Inside Satanic Tea Co., the company blending dark flavors and dark practices
Welcome to Generation AP, a weekly spotlight on emerging actors, writers and creatives who are on the verge of taking over.
Why not start your morning with a big cup of pitch-black blasphemy? Steep, sip and enjoy a brew from a company taking over the tea market — Satanic Tea Co. While 2022's clean-girl aesthetic may want you sipping pumpkin spice lattes behind a soft fading sunset, Satanic Tea Co. rejects normality and offers "Antichrist Pumpkin Spiced Chai" to feed the darkest, damned souls.
Typically a market for calmness and serenity, Satanic Tea Co. is shaking up the herbal brewery landscape with a wide variety of blends like "THROAT OF LUCIFER," said to be a "soothing peppermint and lavender" mix, or "SATAN’S SLUMBER," described as an "elixir even the dark one trusts to get some shut-eye or just soothe body and soul." Consistency is key — from branding, brew names flavor, and marketing, they don't fall short. We sat down with Crucifix, aka Dominic Alvernaz, to find out how he built his satanic tea empire.
You started in 2017 and have been crushing it since, congrats! Looking back at where you started vs. now, did you ever expect this degree of success and fame? I feel like I’ve seen you everywhere working with everyone.
You are really too kind! I'm still floored that we are even doing this interview, so to answer your question I absolutely never thought when we started Satanic Tea Co. in 2017 that anyone would care about what I was doing let alone want to work with me. When I started STC, I didn't even tell anyone close to me what I was up to until about six-eight months in. I was really afraid of putting myself out there.
Take me back to the drawing board for Satanic Tea Co. Where did the idea start, and how did it develop?
The idea started when I came home from selling merch all summer for a band on Warped Tour in 2016. I really loved being on the road and was also touring with my own band fairly regularly. I was making almost no money while traveling doing what I loved, so I tried to start this side hustle selling graphic T-shirts as “Pitch Black North.” We also sold tea in black bags as an accessory to the shirts. The image early on was dark and tried to resemble traditional black-metal imagery. People started just calling us “that Satanic Tea Co.,” and that stuck. People were buying our tea far more than the shirts, so we just leaned into that.
Though a quirky concept, admittedly there is something inherently ritualistic about tea as there is with satanism, metal and alternative culture in contrast to something like water or coffee. Could you explain why the tea marketing was calling your name, in particular?
Tea brands are mostly pretty boring, proper, baby blue, etc. Which is all fine, but I didn't really see anyone trying to do something totally different and commit to that. This was a way I could express myself and to try and make something more memorable. Maybe even introduce tea to someone who otherwise would not have really gone for it beyond the stale teabags in your mum's cupboard.
[Photo by Cally Nicole Arsenault]
With the "tea" comes the "satanic" — could you talk more about the satanic side of things? Are you practicing satanists? What was your introduction to satanism?
One of my favorite descriptors of satanism is Atheism doing jazz hands. I grew up in a very strict religious household. Christian school, church every Sunday, the works. My introduction to satanism from the church at a very young age was essentially stories of sacrificing goats, eating babies, all that fun stuff. Black metal in my teen years brought my first introduction to modern satanism and the church of Satan. We do not affiliate with any satanic group, but we are independent practicing satanists.
I feel like I know the answer already, but has there been much backlash from anti-satanists against your company? If so, could you tell us about it?
Overall, I've found people are pretty accepting or at least interested in finding out more. Satanic Tea Co. does sound a bit odd I suppose. I got quite a few death threats. Violent letters to our PO box, people saying they would show up to my house with guns; it was pretty shocking. We still get threatening messages with all this comical Satanic Panic resurgence happening now.
You’ve grown into such a huge force to be reckoned with, collaborating with Cradle Of Filth and Venom Prison. You also launched a band under the same name, with your track "BLOOD DRENCHED TORTURE CHAMBER" coming out earlier this year. Has music always been an avenue you’ve been looking to explore?
For sure, I've been in bands since I was 12. Playing music is something that has always meant a lot to me. A year before the pandemic hit, my old band stopped playing. Not having that outlet the past couple years has really had a toll on my mental health. Having the opportunity to turn Satanic Tea Co. into a band has been really key in getting me to a better place mentally. I'm eager to release the next single and music video “Human Tea,” along with a full EP to follow in early 2023.
[Photo via Satanic Tea Co.]
Did you look to any other musicians for inspiration in your own musical project? If so, which ones?
Totally, I think the wheels started turning to broaden Satanic Tea Co. into a band when we launched our collaboration with Belzebubs. JP Ahonen, the author of that awesome comic book, took that band and made it a real tangible thing, even signing a deal with Century Media. If it wasn't for the pandemic they would be playing major festivals in Europe. And of course, Metalocalypse Dethklok along with Belzebubs serves as kind of an inspiration for the concept. As for the music itself, it's heavily influenced by old-school death metal: Suffocation, Cryptopsy, Corpse. Just fun heavy tunes.
Speaking of collaborations, are there any artists or celebrities you’re yet to collaborate with that you’d love to?
Definitely! Some bucket list collabs would have to be Cannibal Corpse, Carcass, Ghost, Dimmu Borgir and Rammstein, to name a few. I think we could have a lot of fun making those tea blends. Just need to figure out how to get pyrotechnics into a tea bag for Rammstein.
Finally, I’d love to know what tea of your own brand you’d choose for these occasions:
> Hanging with the undead homies
> Graveyard date
> Recovering your voice after a night of singing at a metal concert.
CRUCIFIX: Hanging with the undead homies: Satan’s Slumber
Graveyard Date: Antichrist Pumpkin Spiced
Recovering your voice after a night of singing at a metal concert: Throat Of Lucifer