Octobers Local Musician Feature
It was easy for me to decide who I wanted to interview for my first monthly feature of a local band; Cultellarii a local dark rock band. Everyone would naturally assume that I would choose the band I manage, but I chose Cultellarii because of how much I enjoy the people involved with it and how amazing the music is. I have only done one event with Cultellarii, but it left a lasting impression on me, not to mention their music is right up my alley. I first heard of the band in an Ocala bar called Cheers; I met the drummer and his wife who were running lights for the show there and they were amazing. I finally got to see them play almost a year later and I was in awe of their beautiful music. Their music in my opinion is a beautiful comparison to worldwide sensation Nightwish. Each member in the band has a stage name and the band consists of Alanna on vocals, Severus and Hadrian on guitars, Lokheart on Bass and Magnus on the drums. Cultellarii call their fans ‘The Cult for a Brighter sun’ which is drawn from a book by Gene Wolfe called “The Book of the New sun”.
Now don’t be thrown off by the dark rock part, their music is catchy. The lyrics are powerful and Alanna sings so clearly that you can hear every word she says. The instruments are all powerful and provocative and when combined with the aforementioned lyrics make for something beautiful. There live shows are energetic and all of the musicians are great performers; which is not a constant in bands and is a breath of fresh air. If you want to go a listen to their music I would suggest www.reverbantion.com/Cultellarii or www.myspace.com/cultellarii . I would suggest watching their YouTube of my favorite song which is ‘Suffer the Witch’.
Now that I am done tell you how amazing they are, you can read how amazing they are in their own words. But first, why don’t you give ‘Black Swan’ a listen.
Interview with Cultellarii’s Hadrian and Severus
How did you guys all meet?
Hadrian: Severus and I were rehearsing and recording for Killing Addiction’s EP “Fall of the Archetypes” and we decided to form Cultellarii to do something different musically. In writing for Killing Addiction we have to follow a very specific format because the band has been established for years and there are certain expectations. We wanted to have a band where we could do anything we wanted without even thinking about it.
Who were your greatest influences musically?
Severus: Cultellarii is influenced by many genres of music…some personally, or directly, and others indirectly.
Hadrian: Even though Severus and I are the primary composers of the music each member of the band brings what influences them musically to the table. We created the idea of Cultellarii and we write the music and lyrics for that idea. It’s funny because I feel like Severus and I are not only influenced by the music we listen to, but also in a big way by the books we read and movies we watch. The whole basis for Cultellarii was born from our love for Gene Wolfe’s “The Book of the New Sun”.
How old are you guys?
Hadrian: LOL Old enough to play in bars and have a few drinks.
What are your day jobs?
Severus: I’m a network tech.
Hadrian: We all have careers that allow us the time to pursue music.
How did you come to be in music? Often people fall into it through a chance encounter or a stroke of luck; what brought you guys to it?
Severus: The attractiveness of doing something different and being creative.
Hadrian: We started playing at the same time because we were friends. Starting a band naturally followed.
When did you finally realize you wanted to be a band?
Hadrian: Killing Addiction was the first serious band that we started together. We’ve been in other bands since that time.
Severus: The idea of being in a band was always there since we first picked up our instruments.
What CD is in your car stereo right now?
Severus: Ulver’s “Perdition City”.
Hadrian: I listen to my MP3 player in the car and Miles Davis, Django Reinhardt, Nick Drake and Paco de Lucia are in heavy rotation.
How long have you been playing music?
Severus: We’ve been playing since high school.
What’s the most fun part of being a musician?
Severus: Playing live and the camaraderie.
Hadrian: I agree and also having a way of expressing ourselves, not to mention the tons of cash we’re making. lol
What is the hardest part of being a band here in Marion County?
Hadrian: Limited venues and a small music scene. That’s really about it. Live music in general has taken a beating over the years. Gone are the days of arena shows as the norm. The House of Blues and Hard Rock are common place for national acts now which means down-sizing all the way to the local level.
What is your favorite part of performing?
Hadrian: Seeing the reaction of the crowd, and making a connection with people through our music. Hardly anything can compare to the rush of being on stage and performing.
How often do you guys practice?
Severus: Enough to make sure we’re tight and to write new music.
Hadrian: We have a regular practice schedule that we stick to and go over everything to make sure that we’re tight as possible. That’s something that Severus and I picked up from being in Killing Addiction.
How would you define the word “success”?
Severus: Success is defined through progression and achievement.
What are your goals as far as your music career?
Hadrian: There’s no such thing as a music career until you can make enough money to quit your day job. There aren’t too many bands out there that can say it’s their career. We do it because we love it.
Severus: I don’t consider what we do as part of a career.
What is your music background?
Severus: We began playing music in high school.
Hadrian: Yeah, we started in high school and it has been non-stop in one form or another since then.
Music is a business so who handles your daily business activities? Do you all have your share of the workload?
Hadrian: Severus and I handle nearly everything. Everybody in the band helps out too, but it seems to work better having one or two people kind of keeping things straight on the business end.
Say there are two shows on the same night; one that will pay you to play and you’ll have around 40-50 exposed to your music, or a non-profit festival that you can sell merch at and have 200+ exposed to you music? Which show would you rather play?
Hadrian: The 200+ show because in reality do clubs or promoters actually pay anything worth mentioning? It’s rare to come across a club or “promoter” that will promote anything. They leave it up to the bands to do everything and aren’t even willing to give a fair share off of the admission. I’m not saying every club is this way but it seems to be more common than not. It’s gotten to where the venues feel like they’re doing you the favor.
Severus: I’d say the paid show because we’ve done enough non-profit gigs.
Your name is interesting, how did you come up with it? Have you changed the band’s name before?
Severus: The name comes from a story by Gene Wolfe.
Hadrian: Cultellarii is more than just the band’s name. Many of the songs are influenced by Gene Wolfe’s stories. The names for characters and places in his books are old Roman words and that’s where we got the band name from.
Who writes the songs? Is it a group effort or just one member of the band?
Severus: The songs are primarily written and arranged by the two of us.
Hadrian: Yeah, we’re definitely a guitar driven band so the basis for all the songs starts with us. Once the core of the song is written the other guys come up with their parts.
If you could fix one thing about the music scene in Marion County, what would it be?
Hadrian: There’s nothing to fix. It’s up to the bands and musicians to make the scene.
What genre do you consider your music to be?
Severus: Dark metal.
Hadrian: Severus and I write heavy music and Alanna does vocals. How that’s classified is up to the listener. Cultellarii is more or less a hard rock or metal band I suppose.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
Hadrian: We’re always evolving and looking for new ideas to expand Cultellarii’s sound. We listen to so many different genres of music that it’s bound to seep into our songs somewhere. Since Alanna has joined the band we’ve made a more concerted effort to write with a pop song sensibility.
What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
Severus: Do it.
Hadrian: Do exactly what you want to do and don’t follow trends. If it’s a trend it’s already been done.
Other local bands you just love working with?
Severus: Love is too strong of a term. lol
Hadrian: We enjoy working with most of the bands in the area.
How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?
Is there anyone you’d like to thank for offering support to the band?
Hadrian: Thanks to everyone to has come out to see us and given us a chance to play. Also, we’d like to thank you for the interview.
Severus: The bands who have invited us to play shows.
Any last words, opinions, comments, jokes?
Hadrian: Come see us live!
Severus: Support local music and come see Cultellarii live!
Thanks to Cultellarii for doing this interview and being so cooperative. I suggest that everyone see them if you get chance. Support local music and expose yourself to something new, you never know, you could fall in love with their music too.