The Protectors Of The Downfallen – A Interview With Pombagira …   Leave a comment

From Myspace; “Formed at the crossroads between 2006 and 2007. The programme of intent is based on a strong acknowledgement to the forces associated with the downtrodden. The name PombaGira comes from the Afro-Brazilian religion of Quimbanda. Within the confines of this religion for those socially marginalized, PombaGira’s attributes are strength and protection. She is the wife/consort of Exu, a trickster spirit that has in the past been mistaken for the devil. She is the protectress of the downfallen, prostitutes and the weak. She commands obedience and is considered to have a fiery constitution.

Because she ‘serves with both hands’, an adage describing her flexible approach to how she treats humans, she is to be feared and revered. If you treat her with respect she will potentially grant you what you wish, however, if the compact is made and then broken she will unleash a surge of destruction that will leave no-thing standing. It is this kaleidoscope of hidden depth and potential within the expression of the life world, here enfleshed, that is made manifest through the medium of sound. It is this thin veneer between the hidden and the seen, the fixity of a reality and the possibility for exploration into the sphere of the invisible that defines the inspiration for the band.”

Aleks Evdokimov got to speak to Pete from Pombagira………enjoy the voodoo !!!

Q: Salute Peter! How are you? And where are you? I’m finally confused – are you in Sacramento or in London? Or maybe you’ve already bought a little house in the territory of Haiti or Louisiana?

-Hey Aleks, thanks for getting in contact with us about the band and our interest in all things religious. You ask where we are living, currently we live in the countryside close to stansted airport, which is about 40 miles north of London.

Q: So you finally settled there and finished with the life of a nomad? You lived in USA, you ride quite long tours with Pombagira, don’t you have gypsy’s blood in your veins?

-Well it was not so much that we were nomads rather than forced out of the UK by British immigration. That’s how we ended up in America for three months. We applied to get married and because she is an American we had to this through the Home Office. Submitted all our paperwork with the application and then were told that Carolyn’s right to reside in the UK was being made void because it had hinged on her being married to a Polish guy. That’s when we packed our bags, managed to get some legal representation and headed off to the states where we were married a week into being there. Then we sent the application for the British consulate in LA and waited almost three months before we heard they had accepted her application. I do think at some points in life we become overtaken by what you describe as gypsy blood, the desire to move and explore.

Q: I read two interviews from your and the questions about origin of band’s name was there amidst others of course. Okay, we know that Pombagira is goddess of some Afro-Caribean cult and as I understand she has few “sub-guises”, after all that I read about such things dare I make a conclusion that in that case she is like shakti, female aspect of God (which took shape of mother Mary in Christian religion). What do you think? Is there a conception of monotheism in such cults?

-To infer the existence of monotheism through a type of retention, would in one respect be true, because all Afro-Caribbean or Afro-Brazilian religions recognize an overarching God, however they all regard this entity in a very pragmatic way by saying that if he is running the universe he is way too busy to be dealing with the vagaries of human everyday life. An explanation such as this not only illustrates the detachment felt to an overarching power but also explains why people relate to the spirits, their messengers, and their convener.

Q: Does such belief (if it’s more than hobby for you) somehow help you in common life? How does it influence you?

-It’s impossible to detach oneself from their presence on an everyday basis. Their presence directly affects my life, they act as silent navigators.

Q: Such topics are original and deep enough to write down a lot of songs but you recorded only 4 tracks for “Baron Citadel”, from where does that love to do epic long songs come from?

-The long songs we write are never intentional, I never sit down and go “right it’s time to write a long song”. I believe every song has a life of its own and therefore the duration will emerge as the song is developed. Usually I start with a basic structure which I then build on as moments of inspiration take me. This can be a long and drawn out process taking months to complete and perfect. I think also that each song is like a voyage, a journey if you will into the world of dark imaginings. Another part of the mix that creates an epic song are my influences, ranging from Amon Duul II to Nektar to early Pink Floyd. Each of these bands used music as a mind expander, and since I have been listening to this material for more than 30 years the methods by which to open up sound and use texture has gradually seeped into my very soul.

Q: Yes, I know about your psychedelic likings but they show themselves only in one song of “Baron Citadel” – it’s “Corporeal Altar”. And this combination of psychedelic and groovy sound makes amazing effect, may we expect more of such songs in future?

-Corporeal Altar was indeed an indication of desire to break out from just playing doom , or you could see it as us wanting to inject a more prog/psych element into the proceedings. I would say all our songs have an element of Corporeal in them. Our new album coming out in the autumn Iconoclast Dream certainly does. It’s a one song 42 min album and it is without doubt the best thing we have ever released.

Q: You recorded material for “Baron Citadel” for a quiet long period and now I see how carefully you approach a process of working with your songs, did you work that long with your two previous albums – “The Crooked Path” and “Black Axis Abraxas”? Though one album per year is a very good result.

-Crooked Path was different for us because we recorded it in two stages. The first was when my previous band Flyblown were into record but the drummer had flu, so we had two days where he couldn’t play so Carolyn and I recorded the last two songs on the CD as a demo. Then we went back a few months later and completed the recording, but with crooked path the main purpose of the release was to get everything that we had done up to that point. The idea being that we then had a clean slate so as to move on and record new material. Black Axis Abraxas probably took another six months to write, but we were even changing it while recording the album in the studio.

Q: Pete, your voice is ideal for a true doom band, I’m glad that we have the bands like yours with such strong vocal, but I’ve got some sort of cliche – when shaggy men with a beard roar with that hoarse voice I automatically start to think that he praises Lovecraftian Elder Gods! Why don’t you sing about that stuff or about typical “occult” or “esoteric” themes?

-The main reason why I don’t song about more typical doom topics is because they are hammer house of horror cheesy. Don’t get me wrong I love those types of songs, but in contrast I am actually interested in religious practices, Voodoo, and the crooked path.

Q: How did you come to this way of spiritual life and why did you decide to embody your vision of it in doom-music? And what do you think – are other extreme musical genres suitable for this specific theme?

-The things I have witnessed in my life act as a great muse. I write my lyrics and imbibe my experiences within a sound. In the past I have been involved in a few magical occult orders, I have also traveled to Nepal where I have seen and met Chagri shamans, I’ve been to Haiti where I have participated in Vodou ceremonies. These are things I try to recapture when writing songs.

Well I think these things can work in any genre of music. The first Scalplock CD, another band I used to be in, had music Vodou music on it as an intro that came from my own recordings of ceremonies in Haiti. Likewise our 3rd album On Whose Terms begins with a Kreyol song to Legba asking him to open the gates.

Q: As I understand the album’s title “Baron Citadel” points us to a figure of Baron Samedi, what is an origin of his cult and why did you choose him as kind of a central figure of the album?

-Well Baron Citadel as a name refers to the large human boned tomb that Baron Samedhi inhabits. Baron Samedhi in the north of Haiti is regarded as a cemetery spirit, as one of the keepers to the crossroads. He symbolizes the central point demarcating the world of the living with the world of the dead.

Q: I remember only one album which was a little bit similar with “Barn Citadel” conceptually – it’s King Diamond “Voodoo”, did you listen it? What do you think about it’s subject as the man with academic knowledge of African religions?

-I have never been into King Diamond and therefore don’t know this song

Q: I’m not a fan of King Diamond too, but let me clarify just one thing – “Voodoo” is a conceptual album. Pete, you play in the band with your wife, don’t you think that it would be good to grow a replacement? Though it would be strange family business – ride across countries and spread a word of African paganism…

-I have to say I’m not really into proselytizing a religion, each to their own is what I say. The making of a family with Carolyn is one we aren’t ready to commit to, probably because I already have three children from two separate relationships.

Q: You were going to release split 12” with bands Windhand, Wounded Kings, Coffins and Jucifier but I see only split with Eagle Twins your discography, so what do you plan to record in nearby future?

-I know so many of the splits never took place, Coffins never submitted their material, Wounded Kings have just changed their line-up so there is a chance sometime in the future a split will happen, a Windhand split is at the top of our priorities, and Jucifer they did submit material but it had been previously released so we said we wouldn’t do it.

Q: If all those deals have been delayed then it would be good to give Pombagira’s listeners a chance to listen some new tunes, because if you planned to record all these splits then you must had at least three songs for them, what’s about new stuff, Peter?

-This is a good question. I can’t prepare songs for splits I have found because if I do they become album songs. That’s why doing splits is a difficult thing for me to accomplish, and why we have some many ideas to do them but have never done them apart from the Eagle Twin split. But even with that, Dawn of the Black Sun was always an independent, standing on its own, kind of song. Well the next thing we have out is as I mentioned above Iconoclast Dream, vinyl only, release date 19th September and can be found soon for pre-order at http://www.blackaxisrec.co.uk or at http://www.myspace.com/mordgrimm. We also now working on and have nearly completed our 5th album, we plan to record it in Oct of this year, that will have three songs on and has a working title of “Summon”

Q: Man, I know that you’re real fanatic and have at least a whole room of different equipment for your guitar, what kind of apparatus do you prefer to use during gigs? And do you really feel that you need so many things just for your guitar?

-The set up at the moment comprises of three sunn model ts, two Laney supergroups, and an impact by status 120 watt amp for bass, this has only recently changed because I now have an ampeg svt for bass, we also plan to use more of our equipment, so we will hopefully be adding in the near future two Laney Klipp amps as well.

Q: You like harsh grooves, you like fat riffs but it seems that you avoid solos – why?

-Solos, I love playing solos but they tend to be very bluesy, consequently the don’t necessarily suit the part. I also take into consideration that any solo I play I won’t be able to play live.

Q: Playing songs which lyrics are rooted in pagan religion don’t you try to use in your music melodies or rhythmic structures of their rituals? It’s a well known theme – how followers of voodoo fall into a trance listening drums’ beating. Did you ever watch such situations during your Pombagira’s live shows?

-I believe the riffs and a lot of carolyn’s drumming really sounds like it is in the spirit of Vodou. While on tour with Eagle Twin I had moments when it felt like I was close to be possessed.

Q: If you would be a practicing bokor which famous person would you like to return from the grave and why?

-Two obvious ones would be Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison and of course Bon Scott

Q: And which one (from the living ones) would you like to turn into a zombie? …Just to do some homework, to work in a garden, to carry all your amps and do some dirty deals at God-forsaken graveyards…

-Sorry I don’t know hahaha reason being they may not what they are doing and therefore they may damage our equipment.

Q: What is a final goal of voodoo (and other Afro-religions)? Most of us know about Christianity and other monotheistic religions, someone heard about neo-paganism (for example we discussed Wicca with guy from El Hijo de la Aurora), someone gains for Buddha’s virtues or just chant “chtulhu ftangh” taking a shower in bathroom. What’s about voodoo, Pete?

-There is no final goal with Vodou, it is used as a method of getting through and negotiating life on a daily basis.

Q: Thank you Peter for your patience, I bet that this interview will be interesting for our readers, good luck man! Please add few words for our readers.

-Thank you so much Aleks for doing this interview with us. As mentioned before check out http://www.blackaxisrec.co.uk for news on the upcoming album etc. New material will be posted there hopefully in the next couple of weeks. We are also coming out to Europe at the end of Sept early Oct, hope to meet some of you on the road. Thanks again….
Interview By Aleks Evdokimov

Pombagira @ Myspace

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Posted May 29, 2011 by doommantia in Pombagira

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