Midwinter is one of the many rising forces out of the expanding Chinese extreme metal scene. They have released their debut album back in 2006 under Chinese extreme metal label, Pest Productions. We have the privilege of talking to the band to learn more about their history, their side-projects and the philosophy behind their music.
With attic faith on pagan black metal, Midwinter was formed in summer of 2005 including members Runenblaze (vol),Bloodfire(guitar) and Zak(Bass). After long-period collaboration and exploration on the genre, it was finally positioned as the raw black metal with moderate speed and theme of heathenism. And it had already become the permanent mission of Midwinter to represent the devotion to our beloved motherland through the depiction on epic war and ancient myth and the high praise on snow storm.
Bloodfire is also part of the band Zuriaake. How does he juggle duties between Midwinter and Zuriaake, and does he bring in his influences from Zuriaake into Midwinter’s music?
In fact, this vigorous and active guy runs many other projects also. And in any of these bands he is unsubstitutable. There are many differences between Zuriaake’s musicwork and Midwinter’s, such as the emotions and the mainthemes. So he wouldn’t bring the Zuriaake elements into Midwinter.
Since the release of Enthrone In Blizzard on Pest Productions, how has the reaction to the album been, in China and worldwide?
Very good! It was better than I imagine because black metal itself, as one of subgenres of metal music for minority, probably would gain little attention in China, not even to mention world stage. However, the result was really beyond my expectation after its release within the first three months. Thanks to Pest’s distribution networking in overseas countries, we got greater response both from home and abroad. It was happy that some of fans directly wrote to me to inquire album order or to exchange musical idea.
It was mentioned on the CD booklet that the lyrics revolve around the themes of nature worship and heathenism. What was it that made the band decide to go with such lyrical themes, especially heathenism which has a connection with Germanic paganism?
Actually I was obsessive about naturalism when we first touched black metal. And till now I believe there would be intangible substance over this planet, which was not interfered by human being. That ought to be what commonly we called “Super Natural Power”. And just because of the formidable existence, all creatures are subject to the natural supremacy. On a basis of ideology that worships to the grim coldness, praise on the heroism, would make lyrics come to the theme of heathenism.
What are the band members’ views on religions? We are curious as most black metal bands focus on Satanism and occultism, but Midwinter writes on nature and heathenism instead.
All the members, to be honest, are atheists even though we are clear most bands worldwide focus on Satanism and occultism. Because China, as one of the countries in eastern world, never has the long history of Christianity, the mania for Satanism, for us, seemed to be far more unrealistic, and besides I still believe China has no true Satanic black metal bands, the so-called ones are nothing but hypocritical posers.
It seems that the metal scene in China has been getting wider exposure, with bands such as Ritual Day and Be Persecuted gaining international fans. How has the scene progressed since a few years ago, and what do you think is the reason behind the progress?
China’s metal scene, in fact, progressed a lot with too many metal bands mushrooming in recent years. Just as you mentioned before, some of them had gained international attention, the main cause could be owned to the Chinese government’s opening to the world outside. Enlarging market of metal music, all kinds of annual music festivals, they are total necessities, in my opinion, that makes it possible go further. In addition, more and more metal labels underground is another reason behind its progress.
Seeing that Pest Productions is one of the leading extreme metal labels in China, how has working with them been?
It has been great! Pest Production now has grown into one of the notable labels around Chinese metal scene with its development and a great variety of release. At the same time, friendship had come to exist between us.
As a musician, what are your musical influences? We see Midwinter covering German pagan black metal band Nacktfalke’s song being covered in the album. What was the reason behind covering that particular song?
Nachtfalke has always been one of the most favorite bands since I first took up Germanic black metal. The motivation to cover its song is simple for I think it is true pagan metal sound in my mind. Besides this, I accepted some of Norwegian black metal bands in earlier 90’s as my influence something I like most would be EMPEROR.
It has been 4 years since the release of the debut album. Are there any plans for a new album anytime soon?
We were plan to release the new album in 2 years because too many demo had been recorded by the end of last year. But there was no proper time for us to get together and to mix the original sound tracks. Anyway I trust it is a matter of days.
One final question: any parting words to metal heads and fans of Midwinter out there?
Stay heavy and show no mercy!
Thank you once again and we wish you all the best in the future endeavors!
Thank you for your interview.
Interview with Deng, founder of Pest Productions
Midwinter’s official MySpace page.