Friday, July 1, 2016

Scythrawl (Ether, Unquintessence, Trails Of Anguish) Inteview (Part II)

Continuation of Scythrawl interview.

Previous Ether album was released 8 years ago. Why it takes that much time to create a new record for this project? 

That is a good question.
First reason, I am not a musical composer by nature and for that reason, I think my methods are somewhat unorthodox. Ether is and will always be the voice of my profound nature and I let it manifest itself on its own free will. The need to write music started off as abstract melodies in my mind that wanted to get out. They were triggered by various things, dark and beautiful. Whenever I would feel these emotions, they would translate into melodies. These notes would keep playing in my mind for days and they have been following me for years.  Ether is my attempt to render all of these various pieces of primal expression into coherent music. It is my own obsessions laid bare. The only difference now is that I carry around a digital recorder and whenever I feel these bursts of emotion becoming music in my mind, I sing and record what I hear in my head.
Then there is the second reason.
I never really played guitar before Depraved, Repressed, Feelings and I don't intend to become good at it. Not enough free time nowadays and a lot more things to do than sit around for hours practicing some chords and agility. That being said, recording an entire album on guitar was the biggest challenge for me on this album. I used some softwares to help translate this abstract music in actual guitar tabs.
And the last challenge was to find the time to record, arrange and mix all of this in a way that the resulting process would approximate what I was hearing in my head all along.

That explains the gap between the two albums. I cannot rush this process and it is an excruciating and immense amount of time and dedication that can lead a person to madness. People need to understand that a regular band divides the work into many individuals. The main composer(s), each individual band members, a record engineer and a master engineer. All of these jobs are a full time job on their own.  When I played with Nefastüs Diès, I only needed to focus on my drumming, practicing to be able to play the parts I created live. Only that plus my normal life took all the time I had left. Now imagine yourself doing the work of all these people on your own, plus keeping your job and trying to have a social life. It needs a level of sacrifice and discipline similar to what monks must be enduring. It really did changed my perception of perseverance.

You previously mentioned that few unreleased Trails of Anguish tracks are going to appear on "Hymns of Failure". Which are those tracks and were guitar parts for them created by Dischord?

That is correct. Failure is an almost integral version of a song entitled "Shunned" that goes back deep in the Trails of Anguish era, around 2002 before we split. I dug out an old jam I had on a cassette tape where we had recorded various versions of this song and proceed in a long and arduous process of re-translating these riffs into guitar chords. Dischord helped me with some of the chord accuracy and I added the finishing touch by rehashing the many versions into a better one.
The first three riffs on "Enmity" where also cannibalized from an unnamed song during that same time period. Everything recorded after 1 min 45 is from me.

One man project requires high level of self organization - you depend only on yourself and production quality could be poor (it is common thing in the DSBM-scene) if you are not pushing yourself to reach higher standarts. Was that hard to you - to create an album that strong production-wise as "Hymns Of Failure" all by yourself?

Hard is an understatement.  At some point, I was ready to delete everything and move on with my life, but something kept pushing me forward. I took an unusual route to get where I wanted to be with this album. Most one man band out there are guitar players who program or play basic drum layers to support the musical landscape they create. With Ether, I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone to be able to write and compose the musical landscape.  Adding the drums and vocals where the easiest parts, since they are my natural tools of expression. I wanted an album that was powerful musically and drum forward enough to show the world that this new beast wasn't about self loathing and depression anymore but more about the empowerment you receive when you start to dissect and accept your true nature as being divine and perfect in its duality. I wanted to create something that was elevating.

Was there any pressure from the label or, maybe, from your friends to finish it?

There was no pressure except from the one I inflicted upon myself. Sepulchral production has always respected my boundaries and never once tried to cross them. The people the more eager to pressure me to finish we're the contributors and my long time friends who only heard pieces of the songs while I was constructing them.

Why "Hymns Of Failure" is devided into 2 parts/cd`s? 

I could devise an ingenious plan to answer that one with tact and awe inspiring tales of valor but the real reason would still be a simple one. The length of the album wouldn't fit on a single cd. I thought about cutting some of the ambient parts and try to compress the album into fitting a standard media but I felt this idea was going against the very core essence of Ether which is removing its chains from reality and delving deeper in the subconsciousness where our true cosmic self really lies.

I think that the lyrics on the debut Ether album were more abstract, there were your views and thoughts in general, and on the latest record you describing the real situations from your life and it feels emotional and rough. If there will be the next Ether record, which way are you going to write lyrics for it?

Ether, as most of the music I am involved in, is really conceptually driven. The whole idea behind Ether was to carry its own reflection within another musical project which is Lueur. They we're both supposed to show two different sides of the same coin. Ether being the blunt force of raw darkness and Lueur being the fragile and caressing rays of an innocent light.
Unfortunately I never found the right person to accompany me on this quest yet and Lueur has been forcefully rejected in an attic in my mind.
The work I am trying to achieve is to demonstrate that there is no evil or good, there is just love (Light) and fear (Darkness) and both these energies usually equates and nullifies each other, but there’s another way. A trinity of some sort, a third path where it is possible to walk on the verge of fear and love and to be in a perpetual state of peace and fragility towards the beauty that is so haunting but hidden in this world. To be both a barbarian and a child. The sum of all the potentials. The quantum effect extracting the godly nature of our existence and pushing it forward with a radiant clarity. I want to eradicate the lies of the life we have been living for so long. I want to eradicate depression and all that is foul and ugly in this world. But this process means that you need to crawl into the deepest corners and confront the malignancy you created. All the ugly truth about your self that's being buried and locked in your mind in order to keep your sane in a broken world.

Ether is an orphan growing without it's brother, and for now it has evolved from being the raw cataleptic force of trauma represented in Depraved, Repressed, Feelings to the upheaved, cold and violent eruption that is Hymns of failure. The third album will follow in it's predecessor's footstep if I ever find enough strength and will power to partake in this exhausting process again.

Do you have any updates on your other bands? 

I am not currently involved in any real bands. Right now I am focusing my energies on my newly found passion, which is brewing almighty ale! If everything goes as planned, I will open my own microbrewery named: Les Bières philosophales around May 2018! Come check us out!

You are 35 now. Do you feel something nostalgic when you remembering the moments that you spent in your past bands, when you were teenager? 

I do feel nostalgic at times. For about 2 minutes. My thoughts on that topic are clearly portrayed on the song "Nostalgia". Most of the “good” memories I have about that time are fabricated. The real emotional memories of that time are a constant mixed state of rage, sadness, pain and depression and I am really glad I am out of that pitch black tar pit. So no, not really nostalgic.
Are you staying in touch with musicians from those bands or everything common between you and them is in the past?
The only link I've kept are with Discord (TOA), Iraabass and Void (Nefastüs Diès), Nargaeh'nroth and Vykthor (Unquintessence). Iraabas, Void and Nargaeh'nroth are still good friends. The others I see occasionally.

Why the release of Unquintessence "Ruined" EP was delayed (if it was recorded in 1999 and Galy Records cd came out only in 2002)? 

The CD wasn't recorded in 1999, this is the year the band was formed If my memory serves me right, we recorded Ruined somewhere around December 2001 in the same studio session as TOA "Beyond charismatic sickness", an extra song that we recorded for the re-release of "Relentless Abhorrence" that was released via great white north.

In one of the Gabriel McCaughry`s books it is mentioned that Unquintessence were going to record LP "Locustism: The Art of infecting, corrupting & dying", but it wasn`t embodied. Is there any demo versions of this material or, maybe, it was used for another projects? 

Back then, we we're talking about it, but we were all involved in other bands and our minds were elsewhere. Unquintessence was never anyone's main band, and that is probably why the band didn't last. Back then, I just think the music and our overall attitude in shows were just too much for the people. It was clear we were not welcome in the "scene" cause we weren't party people. We were messed up and violent. We mostly hated everyone back then so we didn't really give a shit about reviews and what people thought. Mostly we just wanted to make an album for ourselves and wished everyone else would eat shit and die.

I also learned from this book that you and Gabriel had U-235 Genocide project. Can you tell us something about the conception and why it wasn`t realized? 

U-235 genocide was a brief affair that mainly lasted 3 or 4 jams? We recorded maybe three tracks if I remember correctly? Honestly I had completely forgotten about that and I am now curious to see if we have kept some versions somewhere! The music was pretty straightforward fast black metal in the vein of Judas Iscariot, Marduk, Mysticum, etc. It was mainly a band we created because Nargaeh'nroth would grab a guitar once in a while and he had a few riffs lying around. See nostalgia is kicking in again!

Ok, it passed.

Do you still want to improve your skills as composer and/or musician or your present abilities satisfies you completely?

I don't think any musician could say in their rightful mind that they are completely satisfied with their musical skills. Of course I still want to improve my skills, but the time I have available now to practice and improve is pretty scarce and I don't really have any bands to play in. I do want to start practicing drums again (when I finish renovating my new home studio) and I have been practicing my voice for a few years now singing in a cover band just to be able to still do some venues from time to time. It would be a nice thing to record a new album on drums soon, let's see what the future holds!

Until next time


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