The Russian ritual ambient artist Lamia Vox recently released her second full length album, ‘’Sigillum Diaboli’’ on the cult Canadian label Cyclic Law. This release aims at the spiritual expansion of her occult paradigm which venerates the forces of the Nightside and echo the baneful essence of black magick through a sonic compendium. Ankit of Heathen Harvest had an in-depth conversation with Alina, the creative force behind Lamia Vox, regarding her latest release, her creative ethos, esoteric philosophy and ideology. Read the full conversation below.
Heathen Harvest: Your second full length ‘Sigillum Diaboli’ was recently released via Cyclic Law, which is among our favorite record labels in the dark ambient scene. How did this release come to fruition?
Lamia Vox: This story started when I performed at Wave Gothic Treffen in 2011. When I entered the backstage I saw guys from C.3.3., Sophia /Karjalan Sissit, Raison D’Etre etc. Frederic was there as well, with his own project Visions. We had to play quite late so we entertained ourselves with nice talks. After my show had finished Frederic said he liked my set, I was very glad to hear that of course, because I saw him on stage and I have always linked his name with high quality music production, so to speak.
So that’s how our acquaintance had started, simple and naturally. Since that time we’ve been more or less in contact permanently.
HH: What is the significance of the title of the album ‘Sigillum Diaboli’? Is it a conceptual release?
LV: Indeed it is. ‘Sigillum Diaboli’, as it was believed back in the days, means the mark of the Devil and it can define certain circles of witch covens. Every witch was supposed to have this mark on her body after attending her first Sabbat. Since all my music grows on magick and occult soils (for the first album is the same as well), it also has been the main theme and conceptual core of my second work. Moreover, all the tracks (excluding the ninth one) have a certain link to the eight points of the year wheel, which are essential for me from both practical and philosophical points and which reflect a main mechanism on our earthly plane. I have filled the musical sheath with my personal sense of those celebrations.
HH: Last year Cryochamber featured your song ‘The Prophecy’ (which is also featured on your sophomore album) on their compilation release along with well-known artists such as Atrium Carceri, Svartsinn and Desiderii Marginis. How did this compilation manifest?
LV: Simon Heath, the head of Cryo Chamber, contacted me and proposed to submit a track for his new compilation and I agreed. I had a new one which wasn’t included in the album yet so I decided to submit it for the compilation. It was a nice experience for me to participate in the compilation; the song gained very positive feedback and I am glad that it happened.
HH: Despite being a relatively new artist on the dark ambient horizon you seem to have earned a good rapport and a dedicated following in a short span of time. How hard was it for you during the initial days of the band to achieve your desired goals?
LV: Musically it wasn’t hard. From the moment I started this project I was already experienced in music as I started learning it in early childhood and still doing it now in a wider scope.
I have also been involved in plenty of bands in my past: singing, playing keyboards for metal, rock, dark electro bands, etc.
I have always been making music, and I tried to create it in any form I prefered at that moment.
When I started Lamia Vox I had very strict plans for it, as it had to present itself more than just mere music. I had a certain necessity to express some ideas and bring forth some energies, to speak from a practical point.
Now it is a project that allows me to activate magickal energies as a result of personal studies and practices and moreover, it is based on my own magickal experience. So this is how music transforms into magickal instruments in order to affect listeners on the spiritual plane.
HH: You have evolved musically since the release of your debut album ‘’… Introductio’’ back in 2010 and Sigillum Diaboli is a profound testament to that. White the former was largely ritualistic in its conception, the latter has incorporated martial and symphonic elements, hence making the music more dynamic and eclectic. What was your aim behind creating an album as diverse as Sigillum Diaboli?
LV: Honestly, I cannot say I have evolved that much. It seems that I have always been able to create the sound I desire and the right atmosphere that is needed to achieve certain aims.
When it comes to “Introductio…” I can say again that it also has a very strict idea behind it, and this is extended to the sound as well. The main core of the first work was to give the listeners a natural feeling of the Nigredo, the initial stage of alchemical soul transformation.
I was looking for the sounds and instruments to create a unique, abysmal and profound atmosphere that I had in mind; and I had an idea that I might probably need some oldschool analog synths for it, to make the sound a bit uncomfortable and more alive, even abstruse a bit. I put some percussion there to hold desirable tension in order to say the final word with the more martial “Follow the Fallen Stars” which is intented to be a manifestation, the foreseeing of the new stage of spiritual Paths and a musical transition to the next album which I had already planned to be more martial and symphonic.
HH: For every intelligent dark ambient artist, his/her tools of the trade are the most important aspect of creating genuinely inspired and impacting music. This intelligence is exhibited demurely in both your albums and that has a lot to do with your choice of sounds. Do you create your music entirely through a digital medium or do you also make use of field recordings or experimental instrumentation of any kind?
LV: At first I elaborate the conception of a track, define its structure, tonal features and possible set of instruments in order to embody my feelings into musical form. I use any available means for creating necessary atmosphere and sound. When I make arrangement structures and melodic lines in accordance with the aim I have in mind I also use certain laws which have been vastly elaborated and described by music and folklore researchers of the past. Aside from that the process of music creation itself is rather obvious. Normally I start with an analog sound base or atmospheric field recordings; when I have found the right one, I add multiple layers of instruments and sounds from a very wast range – percussion, field recordings, music instruments: piano, flutes, authentic traditional instruments, etc.
I have many instruments at my studio, and of course I invent something new if I cannot achieve my “perfect” atmosphere with available instruments.
HH: Your live performances, like most dark ambient artists, are accompanied with visuals which enhance the music to a great extent. I have always felt that ambient music carries a strong visual aspect and it must be explored further by artists via the means of videos and even short films (the avant-garde short film ‘Zoetrope’ featuring Lustmord’s music comes to mind). The latter might seem to be a daunting task but videos are certainly a great way of expressing the mood which an ambient artist has created through his palette. Having said that, have you thought of creating an exclusive music video based on the visions you wish to portray through your music?
LV: I am already doing it actually. All of my performances are accompanied with exclusive video mixes, which were made for me by a professionally experienced video engineer. I have always paid great attention to the visual part, as it would be quite foolish from my side not to use such a powerful tool for achieving my goals.
Recently we made a small teaser for the “Sigillum Diaboli” album, based only on our “field” material filmed by us in the right time at the right place.
HH: The booklet of Sigillum Diaboli features art created by your husband, and the talented artist, Alexander. I specifically find the ‘Lamia Vox’ artwork to be fascinating through the impressive intertwining of different magical traditions that create a befitting image for your music. What was the concept behind the artwork?
LV: When it comes to artwork in this album, I can say that we are aproaching the question of our Faith, because what you see in this booklet and what you hear when you play the CD have the same source. In other words, the facets ccupied within our works are different, however, they have similar aims. Therefore I am quite confident that he knows very well the innermost image of this musical work that I created. I can also add that it is deeply inspired by Chaotic forces, hungry night spirits and Demons, seducing man to commit his own Fall.
HH: What I also find impressive about your music is that it seeks inspiration from the darker traditions of magic and aims to explore them further through a sonic medium. This inspiration is showcased largely on Sigillum Diaboli with tracks like ‘Lapis Occultus’, ‘Witches Night’ etc. Enlighten us about your spiritual and magical paradigm which you have chosen to represent through Lamia Vox.
LV: To put it short, my (our) spiritual paradigm is the result of multiple traditions – from traditionalism, gnosticism and witchcraft shamanism to the most baneful aspects of ceremonial (ritual) Satanism. As stated above, I gain the energy and inspiration from Chaotic forces – the abyss of unlimited might that lays in the basis of the world, whose heart is pulsating with the powerful rhythm and impulses of the Devil’s energies piercing this structured world with the poisoned arrows of primordial curse. It is audible for devoted human beings, though it may require a certain stage of experience and skills for concentration and meditation at least.
Try to stare at a candle flame for an hour or two and try to keep your mind clear without any thought appearing in it and you can instantly estimate your ability to concentrate on a desired object.
Those Chaotic forces I mentioned lay also in the base of creation itself. On the other end we have a world of stiffened forms, bounded and captured inside its sephirothic shells and condemned to “l’éternel retour” (Mircea Eliade).
‘’NB. I’m speaking not of the realization of the true human ‘self’ in the form of the ‘perfect human being’, but of its death and Luciferian rebirth in new quality, which has nothing in common with humans.’’
I praise liberty and this fatal and irretrievable step beyond the boundaries of permitted limits (and what is called “human’’) and condemn myself to the damnation of the eternal pursuit of supremacy and hunger for the forbidden wisdom. I praise forces of demonic transformation vitalized with the Devil’s blood flow that is taken out of the heart of Chaos. Magick is the main tool that allows you to feel those Demonic rhythms through the labyrinths of this world as well as giving you the ability to transfer those energies properly and to work with them in accordance with your will.
HH: Recently the artwork for a new Lamia Vox album was presented through your official Facebook page. Given that your second album was only recently released it is quite surprising that you have already started working on another one! When did you start composing this album and how has it progressed thus far?
LV: I have some musical drafts already, but I mostly wanted to share the wonderful work of Krist Mort who gave me some of her works for my next album cover. Nevertheless, the album is in progress and will show up in time. I am not very much into releasing as many albums as possible, since I need real and important reasons and a certain aim to create a new song. It is not a question of playing and recording every single take you create. I have an enormous volume of rejected drafts and hardly even 5% of them have come to fruition and see the light of day.
HH: You recently performed at Trondheim along with artists like Triarii, Svartsinn, Empusae and Havan. How was the event? Are there any other gigs in the pipeline?
LV: It was truly a wonderful event! Great performances from all the artists and very nice organisation by Frode Hindrum and Jan Roger Petterssen, as well as the lovely and precious audience (including our friends from Mare) who came to see us perform.
Normally I’m trying to play no more than twice a year, so I am 50% done with gigs for the meantime. I am in talks about a concert in Minsk (Belarus) in autumn and maybe one more gig in Germany later this year, so for me it’s quite a busy time.
Anyway I am still open to new stages, countries and new offers.
HH: What are your thoughts on participating in projects outside Lamia Vox? Is there a particular artist(s) whom would you would like to work with?
LV: My first actual release was “Breaking Down Nihil”, the collaboration with Roger Karmanik’s project Brighter Death Now recorded live in September 2009 in Moscow. The debut album “Introductio” was ready but was released only thereafter, early in February 2010.
Nevertheless, since that time I hardly collaborated with anyone from the dark ambient universe. I had some offers in mind, but the most important point is that we must share our faith firstly. Historically, I have collaborated mostly with the black metal ‘scene’ as those artists are the closest to me in spirit, philosophy and faith. Therefore I’d say I would love to work with artists who shares my faith, my path, my hunger and my love, to the Devil of course.
I will probably take my chance to make it soon, though it is probably too early to disclose any details.
Also an option that would be interesting for me is to collaborate with some musicians who also play ancient and folk instruments, such as viola da gamba, nyckelharpa, celtic lyre, hurdy-gurdy etc.
HH: What other music genres do you listen to apart from dark ambient and post-industrial music in general?
LV: The most natural choise for me would be classical and ancient music (J. Brahms, A. Pärt, C. Saint-Saëns, E. Grieg, G. Tveitt, R. Wagner, J. Massenet, I. Stravinsky, S. Prokofiev, A. Schnittke, almost all of Jordi Savall’s Hespèrion XXI), folk (mostly authentic), and some black metal (aside from the big names of the 90s it is now Nidrosian scene bands mainly, namely Mare, Celestial Bloodshed, Kaosritual, Vemod; some bands from Poland like Cultes des Ghoules and Mgla).
Honestly I hardly ever listen to anything else. My taste in post-industrial music is quite conservative, I am still listening for the most part to the old names like Les Joyaux de la Princesse, Der Blutharsch, Endura, The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud, Archon Satani and Zero Kama. Let’s add in the mix Darkwood , Of the Wand & the Moon, Solanaceae, Sonne Hagal, Dernière Volonté, Haus Arafna, November Növelet, Svartsinn and Northaunt of Cyclic Law.
HH: Thank you for taking out your precious time and answering this questionnaire. The final space is yours.
LV: Thank you, in turn, for the interest, support, and, of course, for the nice questions. Heathen Harvest has a long history, and since 2002 it has become really strong! I wish you and your pack of wolves great success and a lot of exciting new discoveries not only in the music spheres. Ave!
Interview by Ankit