Vice: So, Christophe Szpajdel, we hear that you’re the master of black-metal logos. But who are you, really?
I am 37 years old, I come from Belgium but I live in Exeter, Devon, in the UK. In the last 20 years I have drawn more than 7,000 logos, mostly for black- and death-metal bands from all over the world, including Emperor, Moonspell, Nachtmystium, and Enthroned.
So do you sit alone by candlelight in the uppermost chamber of a castle and draw sinister things all night?
No. Besides drawing logos, I am a forestry engineer and I have a regular job as a customer-service assistant in retail. I need a job to support my artistic activity.
Will you stab me with a cursed, ruby-encrusted dagger if I say that I think you’re inspired by the Art Deco and Art Nouveau eras?
No. I am a big fan of Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and the Vienna Secession artists. But most important is a school of calligraphy that I created and developed. It’s called Depressiv’Moderne, and it’s a result of the merging of Art Deco, depressive dark ambient, and the actual economic depression we are in right now.
So you work in forestry engineering. Isn’t it contradictory to work for the protection of the environment while at the same time supporting music that wishes to lay waste to the earth until it’s a stinking heap of sulfur and bones?
I wouldn’t say so. In fact, it is some kind of a yin-yang. There are bands that make extreme music but lyrically deal with the purity of nature. They offer the perfect fusion between my fascination with nature—especially mountains—and metal. But a lot of extreme metal bands deal with the destruction of mankind, which I think is needed. Maybe not a complete destruction, but at least a drastic cull. Our streets need to be cleared of all the scumbags walking on them.
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