For those unfamiliar with Cephalophore, it is an ambient/industrial/noise/drone project by Saint Raven. I recently had the opportunity to interview Cephalophore’s mysterious Saint Raven, well-known amongst the Christian music forums.
How did Cephalophore come into being?
Cephalophore has its roots in “rVn” which was more of an experimental industrial type thing that I messed around with a few years ago. At the time I felt like doing something different, something that would be a bit darker and weirder and less structured. The very first Cephalophore stuff (which I don’t have anymore, thanks to a computer melt down) was mostly made up of drones, noises and samples from old folk and blues 78s. I used Skip James, Buell Kazee and made some type of hip hop track from a Leadbelly song. I wish I still had that stuff. After a while I noticed there was a Christian band named RVN so I figured it was a sign to switch completely to Cephalophore, which as far as I know has never been used as a name.
Cephalophore is the Greek word for head carrier. Why choose this name for the project?
Hmm, because it’s an interesting word I suppose. I was watching a show on History Channel or Discovery or something like that, but anyway the show was about “dead words” and Cephalophore was one of them and the program mentioned that it meant head carrier and that it was the name for a depiction of a saint who is carrying his or her own head. It’s an amazing word, which should not at all be dying. Anyway, it sounds good, it looks good, and it has an interesting historical and religious meaning.
You’ve had quite a few releases, both physical CDs and downloadable songs. Is the material older pieces that you’ve been waiting to release, all new material that you’ve come up with or a mix of the two?
A mix, some of it is a few years old. Most of the material on Bacteriophage is actually some of the oldest stuff I have done, just remixed up a bit. Peccatoris is about a year and a half old or so at this point.
When and how did you get involved in music?
Well, I have always been surrounded by music for the most part. My grandparents both played in a band and my family would watch the rehearsals pretty much every time they had them. My Granddad played pretty much any instrument you can think of, guitar, steel guitar, banjo, harmonica, piano, organ, saxophone … etc. He also listened to
a lot of old country, bluegrass and old time music. My mom listened to a lot of soundtracks and my parents both listened to a lot of Celtic music. The first non “kid” music I ever owned was a Slade cassette, after that I moved on to various forms of alternative music, with my favorites being REM, Depeche Mode, Modern English, Joy Division, etc.
Then I moved on to more “underground stuff” lots of industrial stuff, lots of noise, death metal, black metal, all that stuff. As far as making music, I’ve done it off and on for quite a few years. When I was a teenager I made a bunch of cassettes mixing death metal with noise and EBM drum beats, I don’t have them anymore. After that there was fiddling around with banjos and mandolins but nothing recorded until rVn started up.
What have been some of the biggest influences in your music?
Blackhouse, Mental Destruction, old Skinny Puppy, Whitehouse, Atrax Morgue, Nurse With Wound, In A Lonely Place, Throbbing Gristle, Einsturzende Neubauten, Horchata, Caul, Lustmord … oh I don’t know, there’s a lot. There are others that probably no one would actually hear from the sound of Cephalophore, things like Roscoe Holcomb, Dock
Boggs, Skip James. All that weird old Old Timey and country blues stuff. There is just a feeling to that stuff that nothing now can even come close to touching.
What sort of feedback have you received from your listeners?
Not much really and most of what there has been has come from people who also make this style of stuff. There hasn’t really been anything overtly negative, which is nice, but I think that might be because most people who hear this just write it off immediately as ‘not even music’, and yeah, I suppose it’s not, but then again I don’t WANT it to be musical. I want it to be 20 minutes of banging and whistling and droning bass lines. I think the people that connect to that just like it and the people that don’t connect just don’t even bother saying anything at all. Oh wait, the wife of one of the Blabber Jesus Radio hosts absolutely hated Cephalophore, I almost forgot about that. He said she tends to dislike most everything he likes though.
Elan, from BMR has definitely been Cephalophore’s biggest supporter, almost from the minute Subduction was released he was telling people how much he loved it. Well, he was one of the cofounders of BMR and Cephalophore was one of the first projects that the label approached and everything took off from there. By the way Elan’s music is
amazing, I highly recommend everything he has worked on. My favorite is probably the Asgath project. It’s amazing, amazing ambient /noise/ musique concrete. It’s not metal, or overly musical, but if you want some really intricate and challenging soundscapes, definitely give it a download.
Will there be additional releases through BMR?
Yes, I believe so. There’s a really different Cephalophore album in the waiting right now titled Folklore, the majority of it is made up of Cephalophore versions of old folk tunes. There is a companion EP to go along with it titled Hymnal which as one might surmise from the title is made up of covers of old Hymns. I’m not entirely sure when these will be released though as the tentative schedule was for sometime in October and obviously that didn’t happen. Nevertheless, when they do come out the reaction could be interesting. On the other hand, maybe no one will care; it’s hard to say with stuff like this.
What can we expect next from Cephalophore?
Well, probably Folklore and Hymnal, they have been finished for almost a year now so I am anxious for them to be released. Other than that, for the last several months I have been working on a couple other albums. One is titled The Interpretation of Wounds and the other is Ashes From The Cremation Grounds, both of them are a bit quieter and more ambient than the last few things I have worked on. I have no idea when those will be out or in what form, but one of these days they shall be released upon an unsuspecting world.