Ceremonial Casting's Lord Serpent Demonic Destiny

Hailing from the town Battle Ground which is located in the dark forests of Washington state (USA) it is no surprise that the curses that are spewed forth are a perfect mix of relentlessness majestic chaos. The recipe contains itself with the magicks of Black, Death, & Thrash Metal to Classical, Symphonic & Dark Ambient combining into the band’s self deemed sound as “American Deathphonic Black Metal" or "Bewitching Black Metal."

Ceremonial Castings began in the late fall of 1996. The band was founded by still existing members Jake Superchi (Lord Serpent) & brother Nick Superchi (OldNick). The basis of the writing & the lyrical foundation strived on the art of black magic, witchcraft & rituals that could only lead to the name of Ceremonial Castings.

Jake Superchi known as Lord Serpent the vocals and guitarist behind this forbidden magic took some time to discuss with me the band's progress from the start of time to the present and forsaken future for the trio.

1. Where are you from?

Jake: We reside in a small town called Battle Ground in the Southwestern part of Washington State in the great Pacific Northwest of the USA.

2. Do you think not being from a big city like LA or NY influences your sound?

Jake: I am sure in some way or another our sound does have a lot to do with our surroundings. I personally am not a fan of the city & much prefer my life in the country. Seclusion & nature are two big parts of my everyday life & help keep my mind & body at ease. It also helps me keep focused on what is most important....the music.

3. How did you come together?

Jake: Near the end of the first band I was in, OldNick & I started writing together. We liked what we were doing & after much experimenting we discovered the true sound of Ceremonial Castings.

4. What’s the origin of the band’s name? Who designed the logo for the band's name?

Jake: The name is exactly what it means: Ceremonial: of, pertaining to, or characterized by ceremony; formal; ritual: a ceremonial occasion Castings: of, pertaining to spells, black magick, witchcraft. The name explains what we write, conjure & perform. The logo was done by none other than Kris Verwimp.

5. You describe your music as "Bewitching Black Metal" what is it about this genre that made you want "this is for us".

Jake: Music isn't meant to be heard, it is meant to be felt. Everything that we write we feel & this genre is what inspires us  to continue to do what we do. We do not alter art because of this feeling & we will always stay true to ourselves before anything else.

6. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Jake: I write the lyrical content about many different things. It ranges from life & death situations, inner struggles to themes like witchcraft, the occult as well as american history & literature. We have conquered one concept album about the Salem witch-trials of 1692.  Right now we are currently working on one about Cthulhu. Soon after we will be focusing on The Bell Witch. What will come after that I do not know. I am sure again we will tackle another concept album involving american history/literature. For me I find the concept albums more of a challenge, but more rewarding. I get more of a spiritual connection with the album.

7. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

Jake: We do write all of our own material. Everything is started with guitar riffs. Once a song is completely structured together, the drums are recorded. After the guitars & drums are finished OldNick writes his keys/synth parts to the riffs while he is recording. Once he is finished with the atmospheres, the vocals are written & recorded. At the end when the album is finished we have never played or rehearsed the new songs together. I personally enjoy this method because it keeps things new & fresh. It was just a process we fell into & a process we will never fall out of.

8. There is going to be a live album coming out this spring, where was it recorded, what was that showcase like, and why did you think that now was the time to do an album like this?

Jake: The live album has been on hold for awhile now. It was recorded a few years back at the Northwester Black Circle Festival in Portland, Or. The show was a good solid set of what some people may call "the classics". We specifically chose these songs to play for the live album. The concert was also recorded, so that a live DVD can be released later in time. As far as timing, I think it is the perfect time to release a live album with the tracks we have chosen. While we are working on new material, we feel a slight change in our sound & direction. Many things are happening & it just seems like the last thing we need to release before we move onto bigger & better things. We eventually won't be playing some of these songs live to have room for new material, so it seems fitting to release the live versions so that people may always enjoy, or hate them.

9. You are currently in the process of a new concept album and it's topic of choice is all about Cthulhu, why did you go the concept album route on the new album?

Jake: The last new full length we wrote & released (Salem 1692) was a concept. It is meant to be heard from front to back. It is a story, and a take on history. Many themes of black metal is history, and unfortunately here in the USA we do not have as much history that fits into the themes/direction that suits this music. However, we have found quite a few things in history & literature that we hold very close. These are topics that we are very interested in & it really isn't anything that anyone else here in the states is doing. Genres can be cliche' & while we stick to our path & sound, we refuse to be anything of the sort.

I also personally enjoy concept albums. They are a journey & meant to transport you, like a great book or film. An album is an album, but a concept album for me holds so much more. I can probably thanks Mr. King Diamond for the experiences in my younger years. His stories & albums always pulled me in.
I hope that our albums will be able to do the same for others.

10. How did you challenge yourself sound wise to fit this concept?

Jake: The sound to fit a concept is also another reason why I love doing these projects. As I said previously, they are meant to make your mind travel & teleport your senses to a dimension your eyes cannot see. Fitting the sound to do so is the most challenging thing. With a concept album you have to vividly think of it's landscape & the color of these landscapes & dimensions. Which means, the riffs, the sound, the lyrics & the content all has to line up with the paintings in the imagination. Later the production will also be made to fit these ideas.

This particular theme (Cthulhu) is a little more challenging in some ways because of it's landscapes. It holds so many different aspects from the deep layers of thought & dream, to the lowest unseen abyssal sanctuaries of our ocean, as well as portals that venture far beyond space & time. It is a very unworldly concept, a universal mass of horror & unknown purgatories that only our minds can dream of. It is a concept that challenges everything our minds were taught. Putting these into the form of sound is definitely a task. The biggest aspect of the task is that we have to paint these pictures through sound for other minds that may not see, imagine, or dream like our minds do. So ultimately we have to do our best representation in hopes that others will see, feel & understand it  like it is meant to be.

11. Did you get the album you wanted? Is everything on there or were there some things that were just impossible to pull off?

Jake: We are still in the process of recording & writing the lyrics. So I am unable to fully answer that question. Although we are in no rush to finish. With that being said, I can tell you at the end of the recording process we will probably have it done exactly the way we want it to, with all the ideas in tact. Nothing is impossible.

12. Is this concept of the album going to develop into any other mediums like film or graphic novels?

Jake: Well there are many versions of H.P Lovecraft's story. Many films, graphic novels, comics etc... already out there. I personally don't have any plans to make the concept album into something like this. But if someone out there wants to transcribe our version in film, book or any other form of art I am not completely opposed to it. However, that is something we will tackle when the time comes....if it comes.

13. All your albums have been released by your own label, Dark Forest. Is this a positive thing for the band? Is it so in financial terms as well?

Jake: It is positive, because we can do what we want. Financially it works, but money is not why we do what we do. If a label shows interest in us we will gladly see what the offer is. We are not opposed to finding another label. Right now this just works.

14. You guys had gone on tour just last year but only toured across Central America, now this Fall you will be heading to Australia. When can we expect you guys to do a world wide tour?

Jake: I am unsure of a world tour. I am not sure if that opportunity will come. If it does, we definitely take it. But for now we will conquer the earth one step at a time.

15. When it does come to your guys showcases, you have quite the set-up as far as photos go. What made you want to go all out - as far as props and the set up itself. Do you all create the items yourselves or have someone design everything?

Jake: Like the concept albums we talked about, I feel the same towards our showcase. What is anything without depth? I'm not half-assing anything in my life, so  I will not half-ass the show. It is a production, a ritual, a performance & to the audience it is a show. Our duty to our fans is to give our all. If they pay to see something, we try to make it worth their dollar. I personally do not like concerts that look like a rehearsal, but that is just my opinion.

16. What about you guys yourselves you of course, wear make-up how long does it take you guys to get dolled up?

Jake: It is a transformation. Much like a native american preparing for his hunt or a celt getting ready to go to battle. It is that extra step that helps us step into the other side of our minds. It's another way to awaken & stimulate our mental state before hand. Make-up is for females that want to make a more viable representation of their outer self  Paint is what we use to bring out a representation of our inner self 

17. Your a 3-piece group do you ever feel the pressure of being a 3 piece act? Like do you guys ever feel lonely when performing on stage like there's only 3 of you, when most bands there's 5 to even 8 members do you feel like where's everyone else ot does it not bother you.

Jake: 3 is a magical number. We are a triad & nothing feels incomplete. We work extremely well together & probably not so well with others at times. We are not in need of any other members. We've made it this far, why change a recipe that is working?

18. Both Lord Serpent and Old Nick are involved in other musical projects, would you ever consider bringing forth those other projects on a tour alongside Ceremonial Castings?

Jake: OldNick's project Mysticism Black has done a few touring shows with CC. It is possible, but I personally like to keep all my focus on the main goal.

19. Valentine's Day is around the corner, how would a Black Metal band such as yourselves celebrate it, Black Metal style?

Jake: VDay is a day that significant others celebrate with each other. I won't ruin it for mine with any metal cliche's.

20. Or is Valentine's Day not metal enough for you guys?

Jake: We don't try to live up to a stereotype, we are who we are & we do what we do. We don't & never will limit our lives due to what others opinions might be.

21. What image do you think your music conveys?

Jake: Depends on the viewer. Everyone will see something different, but what we see is most important.

22. How do you describe your music to people?

Jake: I no longer try to describe or talk about our music to others. I let them decided if they come across it. I think talking about our music is one of  the things I hate the most about being a musician. I live, breathe, eat & sleep this craft so talking about other things is always much more interesting to me.

23. If I were to introduce someone to your music, what would be the song that you think really shows your band sound the best?

Jake: That I can't really answer. Once again that would have to be for the listener to decide. My recommendation would be the Salem 1692 album.

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