Rudolf Seitner and James Porrazzo discuss Sonnenkind and the Eurasian Artists Association for Open Revolt.
Sonnenkind, for us, is a really interesting project. While it’s clearly folk music, it’s in our opinion much truer and honest folk music than say some of the neo-folk bands who seem to be just influenced by little beyond Death in June or Sol Invictus. Can you tell us more about the history of the project and what brought you to where you are today? Your history as a musician and song writer?
Sure! Indeed you already got the most important point about Sonnenkind – Sonnenkind is not Neofolk, but Folk Music, even if there’s an obvious Neofolk influence. And real Folk Music (in German “Volksmusik” – the term has unfortunately been severely contaminated by all these MOR-retards…) is something different, coming from the depths of the people’s soul, and not from any kind of subculture, containing a richness of expression and a broad spectre of topics. As a folk musician I can express political protest or just tell funny stories as well as sing about the most personal feelings about love and religion, for example. And just taking a guitar and singing self-created lyrics, using self-written melodies… that idea alone is something inspiring for me!
And so my “career” as a folk song writer began with an acoustic guitar somewhere in a holiday camp in the Swedish forest, when I began to write very primitive, punkish folk songs with lyrics full of black humour, with topics like shooting ETs in my garden, a guy falling in love with a water-corpse and my mother eating hairdryers… stupid enough just to have mentioned this 😉 Okay, I was 14 or 15 back then. I had written songs earlier, but that was my start with Folk Music. In early 1997, when I was 16, I discovered the music of the nationalist singer Frank Rennicke, and it was… something different – a folk musician with lyrics positively dealing with our German homeland that we were usually taught to believe was almost the root of all evil in the world – a provocation, when all our teachers etc. were just liberals of different colour! It was great stuff with memorable melodies and had the air of the forbidden fruit. I already listened to the more leftist-liberal singer/songwriter Reinhard Mey, who had a similiar style (and been the major influence for Rennicke), but this now made me write political lyrics myself… Musically, the years around 2000 indeed made me a friend of the mentioned Neofolk style, acts like DIJ, STJ, Orplid and Forseti made a strong impression on me, which you can hear in my songs as well.
I don’t want to go too much into detail about my political development, but I’ve always been a crosshead… let me jump over some years into the year 2005… in that time I had come through some weird ways to positions already close to the ones I support now, conservative in my views about values and tradition and strongly anti-imperialist in world politics, and with the help of some friends I could release my first album, “Völkerfrühling”. It was produced badly, and I really lacked abilities as a guitar player back then, also it did not get much attention until recently. However, I still like some of the songs, my lyrics and vocals were quite good, and it was something original as an attempt to build a bridge between authentic conservatives, nationalists and anti-imperialist leftists.
The following years made me research and open my mind for new ideas, and it took a long time until I could record my second album in 2012-13… I guess it’s obvious that I grew a lot these years!
Just as an additional info: I also had several projects with different styles, like Black Metal, Industrial and Punkrock in all these years, but there is not much published (and a lot perhaps not too interesting as well).
What types of music influences Sonnenkind? Your latest album “Eulespiegels Wiederkehr” is remarkably diverse. Even the amount of instruments you play and your clear ability on them is astonishing.
As I told, the basis of my music is German folk singer/songwriter music, mixed with some Neofolk. The last years I discovered a lot of folk and world music, that influenced me, regardless of its political content, like Fikret Kizilok (from Turkey), The Wolfe Tones, Kirjuhel and Trinh Cong Son, only to mention a few. Furthermore, my music has a strong experimental note, while remaining close to the folk roots. F.e., the song “Um nichts in der Welt” from my first album contains some melodic guitar – that idea was inspired by Swedish Death Metal – still it’s a folk song! And “Eulenspiegels Wiederkehr” is absolutely playful… there are so many different ideas. Here you find some military drums, then a Ska rhythm, then some violin inspired by music from the romantic period…
I basically play guitar and try to become a good guitarist one day… all the other instruments I can use to make some sounds with them, but they are just like “colour spots” upon the guitar groundwork – I was lucky to find some fine guest musicians for that album, especially my violinist is really great, herself playing in an orchestra and working as a violin teacher.
Can you tell us more about the concepts behind “Eulenspiegels Wiederkehr”?
Well, originally I had about 30 songs, of which one part had political/satirical lyrics, the other half was more romantic stuff. When the idea came of recording that album, I was just on a trip of thinking: “I am an artist, I do not want to make that political stuff anymore. People only take the lyrics (whether they like or dislike it) and do not really listen to the music. I only want to release the lyrical songs.” But then I found it a pity to throw away the political songs, so the idea of a double CD album was born… unfortunately the recording of the guitars took much longer than planned, so the producer made a cut, when only the political and a part of the poetic material was recorded. I was really depressed these days! But we made the best out of it, and, looking back, I am satisfied with the result. Also the title track fits a lot, being a bridge between the two types of songs. As for the meaning of the title, you should know, that “Till Eulenspiegel” was a legendary jester from the German history, making fun of authorities. So… I am his return! Many lyrics have a nostalgic mood, but there is also much irony and bitter humour in the songs, ridiculing the current state and society.
The songs that were not recorded in that session will be contained in the next album, together with others which I wrote since, all dealing with deep topics, about human relations, about nature and spirituality. No agitprop to be expected.
How has the reception to your work been in Germany? Have you seen much global interest in your project?
Hmm… I was very astonished about the positive resonances from parts of the German Neofolk scene, which usually distances rather soon from “political extremists” like me. But some people obviously like my songs. Also from the nationalist movement and the new right came some interest, though I would not consider myself part of it or of any “scene”.
Outside Germany came some mentionable interest from Greece, Hungary, Turkey, Spain, France, Russia, Serbia, Italy, the US, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, China, Malaysia. This is especially important for me as an artist, as I take it as a proof that my music itself says something, even to people who do not understand the lyrics. Worth mentioning is, for sure, that my Facebook music page was created by a listener from Malaysia, a great guy named Adnan, whom I got in contact through some anti-zionist forum. He later asked me, whether I wanted to take over the page… that’s why I have that Sonnenkind fb page now…
This is my first interview about Sonnenkind ever. Reviews etc. until now were little, but what I read was quite positive. The “Celtic-Slavic Webzine” mentioned my album among the 10 best albums of the last two years, a French review on “Front des Patriotes” was also very good.
The biggest success for me personally are the praises I got from musician colleagues (f.e. Alejandro Rex, Suveräna, Egida Aurea, Sinweldi, Tsidmz, Epoch, FF.AA, Fylgien, Stern des Bundes and others) who wrote me they liked my music a lot, this really means much to me!
Germany has quite draconian laws when it comes to free speech. Are these things that ever handcuff you when it comes to song topics?
Not the topics, but partially, when it comes to single phrasings in the songs, which I was suggested to change (my two albums’ lyrics were checked by lawyers…). But it was all “maybe it could become a problem…”, in the grey zone. As my friend Fylgien just put it, the art is to formulate in an intelligent way that still everybody understands what you mean. In general, I try to write my lyrics in a rather sophisticated way, and the older I get, the lesser I am interested in placative phrases. My newer songs generally tend more towards a direction of different layers of meaning and depths than open political messages.
Any particular political or spiritual influences you would like to mention?
My ideas come from a quite broad spectre. To mention names, political and military figures that altogether made a big positive impression on me are Corneliu Codreanu, José Antonio, Muammar Ghaddafi, Ho Chi Minh, Ahmed Soekarno, Otto von Bismarck, Hanns Ludin, Helmuth von Pannwitz and, as a living example, Hassan Nasrallah. My thinking was furthermore influenced by Ernst Jünger, Rudolf Steiner, Othmar Spann, Friedrich Hielscher, Joachim Fernau, Carl Schmitt, Kung-Fu-Tse, Gottfried Feder, Julius Evola, Hans-Dietrich Sander, Armin Mohler, Alexander Dugin, Nicolás Gómez Dávila, José Ortega y Gasset, Otto Weininger, Mircea Eliade. If we come to the spiritual / religious question, I actually find myself somewhere between Sufism and Christian mysticism with some far eastern ideas, but I will not talk too loudly about that topic, as I see clearly that I am just beginning to dive into the spiritual world and there’s much more I have to read and practice before coming to a well-founded position. Altogether you might call me a “militant romantic” or perhaps even “Hippie fascist”, which may sound funny, but comes close to the truth. My way of thinking is more founded in a general sense of justice and values than in ideological dogmatism.
You are also one of the founders and coordinators of the Eurasian Artists Association. Can you tell our readers a bit about the EAA? What is the relationship like between members? Plans of the EAA for the future?
Maybe the history of how the EAA was born is interesting for you. A nice story, in my opinion. honestly, I was very naive in the beginning of it, and my idea for a Eurasian Artists Association did not come not from Dugin, but from a novel of Olenin Terek, dealing with the story of a revolutionary from Russia who seeks to liberate Europe from the US by establishing a German-Russian partnership under the banner of Eurasianism. Some Russian students found an “Organisation Tauroggen”, as for that purpose, of course, Germany has to be liberated first, and one of them suggests “We have to create Eurasian groups”, and mentions an artists association as example. I thought right at the spot “Let’s do this!” – it was a sudden inspiration! I proposed it to Sol Mutti of Tsidmz and my friend Bernd Volkhardt, Sol agreed with that idea and Bernd right away asked Mr. Dugin, what he thought about that. The resonance was positive, and Bernd started the now well-known facebook page and handed it over to Sol and me, we included the Serbian poet and thinker Boris Nad as a third responsible member of what we call the “Triumvirate”. We asked several artists, especially musicians from the Industrial scene, who seemed ideologically close to us, to join, and were asked by others, who wanted to join, as well. The association soon developed its own dynamics and, despite some problems, we can speak about a story of success, with musical projects like Barbarossa Umtrunk, Tsidmz, The Wyrm, Mizar, Sinweldi, Katabazija, Suveräna, Porta Vittoria, La Derniere Attaque, Tsidmz, Qverqvs, FF.AA in our ranks, as well as artists, publishers and thinkers like Alexander Dugin, Alexey Guintovt, Boris Nad, Manuel Ochsenreiter, Sergio Fritz Roa, Claudio Mutti, Irene Caesar and others.
Basically, the idea is to unite artists who support the idea of a cooperation of the continental powers of Eurasia against the dominance of the US, and an alliance with powers from abroad who also suffer from that geopolitical Molech. The EAA clearly supports the Eurasian movement and Mr. Dugin, but is not just an appendix, as we also take our own stand, where we consider it necessary. Especially the EAA takes a much stronger and unequivocal stand against the Zionist threat, and we refuse entry for Zionists, even if they may utter anti-US positions. The US (that’s my opinion now) behaves as a nomadic bandit power and is the enemy because of the ideology rooted in Anglo-Saxon thinking and of its Zionist high finance leadership. So, accepting Zionism in our concept of Eurasia would not be another ally, but the Trojan Horse within our own rows. We might win at the surface, but lose our souls, while we can see that North America, only from its geopolitical preconditions, does not necessarily have to behave as a predatory nomadic super power. Its extent would also make it possible to act as a land power, relying on itself instead of terrorizing the world. It’s more a question of leadership and ideology.
And yes, cooperation between the EAA members and mutual aid is one of our fundamental matters of concern! There have been several cooperations, and I hope there will be much more to follow. F.e., Pavel Ivanov Beneslavskaya did great graphics for some of our musical projects, Suveräna and Tsidmz used poems of Boris Nad.
As for my part, I lent my voice to a track of Qverqvs and sang a poem of Boris Nad on music done by Tsidmz and La Dernière Attaque. I did a cover version of a Sinweldi track, and at the moment a new project between Suveräna and Sonnenkind is in progress, and I promise it will be something different… I’d call it “Traditionalist Cold Wave / Synth Pop”, expect something special!
I am in good contact with several of our members, especially the cooperation with Sol Mutti is awesome and with Sinweldi and Suveräna I established personal friendships outside of the virtual life! Though I must honestly say, that in general I’d wish for more mutual support between others, there should be much more possible.
Tracks for a EAA compilation CD were collected some months ago, and are now in the mastering studio. For financial reasons it’s not sure how this intentionally non-commercial project will be published, as a real CD or only as gratis download compilation. Let’s see.
Maybe one day we can also organise an EAA festival or something like that… until now only a dream.
What’s the best way for our readers to learn more about Sonnenkind, to purchase your music or to otherwise show support?
If you want to get current information on Sonnenkind, just check my fb music page. As for my music, it’s great that more and more people discover it, but it would be better if some more would buy my albums. With my salary I can only live from month to month, and so the question, whether a next one can be recorded and released, strongly depends on the sales, which are very little until now. I’d ask you for your help; spread and share my music, write reviews, whatever… and if you think my albums are worth being bought, I’d recommend you the following mailorders, who are owned by friends of mine: Lichterklang Mailorder, Fylgien Liedermacher & Versand, Castellum Stouffenburc and Bellum Musicae. Thanks a lot!
Finally, Open Revolt would like to thank you for your sincere friendship and wish you all the best both now and in the future.
Thanks to Open Revolt for this big support! I’m looking forward to our future cooperation.