Samantha Viola is the newest member of the Occult Blackened Noise band T.O.M.B. and also a contributor THE DREADLORDS as well as the lone member of her project SKULSYR. Traumatic Static had the honor of questioning her about music, occultism and the dark world she dwells in. Continue below to read words that will shed a dim light on the shadows of the underground.
First off, Thanks for taking the time to speak with us
and share your insight into the darker corners of the
underground. How did you get involved with these styles of
music and sonic experimentation and what drew you to these depths?
I didn't really listen to much noise other than dark ambient before
I met the members of T.O.M.B. I was introduced to this black noise
chaos and I was never so amazed in my life. T.O.M.B. was all I listened
to for days... and then, not too long after, I saw them perform live. I
was entranced and didn't really have any words after the set was over.
Not even one month later, I was asked to be a part of this powerful occult
machine.. the first real noise band I had ever listened to.
How exactly did you get involved with T.O.M.B. And what was it that you
brought to the table that wasn't present before?
A couple members knew about me from mutual friends, but I just happened
to meet other members by chance. I was contacted because of the occult/ritual
stories that were being told about me.. and by speaking with a couple of the
members and talking about what I do and have done in the occult realm and my
personal musical background (I had played music on my own, but never as a band
and never recorded any material), I was brought into the group. I've been told
that I have the kind of occult abilities they had never came in contact with...
and since then have definitely proven those abilities more than we ever imagined.
Many artists use the Occult as a gimmick or a way
to look cool and appeal to rebellious teenagers. What
is it that separates you and your projects from the countless
others out there claiming to be Occult themed bands?
We take it seriously. We don't do anything lavish, and if we seem
to come off in a way that makes audiences think we're being theatrical,
then that's on the audience. The ritual we do is natural, raw, and unrehearsed.
The music itself will occasionally be the same way, but we do have to keep that
organized for various reasons. For example, when we play live, the last song we
do is always different.. when I step over to the drums and No One goes to his
tombstone, my drum beats are never the same twice.. his noise is always different..
we lose ourselves in the ritual and let it flow.. When I finish that last violent,
raw noise attack, I don't even remember what I had played. My personal life is engulfed
in the occult. My surroundings all have ritualistic significance.. Everything in my life
involves the occult... even work. I could go into specifics, but that could be a book in
itself. Those that know me would understand. Even stepping into my personal space could
do that. My band mates have their own similar ways. So, anyway... I'm not that into myself.
I don't hold myself above all. I do not think I'm the all powerful. None of us are egotistical...
but I can see when a band is using the occult as a "gimmick" or if they themselves think they're
the all powerful. I don't make a point to voice what I think... I let them do as they please
and carry on with my ways.
Being that so much Occult force is involved, How does working with projects
like T.O.M.B. and DREADLORDS differ from a traditional band setting?
Music flows more quickly when there is a ritualistic force behind it.
Being in both these bands is different than any musician could imagine
and more than we can comprehend ourselves. Our energy is one... and our
music is our energy.. You hear our music, and if you truly understand it,
you know us and know who/what we are.
You also record solo under the moniker SKULSYR,
What is it that you wish to convey with a solo
project that is seperate from the others you are
involved in? Would you consider a solo project
more ritualistic in way?
With Skulsyr, I can convey an energy that's all my own.
My most natural state is that of solitude. I've done my
best workings in the company of nothing but the earth and
the ancient powers that flow through it. My solo project has
even more ritualistic significance than that of the other two.
It is born of shamanic trance, nurtured in the deep, old earth,
and flourishes in the rhythmic enchantment of its own creation.
There is still so much to come, as the project is in its infancy.
More sounds, more words, more explanations to come.
What does SKULSYR mean? Can you give us a definition?
My guess from how the words look would be something
like bone divination...maybe just because it looks like
Skuld is a name of a Norn, and Syr is another name for the Goddess Freyja.
Both those entities, mostly what they symbolize, I deeply connect with..
on levels that I can't explain to most. The inspiration of the name came
from those two, but the two words together form something that engulfs my
being. Funny you say bone divination, because my runes are made from bone
and I divine from them. When you say the name.. it is pronounced Skull seer.
All of these meanings have a purpose. You've hit it pretty spot on.
The occult, magic and ritual have obviously aided in your musical career
in many ways. What's one of the best examples of the impact it's had for
your bandmates and yourself?
We usually keep our “secrets” to ourselves when it comes to this matter.
We have accomplished more within the first year or two of my initiation
than many bands accomplish in their career. I don’t mean to be overconfident
or arrogant at all; I’m actually still in awe about everything that has happened.
I always say that you can have the drive and the talent, but when you have the right
alchemical compound, you can create gold.
T.O.M.B. is known for unconventional recording methods and involving
the paranormal. What would you say to the skeptics out there who'd
claim that none of it is real? Do you think it makes it harder for
you guy's to be taken seriously as musicians?
When it comes to myself, I can laugh when people make those claims
because I'm physically in those places doing the recording, experiencing
the spiritual phenomena. We don't make up stories; we really don't need to.
Our reality is far more exciting than any tale. We aren't phased by those
who try to make us seem less "cool", because we don't see ourselves as such.
First, there is video evidence of what we do. Second, we don't go to these
locations to record just to make us sound more interesting. The haunting
echoes of these locations... the energies that can consume you and follow
you long after you leave... you can feel all of these things when you listen
to our work. It isn't just the way we manipulate our electronics... it's the
lingering ghosts of the location's past we've brought back with us.
What is it that ties it all together for you? Working with so
many individuals? Do you find that it is hard to keep up with
all the varying energies or do you find yourselves on the same
page more often than not?
We’re actually a pretty small group. 3 out of the 4 contributors
of T.O.M.B. are also in Dreadlords, so I only need to keep up with
three very powerful and intelligent beings. We all may have different
energies, but together ours seamlessly lock together to form “a force
to be reckoned with”, I suppose. I couldn’t ask for or even find more
fitting band mates. The fact that we work so well together that everything
comes naturally without much contemplation is why I am in allegiance to this group.
Not only are we on the same page, but we are writing the same words.
Thank you so much for your time Samantha.
Any final words to seal the "Tomb" ?
Be prepared for our upcoming release..
all the past rituals, the ravenous energies contained
in those incantations.. now we unleash the fury...
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