Loic F and Autokrator are responsible for releasing one of the scariest and sickest albums that I have ever heard. If the front cover alone gives you the shivers, then the dense, thick and ferocious riffs from Loic, the gruesome vocals from American David Bailey and the blasting drums from Kevin Paradis should give you nightmares. Combine all four elements though and you get an album full of hooks and a full appreciation for the songwriting on Hammer of the Heretics from all musicians is given. The closest resemblance I can give to the weak would be a concoction of Portal and Aevangelist and only the brave will survive this bloody good album. I had to speak to the main songwriter and lyricist Loic F about all things Autokrator and I urge you all to give them a listen. I dare you!!!
Autokrator was formed in 2014 and with the recent release of Hammer of the Heretics being your third album, is Autokrator a project that you will always continue to create and write music for?
Hi! For the time being, as I reached the sound and music I wanted to reach, I don’t feel the need to record or compose new material. Don’t worry, this is not the end of Autokrator, but after releasing 3 albums in 4 years, we will take a well-deserved break.
The front cover, although to most people would be horrific, I feel is spectacular. It’s expressive, graphic and portrays a warning to those who cannot stomach the front cover not to listen to the album as they are too weak. Where did the idea of the front cover come from and how did you get it?
I wanted something gruesome and bloody, which looks real, and which can represent the Inquisition in 2018. I did a lot of research before finding Elena Samko’s work. It was incredible, but needed some work on it, to become what I had in mind.
How was the lyrical content of the album created? Was this artistic freedom given to David Bailey, were the lyrics written by yourself or was it a mixture of both?
David never felt the need to write lyrics. He has a lot of musical projects, and wants to be only a “performer” in Autokrator. So I write the lyrics, I give him an overall vision, and I let him perform with his style and vision. We recorded 3 albums together, and I never had to ask him to re-record a track. He’s simply a beast.
One of the many highlights of the album is the drumming of Kevin Paradis. The intensity and balance of his blast beats were mind-blowing and the double bass from him in particular was incredible. How did you manage to get him to contribute to Autokrator and would you like to use his services again?
I worked on Hammer of the Heretics as if it was the last thing I was releasing, as if it was one of the last things I was doing before dying, so I wanted it to be the best album possible. We needed the best drumming performance on the album, to cross a threshold. I followed Kevin’s work for some years, I knew he was doing guest work for bands, so I contacted him, I presented him Autokrator, and he agreed to play on the album. I hope we will collaborate again in the future.
With vocalist David putting in what I think is his best performance on vocals with this album, it’s now hard to see an Autokrator album without David on it. Are you in constant communication, exchanging ideas and developing themes? How much of the songwriting was assisted by David and Kevin?
We don’t communicate that much. I work on my side, once everything is written I submit lyrics to David who records them. Concerning drums, I gave the tracks to Kevin, explained him the overall vision, and I let him do his thing. I gave him “carte blanche”.
Do you feel that you have created the sound that you have always wanted with Autokrator or do you feel that there is more progression to come from future releases?
I have the feel that I reached the sound I wanted to reach but that’s the case with each release, if I wasn’t satisfied, I wouldn’t release a record. Some months after each release, if I find any faults while listening, it becomes the starting point of the next release.
Another highlight for me was the production of the album with it being recorded, mixed and mastered by you. Is this something you solely do for Autokrator or are you involved with the production side of things with other projects?
I started production, around 2005, because I couldn’t afford to go in a studio. And because I can’t let my music be worked by someone else. I worked on other projects, mostly mastering jobs. My last work is Drawn and Quartered’s next album, which I mixed and mastered.
The production for Hammer of the Heretics was perfect for this release, being dark, heavy and dense which suited the atmosphere and experience with what you were trying to create. Are you happier with this sound than your two previous outputs?
Of course I’m happier. I was happy each time I released something, but as I explained, with time, you start to find faults, and you work to correct them. Autokrator album was a monolith, The Obedience to Authority was more brutal and fast, Hammer of the Heretics is a mesh of both, with more dynamics.
Hammer of the Heretics is being released through your own label Krucyator Productions. What made you start up your own label?
I had to find a way to finance the records. Artworks, drum sessions cost money. It was a way to become more independent too. The reason why Hammer of the Heretics has been released only on Krucyator Productions is because, after The Obedience to Authority no one showed any interest in Autokrator. As we received no proposition, we released it on my own label.
You also have a handful of releases from a number of bands on your label. I had the pleasure of also reviewing the monster that was Mitochondrion Antinumerology EP released by Krucyator. What does a band have to do to get them signed to your label or is it a matter of personal taste?
There are two different points of view. If you want to be part of Krucyator, you must have something unique. Take a look at Miserist, their “cinematographic” feeling, and lack of vocals is what attracted me. The other point of view is that most of the bands I work/worked with are bands I’m fan of: Drawn and Quartered, Mitochondrion, Auroch, Paroxsihzem. So it’s more a fan’s point of view.
What are your ambitions for the label Krucyator Productions? Do you want the label to grow and expand or only release material that personally intrigues you?
I will keep on releasing things I like, and try to expand the label.
What are the future releases for your label and your ambitions for the rest of 2018 with Krucyator Productions?
Krucyator will release the new Drawn and Quartered album The One Who Lurks, who will be unique in their discography, as it’s their filthiest and heaviest record. On May 29th, we will release …And the Beast Spake Death from Above from The Black Sorcery, on tape. The Black Sorcery is an excellent war metal band from Canada. We will release the tape version of next Kommandant album too.
Going back to Autokrator, with members of the band not being able to record or rehearse due to their locations, will Autokrator always remain a studio band?
We will remain a studio project, I’m not interested to do live performances, and I don’t have time to.
I have a feeling that you have already started on the next Autokrator release or have ideas of what you want to do next. What have you learned between each release in terms of progressing and writing the songs between albums?
I have some ideas, but I didn’t start to work on a new record. As long as I will be satisfied with Hammer of the Heretics, I won’t record any new material.
As gory and bloody as the front cover is, the lyrical themes of Autokrator are based on true historical facts and the destruction of man. Can you explain to our readers the lyrical themes behind each song?
“Against Flesh and Blood” is about Christians Duties in The Holy War, with lyrics based on the bible “Ephesians 6:12”. “Le Sang Impur” is based on Rouget de l’Isle “La Marseillaise”, a patriotic rebellious war song which later became France’s hymn. “Hammer of the Heretics” is about Tomas de Torquemada, a Spanish inquisitor. “Inquistio-Denunciatio-Exception” is an inquisitorial procedure based on real questioning transcriptions.
Thank you for your time Loic. A fun question to end this interview. If you were a DJ and were allowed to bring 5 CDs to the party, what would they be?
- Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
- Type O Negative – October Rust
- Krisiun – Black Force Domain
- The Police – Outlandos d’amour
- Morbid Angel – Domination
Any last messages for our readers over here at Moshville Times
Thanks for your review, interview and interest! Deaf Sparrow will release a very limited tape edition of Hammer of the Heretics with a unique artwork. You can find all Autokrator and Krucyator Productions releases here: http://krucyatorproductions.com/
Hammer of the Heretic is out now