Triarii

 •  Posted in: Kogaionon Interviews

Triarii represents a particular figure in the ambient music area, this through the force of expression and originality. Throughout the duration of every track, the listener finds him/herself being bombarded by unusual and unique percussion's that differ through their aggressiveness and military cadence. On Wikipedia we find the explanation of the term: Triarii were spear-men in the armies of the early Roman Republic. They were oldest and among the wealthiest men in the army. The music expressed by this German project (based in Berlin) matches the description; it is anthem like, warrior like through concept and through message. We are having a chat with Christian Erdmann, the leader and the mentor of this band, a pretty mysterious and not very media friendly individual. I was honoured by his decision of sharing with us some of his visions… and perhaps even more!

Greetings my friend. Everyone who appreciates TRIARII is now expecting the arrival of winter. And of the new album. A good while has passed since we are waiting for your third album. Why so few makes in your relatively long history?

   Maybe some people expect a release every year due to some unwritten law, but it is more important for me, to produce a good result; even if it takes longer. Music for me, as for many others, is a form of expressing myself.
The creation process depends on feelings, moods and time. It all has to come together to let me create the things I create. Sometimes you produce a song within hours, sometimes you have to deal with blockades. On top of it, I am a perfectionist. If the songs are not displaying or reflecting my intention, I am working it over and over and over again until it fits my own expectations.    
Like every other artist, I want completion. I want to reach the highest points of my own creativity. Maybe there is not such a goal or point to reach, who knows?    
But it is an inner drive that pushes me forward to do that. I think, nearly any art without such an impulse, is senseless. If I would lose that inner drive, I could stop making music.

What is more appropriate to say: band or project? As you are the only official member…

    In opposite to many rumours that are spreading around: I am the only member.    
According to the production of the songs and the creation of the identity, I would say that TRIARII is a project.    
For live-appearances, I have support from Axel Frank of WERKRAUM and from Volker Neumann of ETERNAL SOUL.    
People may be right when they see TRIARII as band, when there is a live-appearance.The decision to call TRIARII a band or a project, I leave to the consumers.

Since this is our first talk, I would ask you to tell us, in a few words, TRIARII´s history and also your personal view on your work until date.

    TRIARII was founded in 2004. I’ve already made music for a long time, but then had the luck to get in contact with ETERNAL SOUL, who appreciates my music.    
So all started with the 7" vinyl "Triumph" in 2004. The first album "ars militaria" in 2005 together with the limited subscription 7" vinyl "Imperivm"; only according to the "ars militaria"-box set; and the second album "Pièce Heroique" in 2006.    
I never expected such a great feedback and never would’ve thought that there actual will be "fans" who appreciate what I do. There’re even people who travel to several concerts, just to see TRIARII. I am very critical of myself, always trying to be as reflective of me as I can; especially with the releases, I try to stay objective as long as I can. Of course, after such a long time, listening to my own stuff over and over again, I have to let go and let others decide. Very good and honest friends help me decide what is good and what is bad.    
Today, I am quite happy that the production of "Muse in Arms", with all its facets, comes to an end. After every release, I feel quite exhausted but also in a way restless; starting with new ideas and new stuff. One of the following releases is already done in my head...

You are amongst the few who utilizes the printing of limited edition CDs and due to this one has more options to choose from, as you have different versions, with different booklets. What makes them different from one another, especially as content wise, we are talking the same tracks?

    Mostly, there are two different versions available; the release is split up into two versions. One higher amount of copies in a regular jewel case, another very strictly limited version in a special edition. Those special editions are made for collectors or so called "real fans" and often come in a box set or a special made package. It follows the identity of the album, but appears in a more luxury version which often contains more than just the CD. With "Muse in Arms", there will also be a limited velvet black box set with silver embossed lettering which will contain (alongside the CD) a T-Shirt, a silver / enamel TRIARII metal pin and a postcard set.    
The philosophy of ETERNAL SOUL is getting more and more unique in those days of download-samplers, cheap made stuff and "making a fast buck"...and that pleases me.    
Of course, the label has to count as well, has to sell and has to make its income... but it is their love for details and for very high quality products that makes me want to release my stuff there. At the moment, I have a place, where my vision of TRIARII and its dissipative, extravagant, lavish and elitist expression has its home.    
This label would never release anything if it would not find personal pleasure, even if it would sell a bit more. Even if TRIARII someday would not find personal acceptance anymore, this label would stop releasing my music. Probably this fact in combination with my perfectionism and my home-made pressure drives me, to keep a kind of "minimum standard"; a level which is forbidden to under-run.

What brings new “Muse in Arms”, as sound and approach? Your second album is a big forward step from the first one. Can you say the same thing about the third one, in relation to the first two? Is it the same Military Martial style?

    Of course, I would say that "Muse in Arms" is a step forward, otherwise I wouldn’t release it. I always work on the improvement of sound and I think that it’s recognizable on the third album. This time, I had an even more fussy view on the mastering process. Maybe, I drove Jouni from IN SLAUGHTER NATIVES nuts this time... But it was worth making this album more present, lighter and harder this time. This album will be different in a way, but will also be TRIARII. Like the title word-play says; this time I focus on the Muse.     This time, the focus lies more on (neo-) classical arrangements and I’ve tried to spread within more self-restriction.    
Of course there will be martial parts, anthems and danceable tracks.Some people say that the third release is the most difficult one. The first release starts it all; people are impressed or not and some kind of journey starts. The second release often affirms the status and shows it’s potential. The third one is quite often a decision where to go or how to move on. Some people will mourn about, if you are doing the same stuff, others mourning about being different this time. So this will always be, but it doesn’t affect me. I want to keep the musical spectrum of TRIARII as wide as possible, to be able to do different things without losing the main track. Why should I do the same stuff as with the last release? If people want to have the same as with the last album, they should just make a copy of their own CD. If they expect something totally different, they should listen to another project.

Can you share with me the technical details of your new album: its length, the lyrics, the concept behind it, the description of every track, guests, the cover and the booklet…  Will this be released in different versions as well? How many people have contributed by actually playing on this album?

    "Muse in Arms" will contain 11 tracks. It will be an edition of 2000 copies. 1850 will come in a regular jewel case. 150 copies will be sold within a limited box set which will be a black velvet box with silver embossed lettering. It will contain the CD, a postcard set, a silver/enamel TRIARII pin and a T-Shirt.     "Muse in Arms" is also a title of a collection of prose and poetry from the First World War. With concrete melodies and anthems, I will underline possible feelings and images you might have when you think of armour or war. Even the picture of a worst aftermath is able to transport feelings of hope, grief or triumph.     During the production process, more and more songs relating to the sun made their way onto the album.The lyrics, I’ve wrote them myself as usual and Axel Frank from WERKRAUM helped recording my vocals as he’s able to work out one of the best results.For each release, I meet several photographers and people who are able to transport my vision within their work. It is getting increasingly difficult for several people I work with because I expect them to deal with my moods and expectations and work with 110% of their abilities for my realization.    
The artwork and corporate identity follows a very strict line which is recognizable from the beginning of TRIARII. I always work out the idea, a ground structure and this time a graphic designer and friend realized my vision for this release.

 How is TRIARII presenting itself live? What are the differences between studio and on stage? How important is the backdrop and what does it symbolises? What sort of gigs related feedback have you been getting so far?

    TRIARII is a construct. It is artificial. It is a vision. All light, fog, video, the drumming and our appearance is supposed to create a certain feeling of strength, discipline, extensiveness and dignity. For me, a live appearance of TRIARII is more a monumental snapshot, more exposure than a typical band performance.

Tell me a few words about the bands that were invited by me to play in Romania in 2008: Arcana, ORE, ISN, Cascadeur and Spiritual Front.

    Arcana: I like it a lot.
ORE & ISN: Greetings to Tomas and Jouni. You invited us to come to play with them, but sadly we had problems to appear all together for that date.
Cascadeur: I don’t know that much about the new project from Axel Menzer, but I liked the early Hekate. Good to have a new influence.
Spiritual Front: We´ve played with SF in Lyon. A great project with much potential for spreading much wider over the borders of the Gothic/Neofolk-Scene.

Are you involved in any other musical project?

    Not at this time. I am thinking of possibilities for collaborations and probably for a side-project. At the moment, TRIARII takes most of my time, due to its complexity of music and identity. But time will tell.

In the end I’d like to add that, the fact that living in today’s world is getting more and more to be a personal struggle with the system its probably a subtle path towards self-destruction, something that man will realise later. Would you agree with me?

    Living in the world of today is definitely getting harder. Personal struggle within the system depends on how much you let yourself get involved into.    
Fact is that everybody has to fulfil the minimum requirement of the system. The more you involve your person into the system of political and (social-) cultural circumstances, the more you will find yourself getting annihilated by. But everyone will fulfil a position inside a system in one way or another. Even I do. But the question is: What kind of cogwheel are you? A big or a small one?

(the full version of the interview you will find enclosed in the Kogaionon No 10 magazine)

November, 2008