The Cthulhu Mythos has been poisoning the world since H.P. Lovecraft first published his short story ”The Call of Cthulhu” in Weird Tales magazine back in 1928. Since that time, Cthulhu worshipers have been penetrating subterranean societies throughout the world. References can be found in movies and literature, also in scientific discovery where the name of the great old ones was used to describe a spider found in California (Pimoa Cthulhu). The name Cthulhu has also been used as a parody candidate in the 2010 Polish Presidential election.
The Cthulhu creation has become a worldly mythos and it only makes sense to have this impact continue musically. Ctulu, the band, has become the auditory voice of the beast. Forming in 2004, the group has been slowly corrupting the globe with their Lovecraftian version of the extreme.
I recently had the opportunity to converse with Ctulu guitarist Arne Uekert. Please enjoy some excerpts of our recent interview where we discuss the band’s current release, touring plans and the message of black metal…
David Halbe: A self-titled release by an established act typically means a rebirth of sound, style or approach. Can this statement be applied to your current effort?
Arne Uekert: First, I wouldn’t call Ctulu an established act. We just do what we do. We’ve done it for a long time now but I don’t think we’ve reached whatever goal. Also, the album was actually supposed to be untitled but we had to give it a title for the distributors. But you’re right; the story behind the missing title is that we started to move into other directions. Since we want to keep these directions open, we decided to drop the title and to let the tracks speak for themselves. I also think it would’ve been hard to find a title that really unites the tracks on this album since they’re pretty different by means of style and approach.
Dave: Ctulu song titles are typically German but this time around you have two tracks titled and sung in Polish, why?
Arne: It started out with doing some research on Polish symbolism, an era that has inspired me a lot. When I read the lyrics for Serce krwawe (originally, this is an excerpt of a poem by Tadeusz Miciński) for the first time, I immediately found some chords that expressed my way of interpreting the lines. After that, it started to feel natural writing lyrics in Polish myself so I tried my best at Rozgoryczona, rozczarowana, a gotowa na wszystko. I was always convinced of Polish being a very well fitting language for black metal.
Dave: This self-titled release has a more abrasive feel than previous efforts. Was that a conscious effort or did natural progression lead the band in a more aggressive direction?
Arne: It may not seem like this, but it was natural progression that lead us to where we are. We didn’t think this over; it just happened when we started to create music as a three-piece. We’ve never had such a fast drummer and I wasn’t able to contribute much to the earlier works due to an inability of arranging my own material. We somehow finally found a way of uniting the hatred of three minds.
Dave: Do you think using a language other than English alienates the group from black metal fans outside Europe?
Arne: I don’t give a flying fuck, seriously. If anyone refuses to listen to something because it’s not sung in English, then maybe the attitude is a problem, not my language. It’s the 21st century and there are good possibilities to learn foreign languages if you’re really interested. There’s Google Translate in case nothing else helps.
Dave: What are the touring plans for Ctulu?
Arne: At the moment, there are just some single shows planned in Germany and Russia.
Dave: Has any video support been planned?
Arne: We’ve got something up our sleeves, actually. I won’t be telling more about that though. You’ll still have to stay patient for a while.
Dave: What are your plans for North America? Will you be touring that part of the world anytime soon?
Arne: We would not deny any serious offer. Sadly, there are none for the time being. In fact, we are very eager to finally see the US and Canada.
Dave: With black metal’s message becoming so convoluted. Would you say it represents more of a feeling or mentality now than it does power chords and corpse paint?
Arne: I think the message is still the same but the form it’s presented in has changed over the years. In my opinion the best acts at the moment are a few that absolutely don’t give a shit about corpse paint or power chords at 140 bpm. Still they are as black metal as it can be. I’m referring to Batushka here. Or to Furia. Or Inquisition. The latter ones still wear corpse paint but they’ve completely broken the musical rules of 90s black metal and I think this is good. In my opinion, there is no need to repeat the clichés of the 90s over and over again. Keep the spirit, change the form. That’s what I’d say. This way it is art, everything else is stagnation.