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Dark is oppressive. It cannot be splat into harmonies, hence write-scored in notes. Dark cannot be understood. Dark burns paper. Dark is never to be ciphered or described using differential equations. It lets us step no further. It gives no clearance. There are few among the living, who have plumbed it through much deeper. They perform the bizarre, speak the odious and commit the most terrible things around. There are few among those ones who is one with dark - the painters, the poets, the stone-craftmen. Musicians. Dark does not speak. Yet, sometimes it has something to say. When she comes to say, stars faden, the tots cry recklessly in the cradles, and the music stores provide us with a new ESOTERIC album. Ever...

Then God said, "Let There Be the Light"; and 
there  was light.  God saw the Light that it 
was good; and God divided the light from the 
Genesis 1:3

Despite their cult status, ESOTERIC are far from being frequent guests in underground magazines. Why so?

I think we're perceived as having this 'cult' status for exactly that reason. We've been doing plenty of interviews so we're appearing somewhere - I have no idea where though. The band has been around for 12 years now with very little exposure and I don't expect that magazines will be particularly interested. We've never actively pursued media exposure so it's not surprising that we don't get any.

ESOTERIC are often subjected to line-up rotations. Do these changes affect much the flow of creative process? Do you stay in touch with the former band members?

There was one line up change in 1994 when I joined the band and since then two other members have moved on to other things but since 1994 the core line up of Greg, Gor and myself has remained the same. It hasn't really affected the creative process that much, possibly slowed it a little, we'll never know - it's always felt very natural to move at the pace that we have. We're still in touch with the members of the post-1994 line up, although their change in lifestyle and locations has limited the contact we have, but the members prior to that never stayed in touch.

Last spring you made an European tour with renewed line-up. What impressions did you get during the voyage? What place did you like the most?

Steve PetersGigs generally don't pay for themselves so we keep the tours short and busy so that we can minimise our losses - we don't really get to see any of the places we visit and roads look like roads no matter where you are. The most memorable gig of the tour for me was Antwerp. We had made a 2000km round trip from Prague to Budapest to Antwerp with little or no sleep for a couple of days and when we arrived at the venue there was no sound engineer and a broken PA which we then re-built ourselves. We gave the loudest, most hate-filled performance that evening which made the pain worthwhile. The other gigs were all good too and the response was positive, which was unexpected.

What is the show ESOTERIC do on stage? Maybe you use any unusual instrumentary or stuff? How does the public react? For me, I cannot imagine intense headbanging happening there...

We don't really do a show, we're not natural performers, like some bands, and we're certainly not entertainers. Our live show is simply 3 guitars, a bass, drums, vocals and keyboards and very little motion and very little interaction with the audience. For us, the sound is the important thing and not the people that make it. The effects that can be heard on the recordings are the same effects we use live so the live show is as close to the recordings as possible. It would be great to have something more visual prepared for live shows but we simply don't have the means to do something like that. We're beginning to develop something more visual for future live gigs but it's very early days and it won't be unleashed for quite a while yet. It's difficult to evaluate gigs in terms of public reaction - audiences vary, so it's difficult to judge whether we are well received or not. Our audience is generally very subdued compared to a usual metal gig so it's hard to tell if they are getting what they want from our performance. It's unnatural for someone to 'enjoy' an Esoteric gig because our music generally focuses directly on the negative emotions so it's quite common for there to be little or no response, but it's certainly not a negative response. People have been very complimentary of our gigs so we must be doing something right.

Your latest album is called "Subconscious Dissolution into the Continuum". Although it's deafeningly massive, it also implies a lot of melancholy. Was it an artificial element there or something that came to be unexpectedly?

I don't think there's anything artificial about it, the same emotions have been present in all the recordings and in everything that we do as a band. Melancholy goes hand in hand with anger and violence - it's natural, and that's what the music is all about. Everything that is on that album is there because it's always been there - nothing was unexpected - the emotion is part of the songs as we play them, and that is what has been captured in the recording. I find it difficult to analyze what we do by any pre-determined measures, it's something that is very natural yet very deliberate.

Five years have passed between the last album and its predecessor. What caused such a delay?

We were taking it easy for a while after Metamorphogenesis was recorded. We had a trying couple of years before that where we lost all of our equipment in a fire while on tour and it took a little while to back into the flow of creating music with new, unfamiliar equipment. Also, Greg was still getting used to playing guitar and doing vocals at the same time and we still had no drummer - the last permanent drummer we had before Andy joined in 2003 was the drummer from the first album who left the band 1994. The bassist decided to leave the band when we started recording the album in 2002 which meant that we had to find and rehearse a session bass player as well as a drummer to record the album. The album was finished and ready in 2003 and it had existed for almost a year before it was released by Season of Mist so the gaps don't seem quite so big for us. We stayed as active as possible throughout the less productive years but the focus was always on writing something new and interesting.

Just before releasing the new CD, you have signed with Season Of Mist. Are you pleased with the way they do their work?

The album was produced independently of Season of Mist so we've had very little experience of how they work. Historically we have handled most of the promotion and sales of our albums ourselves so we licensed this album to a more established label so that we could let them get on with it and allow ourselves more time getting a solid line-up together and moving on to some new material. They've organized a few interviews and had the CD reviewed in places that probably wouldn't have been interested before but, other than that, they have had little or no effect on us.

Already with your previous effort, "Metamorphogenesis", you have made a step off the D-CD formula. Could we expect you'll be back to that in future?

I see "Metamorphogenesis" and "Subconscious..." as EP's to tide us over while we were getting the band back to a full line up. It's just a long sting of unfortunate events that it made it take so long. There is a period of overlap between some of the music on the two CDs - we were working on the music from "Subconscious..." before "Metamorphogenesis" was released and they feel like they are from the same period. There were even discussions about releasing "Subconscious..." as a double CD with Meta as the second disc. I fully expect the next release to be at least a double CD. The reason being that we now have 6 musicians in the band rather than the previous 3, and we're all writing and rehearsing new material.

Apart of ubiquitous "rhythm-lead" scheme, you use three guitars while writing and performing your music. Is it a way more difficult to arrange the parties between three guitars?

Not really. There have always been three guitars and the music is always written with three guitars in mind. There is quite often three distinct guitar parts in the music, maybe a lead, distorted rhythm and clean rhythm or the rhythm guitars are split into two octaves to create a wider, more varied sound. It can sometimes be strictive, especially when improvising new material but it's part of what Esoteric is and I couldn't imagine it being any other way. We often have at least one guitar playing some sort of lead or melody, which is not so fashionable these days but that's no concern of ours.

How does the writing process flow? Does everyone contribute their passages to music or are there few major composers while others do the arrangement only?

Each of the tracks and all it's parts are written by one individual and learned by the rest of the band. Each of us have contributed to each album but it's mostly been the work of a single individual on each of the tracks, so there isn't any one main composer. Each of us has a different style of playing so there will always be elements of our individual technique in what we play but generally each part belongs to the author of the track. Obviously the three new members of the band had nothing to do with the writing process until now and they were involved in the arrangement only, but we are all equally involved in the new music and we plan on writing more as a group for the next recording, although the songs we're working on at the moment were written individually.

Chris Peters is the one who made artworks for two last ESOTERIC albums. Do you plan to continue this collaboration? Steve, I also know that you made the booklet artwork on "The Pernicious Enigma". Are you skilled in design? Is there a chance to see your artwork contribution on future releases? Oh, I've just minded that maybe you're a brother to Chris (at least, your second names are similar)?

Yes, Chris is my brother and I worked closely with him on the artwork for the last 2 releases. If I had more time to spend on artwork I would have done them myself but Chris has been involved with the band as long as I have (he introduced me to the band in the first place) and he is able to produce fitting artwork for the music. Simon used to be responsible for the artwork for the band and he produced the cover for The Pernicious Enigma as well as the op-art for the first demo and album but it is a lengthy process to produce such intricate designs by hand. I don't really remember how my artwork came to be used on The Pernicious Enigma, most of the designs were the result of delving into various fractal algorithms and some were the result of ideas had by other members of the band which I realized as best I could. I am artistically trained to some extent, but I wouldn't say I'm particularly skilled - I would like to be able to spend more developing the artistic side of Esoteric and maybe in the future I will - only time will tell.

How could you describe the audience, listening to your music?

As I've mentioned before, our audience is a bit of an enigma. They are clearly insane as the music is something which is very personal to us and not really intended to be listened to by anyone other that us but as long as there is an audience, and record labels that are able to get our music to them, then we will continue to make it available to them.

You are based in Birmingham, the town which gave us ANATHEMA, MY DYING BRIDE and, first of all, BLACK SABBATH. Is there something in the air or landscape compelling to write such a deep dark music? Describe your hometown...

GregAnathema and My Dying Bride are not from Birmingham (Liverpool and Bradford I think) but Birmingham does have a strong history of metal bands. Napalm Death, Black Sabbath, Cathedral, Bolt Thrower, Anaal Nathrakh, Benediction and various other bands all hail from Birmingham and it's surrounding areas. There's not much to say about the place other than it's England's second biggest shit-hole after London. It stinks and the streets are dangerous. It's an angry city, maybe something to do with it's culturally segregated nature and the racial tension that comes along with that. I don't like the place and I have moved to a smaller town just outside of Birmingham but I can still smell the stench. I go to Birmingham occasionally, when there's an unfortunate band playing there, but generally I avoid the place.

Music, in general, is tightly bound with some sort of visuality. Are there any certain images you try to recreate with your music?

Not specifically - the music has always been very visual, to me at least, but I think each of us sees something different in the music - which is what makes it so interesting for each of us. I'm certain that senses can overlap and, in many cases, sound can be seen and felt rather than actually heard so who knows what any particular individual may conjure up in their mind while listening to us.

Concerning inspiration. In early days ESOTERIC described their music using "drug-influenced" epithet. Nowadays, have something changed since that? What do you think on works of Carlos Castaneda? Could you compare your out-of-this-world experience with the way described in his books?

I haven't heard of him so I can't comment on his work. I have no interest in anyone's drug-influenced experiences except my own - it's a personal thing. Drugs don't play any less of a part now than they did in the past, maybe some are more difficult to get hold of than others, but I think we're just more used to them these days.

Does Greg's lyrics contain any message to fans or is it just an expression of his thoughts and feelings? Reading it, I have started to think that he must have been educated in philosophy or something? How do you think, does education help us in cognizing all around or, in contrary, it holds us back from seeing a thing?

I don't think there are any hidden messages in the lyrics - the content is very personal to Greg but the emotion is clear and that is what the music feeds on. I'm not sure if he has any formal education in philosophy, I think that's just part of his personal journey. There is no doubt that education is the key to development and each of us is responsible for what we learn. Formal education, at least in this country, can only ever teach you how to learn - it's up to the individual to acquire actual useful knowledge. I don't think that education alone will help us see what really is, since two highly educated people could easily see the same world from two completely different angles and come to two completely different sets of conclusions. Education may help us make sense of what we see but it will never help us see things as they really are.

Your music is obviously far from commercial success. Have you any regular job you earn money from?

Yes, we all work. None of us have ever earned a penny from the band. Any money that the band does earn goes straight back into the band to pay for gigs, merchandise and recordings. All our equipment and even rehearsal time is paid for out of our own money. I've never been paid for being part of Esoteric and I don't expect to - the same goes for everyone else in the band. That doesn't mean that we wouldn't accept payment, because we all could use the extra cash, but so far we've earned nothing.

Have you ever thought about changing the musical direction? Do members of ESOTERIC have any side-projects?

I don't think that we have a specific direction with the music - Esoteric is our outlet for the negative aspects of our psyche and that will always be true. If we feel the collective need to express anything other than the hate, anger and torment then I suspect that it would be done under a different name as Esoteric is known for being a very negative band. There are no real side-projects to speak of - Gordon (guitar) and Olivier (keyboard) have an electronic side-project but they haven't released anything as far as I know. It's not really to my taste so I haven't really paid that much attention to what they're doing. I have lots of music written that would not fit in with the Esoteric style so maybe that will get recorded sometime but so far our musical outlet has been Esoteric.

What associations arouse in you after hearing words "Satan" and "God"?

Satan = The freedom of life and the enjoyment of all it has to offer. God = The restrictions of society and the lack of imagination required to live peaceful and eventless lives.

If you had a chance to invite any renowned artist to make guest appearance on ESOTERIC' album, who would it be?

I can't think of anyone I respect enough to let them near our recordings. We've had people help us who are renowned in their own circles but never through choice, more a result of circumstance.

Maybe, there is something you ever wanted to say but no-one asked you about?

No, but I often want to say nothing about things that I have been asked about.

Written by St.Plague & Can't Do

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