Interview with: Jurica Santek of Aegri Somnia
Conducted by: Michael Barnett
Aegri Somnia are a powerhouse in the dark ambient scene. Over the recent years their last two releases have become much lauded pieces of the dark ambient history. Loved by most who have heard their music, Aegri Somnia still manages to have a small cult following. This latest album, Endtime Psalms, may be the push needed to gain more widespread recognition. After being blown away by this release, I was eager to get in contact with Mr. Santek and pick his brain about some of the concepts behind the album as well as some of his personal views on some more widespread matters. I hope you will all enjoy the interview and learn a little something new about Aegri Somnia in the process!
Michael: Thank you for taking your time to answer some questions, Jurica. Your new release on Cryo Chamber, Endtime Psalms, takes on a sound which is a bit fuller, with a more active drone element. Is this something you consciously did for this album, or is it just the evolution of the artist?
Jurica: The new album is more direct and structured, it’s based mainly on pads and field recordings. It’s less experimental and has no ritual elements. Endtime Psalms is more like an ambient album. Monde Obscure is a more cinematic/soundtrack/game/experimental album. This is the direction that I will lead Aegri Somnia in the future.
Michael: Do you see Endtime Psalms as a collection of individual tracks, or is there an overarching story to the album?
Jurica: There is story to the album. The album is mainly inspired by antinatalism/pessimism/depressive realism. Also I used Christian rhetoric for the title description, as i found it perfectly describes the world today.
Michael: If there is a story being told on Endtime Psalms, is it connected to Monde Obscure?
Jurica: Monde Obscure is about escape in various forms. Endtime Psalms is watching this world from a neutral/objective atheistic perspective and figuring out philosophical principles that this game of evolution has no meaning, purpose or direction. It’s all just complex random chemistry.
Michael: With the way the world is moving these days, its hard to tell what our future will hold. Do you think the apocalypse is coming? If so, how do you think it will happen?
Jurica: I think humanity had potential… I dont believe in humanity anymore. I think we will destroy ourselves in the end. I think that will happen soon. The problem is human nature and bio/political/religious programing.
Michael: Would you mind telling us what C.A.H.R. stands for in the first track of Endtime Psalms?
Jurica: C.A.H.R. is Conspiracy. Against. Human. Race. by Thomas Ligotti. The whole album is inspired by this book.
Michael: Do you remember your first experience with dark ambient music? Have you been a fan for many years?
Jurica: My first experience was when I first got into Silent Hill 1 on Playstation. The atmosphere on that game was something that fascinated me so much that I searched for its soundtrack and then I found the guy named Akira Yamaoka. That time for me was very special. Then, after some time, I discovered that a whole scene exists.I found labels and artists and slowly I got into this world. Then slowly I started to make my way productions and eventually started my first projects.
Michael: Do you have any other music projects, outside of Aegri Somnia?
Jurica: Tertium Organum ,Efil, and Esoteric Terrorist. I used to be very active in many bands, hardcore and metal. But not anymore. I also play guitar for myself.
Michael: How has your home-country affected your music?
Jurica: The situation in Croatia is not pretty. I think it affects everyone, I see all of Europe in the same way. I think we are heading to dark times.
Michael: Are there any ancient civilizations or old-world religions in which you are very interested?
Jurica: I studied history and alternative history for some time. I found Aztec civilization pretty fascinating. But, most fascinating is Ancient Greece as they are the cradle of Western civilization.
Michael: Do you have any favorite equipment in your studio-space, something vital which you couldn’t live without?
Jurica: I have very small setup, it’s minimal and clean. I love it as it is.
Michael: Aegri Somnia is obviously dark music. But, there seems to be something particularly dark about yours. Do you have interest in occult books, old religions, or some other activity or subject which influences your music?
Jurica: I had interest in the Left Hand Path and Esoteric practices such as The Fourth Way and Advaita. Now I’m just a skeptic, a free thinker, but I found that practices such as The Fourth Way are very useful as mental filters.
Michael: Have you ever performed a concert as Aegri Somnia? Is this something you find important for dark ambient artists?
Jurica: I’ve never performed live. I don’t think it’s important to perform as a dark ambient artist.
Michael: Thank you very much for your time, Jurica. I’ll leave the last words to you.
Jurica: Thank you Michael for your interest. More music to come soon.