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Sanctifica

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A band that certainly was much talked about in recent months, is Sanctifica from Sweden. Started out as a death metal band that developed more and more into a atmospheric black metal band, they've decided to switch gears with their latest album. Negative B is a slow progressive metal album that showed a different band that dares to face the challenge to create something fresh. Yet some of the old fans can't appreciate this new development while others rejoice the Sanctifica's progressiveness. Time for a confrontation of the band with their fans.

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Discography: In The Bleak Midwinter (1998), Spirit Of Purity (2000), Negative B (2002). Available through: Sanctifica & Rivel Records. Official website: Sanctifica. Interview by: mpomusic, Darklight2002AD, Jaakoppi, Mortycia, Shamgar, Djesse50, Savage4Ũ4, ExHeAd Nl, xRTx, Crucifixion12. Date: September 13th-18th 2002.

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Sanctifica. FLTR: Aron, Henrik, Hubertus, Daniel & Jonathan

mpomusic: Can you first introduce to us the band? Who are in the band and what does the band stand for?

Henrik: Sanctifica is our medium for expressing our inner selves through music and words. Our goal is to be heard through the roar of commercial music and give a somewhat new image of what it means to be a Christian musician. Sanctifica is:
Hubertus Liljegren - guitars, lead/backing vocals; David Seiving - lead vocals; Aron Engberg - keyboards, backing vocals; Jonatan Jansson - bass guitars, backing vocals;
Henrik Georgsson - guitars, backing vocals; Daniel Thelin - drums.

Darklight2002AD: I heard that Negative B is a concept album, but I haven't read the words yet. Did you have that concept in mind before the music, and then try to make the music convey the moods you wanted, or did the music come first, and then the lyrics which matched the moods of the music?

Aron: You are right that it is a concept album ( though I will not tell you what itīs about, youīll have to figure that out for yourself ). The concept of the album was sort of making it up by itself. Because when we had started writing the songs and the first lyric came up we sat down and discussed it. And we noticed that we had the same feeling about it. We continued talking a lot about it while we were writing the music and even in the studio neither the concept nor the music were complete. I donīt know if they are still... . So it was kind of a parallel process.

mpomusic: So, it's a concept album? I've been wondering about it. Reading the lyrics I find it hard to find that thread that goes through it all. Can you tell us a bit more about the ideas behind the album?

Henrik: I think you should try and figure it out for yourself. It's not so hard. Well maybe it is but I think I'd spoil things for you if I should tell you too much about the concept. Good luck.

mpomusic: Ah, keeping it shrouded in mist, right!

Henrik: It will come to you one day! Just chill...Thanks for being curious!

Jaakoppi: I think it's extremely silly to tell everyone that the lyrics and their meaning are a secret and they should figure it out by themselves.

Aron: You know what Mr. David Bowie said once? "I will never destroy my lyrics by telling anyone what they are about". The reason behind this is that we donīt want to steal the chance of creating your own meaning behind the lyrics from you. You can always make a better and a "closer to yourself" meaning to the lyrics. And if it doesnīt exactly match ours, well that doesnīt really matter does it?

Mortycia: I loved Spirit Of Purity, it helped me through one of the roughest periods in my life, the illness of my father and his following death. I also loved you guys on the split with Pantokrator. I must admit after Spirit Of Purity I really hoped for an even MORE brutal album, but... it was quite different. Why did you make such a radical style change?

Henrik: That radical change of style you're referring to is not so radical to us. I'd say that some parts of Negative B are far more brutal than anything we've ever made. But that is, of course, a question of taste. It's a pity that many people don't understand that a band needs to develop and explore new musical territories.

Jaakoppi: Doesn't it concern you at all that many people feel that you have sort of betrayed them? I have actually heard claims that you would have started making bad music out of arrogance and will to show that you're not like ordinary metalheads.

Aron: Well it does concern us that people feel that we have betrayed them, but it would be worse to betray ourselves which we would have done if we had continued playing a musical style (read: black metal) just because of others opinions. As artists, musicians (or just boys playing in a band) at least I think that we have to be true to ourselves (itīs a cliché I know, but itīs true) and make the kind of music we want to. I think that Negative B is both heavier and better than Spirit Of Purity. But, of course, thatīs just my opinion, and maybe we are just arrogant.

mpomusic: There are more bands in history that changed styles/image and people started becoming disappointed. Did you as a music fan have a similar experience so you can relate to the fans that saw Sanctifica change from a black metal image kinda band to a more progressive band?

Aron: I can only speak for myself, or maybe a bit for Henrik too... I feel that a musician can ONLY write good music (and lyrics) when he (or she) does what he want to. Otherwise it will always be repeats of what he has done before. And that, if you ask me, is never interesting. So, no I have never, as far as I can remember, experienced disappointment when a band that I have liked has taken a different turn. Maybe you donīt understand the music at first but as long as itīs the same persons in the band you will like it if youīre ready to give it the time that it takes to understand.

Shamgar: Someone here already asked why you changed your style, but I'd like to know why you changed style so radically, but decided to use the same name? Knowing that you have changed your course, I'd like to ask if you plan on playing a couple of older songs on live shows, or do you plan to leave that part of your band's existence behind once you have more songs in your new style?

Henrik: I don't quite see why people think we've changed that much. We're still the same band and, besides, I've never heard of a band that doesn't go through musical changes. I can give you some comfort though, we WILL play old songs for you on tour. Don't worry.

Jonathan: As we have already said, the change of style wasn't as dramatical to us, since it happened during a long period of time. We didn't really "decide" that we should change styles. If that would have happened, we probably would have started a new band/project instead.

Negative B

Shamgar: Still if you compare Spirit Of Purity with Negative B (three years in between or so?), they are totally different and in that way it seems that you suddenly changed styles. How many songs have you written in the transition phase, that you didn't record for Negative B?

Henrik: There was no actual transition period. Many of the Negative B songs were written long ago, say three years or so. But music generally needs a little time to fully flourish, and that's why they haven't appeared until now.

Darklight2002AD: Is there a chance that you'll bring back the higher-pitched screams of Spirit Of Purity and In The Bleak Midwinter and use them as well as the deep growls?

Aron: Those high pitch screams? Maybe, who knows what will happen in the future.

Djesse50: I have heard that since you changed "styles" you have been more accepted in the secular realm, then the Christian scene, kinda like Kekal is. Is this true? and if so, why?

Jonathan: Well, since it's our opinion that Negative B is a musically better album, it wouldn't be strange if the secular scene (who have had high quality black metal bands, better than the old Sanctifica for years) would enjoy Negative B more.

Aron: I havenīt noticed that we are more accepted in the "secular realm" than the Christian scene. I mean we still do a lot of "Christian" gigs but I can understand your question (at least I think so... ). Maybe some of you will kill me for this but... sometimes I think that the secular scene is some steps ahead. I mean that, what we did before was pure black metal which had been made by a lot of secular bands before us. But what we do now is maybe a bit more reinventing. Maybe the secular scene, because itīs bigger, needs something new to notice which, for example, Kekal can offer, while the Christian audience still likes the Christian black metal bands because they donīt just play black metal but they are Christian too.

Mortycia: Which bands do you admire most and which ones had the greatest influence on your current musical activities?

Henrik: Hm that's a tough one. We're inspired by a variety of acts. We admire and are inspired by musicians that do something that feels new and fresh and has something to say. The style doesn't really matter to us.

Savage4Ũ4: Hey, I'm a drummer so I figured I might as well ask some stuff about it.
What kind of setup do you (Sanctifca's drummer) use? Two bass drums? Pedals? And what are some of your biggest drum influences?

Daniel: Right now I play on two drum sets. I have one at home and one in the practice local. So I play on Pearl and Tama. But I don't use two bass drums, I'm using Axis dubbel pedals. And for my influence, I would say that I have many for instance I take much from jazz and drum and bass. I hope you got some ansers to your mind.

ExHeAd Nl: Could you guys tell us more about the gear you guys use?

Aron: Okay. Iīve only got one keyboard, and thatīs a Korg Trinity. He is nice but a bit sensitive sometimes. He doesnīt like it when I hit him to hard (especially in the end of Nerve) then he often gets ill and I have to leave him to the doctor and thatīs not cheap.

xRTx: Another question. Your label C.L. Music has got a huge variety of bands, from rock to black metal. Is this positive or negative to you? I can imagine that a more specialized label (like Endtime for instance) can become much more known in the scene. Fans of Extol for instance become also fans of Lengsel.

Henrik: C.L is a rather new label and as always there are some troubles attached. But I must say it's working just fine with us and C.L. We actually prefer being on a label with more variety. I think it's easier to reach a bigger audience that way. On the negative side I could mention that a bigger labels naturally have more resources in terms of money and contacts.

Crucifixion12: Just wondering if you guys only do the band for a living, or if you have to work other jobs as well? If you work other jobs, what do you guys do in your "day jobs?"

Jonathan: No, we cannot do it for a living. Sure, it would be great, but unfortunately, not many bands can do it. Some of us study, some are working and some are unemployed.

mpomusic: In one of the threads I read that some of the songs on Negative B were in fact written years ago. This makes me wonder, how are the songs you are working on right now and how will the band develop considering you having a new vocalist?

Aron: How, or, in which direction this band will develop... One thing is sure though, we will never do a Spirit Of Purity II (or a Negative B II either) because those records shows where we were then and our next record will probably (and hopefully) show something else. How it will sound? I donīt have a clue. But of course we will use a lot of clean vocals now since weīve found our singer. If you want to know more I guess youīll just have to wait and see...

xRTx: What band would you guys like to tour with? Do you prefer a secular or Christian band? And should they play the same kind of music?

Henrik: It doesn't really matter if that band shares our religion and genre. Quite the opposite, it would be exciting if that band is something completely different. However, the rest of the guys would probably not agree if I was to mention any particular favorite band, so I prefer not to do that. Every suggestion concerning "tourmates" is interesting.

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