Friday, May 27, 2011

THE LEGEND Christophe Szpajdel !!!! Interview (by D)

1)when did you start making logos and why?

I started logos back in 1985 when i was fascinated by such metal bands as Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Venom, Judas Priest, Mercyful fate....I also had a fascination for the Art Nouveau ornaments and it is something that attracted me as it was linked with Nature, Vegetal. Nowadays i am even fascinated by Luc Schuiten's theme "A Vegetal City"....he is a revival of Art Nouveau. Even when i was child, i was inspired by the Mountains, the darkened mountains hazed by amazing auras of clouds giving a feeling of Darkness, Mystery.....i love this feeling and that has been the driving force of my creativity....always anticed by the eerie, the mysterious and the strange....but also by the Outstanding natural beauty....

2)What other arts to you dabble in besides logo work for bands?

Dabble doodle dooooooo!!!!! I do occasionally some drawings but i mostly do photography, this is now my much more important passion for what i do. It is something i enjoy on most of my travellings across the world.

3)How is the lord of logos book doing market wise, and is it filled
with every logo you done for bands? or is there more to it?

The book is selling OK but not as good as i would have exected it. There is photography that i did in Northern California, Oregon, France, Belgium, Devon and a good 1500 of my logos, chosen from the logos i have made. Gestalten has selected. since there was not much time left, i left Gestalten time and space to do whatever they want and the result is excellent. i am utterly delighted with the book

4)How long have you been involved in the metal scene, and what great
bands have you worked with?

I have been involved in the metal scene since 1987 when i ordered such demos as Mutilator "Omen Of Dark fate", Mutilated "Psychodeath Lunatics", Asphyx "Enter The Domain", Thormenthor (Port) "Dissolved in the Absurd", Vacant Grave, Immolation 2 songs demo....I had a real passion. The first band logos that saw the world were DISGRACE (Fin) for their "Inside The Labyrinth Of Depression" demo and "In the Grey Misery" debut album....also EXCIDIUM ep, FILII NIGRANTIUM INFERNALIUM demo "Os Metodos do Pentagramma", Moonspell demo "Anno Satanae", Emperor "I am the Black Wizard" and "Wrath Of The Tyrant"...That was the time when i really enjoyed corresponding with tons of bands , metalheads and just maniaxxx from across the world with letters, tapes, vinyl. Unfortunately due to the diligence of the Internet, my postal correspoindence has dropped seriously as i have hundreds of e-mails EVERYDAY to answer amd i am running late with replying interviews. I am absolutely terrible in typing, now i spend so much time on drawing logos that the internet time allocated is very little. I wish i could have been in touch with more people but my logo duty and my work involvement doesn t allow to be in touch all the time with every individual. Great bands i worked with? NARGAROTH, OLD MANS CHILD, ENTHRONED, KULT OV AZAZEL, ENGORGE, PRIMIGENIUM, DESASTER, CRYPTIC TALES, WINGS OF ABADDON, SATRIARCH, SANCTIFIER, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM, BELHOR, ABIGAIL WILLIAMS, CHASMA, NANDA DEVI, SOL ASUNDER, PIT FIENDS, RED MIST, VIOLENT VIRTUES..... and many many many more.....There are TONS of absolutely amazing bands i have worked with and i could write a book about them!

5)Is there any logos you found as a challenge, and what do you do to
get you in the mode to make logos for bands?

There actually are bands who are really challenging me. They give me strict instructions, i follow the instructions exacyly like they want, by the letter, thej they turn around they are not content with the result. I try to have a clear UNDERSTANDING of what the band wants. THE UNDERSTANDING is the crucial point and stage in the first rendition of the logo, i often submit a pencil stage, then i do the continuation once the approval has been done. it is very easy to come up with the pencil draft, change it and come up with something else. Unfortunately there IS a great deal of bands and individual who got a logo from another artist in my back or NEVER ever responded to my e-mails when i sent them the first rendition. Ther's been lots of dropouts and this is something I don't like at all. I must be in a relaxed and concentrated mode to work on a logo, must have the spirit clear. I can t stand when someone is pushing me all the time with a mail like "how the logo is coming along", It drives me crazy, to kefali mou kaigetai, eimai kamenos, katalavainis, KA-ME-NOS!!!!!!!!

6)How many countries and places have you been too, and is there any
concerts or interesting places you been to you like to mention?

I had the chance to visit both major tourdates of such bands as Morbid Angel, Immortal, Marduk, Cannibal Corpse, Vader, Infernal Majesty but also underground shows of such bands as Blessed In Sin (fra), Handful of Hate (italy), Corpus Christii (Por), Desaster across Europe, including such countries like Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Poland, Spain, Portugal. I regularly visit such festivals as the SWR Metalfest in barroselas (Portugal, from far, this is my absolute festival. This year we had the honour to have Taake, Venom, Malevolent Creation, Today Is The Day, Cough, Alcest, Menace Ruine, Voivod, Alchemist (Por), Pestilencia (Por), Ava Inferi (featuring Rune Blasphemer from Mayhem). Another bunch of Amazing gigs i visitted in the US were the Autumn Equinox Festival at Dingbatz in Clifton (NJ) with such amazing bands as HAVOHEJ, NIGHTBRINGER, CYBERCHRIST, ENGORGE, BAPHOMETS HORNS, WITCHTOMB, ASH, TRIBULATION. I also celebrated my 37th Birthday. it was magic becuase BOTH 3 and 7 are magic numbers because they are completing eachother and because 3 is the number of Stability while 7 is the number of Gates to Hell, the Number of Deadly Sin, the Number of Luck. and 2007 was a particularly great year for me, as well as 2010 with the release of my book. Other truly amazing gigs were NINTH MOON BLACK, PARADE OF STORMS and SUMMERS IN KUWAIT at the oak Street Speak Easy in Eugene. Other amazing gigs i had the chance to see were ANNUNAKI at the CherryWood Rock Club on the borders of PA/NJ. I just love travelling to underground shows with local bands. On top of that, add thousands of local small gigs in Belgium, especially during the early years of Ancient Rites, Enthroned, Avatar...

7)If there is a few underground metal bands you like to mention you did
work for, or been asked to do logos for you enjoyed very much doing,
can you name a few?

Wolves in The Throne Room, Apparitia, Chasma, Nanda Devi, Belhor, Decades of Despair, The Rain in Endless Fall, Abigail Williams, Cendres de Haine, Forgotten Tomb,

8)What do you do besides logo making, while at home, or when you arent
traveling and supporting bands across the globe with your work?

Besides drawing logos i work as a retail assistant for a local convenience store, doing all sorts of jobs including manning the checkout, re-stocking shelves, helping with the delivery....and even during my break at work i draw much i got to do!!!!! Besides drawing logos, i draw logos, besides travelling, i travel and besides suppporting bands i support bands!!!!!!!! And i often draw my logos at work, sketching. I spend actually VERY little time at home because i work in the afternoon/evening and when i finish, i go straight to bed. Midnight and i tend to get up early in the morning, waking up at 6.30 am, it's normal, it's my body clock. I got so many e-mails EVERYDAY that i have no time to socialize and hang out, which is a real pity. All i can do is answering thousands of EXTREMELUY URGENT and EXTREMELY important e-mails AND ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE!!!!!!!! NOt going out, NOt clubbing, Not going to handg out with the local pegre, there is not a single minute left for anything else, Grigora palikari!!!!Den exoume hora, katalavainis????den exoume ora katholou!!!!!!

9)How much longer do you think you will be supporting bands for?

I can't give you any date, as long as i will feel lust and long as the flame will be burning in my heart, as much as i will find in bands a real flame of passion, a begging to differ from the masses...yet we have an overcrowded scene wheere everybody uses the pretext of playing in a band to be cool. The scene is like an oak who produces a lot pf acorns...but only a few of them will become healthy oaks. Being eclectic, versatile, original are the keys to be successful in such an overcrowded scene with bands....As long as i can find something refreshing. Some bands that really amazed me recently are from more Ambient genres like Menace ruin, Halo Manash....more metal bands that really amazed me are WITCHTOMB, NIGHTBRINGER, ATRIARCH, DROWNING THE LIGHT but also i revived my passion for such composers as Xilouris, Stivaktakis, Psarantonis, Tsouganakis, Tsitsanis, Theodorakis...I always have been a huge fan of traditional Greek music, including Zeibekiko, Kritiko Syrto played with such traditional instruments as Laouto, Bouzouki, Lyraki, Tambura...that can be a huge source of inspiration for some dark ambient. Nothing has been done yet in that domain....and i am longing for the Ancient Kingdom!

10) Is there any people in your life you like to mention that helped
you along the way?

Yes, let my mind comes...i would love to mention all those who show respect and interest in my art, all those who offered me space to exhibit or to have an exposure through the press. All those people who perhaps went harsh with constructive criticism on my art, like it has been the case of Medan Savamhel from Ba'al graphics who really helped me to become original and upgrade my style to something more versatile. I would like to mention Herlaka Rose who became my manager and also someone extremely meaningful in my life, as well as Dale Crawford from Deadlocked in Misery, Fulton Hawk from The Salvation Army in San Francisco who really treasure my art and offered me to create finally an official website. Phil Kyle from Magnum Opus Tattoos who is actually the ONE and only tattoo parlour in the UK who accepted a dialogue with me after being rather brushed off by all other tattoo shops I have approached so far telling me that they are not buying anything from anybody. Phil Kyle has been absolutely amazing and has offered me an exhibition space in his tattoo shop and for that i can't thank him enough for having stood over the mass. On a more local scale, I would like to mention Melanie Knight ( who really awakened my creativity to new directions, making me explore new fields of art i never thought before. I would like to mention all those who offered me a place to stay on my travels across the world and helped me to set up exhibitions and helped me to get some exposure, no matter how small or big....As a wise saying states...Every Little helps!

11) Do you have any funny, or awesome stories, thats involves you in
the bands, or your own personal experiences?
Funny....euh not recently. I went on many tours with such bands as Krisiun and Gorgoroth for example or Arkhon Infaustus and Mortician and we travelled Germany in a freezing cold when i was frezing my balls off and I also explored the most southern parts as Murcia in Sain where i could bask in the sun in january. That was sooo cool! I remember that tourdate when Gorgoroth and Krisiun were playing at Hellraiser in Leipzig. That was perfectly al'bodega d'vi saint jean, c'est om coin'd'cabarte ayu s'qu'on bwe plein l'panse, aiu squ'on tche al orviere d'estcheiere et aiu s'qu'on rmoutche a voz gueule sul'coste! Most amazing story was at the Dingbatz in Clifton, as i mentioned before, that was during my AUTUMN EQUINOX EAST_COAST DELI-TOUR 2007. Deli-tour because i enjoyed A LOT of Cheese-steaks with Philly cheese and Avocado and that was sooo tasty, as well as the ROCK HARD and SOLID breakfasts..That was absolutely SWEETASAWESOME! Those who think it's cool to be a boozer are not really with it. I prefer good food enjoyed in a great way! But let's get back to that Birthday Bash i had at the Dingbatz in Clifton, that was absolutely amazing! Lots of bands gave me some birthday gifts like their demos or albums and that was truly awesome. I got t-shirts from Havohej, Witchtomb but also CD's from Kult Ov Azazel, Cyberchrist, Nightbringer (which was the very best of the very best band i ve EVER sen live.NIGHTBRINGER rules supreme....NIGHTBRINGER was the most amazing B'day gift i ever could have!

12)Where are you originally from and what got you into music in the
first place?
I am originally from Belgium and it was watching a video of Kiss "I was made for loving you" in 1977 when i was seven. That was the first piqure that gave me the virus of music. By these times, i was also listening to softer classics of pop music and i also ventured in greek traditional music at the age of 13 at the same time as i enjoyed listening to heavier stuff like Hawkwind or Black Sabbath...But it is only in the mid 80's that i discovered such artists as Venom, Iron maiden, Judas Priest, Slayer

13)Do you play any instruments at all, or have made music before?
I never planned to do music but i had some jams with different bands occasionally. I had plans for several musical projects that never came to a concretisation due to a drastic lack of time. Some of them were MORMYR, that would have been a funeral doom metal band with dark ambient and the inclusion of Cretan Laouto, another one called MOURNERS AT THE OBELISK, which would be the slowest and sludgiest funeral doom/stoner/rock/dr(((o)))ne with the inclusion of Japanese Koto Harp. A black metal band called Jah Broie du Noir consisting of Jah, a woman i encountered in Bridgewater (all vocals and guitars) and Lord Miseryguts (drums). I have created respective logos for all these projects. Isle des morts, an ethereal dark ambient metal band inspired by such as Alcest, Agalloch, Alloces, Amesoeurs, Les Discrets with lyrics in Oil and Oc, VOUIVRE, a sensual dark ambient project, SYLVHYDRA, another dark ambient project with the inclusion of laouto, lyraki and some world music but the whole thing contained in a very dark and oprressive mood. All these proects could have been born but never came to reality due to an absolute like of time and support. What a shame as i had so many ideas that would have come to reality. My life has been nothing but running at maximum speed and trying to catch up with things, reason why i have been so much running late with this interview you are just about to read if it ever gets published. I really would love it to be published....all that has been written at the sound of Psarantonis song "I Tigris"

14)For this amount of time you been making logos for and doing art for
the metal scene, and the underground, which achievements have you been
most proud of, or like to mention?
I would like to mention the release of my book "Lord Of The Logos" that i qualify as my CHILD. Yes i fathered a child in conspiracy with Gestalten Publishing and that is the book "Lord of the Logos" This is as far the most amazing achievement i ever had! Besides that i took part in Mark Riddick's compendium "Logos from hell" which is something absolutely great. My next achievement would be to write and release a book called "A Noite Do Ritual" which would be dedicated. As other achievements i would like to mention my participation for the Art Deco Revival exhibition in AUgust 2009 in Newport, Oregon. Overseas tours like New Zealand (Especially my 40st Birthday at Milford Sound, under the Roaring Forties) , USA and SIngapore is also something I could consider as an achievement

15) Thanks for your time Christophe, and I thank you for doing some
logos for me as well. If you need support, or help from my web-zine
your more then welcome. Got any last words, or shout outs, before we
close up this interview? Thank you very much for your time. -D

Yes!!!!!!! Thank you EVER so much for giving me the HUGE opportunity to express myself in such a dedicated fanzine. Well, to the readers, PLEASE DON't be surprised if you are NOT the same when you finished reading and enjoying this interview, it is your open mind that has infiltrated within your soul and mind. Maybe you haven't sold your soul to the devil but you have undergone a metamorphisis. DON't be afraid, if you, the ULTIMATE Darkthrone fan, felt in love with Lady Gaga after having view Grayson Perry's amazing Ceramics or if you were just riveted to Adele's amazing new song "Rolling in the Deep", you found out that in your subconscious, you felt in love with Black Metal and that Filii Nigrantium Infernalium's newest EP "Retrofornicator" is on the top of your search list, something you've been craving so badly for a long time now. Being Eclectic should NOT be regarded as a negative point nor a disease, in fact, Eclectism should be regarded as a huge quality! YES!!!!! and since you have read that, there has been LOTS and lots of DEATH and Black Metal Cover version of Lady Gaga's BAD ROMANCE..... HOW COOL IS THAT???????????? HEH?????
Y ahora solo para Kabrones. Ustedes sabem que yo soy disenando logotipos e que hablo 7 idiomas! EL Espanol, el Ingles, el Frances, El Italiano, El Portugues, El Holandes, EL Griego y el Polaco! Entonce se tienen dificuldades de comunicar en ingles, pueden escojer algunos de los idiomas mencionados, Vale? Venga!


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