Emerging from the desert wastelands of South West Africa / Namibia come forth this weird 
but interesting Metal band.  After reviewing their debut demo in our previous scripture, 
I decided to have a few words with them.  This interview was conducted in June 1998.

CRUSADER: Give us a brief history of the band, and what you plan to achieve as a Metal band.

Johan: "We got together in early 1997. Actually Dylan and me were looking for other 
musicians to start a metal band and shortly after that I met Sven Heussen, who I've known 
for a few years via his brother. We got together and Dylan brought over the two ex-Eternal 
Reign dudes, Robert Scott (Bass) and Johann Smit (Vocals). The energy was there from the 
start. We did a trial cover song to see how we'd jam and things worked well. The first gigs 
were very successful and we went on to do several other successful gigs at the coast of 
Namibia. Future plans are to record a full length CD and get signed to a label and possibly 
do South African Tour and some day, a European Tour."

CRUSADER: Where did the name Arcana XXII come from, and what does it mean?

Johann: "Arcana are the mysteries of the universe. The Tarot deck has 22 Major Arcana 
(Mystery) cards. Thus Arcana is a cryptic way of saying Major Arcana. There are a lot 
of mystic influences in the band, which encompass just about everything we do."

CRUSADER: I see that Arcana XXII was formed out of a local Gothic band, Eternal Reign. Would you 
say the influences for Arcana XXII come more from Metal or Gothic? What bands do you admire and 
what bands do you listen to?

Johan: "I'd say definitely more from the metal side, because Sven and me write the music. I 
think the gothic touch comes mainly from Johann's vocals, but I wouldn't say we've carried 
the Eternal Reign feel over to Arcana XXII.  Each member has different influences. Sven's 
into Dream Theatre, Savatage, Helloween and Tribe After Tribe. Johann's into mainly into 
gothic, industrial, but also some thrash. Robert likes industrial, hardcore techno and other 
crazy shit with Judas Priest sprinkled on top. I'm into everything from Groinchurn, 
Terrorizer to Morbid Angel, Deicide to Priest, Helloween to Symphony X, Dream Theatre, 
Enchant to good ol' Forbidden, Slayer, Testament and Heathen. Peter's mainly into drummers 
like Dennis Chambers, Vinnie Colaiuta and Simon Philips but also stuff like Dream Theatre, 
Symphony X, Liquid Tension Experiment and John McLaughlin."

CRUSADER: Your lyrics seem to be more in the Gothic Genre, more "Love/female" type of 
orientation. Will the new songs you are writing reflect this as well or how do you see 
you new lyrics?

Johann: "Yes, there are emotional values one can link to the lyrics. But then you are 
reading on the emotional level. Some of our songs could be read on several levels at once, 
giving a full colour blend of the straight in your face anger of human vs. human in our age. 
Some of the lyrics date back to 1991 and have a lot of varying influences ranging from 
SA riots, to drug-induced dazes, including vampire romance, witching, and the generally 
sick lifestyles of our Great Money Madness and religious fanatics. Of the songs on 
"Demonflower", "Demonflower" is vampire love, "Virgin Girl" is a diss against fake innocence, 
"Angel" has many levels, including some ancient Teutonic roots, and "Darkland" is a song 
about Africa on one level, the rising of Awareness in our age and some Teutonic lore." 

CRUSADER: Have you started recording for your full length album yet? Will you re-record any 
of your demo tracks for it?

Arcana XXII: "No, we haven't recorded anything yet. It'll take some time, as we've only just 
finished practicing our songs with Peter. Now we want to get these songs tighter and gain 
experience on them live. There's definitely enough material for a CD. We've got new ideas 
coming out of our ears. We also want to include an African percussionist and that'll take 
some time to see if it comes naturally. Yes, we will re-record the demo songs."

CRUSADER: What is the scene like in Namibia, do you get to play many gigs, and what is the 
turnout like at the gigs?

Arcana XXII: "Namibia doesn't really have a metal scene. There are a few dedicated Metalheads, 
yes, but most of the crowd consists of alternative fans. We have pulled between 200 and 
500 people to our shows, which is not bad for Namibia."

Johann: "I can remember playing in front of 10 people in Cape Town with V.O.D... so Namibia is 
definitely not bad at all for gigs.  People here aren't used to metal bands, so they check 
it out, even if it's not their favourite kind of music. I guess you could it shock value 
or something like that. People here are still starved for entertainment.  

CRUSADER: I hear Johann was a member of South Africa's "Voice Of Destruction". How did a 
guitarist from Namibia hook up with a band from Cape Town and why did you leave?

Johann: "I started studying in Cape Town in 1993 and regularly checked out the scene at 
Arties Cellar Pub, the happening metal club at the time. I saw V.O.D perform there several 
times. I had the urge to start a band down there, but didn't know a soul. So I decided 
to scratch all my courage together and after a few beers asked Greg McEwen if he knew about 
a band that's looking for a guitarist. He asked me if I'd be willing to audition for 2nd 
guitarist in V.O.D. First I thought he was shitting me but it happened. I played with them 
for about 2 years. As for leaving - V.O.D had to make a jump to the UK, but my personal 
things were kind of fucked up , and I got a job offer in Namibia that I couldn't refuse. 
So things turned out the way they are now. I joined V.O.D on their European tour though as 
a "tour" guitarist and we had a blast! I'm sure we'll do a few gigs together again..."

CRUSADER: You have recently parted ways with your drummer Dylan Pretorius. What caused the 
break? How has his replacement, Peter de Villiers, been like so far? Have you started 
gigging with him yet?

Arcana XXII: There were musical as well as personal differences. It all came to a big build-up 
at a meeting and we parted. It is definitely for the better of both sides. We all still 
talk to each other and hang out.  We couldn't have asked for a better replacement and we're 
doing our first gig with Peter in June.

CRUSADER: Your newsletter states that you will be getting a bit more technical as well as 
a touch heavier. Is this due to the influence of a new drummer?

Arcana XXII: Yes and no. We want to do heavier and more technical stuff, but within our 
framework of course. We always want to sound original as well, trying out many different 
styles. It's not just heaviness for the sake of heaviness. It has to come naturally. 
Peter will make this possible, where with Dylan we had to compromise a lot of things we 
wanted to do, as he was set on a specific style. The technical bit comes from our 
fascination of bands like Dream Theatre, Enchant and Shadow Gallery. Not that we're 
gonna even attempt to play like them, god forbid! (After a life at Berkeley, maybe.) But 
the incorporation of a few elements sounds appealing. 

CRUSADER: What's your favourite Monty Python skit?

Robert: "Every sperm is sacred!"
Johann: "The Knights of Ni & Sir Robin's Minstrel (Holy Grail)"
Peter: "Crucifixions!"
Johann: "In Life Of Brian, the crucifixions."
Sven: "John Cleese as the sex teacher in Meaning of Life"

CRUSADER: Would you like to play in South Africa some time? What South African bands would 
you like to play with?

Arcana XXII: Absolutely, but to be honest, we wouldn't know who we could play with, style 
wise. Sacrifist and Groinchurn are too heavy compared to us. We haven't heard AGRO or any 
of those bands yet, but maybe that's a possibility. Metalmorphosis? What do you think???? 
Does Raven Wolf in Cape Town still exist?

CRUSADER: Do you have anything to add?

Johann: "Yeah... hi Mom!"
Arcana XXII: "Thanks for this interview. To all SA Metalheads, checkout our demo (30 bucks) 
at the following address. Hope to see you in SA soon." 

PO BOX 11602
Klein Windhoek

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