Tsatthoggua (Germany) 08/05/2020
I am really honored that Nar Marratuk decided to give his first interview after the reunion of Tsatthoggua to me for OrthodoxBlackMetal. For those who don’t know them, Tsatthoggua is an old band from Germany which released two great albums during the ‘90ies and then disappeared. Those who have listened to their albums, know that this is a very talented band and quite underrated, as they deserved a lot more appreciation than what the received. I was trying to find a way to contact them since the beginning of this site and i am really glad that Nar Marratuk is just what i hoped he would be. A very nice guy, with the passion and love for extreme music but most importantly, with the same lust as the lust they had twenty five years ago. Thanks a lot my friend and i hope to meet you all some day.
1. Hails Nar Marratuk. How are you at the moment? How are things going in Germany at the moment? Are you in lockdown too?
Nar Marratuk: Hails Demon! We are all better off now since North Wind was tested positive for Corona three weeks ago. He was on holidays in France at the beginning of march with some friends and one week later one of his comrades was tested positive. So he got the same result some days later. In the meanwhile we had been practicing and meeting several times with the band and thought maybe we are all positive now. At least me and Lightning Bolt got symptoms of cough and breathing problems. In the end we both were tested negative and North Wind´s second test after the quarantine was negative too some days ago. So he is immune now. Yes, the lockdown is still active in Germany. We cannot go to our rehearsal room and don’t practicing anything but in our home recording studios. Really bad situation after our restart three months ago.
2. I was and still am a big fan of Tsatthoggua and I still listen to your great albums with nostalgia. Recently I read somewhere that you are active again. Is that true? Why did you decide now, twenty years after your last release to become active again? Tell me more about it.
Nar Marratuk: Thank you for your long time support Demon, we really appreciate that. Yes, it is true, we decided to start again and reactivate TSATTHOGGUA. The main point was the vinyl release of our albums by Osmose Productions. They decided to produce the LP versions some years ago but it became exciting in August/September 2019 when the artwork, concept and liner notes were discussed with the label. We all met as a band in December 2019, some weeks before the release. It was a really funny evening, with a lot of beer and booze and we had the same great feelings like in former times. And suddenly we talked about playing one or more gigs this year. When we started rehearsing the old songs in January/February we felt that it could be a good idea to write the third album ‘Gloria Extazia’ which was about to be released 2001. But, as you know, it never was recorded. We want to come back with a boom! 😊
3. Can you please introduce to our readers the members of the present band and tell us which are your immediate plans? Are you going to record a new album or play live?
Nar Marratuk: Our line up is the same as in the old times. All five members are active again, North Wind (vocals), Nar Marratuk (lead guitar), Perverted Pete (rhythm guitar & backing vocals), False Prophet (bass & backing vocals) and Lightning Bolt (drums). Even our management is the same like in the 90s. We hope that we can proceed rehearsing and writing new songs after the Corona lockdown and play one or two concerts this year. We have a fix show date at the 7th of November in the west of Germany. It would be a dream to go on tour again, all together like in former times, but maybe it is very difficult because of our job and family situation. Next year we want to release a new album for sure. But we are not in a hurry. It must be a really outstanding release and that takes time. When we released ‘Hosanna Bizarre’ we had many years of song writing and rehearsing before the recording sessions. Nowadays the technical possibilities are so different to the 90s, I think we worked quite primitive then, especially in the pre-production process and now we can do the composing and pre-recording much more professional. So I expect a lot from our new material!
4. Do you think that after so many years, you are obviously older, would you have the same passion, the same energy and the same perversion that you had back then?
Nar Marratuk: Yes, I am absolutely sure that we still share the same energy, perversion and this greed for fast, heavy riffs and blast beats. It was totally funny to meet the guys after many years, drink beer, talk, laugh and we immediately felt the same connection, like an old school Sado/Maso-Rock’n’Roll-family 😊 There was and still is this kind of magic. Absolutely!
5. Would you like to tell me more about the history of the band which goes back in 1989? How did you choose this name to represent your music? What does it mean for you?
Nar Marratuk: Oh yes, we started the band back in 1989 when we were 14 or 15 years old. That´s right. We were named DISSECTION those days but four of five members have been in the band from the very beginning. Only the position of the rhythm guitar changed some times in the first years. And from 1991 to 1993 we had a separate keyboarder on stage. But from 1994 we decided to have keyboards only on the recordings and needed it no longer on stage. We played a lot of concerts those times, especially with our local heroes ETERNAL DIRGE, LEMMING PROJECT or CASTIGATE. In 1993 we had a German tour with THERION and FURBOWL when the Swedish bands told us that there will be an album release from a Swedish band called DISSECTION. So we decided to change the name at the end of 1993. We have been into the Lovecraft works and gods, we loved the strange names like Yogg-Sothoth, Azathoth, Nyarlathotep etc so we wanted to share our name with these creatures too. They all sound so perverted and sick, weird, just not from this world. That was exactly what our band should be like.
6. Have the scene changed a lot since then? Do you feel that you have evolved as a musician? Have you achieved what you wanted to achieve in the first place?
Nar Marratuk: Yes I am sure that the concert scene changed a lot in the last 20 years. There are only a few people who arrange concerts as a hobby or just for fun, but money reigns even more and more and the bigger festivals were better off more and more. Until Corona of course. But the small locations fight their ruin for years and they fight against authorities. The bands itself didn’t change too much I think. Ok we still have a strong scene and top bands in Europe and all Americas but also in Asia more and more, not only in Japan but even in China or Indonesia. I recently listened to the Chinese Folk/Black-Metal-Band VENGEFUL SPECTRE and liked it a lot, but China has dozens of great bands. Of course we all surf to Bandcamp and listen to great music. That was not possible when we have been active in the 90s. But TSATTHOGGUA is a band for a CD, tape or vinyl release I think, we are old school and we try to create art in its entirety. We always used our own designs, artworks etc, we never took something from other artists but made our own photo sessions, drawings, samples etc. Maybe that changed. Bands use photos from the internet as backgrounds or album covers and don’t even release a physical album. We could never do that. We don’t know now if we evolved as musicians, we must wait and listen and look at the next album. We cannot say that before. But if you ask if we achieved what we wanted in our first career during 1989 to 2000: Yes, of course, we are all still extremely happy with both albums, musically, sound and artwork and everything. It was and it still is a great pleasure to work with OSMOSE Productions, maybe the best label in the Metal world. They corrupted our souls and they still do! We are extremely proud in what we achieved.
7. In my opinion, your style is a combination of Impaled Nazarene with Marduk. Are these two bands some of your influences? Which other bands, musicians or artists in general do you think that have influenced you as a person?
Nar Marratuk: Oh man, that is a long list ha ha, of course both bands are included. We toured with MARDUK back in 1997 or 1998 and we learned a lot from them, how to work professionally on tour and on stage and how to travel Europe and everything … of course MARDUK is and was a big influence. But our roots are deeper than 90s Black Metal. When we founded the band we all have been fans of Thrash and Death Metal bands like SLAYER, OBITUARY, MORBID ANGEL, DEATH … old Black Metal like BATHORY, Grindcore like NAPALM DEATH but even punk bands like GG ALLIN or MISFITS. Later we loved DARKTHRONE, IMPALED NAZARENE, SATYRICON and IMMORTAL for sure. Especially False Prophet is into Gabba Techno sounds as well, at least it must be extreme music, extreme lyrics, extreme artworks, that’s what we always loved, extreme art.
8. Your lyrics were something really special as no other band, that I know of, had written about themes of sadomasochism and bondage. Would you like to tell me more about these themes?
Nar Marratuk: I think there have been some bands who have been attracted by this kind of lyrics, maybe PUNGENT STENCH, CRADLE OF FILTH or CARPATHIAN FOREST. But you are right, there were not too many bands. We don’t want to say too much about it, but if you look deeper into the topic then you will find a message. And … believe me, it is not violence and hate.
9. What did inspire you to compose music back then and what inspires you now?
Nar Marratuk: The inspiration is and was the goal to create fucking heavy and fast riffs, fat guitar sounds, screaming and growling voice and pounding drums, that is the motivation of everything. The pure music, the expression of speed, energy, heaviness and brutality in music. That’s a fever which still lives in all of us. We just love it.
10. What about the lyrics? Are they written by your own experience, by fantasies or something else? Will you continue to write lyrics about these themes?
Nar Marratuk: I think it is a mixture of reality and fantasy. Good lyrics take you down to a certain status where you can feel connected to the message of a song, remember some own experiences but maybe dream of more experiences to come. That is how our lyrics work and we will continue our way, in every single moment. We will use philosophical, kinky and bizarre lyrics, we will arrange heavy and fast music and we will use the same bizarre photo sessions as before. This is more than just a band concept, it is what we love to do and what we will always do. Create extreme art, on our own way. I hope we can support the music with more bizarre photos and maybe even video clips in future. Video is the oil painting of our times.
11. Recently, Osmose Productions re-released your two albums in physical format. So, I guess you will continue to collaborate with them, correct? Are you satisfied by the support and respect that Osmose showed to the band in the ‘90ies and now?
Nar Marratuk: In February OSMOSE released the vinyl albums which made a dream come true for us. Back in the 90s most of the fans don’t wanted to have vinyl, but we always loved it. So we were a little bit sad that the vinyls were not released 96 and 98. But we respected the decision of course. The vinyl market was dead. That has radically changed now. I think we sell more vinyl than the rereleased CDs. And a small underground label THE COSMIC PILLARS released both albums on tape. They licensed them from OSMOSE and they did a great job! We love the vinyls and the tapes! Even the new CDs are worth buying or collecting since they have a great modern layout, special thanks to Yohann from Osmose! He made the design work. Just great! OSMOSE is the perfect label, true Metal maniacs and they love extreme art as we do. We hope that there will be more releases soon, maybe the old stuff, demo tapes and EPs from 94 or 99. Or the new 3rd album. Let’s wait and see 😊
12. You are into the German scene since the beginning of the Black Metal movement. What do you think about the German scene, especially the Underground one? Do you think that it has changed, evolved, became better or the opposite? Were you in contact or collaboration with any band or musician from the scene? Is there a band, old or new, that you respect and would like to suggest to me?
Nar Marratuk: Hey, yes, there is a very good band from Germany but maybe you know them already. I am speaking of THE SPIRIT, quite a new band formed in 2015. They released their album ‘Cosmic Terror’ this year 2020. Amazing, fast and furious stuff. We respect them a lot!!! Talking about the old bands we had a lot of shows and fun with German bands ETERNAL DIRGE, BETHLEHEM or SABBATICAL GOAT from The Netherlands. Maurits and SABBATICAL GOAT were our best friends and we destroyed Amsterdam or Tilburg back in 1998 and 1999 in allegiance 😊 In fact we cannot really say too much about the scene nowadays because we met only a few people from local bands or at festivals. Our singer North Wind started vocals in a band called BEAST IN ME. They are the remains of an old funeral doom band from our home town but when North Wind took his place they changed their direction into straight and fast Black/Death Metal of course. Perverted Pete has been playing in a Pagan Metal band over the years. He started with BLACK MESSIAH long ago and they are quite successful I think. But of course he was happy when we were talking about the TSATTHOGGUA comeback 😊 This band gave us so much inspiration and passion, friendship and energy, I still don’t know exactly why the hell we ever stopped it …
13. What do you do apart from music? What kind of music do you listen to, on your personal time?
Nar Marratuk: I am a teacher in adult education, Perverted Pete is a social worker for teenagers, North Wind tries to establish as semi professional porn/fetish actor, next to his normal work as a mechanic. Lightning Bolt works in the laboratory of a chemical industry fabrics and False Prophet is a 32-tons-400-hp-trucker-babe. He is transporting cement/concrete from the factories to the construction sights. We like the same music as twenty years ago. Fast, raw, heavy, raging Metal or Hardcore/Punk, Black Metal, Thrash, Death Metal … the good old bands of course but we are open to new acts and we always have an eye on what happens in the worldwide scene, although it is nearly impossible to know all good bands.
14. Thanks a lot for your time. Would you like to add anything for a conclusion?
Nar Marratuk: The conclusion is that we are stunned that there are still people like you, the OSMOSE staff or our fans worldwide who still like or love what we do and support us. That is the greatest possible honour! Thank you! In the after-Corona-future we want to encourage local promoters to contact us for festivals or concerts. We are not greedy at all and we all love to play live for real Metal maniacs with lots of beer, weed and booze! Yamas, Cheers & Stay Bizarre! Nar Marratuk of TSATTHOGGUA