"We tried to push ourselves to musical horizons that we have touched or hinted at before, but now try to fully embrace and indeed give ourselves over to a deeper instinctual urge."

It takes a vision of some distinction to stand out amid an unerringly over-populated black metal scene. Gelderland (NL) iconoclasts Solar Temple made it look easy with their 2018 debut album, Fertile Descent: a kaleidoscopic, deep-dive grimoire with atmosphere, melody and a chewable sense of spectral dread, it defied extreme metal’s in-built conservatism and conjured a sonic world with no boundaries beyond an intuitive devotion to the dark. At Roadburn Redux, Solar Temple look destined to up the pitch-black, transcendental ante even further.

Dom Lawson

How have you adapted to our weird new reality over the last year? Any new challenges, in terms of being creative?

“Adaptation is both extremely hard and tiring, as well as tedious and boring. Our society is somehow able to not deal with it at all in any serious capacity, not use it as some kind of call for behavioural change or solidarity, but simultaneously force us into a kind of unprecedented social control and have us place ultimate faith in what capitalism can do for the world. A proper discovery of what this time will do for culture as a whole will only become visible in the years to come. For us personally, not much has changed since we are pretty introverted in our creative endeavours anyway. All tours and festivals are cancelled of course, which is terrible for myriad reasons, but our personal creative vision does not have its roots in a live setting: the question of how our vision could be brought to a stage is a secondary priority. In this band’s case, it’s not even a question we would ask ourselves because we did not think we would perform under this moniker live, ever.”

What can you tell us about your forthcoming Roadburn performance?

“The performance will be a very interesting and unique setting. Anybody that has followed our projects throughout the years might be familiar with our long-time collaboration as a duo or part of a larger unit on a lot of records and projects. But for the first time ever we will translate this working relationship into a live setting. We tried to push ourselves to musical horizons that we have touched or hinted at before, but now try to fully embrace and indeed give ourselves over to a deeper instinctual urge. It would be a mistake to claim we have left our black metal roots behind, but rather that we will try to evoke a similar sense of mysticism by delving deeper into the experimental and primitive roots that the progenitors of the genre were big fans of as well.”

What does Roadburn mean to you, as creative people and on a personal level?

“It’s pretty safe to state that Roadburn has meant a lot to anybody involved in heavy music in this part of the world, and especially the Netherlands. We are no exception. We have been so lucky to have played this festival a number of times before the pandemic and it has always been magical. The last live edition in 2019 we performed with several bands under the moniker Maalstroom, and it has been a great catalyst for a lot of creative energy and collaboration and friendship.”

Can you tell us about your favourite past experience(s) of Roadburn? Were there any shows that had a strong impact?

“Boris playing Absolutego with Stephen O’Malley in 2018, David Tibet with Hypnopazuzu in 2017, and Yob playing Catharsis in 2012. Those shows were absolutely transcendental live experiences and could probably only happen at Roadburn in this exact state of mind.”

What are your hopes and plans for the (hopefully post-pandemic) future?

“Our hopes are that our world will finally realise its destructive path, and try to make amends for the cosmic demons it has unleashed, that are increasingly haunting every pore and sinew of our reality. But those hopes will inevitably be shattered by the crushing monotony of our current historical juncture. All we can actually hope is that there will indeed be any post-pandemic future.”

What else are you looking forward to experiencing during Roadburn Redux?

“We will probably not be experiencing a lot because there is no possibility to see any other acts perform live, and before and after our own show we won’t have a lot of time to put on streams and sit back and relax to properly watch a performance. But we are very excited about Neptunian Maximalism and anything our friends of Dead Neanderthals have in store for us. Hopefully we are able to glimpse some of their brilliance through our new digitised reality.”

Solar Temple will perform The Great Star Above Provides as part of Roadburn Redux on Saturday 17 April at 17.00 CEST.

More info