Interview with Peter Bjargo conducted by Bill Zebub for THE GRIMOIRE OF EXALTED DEEDS magazine.
The percussion i Sophia makes me think of medieval warfare. Did you intend for it to sound militaristic?
On the first album i wanted my music to have a small connection to the Templars. But on the later albums, it wasn’t my intention to make it that military. To me, Herbstwerk is more orchestral, and Spite more cold industrial.
Some of the tracks makes me think of what baroque would sound like in the mind of someone undergoing a psychotic episode. The nine tracks of Sigillum Militum were written “specifically for a live performance” – I read that by chance. How do you actually set up a live show, and does it include the haunting textures of the studio version?
I had this idea of a very special one-time live situation. I wanted to make a quite bombastic performance, with a lot of people on stage and very powerful. But I realized quite early that this kind of live performance costs a lot of money and is very difficult. Too many factors could go wrong. My live shows these days are more minimalistic, more humor on stage. Often just me and one more, samplers, and drum.
Am I correct in assuming that you intentionally compose a musical tension which builds up suspense? It is almost frightening sometimes when the aggressive release arrives.
Often i work after a model, where I start very calm and build up a cacophony. This often happens unintentionally. I try to break this pattern intentionally.
In Adeptus/Last Movement, did you use a beat out of time? It sounds like you did something like that to create a feeling of disturbance.
I had an idea of two independent parts, moving into each other. This created, as you say, a feeling of disturbance. Sophia has always been a platform for experiment, and I will never be afraid to break an old pattern and try something new.
The Seduction of Madness MCD is your musical interpretation of SATURN DEVOURING HIS SON, and although it specifically intends to depict madness, I had always felt that Sophia is like a “schizophrenic lens” through which one sees reality with a little bit more. When a schizophrenic hears or sees hallucinations, it is called a “positive” symptom because it is something that “adds” to what normal people have. Conversely, schizophrenics whose facial expressions are flat and do not reflect their feelings are said to have “negative” symptoms because something in a healthy person is absent. Sophia is music with positive symptoms, I think. My question is, how is the mini Cd more of an exploration into psychosis than your other releases?
It was actually intention of a live performance, together with a movie backdrop. The theme of the songs was never in particular schizophrenia but more of different cases of psychosis, and I guess most of that came from my interests in psychology and after have read the book “Seduction of madness” by Edward M. Podvoll.
I will ask about Stravinski having an effect on you because he was the first composer, I believe, who broke from comfortable melodies and specialized in disturbing music, especially in the area of percussion. You sometimes lull the ear with safe phrasing and then you unleash a nightmare is this original, or inspired by others?
This is my idea of how to make people feel calm and relaxed, then start to feel uncomfortable and in the end trying to get a climax of chaos. This model is, I think, mostly for Seduction of Madness MCD. The model of crescendo has been existing for of long time. But I never took the idea from anybody else.
The author of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST was under the influence of peyote when he wrote that. Did you ever ingest a hallucinogen when creating music?
No, I haven’t. If you don’t call enormous amount of booze and beer a hallucinogen.