Antonio DeSarno – Italy
Antonio – The gap between albums would encompass entire careers, how was Skies Darkened conceived and how much of the original idea has remained in the finished album?
Cyrus – Yes 10 years is a long time between albums, Cain has never produced an album without care and attention (ten years worth of attention!) Over those years changes in our life stations, personal and collective, set things back quite a bit and there was a time when it looked as though Skies Darken would not, in fact, evolve past anything but an idea. But as you can see we did complete the work. It is a comforting though that after such a long interval that we, Citizen Cain, are still remembered and welcomed back.
A – A very complex and challenging listen. Has anybody ever tried to tone down the band?s style over the years, making it more listener friendly? Has Cyrus ever written lyrics in a non historical/biblical/mythological setting?
Cyrus – there is never a desire to tone down, as you put it, Citizen Cain’s music. We have no interest in moderating our sound for general acceptance. My personal thoughts are that music is vibrational art. What self respect would the artist have writing for acceptance within the greater prog movement, there are plenty bands doing that! In any case where’s the fun in that, any moderation in the music to broaden the audience would be geared towards making MONEY, NOT ART. Fuck money, its the root of all our misery,…..
A – Who is Johnny, he seems to be a recurring character, and how was he developed? Which are the themes you would like listeners to catch as they listen to your album(s)?
Cyrus – Johnny is you and me and every one else, Johnny is the part of us that sleeps in the world, that dreams the dreams of incarceration and imprisonment, Johnny is the mind of the sleeper, the mind of each one of us, the divine Adam Kadmon in flesh. We are the minds of the fallen hierarchies, the Archons of the previous cycle, cut off from the true light of eternity, cut off from our true SELF. Look at the world? Your destiny is in the hands of others. It?s time to AWAKEN!
A – How much does technology enter the actual writing of the album? You started when technology was basically a recording tool and now its seeped into every aspect of our daily lives.
Stewart – It has played a huge part in our latest work, Skies Darken, which may have never seen the light of day had it not been for the technological advancements we had at our fingertips. Being able to record most of the album at a friend’s house; being able to record drums in sections rather than one long take; having an orchestra and choir at my disposal; mixing the album ourselves. These and many more things just couldn’t have been done without the wonders of modern computing.
A – There’s a lot more piano on this album, was there an attempt to veer away from the last two albums which relied more on electronics?
Stewart – There was no conscious decision to use more piano, it just turned out that way. I think having a beautiful sounding Steinway sample maybe inspired me to write more piano pieces. I was also aware of some of our previous stuff sounding dated because of the synth sounds that were used so I aimed to use more traditional instruments where possible. Its funny how the most amazing new sound on your latest keyboard can sound like utter cheeze within a couple of years! Of course some instruments sound dated in a good way, like the classic sounds of a hammond, minimoog or a mellotron for example.
A – How did the band start out and which bands, if any, inspired you. When and why did you stop live performing?
Cyrus – CITIZEN CAIN should have died in 1990 but strange events conspired to evolve a new stage of Cain?s development. The meeting of Stewart Bell and myself changed the course of CC and with personnel changes it was clear that what ever Stewart and I wished to do musically, could only be done by ourselves. The 80s destroyed the concept of mastering your instrument so we did it all by ourselves, we were lucky to acquire two good guitarists; Alistair McGregor on Somewhere but Yesterday and of course Phil Allen, a great guitarist in his own right. The rest is history. As for public performances, it costs a great deal of money to gig, and quite honestly we could not have afforded to do both.
Stewart – I was heavily into Marillion in my teens which I guess gave me a second hand Genesis inspiration. Genesis were doing there pop thing at that time so I never paid much attention to them until the guys from the Serpents era band gave me all the old Gabriel era stuff to listen to. Hence the Marillion inspired sound on the first album then the second album being more like Genesis. After those albums we tried to find our own sound and style although I guess you never really lose your influences when you write. Saying that, I’m pretty sure the band that inspired me to first write music when I was 7 or 8 years old had little impact on the Citizen Cain phase of my music carreer. That band was Adam and the Ants. I could be wrong of course, for all I know they may be due to appear in Prog mag’s “How Prog were…” section??!
A – Which software was used and what’s changed in that respect since the previous album?
Stewart – Everything changed! Only my D.A.W has stayed the same (although a newer version of course). I use Cubase and have done since the old days of the Atari 1040ST. East West’s sample libraries are a big part of my setup too. Symphonic orchestra and symphonic choirs played a big part on the new album. Soft synth emulators
are an amzing cheap alternative with things like virtual Hammonds and Minimoogs weighing considerably less than the real thing.
A – I couldn’t help but notice the tiny Swastika in your new logo?
Cyrus – OOPS yes the Swastika? Well the Waffen-SS did not have a monopoly on that sign which is an ancient symbol for the four corners, or the sacred way, which the Toltecs and Mayans used as did many other civilisations over thousands of years. So when seeing that symbol one should not get carried away with second world war
paraphernalia. In the art work the Swastika represents a new AGE to come, an age of freedom from oppression and suffering that plagues mankind in the guise of the earthly and heavenly hierarchies, the jailers. And of course the release from death and rebirth.
A – “We have not changed” you state in the long introduction of your album’s booklet. Is your worldview entirely pessimistic or do you see some glimmer of hope for the
future? What will the future hold for Citizen Cain?
Stewart – We are both working on solo projects at the moment. Cyrus is writing under the name Arculus. My own project will feature both cyrus and phil on vocals which will, technically, make it a citizen cain project especially as Phil will be reprising his role as guitarist also. Only difference is that it will feature another 2 vocalists (one male, one female) in order to fill the roles of the other characters in the story. That story is based on my life as an oneironaut, ie, an explorer of the dream world. I have been a lucid dreamer since the age of 6 and I have many interesting experiences from that world to share, including the synchronicities that have developed between it and the real world, the strange and wonderful encounters I have had there and the profound questions that inevitably arise when one lives in two separate worlds for most of their life. Its already well underway, the writing is complete, musically and lyrically and we have started recording guitar and guide vocals so there will be no more ten year waits for anyone yearning another fix of Cyrus, Phil and myself at play.
Cyrus – As to the future of CITIZEN CAIN that’s any body’s guess. My world view is the world i see presented to me, a world that most turn there attention away from, the world where we kill our fellow man, our true brothers and sisters. For what? PERSONAL GAIN through hate and deceit. Most of us blanket out what others suffer because its easier to turn a blind eye than to act, so we put our heads in the sand and only ever shout HELP when its our turn to be brutalised, and guess what, everyone else has buried their heads in the sand, for fear that it may make them THINK. How long can we last as consumers of material goods and wealth? The truth is that through the material goods that we depend on for our happiness and contentment, we are blinded to the truth that man is POWERFUL yet fast asleep. Now is the time to awaken to your true uncorrupted self, your energy self. We live in an important time as the world and man is evolving into a new cycle of ligh. We have come to the end of a great age. Sadly you cant make an omelette without breaking the eggs. SO MY DEAR FRIENDS KEEP YOUR HEADS DOWN, A STORM IS COMING!