"I would compare my song-writing efforts to serial killings…"
Interview with Lucy Poems (strings and synth)
Corrosion<C>: Do me a favour and ask Anastasia how she managed to end up with such a beautiful singing voice?
Poems(P): We attribute her beautiful voice to the fact that she hasn't any formal training. So, over the years she has developed her vocal power into her own very original style. Originality and defying conventions has been the back bone of this band since the onset. We have all grown and improved with time.
C: Where did you meet Anastasia? What about The Carrion?
P: Believe it or not, I met Anastasia at a Green Day concert in Allentown back in `94. She was at the show and I was at the bar (as usual). Late in the night I saw her dancing at the front stage and she looked very beautiful, so I was determined that she should sing for my band (then un-named). It was the closest thing to a fated encounter that I've come across. Since that time Savior Sect has gone through a lot of shit so we are appreciative of what we have in the band….I met The Carrion through Valentine (of Apostle Void) back in the late `80s. He was big into the hardcore scene of that period (The Russian Meatsquat's main brainchild some will remember!). Anyway, he did some gigs with Apostle Void and recorded on our first promotional tape in 1990. Well, to make a long story short, Valentine and I crossed paths with him at a local nightclub and as the drinking commenced, we planned for an Apostle Void reunion tape ("The Myth of the Eternal Return" in `95). Once this outing was underway I asked him to help me out in my main project, Savior Sect. His help has turned our sound into something very special and unique.
C: Even though you're by no stretch of the imagination a metal band, I seem to be reading about you mostly in the metal press. Are you conciously courting the metal market or is it just one of many markets? Do you want to be known as a metal band?
P: Yes, Savior Sect is one of those bands that kind of hovers on the fringes of several dark scenes. It seems that much of the metal population accepts what we are doing and actually supports it. I feel that the metal underground is a very honest one. I think most bands found there are true to their dark beliefs; I have respect for many, many people in this scene and I believe they respect Savior Sect's honesty to the dark forces in life. In all truth, I find the gothic scene (to be) very unorganized and unfocused, not to mention artsy and pretentious. Like I could give a fuck about another song on Anne Rice vampires, dark romances and seductions, or for cross dressing and friendship books. Shit, if I want to wear white…I'll wear white! I don't have time for stereotypical nonsense. Since Savior Sect is about pain and abuse and loneliness, we are not so accepted by this happy crowd of writer/poets who cry a lot and wear black "monkey" suits and pretend to be sad in some stupid romantic way…"Oh, woe is me!".
C: Are you really so gloomy in real life or is your music a way to get the negativity/sadness out?
P: Unfortunately I have battled with depression for all of my life. It is not a pleasant thing and it never has been. The only thing I credit it for is that it keeps my head filled with weird ideas and keeps my soul very irritable and discontent so I'm always finding creative outlets to vent the things that I think about. Music, of course, is my most prolific medium. I know that Anastasia has had a very, very hard and traumatic life. I mentioned above that our meeting was fated…it is easy for depressed people to spot one another. It is like a magnet of misery. Perhaps our own inability to function normally in society is the main ingredient that makes Savior Sect work.
C: How many side-projects are the members of Savior Sect involved in at the moment?
P: Uuuugh, well, there is a lot of dead time between Savior Sect recordings due to the fact that we all have differing and busy schedules. I just happen to be the one with the most time on my hands. So, you can find other tapes out there that feature me, but these are not really side projects because these "bands" do not rehearse. The songs are written for recording purposes only. I actuality the process is the same for Savior Sect, but this band holds my total focus and is by far my favourite project. I feel that Savior Sect is very versatile and that there are no limits to what can be performed/written about (content-wise) with this project. So, my side projects, while quality, only help me to get through the boredom that is such a strong factor in my life. For me, my emotions are many, so, in turn my music productions take many forms.
C: How many releases has Savior Sect unleashed?
P: We've released seven demos since 1994. Our first two rehearsal tapes featured a four man lineup, but these are not so relevant anymore as that original sound has been discarded. Neither of these tapes are available anymore. Our transitional demo `95 "Story in Your Eyes" was never truly released nor promoted; this tape along with the first demo of `96 "Echoes of the Decline" are available to those who have supported us, but are no longer generally available for public purchase. Only true fans of ours would appreciate them anyway as the work is not as mature as our newer stuff. We also released "The Scare" in `96. The Carrion joined on for the `97 release of "Lis Ard" and our latest release is "Fury From The Shadows" this year.
C: When will the next SS be released?
P: We've already recorded the songs for "The Troubadours of Death" release. Expect to see it in the Fall of `98 (sometime in October). I don't like to rush releases. We will let "Fury…" run it's course before unleashing a second tape in `98.
(note: "Troubadours…" is now available. Check the review section-ed). It will contain six songs of pure depression plus an intro and an outro. Some song titles include "Once", "Cemetary Flowers",
and "Eyes Of Doom". We are also working on a soundtrack for J.
Noti's film short "Uncle Charlie". The film is about a serial killer. Savior Sect will record six songs for this (not all will be used due to the film length). Perhaps we will release a limited demo of this
soundtrack in close proximity to "Troubadours…".
C: Do you do all the recording/production by yourselves or do you enlist outside help?
P: I do all the recording and mixing myself; it is really hard but I think I'm getting better at it…though I still have much to learn. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by talented people. Scott Vasel has digitally remastered "Fury From the Shadows" for public release; he has recently done the same for our `97 demo "Lis Ard" and this really improved the sound on this release. Scott is also involved in the "Uncle Charlie" film project. J.Noti also helps us out with his artistic skills (and also provides the vocals for the fabulous New Betters!). So, it is important to rely on yourself as much as possible, but other skilled individuals are also indispensable.
C: Any plans in the future to release a full-length CD?
P: No immediate plans, though we all dream of the day. We were overwhelmed to receive our CD demo masters from Scott, so we can just imagine what some high grade equipment and engineers could do for us. This band needs a label to pay our studio costs as we are unable to make the financial strains of any self produced release. I envision a series of MCDs due to the fact that our recording/songwriting techniques would require some time and a lot of production patience. I think a mini CD would be best for us…lots of mini CDs.
C: Any label interest yet? What kind of label would you like to be signed to? Any particular label?
P: No, but I haven't pushed the issue so hard. Once we complete the "Uncle Charlie" recordings this will change. I've been promoting us like mad all over the globe in an attempt to make people familiar with the name. I think having the respect and support of the underground is a long and hard process but one that is necessary. Perhaps our name has reached some labels through the words of others. In any case, I will focus on obtaining a deal when a more "mature" work is completed. My only fear in getting signed is that the label won't be supportive of our unique recording procedures. We would need to do things our way in order to give them a solid and true to life Savior Sect outing. I know it is in us to put out a great release should we be given the opportunity…it would certainly be testament of darkness and depression.
C: Which bands do you feel have a strong influence on your music? What else has an influence?
P: Here, I can speak only for myself. I've become quite inspired in these past years with the solo records of Syd Barrett. I know they are old, but it's just that these releases are a true account of madness (and it is quality stuff at the same time!). The sense of depression is so thick on those albums that you can cut it with a knife. No band can come close to that-not Savior Sect-not anybody. Syd was staring into an abyss that is deeper than you and I know at this point in our lives. Some day we may see it too, but I hope not…I also can remember the first time I heard Gehenna's "Angelwings and Ravenclaws" on a cheesy and limited 7". I said "That's it! Simple and repetitive keyboards that have a catchy sound!". From that point on Savior Sect has used this identical formula…I do a lot of reading. I read lots of folklore, fairytales, history, occult and fantasy books. I use this to balance the overwhelming reality found in an average Savior Sect song.
C:: What was the defining moment in your life that made you say to yourself "I need to be in a band"?
P: I may be putting my head in a noose here, but I'm very lazy. I knew from a young age that I did not want to work for a living. In fact, I try harder to get out of work than I do putting in quality time. I want to create for a living. I want to be able to express my ideas and be successful at it. I don't need to be rich, but I don't want to work 9 to 5; I've had enough of this already. So, music seems to be a natural way out for me. It is a dream that I have followed for many years and I can't seem to shake it.
C: Are there any bands that you'd like to recommend that we check out?
P: That is a very large question! I support so many bands that it is difficult for me to answer…some good underground bands that I've heard recently include Mind Phaser (ITALY), Desolate (ENG), Helgrinder (France), Nocturne (USA), etc. If anyone wants or cares about my opinion on bands in the underground scene, they should pick up "Last Writes" `zine where I do tons of reveiws. There are currently two issues available.
C: Who writes the music for SS? What kind of mind frame do you tend to be in when writing?
P: Technically speaking, I guess I'm the songwriter for all the songs, but a band is the sum of it's parts. Very few people are so gifted that they can manage a good thing completely alone. It usually takes the combined efforts of several to make something successful due to the extended idea pool that is created. I can always write songs on my own, but without Anastasia's singing and without The Carrion's unique style of drumming it would not be as powerful; it would not be Savior Sect. All parties are present to develop the idea core that is laid down by me-so each person contributes their own talent base to make a working whole…I would compare my songwriting efforts to serial killings; I go through intense periods of creativity where tons of songs get written in short periods of time….then I slip into cool down periods where virtually nothing gets done. This is how the depressed mind operates and there is nothing else for it. Savior Sect is definitely a serial band; our urge to create tapes never gives in, but we are not active at all times.
C: What do you try to tell the listener through your music?
P: We try to strip away the gloss and phoniness of mass cultural ideas. Since we live in America, the land of "beauty and fun" where the mass media is completely geared toward the physical and the party life, we become rejected products. This country has an underbelly of darkness like no other. I guess I search out the madness and seediness; this is an environment that I'm comfortable in. I seek this out and sort of crawl on my stomach through the slime, yet I'm careful not to fall to deep because I like to be able to come back and sort through my observations. I think that J. Noti summed it up perfectly when he said "If you could bottle madness and sell it, you would be a millionaire". Everybody likes to see madness, but to live and experience madness firsthand…well, that's a thrill that you just can't buy. Savior Sect at least tries to give you your money's worth.
C: Would you consider your music to be poetry put to music or simply "songs"?
P: I consider Anastasia's lyrics to be poetry because she has such an honest heartfelt approach. Her words are certainly overflows of emotion. I keep prompting her to submit some works for "Last Writes" `zine or even to release a poetry tape, but she is very protective of her thoughts and she guards them from others. There is a separation between my own lyrics and my poetry. My lyrics are not always so personal whereas my poetry almost always is. It is hard to explain, but there is a difference.
C: What do you forsee in the future for Savior Sect?
P: More recordings…this is what we like to do best. We dream of finding mass respect, but for now we must continue to chip away at the stone.
C: Any final comments?
P: Thank you, my friend, for the great interview and for your enormous support! All interested parties can reach us at:
c/o D. Tomel
P.O. Box 3392
Allentown, PA. 18106-0392