The Gauntlet: What led you to write a more balanced album like "Oath Bound," which derives a bit more from your older, more blackened style of music as opposed to the heavily synth-led "Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame?"
Protector: During the whole creation process of oath bound we never spent a single thought that this album might tend more into the director of our older albums. Actually with the album before ("let mortal heroes sing your fame") we had those thoughts as we wanted to bring back the more polyphonic symphonic epic keyboard structures which lacked a bit on "Stronghold", but for "oath bound" we did not intent to make something different to "Let mortal ... ". Therefore we where quite surprised as we read later that people suddenly compared "oath bound" with older releases such as "dol guldur". But after a while i understood why. I think the reasons are the guitars which are actually the only thing that Really changed since "let mortal ... ". on the new album i the guitars are much more dominant than before and also played in a much more floating way focusing more on harmonies than on rhythms. And this must be the main aspect that all the fans of our older releases must have missed. with stronghold i started to play the guitars in a more rhythmic damped classic heavy metal style, and therefore disappointed many of our old fans; with "oath bound" we dropped this style and replaced it with an arpeggio guitar style.
The Gauntlet: With just two members, what does your songwriting process look like?
Protector: I think the less members the more easy it is to compose music. There are no quarrels and not problems with other band members. we hardly have any argues about any tunes, and if every one of us might come with a tune that the other does not like we simply could use this tunes for any of our other projects.
Normally each song starts with a basic concept of a new song by Silenius, whereas i am always responsible for adding all the additional tunes and making the music symphonic and multilayered. I also add the drum sounds and guitars.
The Gauntlet: What happened to the re-releases of some of your earlier albums that had originally been announced to come out with "Oath Bound?"
Silenius: All earlier releases are still available. They never have been deleted, so i don't know exactly what you mean. The only new thing is that soon there will be LP pressings i think of the first 3 releases licensed by another label and if you mean t-shirts most of the motives have been deleted for several years but nearly all of them have been re-released one year ago even for the first time there are t-shirts available from the first album Lugburz.
The Gauntlet: What led you to formulate and implement the somewhat unique dual melody-driving/atmospheric keyboard technique that you employ on much of your work?
Protector: We never wasted any time to think about what kind of music we should make to sound original or unique. I think if a person every tries to sound unique, he can only create a pseudo uniqueness. Music shall always come out in an authentic way and it does not matter for me so much if the result is unique or not. You can create unique shit as well as normal music but with great tunes. so we always just gave our best to create the music we had inside of us and to create exactly the kind of music we would like to hear. on our debut we where not really able for that as we had a real drummer that does not suit the slow and epic kind of music we had in mind. Only with the kick out of this drummer we suddenly were free to do really the music we want, and with the help of the symphonic keyboards and drums sound we finally could start our real style on our second album "Minas Morgul".
The Gauntlet: How do you divide time between Summoning and your other projects?
Protector: this is quite simply after we work on one project we start to work on the next one. Now that summoning is finished i start to mix the already recorded song for my dark wave project "die verbannten kinder evas", after that I will complete my third "ice ages" album. silenius will soon work for new "kreuzweg ost" songs etc. It is important to understand that for us all the projects have the same importance and only because summoning is the best selling one does not mean that it has a higher priority. We are fortunately not dependant on the commercial success of our music as we both have regular jobs, so we can make music very relaxed and spend much time on projects which we know will not bring us any money.
The Gauntlet: On several of your albums, especially "Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame," there are a lot of clean vocals present along with grim rasps � who handles the clean vocals, and who handles the grim ones?
Protector: The only clean singing vocals can be heard in the choir of the song "farewell", where we both do the singing for it. All other vocals are spoken word samples from a LOTR broadcast; they are originally not made for Summoning.
The Gauntlet: Several of your songs contain sound clips and samplings that sound like they've been taken directly from somewhere, such as a movie, especially on "Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame." What are some songs that contain sound clips, and where did you get them from?
Silenius: Most of the vocal samples we took for let mortal heroes have been taken out from BBC broadcasts of LOTR and the hobbit, which easily can be bought as ear books from bookshops. The only samples for the new CD are taken from an audio book. In opposite to the previous samples this time we took sample from a narration and the other samples we used are from the LOTR movie and some sound samples are taken from different fantasy movies.
The Gauntlet: When did your fascination with Tolkein and the desire to create music inspired by his writings arise?
Silenius: I was a fan of fantasy literature since my childhood, but i got in contact with the books of Tolkien rather late when i was about 16 or 17, because i already know the cartoon movie and a friend told me how this story will end but then i gave it a try and since then i was captured by the books from and about Tolkien and i read everything that i got from this subject. What makes Tolkien totally admirable for me and what differs him from the rest is that his books are not only a simply story but he created a whole world with all its details, historical background languages and population. he simply made a complete saga right from the beginning of this world until the end and all this is of course high above the average fantasy standards and it is simply a fact that Tolkien is the godfather of his genre and the founder of modern fantasy literature.
The Gauntlet: You've obviously been very innovative musically and inspired many bands in your particular style. Bands such as Blind Guardian have also written music with Tolkein's work as an overriding lyrical theme and sound nothing like Summoning. You're often referred to as pioneers with regard to what is called "Tolkein Metal" � but do you see this as an accurate description?
Silenius: No, not really. We simply make the music we want to listen to. As I was a big fan of all kind of metal music since the 80ties i of course know a lot of varieties of all the different styles and of course as i was a big fan of fantasy literature since my childhood I always bought LPs of bands which referred though this scene. Although i liked a lot of stuff from all different genres i always missed this special epic and bombastic feeling within the music and so we tried to make it on our own, that means a combination between hard metal music and a very epic and hymn like soundtrack style. Sadly most of the other bands i know are missing this special combination.
The Gauntlet: Aside from the general Tolkein themes, are there any specific themes or ideas that correspond to each other from album to album?
Silenius: No not really. The main topic of our releases is always the Tolkien scene and i think this wont change in future but of course as we are always took directly from Tolkien we sooner or later will run out of fitting poems and so we started to use poems of different writers since stronghold and integrate the in our concept.
The Gauntlet: With what seems to be a strong, dedicated, albeit rather small fan base, how is it that Summoning are still more or less totally under the radar to the majority of the metal world?
Protector: i think the main reason is that we don't play live. With live concerts you can increase your fan base much more and can present your music much better even to people that never heard your music before. Also we never acted in any "rock star" way, and rather hided our personalities to the publicity. So we never really where very suitable as eye catchers on covers for zines etc. but this all does not bother me at all, and has many advantages as well. As we never where pushed and never where any kind of hype we are not so dependant on any trends. The sells of summoning albums are always very constant, and our fans are very loyal. This is way our pause of 5 years did not affect our popularity at all; normally such a long rest would mean the death in the scene for other bands, but not for summoning.
The Gauntlet: A lot of bands look to touring as an outlet to directly connect with their fans and let out some energy. Since Summoning does not tour or play live, what aspects of the work you do in Summoning inspire you to continue doing what you do?
Protector: Well the music of course. Actually I think for any musician the music should be the main thing and if you only make music just to be on stage and to talk with fans and love to be admired or something like that i really think that something's wrong with the personality of the musician; at least i don't consider such a person as a really musician. for us everything was always totally focused on music and always will be. but anyway this does not mean that we don't like any contact to our fans; there are others ways for that. For example we never ever denied any interview with any magazine no matter how small or unknown it is, and we never ignore any fan mail. This is also fan contact and means for us much more than to stand on the stage and enjoy 1000's of eyes on us.
The Gauntlet: What led the two of you to pick the names "Protector" and
Silenius: In the beginning we of course have been totally influenced by old bands like Bathory, Celtic Frost etc and of course by the second Norwegian wave of black metal and as it was usual to use pseudonyms we of course wanted to have our own. In those times we just wanted to copy our Musical heroes and so we also wanted to have cool sounding nicknames for our band. Meanwhile 10 years later we somehow not really ashamed but after all we see the need for such pseudonyms because after all they are an important part of the whole concept, together with the music and the aesthetics of the cover images. Normal names simply don't fit to this concept.
The Gauntlet: Many extreme metal bands make their views on religion clear with their music and their image � Summoning does not. What are your views or beliefs when it comes to religion, if you have any at all?
Protector: I already said in interviews before; i am a pure atheist and don't like Religions in general, not matter if it is Christianity, Islam as well as Satanism. They all have one thing in common; they mean not to trust your Human mind but to trust some words that are written in some books that are many many years or centuries old. i don't want to worship and higher force, god or whatever and actually consider all of this as simple inventions of mankind.
The Gauntlet: Do you plan to continue writing and recording music as Summoning in the future?
DEFINITELY! There was never even the slightest thought that we ever will stop. There is not reason for us to stop. Our passion did not fade at all, only because we have regular jobs and other projects we surely can not produce summoning albums so fast, but the positive side effect is that this way you can be sure that we only release a new Summoning album if we really made songs we totally are satisfied with. We will never release anything that we only like a bit; only songs that we like even after we listen 100 of times during the mixing are worth to be released on a new album.