"No Boundaries, no Prejudices, no Colours, hee Unhknown World of the Dead, hee Aeternal Life, Full of Lust and Pain. "
During his 14 years of existence, Ah Cama-Sotz, has been distinguished as one of the darkest acts of the scene. His music, a mixture of industrial and ambient electronica, can be described as spiritual, dark, cold yet deeply emotional and danceable. The man behind ACS, Belgian electronic musician/producer Herman Klapholz (also known from his numerous side projects like Wai Pi Wai, Powder Pussy, Okk-ULTh, Death And Internal Thirst...) performed live for the Greek audience @ Underworld Club on the 1st of June 2007. He took the time and kindly answered a few questions for EBM.gr:
EBM.gr: Why do you write and play music? What is your driving goal?
HK: I loved music ever since I was a kid. So after being a DJ, I wanted to experiment with sounds, compositions & arrangements.I already have 14 years of releases, and I am still still evolving :-)
EBM.gr: Electronic music has many "branches" (subcategories). Which one do you think your music belongs to?
HK: That's a difficult question, as in my music you encounter lots of ingredients, colours and elements from different genres! Someone could say that I started many years ago as an "industrial" artist. After 14 years of evolution it has become quite difficult to tag my music! Let's speak about an electronic project.
EBM.gr: OK, let's talk about Ah Cama-Sotz. First of all, what does the name mean?
HK: In short: it's comes from the Quiché language and is based on the Mayan mythology. The literal meaning: a demon-bat that cuts off people's head! (note: The K'iche' language -Quiché in Spanish- is a part of the Mayan language family. It is spoken by many K'iche' people in the central highlands of Guatemala. More info here)
EBM.gr: The early works of ACS involved a more minimalistic sounds. Today they sound more ritualistic, mystic and danceable at the same time. Tells us more about this evolution.
HK: Such an evolution is quite logical, to my eyes - and into my ears ;-). Well each CD has it's own differences and similarities, I don't want to deliver every time the same stuff. It could be that the next time (the CD) will be much more ambient-coloured!
EBM.gr: Would you say you are a religious person?
HK: Religious, probably not, spiritual is a better word :-) And yes, I'm interested in such a topics as religion...
EBM.gr: Tell us your thoughts about the term "IDM" (Intelligent Dance Music).
HK: Well, quite difficult to place an opinion about it, but in a few words: "BRAIN music" what is it ?
EBM.gr: What is your opinion on multimedia (videos, animations, etc.)? Are they important in your music/shows?
HK: Quite important! Today, with all the audio/video technical facilities, a musical artist can represent himself as an artistic entity, (well, what's in a word!) with back-up of video, animation..... Well back to my show, I try to carry the audience towards a filmic path. Images and audio are material giving a certain feel. On this basis, the listener can be evoked into an imaginary movie.
EBM.gr: Is music your main occupation?
HK: At this moment, I'm focusing on music composition, music mastering, graphics, web design.....
EBM.gr: If music wasn't your main occupation, what would you like to do instead?
HK: Well, I couldn't imagine myself doing a job out of this context, but ofcourse reality is a plausible reason for having a commercial living. If I really was forced to chose another occupation: producing video clips ;-)
EBM.gr: How do you write a song? Do you keep notes so you can return afterwards to make changes? Do you improvise?
HK: I think improvisation and experimentation is a must. I don't know anything about the "written laws" regarding notes, etc ...but I don't really mind. It's the personal feeling that counts in my music.
EBM.gr: Do you use samples for you music or do you write everything from scratch?
HK: I like to use samples! And yet, it always depends on the situation. Ideas are in the air, all you have to do is catch them on time.
EBM.gr: How long does it take to complete an album?
HK: Well, let's say a year, up to a year and a half (or two) is a good deadline. You have to pre-listen, listen again while adjusting tracks, deleting tracks... there are so many tasks involved. I must say I have improved quite a lot since I started :-)
EBM.gr: The material you present at your gigs, is it prerecorded? Do you change the tracks at all?
HK: Most of the stuff is pre-recorded. When people accompany me to play then I can decide what to leave off from the tape (press the eject and give me the tape ;-).
The more musicians, the more instruments, the more rock 'n' roll alternative ;-)As said, working on a laptop, on tape, etc. gives the possibility to an artist to travel alone with half of (or maybe complete?) his studio.
EBM.gr: What music do you prefer to listen to?
HK: Lots and lots. Ancient to classical. Noise to electronic. Pop/rock to black metal. Whatever sounds good to my ears. Well, it's a matter of personal taste!
EBM.gr: What equipment do you use for your music? (Software/Hardware)
HK: Apple computer is my main music platform with Logic and Pro tools, waves, plug-in collections etc.
EBM.gr: If you had to choose one instrument to play music with what would that be and why?
HK: Oh, the guitar and bass. I like that sound. It can be aggressive, raw, but also smooth and sexy :-)
EBM.gr: What was the latest book you read?
HK: I'm finishing "RUBICON, the end of the Roman Republic".
EBM.gr: Do you use the internet for personal or business purpose (promoting your music etc.) ?
HK: I use both ! and for promotion, and for business and pleasure, like most of us all....
EBM.gr: How do you feel about the fact that many people use the internet to download your music without paying for it?
HK: Well, a discussion without an end. I don't approve it, but it's good for promotion... So we will have to find a way in between, so that the artist gets paid for his artistic experience, while occasionally giving the audience stuff for free!
EBM.gr: If you had to form the line-up for a music festival which bands/artists would you choose and why?
HK:The original HYBRYDS (the true ritual sound)The Prodigy (they are aggressive)Lisa Gerrard (beautiful natural voice)Mimetic (king of complex arrangements and beats)Massive Attack (hypnotic trip hop dub)Mozart (he's a genius)Leftfield (I like their bass)Lustmord (because he's a dark genius)and so many more :-) .....
EBM.gr: Could you name one (or more) favourite Ah Cama-Sotz track(s)?
HK: ganzir, lix tetrax, elysium, 1348, your darkest soul, sabbat II, U-Boot theme ...
EBM.gr: Tell us what did you think of the Greek audience at your gig in Undeworld Club?
HK: Quite enthusiastic. Hot. Very friendly. Overall: nice input and feedback. Well, see you all next year :-)
EBM.gr: Herman, we would like to thank you very much for the concert and for this interview. What would you like to say to all your fans from Greece?
HK: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It has been a tremendous environment, feel & vibe. Groovy!
Special thanx to Spectraliquid team for organising the event and all their help.
Great thanx to Yiannis Yiannakopoulos for his help.
Pictures from the Ah Cama-Sotz live @ Underworld can be found here: http://www.ebm.gr/content/view/2344/42/
Visit Ah Cama-Sotz official website: http://www.ahcama-sotz.com/Myspace profile: http://www.myspace.com/ahcamasotzbatsandcats
CAMANECROSZCOPE II : Echoes ov a beckoning arcanum (spectre) THE WAY TO HERESY (hands) GHOST IN THE SHADOW (spectre) 10 YEARS BAT VIBEZ (hands) CAMANECROSZCOPE : Echoes ov who lieth dead but ever dreameth (spectre) RITES OF THE FLESH (bats & cats) LA PROCESION DE LA SANGRE (hands) MANTRA (hands) U-BOOT (spectre) THE HOUSE OF THE LORDH (ant-zen) TERRA INFERNALIS (hands) POISON (old europe café) LA PESTE (bats & cats) EPITHAPHE (hands) FIRST CIRCLE OF HELL (spectre) Watch hungrr-ah (videomix)