Classic, mystical metal with a high dosage of ’70s rock influences and unparalleled guitar work! The title for WHITE MAGICIAN’s first full-length, “Dealers of Divinity”, depicts three blind card dealers who are employed by an entity who controls the universe’s behind-the-scenes gaming facility. A cool story with for a great music performance, these guys really have something like their own style.
Hello guys, “Dealers Of Divinity” is your debut album, how do you feel about it?
TGK: Hello! I feel really great about it, if not just greatly relieved that It is finished! I’m more curious how other people are going to feel about it.
Consigliere: I am immensely proud that my boys got it together for one hell of a go at this immense primal thrust of Rock. Such a thrust could lead to hip pain down the line, something I know a little more than I’d care to about. Dealers of Divinity is a culmination of sacrifice, execution and artistry and the songs are bursting at the seams with character as a result. Besides feeling proud I also feel respect for them, especially TGK. When an artist challenges themselves to create and succeeds to portray their vision as intended it is a special thing to be able to partake in.
In 2016 you released your first songs with the EP The Pledge, it sounded good but this “Dealers Of Divinity” seems to me much more seasoned and polished
TGK: I agree! The songs on the pledge were pretty cool but still at a time where we were feeling out our sound. I feel like “The Fall: Sad Magic” was the most telling of our direction we wanted to end up in and I had the vision musically for some things of course but knew virtually nothing about recording music and how to make my vision come to life. I still know very little in the grand scheme of things but at least know that time needs to be put in and experimentation is important to getting the sound you want.
Consigliere: I really loved ” The Pledge” and felt the songs were excellent in every way. However by watching and hearing the band over the years I have to say that improvement in every way is evident. The album shows the logical progression from “The Pledge”, to “Antipathy” and now ” Dealer’s of Divinity” in every aspect, lyrics, vocals, band cohesion, and composition.
You have captured the attention of the headhunters in Cruz Del Sur Music
TGK: I suppose we have… I think it’s great!
Consigliere: Headhunter? That sounds pretty bad ass but not sure what you mean by that. Typically I associate headhunting with murder or at least severe maiming. I hope that Cruz Del Sur does not plan anything of that nature for these Magic men. Cruz Del Sur from my experience seems to be a very professional and far reaching label. In addition they are great fans of heavy metal and rock and roll. They are responsible for bringing to light the world one of my favorite new bands Vultures Vengeance via their sub label “Gates of Hell”. That being said I think it’s awesome that White Magician has partnered with such a knowledgeable and hard working label.
TGK: I would also like to add that Lunar Shadow’s ‘Far From Light’ was really what turned me on to Cruz Del Sur. That Vulture’s Vengeance album is spectacular as well.
Yes, the roster of bands in CDS is really impressive. Let’s dive a little into the origin of the band. There is another project with a similar name, The Great Kaiser’s White Magician, that shares members of both bands. How is this?
C: From time to time these “splits can happen” and since this is not a black jack table there isn’t a 4 split limit. There may or may not be a different incarnation of White Magician for every single possible combination of those involved.
TGK: Yes, It is kind of unsure if we just had a distance created physically or a full on civil war between a currently involved yet currently estranged member and the rest of the band. The best way to avoid something very drastic happening and lawyers becoming involved was to release music that did not include this involved/estranged member under the name “The Great Kaiser’s White Magician. To quote someone I hate for obvious reasons “That’s all I have to say about that”
Quite clear, I think. Even in 2018 you released a split with a third band called Prelude to Ruin, didn’t you?
TGK: Yes…. Yes we did!
C: They sure did, and I will never forget the time I spent hand writing the lyric sheet and insert. With nothing but a pen, a paper and a lamp surrounded by my precious collections of records, tapes, cds, star wars memorabilia and movies to keep me company…….alone yet feeling the power of my totems glowing in the night.
Mofang: I think we’d refer to it not as a split, but moreso a test of friendship. At it’s heart, it was all a ploy to get Drummer Master to take up cigarettes, which he used to age the inserts. He passed the test by not becoming addicted to that particular drug.
White Magician was formed in 2010 and you chose to play with themes about Magic, Sorcery, Gambling… How did you choose the name for the band and that orientation?
TGK: The name White Magician was taken from Desecration of Souls by Mercyful Fate. To me it had a funny double meaning really. The implication that people would want us to stay away and the other side of the coin: to deal lyrically with the magic that occurred in the mid 19th to late 20th century in Europe and North America. As far as themes, I just write about what I know…
Cool. It seems all turns around guitarist/vocalist The Great Kaiser, right?
TGK: It turns around yours truly, The Great Kaiser, but then It also goes from off of me to turn around Mofang Tengrand, then turns back around me, and then takes a spin around Mars Mysterio, Then back to me. It makes a revolution or two around the Consigliere, and then in rapid succession takes three turns around Drummer Master Commandriani and One around me to finish.
I will study it a little more… We are going to find classic heavy metal with influences from Blue Öyster Cult to the darkness of Mercyful Fate or the romantic mystery of German Stormwitch
TGK: Well I can definitely say that Blue Oyster Cult and Mercyful Fate are giant influences for me… hopefully nobody from the Smithsonian reads this… they may confiscate and destroy any and all evidence of BOC and Mercyful Fate from history if they misinterpret my saying they are a GIANT influence as opposed to being bands comprised of giants.
Mofang: Let us know if you didn’t find what you’re looking for and we’ll be sure to work it in for the next one. To me, I’ve always loved these BOC-like vocal harmonies that my friend kaiser pulled off here and there on the record.
C: Stormwitch is great, I like them alot. They do influence my own musings however only minimally, they are one of many bands that demonstrate the time tested tradition of German Speed, Traditional and Power Metal. I would say from zee Germans more Uli Jon Roth era Scorpions would be evident for White Magician and then Yngvie Malmsteen from the swedish sector.
When did you start composing “Dealers Of Divinity” and how was that task developed inside the band?
TGK: I initially intended Antipathy to be on the record. So I would say the first ideas for the few songs were taking place during the time The Pledge was actually released. I had rough Ideas of maybe 3 songs, and then scrapped one, and developed a few riff ideas into the rest of the songs to fill out the album. I mostly had the riffs and structures laid out for the band except for a few parts of Mad Magic II where Mofang kinda tangented a part that really changed my perspective on where the song could go. Drummer master also implied I was making a meal out of the rough draft of the 1st (now scrapped) ending of the song. Bless his soul for that. Drummer Master also Master and Commanded the fastest riff towards the end of Power of the Stone. Aside from that it was a whole lot of “Okay it goes like this” and then repetitions of how did that sound? Too long too short? too much? not enough? Mars Mysterio watched but didn’t do anything.
C: From afar some of us down home jerks, like myself, Matt Prestone and David Esquire, did nothing but say things like, “it gets good” or “wow your really doing something there”, one time I even called him an asshole, just for laughs….. TGK that is. Maybe that helped maybe it made things worse.
TGK: To add to the Consigliere’s anecdotal musings I would like to add that the core riffs of Magia Nostra were being written and fleshed out while I was alone (or so I thought) in the basement of the Satan’s Friendship Palace. I am playing loud and almost non stop and I finally stop for a moment to think and I hear a leaning in Matt Prestone behind me say “Sounds fuckin awesome man” and scared the living shit out of me. He was just there watching me for some undisclosed amount of time. That’s a man that gravitates to music. I also knew some key parts to spectre of a dying flame were great when he overheard them while in the other room living at our house and was going man that thing you were playing earlier sounded great… and I go oh yeah what part? He says I dont know… sounded like a sailboat riff to me. and I kind of knew what he was talking about. We were collaborating together at this time on the Dungeon Beast “The Fool” EP which I lent my hands to as a bass player. Drummer Master also Drum Mastered.
It seems clear that you work as a team and fun is guaranteed! Tell us some details about the lyrics and the suggestive cover artwork?
TGK: Well the lyrics span quite a few topics. Most personal and revolving around Love Magic Life and Death. The cover artwork was based on my theme for the title track. Basically a vision of a possible reality that the creators and dictators of all are simply dealers at a card table on the gaming floor of the universe as we know it. Insurance? Insurance? Nobody home.
Mofang: If you had only known all the other suggestive imagery that didn’t make it in the album art. When Kaiser brought me the concept for the painting that he paid me a pittance for, my head spun. But imagine my surprise when that pittance became the friendship of a thousand lifetimes and my head spun twice more. I’m very happy with the cover art.
C: Before being ejected until further notice Mofang Tengrand worked tirelessly, and also tiredly on the painting, the many stages of the painting were captured in a film I called “the man with the silver fingers”, that film was never watched by anyone not even me and then was destroyed. What do you think about that?
Do those lyrics have some connection with the reality we are living nowadays worldwide? Did you get some inspiration from there?
TGK: Of course, especially regarding the title track. Everything lyrically from the entire album has to do with my personal experience in my own reality. Especially in the title track though… really gets into the hopelessness of being a part of this current world in the current system and constantly feeling like you’re at the mercy of the powers that be.
C: There are some very personal moments on this record at least from what I can tell when I listen to the tracks and read the lyrics. I feel personal pangs of grief especially in Dealers of Divinity, Power of the Stone and Spectre of a Dying Flame.
There is an influence of 70s sound in your music, you consider that past times are always better?
TGK: Well the past times aren’t always better but music was definitely better back then and held to a higher standard. Then again bands back then could actually make enough money to not work a 5/6 day work week. 40+ hours a week. They could rehearse 5 times a week. No major head scratcher why bands and music of today pales in comparison to almost anything that came before it. Also it was a time of total innovation in the rock genre. Almost everything’s been done (that actually sounds good) at this point.
C: White Magician are hugely influenced by 70s hard rock and prog, Genesis, Kansas, ELO, Steve Hackett solo, King crimson, B.O.C, to name just a few. Now the current times music vs past times music topic I have though alot about. I have gone back and forth on it. It is and isn’t, on one hand it seems it easier to access music and make music but on the other hand it may more difficult than ever to actually make good music. You see modern technology has opened the doors to just about anyone with idea to create the idea, produce the idea and reach out to the world with it, that should be a good thing but has it led to more great music.?…not sure about that yet time will tell. I don’t think ease of access is a bad thing and still and debating if there are more great bands still waiting to be found that are being.lost in the digital shuffle.
I would also underline the shades of underground metal sound ala Cirith Ungol, to name a band. The fantastic thing is that all flows very naturally!
TGK: Well Cirith Ungol was an extremely unique sounding band and that is what made them so fantastic. You couldn’t mistake them for another band at that time or even now listening to them and bands influenced by them.
C: Dealers of Divinity is a very fluid and well composed album much like the first two Cirith Ungol albums (Frost and Fire, King of the Dead) but aside from their sheer brilliance I don’t hear other similarities between the two bands.
Surprisingly for me The Great Kaiser is not only a good guitarist but also a competent vocalist, something not so usual, what do you think?
TGK: I feel pretty secure as a guitarist and not so much as a vocalist but I’m finding my voice better and better each time I write or record. Lucky to have George who recorded it let me know “maybe not so good” on some of the takes.
How has the pandemic affected your promotion plans?
TGK: Not any more than it has anyone else. I suppose I’m thankful that we didn’t make a ton of plans and then have them all inevitably be cancelled. It was far enough along to where plans weren’t even made. I also wasn’t even sure if the release was still going to be on target.
C: We did have plans to see Europe with Kansas before then coming of the covid but that’s now in the past.
Is it in your plans to play in Europe in the future?
TGK: Haven’t even begun to speculate. My other band Demon Bitch was actually planning to play there this past July with Austrian powerhouse Molten Chains (obviously cancelled) Hopefully that is rescheduled… but as far as White Magicians plans to play Europe… there are none at the moment I guess we’ll see how everything shakes out and if anyone reaches us about doing so I would love to obviously. Still never been!
Thanks for your attention guys and congratulations for your big album, if you wish to add something…
C: Hard Rock and Heavy Metal never had it so good, split aces every time, double down at all cost.