Interview with Cholera

Interview with Cholera

- in Written interviews

Hi! How did Cholera form in 2016, and what inspired the initial collaboration in the rehearsal room?
Cardinall: Hi Stanley, my initiative to play drums started in 2016 after finishing my university studies, I settled in my hometown where a good background was already created by the bands Zhor, Machina Baphometa and Pagan Spirit. There was a rehearsal room and in it some drums that no one was playing, which was a clear impulse for me to start doing something with it!! Since the bar was set high by the aforementioned bands, it was important for me to spend as much time as possible in the rehearsal room and work on myself as much as possible every day. At this time, I also met Bes in the rehearsal room, with whom we played casually, but after a while these ideas created in the rehearsal room began to receive the contours of the first compositions Peccatum Originale and Hlad a chlad.

Bes: At that time, I had a lot of free time, and the rehearsal room on the way home from work, so I went there regularly to “hide”. The word got the word out and I started seconding Cardinall with the guitar so that he could get a better start on the drums. There was nothing concrete about it at the beginning, but what was supposed to happen happened. Since Cardinall and I have known each other for 26 long years now, and we have always had very similar interests, it was probably “inevitable”.

Bes, transitioning from bass to guitar, how did this impact Cholera’s sound and dynamics?
Bes: It was quite natural for me. In Cholera, I already had the advantage that we were not starting completely from scratch, but I already had experience in creation. I also contributed some guitar ideas in Machina Baphometa’s earlier work. The creative process was no stranger to me, as I created all the bass lines in other bands myself. I had some unused guitar ideas in my pocket, or adapted some unused bass riffs. So I was not completely unfamiliar with the guitar.

Cardinall, as the drummer, share your early experiences and approach to drumming for Cholera.
Cardinall: In the beginning, I needed to play with as many musicians as possible, which led to several projects with young musicians from the area, but they did not lead anywhere, as the vast majority of young people only have a lot of talk but little action. But even these projects, which ended up failing, brought me experience that I was able to use in Cholera. The material we created required my research into various techniques of playing the drums, from which I adopted, for example the Heel-Toe technique for the bass drum. Currently, I am working on the technique of playing blast beats with my fingers, as the new creation of cholera requires a higher playing speed.

How did the prior collaboration between Bes and Tvor in Zhor influence Cholera’s musical chemistry?
Tvor: It was a new experience for me, something different. In Zhor, I was in control of the creative process of the guitars from the first notes to the finished composition. In Cholera, I had the task of making a second guitar for already finished songs with a completely different dynamic and composition of songs than I played in Zhor. Every band has a different creative process.

With a lack of interest in black metal locally, how did this scarcity shape the band’s identity and sound?
Bes: The lack of musicians in the area did not only concern black metal, but metal in general. If someone was already here, they either had other interests, or were irresponsible or whatever…

For me, it is very important to have teammates with whom I understand even outside the musical side. The band is then deeper, enhanced by common relationships beyond the band.

Bes, taking on vocal duties, what prompted this decision and how did it impact the band’s artistic expression?
Bes: When the band was in a state where we already felt the absence of a vocalist, there was no one around, so I decided to just try it. Somehow it stayed with me. In combination with playing the guitar I feel that there is space for more, I am a bit limited by that combination. But I will work on it much more on the next songs.

Sakchuras, having played bass in several bands with Bes, how did your existing musical partnership contribute to Cholera?
Sakchuras: I have been active on the Slovak black metal scene since 2005 as a guitarist, vocalist and composer. After working in such a position for so many years, I felt a desire to try an instrument other than the guitar and play in a project where I would not be responsible for the composition, just for the pure enjoyment of the music. It was similar with Bes, only the other way around, so we helped each other. I want to add that in the beginning I followed his bass direction and I’m happy to grow as a musician in the band Cholera, which also shows considerable potential.

“Peccatum Originale” material was composed in 2018/19. Can you discuss the creative process during this period?
Cardinall: The material began to be created already in 2016 through the collaboration between Bes and Cardinall, where the face of Cholera began to take shape. Later in 2018/2019, Tvor and Sakchuras joined the band, their instruments were added to the ready-made skeleton of guitar & drums. They brought a new image to this work, which was subsequently transferred to the recording in 2020.

Drum recording at MF studio in 2020 – how did this choice impact the album’s sound?
Bes: The choice was clear from the beginning. Martin Barla (MF studio) is a musician and drummer himself, he records a large number of Slovak bands, whether it’s the instruments themselves, or complete albums including mixing and mastering. We used his services in the past with Machina Baphometa and Zhor. The bonus is that he is located about 15 km from us, so …

But it didn’t affect the sound of the album much I think, since we only got to our hands a raw drum record that we mixed ourselves.

Recording the rest of the instruments in the rehearsal room—challenges and advantages?
Bes: We used exactly the same process in Zhor´s ZZZ album, the drums in the MF studio and the rest in the rehearsal room. We wanted to preserve the authenticity of the environment where the album was created. Our rehearsal room is a dark, stony, cold, damp hole in the underground, so ideal haha.

The advantage was great time flexibility and the possibility to record it indefinitely, without limitation. We usually spent time recording until the morning of the next day. Sometimes finished by the bottom of the bottle.

Bes, the extended mix and master process – what challenges were faced and how were they overcome?
Bes: I wanted to have the sound of the recording in my hands. I had previous experience with some recordings, so it was not new for me, even though I am not a master at it. If there was a problem or a challenge, I had no choice but to study it and move it in the direction I wanted. But it requires non-stop practice, and constantly learning new things and procedures, that means devoting a huge amount of time to it. But at the moment I’m quite busy, so in the future I’ll think about whether to go down the same path so that it doesn’t cost me two years again.

What are the thematic elements and lyrical content of “Peccatum Originale”?
Bes: Peccatum originale is not a conceptual work, but all the songs are based on a common theme, which is Man. Man and Humanity, his sins, his selfish ambitions, self-centeredness and arrogance. My hatred and admiration for him.

Audience response to the album since its release – any surprises?
Bes: Well … we are a new band, coming from the underground. The release of the album wasn’t spectacular, we didn’t have campaigns or anything like that. The responses are therefore adequate. Although I have to say that the band had success at the concerts and really blew it. We listened to praise.

In the diverse world of black metal, how does Cholera draw from the genre’s legacy while bringing a unique voice?
Bes: The legacy of the genre … hmm. Black metal is very interesting and attractive, because it crosses the boundaries of “just a musical genre”. It is something deeper, you have to understand it, you have to have it inside you, you have to fall into it to feel its power. I don’t see it as an idol, it’s dark energy wrapped in music.

We somehow did not plan what kind of face Cholera would have, but it was clear from the beginning that it would be Black metal. The material gradually emerged from our depths. Our rehearsals were not just “work”, it was always something more. Sitting, contemplating, debating, playing, all enhanced by the atmosphere of our moldy rehearsal room.

Future plans for Cholera? Thank you for your time!
Bes: Concerts, new merch, own website, new material and the same all over. There is still work to do.

On behalf of Cholera, thank you for the space for the band.

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