LURKER presents a very special interview with Poland’s Non Opus Dei conducted by Nichtig of Ulvhel. This was originally published in Polish but has been translated into english solely for LURKER by Klimorh – who performs vocals and guitar in this prolific act. Join us as we journey deep into the heart of this project and talk about nihilism, ouroboros, self-overcoming and the perception of human beings. Philosophically heavy from the get go, Non Opus Dei’s most recent release, ‘Eternal Circle’, is chock full of ideological and occult references. With an incredible layout and graphic direction curated by Bartek Rogalewicz, Non Opus Dei have craftest their most challenging opus to date. A great interview with some great questions that ignited my desire to dig through this bands catalogue once again.
I. Lets talk about ‘The Prisoner of the Worlds’ and ‘How to get out of the circle….? How to return? Straight to the zero point… The beginning’. Eternal return or a spiral descent into the precosmic source, maybe even transition? Any idea how to get out of the circle? Furthermore, would you really want to do it, because the apotheosis of the Eternal Return does not really imply ‘getting out‘. The concept of infinity is a hellish perspective. I am sure you are aware of it, yet you must have found a way round it – at least ‘Eternal Circle‘ exudes this impression. Could you somehow elaborate on these associations?
I think I just took the liberty of painting a nightmarish daubster, full of weird, dreamy perspectives, uncommon landscapes, etc. I cannot interpret it and I do not really want to. Anyway, I do not think I am in need of some deep psychoanalysis, haha…
It seems to me that such a notion as “eternal return” is so multidimensional that it is nonsensical to ask me about the meaning of my “painting”, or to ask me whether I “understand” it. Neither do I understand nor have I any formula for “getting out” of the circle, for a “successful, joyful return”. However, I am the kind of person who is not oriented towards reaching goals, finding conclusions, etc. I think that the “way”, the “journey” is more important. Once you achieve your goals, what else is left for you? It leads only to stagnation.
As children, we play different games. Our adult life is nothing else but playing these games on a larger scale. For example, we have a game called earning money, there are games called politics, religion, family and many others. Once you refuse to play some of these games, you may be able to understand the nature of the circle we are travelling. Maybe that is why some philosophies tell us a lot about renouncing things. If you refuse to accept some stages of the big game called life – then maybe you can finish your journey in interesting ways. Let us say that some of these stages are already behind you. For example, you either don’t have to earn a living or you are financially independent. You either desert your family and friends or you live in total harmony with them. You finally found your ideal point of view, your “gnothi seauton‘, or whatever it is called. So, what is left for you? What stage? Would you like to continue this for eternity? Is it not tiring? Perhaps in finding answers to such questions there is some truth regarding the “circle”, this “return” that you mentioned.
Also, many people forget about one important thing. If you want to renounce anything, first of all you would have to possess something. You cannot truly reject the world if you do not possess perfect, complete knowledge about it.The only true knowledge comes only from direct experience.
The big game of life and maybe rejecting this life could be some way to get out of the circle. However, just think if you would have to repeat it for eternity… Boring, isn’t it? You have to lose it, sooner or later.
II. I was greatly surprised by the ideological aspect of “Eternal Circle”, so let me dwell on it for a while. I remember that in some interviews from 2001 (it was in Garazel zine, I think), you mentioned Nietzsche as one of your main inspirations. I think there is much more to Nietzsche than many see at first glance. For example, I was taken aback by transfigurators of Nietzsche’s ideas, like Georges Bataille, by how much more you can find in nihilism. No doubt you have a wandering mind, so how is it – are you searching all the time only to find out that this genius has already written about everything?
As for the search you mention… Perhaps people are just like empty shells which drift over the oceans of some memes, ideas. A large number of these shells completely ignore the memes, the “thought-beings” around us. Most shells treat them superficially, they just take a glance at it and shout out a few colourful catchwords connected with the idea they just noticed. However, some empty shells become so imbued with these ideas that they develop some kind of a personality. This personality is so strong (or weak – depends on how you perceive it), that it is able to interpret and understand this meme, this idea. Maybe in some extreme case such an individual can finally become an idea. That is probably why you mention that Nietzsche has already written everything. Perhaps it is possible that everything has already been written down or spoken by someone, and we just tranfigure things. Exactly as you mentioned in your question.
III. The power which sets the world in motion (chaos), versus stagnation (matter). It is obvious what side you take, however the lyrics make an impression that you admire life and the cosmos, that you are enraptured by this state of the two elements (chaos and matter) entwined. Is this not an inconsistency?
I do not side with any of these “powers”, why should I claim to do so? The need for belonging – even on such an absurdly cosmic scale – is a symptom of weakness. As some kind of a being which is here and now, I inevitably stand just between these two giants. We exist only at the junction of chaos and stagnation entwining round each other.
It is all about being aware of the necessity of Chaos and the dislike for stagnation. Paradoxically, it is Chaos that arranges matter into higher, more and more complicated forms. Chaos, fire, lust, creation and destruction. Chaos – as opposed to stagnation, passivity. These are the essentials of the universe and I must admit that I am fascinated by such duality of Chaos. On the one hand, It is a causative and creative force, spiritus movens. On the other hand, It is also destructive. Both creator and destroyer of any living entity. It is beautiful and complex, but also infernal and simple. All the opposites are united within it…
IV. “Eternal Circle” seems to be less experimental than your previous albums. Your new LP can be described as modern, technical Black Metal. It is a tour de force battling forces equal parts creative and chaotic. What’s next?
I am glad that you like it, thanks. Maybe just for me it is a more experimental album. What I mean is that after recording “Constant Flow” (our previous album) we could immediately make and record songs which would have the same style, riffs, arrangement, etc. Probably in a few days we could make something which would surpass “Constant…”, but would be very similar to it. It is very easy to pattern yourself upon someone’s music, but to ape your own ideas is a total trifle, it demands no effort at all.
If we were old coots, we would probably copy our own ideas, but since we are young studs, it was a bigger challenge to give up what we had done so far and look for something new. So, we tried to find some new way for our sounds and that is why I say that this album is some sort of an experiment for me.
What’s next? This is the question we always ask after we had freed ourselves from the “burden” of some ideas and sounds. Is it the end, or maybe we have something more to say?
Do nothing and go nowhere. That would be an interesting stage in the “life” of the band. But this time we have certain plans as to the future of this entity known as Nonopus, so it is not the end yet.
V. As to one of your past projects – Mordgier. Will you ever play some primitive BM again? It perplexes me to think how much effort you put into the drums on “E.C.”.
That is right, Gonzo (our drummer) devoted a large part of his life to be able to play in such extreme tempo like on “Eternal Circle”. It is possible that one day I will play some primitive sounds, although maybe not as Nonopus. Maybe it would be fine to play some simple music after such acrobatic stunts, just as a form of catharsis, haha…
VI. Recently I revisited “Slava Tchortu!”. Has your relationship with satanic elements been drawn into question?You used to hail his name more often in the past. Have you become a believer of the native faith? Cosmic equilibrium?
“Slava Tchortu” – well, it is a truly pagan call, isn’t it? I never knew that demonology, ethnography, and folklore are so close to cosmic equilibrium, ha ha…
Let me start with “being” a pagan (native faith believer). This is a sort of a language trap. People say “I am a believer of this and that religion”, “I am a lorry driver”, “I am a lecturer in economics”. Tell me, do you really believe that a cluster of some memes, some “-isms”, doctrines and functions can “be” a real person? I AM only myself, I am Klimorh, you are Nichtig. And when we have to, we should rather say “I use this and that, I benefit from this and that, my aim is to do something”. It is very easy to fall into the language trap of self-determination. Let me say this again, a cluster of some memes, “-isms”, doctrines and functions cannot “be” a real person, it is just the need of belonging, a symptom of a certain weakness.
And instead of simply shouting “Devil!”, “Nietzsche!”, “Tchort!”, “Death!”, I would rather deal with the very essence of what really is behind these names, slogans. It seems to me that people often think that the word, the slogan, is more important than its essence. This is something I would like to avoid, of course.
VII. Magical properties of wormwood… Did the Green Fairy reveal anything to you? Did you prepare anything according to the old recipes?
According to one legend, when I was a kid, I fell into a cauldron full of wormwood and toadstools, and since that time I am haunted by Green Fairies and Berserkers, ha! Well, seriously speaking, if we went through a few legends and tales of the ancient Europe, we would notice that many heroes of these stories passed the stage of a “cauldron” once in their lifetime. No matter if we consider Berserkers or if we wonder what substance Graal contained (and it is well-known that the legend of Graal comes from pre-Christian times). It doesn’t take an archeologist or ethnographer to notice this.
Once upon a time, the things that you mentioned belonged to sacrum. However, this sacrum doesn’t exist today and it cannot be regained easily. On the other hand, what is the nature of this “amanite sacrum”? It is said that such substance is only a catalyst which causes certain reaction within a person, so such reaction can also be caused by things like stress, adrenaline, ecstatic states, lack of sleep, etc. So it all is within us anyway, all these states, reactions are dormant, just waiting for the right day to come.
VIII. The Galactic Goddess, the saintest courtesan – your feelings about how Gnostics perceived Her? (Sophia, Wisdom, the source of the fall and oblivion)?
In this context I won’t tell you much about Gnostics, but I can share some of my own visions… The Galactic Goddess, She who is the personification of the chaotic force which makes this world remain in motion. The avatar of the blind, chaotic force, which is far beyond the notions like good and evil. The force which is lethal, but it also is against stagnation and degradation, it always compels us to evolve, to go forward. She is beyond any words, because she existed long before any language was created. Anyway, we already discussed that our language often narrows down to mumbling and applying thoughtless labels.
Female entity connected with chaos and death. Maybe she is someone (something) like Tiamat who was killed by Marduk, like Medusa killed by Perseus. We could refer to the native ethnography of the land I come from (it has many demonic female entities). Maybe it is something connected with the archetype of mother goddess, with “The White Goddess” by Graves, maybe with something from the works of Frazer… Who cares? It doesn’t really matter, let me not explain this, I don’t really want to look for any references, descriptions. As some beautiful lady said to Percival – “even if you asked me a hundred times, it all will remain a mystery“.
The ethos of the bloodthirsty, creative Goddess is opposite to the ethos of “the consumer paradise”. The paradise of ubiquitous safety, love, tolerance, the paradise in which humanity is breastfed by the Radio-Computer-Television Mother. The paradise where humanity is in stagnation, suspended between life and death, but not really knowing any of these two states. The paradise where we are weak and addicted. And there will be no Perseus or Marduk coming to this paradise, because such individuals are shaped only by Her, the Galactic Goddess.
I am not really sure where the abovementioned Sophia is in such context…?
IX. Every Gnostic has his (her) own gnosticism, but your words: ”The avatar of the blind, chaotic force, which is far beyond the notions like good and evil“, can be attributed to any of the Gnostic views on Sophia. The only difference (or rather a supplement) is that she is referred to as the first living entity and initiator of the process of transition from Pleroma (Wholeness) i.e. an unworld of “Unknown God” (which is totally indentifiable with Chaos) to the created world (the kingdom of matter), the latter of which was perceived by all Gnostics as an utter error. Gnosis aims at leading towards an anticosmic recurrence, an external and innermost inversion, starting from a state of suspension and unknowing, which has it’s primordial source in Sophia. Therefore Sophia is indeed an galactic goddess and a divine spark, however she requires to be awakened and acknowledged. How would you refer to this now?
It seems to me that we speak about the same things, but we express it in different words. I would focus on the “spark which needs to be awaken and recognized. How to awaken it, how to recognize it… But there is no formula for achieving it. You must go this long way on your own.
X. Although you distance yourself from the need of belonging, it seems that the lyrics of “Nietzsche’s Demon” are like casting a curse (“abhor those who oppose it – hate all those who despise life – hate all those who decay slowly – hate all those who betrayed the earth“). But as for being faithful to the earth and cultivating this life (being in harmony with it) – isn’t it equal with decaying slowly?
That is right, I only distance myself from the need for belonging. It does not mean that I do not belong anywhere or that I do not have any identity. I try to know who I am, but I also know that my true “I” is somewhere beyond any description, beyond a cluster of some definitions.
Perhaps all this is just a matter of interpretation. As far as I remember, the expressions “to despise life” and “to betray the earth” appear somewhere in the works of Nietzsche – he is so omnipresent, ha ha! For me these words mean simply to live a life which is passive, barren, not creative – to decay slowly. “To betray the earth” means to oppose the power which blindly forces the world to evolve, thoughtlessly creating higher and higher forms. As opposed to “despising life and betraying the earth”, the meaning of life is just to live and to go into raptures about this “chaotic force which is lethal, but it also is against stagnation and degradation, it always compels us to evolve, to go forward“. The “curse” of Nietzsche should force us to live, fight, create and to “become, change”, not just “be”. To question the status quo, even the one which is inside you; without such attitude it is impossible to evolve.
XI. Your new band – Alne… sounds incredibly promising. I expected some kind of witch-folk, but there really is something fiery in it, something I would describe as Polish Dornenreich. Ambient / industrial / neofolk labels may be bewildered, because in spite of many folk elements in Alne (mainly Kasia’s singing), there are drums and electric guitar… Have you found any label? Or are you going to wait for someone?
You just hit the bull’s eye, a truly incisive analysis of the music business, ha ha. The labels I have been working with so far were not interested in it, maybe because of a certain transgression of Alne (in comparison to the things “from the catalogue”). Well, being underground and independent is one thing, but things like “target” and “market” are also important.
Labels connected with the genres you mentioned also were a bit confused about it. Well, how much folk should there be in… folk? If you have no pipes, no hurdy-gurdy, no fiddles, then probably it is not folk. I fell into my own trap. When I was composing Alne’s songs, I was considering inviting a few people who play folk instruments. However, when we were rehearsing, I understood that the songs were complete and if we added any more instruments, it would be artificial, maybe even a bit commercial, but with less artistic merit.
Alne’s “folklore” is all about admiration for old, pre-Christian feasts, customs, rites, it is about the atmosphere of some places and events which took place there a long time ago, it is the need to look for wisdom connected with the native faith of my ancestors. Paganism plus romanticism, an explosive mixture.
We are still looking for a label, sending promo CDs, emails, etc. However, the only thing we got so far are good opinions about the music, no deal yet.