Although Ancient VVisdom’s sound is as far from metal as most other acoustic-based acts, their dark atmosphere and fascination with the occult earn them a safe spot in contemporary metal canon. Vocalist Nathan Opposition got back to me with some answers to questions I had about the band, their music, and their future.
Hey, how’s it going! First- what’s in a name? How did you choose Ancient VVisdom as the title for this project- is there a specific meaning behind it that you feel compliments the project as a whole?
Thanks, appreciate that! It depends on the project I suppose. For choosing the name Ancient VVisdom it was important to find a name that best suited our individuality. The VV and the A without a cross serve as a powerful symbolic image that has set us apart. The title was found in a book titled ‘Ancient Wisdom and secret sects’. An interesting read if you find it.
In a few words, what is the objective and intent behind Ancient VVisdom?
Our objective is to take ourselves and others to great new heights.
If I were to describe the sound of Ancient VVisdom to someone, I’d call you guys an Occult cross between grunge and dark folk. In spite of this, you’re often associated with the metal scene, both in terms of the fanbase and the other bands you have toured with. What do you think it is about Ancient VVisdom’s music that potentially appeals to fans of generally heavy music?
I feel we appeal to a wide variety of music lovers. We appreciate and are appreciated in a lot of different styles of music. Our many influences range from musicians to horror films to authors to philosophers, I believe it shows in our song writing. Our content makes us heavy.
What is your method of songwriting?
I write when I am inspired to write. It’s something that cannot be forced. I write in many different ways. Some songs start with a single line of lyrics, others start with an idea for a riff, or a vocal melody I have in my head. When there is a thought I am inspired by I can portray a feeling or an idea with my words. It’s all subject to change just like everything else.
Although some of your music features a pretty stripped-down approach to acoustic rock, there are plenty of rich orchestrations in your music, particularly on the latest record. Is more of the creative effort spent on the nuances and layers, or do they tend to fall into place once the song is written?
Everything finds its time and has its way to add to the textures, the nuances,the atmosphere of our sound. All time is spent being creative. We have a way of evenly balancing the creative forces controlling our creativity and our chaos.
Your second album “Deathlike” is pretty fresh off the vinyl press, and it’s a killer- great to hear an album that manages to be both catchy and nuanced. What can you say about this album? Is there a concept behind it? Any stories behind the album’s recording?
Thanks! First press of vinyl sold out in less than 3 weeks! The recording session was great. We spent a month at a friend’s studio, Diamond Factory in Austin. I brought ceremonial items which I laid out on the floor during the entire session. We went to the studio, left came back, left the objects where they were. They almost created an atmosphere of their own. When we were there we were in that realm of being, in the zone so to speak. It had an energy of its own, which added to the mood and outcome of the album I believe.
“Deathlike” sports some of the most haunting artwork I’ve yet seen in 2013. Who did the cover? Was there a specific sort of vibe that you wanted to get across with it?
The amazing Travis Smith did the cover art for Deathlike. Quite an experience working with such artistic genius. I wanted to show the thing we fear the most. Death. A grim deathlike realm buried in clouds, surrounded by life and death. The life force is the orb, the reaper the end, played by yours truly in this second act. Don’t fear the reaper, baby.
The reverence and acknowledgement of Satan long been a staple of Ancient VVisdom. From which angle or philosophy do you perceive Satanism? *From what I can tell from the music’s atmosphere and lyrics, it seems like you define it as a symbol for independence and being true to oneself. Am I much far off the mark?
It’s all what you make of it brother. Most people make everything something that it was never intended to be. So I make it everything I want it to be. Much like life itself. I write this story in my own way, fuck following the words and works of other people.
Truly. That is what I find to be of the utmost importance. Having a true message, being true to what you believe in, being true to what you love, being passionate about what you love, these things transcend genre, they transcend death and time.
Has your view on Satan and Satanism changed at all since the band’s forming in 2009?
It’s a little different and a little the same every day, that’s what’s interesting about this life. Everything is subject to change at any point. Everything is subject to stay the same at any point at any time.
Have there been any interesting books on the occult you’ve read that you can recommend?
I did that actually! Haha ‘Ancient Wisdom and Secret Sects, the power of myth’ by Joseph Campbell, ‘secret teachings of all ages’ by Manly P Hall, those are a few, chew on that for a while!!
The live aspect of Ancient VVisdom has been often described as a ‘ritual’. For those who haven’t seen yet, what can concertgoers expect from Ancient VVisdom live?
Expect to be entertained; expect to have a cheers (so have a beer ready!) Expect the unexpected!
Now with two albums under your belt, what are some of your favourite tracks off of either record? Any songs with a particular emotional resonance to you?
I love them all. Favorites would be Here Is The Grave, Never Live Again, The Last Man On Earth, Deathlike, I Am Rebirth, The Opposition, VVorld of Flesh!
Let the End Begin is particularly special to me because it is the first song I had written for what is now Ancient vvisdom. This song has come from Cleveland, through title changes, through hell and back to become the track it was set out to become today.
Now with “Deathlike” completed, how do you think it stands up to the debut “A Godlike Inferno”?
I think Deathlike picks up right where Godlike left off. The song writing process has evolved, everything, has changed in its own way while maintaining that sense of self. The next record shall do the same.
What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?
Do what comes natural. Accept criticism. Be open minded when need be, when needed be close minded and selfish. Depends on the situation. I came up with this, play every situation accordingly, apply that to life and see where it may take you. Be confident and love what you do.
Any favourite beers? Favourite cheeseburgers?
Cold beers! Double cheeseburgers!
What lies in store for the rest for 2013 for Ancient VVIsdom?
The future will tell the tale, unwritten roads, friends, new music, everything under the sun and moon that presents itself and we see fit. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.
One last thing- and something I’m sure has been asked many times before, but I’m too curious- why VV, rather than W? The capitalized W seems to have been outcasted for everything Ancient VVisdom-related. What’s your reasoning?
I came up with the title AVV before finding ancient vvisdom. The VV became a way to separate ourselves from other content titled ancient wisdom, when you search VV you’ll see me!