Noizze: Hi, I hope you’re both well. Thank you for agreeing to do this email interview. Firstly for the benefit of people who may not have heard of you before, may I get a quick introduction and your music?
JJ: You are welcome. HFTS is a Post Black Metal band from Salzburg and Vienna, founded in winter 2012. The band is me J.J., singer and texter of the band and M.S. who writes the songs. For playing live we have session members that tour with us.
Noizze: After receiving universal praise for your previous work III – Trauma did you feel any pressure following it up in the writing process for your new record Arson?
JJ: No, we just continued where we ended the story of III: Trauma. We usually don’t think about doing something like a new album, it just happens when the time has come today.
Noizze: What are the lyrical themes throughout Arson? In previous works they encapsulated the bleaker sides of life. However after seeing mentions of Arson representing a rebirth of sorts, like rising from the ashes. Is there newer themes present that have been previously unexplored?
JJ: No, it’s not getting happier with Arson. But you are right, I mentioned these things when I got asked for the title, what it represents. And yeah, to me it represents something like the end of a chapter, because we burned everything to the ground metaphorically. Old traumas that led me through my life very rarely show up on the surface and win prevalence of my emotional state. But if you are into depression and all that stuff, your basic mood won’t change, just because you brought a chapter to an end. I didn’t change.
Noizze: During the recording process, you expanded the lineup to include Kerim ‘Krimh’ Lechner (Scepticflesh, Behemoth live shows) on the album. How was working with him?
JJ: Krimh is a great drummer, one of the best we have here in Europe. Sure it was also beneficial that he doesn’t live that far away, but that was not the point of why we asked him. He is simply a very professional and excellent drummer; and he also really liked our songs. This is why he’s part of the album.
Noizze: What made you decide to expand the recording lineup for the first time?
JJ: We wanted to do everything as good as we can. A human drummer makes a more organic sound, that’s why we rethought old habits.
Noizze: Arson was recorded, mixed and mastered by Daniel Fellner, who worked with you on your previous record. How did you find working with him once again?
JJ: It’s always cool working with a friend. We had a great time in the studio and Daniel also gave his best. Six ears hear more things than four. When he gives instructions they are clear and direct. That’s a very good basis.
Noizze: Black metal as a whole seems to be branching out in some very different directions compared to its early beginnings, whilst other genres seem to have become slightly stagnant in areas. What is it about black metal that allows more experimentation compared to other areas of extreme metal?
JJ: I think this is, because Black Metal always had this strong aspiration for individualism. I don’t think the scene changed in this point from its very beginnings. The average Black Metal musician always searched for the best compromise between the core values that were common in Black Metal and his own, individual thought. Black metal is and always will stand for music without limitations.
Noizze: As well as expanding the studio lineup, Harakiri for the Sky also expanded to a full live band lineup. What was the decision behind going from being a purely studio project to performing live?
JJ: I can’t remember. I think it just happened, because we got a few good offers for playing with bands we liked. Me and M.S. already have played in two other band together. So why not starting a third one?!
Noizze: How has the reaction been from your live shows? Do you have any particular standout performances or places you’ve played?
JJ: I don’t know. I really like to play in GB, even though most of the promoters are pieces of shit. In central Europe, bands get treated very well. I can’t say it’s the same in Great Britain. But I like the country, it’s a country with a long and interesting history. And I like the mentality of the people. I also like to play in Belgium or France. Everywhere but Germany hahaha.
Noizze: Do you have any more touring plans in the works for 2018 and beyond?
JJ: Yeah, maybe we will play China and Japan in autumn. That would be great indeed!
Noizze: Is there any places you’re keen to play? Is there any artists/bands both new and old that you currently love or feel that people should know about?
JJ: We played with Ellende last year in April for two weeks. They are also from Austria, and people should really know about them. Great guys, great music, great atmosphere!
Noizze: Thank you for taking time out to do this interview. Do you have any last words to finish on?
JJ: No I’m fine, thanks for the interview my friend.