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Morning Star
Morning Star has returned with their latest album, Adonai, which was just recently released. Three albums after forming, and the one-man project from Luciano “Lucifer Crow” Estrada has shifted to a Black Metal approach. I recently had the chance to check out the album, and in the process had the chance to shoot some questions over to Luciano about it, the change in direction, his classifying the sound as “White Metal”, and more. Check out what he had to say below, and when you’re done be sure to see how the album stacks up in the Apochs.net review here!

So how is everything going on your end? I know the release date for ‘Adonai’ is looming. Are you busier than normal, excited, anything like that?

Luciano:
Its been hectic for me with work and excited to see how Adonai turns out. I will go all out with this album and promote it to the fullest, especially locally.

‘Adonai’ is actually your fourth album under the Morning Star name. What prompted you to change the direction from acoustic and Electronica to Black Metal?

Luciano:
I felt like electronica was getting obsolete now that were in a Dubstep age, and acoustic music will only target a specific market. I feel that everyone gives Metal a chance. I live in Texas and most of the bands here are metal. Some of these kids are great. You’d expect Mexican bands but those are hard to come by. Texas is where the heat is!

You removed the early albums from iTunes. Have you thought about making them available again somewhere, maybe on Bandcamp or even SoundCloud at least?

Luciano:
No, I actually wanted to purge myself from my early works because it was immature. I was only 15 then and no one wants to listen to a child blab about Satanism. It was a joke. I felt it was necessary to mention this because I want people to know I’ve been making music for almost a decade and not just some newcomer.

If you don’t mind my asking, what first brought you into Black Metal in the first place, and what kind of role has it played within your life over the years?

Luciano:
It was the genre that most spoke to me and it was most certainly the most cathartic during the recording process. I feel I let out a lot of steam and emotion and cleansed myself. The sound itself reflects on who I was.

Did you find putting together a Black Metal album to be a ly different experience from your other three? Was it easier, or did you have to learn new ways of recording songs as opposed to what you did with prior releases?

Luciano:
Very difficult. With my first 3 albums it was only a matter of pressing 5 keys and the computer does the work. Any kid with a laptop and keyboard can call himself a DJ or musician. With Black Metal I had to learn this distinct sound. At first it only sounded like Melodic Metal but I researched, studied, and learned the ways of Black Metal and I’m really satisfied with how it sounds.

What are some of the bands that really influenced the material on the album? Obviously Behemoth is one since you cover one of their songs…

Luciano:
The list is many, but there are only 5 that influenced the album. Darkthrone, Satyricon (early albums), Burzum, Emperor, and Taake.

I read you have a heavy interest in Egyptian culture, which you can feel in some of the song’s lyrics. What is it that grabs your attention about it the most?

Luciano:
Oh man, don’t even get me started. I love the history of ancient Egypt, the culture, the mythology, and mostly everything! But most of what attracts me is the culture and history. I love it so much that I’m even learning Arabic. I also wish I had my solo project named to something more appropriate to caress the Egyptian themes, but Nile was already taken haha that way I won’t get confused with a food company or a newspaper. Maybe a Wikipedia page will help sort that out.

You had mentioned in the e-mail that ‘Adonai’ is “mostly improvised’. How much of it was, and what made you decide to go that route instead of a tightly rehearsed recording?

Luciano:
Yes. I didn’t sit down and practice at all except with the song Sinai after learning the “Black metal ways”. I just opened up the program, recorded drum tracks and guitars over it, if it sounded nice I kept it, if not I scraped it and played whatever came in control of the tip of my fingers. Only Sinai was rehearsed and well planned. It had a very strong influence from the song Ben Sahar by Behemoth. The album was actually recorded in order as the track listing currently is.

Would you mind breaking down the gear and equipment you used, such as the instruments or any programs that were involved with the recording or mastering?

Luciano:
Sure!! I used Ableton Live 8 to record and the little Saphire box it comes with, Ibanez and Fender guitars, a very cheap Behringer amp 60W, Line 6 120 amp, Yamaha keyboard, ION electronic drum kit (I used program for double pedal), and determination.

When I ventured over to your Facebook page, I noticed that you list the band as “Christian Metal, Black Metal, White Metal”. Is this accurate, or are you just categorizing this for optimum exposure? If it is, I didn’t pick up on it obviously…

Luciano:
Well its complicated. I wouldn’t really call myself a Christian band, but a band of a Christian. I won’t emphasize my beliefs too much in the albums but I will simplify some of it. As it is, I feel like I’m already breaking a lot of Black Metal traditions. *laughs* No corpse paint, no Norwegian lyrics, and hold the Satanic lyrics. A lot of people will argue that Black Metal is made due to its lyrical content but I disagree. In that case, my band is White Metal. You can’t sing Burzum lyrics in a pop song and call that Black Metal just because of its lyrics. It’s all in the sound of the music.

Is there any sort of message or specific meaning behind the three songs that make up ‘Adonai’? If so, what? Please explain.

Luciano:
Yes! I am a Seventh Day Adventist and most of the album has the concept of something very basic in my belief. What day are we supposed to worship? I hope you don’t mind me sharing. (If you feel this part is inappropriate for your site you can delete the next part). Many Christians believe that Jesus Christ changed the Sabbath day from Saturday to Sunday. There was no such thing. The so called “gathering” the disciples had on the first day of the week was because they were hiding from the Jewish authority. They didn’t make it a Sabbath. As a matter of fact, people were worshipping on the Seventh day (Saturday) even before God made the ten commandments on Mount Sinai. What many people don’t know is that the Catholic church changed the worship day from Saturday to Sunday. So what are we really worshiping? Our God? Or a pagan worship?

You admitted that you kind of went overboard with the female vocals at times when you reached out to me about the album. Do you regret how much you used that effect, or do you feel it suits what you were going for with the music? Also, will it play a huge role in future albums, or is it too early to tell?

Luciano:
I feel at one point, a listener or two, will get annoyed along the album. I know I did. I do regret adding too much of it, but it does add a unique sound to the album. At least in my opinion it does. It won’t play a huge role in other albums, maybe on just one song or two as a friendly reminder of what theme the music is.

Will ‘Adonai’ be available in physical format, or is it going to remain digital for the time being?

Luciano:
I was actually going to order some copies to be done but I didn’t want to invest too much right now. I don’t think I have the proper exposure yet but it’s on my mind. Maybe when I have a more stable fan base I can put together a special edition and add a couple of unreleased tracks and order physical copies.

So what’s next for Morning Star? Anything on the horizon at this point?

Luciano:
I’m actually writing a book and hope to self-publish through a website like Blurb.com to go along with the next album I want to release later this year. I feel Adonai is too short and incomplete, message-wise that is, and I wish to change that. Hopefully I answer some questions with this book. My next album will have a heavier Egyptian sound much like Nile…hold the female vocals…

Morning Star: Adonai
Interview conducted thanks to Morning Star.