If I would proclaim to be the funny rabbit out of Wonderland, then I´d be the funny rabbit out of Wonderland.
photos: © Marquis(pi)X
Triarii are one of the most innovating neo-martialbands you'll find these days. As they're part of this year's Porta Nigra-festival, Peek-A-Boo interrogated along with organisator Peter Verreycken the myth behind Triarii.
Hello Christian, how would you describe TRIARII to someone who has never heard your music before?
Some people would describe it as “martial-industrial” or “neo-classic”, some as “military-pop”, some count it to the “neofolk-scene”. TRIARII is a construct; an art concept. Bombastic and dark classical orchestrations, mixed with marching drums and industrial elements. It is heavy, complex and mostly quite epic. The menacing atmosphere tries to transport the listener to various historical events. TRIARII is proclaiming the end of the world. I am demanding my own empire. A soundtrack-like dedication to destruction; which is necessary for any kind of renewal.
TRIARII is an army from the old Rome-regime. Why did you decide to name your band as such?
The Roman empire is described as huge and mighty, very glorious and potent. Of course that is a very naïve view. I knew, that when there is light, there must also be darkness and depravity. Since I am making music, the subtle and invisible parts are more of interest for me. It is an inner drive to look at the things that are under the surface. Everything that is shiny and beautiful must include a dark and depraved side. My very first compositions refer to the Roman empire and it follows me over time here and there. It is one of the huge empires, amongst others, that is worth to take a look at its uprising and downfall.
The size of the Roman empire refers to my musical creations. I try to reach a majestic soundscape, a climax, huge and overwhelming. I try to reach completion by opening this very restricted musical spectrum as wide as possible; as big as the world itself. I am the creator of my own musical empire.
The TRIARII have been the third line in a battle position. They´ve been the last, but very destructive defence. My ambition is, to be a defence in a time where music is getting flat, meaningless and boring. Of course I want to explore, I want to evolve and always searching for the ultimate composition.
The legendary “res ad triarios rediit” means that a critical situation appeared, as the TRIARII were only used in case of emergency. What critical situations led to the creation of your band TRIARII ?
Of course, every human being is living through several personal, critical situations. Also I did. But this very typical Roman saying refers more to my musical ambitions. From the very beginning on, I wanted to raise and keep a certain standard for my music and also inside this genre. Many fans and people say, that I have already succeeded and increased the standard inside this kind of music scene. My music mission probably will never be complete, but when a listener inside this genre is “falling back on the TRIARII” after he or she already listened to many other stuff; to finally end up by listening again to one of the best “defences” inside this music genre....then I am a bit closer to completion.
You use a lot of compromising words, quotes, etc. in your lyrics, as for instance in ‘Fatalist’. What’s your purpose of this?
Art is a kind of war. It is an inner conflict where you try to find a way to express your feelings, your thoughts, your longings, your affection and your antipathy.
The musical way to paint a picture.
It doesn´t make sense for me, to try to describe an issue with several soft surroundings or poriferous circumscriptions. What is a fatalist ? How would we describe a fatalistic behaviour? How much of a fatalist is inside of everyone of us ? Why then not presenting one of the most fatalistic incidents in latest history ? Aren´t we all fatalistic in certain ways during our specific life situations ? The bombastic and acoustic, violent overrun makes it possible to reach the innermost feelings of a human being. The very “harsh on point” imagery triggers inner feelings which people don´t want to look at or try to conceal. Of course it hurts, it is unpleasant to see myself confronted with feelings of acceptance, enthusiasm or deeply animosity. But I have to do this; like many other artists. Anything else is boring and pointless.
TRIARII is many times pushed into the political right extremes, even called a fascist group, due to these lyrics. We noticed your statement on your website. How do you feel about this?
It is ridiculous. My personal friends and chummy bands think the same way about it; and they are definitely no fascists or racists or similar.
Why should I be a fascist by documenting the indescribable acts done in history and forcing people to deal with the effect it might have on them ? Everybody is free not to listen to my art.
Why should it be forbidden to dig again deep into historical or national wounds ?
I know that, especially in Germany, people are getting a kind of “mental acne” when it comes to digging inside their history. Several people are trying to hide or look away and in an emotional act screaming for kind of help and seeing fascism behind every tree. But for me it is way too simple to just differ those issues into black and white. Life and the human being is not as simple as some people want it to be.
In nearly 9 long years of TRIARII, no one - exept the political extremists - ever mentioned any kind of “problem”, because most of the fans understand and are not dealing with political extremism; for me it seems, like there is a lack of activity and several extremists or do-gooder are missing some “ideological food” to fulfill their existence.
When I am proclaiming that I am God, then I am God. When I am proclaiming total destruction and the end of the world, then I will do so.
If I would proclaim to be the funny rabbit out of Wonderland, then I´d be the funny rabbit out of Wonderland.
Art is free to do so.
Everybody wants to be “good”. Everybody wants to be polite, correct and nice. We all separating our waste exactly, because somebody told us to do.... and then bringing it to the dump with our SUV; blowing out kilos of CO2. We all are saving energy by using poisonous energy-saving-bulbs because somebody told us to do. We all are supposed to save gasoline and then filling up our fuel tanks with dubious eco-fuel, made of food... Because somebody told us to do. But it doesn´t matter, because we don´t want to get rid of our comfort. We all are having thousands of so called “friends” on social networks; people we never met and most likely never will meet in a lifetime; living a life in virtual realities, because somebody told us that this is good. And we all are following like lemmings. And we feel better if we are hunting fictive enemies via the internet; chasing one pig after the other through our virtual villages. Because then we can feel save again in our cosy home and we can lean back on our tiny sofa with a quiet conscience.
We don´t want to look at war, our own depravity and our lust for destruction. We fight militarism, lateral thinkers, chasing everything that is not sharing our way of thinking and watching the world burning on TV. Our war those days is to find the cheapest food and we are going on the hunt again for the next super low-price flat screen. And most people don´t even waste a thought on it; they are freed from being worried about something.
The behaviour of those extremists shows me, that there is still no wise contact to the German history. I have a high responsibility for the future; but I am not guilty. It doesn´t make sense for me, to conceal history or to dictate a pre-assembled way of how people or art should think about this. It shows me even more, that it is still a necessity to drill into the deep wounds. To look again and again into this major bloody hole. To understand, to realise what happened. To realise that humanity is not always “good”, to realise that at the end, it is mostly about eating, fucking, birth and death, destruction and renewal.
It is quite sad to see, that an artist is forced to explain his art and some people not willing or able to let his or her heart and mind question this acoustic expression. But as a democrat and social human being, I have to stand this and I can stand this.
None of these people who are spreading those impudent and false pretences have ever even tried to search for any kind of constructive dispute. That shows me, that they are quite far away from the democratic and social ways of communication and behaviour. I understand that people like this don´t want to face the fact that there are several ways and different forms of expression which possibly are leading to the same conclusion. I understand, because it feels uncomfortable to see yourself confronted with war, strength, might, aggression and depravity. I can understand that those people are not willing to read my statement or the stuff I am writing here. Life is easier for a certain amount of time, as long as we avoid. When somebody is consuming an opinion without questioning and only making up his or her mind in pre-assembled and adapted ideological structures, then there is often no way to leave the path. By opening up the mind and giving room to diversity, they would get segregated by their own peer group.
It seems like many people are expecting art to come in bite-sized pieces, so that nobody is forced to think, just being free to consume; but that is not the way of art for me. My music is different for everybody. Some might see it as fulfillment of their world outlook; some might see it as their concept of an enemy. It doesn´t matter in which way; most people will keep their opinion.
The extremists – both left & right - cling to their world view and their opinions like on a religion; which I think is as fatal as any kind of political ideology. Nothing is allowed, no abstract or lateral thinking, everybody who thinks in different ways gets categorized in black or white and needs to be hunted for quite dubious reasons. But for what sake ? Only for the sake of keeping alive an alleged peace of conscience.
When those forms of censorship are getting socially acceptable again, then we are at the same terrible point where we´ve been approx. 80 years ago. Where an ideological movement is dictating what to think and how to be. I´d rather prefer to visit demonstrations against racism and fascism than sitting in front of a computer and starting defamation against musicians and artists who are not fitting in their narrow-minded box. I can understand that it is more easy and safe and it might give those people enlightenment and a good feeling - that they have “fought an enemy”... but please fight the fascists and do not behave the same as they do, by defining what´s “good” or “evil” art.
Neither my record label, nor the bands, friends and persons that surround me like Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, In Slaughter Natives, Empusae etc. or the people that are supporting me live on stage would have a friendship with me, if I would be a racist or fascist. Also vice versa. I love those men and women for the personalities they are and our relations are taking place far beyond from any dull forms of “-isms”.
Maybe once and for all… what is your political opinion about fascism and the upcoming extremes?
I don´t like political or religious extremes or fanaticism. Like I said in my statement, each extreme [left and right] is one side of the same medal. Like twins or the elements. It is a never ending game, like in a vicious circle where one side is trying to fight the other side. But no one will ever win, because they need each other so badly. If one of the extremes would erase the other one, the “winner” would lose its right to exist. So they are fighting and fighting... and if there is nothing to fight anymore, they are constructing evidences, using or abusing everyone or anything that could fit into their restricted little mind-box; otherwise they will make it fit....as long as the fight can go on.....
Both acting in the same manner of negation and ideological restriction. But I see and accept, that the extreme polarity might be necessary for the whole construction itself; as pillars, as guiding lines or similar.
I can admit, that this polarity attracts me somehow from an artist´s perspective, to touch borders, to stretch borders and to question them within my form of expression. Fascism, racism or fanaticism in any form is no option for my way of life. My personality and lateral thinking won´t allow me to involve myself into any kind of union, club or ideology. I am not an obedient person who is freely accepting what a chief, leader or political peer group will dictate.
In history, the extremes always expanded, when it came to social distortion. When people feel disadvantaged or mistreated by their governments, they often simply try to protect what they have. The political extremes then often start to fight about the peoples favour.
Mostly it ends up in discrimination against minority groups like gays and lesbians, immigrants, artists, different religions and lateral thinkers... etc. I see these days, that the social distortion is getting bigger and some social and political decisions containing and/or forcing more and more imbalance within the national and European living together.
Well, I used the term ‘band’, but in fact it’s all about one man, Christian Erdmann, not?
Yes, the music project TRIARII is just me. I am producing all the music myself. Only exception is the collaboration track “Roses 4 Rome” together with Tomas Pettersson of Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio where he was writing the lyrics and lending his voice.
On stage you were joined by Axel Frank and Volker Neumann. How important is/was their input? Are they still supporting you?
From the beginning on, Volker Neumann was participating as live support on stage.
He is the owner of the record label Eternal Soul and he made it possible, that TRIARII saw the light of day by releasing my music. He made the very first releases and is still releasing and supporting my art until today. Eternal Soul gives a lot into high quality products and the uniqueness of special releases.
I appreciate the times we spent together, but at a certain point, when I left my home town Berlin and moved to south Germany, I recognized that there is a conflict between him being a “band member” and him being the label chief in one person. The label always has different interests than just band members. So I decided to separate the label from the band. A hard decision, but at the end healthy for all sides. The label can focus on label work, the band focusing on the music.
Axel Frank from “Werkraum” stopped his live involvement a few months ago due to very private reasons. A lack of time forbids him to get on stage with me in the future. I accept, but deeply regret his decision; though he gave very much into the definition and musical expansion of TRIARII on stage.
So, my latest release EXILE collects several parts. A time of contemplation, a kind of retrospective view onto my “old life” in Berlin, a confrontation with my new home, a new town and it´s partly heavy and severe history, and a kind of “let go” of several people whob I have been accompanied by.
But every loss includes a renewal, and so I had the luck to get to know Nicolas van Meirhaege of the band Empusae. A cordial friendship is guiding us and he will take part as the new live member for TRIARII on stage.
I saw your band on stage at the Shadowplay festival. You used a lot of images etc. at this concert. How important are images at your gigs?
Human beings are depending on imagery. They are showing us past, present and maybe parts of the future... Most pictures are documenting visual facts, seen through the eye of the photographer. So it is always half subjective, half objective. Images are referring to our own experiences and therefore any image will differ in its expression; from one man or woman to another. The observer makes the own subjective truth.
Images are helpful. They make an appearance more complete; more round. They are going into support or ambivalent contrast to the acoustic atmosphere.
You often got compared to Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio. Are you never tired of this comparison?
Oh, really ? This is the first time that I hear this. I don´t see that much of a parallel between the music of Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio and TRIARII. Maybe because of a similar spectrum of themes where we are moving in.
You even have played with Tomas in TriORE. Is this band still active or not?
Yes of course I have played with Tomas in TriORE. It is a side-project made by the two of us. Tomas and me are deeply involved into our own main projects and there is not much time left. I am composing and producing most of the songs or ground structures and it is self-explanatory that I need time to work on two projects simultaneously.
But we are full of ideas and images and we are working on new material for the second album. There is some delay, but the new single “Farewell all my CUMrades” will be released quite soon.
I’m sorry but everyone who got interviewed by me has to answer these questions. What’s your favorite record of all time and please state why.
I am sorry to disappoint you, but I think there is no favourite record of all time. Every time in my life had its favourite records and songs. I already mentioned in other interviews, that the more I am composing music, the less I am listening to music of other artists. Of course there is and was music in my life. My whole life was guided by thesound of the 80´s of course. Let others decide if that was good or bad. Yes of course there was Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, Jean-Michel Jarre, Madonna, Die Ärzte, Sisters of Mercy, Gary Numan etc... etc... and some music from that time is still spending company here and there. Of course here also mentioned the gothic scene which was influencing me a long time. The older I got, the more I got into classical music. From the highly appreciated life and work of the exile composers Schönberg, Eisler, Hindemith etc... to the newer ones like Pärt, Glass, Richter, etc... So, there is a variety of music that is life-enhancing.
With whom wouldn’t you mind to be alone with in an elevator for 8 hours and what would you do then?
I am always using the staircase. We need 3 small foldable camping chairs and sprinkling, irrelevant shopping mall music. I would sit down with Hitler & Stalin to interview them about their motivation to ruin the world and killing millions of people... perhaps they can explain the major difference between the left and right extreme ?
Just kidding....Actually most of the people I would like to talk to are already dead.
But if I´d have the chance, I would consider to talk to the composers Ernst Pepping or Hugo Distler. Both managed to create unique harmonies within their compositions that I have never heard anywhere else.
You’ll be part of the Porta Nigra-festival. What can we expect?
Hopefully as usual: A very strong, concentrated and energized performance. A bombastic overrun. An elegant and majestic appearance & disappearance in the blink of an eye.
review of the gig:
DESIDERII MARGINIS • Desiderii Marginis is a well established project in the dark ambient realm. Since they will be playing at Dentergem on the 12th of April it was time for some Q&A
DARK POEM • I wonder why nobody has ever compared Dark Poem with the Residents. I feel kind of related to their madness.
CONTRE JOUR • We would not say we are melancholic people but we always compose or write what we want to or what we feel at the moment.
RED LORRY YELLOW LORRY • We are more of an in your face Punk Band with an Industrial sound
C-LEKKTOR • Disappointed from apocalypse,creating an alternate ending! And yes i would love to work together with Suicide Commando if there is any occasion!
AROMA DI AMORE • yes we are leftwingers! But we wont make one album about one particular subject or join one political party!
THE BEAUTY OF GEMINA • It is very precious to have fans accompanying us on our way, who come to concerts all over Europe, giving feedback and communicating with us
GHOST & WRITER • GHOST & WRITER is a very dear project in which we both encapsulate a lot of ourselves.
ARBEID ADELT! • During our performances this summer, we will supplement many classics with vintage-80's tapes and new songs!
THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS • How can anyone grow tired of a life that constantly throws up fresh challenges?