KRVNA- The rise of ''Sempinfernus''
The formation of Krvna and the blood that is integral to it?
Krvna Vatra Smrt Hails @ The Coroner’s Report! KRVNA is a ‘one man Black Metal band’ hailing from Sydney. After years of musical inactivity, various stressors (notably the death of my father and an accident which left me with a broken shoulder) in 2020 set me on my path & ensured the end result that is ‘Sempinfernus’. Prior to the formation of this project and subsequent outputs, I had previously been involved with bands like Nazxul. I also run a recording studio, ‘Last Gasp Recordings’ where a number of Australia’s BM acts & albums have been mixed and/or mastered over the course of the last however many years.
The source of vampiric knowledge that runs through your music?
My interest stems from old familial tales - as children we were exposed to numerous stories of witchcraft, vampirism and other misadventures via my mother. She comes from a small village located on the Istrian Peninsula where one of Europe’s most endangered cultures exists - the ‘Istro-Romanians’. Our ancestors, from what I understand, had made the trek to modern day Istria some 600 years ago fleeing incoming ottoman incursions, from Transylvania, specifically, ‘Tara Motilor'.
Numerous superstitions involving vampirism and witchraft are common throughout all of the Balkans and their themes run throughout both Slavic and Latin (or Vlach(?)) contingents. My own mother has stories of being beset by a vampire every evening to draw & consume of her blood. The vampire even had a name - ‘Morana’ (which also happens to be the Slavic deity of Winter and Death - no co-incidence, I’m sure). She was, as the story goes, healed by local ‘witches’.
With the passage of time, subsequent improvements in education, living & health standards - many of these stories and ‘old ways’ were abandoned and forgotten in favour of modern… comfortabilities. ‘Sempinfernus’ was my (small) way of shedding light on some of these old superstitions & tales, once more.
Its links to eternal life? And the cycle of man?
We tend to assume that any prospect of eternal life is that it is to be granted on spiritual or metaphysical terms - the appealing aspect of vampirism, to me, is that is provides a similar outcome, in the world of the flesh - sans soul & sans enlightenment. It is like a metaphysical ‘bypass’. I like this idea very much in the sense that it is an antidote/anathema to the seemingly embarrassing & desperate attempts of humanity and its subsequent spiritual outputs to transcend, enlighten and obtain ‘life eternal’ in some ‘ever after.’ It begs one to ask - ‘is life and/or eternal life all that it’s cracked up to be?’ The older I get, the more tired I grow & the more I understand that diminishing marginal rates of utility most definitely apply. Fuck having to do this all again, here, or on some other astral plane.
The power of Blood?
It is in the obvious - blood harbours… & is conducive to life. It sustains us. Blood sacrifice was common practice and performed in countless temples & varying religious systems in veneration and placation of deities, throughout millennia… remnants of these rituals are found, albeit appropriated, in Christianity, even; ‘He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.’
As society has developed humanist knowledge these stories have stopped. Why? Do you think there are myths currently being made or is this lost forever?
I’d touched on this earlier - I think the exponential advances humanity has made (since the industrial revolution) in the sciences, education, technology, health & living standards has definitely correlated with the decline in the belief of myths and superstitions like vampirism.
I think there is an inherent risk in all aspects of historical information (relating to culture, superstitions and ritualistic leanings) becoming prone to degradation and corruption through the passage of time. It’s kind of like copying a cassette over and over and over again. With each generation you introduce noise/misinformation/entropy, and the end result more often than not is something that only loosely resembles the original artefact. Some of the aesthetics & symbolism may remain partly intact, but more often than not it’s the intent & sentiment behind these superstitions and beliefs that becomes prone to dissonance, with time. Do we really understand why people thought the ways they did, in the past? Or are we relegated to making loose assumptions tainted by modern day appropriations?
To answer your question about myth creation in the modern age - maybe the logic behind myths themselves has evolved. Without looking into it too deeply I’m reticent to say that perhaps modern day myth making may lay more in the realms of what we now loosely consider as ‘conspiratorial’ thinking/The only myths that seem to gain traction & proliferate enmasse relate to socio-political misinformation - how boring, comparatively??
Seemingly people no longer have the ‘spiritual’ inclination to either create or digest myths based on legends/superstitions/theological/metaphysical grounds anymore. I’m sure not everyone is the same, and this is just a loose opinion… but humanity’s 3rd eye seems well & truly ‘shut’, to me… Shame?
The biggest misconception of these themes in modern media?
Whilst I don’t necessarily think the collective conscious of the ‘media’ drives this - I think the biggest misconception related to vampiric themes expressed either in Black Metal or via historical means is in the inherent literalising & trivialisation of said themes & beliefs, and the subtextual assertions that we, in the modern age are somehow intellectually superior when compared to that of our ‘primitive’ counterparts who genuinely did believe in these superstitions. They had their stressors, and while we have ours - we are still inclined to believe in stupid things, untruths, and falsehoods too - so are we really any different? This ill-conceived preconception may or may not have anything to do with the fact some find so much fodder with Vampiric Black Metal - It is not a joke - Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ put it best; ‘Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things.’
The influence of religion?
Absolutely - the Catholic Church played a huge part by not only validating & appropriating the myth of the vampire but also in proliferating & weaponising it throughout the Balkans & greater Europe in the middle ages. They prayed on, and fed into the local populace’s fears - and offered subsequent salvation via ‘Christ’.
The nocturnal themes and the black metal were made for each other. Is extreme music the only way to deliver your intent properly?
In no uncertain terms - YES. Black Metal provides the perfect form of expression & it is true - ‘if you gaze for long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.’
Sempinfernus followed very quickly from your demo this year. Intentional in terms of unleashing a musical force?
Hmmm not necessarily an intentional move but a good one, in retrospect - the demo served as an appropriate springboard on to ‘Sempinfernus’. Both were recorded at similar times, but the demo was completed earIy 2021, while mixing and mastering of ‘Sempinfernus’ was only completed in August, this year.
Sempinfernus is far more aggressive and focused in its nature?
Yes - and this was intentional. I wanted the demo to sound more atmospheric, melodic & ‘open’ - while the album was, as you said, focused and more aggressive in nature. I hope the music is convincing in that regard - it truly is a mirror into my state of mind during its composition, performance & recording.
The freedom that a one-man project allows? It seems to fit in very closely to what KRVNA reperesents?
Yeah it was the best fit, for sure - I’ve spent a good 10 years in hibernation & starting off ‘solo’ seemed to provide me with the path of least resistance. It just felt ‘right’ for the style of the music and the project. The only constraints I have to consider in the ‘one man’ setting are that of the mental & physical limitations in what I can (or more to the point) can’t write and perform. It can be a bit of a double edged sword that way and while I miss the ‘two and fro’ of a band environment, I’ve been reasonably happy with how things are, at current. While the M.O for the next album is fixed, i’m not sure how I’ll approach the third.
Where do you think the primal urge of your music comes from?
On the immediate - mine was in absolute terms an emotive response to circumstances that engulfed me, in 2020. The circumstances provided the catalyst & my familial folk stories provided me with the inspiration.
Primally, though - there’s a quote by David Byrne in ‘How Music Works’, about how ‘Slavic music use(s) minor keys for happy music,’ claiming, ‘…their lives were so hard they didn’t really know what happiness was.’ I think there’s a collective impact that’s had on one’s psyche which is subconsciously passed down (and is influenced) via the summation of all their ancestors experiences. We end up with certain psychological, emotional, social and cultural pre-dispositions & traits. I feel like I was always going to turn out this way & had no choice in the matter.
The power of extreme metal and what drew you to it? are you still listening to Black metal?
I think it’s about feeling a connection with something that feels familiar, & something that has the ability to speak to me on a philosophical level. It needs to be convincing. I rarely feel ‘right’ about many things, but music, and extreme music in particular is the exception and felt most like ‘home.’ My introduction to extreme music occurred at a very young age through family and friends… It all started in 1988 & it has been ruining my life ever since & yes, still listening to Black Metal. I struggle with a lot of the new stuff and it’s true when they say ‘the young look forward, while the old look back.’
I’m currently in the middle of writing lyrics for KRVNA’s 2nd album, all of which, barring vocals, is mostly complete. Seance and I are hoping for a mid year release, 2022.
Top 6 albums of all time?
1. Morbid Angel - ‘Blessed Are the Sick’
2. Abigor - ‘Nachthymnen’
3. Deathspell Omega - ‘Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice’
4. - ‘The Orthodox singers male choir - ‘Basso profundo from old Russia’
5. Various - ‘Village music from Yugoslavia’
6. Bathory - ‘Twilight Of The Gods’