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Interview with pagan gothic rock top band, Inkubus Sukkubus!

ElektroSpank | FMA have the pleasure to host an interview with, perhaps, the top pagan gothic rock band. Just few days before their forthcoming concert in Athens, Greece, on January 26th we spoke with Tony McKormack and  Candia Ridley, members of Inkubus Sukkubus. The discussion is great and hope you really enjoy it.

This interview, along with Inkubus Sukkubus's concert in Greece are the first events for a special year for the band since 2019 is their 30 years anniversary. I am very happy to have spoken with Tony and Candia on such a great occasion. Inkubus Sukkubus is sharing with us details that have marked their 30 years course and success in pagan gothic rock.

Go ahead, read and enjoy what Tony and Candia have told us and make sure you will see them performing live in Athens (Death Disco), Greece, on January 26th!

ES: Hello Tony, hello Candia. Really glad for this interview and to have you in ElektroSpank | FMA - Online Music Magazine. Looking forward to see you in Athens concert. What a great occasion, to perform live in Athens, while you have a 30 year anniversary. How do you feel about that, the 30 years of music?

Tony: It's always great to return to Athens, we are very lucky and privileged to still be performing after all of this time. I myself never though we would last for this long.

Candia: It’s crazy, isn’t it! As Tony says, we really didn’t expect to be still going after three decades, but we love it and so why not? We’ve had some great times in Athens previously, so it’s fantastic to be able to return for our 30th anniversary.

ES: Do you have plans on doing something special this year? Due to this anniversary, have you planned any release or concerts and tour?

Tony: We are hoping to play as much as we can, another album is already well underway and we are just going to see what happens.

Candia: It’s business as usual – gigging, writing and recording – although we do have a few other little surprises lined up. We’ll reveal more later in the year…

ES: OK. We begun with this beautiful coincidence of 30 years Inkubus Sukkubus. I would like to go back, though, to the early years. How did it all start?

Tony: It all began when Candia and I met up with Adam Henderson at Art College in 1989, we found that we all had similar interests in music and art, and decided to form a band. It took a while before we started playing shows, and a couple of years before we were releasing material.

Candia: Yes, we certainly had similar interests in music and art, but also magic and witchcraft… and of course a shared interest in horror books and movies. Early on, Tony and I got talking about our lifelong fascination with the Old Religion and our interest in making magic, and the essence of the band just naturally followed.

ES: What does Inkubus Sukkubus stand for? How did you choose that name? There was a change in the spelling around mid 90's. Can you tell us something about this?

Tony: The name is represents the dark romance with a hint of evil that is in a lot of the lyrics. It is the dark repressed desire that is always just beneath the surface. We changed the spelling of the name so that the sum of the numerological values of the letters added up to something more successful, it seems to have worked.

ES: Inkubus Sukkubus is probably the most known and lasting band when someone thinks of pagan gothic rock. Is it difficult to be the main reference of a genre? Is it difficult to be that active and close to the audience for such a period of time? Can you share with us something characteristic that you still remember and talk about?

Candia: That’s very kind of you to say so, but I don’t think it’s necessarily so. Since we formed 30 years ago, many other bands have come together performing pagan gothic rock and so it’s become a pretty healthy genre in its own right. One of the things we like best about being a band the size we are – that is, not too big – is that we can be close to our audience. We feel it’s important to get to know them – many by name through gigs and social media – and learn what it is they like about what we do. Some of our fans have been following us from the very early days, so have grown older with us… it’s a wonderful thing!

ES: Since Beltaine was released as a cassette album in the first place, many would consider Belladona & Acconite as the first official album release. Tell us something about this great album. How did the crowd respond back then, in early 90's? We know that Belladona & Acconite became a widely accepted and successful album. What were your influences in those first years and first albums?

Tony: When we recorded it, on the journey home a giant albino goat was running around in the middle of the road, with a farmer running after it, we took this as a good omen.  Originally the album came out in part as a tape cassette, and was released on CD later, when we signed to Nightbreed Records, although we paid to have it pressed. The original pressing came back from the pressing plant with the first minute missing from the start of the album, and initially the manufacturing company refused to have it re-pressed, eventually they gave in and it was re-pressed. We were quite surprised how well it was received by people once it was released, to be quite honest we were not really ready to record and release an album at that point, but we just went ahead and did it anyway. I am not sure exactly what influenced Belladonna & Aconite, there is certainly some Slow Heavy Rock in there and quite a bit of Baroque in the keyboards, I think there is even a bit of Country and Western and the Blues. In many ways it was the album which defined us, it was the formula which would be enhanced and developed on with “Heartbeat of the Earth”, and soon after “Vampyre Erotica”. I think it has been re-pressed around 18 times now, and is due to be re-pressed again very soon.

Candia: When we brought out Belladonna & Aconite, our influences lyrically were much as they are today – interest in the history and practice of witchcraft & magick, vampirism, horror, folklore and mythology. We did come up against some criticism for the subject matter back then, and at times found ourselves the target of fundamentalism, but we stuck at it because that’s what we believed in. Musically, we still like a lot of the music we listened to then – punk, goth, medieval, classical, etc – but we’ve possibly developed more eclectic tastes and probably absorbed more influences… whether consciously or unconsciously.

ES: Belladona & Aconite was followed by other great releases while Inkubus Sukkubus started to being one of the major bands in pagan gothic rock scene. Can you share with us some highlights from that period? How was the gothic rock scene and audience in those years? Do you miss something from then? Are the differences with the present day that big?

Candia: The scene in the UK was certainly a lot bigger back then, and most towns would have regular club nights, with lots of people going out to gigs and to hear DJs. It is a little more difficult in this country now to get people out to hear live music, but the ones that do are as enthusiastic as they ever were. Part of it is to do with the British economy, I think; we’re all having to be a little more careful with how we spend our money. When we do go out, though, we make sure it’s a damn good night!

ES: Moving forward and after many great releases and hits which set you as one of the most productive and stable bands, some years ago we see a new side of Inkubus Sukkubus and some folk releases are coming out. Beside pagan rock, you choose to release some really nice works but not as rock as we were used to. Can you tell us how did you decide to write and release these "Horror Folk" albums? Which was the audience's and media feedback?

Candia: It’s something we’d been thinking about for a while. Most of our previous releases had one or two folkier tracks using acoustic instruments, and so we decided to concentrate our efforts on bringing out releases that were specifically in this style, and looking lyrically at British folklore… and so the ‘Tales of Witchcraft & Wonder’ trilogy came about. We released the third one last year, but we certainly won’t be drawing a line under those releases and gigs.

ES: In 2018 the 23rd album saw the light of day. "Vampire Queen". Great album, mature compositions with powerful guitar riffs and melodies. Can you tell us something about "Vampire Queen"? What is the story behind this album? Which are the influences?

Candia: This is something Tony had been working on and presented to me. He’d been thinking about a rockier release after the second ‘Tales of Witchcraft’ album (Belas Knap), and thought about something with an almost Hammer Horror vibe to it. It was fun to go in a different direction in between the Horror Folk albums.

ES: 2018 seemed really productive for you once again. Before the end of 2018, another album was released in the Horror Folk series, "Sabrina - Goddess of the Severn". Can you tell us something for this release?

Candia: I’ve always had an affinity with the River Severn, growing up in a Severnside village, and Sabrina is the Roman name for the river goddess who was said to have drowned in her tidal waters. We recorded and released a very simple version of the song ‘Sabrina’ in 1995 – vocals and acoustic guitar – and so we thought it would be nice to re-record it with different instrumentation 23 years on, and it features Nick’s violin playing as well as vocal harmonies and a different style of guitar picking.

ES: I could ask you so many things but we would need a book to include the entire interview. So, a concert in Greece is approaching. Do you want to tell us what can we expect in that concert? Is there any surprise for the Greek fans, on the occasion of 30 years anniversary?

Candia: We are so excited to be returning. We’re full of energy and anticipation for our 30th anniversary, and playing Athens as the first gig of the year is fantastic. We couldn’t ask for better!

ES: Thank you very much for this interview. Would you like to add or say anything else to our readers and goth rock fans?

Candia: Just that we’re incredibly grateful for all the support we’ve had from fans of our music over the years – the warmth and encouragement we’ve experienced is really humbling – and we hope you’ll join us for the next 30 years! xx

*** live picture source: sanctuary.cz

Inkubus Sukkubus - Belladona & Aconite video






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