Doru Atomei - interviu de Iulius Mathe

 •  Posted in: Kogaionon Interviews

For the beginning, tell me how you are and what should be your regular concerns?

"I have just come home from traveling all round the country and I am pretty tired because of so much driving. My concerns? Hmm, the same I have been confronting with for the last five years, which is work. Otherwise, I do not think that anyone might get interested in exactly what I do, as it is insignificant, trust me!"

Romanian public knows you especially due to the fanzine that you edit. You started this publication in the spring of 1995, when the Romanian fans appreciated rock and metal music much more. Then, by the time passed away while generations changed, the number of all faithful people who stuck with these styles considerably lessened. How do you comment on this involution inside Romanian scene, if taking in account that these styles themselves have suffered various alterations?

   "This is not an involution and it never was about en evolution either of these extreme styles. It is true, ten years ago, the underground styles concerned a lot of people, yet not at the concept level or music itself, but because of some opinion leaders' nihilist misanthropic or elitist message. Naturally, I feel nostalgia when turning back in time, but this is not something to happen exclusively to myself, but to each person at a certain moment of life. Let us not say 100% (but close to it) of all these styles' disciples/old-timers, have families of their own, jobs, different pursuits and perhaps that is the reason of a lower interest. From another point of view, Black Metal (this last one I speak about), which started in Norway, has become immediately very popular yet not because of the music, but of the events that happened by that time: churches' firing, suicides, murders... Everything has become hilarious and clones started to come out uncontrollably... Black Metal Scene passed into fashion: everybody used make-up, got on intimate terms with paganism and catch on "Nordic "style. Times have changed; Gothic made its entrance intensely and today you can even dance Reggae with your girlfriend at a Metal gig. It is, in other words, like safety matches that effectively burns out but unfortunately too fasten. Regarding autochthon scene, I am not able to say much because I do not know much. I would have desired to write about, but some persons' selfishness, non-interest or, on contrary, certain interests asserted otherwise...I am not in the position of a man who knows."

Many inedited bands from underground area were present inside Kogaionon's pages. Do you even think that your intercession had the expected impact? More precisely, was there any considerable feedback due to your promotion?

   "An impact, in true sense of word, is out of question. In fact, I founded the magazine in order to extend the activity I already had, my radio show and also because it was an inner desire of my soul. That was the way I felt and thus I acted. I shall probably keep doing it. To be sincere, I was never interested in my magazine impact, yet I would have enjoyed if existing such. I am not in the position to answer your question while the ones who could are already almost out of the Metal Scene (I refer to our scene). That should be the very reason I decided to opt for English instead of Romanian. It seems like the reaction of abroad were better than the 150-200 opinions I received from Romania."

I noticed that each Kogaionon issue enjoyed certain changes. I have always appreciated the improvements you made so that each one was much different from the others before. It often occurred "restructures" as far as the manner of conceiving the materials was concerned. I refer especially to method of criticizing, inside reviews chapter, as well as to the changed aspect of approaching the questions. All these chameleonic transformations based on new optics regarding the editorial concept? Do you think that your readers understood the magazine's metamorphoses?

   "I am glad to hear such things. I know that many of my few autochthon readers did appreciate the detailed manner of reviewing. I might have done good things too. I do not find true to have chameleonic changed something into my magazine during the years. Everything depended on time and budget. At the beginning I had enough time, an optimal state of mind (studentship, oh, perfect times!) but I had no money. Now, I do not have free time at all and, in order to write, I must deny reality. It is harder and harder to do that... I have no idea if my readers perceived the alterations you underlined since I am not sure of constant readers. As I told you, many of them are lost somewhere in quotidian reality. As far as the ones from abroad are concerned, they had only last two issues in English and the references split: excellent/exquisite/boring interviews, much too detailed or objective review, correct/rather positive or too short. For me it is very important only if Kogaionon exists, not if it is criticized or not. I am scared, in exchange, of indifference, while approbation and critiques are two antagonistic sides yet complementary, which pulls out the inner force so that a new issue can appear. Unfortunately, for Kogaionon, indifference had a tough word to say. That is it."

Most of your interviews' questions are amply conceived. You have tried to concentrate plenty of ideas but I guess the answers were not always at the same level or standards you expected. How do you deal with this problem? If I tell you that, some members of the bands are not totally submitted to their musical image or the concepts of their music, do you think I might be wrong? I believe that each musical critic must justify his pleading through the profundity and the essence of all meanings that the interviewees' concepts denote. Don't you agree with?

   "You is happening right now. Can you not observe this fascicle contains too many questions? What do you intend, ask a question and then answer as well or, because of your desire to be explicit, you simply try to transpose the idea into rather too many details...What would have happened if all your question were exactly like the first one-well, probably, it would have been much easier either for me or you! Unfortunately, according to musical mass-media habits, when it is about interviewing, the majority of questions are very official and insufficient. If you read ten magazines from ten different countries during a month, you would be surprised to see that an interview with a certain band is just the same except the shape. If I were to drop a conclusion, that would be pessimistic, since mediocrity haughtiness and pragmatism of some who run interviews practically destroy the scene and everything turns monotonous and puerile. If up to me, I rather skip the questions and read between lines-when boring-than checking each letter so that I might get the false impression I find as much details as possible.     In fact, what should be the purpose of an interview if not finding out less known or even new things and-when possibly-exclusively presented? It often happened that my interviewees offered my material to other journalists in order to get well informed or to open the chance of another exclusive chat. In my opinion, to make an interview without the required previous research is almost equal with voting Dolanescu as Member of Parliament with the hope he would represent you the best. Back to your question, I must say you are not wrong; there are very few musicians totally submitted to their created image or philosophy. Yet I do not think it matters too much. If their music and lyrics create inside of me a certain pleasant mood, everything it is OK. If there is much more...well, so is the respect! If not, I usually appreciate the inspiration and take what I can namely the mood created by their musical "picture". My questions are with a view to provoking, revealing or breaking loose all details that might surprise the reader as well as the interviewee. If the answers are yes or no type, it means either his intelligence is limited or my questions are real burdens. If otherwise...well, I can predict a successful interview. For example, you may take a look upon the ones I did with IN THE WOODS..., MONUMENTUM, ATARAXIA, SUSPERIA or ENID since they were the most appreciated and beloved ones as far as the majority of magazines wrote. It is as simple as that, isn't it? "

Inside Adi Mihailov's "Bestial Newsletter" you mentioned about the 8th issue of Kogaionon as the last in such classical shape. I would like you to develop this subject and also to explain what were you exactly referring at and which are your further intentions. Is it about becoming a periodical/monthly or an Internet version?

   "I would like as well to have a vision of Kogaionon's future, but I am afraid I do not picture it clearly neither for you nor for me. I might find not all inner resources I need in order to fight for...I might be not so able to succeed in any further, I simply know nothing so far. I would really love to turn it into a periodical, but these days I need to make a quite important decision for my future and my family's, which means that everything I'd say now might not be true tomorrow. I can only assure you that I definitely desire to go on...not for others but for myself. I simply rather conceive an interview or make a review than going for a drink with some friends of mine in my spare time. In order to clear up the situation for you, I offer you a few exclusive lines from the eighth issue: " Octavian Paler has concluded, inside his last book, "Desert for eternity", that man owns three lives: a public one, a personal one and a "secret" one, which I could not agree more. In my case, if the public one is pretty known and the personal life belongs exclusively to my family and friends, my "secret" life devours me and reaches almost uncontrollable tides, even for myself. For it is filled with dreams, obsessions and fantasies of my inner soul, with deep roots in my sub consciousness. Far beyond any reasonable doubt, my "secret" life gave birth to this very magazine and the most powerful force for keeping it still alive. This is already the eighth issue which existence I myself have not even dreamt about. Why so? Just because, in spite of others' believes and practices, to me music is not and never will be a profession. If I gave music up neither my public life nor the personal one would change or be affected in their essence. Perhaps, on contrary, I would become a more careful father, a candid husband and I probably have a better and more important job as well...all my acquaintances would have the chance to appreciate a more socialized person in me. Nevertheless, I would not know that. Yet when the "secret "life desecrates a destiny (some call it biography) from early childhood till the teen-age period, there is a kind of optimism that makes you think that everything is perfectly reachable at one simple gentle touch... and then you come to have a firm conviction that nothing carry weight while no impediments can really oppose. Therefore, you get through to an age when it's rather appropriate to analyze in extreme terms "what is the most important thing for me? Is the personal life or the secret one?" Hard to make a decision. Even more somber, I suspect not even my personal private life can range under some decent lines of guidance since responsiveness such love and passion struggle within in order to wreck and dispatch my "secret" life. In addition, this is the point where from tolerance itself creates the proper place or should I rather say that self-control dominates? Some simply name it COMPROMISE".

Because of the quotations of the eighth issue's foreword (appeared also inside the up mentioned newsletter) I am tempted to affirm that the tone you used and your attitude became deeply introspective and even meditative. I cannot help but wonder what did cause you such feelings and emotions that rather look like a swan's song, after so many years of devotion to underground culture?

   "You may give the interpretation you desire. Perhaps I have listened to much too many bad mediocre bands or the future is not one of quality bands. I would like you to keep in mind I was sincere and probably much too close to reality in my up mentions. I must confess, underground meant and shall always mean so much to me. If actual underground is not quite an enchantment for me, well, it does not mean I am not interested in. As for the "introspective and meditative attitude"..., you may read carefully each interview you choose and, most certainly, you would discover I follow the same path since ever. It is just the impression I sometimes get a little too rhetorical and, perhaps, it is in my wish to change a bit the magazine's structure. Otherwise, everything would become boring in time (I am afraid that for many persons it is already a fact, but what should I say, I never put a gun on their faces...he, he)"

Do you plan, as far as this new Kogaionon issue is concerned, to introduce quite a challenge on the Metallic Romanian scene? What it would be like?

   "There is no challenge and neither would I want it to be. I do not even desire or try imagining that my magazine might be within a framework of journalistic matter. I promote underground, therefore let it be underground! I do not wish for my popularity to grow; yet it is my desire for those 1000 Kogaionon samples to meet the right people, who are, in fact, the ones most interested in Metal stuff. The rest or the majority can enjoy hundreds of any other opportunities either if on Internet or if it is about monthly publications (autochthon or from abroad). About the contents..., well, there will be reviews, this time in subjective critical and non/realistic manner, a few interviews and, perhaps, some materials of any different nature. I might have found a collaborator in the very person I am talking with right now, haven't I? I believe you could rather propose me some subjects relating to a non-musical article."

I assume so. Your projects' Internet site is pretty well structured. Do you intend to modernize your site? I have information you will ask for Christophe Szpajdel's help (who is he?) and Giuseppe Ferrillo's, the Webmaster of Code 666 label.

   " I do not have any plans for modernization so far, but who knows..., yet I would prefer believing there is at least one Romanian person who (in exchange of money, not for free, of course) might help me in design/technical matter. You should have heard of Christophe by now since he designed over 200 logos for bands and magazines from all over the world. Obviously, it was about underground ones, yet the majorities were Death and Black Metal."

In fact, you let me know that Giuseppe would absorb the artwork and layout as well for the next issue of your fanzine. What can you tell me about this relationship?

    "I believe you have to wait to see it with your own eyes. Giuseppe is a person whose skills in computers are pretty good, especially in design and graphics. He earns his existence by doing such things. Obviously, I would pay for his work if we had a deal."

Tell me, please, what should be the signification of the design and those strange appearances that adumbrate the official web site of "Kogaionon" magazine?

   "The first page is, in fact, the cover of last Kogaionon issue but "mastered" on computer with another image while the author was Orias (AD INFERNA). Those strange appearances were the Webmaster's choice as well and the "translation" is quite simple: Kogaionon magazine-Antofagasta radioshow".

Since it came here, what can you tell me about "Antofagasta Show"? Please, describe the specific nature of this radio show and the concept (including data such as the name of the radio station, the frequency, hour, day etc)

   "Well, I sincerely am not the kind to make much noise about nothing..., because the people (it is about Suceava's people) who want listen they actually do it; I do not need for promotion because is the only one, in my town area, since 6 December 1991. . All who want to listen for Metal/Rock music most definitely are aware of all such shows, especially since they are so few in number; I assume they keep in mind such details if interested. If there are some changes in broadcasting, it probably deserves making an announcement. Otherwise, I do not feel I have to enter too many details for those who prefer such musical style yet do not have the information regarding the hour or where these shows take place. On the other hand, I find out there are a lot of such Metal shows, all over the country, but still, when a gig occurs, only a few wanderers show up... In other words, I do not trust in what is done around here and that is the reason I rather define myself out of everything, I do not criticize and neither I am interested in. Each one must follow his/her own path and if there is a chance in a million for us to meet..., well, Walhalla is definitely the most appropriate location... Yet, not to be much too vague: Monday night, after the 23:00 pm BBC news, Antofagasta advances, for a whole hour, extreme metallic news: Doom/Gothic/Death/Black/Ethno/Ethereal/Darkwave/Ambient, on 104 FM, Radio Top'91 Suceava. If interested in what I broadcasted so far, enter my site and access Antofagasta folder."

What is your personal view regarding the international actual metal scene, what about the autochthon one? Can you predict in large points the future tendencies inside this field?

   "Simpler than ever, Bin Laden-drums, George Bush-guitars, Tony Blair-bass and Vladimir Putin-vocals, this should be the future of international metal scene. As far as the Romanian scene is concerned, referring especially to the underground, if Grimegod, God and Negura Bunget fade away..., well, so does the term itself of "metal scene". Maybe we might talk about a Rock scene, yes, that is possible, but it is not my cup of tea. I really do not know, my friend, I am not Nostradamus and I am not so interested in what future might bring. IN THE WOODS... simply passed away, so did EMPEROR and CELTIC FROST... all I adored either dissolved or turned out a whole lot of nonsense (Theatre Of Tragedy, for example). Time will tell!"

 I know you went, in October at Tristania's gig in Budapest. How did you find it? Have you ever intended to get involved in this field as well so that someday to organize such metallic reunion?

   "Excellent, I did desire to review the event but I had no time. Excepting Madder Mortem, which was pathetic, the rest was cool enough; ROTTING CHRIST were real maestros, TRISTANIA's sound was kind of not so good (a different way of play-back), but the atmosphere was fantastic while VINTERSORG quite stroke the Hungarians. Since I realized we were solely eight Romanian for Budapest... I experienced bitterness. Of course, the idea of organizing gigs was another ambitious project of mine yet, since it is not in my nature to make compromises, as far as music is concerned, I do not find myself in the position of being anybody's friend. If someone asks for my help in this particular direction, I would be glad to do it, of course, up to my possibilities. I still remember, almost 5-6 years ago, I did organize a gig at Suceava's Rockoteca where WICCAN REDE and NEW AGE were invited. Next day, on the local news, I saw frames of the concert and even me when declaring that thanks to generous sponsors young men from Suceava can enjoy...and the background pointed out a bunch of young mad teen-agers, naked busts, who were shaking their heads in the battery rhythm while blustering and breaking bottles...well, the broadcasted titrated message was " do you see them? They might be your offspring; Satan came down on earth..." This was my succinct career of organizer."

In my point of view, the extreme genders are more introverted, spectral while the rest, quartered deep in classical Heavy Metal's roots, are much more "exposed" externalized as adventure, and musical or textual message as well. What is your picture according to what I described?

    "You are absolutely right and I must confess I still am an IRON MAIDEN fan! By the time when I was much younger, there were two famous camps; one dedicated to HALFORD and the other to Harris/Dickinson. I can listen anytime to IRON MAIDEN and I must say that the show they performed in Bucharest was magnificent in spite of the band's caricatured vocals. Heavy Metal is a digestible and very "extrovert" style. Not in a million years, a comparison between Black and Heavy Metal can occur... although, lately, the analogies are so often..."

Can you describe yourself as a pagan spirit, a traditionalist person devoted to nature's mystical celebrations?

   "No doubt, I can! I am a Dacian or maybe Zalmoxis himself and I live isolated in the woods; my house is on Kogaionon Mountain, surrounded by wolves piping through my chimney streamer as well as through the wind that howls and lashes the air and space. Each night, I offer tributes, animal sacrifices and follow all kinds of rituals for my divinity! Well, no, my friend, nothing likes this. I respect and adore Mother Nature; I am proud of my people's history and legends since I am born from these very roots, but I am a quite normal man guiding by my own rules and values so that not to disturb or unbalance the other ones. I have my family, my life and I am grateful I can see, hear and walk as well as for my entire health. The other details, regarding my convictions, are to be found inside my Kogaionon introspections."

Can you, roughly speaking, define the genders you approached inside "Kogaionon" from the very beginning (of course that should follow the perspective of a pagan spirituality disciple)? Succinctly, what is the signification of these genders for your soul?

    "I believe you have noticed I was not quite in the right mood of answering such questions. Moreover, it is in my opinion that an interview is not exactly the best chance of facing such challenge. I am sorry for that."

That is OK. Can I ask you then what should be the personal symbolization regarding music, in general? Let us find out which are your latest musical choices and reading ones as well.

   "Music implies and stands for everything: Sacrifice, Pain, Ecstasy, and Madness! DEAD CAN DANCE is a band never missing me, then IN THE WOODS......, DVKE, MY DYING BRIDE, ENCHANTMENT, DEVIL DOLL and lately GREEN CARNATION (genially!!!!!!!!!!!), TRISTANIA, SUMMONING, ELEND and DEPECHE MODE. Books, you say, I have not succeeded yet to finish last Paler's book."

OK, thanks a lot for being kind enough to approve with this interview. Please, let us enjoy a word of farewell.

    "When I decided to release the first Kogaionon issue, I recollected and reflected myself in Paler's following words: "There is no solitude or emptiness. It simply endures our own ineptitude for penetrating the nudity, hollowness and pointlessness we live in." I still agree with his sayings...good luck, my partner, and keep on moving, as it seems like you are doing quite a good job! May the commercial disease never strike you! Underground have not passed away yet!!!"

November 2001.