Category Archives: Interview

Molodost: poetry, youth and life in Lebanon

This interview with Molodost was originally published by Echoes & Dust. Enjoy reading it and check out the music.

When you listen to metal from far of places, you find that views can be very different to what you’re familiar with. To me this is always the challenge and beauty of exploring metal’s unexplored fringes.

But if you are from Tyre in Lebanon and you make black metal, your concept of anti-Zionism isn’t some strange theory from a far right movement. It’s the very real expression of fear of war, which for Tyre was never far from its door and a bit too often in the recent history actually in their country. This runs through the music of Molodost, the otherness, the oppositions and a typical melancholy.

The theme of Molodost’s music is youth. Youth is a broad concept and matches with an open, inquisitive mindset towards the world. Towards wrong and right, towards the self and the other. Youth means being open to others, open to change and learning. Read my interview with the man behind Molodost and make sure to check out the EP.

Molodost

Hi, could you kindly introduce yourself and tell us a bit about Molodost?

Molodost: Hello and thanks for such an opportunity. I hail from Lebanon; a small country in the heart of the Middle-East. Molodost was founded in 2012 as a medium to primarily express some English and Arabic poetry of mine, rather than write and record music as an end-result by itself. The project mainly lasted some months with the release of 2 demos. I have, however, continued writing and recording more mature materials from 2013 all the way to 2015 and eventually released them in the recent release entitled نسيم جبل صنين (The Breeze of the Mountain of Sanine).

(((o))): How did you get into metal music? What bands inspired you to make your music?

Molodost: I have been listening to heavy metal music since 2003 and it was a natural development of an interest when I was exposed to ‘Moonlight’, a song by the German death/gothic band Crematory and carried over since then. However, it wasn’t until 2009 when I have discovered my niche of metal music which have ever since influenced my entire listening experience and my own music; such niche is mainly Slavic folk metal and (atmospheric) black metal with all the variants of being ‘traditional/epic/blackgaze/ambient/neoclassical/etc…’. Folk music in general, neofolk, darkwave and dark ambient, in addition to some Arabic music also had some influences on my work. To cite some influential bands, they were and still are Burzum, Alkonost, Summoning, Agalloch and Fairouz (yes, Google her! The very famous Lebanese lady).

I understand that there’s a Russian connection to Molodost, how did that start out? Can you elaborate on that?

Molodost: Yes, definitely. Molodost (Молодость) is Russian for ‘youth’. This is the title of a song by Ivan Kupala (a Russian ethnotronica band) and was later covered by my ultimate favorite band of all time, Alkonost (a Russian folk metal band). Youth is also a major theme in my poetry and so, since I have a deep appreciation for the Russian culture, geography, language and music, the connection between the name, the music and the themes was natural.

You’ve just released your new EP. Can you tell us a bit about it and its themes?

Molodost: This is actually a compilation more than an EP of the best materials I’ve written over the years (some stuff didn’t make it to the final compilation). Some songs were also omitted out of respect for copyright (since the ‘EP’ is available for purchasing on Bandcamp) since they were cover songs (for the record, I have two covers: Burzum’s ‘Móti Ragnarokum’ and Mortifera’s ‘Epilogue D’une Existence De Cryssthal’). Lyrical themes of this record revolve around existence, anti-Zionism and the support of the Palestinian case, mountains and deserts (landscapes of Lebanon and the UAE, respectively), and poverty.

One of the criticism that I read a few times involves the quality of the recordings. I felt that the synth parts had a fitting dungeon synth-esque vibe and the quality matched the expression, but I was wondering if it was a lack of means or a conscious style choice to make your music this way. Are you satisfied with the result.

Molodost: At the beginning, yes! I was and still fascinated by lo-fi productions as sometimes they can be truly atmospheric! Yet, with the emergence of more high-quality and more accessible stuff in the recent years, I actually wanted to improve my sound, especially the synth (to reflect more natural folk instrumentations) and the drum machine involved. Guitars-wise (since this is the only real instrument in the recording; except for one song as it shall be a secret), I was never able to improve the quality of recording due to my living circumstances. But generally and for the early Molodost songs, the creepy and frightening tone of the synth and the guitars were indeed satisfying.

Can you tell a bit about the recording and the writing process, how do you go about these things and do you involve others in it?

Molodost: I just grab my guitar, unplugged, of course, and start composing riffs. Appropriate stuff are then evaluated if they are more suitable as synth lines, bass lines are then added (and I like them loud!) and the beats are composed next. Vocals were always difficult to be recorded due to logistic issues (e.g. equipment availability, inappropriate recording place). Others were never involved and this was a clear decision I’ve taken from the early days as I just can’t adapt my poetic and musical ideas to the ideas of others. This is something I can elaborate later on but my metal musical taste is far from common in my country (and I actually mean among typical metal fans, and not non-metal fans).

How important is nature, or the land, in your music. In what way do you find inspiration in that?

Molodost: Nature is and will always be the glue that attaches all my ideas, whether musical or poetic, together. The appreciation for nature can express itself in either directly describing landscapes or describing a more desired natural human behavior (like how we should really respond to poverty or understand existence). The influencers can range from the US black metal scene and Scandinavia all the way to the harsh Russian winter and Lebanon’s valleys and seas.

 When listening to your EP (repeatedly) I find that there’s a lot more feeling put into it than you’d initially think. I mean the poetry, the expression, it feels to me as a highly personal expression the way you make music. How do you feel about that?

Molodost: Indeed and I just wish if you could understand Arabic! Mentioned earlier, the primary focus of the project was to express some words I’ve been writing since 2006, rather than make music for the sake of music. Feelings are genuine. For instance and in the anti-Zionist song, the lyrics and the music were written at the height of the Israeli invasion of Gaza strip in late 2012 and so you can’t imagine how much rage one could have during that sad period.

You’ve got one song you describe as an anti-Zionist song on the EP. It to me felt like a sad song, lamenting the situation and the losses. You’ve just written another song with a more violent tone. You’re not going to release that as a Molodost song. How do you determine what fits in the project and what not?

Molodost: I was always a fan of chaos in music (I mean, just check the Italian black metal band Nazgûl!). You know that feeling when a song starts with a mesmerizing flute melody or a harp line where you are taken back to your childhood with all the memories and the forests you’ve once played in (yes, that line is from Nest, the Finnish neofolk project) and so, out of nowhere, violent blast beats interrupt everything and start reminding you again that you’re now living in the present where evil is taking over (Ulver’s Bergtatt comes to the mind eh?)? Yet, the outro is just another piano line where hope is reborn from gazing at the stars and the rising sun behind the mountains (Saor had something relatively similar in their latest album, Guardians). Such a musical chaos reflects the kind of poetry I usually write. In other words, the musical aspects of a record don’t really matter for me. I can place a peaceful neoclasical intro, followed by a violent black metal song, a soothing folk metal song and a farewell neofolk outro without feeling ‘out of context’ as they are the themes of the lyrics that unite the musical aspects of the record and not vice versa as often done elsewhere.

Can you explain what your position on the anti-Zionism is as a musician? I’m interested in why you as a Lebanese musician feel that you need to speak out on this topic.

Molodost: That would be very obvious for any person who has a minimal knowledge of the Middle-East and the modern history of Lebanon and Palestine. As a lyricist and a hardcore music fan, I believe that music and poetry are very powerful political tools. You know that cliché of saying that ‘music should unite all/music should be separated from politics’? That’s bullshit for me. A bit of a context out of my personal memory, I have survived 3 ‘Israeli’ invasions and wars; one in 1993, one in 1996 and the last one in 2006. This is not mentioning the continuous abuse of Palestinians and the Gaza-Strip wars. Put differently and as simple as it can be said, ‘Israel’ is a ‘country’ built on terrorism and crimes. However we fight back, it’s just resistance. Whatever you hear differently, it’s just ‘typical blind western media’. I live 15 kms away from the borders of Palestine and I really know what happens nearby. I don’t really live in the west and remotely preach about what’s going on in the Middle-East.

What is it like to play the music you do in Lebanon. I understand it is a rather tolerant country. Does your music get a different sort of attention due to the language choice?

Molodost: Lebanon is actually a relatively tolerant country, unlike, again, what you could hear in the ‘typical blind Western media’. Many concerts of all sorts often take place in Beirut and heavy metal music is among them. Hell, even Dead Can Dance (a highly respected world/neoclassical music act) had a concert here in 2012. The desire to use Arabic poetry instead of English was actually a very conscious choice as the former language is much more expressionist than the latter one.

Do you plan to ever play live with Molodost. If not why not?

Molodost: Not really. As I said, the project is on-hold and so, frankly, I am not a good musician at all (last time I held my guitar was a few months ago!) due to a lack of interest and time (I am currently more of an academic and work person).

What is the metal scene like in Lebanon? And are you involved in it in any way? What bands should people check out?

Molodost: The metal scene in Lebanon is actually a fine one, in terms of having ‘metalheads’ (which is a super silly term but you get the idea anyway). As I mentioned before, heavy metal concerts do regularly take place. Am I involved? Not at all; neither as a fan nor as a musician. I simply don’t like the common liked styles of heavy metal here in Lebanon. Most fans here listen to traditional, thrash, groove, progressive, death, etc… metal music. Folk metal is under appreciated in Lebanon and, if found, it is more towards the Celtic branch and sound and not the Slavic one which I am a huge fan of. As for atmospheric black metal, appreciation is growing, especially with the explosion of interest in bands such as Alcest and all the -gaze movement since the early 2012. Personally speaking, I loved and still like a Lebanese oriental gothic metal band called Shepherd Of Sheol which was a band in the early 00s who once open for Theatre of Tragedy here in Lebanon. As you have also mentioned them, Blaakyum is a very good band in terms of international exposure but I am just not a fan of their sound since I hate thrash metal and its related sound and songwriting.

How are the relations with metal artists from neighboring countries?

Molodost: It’s fine. Not that I have many to say but supporting is nice, especially if relevant. There’s a good folk/pagan black metal band from Tunisia (a country I really love) called Ymyrgar. That’s a great step forward.

You’ve composed some material that you’ve named oriental black metal. What makes the track oriental? What element do you add to the mix so to say.

Molodost: The track was actually labeled as ‘oriental folk metal’ and so this is because of the theme of the desert, the influence during my stay in the UAE and the Arabic-inspired synth sound of that track, and eventually, the lyrics which were, sadly, never sang!

If you had to describe Molodost as a dish, what would it be and why?

Molodost: Molodost is youth and the dish of the soul is its youth! Clear enough? But yeah, I love Lahm-bi-Ajin. Shoukran a lot and Spasiba again for the opportunity!

Imants Daksis: Screaming folk, freedom and creativity

I’ve come across many kinds of music and many artists and some stick. Sometimes I don’t even get the words directly, but something in the way they are sung tells you of their meaning.

Header photo by Olafs Osh

One of those artists is Imants Daksis, a latvian singer/songwriter, who makes ‘screaming folk’ music. Daksis is a peculiar figure in the Latvian music scene. Deeply artistic, expressive and solitary caught between the east and west. Check out the latest record right here by the way.

I was extremely excited to find him willing to answer some of my questions, so without further ado, here goes:

How did you get into music and how did you end up on this specific path? Which artists inspired you?
When I was 15 I realized that guitar is my instrument. I began writing songs at 17/18 and at the same age I had already planned and written down concert repertoire for many concerts which was even far from planning. So it happened quite naturally.
In 2001 we made a post-punk band together with my friends. The band was called “Pasaules gaisma” (Light of The World). After few years I began my solo act.

I experienced my first musical revolution at 13 when I heard Jimi Hendrix. I am still fascinated by the way how liberated he was in his playing. In my opinion, it is possible to reach true virtuosity by doing things your own way and not according to the so-called canons.
My own music has been influenced by 60s’ psychedelic music and ethnic/world music, post-punk bands (such as Swans, Bauhaus, Joy Division, etc.), Russian punk scene (Grazhdanskaya oborona, Instrukciya po vizhivaniyu, etc.), and some local artists as well. Also I have great love for Russian singers-songwriters Vladimir Visotskiy and Alexander Bashlachev. I have always been loyal to independent music and ground breaking avant-garde, though I am more interested in particular artists than genres. Not to mention the influence left by classical music and music for cinema. The last one has particularly leaded the way on how I make my own albums.

However, for the past 5 or so years I am mainly getting inspiration of my own musical work which has been recorded in the past and developing my own ideas.

Are you involved in any other projects at the moment?
Right now I have collaboration with one electronic music artist and I am also a lead singer in s rock band. At this moment these projects are focused on making records and there are my songs involved.

Music is not my only occupation. For the past six years I have also been making photo collages.

What does making folk music mean to you?
I don’t associate myself as a folk musician and I have never felt the need to belong to any music scene. I think that my music is more expressive and controversial than a typical folk musician could tolerate. I could say that it is somewhere between folk, psychedelia and post-punk. Some time ago my Latvian audience invented a new genre to describe what it sounds like – screaming folk.

What are the thoughts, images and messages you try to convey in your music?
I am into such themes as death and transcendental processes of any kind of consciousness, weather it be human mind or mind in wider meaning.

Is there any political element to your music? Or a religious one for that matter?
In my music I actualize the need for spiritual freedom. That is the most important thing for me. There are also motives of reincarnation and transformation in general. My music is not political. However, from all political systems social democracy is the one I prefer the most.

How important to you are the traditional elements in music and culture in present day Latvia? Where do you see your own role in this?
For me traditional elements are as important as any other elements are, if they are used to create something good.

Not too long ago I was a vocalist in a post-folk project “Pērkonvīri” (Thundermen). We were looking for innovative sounds and interpretations of Latvian traditional music and recorded a very good album together, which you can listen here. This has been my closest affair with traditional music so far. However, I have composed a couple of songs by the same principles as Latvian folk songs are based on (speaking of the text layout and rhythm). I don’t like to tag my music with genres, but I see it more as a combination of acoustic post-punk, indie, psychedelia and folk in general.

Can you tell a bit about your latest album ‘Mūžīgā ģeogrāfa piedzīvojumi’, which is a great record. I understand it’s an album with global themes, for example the Judah Song. Why did you choose such topics?

“The Adventures of Eternal Geographer”. This album is dedicated to the eternal geographer – a character which has repeatedly appeared in my music. For eternal geographer our so-called reality and civilization is something only so-called. He does not cling to anything and does not see the statements and ideas made by this society as something unconditional. Eternal geographer is not attracted to any ideology – he laughs about the borders which are made by human society (for him human life is only a temporary challenge). This album is not only about global themes, but the abstract nature of them. It is about human in the world and the world in human, and in general it tells about spiritual processes.

Photo by Olafs Osh

When I try to read translations of your lyrics and texts accompanying music, I feel and see a lot of poetry and literature, also in referencing. Do you take this as an important influence on your work and which writers most of all?
I have always had an ability to perceive and memorize huge amounts of information. When interested in something, I literary start studying it. So when an image, reference, rhyme or anything else is needed, it just emerges from this storehouse. I am interested mostly in spiritual and explorative literature. And in some spare moment I will read children’s or adventure books – that adds some ease and buoyancy to my daily life.

Folk music has a risk to sound outdated, how do you keep your music so catchy and relevant? It never feels repetitive to me.
My life is hard both internally and externally, that makes my music catchy… Well, every joke has a gain of truth. I have very wide range of interests and influences. For example, right now, besides answering these questions, I am listening to Syrian traditional music and Sardinian polyphonic singing. I also experiment a lot till my music reaches my mental state (a song has often gone through several wholesome versions). My aim is to achieve unexpected results, while using minimal resources (that especially refers to live performances).

What plans do you have for the near future?
I have some very divergent musical plans and projects for this year, and also my photo collages soon will be finally finished.

If you had to compare your music to a dish (food) what would it be and why?
I would like to think that my music is more eternal than food. Food is something that has to be taken to provide this physical life, but I make music to transform it.

Images thanks to Imants Daksis Facebook/ Olafs Osh (check out his amazing work)

You can listen to the music by Imants Daksis on bandcamp

Wolcensmen: Awakening the Ancients

Now and then you find a band that is approaching music from a very own perspective and position. With experience in Winterfylleth, it is no surprise to find that Dan Capp is one of those that likes to find the root of things and go from there. Wolcensmen is essential Englishness, but without the stereotypes. There is no superiority, just a thoughtful and captivating story of its identity.

It’s noteworthy that though Dan is active in Winterfylleth, his own journey with Wolcensmen started way earlier and has its roots exactly where I felt they came from. But why spoil information that you can read below from the source. What I would like to address in this brief introduction is the album that Wolcensmen has released recently, titled Songs from the Fyrgen. This record is a collaborative effort that takes you as a listener far, far away from England that you may imagine to something more essential and pure. To a pastoral vista that you may only still find in novels these days. I think it’s an album that you can fall in love with.

First off, let me ask you how the idea of Wolcensmen was conceived. I understand it’s been a work of multiple years actually?
Dan: Musically, the roots of Wolcensmen are in my teenage years, around about 1998. I’d recently been introduced to the early works of Ulver, Opeth and Empyrium (as well as ’90s Norwegian black metal) and I was particularly taken by the mood created in these bands’ acoustic interludes. I was inspired to create something similar and would use my stereo Hi-Fi system to record dual-guitar parts onto cassette. Friends at the time said I should do more of this but I instead chose to make more aggressive music for some years. Then in 2010 I found myself in a Dublin pub watching an Irish folk band perform and it dawned on me that England lacked this sort of culture and perhaps I could be someone to resurrect it – this was the conceptual beginning of Wolcensmen. I remembered how much I’d enjoyed writing acoustic songs in my younger years, wrote some songs for a demo and… here we are.

How did you get into making folk music like this? Is that a long lasting desire you had and where does your inspiration come from? Are there artists that you would cite as influences? Where do the other elements come from?

Dan: I guess I pretty much answered this in response to your last question, but I’ll add a few things. I was introduced to folk music by metal bands who had veered from the trodden path and used acoustic instruments to enhance their dark, romantic atmospheres. It’s only in recent years that I’ve familiarised myself with more traditional folk (usually in the form of acts like Steeleye Span and Blackmore’s Night who perform many traditional songs from around the British Isles and Europe). Wolcensmen’s primary influences will always be early Ulver and Empyrium in particular. However, Songs from the Fyrgen wouldn’t sound the way it does were it not for classical music and black metal (related) bands such as Summoning, Burzum and Bathory.

What is the goal, the purpose that you had with the project? The feeling you wish to evoke? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Dan: The purpose of Wolcensmen, thematically, is to remind the World that England exists as a people and a culture, and that its original culture is Heathen and Teutonic. Obviously that is not to say that it is music only for Englishmen – far from it. Most of the people who seem to have truly connected with it on a spiritual level are from all over the World. But because of this purpose, the feeling I want to evoke is one of a pre-Industrial England where mysticism reigns supreme and man can still lose himself among quiet, pristine hills and forests. ‘Fyrgen’, from the title, means ‘wooded hilltop’ – remembering a time before dense human population, industry and farming had removed much of the woodland.

In 2013 you’ve released a demo, how did that help you to get to the final product and did you get in touch with the other artists before or after this production? Did it help in conveying the idea you had?
Dan: The demo was very much a solo project – an experiment more than anything, as I’d never even sung lead vocals on anything before. I had no idea whether the songs would even turn out well. It certainly set the mould for Wolcensmen, undoubtedly. The concept was already very sure and strong by the time of the demo recording. The only contributor I was talking with at that time was Jake Rogers, who was offering me feedback on the mix (via email) as it unfolded. During that time he offered to perform flute on any future songs I wanted him to, which is how he ended up contributing to the album.

Can you tell me how the collaboration worked? I understand you are in charge of the final product, but in what way did different people from various countries contribute to something that is quintessentially a British folk album?
Dan: It was a different story for each of the contributors really. As mentioned, Jake Rogers had offered to play flute for me, which I was very keen on as I only play guitar and wanted a variety of real instruments on the album. With most of the parts, the good men involved performed and recorded with real instruments what I had written in MIDI, set to a MIDI tempo map. They’d then simply send me the digital files and I edited them into place. On ‘Snowfall’ I gave Jake a blank canvas to compose a flute part over the top of, and the result almost brought me to tears. Likewise with ‘Neath a Wreath of Firs’ where I asked Grimrik to create an intro and outro – whatever he wanted as long as it fit the song. Again, he amazed me with what he conjured. Nash Rothanburg was given a section of the song ‘Hoofes Upon the Shymmeringe Path’ to add some ritualistic vocals to and did just what was needed. Mark Capp, my brother, is a drummer and helped me to write all the percussion parts as well as performing Bodhran on two of the songs. Dries Gaerdelen brought a wonderful human touch to my MIDI piano compositions. And the most difficult instrument to coordinate the recording of was Raphael Weinroth-Browne’s cello, because it is present throughout most songs. I needed to give him a big set of files and time to learn it all (which he did masterfully, as expected).

Songs from the Fyrgen is quintessentially English, but I didn’t need all performers to necessarily be English – Englishness is just the foundational, conceptual concept behind the project.

What does the heathen aspect mean to you? And where do you get the stories and themes from for those willing to delve into this?
Dan: Well the Heathen aspect is vital, because I am a Heathen and Wolcensmen is essentially a cultural statement. It is meant to be romantic, and I simply can’t see that there’s anything to romanticise about post-Christian England. It was the beginning of our decline. The stories are mine, except for ‘The Mon o’ Micht’, which is lyrically traditional, and ‘Hoofes Upon the Shymmeringe Path’ whose lyrics are based on the names of the horses belonging to the Asa (Aesir) gods, on which they ride across Bifrost, ‘the shimmering path’, to Asgard. My other lyrics are inspired by folk tales, natural phenomena and esoteric concepts.

You’re also active in Winterfylleth, a group that (although not always as explicitly) draws inspiration from the land and heritage very strongly. Has that helped or affected your own project in some ways? Did they help you with ideas or such?
Dan: Surprisingly, no! I joined Winterfylleth two years ago at the start of 2015 and Wolcensmen was already well under way. Myself and the other guys in Winterfylleth are long-time friends and happen to have a similar worldview, which I suppose is one of the reasons they felt I was a good choice when they needed a new guitarist. They were always on hand to offer feedback while I made Songs from the Fyrgen, and I value their support. But composing for Wolcensmen was a very personal process and only those who performed on the album had any real influence on the music.

You’ve recorded in various places. There are other artists in the folk realm who’ve done this in order to captivate something in the music. Is that something you had in mind as a goal or did it become part of the result in some way?
Dan: No. There was nothing desirable about recording different instruments in different parts of the World. My collaborators did a stunning job which I’ll forever be grateful for, but given a choice I’d rather record everything in one place and time – preferably in a good studio.

When I listened to the record, I immediately felt a connection to the way Tolkien depicts the Shire as a sort of pre-industrial England in The Lord of the Rings. Very pastoral, calm and natural. Does that make sense to you in a way?
Dan: Absolutely!!! I touched on this earlier in the interview without having read your questions ahead. Tolkien is without a doubt the earliest, most key influence in my cultural and creative mind-set. His books set the scene for all of the language, art, landscape and mythology I would go on to love. He was deeply regretful of England’s industrialisation, as am I. In some ways – and without having mentioned it anywhere – Songs from the Fyrgen should really be in honour of J.R.R. Tolkien. Furthermore, my target audience would tend to be the types of people that also fell in love with his books; so I hope with this album to have given a little ‘boost’ to that part of someone who felt magic when first reading The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, but maybe hasn’t felt it too often since then.

What future plans do you have for Wolcensmen? Will there be a live experience?
Dan: There are no future plans, only vague dreams. Composing is what I love most, and I hope I can make another album sometime. I wouldn’t be short of ideas, but I simply can’t bring myself to self-record again (even if the result was pretty good). Unlike a lot of modern musicians, I don’t enjoy the production side of things, and I would need a producer to work with – someone who understands this music well. This would depend on future label support so I’m not holding my breath. Deivlforst are wonderful, but these days, in the musical underground, many labels often count on musicians to self-record their music in home studios.

As for live performances… I really don’t know. At first (when I watched that Irish Folk band perform) I envisioned it being very much a live thing. But then as the project took form I knew it couldn’t be recreated onstage. Now there are a few people calling for it so I’m not ruling it out. The demand would have to be high though, because the preparation required for even a single show would be quite a task. Another possibility is some kind of stripped down two-man version, which I’d say is more likely.

Finally, if Wolcensmen was a dish (food), what would it be and why?
Dan: Haha… Let’s go with: Fried mushrooms in wild garlic, with a desert course of berries. Mushrooms because they’re wild, mysterious and have long grown in the indigenous forests of northern Europe. Garlic because of its healing properties. Berries because they’re linked with Yuletide, as Songs from the Fyrgen seems to be.

Thanks for the thoughtful questions and interest in my answers. Wæs þu hæl to you and your readers Guido.

Temaukel: Gods in the sky, Chilean metal

Chile is probably one of the most peculiar countries in the world. You need only look at its shape to get a good idea of its diversity and differences. From the Northern deserts to the southern wilds, a place that would evoke something in men. It definitely evoked something in César Godoy, who is the sole member of Temaukel.

Temaukel is a black metal band, inspired by the ancient past and traditions of the Selk’nam people, an indigenous people who embedded their surroundings into a dense, complex mythology. The Selk’nam lived in the south of Chile, the place called Tierra Del Fuego (land of fire), named by Magellan for the fires he saw burning on the islands.

People that were being driven to near extinction in the 19th century, their culture destroyed by the rampant capitalism that still sets fire to parts of the world. This period is now known as the Selk’nam genocide. Luckily, there are artists who dig through the forgotten bits of our past. Temaukel brings back a bit of the wonderful culture and tradition of the Selk’nam people. The debut album has just been released. Time to find out more.

Let us start with the beginning. Who is behind Temaukel and how did you get started with this project? What other projects have you been involved with?
César: Hi, Temaukel is a solo project of mine, César Godoy. I’m a graphic designer from Chile, with a “normal life”, and all the free time I have I use with music and martial arts. I started with Temaukel 7 or 8 years ago, with another name, Thanatos. But after a while I’ve decided to change the main content, and I chose the new name according to the message I want to pass on.

Yes I have other projects. Thanatos and Kloketen. Thanatos is my side project of noise music, and Kloketen is a post-folk project with a friend Andrés Alday in main voices.

How did you get into extreme metal? What inspired you to go in this musical direction?
César: I got into metal when I was a kid, 13 or 14 years old, with Metallica (Master of Puppets), after in High school I got a cassette of Nocturnus and Pestilence, more death metal. After that I knew Paradise Lost and similar acts, and I discovered Dimmu Borgir, and all the Nordic black metal. After that I got into Behemoth, Vader and all that kind of extreme metal.

I have always loved the music, and I think that every style is related to a specific message. I want to transmit feelings about force, energy, but force in a spiritual and emotional way, the intensity of the feelings inside man, the free expression of the emotions, and I believe that metal is the way it can be put into words.

Can you tell a bit more about the Selk’nam people and Temaukel. Why did you chose this subject matter for this project? For people who have not heard of any of this before, would you like to give a brief overview?
César: Well, the Selk’nam were the indigenous people in the Patagonian region of southern Argentina and Chile, including the Tierra del Fuego islands. They were discovered by Europeans in the late 19th century. They were murdered in 20 years in the rush for gold. Their land was conquered by Europeans who also imposed Christianity on them. They and their language are virtually extinct by now.

In their worldview, they had some gods of which Temaukel was the main entity. He is shapeless, speechless, he just created the universe and the world, but he doesn’t live in it.  He lives in Wintek, the main mountain chain. Selk’nam believed in four sacred mountain chains in the sky for each season. In Selk’nam language, this mountain chains are named like sho’on:

Wintek: Eastern sky. It is considered the most important of the four sho’on, being the residence of Temáukel and source of all that exists.

Kamuk: Northern sky.

Kéikruk: Southern sky.

Kenénik: Western sky.

I chose this subject matter because I’m Chilean, and here we don’t respect in any way our ancestors. There still exist a lot of indigenous people, Mapuches are the main, but what about others? I think we have to talk about our past, the people, the genocide and their vision of the universe and the world.

I found this in the Nordic metal. They talk about their gods, their world vision. So, why can we here talk about the same, but in our way? I think what everything we do affect to each other’s. So it’s important to show my culture to the world, that’s the reason Temaukel is in English, with some words in Selk’nam and other in Spanish. I think it’s time to talk about Selk’nam culture, our original culture, not the culture that Latin-Spanish conquerors imposed on us.

What is your personal relation to the topic and what are the goals you have with this record?
César: I’m Chilean, I don’t like ignorance, the ignorance of our land, our traditions, so it’s time to talk about it, that’s the main relation with the topic. My main goal is to talk about the culture of my land, my traditions, to the entire world, I’m not interested in money or promoting myself as a musician, I just want to show the world the culture of Chile and our ancestors.

Can you maybe take us through the record as the story that is being told?
César: The record is the history of a concept, the relation between two visions about the world, the “industrial – impositive” and the “nature – respect”, the first one the vision of the Europeans who came to South America, the second the vision of the indigenous people.

I noticed some folky passages, for example the track ‘Fires in Karukinka’. From where did you get the inspiration for those parts?César: Yes!, there’s a lot of folk inspiration in the music of Temaukel. Some influenced by my young musical background and with relation with the folk music from here in Chile.

I have done a lot of research about folk music and in the whole world you find many similarities. But answering the question, the inspiration came from the concept. Like I said before, every style represents an special message. Now, these two songs are folk, because I want to bring to present the emotion of being in the countryside, surrounded by nature, silence and wind in the cold south forward. The guitars, are the things and feelings of the Selk’nam, looking for the horizon, searching for food or just contemplating the nature itself. Now in relation to music my main influence is another Chilean band who anyone knows much more about them, more than the name, Uaral, they have 2 LPs, and 2 members, Caudal and Aciago. They’re similar to Empyrium, or Ulver’s Kveldssanger folk; dark sounds, but with reminiscence of the Chilean countryside.

 

You’ve translated this concept to a record, titled Spirit Of Wintek. How did the writing and recording process go for this record? Did you do things on your own or did you meet people to find sources and information?
César: Yes, I did and it wasn’t an easy process, but it was very useful. First I did was study a lot, investigate about original cultures from South America, after that Chile and finally Patagonian cultures without boundaries between Chile and Argentina. Then I introduced myself into the Selk’nam culture, and how they were exterminated in a short time with the arrival of Julius Popper, a Romanian, with the support of the Chilean Government in the 19th century.

After that I began to search for the sound, the feeling, and finally I mixed it, I made a lot of demos, different versions, rhythms… I don’t want to sound like a typical black metal band, and after a while I found the sound I was looking for. After I sorted the “history”, I wanted to retell the story with the music. So I thought about the worldview, their god and beliefs, and I crossed that with the “reality” of the genocide. So that’s the reason of the names of the songs. ‘Wintek’ – the Origin of everything, where lives Temaukel – The Creator. ‘Kenos’ – The son of Temaukel, the creator of the world – Terraformer and creator of life and the Selk’nam people. ‘Howenh’ – The gods-human like of Selk’nam, the human representation of the nature.

With that I had the context of the Selk’nam worldview. This followed by ‘Fires in Karukinka’. When the Europeans cross the The Strait of Magellan, they observed fire in the land from the sea. Fires: fire they observed (the European vision), Karukinka: That’s the name Selk’nam gave to their land. So, the name is a mixed vision of both. ‘Fires in Karukinka’. Final track is ‘Tierra del viento’: A main thing there in Patagonia is the Wind, so that’s the name of the environment the Selk’nam lived in. So that’s the name (land of wind).

As you can see, I tried to mix both visions from the feelings in one concept. Everything was done by me. There was a little work of mixing and mastering, because a want a raw sound, and everything that was recorded is what I am able to play.

You’ve recently got a label, which is good news, so which label is it and what sort of release are you aiming for?
César: Yes, a Polish label, but I left it, it’s too expensive for me for now. So I now have another contract with Sepulchral Silence from the UK for digital distribution (Spotify, Apple Music, etc). I think in about a month the music will be online on those channels. I know that recently the EP was available on torrent sites.

You’ve also released a video, which is a powerful bit of footage. Can you tell a bit about that? All the visual work looks very cool and specific. Do you have a background in that?
César: The video was the first idea for promotion of the EP and the concept of the music. I tried to use explicit images, with some conceptual elements, for both levels of understanding, some explicit, some implicit. Selk’nam had a powerful graphic universe, so I tried to use it.

I’m graphic designer, so I work on visual merch, I understand visual communication, but it was the first time I made a video clip. Also my mother tongue is Spanish, so my pronunciation may not be the best, so that’s the reason I prefer to make a lyric video, so the vocalization can be clear for everyone.

Can you perhaps tell me a bit about heavy metal music in Chile? What sort of scene is there, is it all mixed up or divided by genre?César: Here in Chile there’s a lot of metal bands of every style you can imagine, from rock to extreme metal, and it’s clearly divided by genres, there’s a lot of pubs or bars for playing, the metal was very underground before, but now it takes its place in the national scene. Every weekend you can get access to a lot of bands playing alive.

(((o))): How did metal get started in Chile? Which bands were particularly influential?

César: I’m not really sure how the metal get started here, but in the 70s and beginning of the 80s, there were a lot of rock bands. Metal became visible much later, with bands like Pentagram, Dorso, Massakre, Necrosis y Rust, the first bands of playing thrash metal. The genre emerged in the capital Santiago, but later Valparaiso got involved too. In the 90s the metal was underground, but always present. Like I said Criminal is one of the main bands, and Dorso plus Pentagram.

What other bands from Chile do you think people should really check out (and why)?
César: Chile is the land of metal, jajaja, there’s a lot of good bands here, some old bands like Criminal, Andragon, Betrayed, Dorso, Poema Arcanus, Mar de Grises and some new bands like Kuervos del Sur or Crisalida. It’s really interesting to listen to those bands because they show Chilean metal from different points of view, from old thrash, to death metal, and some playing more the “Chilean metal sound”. I recommend to listen to Andragon, because they’re a band with a very good sound, they got a new LP, Del Interior, they have now video clip for ‘Puzzles’, which you can check out on YouTube.

What does the future hold for Temaukel? What plans do you have from here? Will there be more Temaukel?
César: The future for Temaukel is an LP. I have been thinking about the next step, and I seriously believe it must be at least 12 new songs, maybe opening the main subject matter to other cultures from Chile. But yes, there will be more Temaukel in 2017.

If you had to describe your music as a dish (food), what would it be and why?
César: I describe it like “Paila Marina”, a traditional seafood soup. That’s because this soup contains several seafoods, so it’s like my music with several influences, mixed in a single sound style, and a special taste. Rustic, but complex in the mixing of the single pieces, not a gourmet dish.

Interview Montfaucon: Isolation in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is probably not the first place you think of when you hear metal music. Still, there’s a big scene of alternative music in the former Soviet states south of Russia. Uzbekistan is an overly Islamic country that actually has seen its share of censorship in the best years, but the music flourishes, especially if the lyrics are in English.

With a dense history spanning the ages, it was rather surprising to me to find a band that took its name from a horrible spot of executions during the time France still had kings. Their sound was an eclectic mixture of various genres and this is what drew me to the band Montfaucon. I got in touch with them through e-mail.

Valentin Myamsin has left Uzbekistan and lives in the United States now, but the band keeps working on material across the globe. With a new record just released, titled ‘Renaissance’, the band is keeping it up and staying strong, so we had a nice little conversation about metal in Uzbekistan and Montfaucon.

Could you kindly introduce yourselves as band? Have or are you guys involved in any other musical projects?

Montfaucon has been formed in 2002 in the city Tashkent in Uzbekistan by me (Valentin Mayamsin) on guitar and Mikhail Epifanov on piano. We started actively working on composing songs and have been selected to perform at two day festival ‘Alternative music festival 2004’ organized by British council. (It was quite an event I’d say given that we had rare metal gigs and just a few metal bands). That was a trigger to find a drummer Renat Khidirov and bassist Sergey Sadokov. Over the course of next few years we had on bass Denis Raytuzov and Andrey Astashov and at last saxophonist Andrey Golubev. Today Montfaucon exists as a project since I moved to USA and I am separated with other members by the entire planet Earth. Thanks to Internet we’re still actively composing new stuff, but unfortunately cannot perform live.

How did you get inspired to make metal music? What bands specifically inspired you and why?

We all had different influences in different bands. I personally had influence of a very wide range of bands and styles, most notably Satyricon, Cradle of Filth, Cannibal Corpse, maudlin of the Well, Andromeda, My Dying Bride, Opeth, Emperor, even Pink Floyd. What inspired me to make metal music? When I met Mikhail and heard a few of his dark piano compositions, I realized that it moves me. We combined them with heavy guitars, brutal vocals, and produced a unique and interesting sound driven primarily by piano. I thought that piano is quite unrepresented in metal music and it inspired my to further experiment with it.

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How did you come up with the band name and concept of Montfaucon, which appears to be the place where a huge gallows was positioned in France during the time of their kings. A rather gruesome place?

Indeed. Gruesome, dark themes are found everywhere in our music and lyrics. The band name was inspired by Victor Hugo’s novel ‘Notre-Dame de Paris’. At the end of the book he describes Montfaucon gibbet which somberness stroke me. I have also been inspired by this novel when writing lyrics. The description of torturous imprisonment in a stone box gave inspiration for ‘Prisoner’,  The song ‘The last night’ is set around Montfaucon gibbet and medieval punishment traditions.

 

Musically Montfaucon is an oddity, combining raw death/black elements with progressive and experimental bits. How did you come up with your specific sound?

I think it’s because of my wide exposure to different bands and styles. A friend of mine regularly introduced me to different bands before even Internet became widespread in our country and speed was enough to pirate music. It was late 90’s. He is an artist with extensive connections abroad who supplied him disks of rare bands, demos. Back then we could only find cassettes of popular bands like Metallica, Sepultura or My Dying Bride. But this guy had things like Satyricon, maudlin of the Well, Symphony X, etc. This is what I grew up on, and this is what Montfaucon is heavy influenced with. And this is just influence on my side since every member of Montfaucon brought in his own influences.

Your musical production has been sparse. Are you working on anything right now?

Yes we are! We haven’t had a chance to produce a full length album for many different reasons. Back when we got started we merely didn’t have enough money. Mikhail was first among us who had a computer and we produced a few demos at home which allowed us to participate in big music events in Tashkent and promote on radio. Later on we were busy building our careers and couldn’t find enough time for music. And finally last year we decided that we owe ourselves a decent record and started producing our first album. We recorded everything at home, decent recording hardware is quite affordable nowadays. All songs have been composed a decade ago, but we refined some parts, added layers of additional details. Yet we tried to keep original parts contributed by each member of our band. Legendary Swedish sound engineer Dan Swanö agreed to mix and master the album which turned out terrific! He made every part of every song sound best, he managed to find our unique sound and he even put a few easter eggs for those who will listen carefully.

You’ve got a new album ready, can you tell a bit about that?

The new album is basically what we have composed over the course of active years. There are many experiments with the style and sound. Every song has it own unique sound and feature. We were lucky to work on the album with legendary sound engineer and musician Dan Swanö who made every our song sound the best it can possibly be.  The album was recorded in the comfort of our home without any rush over the course of 6 months and exchanged files over the Internet. We didn’t have any previous recording experience so we involved the leader of ‘The Faceless’ Michael Keene who advised us on the process of recording. I was focused on the quality and I had to rewrite all guitar and bass parts 3 times. Mixing process was challenging as well since we had no clue how piano can be put together with guitars so it wouldn’t get lost. With Dan we went over many variations and experiments with the sound before achieving perfection.

What can you tell me about the history of metal in Uzbekistan and how does the scene look like now?

Well, I don’t think I’m competent to give accurate history of the movement as I joined metal community pretty late. I’d recommend reaching out to Peter Stulovsky for that matter – he can tell about promoting metal on radio and cover history comprehensively. However, I can give you my perspective on that.

When I first visited a metal gig it took place in an old ‘Palace of Culture’ which was quite common at the time. The place was not fit for this kind of activity: there was no dance floor, just dense rows of seats stationary nailed to floor. No wonder when people got high on heavy music and alcohol they started to crash this place and it finished with police and troubles for organizers. This kind of concerts and outcomes were quite common those days and seemed like other clubs learned that and stopped giving places for any gigs. There was a quiet period for a few years when old bands disbanded and new bands formed grown up on Internet and a new radio show called ‘Hard days’ (‘Тяжелые будни’). That was the time when we formed our band as well. Suddenly it was announced on the radio that there is  going to be a two-day festival organized by British Council and there is a call for demos and rehearsals. Needless to say, it was one of the biggest events in music history of Tashkent. Many new metal bands showed up including us, Zindan, Sweet Silence and Titus. Here is a few of videos from that concert:

It triggered a renaissance in metal scene of Uzbekistan. Internet also became more widespread, opened a new metal forum where bands could promote themselves, gigs has been organized and announced. New bands started to pop up every month or so, opened a few more or less permanent rock/metal clubs, new records by local bands played on radio.  A few examples. ‘Sepsis’ playing death metal including covers on Cannibal Corpse and Death. A black metal band from Ferghana (unfortunately I don’t remember their name, hope Peter will help out with that) playing blast beats on crappy Soviet drums. A progressive metal band ‘4th dream’ playing 10 minutes long ever-changing compositions with a vocalist singing in ranges from high pitch clean vocals to growl and screams.

It continued to be this way pretty much till I left the country in 2008. I guess Peter can cover up period from 2008 onward.

To wrap up, I’d say it was pretty isolated metal community. A few of Uzbekistan bands played abroad, mostly in Kazakhstan. A few foreign bands played in Uzbekistan. Although we always followed what happened on Europe and USA metal scenes.

How are the facilities for you in your country? Are things like music, instruments and such easily available? are there venues to play and rehearsal spaces, studioś and such available?

When we got started it was hard to find a rehearsal space, metal music was not welcomed, metal culture has been (and still) stigmatized in many people’s minds. As I mentioned earlier concerts has usually been held in ‘Palace of Culture’ with help of Soviet era amplifiers and speakers. Music instruments was hard to find. Guitars, basses, drums – everything was from Soviet era. Originally I even played on a DIY guitar combined from other guitar parts. I made my own distortion pedal, even tried different schematics found on Internet to achieve better sound. Occasionally somebody brought some wonders from abroad like guitar processors, cardan shaft drum pedals, etc. Rehearsals took place in basements, storerooms or in the best case in ‘Palace of Culture’ next door to some dance studio.

Later on it improved substantially. Some folks managed to find an abandoned high-rise student dorm and turn it into rehearsal space. There was room for everybody and they did not disturb other people. People started selling gear from China and Russia which was both affordable and way better then we used to have. People started hanging out in new rock/metal clubs demanding more metal gigs. Venues improved as well by providing better experience and security.

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If you were able to play anywhere, what places would you most like to play shows at and why?

Haha. I don’t have any place in mind. I just love to play for any crowd.

Uzbekistan being a mostly Islamic country, do you face any repression as a metal musician? I’ve learned that this differs immensely depending on where musicians live and I’m interested to know what it’s like for you guys and if you have some experiences to share?

Well, I have not experienced any repressions on religious grounds. Although most people practice Islam, they are pretty mild. At least in big cities like Tashkent or Samarkand. However people still have Soviet mindset and police is quite repressive. Occasionally there was ‘educational’ police raids which I heard was quite humiliating experience. It didn’t happen to me though and as far as I know it usually didn’t have much consequences to others. Censorship might have existed, but all our songs are in English and nobody seem to bothered to translate what we shouted out from stage.

Do you put something typical Uzbeki in your music? Like note patterns, instruments or such?

Not really, I didn’t feel much influence of Uzbek music on me. Although we have an Oriental instrumental which hasn’t been recorded yet and a few turns in piano parts. Though I may not realize it, others may tell there is an Oriental twist in our music. You tell me…

What bands from Uzbekistan should people check out and why?

I don’t really follow Uzbekistan music scene these days. I hope Peter might suggest something.

What future plans do you have as Montfaucon?

I hope to finish new compositions which will raise quality bar for Montfaucon. We have a few unfinished songs which already sound terrific. I dream of Montfaucon to grow out of just being a project and perform live.

If you had to describe your band as a dish (food), what would it be and why?

Haha. Funny one. Bloody burrito? I dunno, music and food are in different dimensions to me which cannot coexist in close proximity. Say what?!…

Downfall of Nur: Shrouded histories of Sardinia

If you were looking out for awesome releases in 2015, you might have seen the album ‘Umbras De Barbagia’. An album with an intriguing cover that beckoned you to enter a misty world of a forgotten past. Interesting enough, if you looked into it, you’d find out that Barbagia is the more wild and untamed part of the Italian island of Sardinia. So how is it that Downfall Of Nur from Argentina is addressing this?

For those more versed in linguistics or history might have already detected the rare topic this band uses in their music, namely that of a forgotten civilisation on the island of Sardinia in the mediterranean. Wildy atmospheric and daring in its lack of simple song structures, it’s winding build-up and storytelling progression, it was an album that should have been and probably was in many end-of-year lists.

I instantly got my hands on the vinyl and recently also managed to purchase EP ‘Umbras de Forestas’. Listening to that after the full lenght feels a lot like going back in time, tracing the origins of a sound that feels so thought through, so completely captivating. I felt it was necesary to learn a bit more about this band and its origins. It’s because of that I decided to get in touch with Antonio, the man behind Downfall of Nur. A young musician with an incredibly creative and maybe even ancient mind.

How are you doing and can you kindly introduce yourself?

Hello, very well! My name is Antonio; I’m an Italian musician and producer based in Argentina, founder, and mastermind of the atmospheric Black Metal project “Downfall of Nur”.

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There seems to be an overall confusion about your nationality. As I understood you are from Sardinia, but residing in Argentina. How did that all happen?

Yes, I was born in Sardinia in 1996 and moved here in Argentina on 2008, so, I’m Italian.

What does it mean to be Sardinian to you? To write about your homeland and the meaning it has, can you describe this?

It means a lot, and when something means a lot sometimes you are proud or just sad about it, Sardinia was always loved and hated for the wild and enchanting cultural heritage, this cultural heritage made of values, the language and history is what creates an identity, to which you belong. It’s in your blood. Nowadays, little is left of all this, considering that society since the seventies has become much more individualistic.

With globalization everyone wants to be the stereotype, each passing year more people cares less about their “origins”. I think it’s the media bombardment taking all of your attention in different directions and besides there’s this materialistic society, which encourages originality and diversity, but discriminates against those who think differently. Writing about Sardinia, my home, my history and culture is what make me be and feel Sardinian, defend my origins and carry them like a flag.

Your project Downfall of Nur is to me one of the most fascinating things I’ve heard in a while. I’m specifically intrigued by the story behind the concept. Can you elaborate on that?

The project concept is based on the Nuragic Civilization, the ancient civilization of Sardinia. Some years ago in 2013, I decided to end all the musical projects I had, than anyway, they were not approached very seriously.

I started to working on something new and much more personal that I wanted to approach with all seriousness (which I believe I did). With this idea I started writing about my homeland and my ancestors and after some months this project took the name of ‘Downfall of Nur’.

u’ve played in some other bands; can you say something about that?

Actually I haven’t played in any real bands this far. I just had a couple of projects when i was 15/16. Most of those are a bit embarrassing if I look at them now. In those times I wanted to have a band, though not a black metal band and where I lived at the time I just couldn’t find anyone to play with really, everyone at the time was wanted to play covers of other bands and I was bored of them.

Then I got in touch with the work of Burzum and the fact that Varg Vikernes used to do everything by himself and that just inspired me to start do everything by my own and after a couple of years here we are.

When I first saw the cover of ‘Umbras De Barbagia’ I glanced over it a couple of times, but it stood out so much and lured me in. Can you tell a bit about the cover and why you think it’s particularly interesting, drawing new listeners?

Oh yes, I believe than the cover of an album is important as or even more than the music. In this case much of the interest the album garnered is thanks to the album cover. As you said, it’s particularly interesting. I think this is an image that provokes suspense and mystery and is also quite unique in its form. It expresses the concept of the album itself. What you see represented on the cover is the old masked figure, which is an ancient, traditional mask of Barbagia, than represents a pre-Nuragic divinity or expression of divinity.

How did you go about writing and recording this album and did you find a specific state of mind in which to do it, since it is so wrought with feeling and emotion (to me as a listener)?

I started to write for “Umbras de Barbagia” at the end of 2013/2014. I felt pretty nostalgic and was not too well in those times so I started writing songs. Everything went quite naturally, I never planned anything, the album started to take the shape on his own while I was recording and composing. When the instrumental recordings were finalized I started to looking for a guest vocalist and I got in touch with Dany Tee, we had meet some time before I started out with Downfall of Nur, I was a fan of his bands specially Seelenmord and I thought it would be a good contribution. After this, we spent all of autumn and winter working on the album. I think beyond how I felt at the time, what was most important and influential is that the album was not forced in any way. I believe than that determined the final sound of Umbras de Barbagia.

Balancing the folk and metal elements is something that can make or break an album, but on your album I find that it only makes each other stronger. How did you find a way to integrate the two so completely without mixing them up?

The integration happened through the composition and recording process of the album. Long ago I was planning to add ethnic instruments and create some semi-folkloric atmospheres to give to the album some details. This took place on this record, as the overall composition and the concept allowed it. These instruments fited very well without feeling as if they are out of place. I think this album needed such instruments to create these kinds of atmospheres.

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The quality of your recordings is superb. Can you say something about the production and mixing?

Thanks, I think nowadays you can get great results even with a home studio. The mixing of ‘Umbras De Barbagia’ took quite a long time. We worked together with Dany Tee as co-producer. After the mixing process was end, we send the album to Hernan Conidi, Dany friend, who had a studio in Buenos Aires. He did the final mastering and for me the result was perfect. We are very pleased with the final sound of this record.

In your music you are using a couple of traditional instruments. Can you tell a bit about those and what effect you feel they have on your music? Why did you choose these particular ones?

What I use most frequently are the Quenacho flute, high whistle and the Launeddas, which is a traditional instrument of Sardinia. I also used some classic cellos. I think these instruments really contribute to enrich the atmosphere giving more archaic touch. This was one of the main points of focus during the production of the album, because there are many parts with ambient sounds. Everything was made to make it feel like the music was a bridge between the present reality and your imagination. Close your eyes and let the music take you away.

Do you feel connected to the black metal scene (in so far as there is one) in general and what bands have inspired you to make the music you make? What is it about those bands that you find inspiring?

Not really, I think I’m out of the ‘scene’ with the exception of a few friends.I don’t feel I’m really part of it. I just record and write music at home in my studio, because this is what I like to do, and that’s it. Back in the days, some years ago, when I discovered ‘Black Metal’ some bands did inspire me directly. Examples of those are Ulver, Burzum, Darkthrone and Satyricon. The sound, the mystics, by the time everything was mesmerizing. I was looking for something similar when I stumbled upon the first Opeth record. That was after reading about extreme metal and Scandinavian bands in the nineties and I found something better there.

Like many ‘new’ black metal bands, your music isn’t strictly in the ‘old’ format and explores its own artistic realm. Where else do you get your inspiration (outside of BM), both musically and in a sense of ambiance and feel?

Thanks! I think personally that it is boring to remain stuck in the old format. I don’t mean that this is boring for an audience, but for me as an artist it would not work out. It’s simply not what I like to do. I like listening to a lot of film soundtracks; these influence my ‘inspirational’ process a lot. Ennio Morricone, James Roy Horner and Jerry Goldsmith are my favorites. Nowadays I listen to very little metal actually, except some underground bands that seem to me to be spectacular and unique. I used to listen to a lot of folk, jazz, ambient, old prog and things like that.

Which black metal bands do you listen to and why should people check them out?

Recently I’ve been listening a lot of American/Icelandic Black Metal, a few bands from Europe too and the (no-metal) bands/artist I always listen to, would like recommend the following bands/projects; Vohann, Arizmenda, Selvans, Panopticon, Lluvia, Svartidauði, Misþyrming, Naðra, these are in my Black metal playlist.

 

I’m very intrigued by the folk project that you’re working on. Can you tell a bit about that? What can one expect?

I’m working on that and I guess I’m on 70% of the recording and mixing process of it. Most likely I will release it as an EP with five songs. It’s really a project inspired by all the music I like that is not metal. It will be my other facet. We’ll have to see what happens.

 

I have been to Sardinia, but for any reader who will still visit the Island, what are the parts to visit to get a true feel or sense of what it is you invoke on ‘Umbras De Barbagia’?

The entire island is truly beautiful, from its archeological and cultural treasures to its beautiful nature. It’s like an open air museum and if you go in summer you have some of the best beaches in Europe and If you go in winter, you’ll find in the centre of the island the forests, mountains and numeral archeological sites to visit. They’ll take your breath away. It’s in the heart of the island where you will feel the true vibe of ‘Umbras de Barbagia’.

 

What does nature mean to you? When I listen to your music I feel a deep connection to the land and natural force of Sardinia represented as much as its culture. How do you feel about that?

Nature means a lot for me, it’s another part of my being, just like another vital organ. Many people do not realize of this, for the simple fact that she is something that may seem far removed from everyday life, but truth is than nature elements are as important as our organs. We depend on her, so she must be treated with respect.

What future ambitions do you have with your music?

Keep doing what I’m doing now: compose, record and produce more music.

 

In November Downfall of Nur is releasing a split with Italian band Selvans. The split will be out on Avantgarde Music.

Murmur Mori: Back to the forest

As you might have read, I’ve started expanding my tastes from metal to folk as well. In my personal quest to find something tangible and meaningful in these stranger aeons we live in, I stumble across wonderful music that hits me.

Folk that returns to nature, to ancestral groves where our forefathers and mothers would worship nature and their deities is not just a northern thing. Murmur Mori from Italy has a particular take on it and has created a beautiful album that you can read about here.

Because my words seemed to express what the band was saying, I felt I needed to learn more about Murmur Mori and their forest folk. So without further ado, here is my interview.

How are you guys doing? Can you briefly introduce yourselves?

Hello, we’re fine. Murmur Mori is our project and we are Mirko Void, musician with various projects, singer, composer, producer, working as a classical guitar teacher, and Kuro Silvia, photographer and film maker who likes to write poetry and sing, working now on a documentary on the archaeological finds in Val d’Ossola. Both are interested in our local traditions and ancient history. Together we wrote some articles for the magazine “Triple Moon”, distributed by the esoteric library “Ibis” in Bologna.

What does the name Murmur Mori mean? Why did you pick it?

Mumur Mori is a name with more than one meaning. Murmur can be a whisper or the demon associated with philosophy that has the power to let the souls answer to every question he poses to them. Mori is the japanese word for Forest or the latin word for “to die”. ?What music inspired you to pick the direction for Murmur Mori? The main inspiration comes from unexpected things, some examples: a leaf falling behind us or a book about the legends of the alps; about the music, we take it from traditional ballads and 70’s folk music. We are currently working on a new album that will come out first months of the new year and the sound will be more traditional and direct.

You’ve just released your second record, titled ‘O’. What concept or story is it you’re telling on this album?

“O” was a long research work, we visited the most of the archaeological sites of our land. Inside our work there’s the will to bring to the people a memory of our ancestors, to avoid forgetting how we used to live in tribes and with Nature. To remember how humans used to be a part of Nature, following the rhythm of seasons, esteeming and fearing Nature, we tried to find in these places the spirit and the knowledge about that way of living. We wanted to play music and sing words of ancient traditions and respect for the earth.

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The record feels like such an otherworldly experience. How do you get in the right state of mind to record?

The main part of our music was composed while we were visiting ruins in Italy, places where you find stones that are arranged in the wood from the Neolithic, “O” is in fact full of field recordings from those places, this helped us to transmit the emotions that we felt while contemplating cromlechs and sacred woods.

What is your writing and recording proces like?

(Mirko) I can stay whole weeks without recording, gathering ideas in my head and once ready, in two or three days I can manage to complete songs playing step by step every instrument that I feel has to be inserted. Sometimes the alienation is so strong that I spend hours without talking, just listening the work I’m doing and looking at the instruments in the studio, as the instruments are the ones that come forward to be played. (Silvia) I start to write down pieces of lyrics while I’m in a place that makes me feel inspired and I vocalise while Mirko is playing.

How do you get your inspiration, like where do you go and what other expressions do you gather from that?

We always visit a waterfall near to our place, in Piedmont, we walk a lot of trails in the mountains. There is a sacred forest where there’s a stone inside, which was used for rites of fertility, women glided on the stone and the trace is still visible on it.

Can you tell a bit about Stramonium? What is the collective about? Stramonium is a collective about music, poetry and researches of history and folklore created by us and our friends in Bologna.

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I find that there’s a deep meaning and experience to the music of Murmur Mori. Can you explain something about the places you describe in the biography. The ancient places, nature and sacred locations in the north of Italy. How can we visualise this?

We noticed a lot of ancient buildings, rocks, stones, and we felt that these places were full of history and we started to visit them more while writing songs and collecting informations about these ruins. There are a lot of archaeology proofs where we usually go by the mountains in Piedmont, they found evidences from the Lepontii which were a celtic population and the woods are rich of their presence still, dry stone structures even rooms with menhirs and cromlechs near to them. We feel very inspired by the idea of preserve the memory of these places.

Can you explain the logo you guys use? I originally thought to expect black metal when I saw it.

The logo is the seal of the demon Murmur with the japanese kanji for forest (Mori) in it. For me, your music is very close to the experience of nature.

What would you advice those that listen to your music and with to be in touch with nature more?

We are living in times where people are no longer conscious of where they are and are losing awareness of Nature, right now we need to re-learn the respect of it. Go walk in the woods or by the sea, take your time to breathe and listen, go live the woods, let your animal spirit awakes. Remove plastic and garbage on your way when you find it, it could be a small but useful action.

What other artists do you recommend people to listen to, who like your music, and why?

There’s a lot of amazing music in the world, from ancient times to our days but we suggest our friends qqq∅qqq, a music project from Venice. These guys reorganized a small lodge called “La Casetta” in the woods of Pianezze di Valdobbiadene (TV), They created a place where to play music and stay with Nature all around. Also if you enjoy our music, we made with Stramonium a compilation “Where Winter Beats Incessant” with the collaboration of some musicians we feel close to us.

What future plans do you have for Murmur Mori?

We are now finishing to record the new album and for the first time there will be the participation of outer musicians

Finally, I always ask this, if you were a dish (food), what would it be and why?

Polenta! Because we eat it a lot, fried and not.

Jupiterian: Cosmic crushing doom from Brazil

Though we may know Brazil as a country well known for its amazing death metal and passionate fans, there’s more to it than that obviously. Jupiterian is a whole different monster that landed with their debut EP ‘Archaic’, which was followed by their album ‘Apothic’.

The sound of Jupiterian is black as the depths of the cosmos and solid like a thick slab of meteorite hitting you in the face. Devoid of any frivolities, it’s a heavy listen, but well worth your time. So time to get to know them a bit better, before they head to Europe for some shows, where I hope to see them again.

I first met V. from Jupiterian at Roadburn and soon I got to know his newly founded band Jupiterian. An avid music fan and lover of science and sci-fi, V. is a creative force with plenty of inspiration from music and literature. Their sound is to me rather unique and unforgivingly heavy, so let’s hope they can head back to play Roadburn soon, because this band belongs on that bill. Time to get into it.

How did Jupiterian get started and what brought you guys together as a band? Did you have any previous projects that you would like to mention?

We started in 2013 while I was still playing with my previous death metal band The Black Coffins. I started to work on some riffs with a borrowed guitar I had at home, so I asked some friends if they would be interested to join me in this new project. When the band suddenly split up that year, I decided to focus 100% in this new project which would become Jupiterian. By that time, the band was called Codex Ivpiter, we were 5 guys, I was just doing the lead guitar and we had a lead vocalist, but I felt it would be easier to work only as a four piece, because I was working on the songs, themes and at the same time creating the vocal lines. After this line-up change, we also changed the name to Jupiterian and we entered the studio to record our first material, a 3 songs EP called ‘Archaic’. That was pretty much it.

Can you start by explaining the name and the concept of the band?

I have always been fascinated by mythology, especially the Greek-Roman mythology. I also love astronomy and as an amateur, I try to study and read about it as much as I can. But I am also into sci-fI books, authors likes Arthur C. Clark, Frank Herbert, Asimov, William Gibson blew my mind as a kid as much as Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard did with their cosmic horror novels. When I started the band, the first thing I had in mind was to create more than only the music, but an entire journey through all of that.

Jupiter is part of ancient mythology in the form from many gods for many extinct cultures and it could sum up all the references I had in mind. So the name Codex Ivpiter came up, but as you presume, it was terrible to speak and explain how to spell it. Jupiterian was a name that I was already about thinking for a while. When I talked to the other guys, it made much more sense and we thought it would fit perfectly for our purpose.

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What are the musical inspirations for you guys, both for the band as well as for yourself?

We have a very different background in the band when it comes to influences. I try to keep my mind opened to everything concerning music. New bands, old bands. I still feel excited when I listen to something new that blows my mind, be it metal or not and it inspires me a lot to try to reinvent the way I play or the way I want to create new stuff. As a band I could name a few like Jacula, Fabio Frizzi, Arvo Part, Anathema (their firsts albums), Graves at Sea, Asunder, Worship, Winter, Deathspell Omega, Iron Maiden, Whitehorse, Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine, Blut Aus Nord, Mercyful Fate & King Diamond, Funeral Mist, Goblin, Antaeus, Cathedral, Celtic Frost and, Svartidaudi, Thergothon and so on…

You’ve just released some new music. Can you tell a bit about the recording and writing process? Who does what and how does it unfold?

Yes! We recently release our Anathema’s “Mine is Yours To Drown In” cover. Well, more like a version. We started to work on that and I didn’t want to just emulate the original version, so we tried to put some of our DNA on that. And I am really proud the way it came out.

Where do you guys get your inspiration from further, because it seems that the inspiration is a dense mixture of the fantastic, absurd, horror and science fiction. Do you derive your concepts from books or films?

That’s for sure! As I told you, I read a lot sci-fI and horror books. Also I am really into those movies, and my love for the genre is very specific. I am really into all Ray Harryhausen’s animated monsters, and also am obsessed with David Cronenberg’s work, John Carpenter, the Hammer Films movies, Amicus.. you know, the victorian-era horror movies, also mixed with some steampunk style like “First men in the moon”, “The Time Machine” and everything I can find from the gold age of sci-fI movies.

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When listening to your albums, the sound is so overwhelmingly heavy and devoid of most other elements. The returning themes makes me feel like that’s a very deliberate choice, also related to the subject matter. Is that so?

That’s true. This is the core of the band, we want to deliver all the heaviness with a dark, yet melodic atmosphere within it.

I would like to know a bit about your visual expressions. Rarely does a band pay so much attention to artwork, logo’s and thus creating such a complete picture. Can you tell a bit more about that?

Thanks a lot. I am glad it called your attention. Well, we are telling a story with the band I want it all to make sense to the listener, be it with the music, the videos, t-shirt and everything. For me, music is much more than what you are listening in a moment, It’s a journey.

Most of the time I am the one behind the imagery, but we are very lucky to work with great artists that get our idea and deliver a great work for us.

You’ve done some covers for the new release. Why did you pick those songs exactly?

Yeah, ‘Mine is Yours to Drown’ In was the first one and the other one is Black Sabbath‘s Behind The Wall of Sleep’. About the Anathema version, when we started the band, we talked about choosing a song to cover and this one was my first idea. It was one of the firsts extreme metal songs I ever heard when I was a kid, so recording it felt like retribution cause it means a lot to me. About “Behind the Wall of Sleep”, Cvlt Nation invited us to their new Cvlt Nation Session, and the chosen album this time was Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath”. We chose that song for two basics reasons: 1. It’s Lovecraft; 2. It would be very challenging to record a song so different from what we do cause it’s a faster song. As we did with “Mine is Yours”, we re-think the entire song and made it slower and with our approach and way to do things. Both will be available on digital format in our bandcamp in October. They are part of this 2 songs EP called “Urn”.

Like before you’re working with Mories (Gnaw Their Tongues) on this new release. How did you get in touch and get to work with him? What do you think that the impact on your sound is of his contributions? 

The first time I talked to Mories was in 2010 when I interviewed him for a metal website I used to keep here in Brazil. But I met him personally for the first time at Roadburn 2013 and then we became friends. The sound of his bands is outstanding, he is always releasing amazing albums, always working on something new and all I can say is that I am lucky enough to work with someone I admire and respect that much. I think Jupiterian sound so much darker, dense and intense because of his final touch in the process. Sometimes he also creates some extra textures and it’s by his will. Yeah man, he is definitively a big part in this band.

If you could do the soundtrack of either a Lovecraft film or a sci-fI horror combi, which would have your preference and why?

Good one! I never thought about it but when I read the question, the first movie that came to my mind was Deep Star Six. I think the movie has an overwhelming claustrophobic atmosphere. Maybe Andrzej Żuławski’s “On a Silver Globe” (wich is a movie we already used for the “Archaic” video) or Tarkovisky’s “Stalker”. I’d love to do the soundtrack for a lovecraftian movie if there was any good for his “dream cycle”, specially “The Dream-Cast of Unknown Kadath”.

What can people expect from a Jupiterian live show? What kind of experience are they in for?

We like to think our shows are like painful processions, an experience that hurts the soul cause it’s about heaviness but it’s also about sadness and darkness. It’s the worship of what doom metal means to us.

Brazil is known as a firm and established metal nation, maybe even one of the biggest in the world if you may believe the documentary ‘World Metal’ by Sam Dunn. Can you spare a few words on how the Brazilian scene looks and how doom metal fits in there?

I think there is a romantic vision about the Brazilian scene because of all the amazing bands that came out from here in the past decades like Sepultura, Sarcofago, Mystifier, Krisiun, Violator, Facada, Rebaelliun and so on, but I don’t think we can say its firm and established. There’s a lot of passionate people doing their stuff but in a very amateur way, you know. Brazil is a continental country and yet, we cannot arrange a proper tour here at least you are a real DIY band. Of course you won’t make real money and you probably will play with shitty amps on shitty venues. We have only a very few pro labels actively working nowadays, but we are still surviving because everyone involved in this, be it thrash, death, grind and so on, we are used to that. That’s how things are and still love it

We know Brazil from its death metal scene of a while ago. Which bands from Brazil are on the rise and should get our attention (and why)?

Facada is one of my favourite grindcore bands of all times. They are relentlessly brutal, it’s like a mix of the best things Napalm Death, Brutal Truth and Nasum ever released in one band, and of course with a strong (and relevant) politic approach on the lyrics. I recommend their last album Nadir. My favourite track is “Amanhã vai ser pior”.

Thy Light is amazing. They are one of the most relevant bands in the DSBM scene world wide and Paolo is a great guy. He also plays in a Death Metal band called Desdominus, which is also a fantastic band. “No Morrow Shall Dawn”, their last album, is perfect for cold and grey days.

Abske Fides is a great Funeral Doom metal band from São Paulo and reunite some of my oldest friends in the scene. N., the bass player, joined us for the Chilean tour we did this year. He also plays in Noala and Au Sacre Des Nuits and is always delivering amazing music, be with his bands or with his solo projects. We’ve been working together for many, many years now in a lot of projects and you can hear a jam we did on the track “Daylight”, in the end of the song.

Mythological Cold Towers is legendary. They are active for more than 20 years now producing great albums and putting amazing shows. Their last album, “Monvmentvm Antiqua”, is fantastic!

Infamous Glory is an old school death metal band featuring K. from Abske Fides. “Bloodfeast” is a death metal worship with all the elements we love in the genre.

Rakta is a brilliant – way beyond any label – band from São Paulo. I love what these girls do and to see them live is an incredible experience. One of the best active bands in Brazil nowadays.

Deaf Kids just released their last album called “Configuração do Lamento” and it’s one of the best 2016 albums so far in my opinion. This power trio deliver an hypnotizing punk with a lot of tribal-driven rythms. A trully unique band.

What future plans does Jupiterian have?

We have 4 shows in Europe in late October, it’s a mini tour with our brothers from Mythological Cold Towers. We’ll play 2 gigs in Belgium, one in Czech Republic and the last show will be at Dutch Doom Days in Rotterdam, NL. After that we will focus on finishing the lasts songs for our next full length and record it in the beginning of 2017. We have 3 new songs, one of them are on our setlist, and 2 structures not finished yet, so i’d say the next album is 70% done.

If you had to describe Jupiterian as a dish (food), what would it be and why?

Maybe it’s a Brazilian feijoada, cause it’s black, dense, fat, it’s hard and slow to digest. Actually it looks like a disgusting swamp haha

 

Winterfylleth: Finding the Green Cathedral

On Eindhoven Metal Meeting 2015 I was trodding along in my Winterfylleth shirt and ran into Simon Lucas and Chris Naughton from Winterfylleth. During an interesting conversation we discussed various topics, which rapidly go from history to politics and metal theory.

I was already sold on the music of this band, but the sharp wit and keen minds of the duo made me even more interested in what lies behind the music and the band. As I’m still a major fanboy, I often forget to get to the point on these moments, but luckily I was able to throw in my question if I could do an article on them. They luckily said yes.

While I was working on this, the band announced the coming of a new album, titled ‘The Dark Hereafter’, which will be out soon on Spinefarm and Candlelight. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to go too deeply into that, but I’m well excited for that record. Having faced their share of controversy in the past and being the band that they are, not every topic was up for discussion.

I hope you enjoy reading about one of my favorite black metal bands around. Chris Naughton, singer and founder of the band answered my questions.

How have things been for Winterfylleth lately?

Great thanks. We’ve been a little quiet this year as we’ve been writing for the new and upcoming releases. Also a few of us became new fathers so we’ve not had the time to commit to being on the road as a result. But we are all now looking forward to the new release and to a fresh run of shows and press – with everything that brings.

You and Simon Lucas (drummer) played together in various other groups like Men Scryfa & Atavist so it seems like you guys go way back. Can you tell a bit about those projects and what they were about? Did they help you find what you wanted to do with Winterfylleth?

For me those projects are largely unrelated to what we’ve done, and become, in Winterfylleth. Simon and I used to do Atavist (and I still do, having resurrected the old line up of the band this year) but that band was much more about exploring Nihilism and Inner Darkness rather than any of the themes we have in Winterfylleth. We did a few albums with Atavist on Profound Lore & Invada over the years and stopped doing anything with the band (until this year) around 2008 (after our tour with Nadja & Satori) to focus on Winterfylleth. Men Scryfa was slightly more related to Winterfylleth, although only because they lyrics to it were about the ‘Men Scryfa’ standing stones and the folk lore and significance to our history. This was a one off song written for a label called small doses records and was a tribute to the work of Julian Cope and his ‘Modern Antiquarian’ book. We never did anything else with this band.

Your music is clearly heavily influenced by historical themes, the same seems to go for your other bands. How did you get into this? I understood there’s a professional background to this work.

Winterfylleth is the only band where we have a really strong link to history and historical themes. We’ve talked about this many times before, but Simon and I met over a mutual appreciation for elements of history and that is what sparked our interest in doing a project together. Initially Simon joined Atavist on the drums, but as we were winding down our attention on that band & starting to form what would become Winterfylleth we also began to solidify the themes around history and heritage that had brought us together in the first place. There is no professional background to this and we are both just interested in these topics and continue to be; linking them to our political awareness to formulate the themes of the band.

It’s been 2 years since the wonderful album ‘Divination of Antiquity’. Are you working on anything new currently?

Yes, we have a few things in the pipeline actually. The main thing is that we have a new record called “The Dark Hereafter” coming out on September 30th in UK/Euro. Around this we are also working on an Acoustic album (which will follow The Dark Hereafter) and then another Black Metal album to follow the acoustic album. As I mentioned before I am also working on a new Atavist album and have also completed work on 2 news songs for 2 new releases for my other band Nine Covens.

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Listening to your music, I find it’s very much giving the feeling of paintings from the Romantics of great landscapes, the majesty of nature and such. Is that in a way what you’re going for?

Absolutely. The idea is, and has always been, to connect people with their history, with landscapes and with nature. There is a song on the new release called “Green Cathedral” that really sums this up for me. It’s about how we should focus more on localism and not globalism in our daily pursuits, steering power and influence away from a few people in big companies and moving it back towards people. Returning to nature, at least to some extent, is inevitable for us at some stage. Particularly as the world is so chaotic and resources are so finite. We will have to do something at some point to curb our excesses.

There’s something really upbeat to your sound, there’s an element of empowering in it. I feel, when listening to it, that I want to straighten my back a bit more and get my chin up. I especially like listening to it outside and experience it. Is that something you feel is in there?

Yes I think so. Lyrical themes and imagery can only get you ‘so far’ as a band. I feel like the music itself also has to live up to the beauty and sorrow of the tales we are telling, otherwise the message doesn’t get across. So we use upbeat melodies to highlight and accent the elements of the ups and downs of the stories we are telling as a band. I think that we firstly connect with music as listeners, rather than lyrics etc, so if you get that bit wrong, then the whole point it lost.

You guys took part in the compilation ‘One and All, Together, for Home’ with a lot of similarly minded bands (to an extent at least). Do you feel a connection between bands that are doing something similarly to yourselves?

Of course, particularly bands like Drudkh & Primordial from that line up. They are bands who seem to share similar sentiments about their history and folklore, as well as caring deeply about it. So I think we’ve stuck together to some extent and I think it’s right that bands support one another as some of our content is important around current affairs and is another way of getting the truth out to people.

What is your recording and writing process like? Do you have defined roles and where do you get your subject matter from?

We all write together in my home studio and demo everything before we try it live. Usually Nick or I come up with the initial song ideas and then we build on them together. Although now we have Dan and Mark D in the band, we will start to see some of their influences coming through, I’m sure. Once we have done all of the pre-production, I write the lyrics and we take the songs to the studio and let Chris Fielding help us bring them to life. Lyrically, the themes are about ancient history and how that relates to the struggles of the modern world. So sometimes we talk about wider global themes and sometimes we relate them to pressing issues. All through the lens of ancient poetry and prose, adapted for modern means.

When we met at Eindhoven Metal Meeting, we discussed some of the accusations you’ve faced as a band, being labelled nationalist and even NSBM. Can you tell a bit about what that all was about?

I think – to our earlier discussion – that there are still veins of people who think we are evil because they have seen some reactive nonsense on the internet about us from 2007. Things happened that are well documented and we took steps to distance ourselves from them, so while there is a bit of a back story, it’s behind us and was 8 years ago. The kind of people who dredge this up are usually just virtue signalling ‘right on’ types of people who have never bothered to dig deeper and find out the real truth about us; and who seem to like having a cause to post on social media against. People that read our lyrics or engage with what we have to say in interviews are typically much better informed about what we truly stand for, and are the kinds of people who would defend our points, and our name, to others who know very little about us. I try not to get involved in things like this online anymore but I am happy to speak to anyone and answer their questions (in interviews or to our band page) both positive and negative because I think it is important to confront accusations like these head on and to address our critics honestly.

You explained to me that the t-shirt with the Warrior herd print had a specific meaning behind it. Can you relate that story and is it representative for your views?

The Warrior Herd shirt visualizes how there is always an evil behind the banners of war. The image depicts an evil being behind the flag of men charging into battle. It basically shows how we send our troops off to war under the pretence that they are defending our country, or our way of life from tyranny, yet usually we are actually invading another country for their resources or for some kind of financial or political gain. We revere our soldiers (and rightly so) as they give their lives for what they believe. It just happens that usually they are sent to do that under false pretences and there is usually a hidden agenda at play. I think that is an important lesson for how the world works and is something we are keen to make people think about when considering the topical issues of the day.

Winterfylleth notably doesn’t use much of the black metal aesthetics that are traditionally associated with the genre. What prompted that decision and how do you feel about bands still adhering to the ‘traditional’ look of black metal?

We are a BM band from England who formed 15-20 years or so after that kind of aesthetic was used and it just doesn’t represent who or what we are. Also, it has been done to death by too many bands now as well. To me, the corpse paint/traditional aesthetic of BM is the property of the bands from that era and was a reaction to their musical/political/social landscape at the time, and represents a feeling they had. To me we shouldn’t be trying to emulate that, as we are from a different era, a different country and have different issues that we are confronting in our music. The genre started around nihilism and satanism and reaction to religion etc. To me now, we are discussing issues of nature, of environmental distress, of socio-political importance, of history repeating itself and of power structures. It doesn’t work for me to utilise their aesthetic to do that, we have to find our own. So that is why we choose to be as we are. Our outward personal image is less important to us than overarching image of the albums and the message of what we are saying. Thus we avoid the traditional aesthetics.

Recently I watched the documentary ‘British Black Metal: The Extreme Underground’. A really enjoyable view on the British scene. What bands do you think are currently carrying the torch for British black metal?

With no ego, I think we in Winterfylleth have always tried to lead the charge in terms of contemporary British BM and have strived to bolster and promote the British scene for as long as we’ve had a platform to do so. We’ve helped get lots of key bands signed, we’ve A&R’d lots of bands for labels and taken as many of them on tour as we could to widen their influence and exposure. That said I don’t think UKBM would be anywhere without the combined efforts of a key group of bands… Wodensthrone (RIP), Fen & A Forest of Stars – who were other bands that really helped to re-ignite the British presence on the global BM map around the same time we were forming.

I think what we and those other bands have done is to create a platform on the global stage for British BM again and have allowed other bands the space (and possibly the inspiration) to bring their own spin on it to the world. As a result, lots of bands have come to the fore over the last few years that are really starting to strengthen the UK’s position in BM. Bands like, Cnoc An Tursa, Saor, Eastern Front, Falloch, Old Corpse Road, Wolves of Avalon, Ethereal, Necronautical, The Infernal Sea, Mountains Crave, Kull, Arx Atrata and lots of others.

In the documentary you also mention travelling the country for inspiration. Which are the best spots to listen to every Winterfylleth album?

You should travel to the places where the cover images were taken (Castleton in the Peak District, Snowdonia National Park and the Lake District), go for a walk and take in the beauty and majesty of those areas while you do. They inspired us to write the music, so hopefully they’ll creatively inspire you as well.

What does the future hold for Winterfylleth?

A new release called “The Dark Hereafter” is due on Sept 30th 2016, and we will follow it up with some shows and touring next year. We are also working on 2 future releases as mentioned above, so we are busy with what comes next before the new release is available.

Final question, if you had to describe Winterfylleth as a dish, what would it be and why?

I think we’d be a satellite dish, as we help connect people to each other around important issues. 😉

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Spaceslug: Cosmic slow heaviness (Interview)

Recently you could already read my review of the Spaceslug record ‘Lemanis’ on this page, but now we managed to track down Bartosz from Spaceslug and ask him a few questions.

You can read the review here.  The record stuck with me, because it was indeed spacy but still heavy, resonating in its own realm not sounding like any other band really. So I was keen to learn more about this Polish band.

How did you guys get started with Spaceslug?

B: I talked with drummer – Kamil around may 2015 if he wants to play some music with me. Little project, nothing special, just jammin
some jams with heavy riffs. Then he brought over bass player – Janek, who was also in his other band Palm Desert and we started.

What bands inspire you to make this music?

B: It’s hard to tell really. For me I love bands like Yob, Sleep, Neurosis, Black Sabbath, Subrosa, My Sleeping Karma and other generic heavy stoner/doom/name it stuff.
Guys like more ambitious music. But that’s why it was so well mixed in the process.

I was surprised to see that you guys hail from Wroclaw in Poland. Is there a big stoner scene there?

B: We have a good local scene that is growing. Try 71tonman for example.

Can you tell a bit about the writing and recording of this record?

B: I was bringing the riffs, and the rest of the band formed them and gives taste to it. It was that simple. What was really cool, that it was in fact really hard work. We played every rehearsal with heart, and passion.
Long play was recorded live in two days. Alot of fun, and experimenting with sounds.

Though the album is very heavy, i felt a strong connection to progrock of the 70’s and psych. What do you think about this?

B: Almost from the begining I wanted something heavy and cosmic. I like that kind of way, when something is heavy, but also
majestic. Probably you can tell that there is some vintage 70s vibe in our music, and it is not coincidence 😉

The cover and further artwork of Spaceslug reminds me of this comic book style/ science fiction posters stuff of a few decades ago. What is your inspiration for this part?

B: I love old S/F movie posters and vintage comic book arts in general. I was inspired by couple bands if we talk about style,
and couple old movies posters. Rest was just fantasy about what we are representing with our album. Cosmic slow heaviness.

You’ve just signed with Two Eighty Five Bookings. I for one, can’t wait to hear ‘Lemanis’ live. What can people expect from Spaceslug live? (and when are you touring the Benelux)

B: Hard to tell about specific dates righ now, but for sure if you will come to our show we will take you with us to our
spacecraft and show you couple galactics.

What future plans do you guys have?

B: We are writing material for second release. We also want to tour here and there.

If Spaceslug was a dish, what dish would it be (and why?)?

B: For me – Big, fat, juicy steak, with fries and salad.
Because it’s good and fat!