I’ve interviewed a lot of bands over the last year or so here at the Vault – enough that I don’t want to actually think about how many. And over the course of those who-knows-how-many interviews, I’ve developed a few hypothesis. First and foremost: regardless of how kvlt or anonymous a band may try to be, I usually have a better understanding of that band after interviewing them than I did before doing so.
That being said, there are always exceptions.And I don’t think I’ve ever encountered an exception on quite the same level as Tempestarii. If you’re a loyal Vault Hunter with a memory that stretches back to January, you may recall that I included Tempestarii’s debut full-length Temple of Skies as one of my albums you may have missed in 2017. So when I found out that they were going to be at this year’s Red River Family Fest, I jumped at the chance to interview them. And after doing so, I feel like I may actually know less about the ‘allegedly from Idaho’ band than I did before I sent my questions their way. And you know what? I’m mostly okay with that. In fact, on a certain level I can really respect a band that somehow manages to maintain their kvlt inscrutability in spite of the pervasiveness of the Internet.
So I guess if you want to actually get a better feel for Tempestarii, you’re going to have to be in Austin at the end of September. Assuming they don’t pull a Dragged Into Sunlight and play with their backs to the audience whilst wearing balaclavas, you might get to see their faces. Will that lead to any sort of revelation? I doubt it. However, you’ll get to hear one of the best of the current crop of (allegedly) USBM bands live, and that should be more than reason enough to make the trip to Texas…
IMV: So for starters, thanks for the interview. I’ll admit that I was half-expecting to be turned down when I originally reached out – of all the (allegedly, since the band’s Metal Archives page doesn’t actually confirm you’re from Idaho) USBM bands I’m familiar with, Tempestarii may be the most secretive. Even Uada, who have managed to keep their faces pretty well hidden for the last four years, haven’t been able to keep their names off the Internet. The only name I’ve ever seen associated with the band is ex-SubRosa bassist Christian Creek, who played on their 2013 album More Constant Than the Gods. I won’t ask any specific questions about the lineup out of respect for that secrecy, but I do feel okay asking this: in its studio incarnation, is Tempestarii a full band, or is it primarily a solo project?
Tempestarii: Tempestarii consists of three members, all of whom remain anonymous by choice. To clear up any confusion, Tempestarii is not associated or affiliated with Subrosa or any of its members.
IMV: I absolutely loved Temple of Skies when it came out, and I’ve been enjoying getting reacquainted with it over the last week while prepping for these questions. It’s been out for over a year now – what’s the reaction been like to it? How do you feel about the album now that you’ve lived with it for a while?
T: Temple of Skies is our invocation into the realm of the unknown. It is our exploration of inner turmoil, and the dimension that lies beyond that which is considered our present state. We do not linger in the wake of how anyone reacts to the art form. The album exists in its own rite, and holds a place as a keyhole to the door of our ritual. Just as anything organic has a short linear path, the album came into existence and now is but an energetic memory never to be performed again, as it has found an eternal resting place and we have now symbolically moved on to another black horizon.
IMV: Speaking of Metal Archives…assuming that it’s correct, you first demo IX came out in 2005, and then nothing until the Triumph of Spears demo in 2015. So…is that actually correct? And if so, what was Tempestarii up to for that decade? Is it safe to assume that the member(s) of the band were involved in other projects during that span?
T: Many things have been procured and many things are smelting in the cauldron. There is no timeline that is accurate, as much of our existence has been muddled by societal pressures. This project is able to exist only when the right elements align, which speaks to our times of silence and our individual solitudes.
IMV: It took a bit of digging on the web, but from what I’ve been able to gather the tempestarii were weather witches (which, given the definition of the word ‘tempest,’ makes total sense) who had numerous run-ins with the Medieval Catholic Church. It’s both a totally unique and completely badass name for a black metal band. How did you land on that as the name for the band? Does it tie in to your lyrical themes at all? In some ways, your lyrics almost read like invocations, but with some Biblical references in them as well – like the Katechon, who restrains the Antichrist from coming and triggering the End of the World, in “Gaian Mind.”
T: Tempestarii is but a label for us, we do feel that it represents our existence as beings that lie between the earth and the sky, our sound is an homage to those systems that have shaped our world. Since our journey into what is next is ever shifting, we move through this vortex and see that nothing is similar, and yet nothing is unique.
Lyrically, this became an attempt to label and categorize emotions that are, in the end, short of a shoreless mental void. You are correct that in the reference, but the lyric follows to say that the Katechon is no longer, as is the final song titled with a specific intent. Temple of Skies sees through the dissolution of the Earth, bringing us passage into further realms.
IMV: One of the things that I most appreciate about Temple of Skies the way it doesn’t neatly fit into a certain regional classification – thus why the ‘allegedly from Boise, Idaho’ makes so much sense on your MA page. I definitely hear some Weakling in Tempestarii’s sound, but I can also hear at least a half-dozen other influences there as well – especially as that sound has gotten progressively more refined (for lack of a better term) since the IX demo. How clear an idea did you have of what you wanted to do musically when Tempestarii first got together? Since each of your three recordings do have a different feel, how close do you think you are to landing on your ideal sound?
T: We are not a group that focuses on what is ideal. We adapt and evolve; our spirits focus and are then unfocused. Much of what we are is unconscious and subconscious. Our sound has been based on ecstatic moments from the beginning, and only in these manic states have we been able to create. As our cathartic visions become more lucid, we further our sound and that is what you hear. This storm will only get stronger and more refined.
IMV: I want to ask about the ornate packaging on Temple of Skies cassette. Three-color, screen-printed heavy paper sleeve, unfolding package, lyric booklet, foldout insert, and my copy also came with a large patch. It looks awesome, but I would imagine that it also might not have been the most…cost efficient way to self-release the album? Why did you decide to go with something so elaborate? Did you try to find a label to partner with on the release, or was the plan always to go the DIY route?
T: There has been no need to subject our art to be sold to the highest bidder. We do not find it important or necessary to be represented by anyone but our own blood. We refuse to compromise, and that should be evident within the album artwork. So much focus is on who can represent you to bring you to the top of a pseudogod-led, industrial driven, mechanical pyramid. For whom must we exploit ourselves, some hidden oracle that has the key to a bastard algorithm?
Let those who want to be led wear the yoke and pull the cart, we choose to carve our own gods.
IMV: I’ve heard rumors of an impending split with the mighty Battle Dagorath. How did that come about? How close is it to seeing release at this point?
T: Within the molten sphere, there are glimpses of other travelers, along the meridians, towards enlightenment. To have their grasp within our reach, but only to desire and continue longing. There are likely but a few that we see eye-to-eye with, and this is one of those co-conspiracies.
IMV: Tempestarii will be appearing at this year’s Red River Family Fest. Do you do much touring outside the PNW? What can attendees expect from your set?
T: Our set will be comprised of new conjurations. We cannot be employed to avoid the delays of time, there’s no reason for us to attempt such a long-winded trek at this time. This project was not designed to provide comfort or extend recognition, either you witness the ritual when it is possible or not.
We have planned to make several hymns of forthcoming material available on a cassette, exclusive to Red River Family Fest.
IMV: Aside from the split and the Fest, what else does the near future hold for Tempestarii? Any other recording or touring plans at the moment?
T: This project will emerge from its self-imposed stasis when the time is right. Perhaps only for our method of invocation, once a year. As stated before, there are plans to make another record when time allows.
IMV: Thanks again for being willing to answer a few questions. I like to leave the final word to the artists – anything else you’d like to add?
T: Mercenary Musik will soon release Temple of Skies on CD format. Thank you for your time,. Witness the illusion of Tempestarii.