Like A Whisper In The Dark. Interview with Anna-Varney Cantodea (Sopor Æternus & the Ensemble of Shadows)

Sopor Aeternus & the Ensemble of Shadows, for those who do not know yet, is a darkwave/gothic musical project based in Germany, founded in 1989 by Anna-Varney Cantodea. Anna-Varney’s work is extremely personalized, melancholic and pessimistic, drawing on a number of different musical and visual styles, and has garnered a cult following. Well, we just had a talk about music and feelings, or something like them, but in a short and unconventional way… with a hint of sarcasm.

Baldo, Cultartes: Hello! Is society a kind of disease which, through doctrines and norms, tends to infect Man?

Anna-Varney Cantodea: Humans are sick by default. Anything created by them can only be tainted. So, yes…

Is sadness a weakness or rather an elitist status that places us in a nobel universe?

Sadness or depression? As for the universe… it’s a cruel and cold place… – but with a fabulous sense of irony.

A world without God, as Nietzsche preached, is it somehow closer than we actually realise, given to the current progress of the world?

A world without “God”… or without a “soul”? There is a difference, you know. Believing in a God is a serious sign/symptom of insanity… and, yes… by the looks of things, it’s all heading down the drain.

If you could choose to be born in another era, what would it be and how it would look like?

One that has not yet happened.

Emil Cioran, a Romanian existentialist philosopher, once said : “The fear of death is a sickly fruit of the morning suffering.” Do you think that the fear of death in relation to the rush of achieving our goals make us forgive the simple and pure feelings?

Forgive? Or forget? Either way, I have long given up on any goals I might have had.

Anna has an affinity for the author Edgar Allan Poe, adapting his poems to music on several occasions. Anna is a very spiritual person, with devotion placed on the Roman deity Saturn. She combined Saturn’s astrological symbol with that of Jupiter’s to create the symbol of Jusa, an icon that reflects her spirituality and has become an insignia for herself and her music.

If you could give back time and stop it at a certain moment, just to relive it once, just one, what that moment would be?

There is none.

People are always there to judge, to label. In this context, is your music an art that appeals to human conscience to be understood or it’s simply a solitary creative act?

Who said that it cannot be both?

When was the last time you felt that revolt feeling that made you give up everything and just hide somewhere far away, in a complete solitude?


What is happiness? Going on the principle that happiness is a place where the individual feels good, do you think there can be happiness while being sad?

I think “happiness” is completely overrated. After all, once you get used to it, being miserable can be just as agreeable. I should know…

Is there sincerity anymore in the artistic performance nowadays, considering that everything has a price and there is a market for any kind of expression?

Of course there is still sincerity in creation. At least in the VERY MOMENT of creation.

Let’s play an imagination game! What artist of our time or any other time, you would consider a collaboration with?

I don’t believe in collaborations.

What’s the last fragment of a literary work or a film that remained stuck into your memory for a long time now?

Right now, the chorus of “Power of the Night”. And before you ask, NO… I don’t enjoy it. But, as with misery, I have learned to live with it.

Was there or is there any composer or artist that inspired you?

Yes and no. Everything around you can inspire you to a certain degree. And it does. However, when I actually create, I absolutely CANNOT listen to other people’s music.

Do you have a song that is a kind of a self-portrait of your soul, that’s part of you more than any other?

They all are.

You have just announced a new album. Is there room for some new shades or is it somehow different from what you’ve accustomed your listeners?

I will know that when it’s completed.

What would make you visit Romania, for example, anything but a possible concert? If there is anything, of course.

I don’t think that there is anything.

Would you like the history to remember your music and everything is known about you or to be lost?

Who is this History? Is he cute?

19 Replies to “Like A Whisper In The Dark. Interview with Anna-Varney Cantodea (Sopor Æternus & the Ensemble of Shadows)”

  1. Great musician, great songs composer. She? He? I would say, it. IT should be quiete. Just with it mouth shut and play music. We did not learn anything useful with this interview, so Anna, just play and let the talks and the speaks to somebody else.

    1. We are able to learn plenty about a person by what they choose to write. Telling Anna to keep her mouth shut tells us that you don’t understand her music, and that your mind is closed and rotten.

  2. I discovered Sopor Aeternus’ music 15 years ago, I’ve always found it very interesting. I just came across this interview by chance and I must say that even though I like the music a lot he/she is insufferable, what an annoying person.

  3. More than anything, I feel Anna was annoyed by the questions. I would be, too, honestly. They feel VERY try-hard. As if the one who wrote the questions went like “Oh, she’s so dark and mysterious, i need to ask pseudo-philosophical questions that seem deep and complex”. Listen, this woman for what I’ve seen has a great sense of humor, she’s written songs about golden showers and being a little bar of soap, for god’s sake. She also strikes me a someone who can catch tryhards and bullshit from 30 miles away, so I assume this attempt at a OH-SO-DARK interview just made her facepalm, hence her ironic, uninterested one sentence answers.

    1. This AVC character is a curiosity, but could such a depressed person make funny songs? I kind of think this is an act or AVC is insane. If the singer truly looked into the abyss and the abyss looked back, might the person possibly not be sane and, thusly, the philosophy be sophistic. If it’s an act, then the philosophy might also be sophistry, but to back the image. I guess he said he appreciates irony (I don’t want to hear that gender ambiguity stuff, because it is really more binding to say one must look feminine for feeling feminine and is insulting to real women who have to put upwith periods and rape) Any case, the work and sounds put into the music is classy, melancholic piece if darkly beautiful art–at least most of the time. Not every track is going to be one’s best. I’m glad one has shown youdon’t have to scream or growl your words or put on scary makeup or masks and play hardsounds on electric guitars to make moody, unsettling music.

  4. Sopor Aeternus and the Ensemble of the Shadows is a project of Alexander Storm, behind which stand the Illuminati. And the person he shows in the photos is a victim of the MK-Ultra Monarch, look at the symbols and signs. To him was applied SRA, he grew up in the family of occultists.

  5. You had the chance to interview this gemstone of artist and human being and these are the questions that you came up with?… No wonder that you received back more ironic questions than answers or just bits of phrases. Even as a pretentious philosopher, there are other quotes from Nietzsche or Cioran that could have made for a far more deeper and interesting dialogue, you know? Not to mention that many of your questions clearly show that you have very superficial knowledge about Sopor Aeternus, as well. Oh, and implying that sadness is an elitist status to someone who transmutes major depression into magical art…that is just stupid, silly and even rude. To know that Anna gives interviews so rarely and to read these questions… so sad!

  6. I think most anyone into gothic posh is at heart a dramatist. Everything is a production. You act and the curtain falls so you can rest but as soon you open your eyes you are tap dancing on the planks. I am not a fan per say of it’s music. This Anna has me interested in it’s creation of it’s character. Everyone is a character. We are all feigning along. Anna is a soft hearted sensible creature that seems more sardonic than sarcastic. There is a layer of fresh nihilism which really any intelligible individual will pick up eventually in this world of ours. The unfortunate questions asked here were from someone who over prepared but only last minute. Fresh faced and out of their league. They were embarrassing honestly as they did not seek to extend the one thing this Anna seems to crave and lament over… human love. It is very tender in it’s own ways I have noticed the few times I have delved into the music and mythos available online. I don’t think any of it is an act at all. Only a fool would throw that in insult at another while that same fool acts their own part. This Anna seems to be very aware and though it says it is not it appears also to be concerned with it all very much. Now I am not speaking of superficial things as most may have twitched towards but I am speaking of the whole wretched hell hole and all it’s pain and corruption and salacious perversions down the backwards lines of history. This Anna has a pure rebellious spirit to the world and especially the current. It decided to please itself and make itself the center of it’s world. It also refuses to be taken by the arm and told anything. This Anna reminds me of what most people would fear and shun and consider a villain. Really it is more a diva and a classy one at that. It is beyond classification and everyone will clumsily try to balance out their own thoughts and imaginings to it’s mild bemusement. I have no doubt it will see this. She is a peaking child of the heart. Anna my dear you have my respect for what it’s worth and I wish you your own peace ado. Stay the wolves until they turn inward and consume themselves. You are right about it all. ☻

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