Sathamel | The Lockdown Interview:
Answers: Kruk – vocals & KVN – guitar
So, how is ‘lockdown’ treating you? Are you still working? What’s your daily routine look like at the moment?
Kruk: As a civil servant, the lockdown has not really affected me that much professionally. I still must go to work everyday to take care of some of the vulnerable people in this country. The effect of the Covid-19 lockdown can be felt the most while shopping for me. It feels weird just reflecting on what one must do to do the weekly shop. As for social distancing, I can hardly tell a difference between my normal routine and this lockdown routine. I am not a social animal, so if I was able to stay in-doors with all the available streaming services, books and video games to catch up on, I would probably find this idea very exciting.
KVN: Yeah, echoing what Kruk said in terms of work, it’s pretty much the same except I’m working more to help sustain my workplace when required. I generally like to get out on weekends and explore the countryside but cannot do that at the moment so weekends have become work days also.
Are you able to keep up with individual practicing? What is your practice routine? Any tips for fellow isolated musicians?
KVN: I don’t really practice at the best of times unless there is a show coming up or I’m required to play in terms of live music. I am beginning to learn a few songs I’ve never really had the time to sit down with on the days I do get off these days, but generally in terms of free time – I now have less.
Has the band been forced to make any cancellations or changes to release schedules?
Kruk: No. The band was aiming to write new material this season, which is often a solitary task anyway.
KVN: Writing for Horror Vacui for example was a case of Kruk and I sitting down and piecing songs together in the same room at a computer with recording instrumentals and arranging as we went, though Kruk does not play an instrument it is definitely better to have someone there who can offer critique or have a different perspective in mind when putting ideas down, which speeds up the process – now it’s a case of creating demos to a certain point then dropboxing to bounce arrangements back and forth, or many phone calls.
With gigs becoming a distant memory at the moment, what’s the best you can ever remember playing – and witnessing?
Kruk: Not too long before the virus outbreak I witnessed Heilung’s live performance in York. Not having heard any of their material or seeing any footage of their shows, I was very impressed by what the act manages to invoke during their performance. I was very much looking forward to seeing Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on tour for the first time at Leeds arena soon. The tour was postponed on the same day I received the tickets through mail though.
As for Sathamel’s best show – I only remember 1 or 2 shows being terrible for us and the rest being very pleasant. I miss being able to perform our music, or even practice in general.
KVN: I just miss shows in general, I think overall experiences have to be the times I attended Brutal Assault festival in the Czech Republic, the whole atmosphere and well running of that place trumps anything in the UK at the moment in my opinion. I would like to experience some smaller fests abroad if possible, like House of the Holy, the location alone looks incredible.
In terms of shows we’ve played I think the first time we played the Unicorn in Camden was a good one and the audience were crazy involved. If I remember rightly Verdelet were on the bill, perhaps headlining. Supporting Fleshgod Apocalypse was a definite highlight too, playing to a packed out Key Club in Leeds.
What’s the latest news from the band? Anything that people should be checking out at the moment?
Kruk: We have managed to record a few guitar playthrough videos for a handful of songs from Horror Vacui before the country went into full lockdown. These will be released weekly, with the video for our title track having been published on our Facebook and YouTube profiles already.
Have you been able to use this time to work on new material?
KVN: we have some new material in the works but generally as stated earlier it’s a slow process with my professional life unfortunately taking over. With that said I am fairly inspired with the goings on so when the opportunity arises I record small parts I hope will develop into fully fleshed out ideas in future. Ideally this Coronavirus will fuck off and we’ll be able to travel to meet one another to complete some of these.
What have you been reading and watching to keep yourselves sane?
Kruk: I have been using most of my free time to play video games, rather than binge watching series or films. Doom Eternal is ridden with groovy/djent riffs, synth and blood, so it is the perfect title to get your heart rate up every now and then. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the polar opposite experience, where the game relies on routines and busy work. So, if you are missing having something to do and you’ve been through all the YouTube work out videos and trimmed all the communal grass patches on the street, give that a go.
KVN: Nothing really, a few books here and there; I re-read the Lord of the Rings trilogy in the first couple weeks of isolation and on my lunches at work just for a little escapism from the hysteria, but nothing new. I have a Nintendo Switch and am working my way through Dark Souls – Remastered at the moment.
What are you listening to at the moment? Your Top isolation albums?
1. Me And That Man – New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol.1
2. Mastodon – Crack The Skye
3. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
4. Fleshgod Apocalypse – Veleno
5. Estas Tonne – Strings And Stories Of A Troubadour, Live In Odeon, Vienna 2011
1. Alcest – Spiritual Instinct
2. Svartidaudi – Revelations Of The Red Sword
3. Sinmara – Hvisl Starjanna
4. Consummation – The Great Solar Hunter
5. Schammasch – Contradiction
And what are your Top 10 albums of all time? The greats that have shaped you and never get old…
Kruk: Not in order:
1. Behemoth – Demigod
2. Mastodon – Crack The Skye
3. Porcupine Tree – Fear Of A Blank Planet
4. Perturbator – The Uncanny Valley
5. Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away
6. Abigail Williams – Becoming
7. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
8. Estas Tonne – Strings And Stories Of A Troubadour, Live In Odeon, Vienna 2011
9. Slipknot – Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses
10. Shining – Blackjazz
KVN: No particular order:
1. Secrets Of The Moon – Seven Bells
2. Sylosis – Edge Of The Earth
3. Behemoth – Demigod/Evangelion
4. Gojira – The Way Of All Flesh
5. Emperor – IX Equilibirum
6. Dissection – The Somberlain
7. Watain – Sworn To The Dark
8. Vital Remains – Dechristianize
9. Hate – Solarflesh
10. Blaze Of Perdition – Near Death Revelations
What’s the first thing you’ll be doing when lockdown ends?
Kruk: Deal with the rest of Nostradamus’ predictions.
KVN: Pub, probably. Or some hiking.
What plans do you have for the band when you’re free to get working again?
Kruk: Finish the process of writing new material, plan every step of promotion for it in advance, prepare the outfit for live stage again and maybe shoot a music video.
KVN: I’d like to focus on completing some new stuff as said, but possibly work on getting the band back out in a live environment with the right people.
A message for your fans, followers and friends at this difficult time…
Kruk: Thank you to everyone that keeps supporting Sathamel during this time of crisis and for every order made. I am happy to know that our work is used by our fans to relax during the lockdown, as well as knowing that we have managed to reach a new audience. Keep an eye on our social media pages for more updates and content.
KVN: The support is greatly appreciated!