Hailing from Belgrade and existing for over a decade, Consecration brings us Grob – a piece of music at the peak of musical maturity and the final installment to a three-part series. The results are emotionally intense and significantly heavier than the other albums in the trilogy. Danilo Nikodinovski (voice, guitar, keys) shares with us the ideas that bought about the trilogy and the context it creates for Consecration’s latest release.
Can you tell us something about the creative process behind making three conceptually different albums?
To have three conceptual albums wasn’t something that was planned initially. When we entered the studio in October 2011, the only thing we knew is that we had a bunch of songs, like fifteen or twenty, and wanted to have them recorded. Then the idea was to choose which songs would be mixed and released first, since it takes too much time and cash to mix all the songs at once. At that time Cimet, Romantična Policija, and Barikade were already available online through a live video session we recorded earlier that year, so it was a conscious thing to have them included first. Praskozorje was a brand new song that I knew had big potential, so that one had to be included too. Nestajanje was a good way to close that chapter, like a shape of things to come later.
Even before Cimet was out we were working on Univerzum Zna. We found Aaron Harris at that time and had decided he was the guy who’d mix Univerzum. Again, songs that were on Univerzum were the songs that felt right to be released next. And during that time of mixing Univerzum the concept thing hit me. Cimet was about the birth and the sweet naivety that life carries at an early age. Univerzum Zna is about life being heavier, uneasy, and with a sense of panic and paranoia at some parts. More psychedelic for sure. Then it was rather obvious and natural that the last part would be Grob, a statement about death, dying, and the fear of dying.
You collaborated with a lot of musicians on this record, making it unique and complex in both sound and influences. What are the main motives in Grob?
The main motive may not only be the fear of death, but also the sense of coming to terms with it, seeking for closure. Debeli Leptir is a song about the apocalypse and the sense of foreshadowing. Sheed is all shit and weed basically, but it’s also about the town Šid at the border with Croatia. We had a thing that goes back to 2009 when we couldn’t cross the border to play a gig in Croatia because they told us we were missing a piece of paper that no one ever asked for before. Lots of Serbian bands were fucked up at that time and got back from the border but we were the first. Funny that that was the only time the press was interested in us and called me for interviews and statements.
Either way, people being fucked up beings as they are, the song is about the Earth. There should be no borders, no flags – fuck that. The Earth is more important than us. Bring back paganism and feminine principles. Paganism and making sacrifices to gods makes more sense than the religious fanaticism you have today. So basically where Debeli Leptir is about the apocalypse and evil forces and Sheed about the demise of mankind, Sećanje Na Ameliju is a transitional part to the bottom of it all. Grob. Grave. The death of our loved ones, and us eventually. That song [Grob] is really important to me. I was anxious about it and how people would react to it, but everyone says it’s one of our strongest songs. I really feel like I’m gonna die every time I play that solo. Something breaks in me, and I’m not sure if I can explain it. Whether during rehearsal or live, I just give out everything and hope I survive till the end of the song. The solo is basically a shout out to Danny Cavanagh and Kim Larsen’s early days in Saturnus, something that shaped me when I was discovering playing electric guitar and solos – the feel of expression rather than technicality.
Ejmi (1983-2011-201?) is basically Aimless revisited. Aimless was our opening track from our first album Aux, so I figured it was a nice way to end the cycle by putting the song at the end. Ejmi sounds similar to Aimless when you say it.
Amy Winehouse was a troubled soul that had her last gig in Belgrade before she died. I didn’t attend the gig but I clearly remember I was at the seaside during that summer of 2011 when I got the news. She was my age and I felt somehow she was born at the wrong place at the wrong time, something I also feel like sometimes. Lyrics-wise, Ejmi is about the fear of losing dreams. The dreams are a reflection of motivation and the subconscious and if you ever lose that, if you ever lose dreams and the motivation to go on, it’s a nightmare. A nightmare that you can’t wake up from makes you afraid to go to sleep. It’s kinda Nightmare On Elm Street, but it’s really scary if you think about it – that you can’t go to sleep or that you might die if you go to sleep and never wake up again. The bracket thing with the years (1983-2011-201?) is a shout out to Bowie’s Aladdin Sane, while the song’s acoustic ending is a hope for afterlife and resurrection.
With Grob being the last release in the trilogy and having a significantly different sound than the first two, how do you feel about the album’s reception so far?
The reception has been great so far. Everyone is saying this is our best album yet. Haven’t heard a bad thing about it really. Initially I thought people would hate this one because it’s so heavy. Not strictly in a sludgy, metallic way but in the way of emotional weight it has on you. I also thought that the songs aren’t as good. I can never be objective about my own stuff, I guess. I’m not sure what it is exactly that makes it different, because it definitely sounds like us. Maybe it’s the commitment we had this time, the attention to detail. The sincerity and the seriousness. Also more time to reflect and revisit stuff again.
I had this idea for Sećanje Na Ameliju since 2005 or 2006 I think, to do it that way – drop the tuning, slow it down. Turn a classical guitar composition into this doomy jazzy thing. The trumpet idea came to me one time I was listening to Ulver’s take on Black Sabbath’s Solitude and felt I wanted to make a similar mood of unbearable melancholy, heavy depression, even. We tried to sample a trumpet first, from an old band Chris Cederberg (Anatherma’s producer) had in the ‘90s. He liked the idea and I got his permission to go with it but we couldn’t tune it [the trumpet sample] in properly, so I asked my friend Petar to drop by and tried some takes with the actual trumpet. I’m glad it worked. I also think the addition of Moog to the album made me sink into the songs more. There are things about synthesizers you can never do on guitars and vice versa and it’s important to me to let out all the stuff I have in my head and use whatever instruments I can to let that happen.
The artwork on Grob is quite memorable. What is the story behind this work?
It was done by our friend Aleksandra Rasulić. We’ve known each other since the band’s beginnings in the early 2000s. She’s into painting so it was kinda natural to ask her for help and art direction. She works with watercolor mostly and all of her stuff is amazing. I like abstract stuff and I guess our music is abstract in a way so it was a good mix. She listened to rough mixdowns to get an idea of where we were going with the music this time. I think she really nailed it with all the motives. She had complete artistic freedom to do whatever she wanted the way she wanted. I think the only thing I suggested was the importance of red color. I felt it was important because all our previous covers were variations on blue and black. There’s a sense of danger in red and I felt it was needed this time.
A shout out has to also go to our friend Tomica Tomašević, who did layout and design. I’ve never seen anyone work so fast with pictures and layout. He did everything in a heartbeat and it’s really rewarding when you have friends such as Aleksandra and Tomica in your life. So thanks to those guys.
What does the future hold for you after this release?
We just got back from Arsenal Fest in Kragujevac where we opened the main stage slot. The crowd was great. We even got some comments that it was one of our best performances, although our slot was only forty minutes long. We are playing on Metal Days in Slovenia on 20th July, and really looking forward to that one. We’re considering some options for a Belgrade gig in late August or early September. There’s also an option of doing a video of a live rehearsal like we did with Cimet a couple of years back. We’ll see. Watch our Facebook page for the heads up.