the scene.
But being near to Germany can’t help?
T: Yes but Germany got a very strong scene on their own and traditionally, as far as I’ve experienced it, Germany don’t take Swiss bands seriously because they think they’re the best, as far as Europe knows. (laughs) But once again, I would like to apologize on the behalf of Switzerland for Gotthard. (laughs)
And the last question is: we are RockUrLife, so what rocks Tom Warrior’s life?
T: Music, that’s it. Music is the reason why I’m still here.
Web site: http://www.triptykon.net