Gerhard, I guess we can start this interview skipping cliché questions about
Allerseelen history that you answered so many times. What do you think if we
start speaking about your latest album "Flamme"? Do you agree if I say
the most melodic album so far? I can even hear you singing on a couple of
songs... not the usual magical speech... I can recall you singing on
"Gotos=Kalanda" CD back in 1992-94. I really love this approach to
and hope to hear more in the future.
It is difficult to say if Flamme is the most melodic of my releases as I
usually am not listening to songs which are already published on a cd or
vinyl. It is like a diary - usually I do not read the pages of the past.
Usually I am listening to the songs for dozens or even hundreds of time when
I just have given birth to them. Up to this moment they are my personal
secret, I only play them to close friends and the comrades joining me on
stage. Flamme and Abenteuerliches Herz are definitely the albums with most
influences from Andalucia. I am singing only on one of the songs on Flamme -
but a friend of mine, Josef, was singing on Flamme on two other songs, Sonne
golthi-ade and Sturmlied. I have not listened to Gotos=Kalanda for a long
time. Basically most songs by Allerseelen are very melodic in their mystical
marriage of folklore and industrial elements. Even the really ancient
material based on bass and violins and kettledrums had some kind dark tango
mood. But it was completely without vocals.
Something that is very magical to me is the fact that each album of Allerseelen has a totally different atmosphere but in all of them you can
recognize the typical Allerseelen style... This is clear if we confront the melodic "Flamme" with the harsher "Gotos=Kalanda". Where is
Even Gotos=Kalanda - the cd is sold out and won´t be re-released, but we are
currently working on the re-release of the double lp on Ahnstern in early
summer - is, apart from some violent industrial elements, quite melodic. It
is strange that already this so "German" release with the Wewelsburg
cover and the Karl Maria Wiligut love poems had some Andalucian elements in
two songs, in Lenzing and Heumond - and a loop from the drums of Calanda in
Aragon too.. So already in the beginning of Allerseelen, the tango moods of
Astor Piazzola and several Flamenco musicians have been influential for my
work. I cannot explain this magic - but thank you for your words. Even if I
could give an explanation, this might not be good. What is typical for
Allerseelen is maybe the fact that everything is based on loops, an eternal
recurrence of sounds and symbols like a technosophic mantra which sometimes
is able to hypnotize. Maybe the magic of Allerseelen is some kind of
hypnotic psycho-acoustic quality. I love loops, they are my passion, and I
spend patiently a lot of time on the creation and metamorphosis of loops -
similar to the work of an alchemist close to his athanor. In a less magical
context, my work is like Lego, the favourite toy of my childhood, I am
playing with it passionately and patiently, a sacred marriage of passion and
patience. I have a very surrealistic access to the modern world in art with
all the procedures like sampling and scanning - it is for me like the gaya
scienza, a kind of sacred science. Maybe this surrealistic point of view is
a part of this magic. Music has something very seductive. It might be
dangerous and intoxicating. Some are addicted to music. So am I. Sometimes I
am able to listen for hours to just one loop, just one song. Maybe one day
there will be the same warning statements on cds like on the cigarettes.
Looking back in Allerseelen's history, it seems clear to me that each album
dwells with a particular concept. I don't know if we can call them
"concept-albums" but they all were for sure inspired by a defined
What do you think about this and could you speak about the themes that
influenced your albums?
Already the cassettes were some kind of concept albums - their concept was
always based on the symbolism of alchemy and Northern mythology. I was
always in love with Odin´s ravens Hugin and Munin. I often used the symbol
of the raven which I found in a close connection to the black sun of
alchemy. I refound this symbol in Mithraism. Maybe the first cd Cruor - with
a Roman Mithras temple on the cover - was the only cd without a really clear
conception as it was an anthology of many works which had previously only
been available on cassettes. The basic idea with Allerseelen was always to
create concept albums. My desire is that each release represents a
microcosm, a condensed life, a magical mystery tour - it is not just a
recording, it is also a particular period of my life, consisting of
experiences, of sounds, of lyrics, of images. The records are like published
diaries. Sometimes it is a document of dolce vita like the cd Venezia,
sometimes it is rougher, like the cd Neuschwabenland or the 7" Nornar Nagli.
Each release is a testimony of a viaggio, of a travel from one landscape to
another one, from one castle to the next one, from one mountain to the next,
from one live performance to the next one. That what music is about - it is
a journey into a hidden world, into an invisible landscape, a travel in time
Your latest releases have been inspired with no doubt by hot-blooded lands
of the Iberic peninsula. The sound is very charming, warm and gentle. This
may sound strange since Allerseelen brings the cold Austrian mountains to mind. What did you find there that influenced you so much
Actually I spent a lot of time in Catalonia, Pais Valenciano and Andalucia
as Ostara, the former singer of Allerseelen, lived there for some time. So I
spent a lot of time on the country-side in these parts of Spain, visiting
dolmens and many other archaeological sites. Allerseelen also performed some
years ago in Segobriga in the ancient Teatro Romano with other groups like
Sangre Cavallum and Sol Invictus. Allerseelen was then joined on stage by
three drummers of Hekate. I was travelling a lot between Austria and Spain.
Also I visited various times Rosa and Demian of O Paradis. I was fascinated
by the landscapes, the small hermitages in the wilderness, the eagles and
vultures, the shepherds.. Of course I also loved the Pyrenees. In Navarra I
made a lot of photographs of the beautiful svastika-like symbol which is in
the culture of the Basques an omnipresent symbol of life and good luck - but
the idea to use these for Allerseelen releases could make Allerseelen even
more infamous in countries like Austria and Germany.. I have also been
inspired by the North of Portugal. We performed there in November 2003, and
I spent some weeks in the beautiful North of this country, in Alto Douro and
Serra do Geres. I was travelling around alone and with members of Wolfskin
and Sangre Cavallum. Some weeks ago I also recorded a wine song with the
beautiful voice of Rangel, the bag-piper of the Portuguese group Sangre
Cavallum. We will publish together a wine-red split 7" on Ahnstern which
will be accompanied in a limited edition by two wine bottles, one for Sangre
Cavallum, one for Allerseelen. A very challenging conception, we intend to
publish this in autumn.
Obviously, your trips are not ordinary ones. It is clear that you walk a
different path from the one of the average tourist. What are you looking for then? Did you find it? I'm sure your search will never come to end since you
are truly a "free spirit".
My music and my journeys are always quests, magical mystery tours. I was
travelling a lot in my youth with the sleeping-bag, hitch-hiking to Germany,
Italia, France, Spain. These spartanic journeys influenced my life a lot.
Also last summer when Allerseelen and Lux Interna played on the castle Burg Vondern in Germany, all the Allerseelen members were sleeping in sleeping
bags close to the Externsteine which I used for the cover of the Stirb und
Werde cd. I always love to combine concerts with visits of ancient sites,
museums.. So Allerseelen do not plan to do real tours. I am looking for new
experiences, I love art and I love nature, and often I am most excited
discovering places where nature and culture meet. I hope that this quest
will never end. I prefer to search and release music for the rest of my
life. Maybe my quest might end on the island of the dead like on the famous
painting by Arnold Boecklin - actually the Roman Cimitero Protestante with the tombs of Keats and Shelley. But my desire is to return also from this
island with new impressions or to even return from with a new record.
During your carrier as Allerseelen, you used many different samples such as
classic Operas, Iggy Pop, Kirlian Camera, Spanish tunes etc... How do choose
your samples? I'm always enchanted by the way you mix different "music
pieces". How do you create a song? Using different samples, means that you
listen to a lot of different music. What are your favourite bands? What do
you listen to usually?
The sounds seem to choose me - they decide if I have to like or dislike
them. Love and passion are never real decisions. I listen to something and
then I fall into love with a special sound, a special melody or rhythm.
Basically it is not me who decides to fall into love with this or that sound. It is something else, some demonic or divine force. I spend a lot of
time working around with my Lego sounds. Sometimes beautiful or powerful
rhythms or melodies arise from this game. Usually the greatest songs come
into existence very easily. In alchemy one starts with the materia prima,
the first matter - in the music it is the same. With a good, dynamic,
energetic basic rhythm, it is usually easy to continue working on a song - a
"male" rhythm can tell me that it wants to be accompanied by a "female"
violinist or the sound of flames. Or a "female" rhythm could tell me
wants to spent its time with a "male" cellist or the sound of
Sounds have a character, they come or do not come along with others.
Sometimes I am listening for hours to one loop or a half-finished song, and
of course in these hypnotic hours words or special images are appearing in
my mind. I am writing then a text or searching in my archive for already
existing words which I wrote or I also search in my books. At the moment I
am listening to PJ Harvey, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. Some
of my favourite groups at the moment are Malicorne and Tri Yann from France,
Tenhi from Finland, A Filetta from Corsica. I was given a lot of old
folklore and progressive rock recordings from members of Sangre Cavallum and
Sturmpercht who are both experts on this kind of music, so these sound have
been inspiring for me during the last two years and also had some effect on
several songs I recorded.
The artwork of your CDs and DoLPs are in general really well done. Can you tell about them and how do you create them? Who is
I am coming from the world of poetry, so I want my cds to have booklets or
to be like small books. I want to touch something, I want to look at words
or images. Usually all the Allerseelen cds have 16 page booklets. I want all
the lyrics included, normally we include them in German and English. I am
often disappointed by cds and vinyl by other groups. Salt is the spiritus
rector of Ant-Zen. We know each other for many years - Salt set up the first
concert of Allerseelen in Germany. Usually I have a precise idea how a cd or
lp should look like. I know which images to use, which colour to choose.
Each cd basically has one colour, one basic conception. Then I give
everything I want to be included to him, and we work together on the design.
We are also doing most Allerseelen 7" releases together. With the double
it is basically the same - but as they are published on Ahnstern, I am doing
the design together with M. Presch of Steinklang. In the past I sent
everything by mail but now we decided to work together on the country-side
on the design close to the mountains of Berchtesgaden. So I am grateful to
be in the lucky position to collaborate on the visual aspect of my releases
with two great artists. Our collaboration is a great synthesis, and I intend
to continue my collaboration with them for the next decades.
The cover of your 3rd CD "Sturmlieder" represent Odin sacrificed to
Can you tell something about this beautiful image? If I'm not wrong, that
beautiful sculpture has been destroyed. It was adorned with many Runes. Are
you interested in Runes? Unlike many others, Allerseelen artworks have never
been over-filled with runes...
I used only one rune in the Stirb und Werde cd. Yes, I love runes. I was
amazed to see a lot of rune stones some weeks ago in the Nationalmuseet in
Kopenhagen. Most images in the emerald-green cd Sturmlieder which is now
sold out show Haus Atlantis in Bremen, Lower Saxony. This house was built in
the early Thirties by the Expressionist artist Bernhard Hoetger in the very
centre of the city, the Boettcherstrasse. I came across it when I did some
researches for a travel to this part of Germany. These researches changed my
life. On the facade of this house there was in the Thirties and early
Fourties a large wooden sculpture showing Odin surrounded by runes. This was
the strangest Odin statue I ever saw (unfortunately only on images) with its
sad expression. It is so far away from any heroic or sacred imagination of
Odin as king or warrior or hierophant or visionary. It was much closer to a
mandrake root, an animal, a plant. It also reminded me a lot of the strange
and enigmatic Max Schreck in the old Nosferatu movie. In the Third Reich,
many Christian as well as pagan National Socialists hated this statue
because it was Odin or because it was an Odin some did not want to see.
There were also articles in SS magazines against this "ugly"
statue, calling it "Entartete Kunst". So Allerseelen used some
Kunst on Sturmlieder. Finally it was burnt to ashes - but it were not
National Socialists setting it on fire. It was burnt to ashes by British
bombers through air-raids in WWII which destroyed a huge part of Bremen.
Haus Atlantis has now another close and infamous connection to Allerseelen -
on January 29th, 2005, the adventurous hearts of Allerseelen wanted to
perform in the Haus Atlantis which is still existing but having another,
quite boring facade now. It is now a hotel owned by Hilton. I was travelling
there with my bassist and drummers but two days before the event there was a
large press article against the evil group Allerseelen trying to perform in
the centre of Bremen. So the Hilton Hotel cancelled the contract as this
live performance could cause disadvantages for the reputation of the house.
Of course they should have been grateful to have such a group performing
there. We were searching for another venue to perform in Bremen but
unfortunately it was carneval time and all the places were booked out. It
was very strange to see in the centre of Bremen thousands of drummers - but
we were the only ones who were not allowed to perform. This battle we lost.
Allerseelen could not perform but yet it was a great and intense weekend
that we spent with members of Lux Interna and Neue Aesthetik. Basically the
same thing happened in the first days of May to Blutharsch in Gabriele
d´Annunzio´s Vittoriale. Recently we published on Ahnstern the sold out
Sturmlieder cd as double lp with a slightly different cover, it still shows
the Odin sculpture but it now seems to grow out of a dark volcano lake which
I visited with members of Ajna and Waldteufel two years ago. This double lp
edition contains six brand-new songs, a requiem song for John Balance (Wir
tragen ein Licht) which we performed some weeks ago in Thueringen with a
human skull on stage and another song, Vino e cuore, featuring Italian
vocals by Gaya Donadio. With her voice I already recorded another song which
will be used next year for the Venezia double lp.
We are seeing that you increased your live activity and you performed various times in Italy in cities like Venezia and Roma. I guess that it is
not easy to reproduce live the typical sound... Do you like to perform on
During the last years we have been quite active on stage, travelling around
a lot like technosophic troubadours. With all the rhythmic and energetic
songs and some great master musicians assisting me on stage - the two
drummers of Cawatana, the bassist either from Graumahd or from Halgadom - it
has become quite easy and energetic. Also it is not our desire to reproduce
on stage the studio recordings. Actually I have been in a studio only once
in my life which was a sterile and fruitless experience. I am recording
everything in my nest. The live performances are very different from the
nest recordings. Some of the Allerseelen songs work really good on stage,
especially those with a strong rhythm. We performed twice in Venezia and in
early February we performed for the first time in Roma. I was glad to spend
some time in these beautiful cities. The image on the first Allerseelen cd
Cruor was taken from the Mithras temple beneath the San Clemente church
close to the Colosseo - I had been there several years ago and was glad to
visit this temple again this time. We will use this Mithraeum again for the
cover of the double lp Cruor. Unfortunately the Mithras temple would be too
small to perform there an Allerseelen concert. I like this idea but I do not
think that it would be possible to play there for archaeological reasons.
Maybe it would be better to be on stage in Ostia Antica.
Your contribution to the scene with Aorta/Ahnstern have always been fresh
blood for those in the scene who like also to read about special matters.
Will you continue publishing your writings or it is just a dead chapter?
Often, old article have been re-printed in fanzine or books.
seems to be the most ambitious project from this point of view.
I stopped writing the tracts for my two magazines. Yes, several people told
me that these personal texts have been quite influential for listeners of
industrial, neofolk and black metal - as I published in one of the issues
named Oskorei also an interview with Varg Vikernes of Burzum. At the moment
Ajna in Oregon and I are working on the book Blutleuchte which contains all
the tracts I wrote in German and English. Several people, like Markus of
Waldteufel and Annabel of Blood Axis, are helping me with the perfect
English translations of my old texts - some of them deal with Italian topics
too, one issue was dedicated to the octogonal Castel del Monte in La Puglia,
another issue dealt with the Serparii of Cocullo in the Abruzzi. In the past
I visited both places, sleeping there in my sleeping bag. I hope to go there
again, with or without sleeping bag. Maybe we should perform in the Castel
del Monte with Allerseelen. The book will also be accompanied by a cd with
unreleased Allerseelen recordings which I will record in the next months. It
will also contain a lot of photographs which I took during my magical
Your artistic marriage with Austrian label Steinklang resulted in the
founding of the (sub)label Ahnstern. The most important and special project
is the subscription box Ahnstern containing ten different DoLPs to be
publishing every six months. Can you tell us a bit about this wonderful
M. Presch of Steinklang loves vinyl very much - or maybe it is the vinyl
that loves him and seduced him to work on the edition of ten Allerseelen
double lps in a beautiful wooden box on the Steinklang sub-label Ahnstern.
So far we released four double lps. Two of the double lps, Archaische
Arbeiten and Heimliche Welt, contain very old, almost prehistoric recordings. Flamme and Sturmlieder have already been released as double lp
too. The next double lp will be Gotos=Kalanda - the cd is sold out, but the
double lp should be available within a few months. I am currently recording
several new songs for this release, some of the recordings are already
Thank you, Gerhard for your time. Close as you will.
"Clamberers of the rock of the holy mountains, dreamers of the rose and the
dew, of milken hill and vine of immortality, these are they that tell of the
Austin Osman Spare, Focus of Life