June 11, 2015 Interview – Seth Siro Anton of Septicflesh
Greek Atmospheric Death Metal institution Septicflesh has been making music for over twenty-five years. Beginning with Mystic Places of Dawn back in 1994, the band has gone on to craft nine diverse and epic studio records. Their latest, released in 2014, titled Titan, is a slab of orchestra-tinged madness, as the troupe is only getting stronger and continuing to dominate. Spending a lot of time touring in recent years, Septicflesh found themselves back in the USA once again with their good friends and Southern European colleagues in Dark Metal, Moonspell, as well as Sweden’s Electro-Rock stalwarts Deathstars in May. During their latest invasion, CrypticRock caught up with band co-founder Seth Siro Anton; multi-talented singer, bass guitar player, and album art extraordinaire, for a chat about touring, the Greek Metal scene, Horror movies, as well as the finer points of making albums.
CrypticRock.com – Septicflesh has been together now for over twenty-five years. Tell us a little bit about what that journey has been like for you personally?
Seth Siro Anton – It was difficult and easy. It started out difficult and now things are getting easier. Of course the secret key to getting things easier is to be active as a band, touring all the time, and making good albums. The only difficult time we had in the past was when we stopped Septicflesh because we wanted to study in the university. I studied Fine Arts and my brother Chris (guitar/samples) studied Classical Composition.
CrypticRock.com – Very impressive that both of you had the discipline to put something you loved on hold for the pursuit of education. What was it that inspired you to get back together and continue making Septicflesh albums? Was it something that was always going to happen?
Seth Siro Anton – The problem is that music is like a poison. Your organs need it to survive, especially because my brother and I, as you know, are the main creative members of Septicflesh. We are artists. We live from art, so we could not live without Septicflesh. It is important and necessary for our survival. It is not about money and finances, it is about fulfilling our hearts and our brains.
CrypticRock.com – A calling you could not ignore; understandable, and your fans appreciate it. Greece’s Metal scene is quite unique, what with Septicflesh, Rotting Christ, Nightfall, Acherontas, et al. Do you think that the Greek bands knew that they sounded different and seized on that or did it just evolve a sound naturally?
Seth Siro Anton – I think that is a thing unique to each country. It has happened here in the United States, or in Brazil, with for example Sepultura. Each country has its own character. The same goes for all the bands that come from across the world, the Black Metal bands from Scandinavia, the melodies in the Greek bands, as well as bands from England. About Greece now, I think the originality is in the melodies. For bands like Rotting Christ, ourselves, and Nightfall, they have something unique in their melodies. I also have to say that Greece was one of the first countries that had a real active underground Black Metal scene. I remember Necromantia, they were really popular in the beginning of the 1990’s.
CrypticRock.com – All very true. Septicflesh’s newest album, Titan, was released last June. What was the writing and recording process like for the album?
Seth Siro Anton – We faced a big challenge after 2011’s The Great Mass to try and create something that could top it or be competitive with it. So we started to make the pre-recordings; me, Chris, and Sotiris (Vayenas – guitar/keys/clean vocals), in our home studio that we each have in our houses. That was the first procedure. After we gave the tracks that needed the orchestra to Chris, which was most of them, he made the arrangements and composed the parts for the orchestra. We then recorded in Athens, and then Chris went to the Czech Republic and finished the compositions with the orchestra. The last part was the mixing and the mastering, which this time we chose to do in the United States with Logan Mader. He is a great musician and producer. I think he did an amazing job. The sound of Titan is more dry, more heavy, than our previous albums. I miss a little bit of the atmosphere that we had on the previous albums, the little bit of the European touch we have had in the past, but it is a very heavy record.
CrypticRock.com – You mentioned the atmosphere that has been so prevalent on Septicflesh’s albums. How important would you say that atmosphere is to your music?
Seth Siro Anton – I think it is the most important element in our music. Because it is difficult to have a great rhythm part, the melodies are the thing, that after you listen to an album, you will still remember. Especially on Titan, I think we made a great mix between the blast beasts, brutality, orchestral parts, and a lot of melodies as well as melodic guitar. I would say this is the secret key to our existence, this combination of different worlds.
CrypticRock.com – An enriching blend of styles ensures you will never bore your audience. Septicflesh have been to North America a number of times in the past; toured with Cradle of Filth, Behemoth, Children of Bodom, etc. What was it like touring with Moonspell, with whom you are very close, and Deathstars for their very own first US tour?
Seth Siro Anton – Of course it was very exciting. With Moonspell, we are brothers, for many years. We are from the South of Europe, Portugal, and Greece. As an artwork designer, I made the last three album covers for them. We are very closely connected. Before the North American tour, we were in Europe together. Deathstars is a famous band from Europe. They are a great band, with a great aesthetic and style. We thought this package would be something new for the United States because it is totally European music.
CrypticRock.com – It is most certainly a unique tour for the states, and that European feel you mentioned is very important to a lot of fans here in the United States. You have done a lot of different album covers, aside from the three for Moonspell. Do you have a particular inspiration behind your artwork?
Seth Siro Anton – No, I do not have a specific inspiration. Each band is different. I do not have a specific strategy or technique. I work with a freedom, but to make it happen successfully, I must say that the academic studies I took have helped me out so much. When I made the Kamelot cover, I did not make a Power Metal cover; I made something I liked. The Moonspell cover for Extinct is very extreme, but it works.
CrypticRock.com – The covers for Moonspell are very provocative and highly effective. CrypticRock is a website that covers Horror movies as well as music. Can you tell us what, if any, Horror films you enjoy?
Seth Siro Anton – I will list the three most important movies that influenced me in Horror. First is Seven (1995), number one. Number two, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1973). Third, I must say Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) by Francis Ford Coppola; an amazing movie.
CrypticRock.com – All excellent choices. Regarding the art and imagery in Horror movies, as an artist yourself, what is your opinion on CGI versus more organic special effects.
Seth Siro Anton – I do not like computer special effects at all. For my artwork, I like the blending of analogue effects with the computer. For my artwork, I use Photoshop only as a Darkroom, like for Photography. I never use filters or special effects. I want to keep the originality of the work.
CrypticRock.com – That is a great way to approach it. A lot of these remakes added computer effects detract from the experience, would you agree?
Seth Siro Anton – Absolutely. The original way is better for sure.