Arcana (2008)

 •  Posted in: Kogaionon Interviews

15 years passed quite fast... and we can already count ten CDs, seven full albums, an early demo and a few concerts. No DVD, no live album. Pure underground!

ARCANA is not:

- the symbolic figure of the divination and initiating system named Tarot (but it could be used for meditation),
- the school sustaining the New Age movement or the great Masters of theosophy,
- decorative Gothic component,
- annually dark fantasy horror festival,
- the famous videogame,
- Edgard Varese's piece of music,
- the American jazz band,
- nor the studio
- neither the name of the folk dancing or the melody behind its execution...

Everybody involved, knows that ARCANA is a Swedish musical project formed by Peter Pettersson somewhere in 1993, as he was a young Metal head daring to start expressing his melancholic views differently. Back those times he was still a studio guitarist for several noisy bands, also working for his own projects.
I must mention that Peter still is a true Metal figure and I find it hard to believe he'll change his mind and soul in this life. Or will he? Around his name gravitate about fifteen bands, approaching all sort of musical styles, staring from old Black Thrash Metal all the way to hardcore and punk... But we'll get to them at the right moment. ARCANA is now essential. Willing to give an elegant contour to his fascination for DEAD CAN DANCE, Peter co-opted Ida Bengtsson to do the voice, and so has been created one of the most beautiful Dark Romantic Ambient Medieval Ecclesiastical Gothic Baroque bands, scenting of Renaissance, with a sound floating within a melancholic realm, completely out of time.
That's how the relation with Roger Karmanik became alive and implicitly, the signing in with CMI for two albums, later on for four others. "Dark Age of Reason" (1996) shocked the underground scene at the time, especially as it has been also announced by the Swiss label's compilation "... and Even Wolves Hid Their Teeth" (1995), on which promising bands were present with a special track. Bands alike: AGHAST, MORTIIS, RAISON D'ETRE, ILDFROST, ORDO EQUILIBRIO, MORTHOUND, MEMORANDUN, DEUTSCH NEPAL, BRIGHTER DEATH NOW... and I remember that, back then, "The Song Of Mourning" perverted my every forms of imagining music.
Everybody said that ARCANA is a gold mine... or a diamond shining both in light and darkness... Peter preferred the second way, at least that's what time shown us thus far.
"Lizabeth" EP followed (1997) and then the excellent album "Cantar de Procella" (1997), meaning Songs Of The Storm... This album fascinated me completely... Ida's angelic voice plus the multitude of Peter's instruments unveiled remarkable tracks."...The Last Embrace" (2000) came afterwards, then "Izabel" MCD (2000) and it marked the end of the duet's history. Changes in the personal life occurred (the marriage with Ia) and they were followed by some modifications of the line-up, as Ida's place has been taken by Ann Mari Thim and further more Stefan Eriksson appeared. With this new formula (Ia concentrated on the artwork), ARCANA released the magnificent "Inner Pale Sun" (2002), preceded by another EP "Body Of Sin".
It marked the end of the collaboration with CMI. Peter took the name Bjargo (more interesting and quite unique) and fully dedicated himself to the activity with his own label, Erebus Odora, where he released "The New Light" in 2004 (a compilation of old unreleased tracks) and "Le Serpent Rouge", a new material that has been one year later re-edited under Displeased. On these two albums, both Ann-Mari and Ia do the choral parts, and the last one's structure is filled with Oriental elements.
Financial and health problems with his younger daughter determined Peter to renounce his own label, yet he kept the studio active and in 2007 he signed up with CHANDEEN's front man, Harald Lowy. The end of February 2008 marks the release of ARCANA's latest studio album, "Raspail" (one title that might be associated with the name of the French writer Jean Raspail, yet Peter had this very name in mind for several years without making the link above). Clearly mightier, the quartet turned in a quintet by co-opting the talented percussionist Mattias Borgh, an old friend collaborating with Peter on the Metal side for years, CRYPT OF KERBEROS being the most known Death Metal band among their projects together.

What should I say more about Peter? He is a quite introverted figure, not liking to be in the spots or to speak about what he's doing, but fully conscious that the respect towards the fans must be also shown by communication; he spends most of the time in his "fairy" room, his studio, but also works (part time) at a museum, he enormously loves his five and 5 year old daughter named Vendela and lives a happy life along his wife and the other three older daughters; he sustains the ecologic movement and every actions deriving from this concept, he's a vegetarian (probably out of respect for animals' rights), enjoying nature and travelling (honeymoon at Prague), pretty rarely concerting with ARCANA, but in the mood for drinking a beer with friends (he has lots of friends in town, just to mention a few), even if his preferences go towards Montenegro or a fine wine; he likes to cook and has many favourite bands, like DEAD CAN DANCE, BATHORY and LEE HAZELWOOD, but he also listens to classic music (Howard Shore).

Musically speaking, solely five projects from the fifteen he has activated in still enjoy his presence. The closer to soul is ARCANA, the most active one is TYRANT (just returned from a tour with GORGOROTH), he brought back to life CRYPT OF KERBEROS, and enjoys himself in MEANWHILE's hardcore punk, in the odd SOPHIA and that's about all about. I have no idea if ILEUS or MACRODEX are still active.

Ok, no more rockstar aura, he's not like that at all, but it was my wish to make him a bombastic introduction. Why? Because on April 19th will see them live at Brasov, in an elegant and stylish hall, a theatre one, precisely at Reduta. The ones from DONSIART are old fans of the band and Kogaionon's implicitly... within its pages they've first heard about ARCANA, he, he. And they've decided to organize their first concert... Big ambitions are on their way (distinct festivals evenly), but time will show us. Devotion is the substance and the accent is on quality and elegance.

Let's go to facts... and to the present time... I'm taking a bottle of wine in front of me (even though Sophia is not to be found in Romania), I'll pour myself another glass, press the music even louder in order to enter Raspail's atmosphere, and instantly teleport to Sweden, beside Peter.

1. Salutes from the wintry Romania my friend! What are you doing? Did you pour yourself a glass of something too, so we can start our relaxing discussion?

Hi! Well, today I am not having any wine. I am working in the studio, recording a punk band. But I had some wine yesterday, Ia and me had some friends over and today I pay for it;). And this Saturday I will perform with my punk band, so I guess the beer will occur then again;)

2. Did you enjoy my presentation? I'm sure there are some biases, some errors. Or maybe I forgot to put some important things in line. Will you help me, please?

NO, you have pretty much covered it all. I am not used to people knowing this much about my person, and I must be honest: I am both honoured and puzzled. Am I that interesting? I don't think so:). I try to keep myself and my life as personal as I can, but I just have to realise that it is hard when you make music and release it;)

3. Look, in order to believe my true understanding over your reaction to that bombastic history of yours, I'll simply remind what Frank Zappa replied, some years ago, in a very detailed and personal interview like this one, once it turned irking to him: "Speaking about music is alike dancing on architecture..." Do you agree with the idea? Anyway, we'll have to do it! Honestly!

Well, what can I say? First of all, Frank Zappa was a genius when it comes to music. But maybe he is right, I don't know. I have such difficulties talking about my own music and about myself, that I tend to close my ears and eyes, and hope it is gone when I open them.

4. Do you still have the two medieval flags from Mark Riddick (photos maybe)? Do you keep in touch with these brothers? Are you going to bring the flags to Brasov?

No, I an old dear friend have them now a day. I know they were really special for the performances in the early ages of Arcana, but times are a changing. The flags represent the medieval era of Arcana, and that is long gone. No, I must say that I haven't had contact with them for years.

5. I'll pass to a different subject now, so that we can confuse everybody, including us. You've once said "I will choose sex, because it's more important than being romantic." It sounds nasty, doesn't it? Especially when the reader is a woman... and I don't mean IA... Do you still believe in those words?

At first I thought about not answering this question, but then again: why not?! Men AND women need sex, they have sex and they want sex. Why should it be nasty? Some like it that way... he he. But seriously: sex and romance might go together in a relationship, but sex will always be more important than romance.

6. OK. You've always liked medieval and renaissance music, played a lot of role-plays games (Dungeons and Dragons, Kult...)... are these origins from which ARCANA came to life within you? Starting from where and why this kind of music, why ARCANA? This word had a special musical scent in it...

Arcana was a name I liked a lot from start, I actually thought it was the name for a woman. Arcana came from my wishes of making music out of my thoughts of the medieval period, the romantic view we have on that time. A big influence was of course Dead Can Dance, that always have been one of my favourite bands.

7. I know you've conceived the '94 demo influenced by the catastrophe from Estonia. The same did the ones from Rammstein, after the aircraft disaster from Rammstein. Are you still interested in such events, do they affect you, give you inspiration in a certain way?

Well, that was the biggest disaster that ever occurred in Swedish history, and over 500 Swedish people died. Just as much as in the Tsunami catastrophe of 2004. When Estonia went under and killed so many people we had a big problem with what to do; should we lift the boat from the bottom of the sea, or leave it as a grave for those who died? The later thing happened, and still to this day, people are arguing about it. Major disasters affect us all in different ways, me as well. Sometimes I get creative and sometimes not.

8. You're not interested in politics all right, but I doubt there isn't an opinion of yours regarding what's currently happening on Earth... Do you believe a new world war is on its way?

Well, not exactly. A new world war would be a disaster for the world economy, and that is a strict taboo. The leaders of today bring money before lives, and that is terrible. How ever, we should be happy if we can avoid wars. The European Union is a way of protection. We won't attack a country that is "one of our own", so it is sort of a safe union.

9. Is Al Gore's documentary filled with real facts or maybe some of them are simply politically speculated? Is this a huge threat indeed? It's good knowing that the ecologist movement enhances... yet, nobody seems to do anything... I've recently read a study about Sweden being the most interested country in recycling wastes, having incredibly efficient programs regarding this issue... the most powerful in Europe! What differentiates Sweden from the rest of the countries? Is there a distinct education, a different preparation, another message?

I believe in what Al Gore said, and I believe that he was "gentle" with his words. I think there is much more than we saw. I must confess, I have not seen the whole movie, although what I have seen is scary enough. I can't say what Sweden do more than others, al though we start in an early age to get taught how to recycle and how to keep the nature clean. Even in kindergarden we use recycling and different garbage disposals for different garbage: such as metal, plastic, paper and so on. Even our own daughter is learning how and where to throw different garbage.

10. Why did Ida left? You see, I'm moving you from one subject to another so that you tell me everything. You've said consequently to her departure, that she got more involved with school and hasn't purely left bla, bla... Are you still in touch with her? Does she perform in other projects maybe? Her voice is superb!

She does have a wonderful voice, that's for sure, but we did grew apart. I have no contact what so ever with her, so I cannot say what she is doing now. The last thing I heard was that lived in the south of Sweden.

11. What's the story of you signing in with Harald? With the beginning and the end! You haven't tried further with Roger? Even though he turned more attached to Harsh noise Industrial now, ATARAXIA, ALL MY FAITH LOST... of course there are some medieval - romantic oriented bands activating with him... Or, why haven't you continued the collaboration with Frederic from Canada? Is Kalinkaland a good paying label? Hope not to get shot by Harald....

Harald and I have been in touch for many years, and I have always admired his work in Kalinkaland Records. I like the bands that are part of the label and I thought it would fit Arcana well. About CMI still having the neo-classical, medieval romantic bands: it doesn't matter. I am not fond of genres, and I feel more comfortable among bands like Jo Gabriel and Chandeen. I can never earn money enough on this music to actually live on it, but I am happy just to reach the fans with my music, and that I can do via Kalinkaland. I had a great time, the years I was at CMI, we had good contact among the bands and we had some great concerts, gigs and parties. But one has to move on in life, and it was my time. Frederic Arbour and I are very close friends, both musical and personal, and we will always have some kind of business together. We have the same background when it comes to metal and punk, and we try to see each other as often as we possibly can.

12. Some rumours said you'll do a tour with CHANDEEN this year. Is it true? Because if I'll find out that ARCANA is getting more involved in the concert area, I'll start thinking of making extra money by hiring a babysitter for Vendela for a longer time...

He, he, we don't want to pay for a long-time babysitter, because we don't wanna leave her for that long. There will be no tour with Chandeen, much to do with tht none of us are that keen on it. Both Harald and me have kids and families, so do Stefan. And we try to give the children priority. A difference was when I was with tour this autumn with Tyrant/Gorgoroth: then Ia was home with Vendela. But an Arcana tour means both Ia and me away from home. We always try to play at least a few times a year. But then again, people might not get bored with us if we perform more rarely;).

13. Some say that you've changed your name so that it wouldn't be confounded with Tomas's (ORE). Which is the correct story? A propos.... What was there with VICTORIA?

No, that is so untrue. How can someone mistake Tomas and Peter? These are two different names. Petterson is a common name in Sweden, thousands have it. I changed my name to Bjargo, first of all because I married Ia, secondly because I have no relation at all to the name Pettersson. I know some people think that I am a totally different person from Peter Pettersson, but I can't help if people refuse to get the idea that I took my wife's name. And this is actually quite usual in Sweden. Victoria was a fun project, and we liked the songs. But there will be no more Victoria!

14. I think it's not beautiful to be egotistic, so let's invite Ia beside us. Good evening Ia, how did our dialogue seemed to you so far? As an exclusive man talk maybe?

Hi Doru! No worries, I listen and enjoy the conversation. And why not let Peter talk, it is his project;). Well, I can't say that much about letting other people talk: I am a bit of a dictator when it comes to talking. My vocal cords work harder than the hands of a drummer;).

15. Ia, how did you and Peter meet? I know you've listened to his music for years before. But let's tell every soul that you are a pure Metal person too, as you've grew up with Priest and Maiden... How can a 38 woman, mother of four girls (all my best thoughts to them!) listen to CELTIC FROST or SLAYER? Among the rest of domestic jobs, beside cooking and cleaning?

I don't cook, that is Peter's job;) And the music is in the background, sort of relaxing us both. I've been a metal head since the age of 12, and Peter even younger. We have the same taste in almost all music, although some of the newer bands differ. I got in contact with Peter in 1999, just a few weeks before my 30th birthday. I had listened to Arcana since 1997 and was totally crazy about the music. So I wrote in the Arcana guestbook and he responded by adding me to his ICQ. At first we were just friends, talking for days, but in October we met and since then we have been a couple. I never in my wildest dreams, would have believed that I one day would marry my "big idol", have his child and sing with him in the same band that I've been listening to for years.

16. "Raspail" is an album of a special beauty! In fact, every ARCANA album is distinct, not easy be labelled. Which album do you feel more attached to?

Ia: I feel close to every new album that is being recorded. Just like every other Arcana fan, Dark age of Reason means a lot, although it has much to do about being the first album I heard. Raspail is for now my favourite, much to do with that I have had a bigger part of the album than the earlier. But I think that Peter has made a perfect job on this one.

Peter: I think I have to say Raspail. But I have different feelings for each and every album, and most of them are personal.

17. I've listened to this album for at least thirty times from last evening to this moment. I want to start with its weak points, as I've sensed them of course. Why is it so short? Why so many instrumental tracks? Prolonged sequences too... Why haven't you approached more the rhythmic, tribal elements?

All the albums of Arcana are short, and I prefer to keep them that way. I don't like albums that are too long, because then you grow tired of them. And as for the instrumental songs: there are only 3 out of 7, and that is not much. Think about Le Serpent Rouge, where all songs except two were instrumental. There are many bands on the market that has the tribal approach; the best in my opinion is Sephiroth. I have no interest of stepping on that path.

18. After listening the Kalinkaland's compilation one year before, some scents of "Lost in Time" and "Invisible Motions" on your Myspace page, I expected this album to be entirely bombastic, rhythmic, fully dynamic and saturated in energy, with all sorts of choirs and percussions... yet, these are the only explosive tracks. Am I the sole perceiving the immense sadness within this album? Piano's sombreness is an immediately remarked element though...

I think the album is a variety of different emotions. The piano has always had a big part of the music of Arcana, although maybe not this much. I can say that there are many emotions in this album, and among them sadness.

19. Tell me a little about the concept, about the lyrics, about each and every track... I can see now that almost every member of the band has written some lyrics... I would truly enjoy seeing your description on every single track....

Abrakt is a track that has the concept of environmental destruction, war and peoples ignorance. It was one of the first songs I made for the album, and it was done long before the rest of the songs were made. Sigh of Relief: A piano tune I made. I didn't even know if was to be part of the album, but I liked it, so. Invisible Motions was one of the earlier melodies I made. I didn't know what to do with it, so I asked Ia to choose one of her lyrics for it. Ia and Ann-Mari recorded the song one afternoon in September and I am very pleased with the result. The lyrics are about the feelings you get when you realise that the world is coming to an end. You feel empty, anxious but in the end you get satisfied with the thought that soon it is all over: you have had a long life, remember the good things. But then the anger is appearing... and the hate toward the human race for not taking care of it all. Outside your world is about a long lost life, the longing for a world that would never again will exist. It has to do with the destruction of historical buildings, communities that disappeared and the sadness of peoples quest for modernizing the world. Parisal is the song that reminds most of Le Serpent Rouge. It is a track that has medieval and oriental tunes in it. I think it would be a great song live Autumnal was a song I didn't know what to do with. It felt weak and maybe not for this album. But with the lyrics and vocals of Ann-Mari and choir by Ia, it turned out great. Out of the Gray ashes is a song that was made during a recording session with Arcana. Ia, Mattias, Stefan and me were down in the studio, recording some choirs for Lost in Time and some other songs. After some beers, more beers and more friends coming over, I started to make this song on the guitar. And I actually recorded it all with a few hours. Mattias made the percussion on my timpani and I made the rest. Of course, some of the instruments had to be re-recorded the day after;) Being under the influence of alcohol while recoding is not always the best thing... he he. Ann-Mari and I recorded the vocals later on. Lost in Time first appeared on Lightwave II compilation on Kalinkaland. Then it was only me, who made the singing, but on this version Ia is singing with me and all of us are singing choirs, even Mattias;). The lyrics were from start a love poem to me from Ia, and I think this is the song that is the most positive song on the album. In Remembrance: It was made at the same day as I made Sigh of Relief. Circumspection has Stefan's lyrics on it and Stefan is also making the whispering. Just as many other lyrics, the theme is quite sad. It is a good song to end the album, with voices and calm tunes.

The album has no exact concept, although everyone can hear the sadness and anxiety in the lyrics. Of course our personal thought are transparent, but we leave it to the listener to have their own world visualized before them while listening.

20. Obviously, Peter continues to be a dictator, as he's composing all the music. This doesn't scent of democracy... Especially as there are five of you now... How do you get along? Aren't there debates over this aspect?

Ia: Arcana is Peter, and the rest of us are just people that "help out", so to say. No one would ever be able to make this music, with the touch that has become Arcana. Peter is no dictator, but he is the sole leader, and this is the way it's going to be. We all get along great together. Just as any other "family" we get angry sometimes, upset or whatever it may be, but we never argue like shouting and fighting. We respect each other, and we have a great time together, both musically, when we party and when we travel together.

21. What do you expect from this album?

I hope the fans will like it. It is the first album in 3, 5 years and many people didn't even realise that we have had an album after Inner Pale Sun, so for some it is our first in 6 years;). This is an album that I think should please the people who enjoyed all other records, because it has some elements from the entire catalogue. And I think that this album may reach out to even more people, since it is quite an "easy album".

22. The sister album of "Le Serpent Rouge" should have been released too... At least this was the promise. What happened? I know that Peter was very ill at the time. What was there finally?

The album was delayed due to Vendela's illness. The diagnose on her turned our world up side down, so the music had to come in second (or third or fourth). But the album will be released, I promise you.

23. What future projects are there with ARCANA? When should we expect a live album, maybe a DVD?

For the time being, the sister release. Other than that, time will tell. After each album I feel like I have to take a rest, but one day I will probably sit by myself in the studio, and suddenly I've made some songs. A live-dvd has been talk of, but we are never satisfied with the performances we make. It feels like we have to wait until a little longer, and one day we will have a good one.

24. You'll perform at Brasov. What should the ones that will be present there know about you? Maybe some of them will listen to you for the first time... Tell me about ARCANA live? How is it on live shows? How long is a normal concert? Does it sound different from the studio? You have tens of instruments... which of them will you bring along? Partially playback maybe? Does imagery make a difference to you? You made an excellent show at Leipzig, that's what I've heard! Which will be the playlist?

Arcana live is more about emotions and atmosphere than a live-show. We have Stefan on keyboard and choir, Ann-Mari and Ia on vocals and additional instruments, such as bells and finger cymbals, Mattias plays the percussion and I sing and play some instruments. Sometimes we have a backdrop that Ia and Stefan made some time ago, a backdrop with moving pictures from the surroundings in our hometown, along with Arcana pictures. Normally we use candles on stage, for the atmosphere. A normal gig is about an hour, but it all depends on the mood, audience and other factors. We have to have a lot of the music pre-recorded, since it is impossible to have them all on stage. Then we would have to use at least 20 people on stage. Some songs sounds like the albums, and some not.... it depends. The playlist is always a surprise;)

25. Is ARCANA in the knowing of Romania as a country? What about its music, the fans from here, correspondence maybe...?

We have had very little correspondence with fans in Romania, but some have been written back and forth, especially now in the days of Myspace. We do not know much about the modern Romania. We have knowledge of the communist era, Ceausescu; the problems with his politics and of course your history about Vlad Tepes;). However, the photos we've seen from Brasov and the surroundings seem fabulous. And we are very sorry to say that we don't know much about Romanian music.

26. I would like you to introduce us to every band member, briefly and not standardized: age, occupation, musical/artistic preferences, involvement in other musical projects (please describe them), hobbies, religion, politics, how does a normal day look like .... And obviously, some words about your studio and the bands you're collaborating with.

Peter Bjargo, I was born 1974 here in Eskilstuna. I am the father of Vendela who will be 6 years old this year. I work part time at the Eskilstuna museum of art, and I also record local bands in one of the biggest studios in Eskilstuna. I have been into metal and punk since an early age, but I love almost any kind of music, unless "MTV modern music". I have several musical projects: Meanwhile (hardcore punk), Tyrant (old school Black metal), Sophia (industrial - is terminated though) and Crypt of Kerberos (death metal). I have multiple projects more, but these are worth mentioning. I am not religious at all, I am a member of the Swedish Green Party and I am into animal's rights. A normal day for me differs every day: I spend time with Vendela, I work for the museum or in my studio, I hang out with friends, I'm relaxing at home with Ia, spending time playing X-box 360 and I love to cook and I do that every day.

Cecilia Bjargo, I was born 1969 in Stockholm. I am the mother of four girls: Johanna born 1989, Madeleine born 1992, Sara born 1994 and Vendela born 2002. I am a student at the University College in Eskilstuna, and in two year I am hopefully graduated as a teacher, in English and social studies. I have a big passion in life and that is Photoshop. I love manipulating photos and make art from different kinds of pictures/photos. I am not involved in any other music projects, al though I sing in a choir. I am not religious, never been and will probably never be. I am also a member of the Gren Party in Sweden, and also a member of the Animals Rights organisation in Sweden. I spend my days in school, at home, with my girls and Peter, in the studio, by the computer, I clean, wash and tidy up around the house. Just like any other mother do. Rockstar life? Hell, no;)

Stefan Eriksson born 1971, working as a Masterchef, part owner of a web company and sometimes doing some DJ sets and sometimes I would call me a musician. I listen to all kind of music. Top 6 records ever, in no particular order: Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Sisters of Mercy - First Last and Always, Kraftwerk - Computer World (any will do), Scraping Foetus of The Wheel - Nail, Slayer - Reign in Blood, Depeche Mode - Speak and Spell, well you got the idea?! I guess that's why all other projects I'm involved with are all in different "styles"; Brotherhood (goth/pop/rock), FilthPig (industrial metal), Cardilax (crazy pop/punk), Love, Life and Death (down tempo/pop/country), MeM (electronic) to name a few. To sum it up; my life is: music, family, work, good friends and of course movies and TV.

Ann-Mari Thim: I will turn 32 this summer and at the moment I am working with European dealers for construction equipment at a big international company located in Eskilstuna. When I am not working there, I am either working out or making music, may that be with Arcana or other bands I am in - Bereft of you (acoustic guitarbased folkmusic with some metal influences) and Veil of Blue (lounge music/pop with a touch of Twin Peaks). I am taking vocal classes at the university in Eskilstuna as well so the weeks are pretty full. When it comes to religion I would rather call myself an agnostic. However I am very fascinated by different religions, mysticism and mythology, which also can be reflected in some of the lyrics, I have written.

Mattias Borgh: Ia forced me to describe myself so here goes: I'm 20 plus, tall, slender, athletically built, very smart and a real ladies man. Or maybe not... To be honest I'm 32. I work as a percussion and ensemble teacher at a music college. When it comes to music I guess I like a lot of different kind of genres, for me good music is good music no matter the style. Sorry, can't be more specific than that. Right now I play drums in Calliphora, which is a new project, we have just started to rehearse. I would describe it as heavy death metal with some technical twists. Then I am supposed to play in Crypt Of Kerberos (together with Peter...) and that is also a death metal band. Right now we are not active, but the plan is to make a new album further down the road. Hopefully it will happen. I also play percussion in a, maybe I should call it, art project which is called Toro! Toro! together with a dancer and a singer. My hobbies are fairly simple, I like movies and hanging out with friends and family. When it comes to religion, I must say that I'm not very interested. It's nothing for me, at least not until now. The same goes for politics. I try to keep up with what goes on in the world, but I am not a member of any political organization. A normal day, I wake up in panic realizing I overslept, rush to work, give a load of lessons and come home later than what I had planned. Then I try to do something creative. I like writing lyrics or sit at the computer or play guitar (which sounds very bad, but I am trying to get better). Another great hobby is to stare at the wall;)

27. I'm convinced that alongside "Innocent Child", "Closure" and "Through the Grey Horizon", "Lost in Time" or "Invisible Motions" will be rated as the most popular tracks. Aren't you thinking about releasing a Best of?

Nope, not yet. I don't think I ever will;) Some people consider The New Light as a sort of "best of", but that is old recordings, new songs and a mix of my entire life of Arcana.

28. What do you think about the music of: ATARAXIA, LOVE IS COLDER THAN DEATH, TRIARII, DVKE, KHVARENA, LYCIA, IRFAN, QNTAL? Are you discomforted or honoured of their comparison with ARCANA?

Honoured of course. Especially Love is Colder than Death and Irfan. I must be honest, I've heard OF some bands there, but not actually heard them. LiCTD has been a band I've admired for many years and Irfan I just recently heard of, when we perform with them in Holland last year: great people and fantastic musicians.

29. ARCANA has already done more than one cover-versions for DEAD CAND DANCE. Are there any others to come? Do you keep in touch with Brendan or Lisa? Have you been to the cathedral where Brendan uses to sing, in Ireland? Did you see them live on tours? Are you considering into inviting them on one of your future albums?

Not at the time, no. Three is more than enough. I am not trying to be "the new dead can dance", I am just very much enjoying with their music and of course influenced by it. I haven't been in contact with Lisa in many years, but Brendan and I have sporadic contact every now and then. I have never visited his house or his studio (in the church), but Ia and me met him and Lisa in Paris in 2005 after their gig at Palaise de la Congresse. We were invited by Brendan to see the performance, but the big treat was to meet him afterwards. It would be great working with them at some point in life, but I think they are too busy with their own lives.

30. Time now for doing something else. We'll have a lot to talk about both at the concert and at the afterparty. Will you speak with the fans or are we to consider bringing in Security for your protection? Surely, the fans will enjoy the opportunity to buy some ARCANA CDs and T-shirts at Brasov, won't they?

Ha ha ha, security? No, we will speak to the fans and we will drink beer with some of them. We really enjoy spending some time with people during our travels around Europe. The gigs are not only to perform, but also to meet new friends and see beautiful places. We hope to bring as much merchandise as we possibly can, but it is not easy. We hope to do it!

31. Thank you for the patience of having this long discussion and, until April 19th, enjoy the pure recognition of "Raspail". The triumphal event is about to come...it belongs to you...

Thank you! And see you in a few weeks!

March, 2008.