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After Calliophis reformed in 2015, they produced the 2017 sophomore album 'Cor Serpentis. Not groundbreaking, but well-executed, Comrade Aleks liked it enough to go in search of the band.

Interview with Calliophis.
"Death Doom has turned out to be well-known territory for many of us, and it's difficult to capture the interest of experienced pilgrims who have followed the cult for years. But some bands are able to do it, even if they don't bring anything extremely innovative to the genre. They do their solemn work honestly and at full capacity, just as Calliophis do. The crew originally gathered in Chemnitz in Saxony in 2006, but disbanded after release of the 'Doomsday' album. That didn't last long, though, and in 2015 Calliophis reappeared with almost the same lineup, and two more years of practice gave birth to 'Cor Serpentis', an engaging creature grown in melodic and deep Death Doom soil. After few spins of the album, I approached Calliophis with questions, and Florian (drums) soon replied."


Answering Aleks's questions: drummer Florian.


Hail Florian! How are you? What's going on in the band?

Hi Aleks, we're fine, thanks! Actually we're taking it a bit easy as it's the end of the year and the Christmas holidays are ahead. But we're still quite busy with some Calliophis projects. Some weeks ago we had a line up change as Martin left the band and Morris joined on the second guitar.

Morris? Who's he? Where did you find him?

Morris is a longtime friend of us. He played with Matthias in Dekrepitation, a local brutal death metal band. When Martin left he just wanted to join for live shows, but after two rehearsals he wanted to be a permanent member.


Calliophis 2017: Thomas (Vocals), Morris (Guitar), Matthias (Guitar), Florian (Drums) and Marc (Bass). Photo: Mike Wiener.


Let's start from very beginning: the band was born in 2006, what influenced you back then? How did you see the band, its musical style, its concept?

When we started Calliophis back in the days as a trio (Marc joined in 2008) we played together in a death metal band before. So, obviously the main influence was and still is death metal. We listened to doom metal a bit in the years before, but around 2004/2005 I listened to that stuff a lot and I was bored of fast Metal music. I got really into heavy and slow stuff. When our death metal band broke up we tried to play some doom stuff and we really quick wrote the very first Calliophis song "Eyes of Suffering". It' still a great song and we still play it live. At this point we didn't know where we wanted to go with the band. We just played slow death metal with some different influences. You can hear it on "Doomsday". But we had a concept we still use: As we are all fans of old fables (we grew up with the screen adaptions from the GDR from 1950s and 60s) we put some fables into music. Each album contains three songs inspired by fables.

Did you hear Crematory's song 'Eyes Of Suffering'? It was on their first album, back then they had a lot of death metal stuff in their music… I wonder how influential were they in the '90s before they plunged into a total gothic… thing?

I know they have this song. Thomas is a big Crematory fan. I should ask him about any inspiration, haha.

Calliophis - 'Eyes Of Suffering':


Florian, you know… firstly I was thinking that you named the band after one of the Greek Muses, but then I checked and found that calliophis is a venomous snake! What meaning did you put into this title? And have you ever shared the stage with your countrymen Ophis?

It's funny as we've been asked this many times, why we've chosen Calliophis as the band's name. But the answer is quite easy: There is no special meaning. When we looked for a name we wanted something short and catchy, something which sounds a bit mystical. At this time, we didn't know that there were some nice guys in northern Germany called Ophis. And yes, Ophis are good buddies of us and we shared the stage with some a couple of times. Their new album is brilliant!

The debut 'Doomsday' appeared in 2008: what did you want to express through these songs? It seems that you were totally into classic Death Doom stuff, but I wonder if you intended to show something more individual?

On "Doomsday" we made our first steps into doom metal. Now, after nearly ten years, it sounds a bit incomplete. Back then we just wrote some songs and recorded it. Each song sounds different to the other ones. There are some funeral doom, some rock or rock'n'roll and a lot of death metal influences of course. We tried to find our individual style, which we worked out with the songs we wrote after "Doomsday" and we unfortunately never recorded. But "Doomsday" was more like statement "Here we are!".


The original line-up, in 2009.


Calliophis was disbanded in 2012; what made you stop? Was it a lack of motivation or inspiration, or some technical problems?

In the end of 2012 we needed a break. A lot has changed since we started the band, especially concerning the job situations and the point of view where we wanted to go with the band. It was hard to write new songs, even to find the time for composing. So at this time we decided to end the band with a heavy heart. E.g. Frank, our guitar player and founding member, moved to southern Germany to study. So, yes it was a lack of inspiration, time and motivation.

...And what made you gather under the Calliophis name again in 2015?

In the beginning of 2015 Thomas and I wanted to start again Calliophis. We asked Marc to join again on bass guitar and we asked Frank if it would be ok for him if we still use the old name. It was his idea in 2006 or 2007 to name the band Calliophis and he was a founding member. There we wanted to know his opinion about that, beside the fact that we are all still good friends. Thomas introduced Matthias as new guitarist and I brought Martin into the band on second guitar.

So you gathered once more, but this time there were two guitarists instead of one - was it a conscious decision to add this extra dimension to the Calliophis sound? How did you share your roles in the band composing 'Cor Serpentis'?

No, it happened more by accident that we now have two guitar players. When we reunited with Matthias on guitar, Martin suddenly wanted to join as well. I played with him in another band at that time. Of course we liked the idea because two guitars mean more opportunities for songwriting. And yes, it was a damn good decision, because the music is much more versatile. Also our way to write new songs changed differently. Matthias is composing all songs alone at home. I just add the drums and Thomas writes the lyrics. Before we split up we wrote the songs together by jamming around at our rehearsal room.


Discography: 'Doomsday' (2008), 'Cor Serpentis' (2017).


At first glance 'Cor Serpentis' is a bit more of a complicated album than 'Doomsday': what are your requirements for proper Death Doom compositions nowadays? What makes a song interesting for you?

Indeed "Cor Serpentis" is different and maybe more complicated than "Doomsday". The atmosphere of a song is really important. With two guitars we nowadays have more opportunities when we compose songs. A good song must build up tension and should progress and be interesting from the beginning until the end. We use a lot of clean guitars and Thomas sometimes whispers his vocals when it fits to the music. We try a lot to get the best result. The arrangement and the sound should assort well with each other.

How long did you search for a label? Were any other labels besides Solitude Productions interested in releasing 'Cor Serpentis'?

To be honest, it didn't take that much time to find a label. We send our application to several labels we thought they would fit. Solitude answered really quick and showed interest in releasing it. Two other labels wanted to release it as well, but we picked Solitude, because it's perfect for us. Also it was some kind of a little dream to release it there. The label is specialized in doom death and has a great reputation within the doom metal scene. They did a great job. Also some of our friends, like Ophis, Doomed and Et Moriemur released their albums via Solitude.

I found a few intriguing titles in both albums, so let's start with 'Munk' and 'Munk (Heart Of Stone)'. Are both songs connected?

Yes, they are! Like I said before, some songs are about fables. Both songs refer to the fable "Heart of Stone" by Wilhelm Hauff. We are big fans of the old screen adaption from 1950, which is really scary and gloomy with a great atmosphere. The main character's name is Peter Munk, which we have chosen for the title. We just finished the third and last part of the trilogy, which will probably be released on the next record. There is already a recording on youtube, when we premiered the song live at Doom over Vienna last November.

Calliophis - 'The Cleansing':


Besides that, I'd like to ask you about the songs 'Romasanta' and 'Yukki Ona', if the first one is based on the movie of the same name, and the second one… I don't know…

Yes, that's correct. "Romasanta" bases on the movie which again bases on modern fables of werewolves. "Yuki Onna" bases on the same-titled Japanese fable and popular figure in the Japanese culture.

Really? Are you anime fans?! : ) And do you have other songs influenced by movies?

I'm not sure but I think nobody of us is really into animes. But we are big movie fans, especially Thomas and Marc who are movie experts. "Romasanta" is the only song which bases on a movie. The "Munk" songs base on the fable but also a lot on the screen adaption which is really inspiring.


Doom Over Vienna 2017. Photo: Mat Schuh.


You already presented a new song during your show at the Doom Over Vienna festival: does that mean that you've started to work on new material for the next full-length? And does this new track continue in the vein of 'Cor Serpentis'?

Yes, we're already writing new songs. Hopefully this time it won't take another nine years to release it, haha. It will be in the line of "Cor Serpentis", maybe with some new influences. We'll see how the music will develop.

How many new songs do you already have? And what's your motivation today to write Death Doom under the Calliophis name?

Actually we're working on the second new song. There are many ideas, especially for the lyrical topics, also some ideas for some guest appearances. But at this point it's too soon to talk about it. Calliophis will always be death doom and we are not afraid of trying new things and experiments.


Doom Over Vienna 2017. Photo: Mike Wiener.


You played Doom Over Vienna - how often do you play abroad? And how did you like that particular festival?

Unfortunately, we don't play live that often. But we played quite a lot of shows abroad, yet. Doom over Vienna was a great experience and it's an awesome festival. We were happy to be invited by Jürgen, the main organizer. We met a lot of nice people, the line-up, crew and hospitality was perfect. It was great to play in Vienna as we have a special connection to this city: We played our very last show in Vienna before we split up in 2012.

2017 is almost over, how do you plan to meet 2018? That's the final question for today, so feel free to add any New Year wishes for our readers! I wish you and Calliophis lineup all the best in forthcoming year! Play heavy, live long!

2017 was a great year for us und hopefully 2018 will continue the same way. We will continue writing new songs and maybe even we will be ready at the end of the year to records a new album. Some live shows are planned as well. But we will start 2018 with something special: In January, we're going the release our first music video!

Thanks a lot for the interview and your interest in our music. I'd like to thank everyone who supported us in 2017, came to our shows or bought our album and enjoys our music. We really appreciate! We hope to see lots of you next year again and we wish you all the best for 2018. Cheers!


Click HERE to discuss this interview on the doom-metal forum.


Visit the Calliophis bandpage.

Interviewed on 2017-12-25 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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