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regenmatthew: I thought I'd start out by asking about the name of the band. What does 'Ahrayeph' mean, and how did you come to choose that for the title?

Raf: The name came about when I felt the old name for the band/project didn't really represent the music. Before Ahráyeph, I started a band called Crucifire, which had all the Goth elements, but also a more metal edge to it. When the band downsized into a project and I chose to take the direction of Goth Rock - if you want to call it that - I felt Crucifire was too metal a name so I changed it to Ahráyeph, which is a wordplay on the initials of my name, as at the time, it was a one man project. It sounds cool, too, I think ;)

regenmatthew: It definitely sounds cool.

Raf: Thanks :)

regenmatthew: So it's not a word that has a specific meaning related to the music, then?

Raf: Well... It is in the sense that I have this concept in my head about where the music and lyrics should go and what I'd like to achieve with it. It all comes from the same place. That was the case with Crucifire, too, but at least in the beginning it was more of a band effort. You could say that Ahráyeph stands for the way I look at what's going on in the Universe and how I relate to it and relay it to others via the music and lyrics. If that doesn't sound too pompous. ;)

regenmatthew: Not at all!You mentioned that Crucifire had more of a metal edge to it, and you also played in the metal band Ancient Rites for quite some time. Does that metal side of you cross over at all to Ahrayeph, in terms of either songwriting or guitar technique?

Raf: No. Ancient Rites was quite a different beast, sometimes even literally. The technical and melodic black metal the band arrived at at the time I rejoined them in 2004 (I had done a six month stint with them in 1996 - 1997) is miles away from what I do with Ahráyeph. If there is any metal influence to be found in some songs (e.g. Lilith), it comes from a different place. But it was nice to do both, as I consider myself a musical jack of all trades. And I might do a metal project again in the future, who knows...

regenmatthew: Since you've been doing Ahrayeph more or less as a solo project for so long before bringing in other members, was it difficult to transfer back into that 'band' mindset?

Raf: Hmm... Interesting question. I'm not sure if I ever had to transfer back into the band mindset, because of the way the band got together. The songs were already written and recorded by the time the first band members came on board. You'll find some re-recorded guitar and bass parts and synthesizer parts of theirs on the album, but all in all, their contributions have been minimal. Ironically, it was the almost finished product that convinced them to join. After that, we just set about rehearsing these songs and a handful of cover tunes in order to play live. And that worked out fine. I can say I am proud of us as a band, because the egos are really checked at the door 99% of the time.

regenmatthew: Speaking of cover songs, you're currently working on a cover songs project with Ahrayeph, right? Can you tell us a little about that?

Raf: It's something I'm doing on and off. Whenever I have an idea for a cover of a certain song, I set about rewriting the original because I feel a cover should reflect musically what kind of effect the original song has on you. It may seem odd, but the first song I ever reworked into a cover was the basis for what I now consider the Ahráyeph 'sound'. A friend of mine, Izzy from the band For Greater Good, alluded to that once and I realized he was right. The times we don't stray from the original song too much are rare occasions and I only do that with a certain intention. We played our very first gig with NFD, whose bass player is Tony Pettitt. As a homage of sorts to the man and the music he used to make in Fields of the Nephilim, we chose to play 'Blue Water' that evening as a kind of thank you for all the great music he's given us with both his bands - and soon with The Eden House as well. I also decided to record - and consequently play live - the 'new' The Sisters Of Mercy song 'Summer', because I was tired of listening to it on crappy bootlegs. It'll probably never get released, as I'm sure neither Mr. Eldritch nor Adam Pearson would like a cover song out in the open of a song they themselves haven't even released yet. So we only do that at select live gigs. As for the recording project itself, it'll get done, but I don't have a specific time frame in mind. It just depends on getting enough songs and getting them right, I guess...

regenmatthew: Between Fields of the Nephilim and Sisters of Mercy, you definitely seem to have an interest in classic goth. What other bands have influenced the sound of Ahráyeph?

Raf: I'm not ashamed to say it's pretty much the standard 'old' Goth bands like Bauhaus, early Cure, Siouxie And The Banshees and the post punk of Joy Division, to name the most important. I grew up in the 80's and that kind of music really reflected the dark and desperate atmosphere that hung over that era like a lead cloak because of the Cold War. When I remember the 80's, I remember cold fluorescent lighting in the streets and a chill up my spine. Did you ever get to see the Christiane F. movie? That kind of atmosphere is exactly what it was like for me in my mind to grow up in the 80's. Another very important band that influenced Ahráyeph is The God Machine. It's a band almost nobody knows, but still manages to make new fans. Just ask the Tool guys. They only got to make two albums and some EP's, but I couldn't do without those. I used to live for over a year with their 'One Last Laugh In A Place Of Dying' stuck in my CD player.

regenmatthew: Now that the album is out and you've had the chance to play live, where are you planning to go next? Will there be a full tour in support of the album?

Raf: Currently, I'm already writing and recording demos for the next album. I pretty much had the concept for the second album developed by the time 'Marooned On Samsara' was finished. So now I'm just writing whatever pops into my head, to sort out those things I can use for the new album at a later stage. As far as touring goes... We'd like to play as much as we can. But seeing as we are only on a small label - that supports us any way it can, I must make that clear - we don't have the financial backing to either go on tour ourselves or buy into an existing one. It's also something of a question which kind of band we could support, because we don't really fit in with anyone. Basically the deal now is : we go where we're asked if they make sure we get there and have food and drinks and a place to crash. With the rising oil prices, though, even that isn't a sure thing anymore. And on top of that, the live market is really saturated. I've seen gig and festival attendances dwindle this summer for that reason and the high price monopoly of conglomerates like Live Nation. It's not easy to play live today, but again, we'd love to anyway...

regenmatthew: Do you have any other thoughts you'd like to share with our readers?

Raf: Only on the new album, hahaha.

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