Sanctus Propaganda

“Humanity has some unidentified major flaw in itself”. Interview with THE THRONE.

THE THRONE have been around for the past decade but it’s the last 2-3 years that changed a lot for them. They eagerly recorded and toured, and since we both shared the same space quite often, the natural consequence was to release a split LP for them and ORPHANAGE NAMED EARTH. The record was released March 20, on splatter and black vinyl, still available from our online store. THE THRONE prove to be empathic and emotional individuals while they talk to SANCTUS PROPAGANDA in an online interview.
Reach the band via their Facebook page, turn on their Bandcamp stream below and enjoy the interview.

SP: You have just released the split album with ORPHANAGE NAMED EARTH. Tell us about those four tracks. I guess they are quite new. Musically, the bands is still evolving…

Adrian: Two tracks from split album have been already played live at some shows last year (CIEŃ, KREW), two are brand new (LAS, SZNUR) yet to be played live for the first time on upcoming shows. Yes, I think that the band still evolves, not just musically, but personally as well, if it comes to us, members. Each hour spent together in our rehearsal room, on talking, playing our music and working on the new songs pushes us somewhere further, another few steps on our road. We keep looking for the new ways of delivering our message to the people and to show what each one of us feel inside.
Michał: Just as Adrian said. We are still changing. Maybe not searching, but just finding (sometimes accidentally) things that we like and which make us feel good about our music. In some cases these are small things but accumulated together they make every our release feel different than the previous one. At least for us.
Paweł: This new material is important for me because it proves that we are able to focus together on what makes a song good one. If something work it stays, if it doesn’t we abandon this and go further. We want our writing process to flow fully naturally. Of course this collaborative way is not always easy as it seems. But we are still learning how to work together and better know each other.

SP: Have you ever sat down to discuss what musical direction you want to take? I remember talking to Adrian who said THE THRONE had searched for various musical expressions before. You’re not a young band, are you?

Adrian: We’re 10 years old this year. My experience says that except the small fact of me saying uncontrollably – “Guys let’s put d-beat there!” way too many times per song, hahahaha, we rather discuss what we want to avoid in our music or at least not to follow. I’m pretty sure that each one of us has his own vision for our music and sound and it’s more like we are building our base on the common part and use the remaining ideas we like together to ornamentalise it than discussing the scheme and then fill it with music. More often is that we sit down and discuss the concepts of our content around the music, to deliver complete expression.
Michał: I think that we discuss structures of some songs more than general direction. What types of riffs and beats to put in the right places to fit the whole song etc. Feeling of our music is mostly unplanned result of these actions. Sometimes it comes out with more punk-ish vibe, sometimes it sounds more black metal or something. But it’s not planned. Small decisions when it comes to specific parts are what makes our music sound as it sounds. Another things are concept, lyrics, atmosphere and stuff that’s around the music itself. We are always trying to know what we wan’t to say and what kind of mood we want to provide. The ‘genre’ association is what comes out in natural way, it’s not like we decide ‘hey, let’s make a black metal song”.

The Throne
Photo: Piąta Esencja

SP: Speaking of the lyrical content of your songs … and the word “lyrical” fits here because you reach for more poetic means of expression … seems like you are quite concerned for the future of this world and the state of things around you. Your lyrics do not strike positive notes nor do they make it easy for a listener to have answers to questions. What occupies your minds right now and aren’t you tempted to get it out to people in a more in-your-face fashion?

Michał: I think it is not my or our job to give any answers to anyone’s questions. Also I’m pretty much a very troubled mind so it’s natural for me to have an all-in-one outlet for everything that bothers me. I think it’s pretty common in this kind of music, so it’s nothing special. But yes, we feel very concerned about the future of our world. Especially when more and more children are born amongst our circle of friends and I’m starting to feel simply worried about them. You know, there is a fundamental theme in my lyrics, that’s present on every our release – humanity sentencing itself to extinction. I really see humankind as something that’s really handicapped. It has some unidentified major flaw in itself. It goes against the survival instinct, against symbiosis with rest of the world and its inner elements. We’re really unlucky to live when it’s our turn to pay for this. On many levels. I’m not only talking about environmental and climate crisis. In some songs I’m singing about depression. It makes bigger and bigger impact on the whole society and it’s mostly induced by reality of living in modern world. It’s especially on our minds since we have lost a friend who took his part in forming The Throne due to this illness. Why lyrics are more poetical than in-your-face? I think it’s just because it suits the music. I’m not trying to be poetical or something. I think Arek who also wrote some lyrics doesn’t have any poetic aspirations, either. It’s just a matter of style for me, it just comes out like this.

SP: Has the idea of writing in English crossed your mind then? To reach out to more people?

Michał: Actually we had English lyrics on our first three releases. Split with ONE is second release with Polish lyrics. At the beginning we were thinking that music should be universal so everyone could understand the message. I still think this is partially true, but some day we have realised that ability to express this message without boundaries that come with limited language skills is more important. That’s why we decided to use Polish language. It’s much easier than to say what you mean. Also, I prefer foreign bands that use their native languages because I like to hear ‘melodies of words’ specific to the language. Words could always be translated and put on flyer or on Bandcamp so it’s not a problem.

The Throne
Photo: Maciej Marzewski

SP: Along with the split album with ONE, you also released a 7″ with your old recordings. Tell us about this release and what is the current discography of THE THRONE and which releases are still available…

Michał: This 7” is nothing more than our previous GNIJ EP. The title means “rot” in English. It contains five songs with more metaphoric lyrics about, well, rotting. It’s a death wish to all nazis, racists, homophobes etc. Beside this release we have two full albums in our discography and one demo. We’ve decided that our first full album “Singularity” won’t be available anymore because we simply don’t like it. So our discography to this day is: Fig.2 demo EP, Singularity, Frail Threads, GNIJ and split LP with Orphanage Named Earth. Last two recordings are available for purchase. I believe that Frail Threads is sold out but maybe there will be a restock in the nearest future.

SP: Speaking of the split LP with ONE. You were supposed to be playing together in May, that’s pre-covid-19 era plans. In the current situation when nothing is foreseeable and no one can make definite arrangements, including bands, how do you see the future for this world? Is it a dark-colour theme like many of your riffs are or do you see some bright colours in there for us?

Michał: Personally I have no idea what future will bring us. I know for sure that we are to face possibly the biggest social and economical crisis since maybe WW2. And I can’t say anything about my predictions because I have none. Maybe it will last for many years, maybe everything will rebound very fast. It is possible that mechanisms of capitalism will be enforced even more than before the crisis, so is the opposite – maybe world will stick to less consumption and lean towards more socialist ideas. I hope the latter. So far I’m very worried about lower class (I hate this term) people. They will take the hardest hit. They are taking it already and it’s a huge tragedy for millions. It’s necessary to remember that every fluctuation in economy means one important thing: unemployment. Unemployment means more families below the poverty line, more substance abuse, domestic violence, suicides, rise of criminality. There are even sociological researches done that suggest strong connection between mortality rate and unemployment. Especially in countries like USA which have this fucked up private medical care system. So I hate those memes on the Web saying that caring about economy in the face of raving disease is stupid. It’s extremely shortsighted – sure, pandemics kills thousands, so does failed economy. Event if it’s a death of capitalism which I despise, this process will kill many people. And I’m not talking about big business and corporation owners – those fuckers will survive as always. The working class will become the poor class – this is the problem. I’m afraid of the poverty and violence (on every level – domestic and social) that certainly this shit will bring us. I don’t know how the pandemic will end, no one knows. But I know we will suffer and I’m simply afraid. There are a lot of small and bigger tragedies coming. Most of the will be considered micro histories of extreme experiences. Society as a whole likes to forget sooner or later but lives of particular families will be changed forever for much worse. You even don’t know how much I want to be wrong about this, but this fucked up world doesn’t like to give me too much hope, so I’d like to stay pessimistic.

The Throne

SP: The worldwide pandemic situation is by far the biggest challenge since WWII. Will this teach us something? It clearly hasn’t taught us much since WWII, so looks like we’re doomed.

Michal: Answer is short: no. I think people don’t like to learn. Society likes to act as it has learned something or has the knowledge based on experience. But I can’t see many actions following this knowledge. When they occur, it doesn’t take much time for the upcoming results to be disrupted by human nature. You can’t learn the old dog new tricks. And by old tricks I mean being greedy and selfish. So yeah, we are pretty much doomed in my opinion. But as I said before, I hope that we will revive some social mechanisms. At least for some time. But I don’t believe that we are able to change for better. Money and power always do the talking sadly.

SP: We all know it is difficult to foresee when bands/gigs can resume the so-called regular service but what are your plans? Catching up or ignoring the past and starting fresh?

Michal: We will just start rehearsing as soon as it’s safer. Now we are careful because of our older relatives. We just avoid unnecessary contacts, so we have stopped rehearsing. But guys are thinking about and writing (I hope:) ) some new stuff at homes when it comes to The Throne and their other band Lochy i Smoki. We will try to rebook most of the shows for another year. I don’t believe that gigs will return in autumn.

SP: Aren’t you working online? I mean, writing stuff and composing. Some say, brilliant stuff gets written in difficult moments 🙂

Michal: We are not able to work properly if we don’t smell each others farts, haha.
Pawel: So yeah, today in the era of really fancy DAW plugins, fast internet and other shit we have possibility to show our ideas, and we have worked like this before Covid-19. But before, to be honest we had our two times a week sacred rehearsals. We’re really used to writing stuff when we’re all together. And like for everyone else Covid-19 pandemic and due to this – extreme changes in economy have hit us and our families hard, so we still need to figure out how to exist in this new reality as a band.

SP: How do you see bands returning to their regular rehearsal duties in (post) Covid-19 times? From what we see now, quite a lot of bands still do not practise despite living in the same town. Online streaming gigs can be arranged, just to give an example. Health precautions or fear of being penalised for not keeping social distance? Or else?

Arek: It’s hard for us to speak for other bands, but as I can see there are some already who have returned to normal rehearsal schedule without any protection, some that play in face protection and try to keep distance from each other (on the photos at least ;)), and of course some that try to do that online. For each their own I guess. I do not think it’s the fear of getting a ticket, since as far as I know most European countries have already loosen their stance on that sort of thing. I lean more towards the health precautions, and personal approach of every one involved. If everyone in the band cares for themselves, tries to isolate to some extent, and is not being stupid – like going to small closed spaces without ventilation (ie most rehearsal spaces ;)) while being sick, coughing, sneezing or what not, I do not see an issue with meeting once in a while to play. But overall I’m aware it’s not that simple, getting everyone on the same page that is, since we also struggle with that a little.

The Throne

SP: OK then. Hopefully, we will get a chance to see each other pretty soon and celebrate the reunion. Last question: tell us about the cover of your split album with ONE? Is it a photo or artwork and how did you come up with it?

Arek: The cover itself is a heavily processed frame from the promo video that we did for the first song on our side called “Cień” (“Shadow”). It’s inspired directly by the lyrics to this song, which are, in short, about reacting to the growth of fascists and right-wing rhetorics. Very early on we knew that we wanted to somehow use the motive of the lamp or torch on the cover, although I started with a sketch of a very on the nose illustration with nazi and catholic symbols burning in the flame of that torch. In the end it was just too direct, and since we are very lucky to have a friend that’s a very skilled metal worker, we just asked him to make a real medieval torch for us. And it’s what you can see on the cover. I would also add that in my head this image is a little reminiscent of what could have been seen at the alt-right march in Charlottesville, and I really like the idea of taking back those shit heads imagery and reclaiming them as our own. But that can be a stretch.

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