Fragen: Erik | Antworten: M:W | Übersetzung: - | Datum: 02.04.2013
(1) Thank you very much for being available for this interview. Who am I talking to?
You're talking to M:W
(2) Please tell us about the phases of development TK has gone through so far. With respect to your online presence, TK has been founded in 2010 - how and why did your project start in the first place? Has the line-up been stable since the very beginning? Do you think that further line-up changes may be possible?
Around 2010, we exchanged some ideas and jammed a little bit. I had tried to find a vocalist for several years before, on the other hand I already had a lot of material. I.H. also brought in some older ideas/riffs. It practically all started with the song "Zornissen", which was already finished back then. I.H. did the vocal parts and it all came together very well. As a result of that, we started developing new pieces together, like I Ginnungagap.
The line-up has remained steady since the beginning, and besides looking for a drummer, we never considered including anybody else. But of course it's not impossible that we might add more musicians to the core-lineup, if that should happen to be convenient.
(3) Although you're publicly stating that M.W. is taking care of instruments and arrangements while I.H. is performing vocals, I'd be interested in the overall balances of power within the band. Can one of you be considered the artistic mastermind behind TK, or is it of truly collaborative nature? Who is writing the music, lyrics, doing artwork, etc? Where do you take the creativity from?
I focus clearly on composition, arrangement and production, whereas I.H.'s priority is to write the lyrics and perform the vocals. It just turned out that way, and I think that TK can only function like this, with everybody doing what he/she does best and also being the mastermind of his/her own field. But of course there can also be overlappings, for example if I.H. creates riffs or if I make some suggestions for the rhythm and phrasing of the vocals or contribute lyrical ideas. In the end, it all has to be in tune with the general concept and intention. For the artwork, I.H. designed the inside of the gatefold in cooperation with a friend of hers. I designed the logo, the Unigramm-Sigil and the cover. we did The website and flyers together, and we also share the promotional activities, interviews etc. So one could call it a collaboration.
I get inspired by all kinds of things, especially by human beings and encounters, by nature, dreams, philosophy/theology, shamanism, deities, the fragility of our existence etc. On one hand, the composing process involves thought, deliberation, arrangement etc., but on the other hand the role of intuition should not be underestimated. Surely creativity is a kind of energy, a kind of productive, unbridled principle beyond all limits and boundaries, with which one can establish a connection. From a mystical viewpoint, I create the framework conditions, I summon this power and practically ally myself with it, and the final result is a piece of music.
(4) You're representing one of the vast minority of bands within the genre, having a female vocalist. Has this been an utterly conscious decision, or rather the implications of the run of past events? Pardon me if I dare to say, that the vocals on your debut do not actually suggest a women behind the mic - has this been intentional? Are you longing for further refinement and progress and/or diversification concerning vocal lines?
I.H. had the ambition to do the vocals, and I encouraged her to try. In the future, there will be even more diversity in the vocals, be it for the use of different techniques or also just for the fact that one or another part will be performed by myself.
If I didn't know for sure, maybe I wouldn't be able to recognize that the vocals were performed by a female singer either, besides in the spoken passages, where it is obvious. Maybe this is a good thing, because it keeps people from focusing too much on this aspect and lets them perceive the music as a whole instead.
(5) Let's talk about lyrics. Extrapolating from information available, the lyrics are Norwegian to a considerable degree - assuming none of you is a native speaker (correct me otherwise). Do you write lyrics on your own? Why have you chosen Norwegian to fit best for your music? What's the percentual degree of other languages you sing in?
Yes, that's right. The majority of the lyrics are in Norwegian, as the language and its sounds are best suited to carry the mood, which was the main purpose of the vocals. Norwegian was also used because of I.H.'s preference for this language. The lyrics are all written by herself, later we asked a friend to review them.
We decided not to limit our language, because each language also entails a musical element and its sound conveys a special feeling, which can fit into a musical passage better or worse. The idea to mix different languages in a text was used in "I Ginnungagap" and fits well with our eclectic point of view.
In some passages the lyrics are intuitive, even a little chaotic and scrappy, resulting from the idea of a primary consciousness, value-free and superior, and not necessarily contiguously revealed to us.
(6) Please tell us about the content, meaning and (personal) objectives concerning your lyrics. You are seemingly highly spiritual individuals; how does this affect TK as abstract concept in general, the atmosphere you carefully craft within your songs, your lyrics, and your personal way of life?
Transformation was a main theme, which was illuminated from different angles in different situations. All of us have had the experience that learned structures have stopped working and we were forced to destroy them in order to develop. The concept is based on these experiences. You can see this process in the development of the songs, starting with Zornissen and being mostly finished with the lyrics of I Ginnungagap, which have gone through a certain amount of change.
(7) Your are using your initials as pseudonyms. How important is anonymity for you? Is it just to prevent disgressing from the actual audible concept, or do you simply consider it something rather irrelevant?
The decision to use initials puts the art itself at the centre and the people behind it become indistinct. Furthermore, the pictures are hiding much more than they reveal.
We both care a lot about our privacy, but you should not expect that such a thing - as soon as you step to the public - especially the Internet - is respected. There are writers and sites like dis”cocks” who deliberately spread the real name behind the pseudonyms of artists. Therefore, the initials are certainly not the most sophisticated camouflage to protect ourselves from the curiosity.
(8) Aside music and lyrics, you tend to enrich the band's very foundations also (and particularly) through graphical art. Could you describe the deeper meaning of your band-logo? Do you take care of artworks by yourself too?
It's important for us to give more authenticity to the work as a whole. Therefore, we design the artwork itself and also want to be independent. For the musical presentation, it's necessary to comply an visually suitable framework. For example, to reflect the time when we wrote this EP, with all its turmoil and devastation, we chose the shrine haunted by plagues as the cover.
The unigram Sigil, composed of different symbols from different backgrounds, visualizes the interface between the individual striving for consciousness, true will and eternal primal consciousness.
(9) Please complement the following five buzz-words shortly:
Satanism & occultism:
Satanism and occultism can certainly be a self-liberating tool for individuals striving for the expansion of consciousness. But you can be confronted with new conditionings and dogmas way too fast. The longed-for freedom is replaced by a new adaptation and dependence. For me, such beliefs are just tools that you should not always take literally, because this wouldn't match the individuality of human beings.
I am convinced that within the occult there is an inexhaustible source of powers and energies which you can use if you have the appropriate sensitivity. Surely you can associate TK with the occult, as we deal in fact with these hidden energies.
Relationship with nature:
If you interpret nature as everything untouched by mankind, you have to realize how perfect this supposed chaos is. Everything seems to be trying to establish some kind of balance, even though it seems anything but harmonious to us. A good balance with nature and its essence is very important to me and so I'm trying to spend time in untouched forests or areas. On the other hand, Temple Koludra is an individual instrument to counteract the dehumanization and spiritual mutilation of modern humans and to express the natural, chaotic energies and opportunities; unleashed, untamed, full of raw energy and emotions.
I haven't heard the term Orthodox-BM Movement very often, even though I admit to be impressed by bands like Watain and Deathspell Omega. For example, when I was looking for records on Ebay, I noticed in the search results that many bands have emerged that present themselves in this guise with their cover art or their alleged content. This looks like free-riding to me, because especially Watain have established a successful niche with the satanic orthodox belief and the sense of really interesting music and aesthetics. Usually people then try to capitalize on this success. So I really think there is an adaptation of this "success model", by mostly irrelevant bands. You could compare this to the True Norwegian Black Metal slogan in the mid 1990s. If orthodox means a return to a spiritual approach, then I agree with this, of course.
I rarely go to concerts and have to admit that for a long time, I have listened to little black metal besides the classics. Not until 2-3 years ago I discovered some gems like Deathspell Omega or 1349. Another very positive surprise are the newer Burzum albums.
On the one hand I think it's good to be able to cherry-pick out of the sheer mass of existing bands. Despite this variety, I think that every so often a band making great music can succeed and their records are still bought, because there are enough enthusiasts out there. A negative aspect is the loss of appreciation caused by the easy availability. I grew up having to wait for days or weeks until I received a recorded or copied tape. So it was appreciated accordingly. Today, people have thousands of songs on their hard drives, which possibly have very little relevance to them.
One can not oppose this development, and you have to accept that that's the way it is nowadays. In the end, I do not make music for a living, but out of passion. But publication and production are pricey, that should be clear to everyone. Therefore it's important that artists are at least able to cover the production costs, as long as these are not exorbitant, like it would be the case with Metallica etc. One way to cope with piracy is by delivering something worthy to the listener, that's why I like to mainly release Vinyl and look at the CD only as a supplement, because vinyl is not equivalent to digital recording and the sound is better anyway.
(10) The production quality of your debut release is outstanding. Have you done all recording/mixing/mastering processes by yourself? Have you gained experience in these areas before? How long did it take to finalize the recordings?
Thanks. All recording for the EP was done at my home, the vocals and the song "Panta Rhei" at I.H.'s. The entire production took about a year. It was very important to build a strong foundation for subsequent mixing. For mixing and mastering, we went to the Woodhouse studio of V.Santura (Dark Fortress, Tryptykon) for four days. This raised the audio quality to a whole different level, because V.Santura is an expert in his field.
Personally, I have started recording over 10 years ago and improved gradually. In addition, I have also made recordings for others and still do that from time to time, which of course also expands my abilities and experiences.
(11) According to my research, you have never played live (with TK) - is this correct? Do you intend to do live performances in the near future or would you consider TK being a studio-only band? What is your general opinion on performing live among the Black Metal genre?
So far nothing is planned, so the right people would have to come together. Now with the EP released, there may be a better chance to find eligible and interested musicians. A live performance should be a kind of ceremony and really leave a strong impression on all those involved. Most concerts unfortunately fail to do so, and therefore I am rather bored by black metal concerts.
(12) An interview classic: What are your main musical influences? Are there any artists (not necessarily restricted to musicians only) you would consider having a strong influence on what TK is representing, both musically and/or spiritually? One could possibly guess POSSESSED may fall into this category?
Metallica and Iron Maiden made me pick up a guitar in 1991 and quickly I explored everything from Thrash/Death Metal to Black Metal. The years from 1993 to 1997 certainly left their mark on me, because it was a time of incredible releases: Emperor, Dissection, Mayhem, Thorns, Limbonic Art etc. Music now reached me on a whole new level. The encounter with Black Metal in the early nineties was definitely a kind of key experience and crucial to my development in terms of a basic understanding of the meaning and experience of music, and for sure also crucial in a spiritual manner. Black Metal focused on the atavistic and ritualistic nature of music, as well as on nature itself, which we also try to do with Temple Koludra. In addition, I would list Ennio Morricione and Dead Can Dance as all time faves. Although I mainly listened to metal in the beginning, over the years I began to broaden my horizon, from the beginnings of rock music (e.g. The Doors) to traditional and ritual music from different cultures. I'm primarily inspired by the music itself, but sometimes also by interesting personalities or ideas behind it.
Seven Churches by Possessed was one of my first death metal records ever. Somehow I had always played with the idea of covering Fallen Angel, but repeatedly dismissed it until autumn 2011. One evening I once again thought about it, started figuring out the music and recorded it in its entirety (with the exception of some details) the same night. I.H. added the vocals later.
(13) Is there any particular reason for utilizing a drum-computer rather than having a dedicated drummer in the band? This question is especially interesting, since your drum sound and arrangement tends to be very natural anyway.
So far we haven't found a suitable drummer, hence the programmed drums. If you try hard and program wisely, it can be very difficult to distinguish between a “real” drummer and a machine. It takes time, of course, to optimize everything and I spent weeks to create an organic sound. Some fills were improved by a drummer at the final arrangement. In the final mix, the sound unfortunately became a bit sterile and mechanical, which, considering the short time we had available, is not surprising. The drum samples sounded much more authentic before the final mix, and it is a stated goal to improve this in the next mix.
Many metal acts already quantize their recorded drumtracks in the studio, so the sound of their hand-played drums gravitates towards programmed drums again. I am aware that metal listeners react allergic to this subject, surely as a result of bad examples, or just of the thought that music should require physical work.
(14) How many copies of your debut have been made? Is there any hard limitation on either the release itself, or the additional 7"? What is your general opinion on enforcing limited pressings within black metal? Is there a reason you don't provide the opportunity of a solely digital purchase?
We made a run of 500, and the EP is only available in this Vinyl/CD combination. This fact seems to be omitted in the reviews, and they sometimes leave the impression that it is just a normal CD. The intention was clearly to offer something worthy to the listener, something you can not download at the same quality.
I think that in our situation, a limited edition is the obvious choice, and we will keep it limited, because we want it to remain something special. But yes, we observe more and more that albums appear in different pressings (e.g. color). I find this rather unnecessary and only justifiable from an economic point of view.
(15) Your recently released debut EP has earned considerable acclaim within several well-established genre-specific online platforms across the web. Did you expect such great feedback? Do you think that the critics draw an adequate picture of what you originally intended with this release?
Yes, the press reviews are almost unanimously very positive. We are delighted that our music is being registered in the flood of releases at all. Good reviews are of course a solid foundation, but it remains to be seen whether this will catch people's attention and spread the EP. Of course there are some points in the reviews that coincide with my opinion. I have some quite precise explanations as to why the songs sound the way they do, but I think it is better to cast a veil of silence over it to not pre-empt the listener's own thoughts. Even being its creator, it can be very difficult to do the art justice with explanations. The compositions thrive upon ambiguity and many subtle elements. Lyrics and music form an abstract unit playing with innuendo and should not be taken too literally. Maybe everyone will find an individual approach which will remain incomprehensible for others. As an artist, you still have to be fairly immune against criticism, because you should already know yourself what of the work can be criticized. A critique can never paint a clear picture, it is ultimately an interpretation. Your review impressed me none the less, because you obviously dealt intensively with our music.
(16) You obviously like to experiment beyond the borders of traditional instruments in black metal, especially regarding the utilization of samples and other, partly exotic sounds. What has led you to this decision? Do you see sampling as tool solely for augmenting the audible atmosphere you create, or are you purposely trying to extend the conventional boundaries of common stylistics among the black metal genre by doing so? Have you recorded any non-synthesized non-stringed instruments for your debut?
On one hand, I see Temple Koludra firmly rooted in black metal. Often, distorted guitars alone are not enough to express what I want to express and create. For me, composing is painting a picture from many different sounds, some more present, some more subtle. Making music has always meant evolution and progress to me, which makes a large repertoire of sounds extremely useful, especially to create new sonic worlds. I also like artists such as Muse, Depeche Mode, Yann Tiersen or NIN, who manage to create homogeneous albums in spite of a variety of sounds and moods
On the EP, samples were used for everything besides the string instruments. In I Ginnungagap for example, a hammered dulcimer can be heard. Meanwhile, I've obtained a real hammered dulcimer and have also recorded with this instrument. There are other exotic instruments that I try to use and experiment with, but I'd like to wait for the right time to reveal more.
(17) Please tell us your very personal definition of "Art". How does it relate to publicity, commerce, consumer consciousness, spiritual awareness and "trend"?
Art, to me, is meeting a very basic human need and the communication of the unspeakable, creating new worlds and realities. Art retains its value through integrity, timelessness, soulfulness and deep passion. Art wants to be discovered and can therefore never be a mass "product", because it addresses only certain people that are susceptible for whatever reason. Opinions and expectations of others should not matter to the artist. Yet art is of course a basis for interaction between artists and art consumers.
I try to transform many things that seem important to me and define me as a person into the music. The publication then provides me with a way to consider something as completed, to rid myself of ballast.
Besides that, a publication can provide opportunities and liberties in order to pursue this passion even more intensively. Therefore, we are open-minded about commercial "success" without reservations, as long as one remains faithful to the principles of artistic creation. It must not become an ordinary job in order to earn your livelihood. Huge parts of the music and art scene suffer from this phenomenon, which leads to art being performed as some kind of service delivery. Art needs a certain amount of space and no time dictations etc.
Trends are meaningless to me and I can't take people who follow any obvious trend seriously.
(18) Finally, please tell us about the mid- and long-term future of TK. What directions are you heading to? Are there any plans for further releases, maybe an upcoming full-length album?
The songs of the recently released EP emerged from 2010 to 2012 (with partially preserved fragments that are much older) and have therefore already started to collect some dust. I'm currently working on new compositions. But again, I do not want to reveal too much, except that there is currently enough material in a narrow selection for a new album, largely already arranged and recorded. Musically and conceptually, it is an extension of what has already been indicated by the EP, but will cover a much wider range in every respect. Also, in my opinion, it is another step away from traditional patterns, which can partially be found on the EP.
Currently we are very busy with promotion activities and strive to become known all over the world in order to firmly establish the name Temple Koludra
(19) Thank you very much for your time - the last word is yours.
Thank you, Erik, for your attention and passionate discussion of Temple Koludra. And to all open-minded readers, I recommend buying our EP at www.templekoludra.bigcartel.com.
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