Forever living in the wrong place at the wrong time. What I would give to have seen this in person.
Who is Wildernessking?
Keenan – Bass, Vocals
Dylan – Guitars
Jason – Drums
Jesse – Guitars
Can you give a brief history of the band for us?
Wildernessking was established in 2011, after we decided to change our name from Heathens. Keenan and Dylan formed Heathens in early 2010 as a fun, black ‘n roll project. Jason and Jesse joined later in the same year, and the music progressed naturally. We wrote more songs and grew to know each other musically, which opened up many avenues and allowed us to expand on the already evolving sound of the band. During the recording of the debut album, we decided to change our name to reflect a more adventurous sound. The Writing of Gods in the Sand was written during this transition phase, and is the first release under the new name.
Where do you draw your influences from, musically, naturally and culturally?
We’re rooted in South Africa, more specifically Cape Town, and are constantly inspired by the immense beauty of our homeland. Our city is composed of vast differences and we try to capture that same dynamic in every aspect of the band. We’re a mixed bag, culturally speaking. This does not have anything to do with the music though, or not on a conscious level at least. We’re strangely similar too, in regards to music and other facets of life, so we share certain ideals and outlooks, and goals and dreams.
Do you tend to distance yourselves from traditional Black Metal clichés due to your geographical location?
We play the music that we’re passionate about and enjoy, and express it in ways that we feel is relevant. Certainly, the fact that we’re located at the foot end of the world has something to do with us not approaching black metal in an orthodox manner. We listen to a variety of genres, so non-metal influences are bound to pop up in our music, and this is something we openly embrace.
As the name may suggest, does a lot of the Wildernessking content relate to the natural world around you?
Our natural world will always have a tight grip on Wildernessking, both musically and lyrically. Nature acts as the veil or the backdrop to our sound. From our personal experiences in the world around us, to the people who inhabit it, we are stimulated creatively, enamored and enraged. This results in a varied approach to the imagery, and opens up many roads, both old and new. When exploring the natural world, there is a well of inspiration to draw and drink from.
How do you manage to link the often frostbitten and wintery mood of Black Metal to the entirely unique South African setting?
As fans of the genre, we were drawn to that atmosphere, that particular mood a great black metal record can conjure. The clichés are in tact. We have the tremolo guitars, the shrieking vocals and the blast beats. We don’t make a conscious effort to ensure that all the right elements are in place to create a wintery, frostbitten feeling. A certain section in our songs might generate that kind of spirit. It seems to sprout more from our isolated and often harsh landscapes down here, rather than the arctic freeze up north.
How do you approach the writing process?
We write as a unit. Someone might bring in a riff or song pattern/structural idea, and we build from there. Sometimes we write from scratch, with no focal point. It’s a collaborative process, one that we refine as we go along.
You’re probably one of the first Black Metal bands I’ve seen from South Africa, is there much of a scene over there?
The black metal scene in South Africa is a minuscule one, as the general metal scene is a niche market. Because of this, the black metal scene isn’t a prevalent one at shows and festivals. From what we’ve observed, many bands tend to take the orthodox route, and rehash what already has been mastered abroad. In saying that, there are some bands forming every now and again, who manages to deliver in scope and approach, resulting in some good black metal.
What other bands should people keep an eye out for in your area?
The local bands/artists we enjoy are A Walk with the Wicked, Bateleur, Yes Sir! Mister Machine, Like Knives, Andrew James, Gary Thomas, Lark and Nihil (a great 2-piece atmospheric black metal project).
When you were approached by Antithetic Records, did this validate the existence of the band up until that point?
Definitely. It made us believe that other people might feel strongly about our music. There was a major turning point in our band after we received the e-mail from Shawn of Antithetic Records. We were driven to pursue the band more professionally and spend more time concentrating on and refining our sound. Suddenly being in a band was more than just releasing a few demos and hovering in the underground. We are extremely grateful for everything that Antithetic Records has done to help us make the debut record such a success.
Where has the release of “The Writing of Gods in the Sand” taken Wildernessking as a band?
The full-length has exposed Wildernessking to the rest of the world. Our goal with the album was to establish the band, to get our name out there. It has given us the opportunity to do things like this, to answer someone’s question, someone who lives on the other side of the world. The support has been great and we continue to take things one day at a time. Our focus will always be to write more material for the listeners who have been with and join us along the way.
Are you working on any new material currently?
We are currently finishing off a three-track EP called, And the Night Swept Us Away. It is a release centered on a song that was written during the recording of our debut album. Our intention was to get it out there, so we decided to record and produce two other tracks, making this more than just a single release. Apart from that, we are already quite deep in to the writing phase of our second full-length. We also have a split release scheduled for the end of the year with our label mates Young and in the Way. And next year we will be working on a collaborative split with Antithetic-approved The Great Old Ones, as well as a new full-length.
What can people expect from new Wildernessking?
There are quite a few releases expected in the year, and this opens up the door of opportunity to try fresh ideas in our songwriting. We hope to expand on different styles and elements in our music, some that may have only been briefly touched on in the past.
Have you ever considered taking a short trip over the Indian Ocean to Australia?
A few of us have relatives living in Australia, so it would be a great place to play shows and visit family. If we had the opportunity to meet up with some local bands and play a couple of gigs over there, we would definitely make a plan.
How would you describe a Wildernessking live experience, and is this an important aspect of the bands existence?
Live shows are extremely important to us, and we tend to spend a lot of time in the build up to an event. Whether it is a small club show or a large festival, we try to approach each performance in a different light. The atmosphere, the supporting bands and the crowd definitely guide us to deliver the songs in a unique manner on the night. There are different characteristics in our performance and playing that shines through on certain nights. So far, every show has produced fond memories.
Thank you for your time, any final thoughts?
It is an absolute pleasure. Thank you. We are very grateful for the interest and overseas support. You can find out more about Wildernessking, listen to our music and watch our videos at the following locations:
Who is Terzij de Horde?
We are five completely opposite personalities with a shared vision on life. Joost on vocals, Demian and Stefan on guitars, Richard on drums and Johan on bass.
Can you give us a brief history of the band?
Joost and Johan started 6 years ago, with two other friends and under another name, trying to play Extreme Noise Terror-styled grind. But as the line-up changed and the band improved, our past bands and tastes changed the music too, reflected in both the current sound and performance. The name had to follow. We have released one MCD/LP, “A Rage of Rapture against the Dying of the Light” on Antithetic Records and we have been able to tour and play for two years on those four songs and unreleased material, but with our split record coming up and a full-length on the horizon, things are changing for the better still.
What does Terzij de Horde mean?
Aside from the horde. It’s a line from a poem, ‘Einde’, by Hendrik Marsman, a Dutch poet. His dark vitalism and passion have been a real inspiration to us, and with a friend of ours having that line tattooed across his chest it was a small step to taking that name. We consciously decided to take a Dutch name, this line is harsh, fierce in sound and meaning and a perfect match to our message and music. How would you describe your sound? We tend to use the words “sensory overload’ a lot, and that’s what we are aiming for. We pour our passion, our energy and anger and ideas about the world into our music and hope that translates to listeners.
Can you highlight some of your key influences?
The style is an amalgamate of all our pasts and musical preferences. It is quite easy to hear influences like Deathspell Omega, Ash Borer, Wolves in the Throne Room, Neil Perry, Neurosis, 16 Horsepower, Khanate and the likes. But as can be seen from these names, it’s not the style or the label that counts, but rather the depth, the fierceness and creativity of spirit. So we all listen to black and doom metal and hardcore, but all of us are fans of folk, blues, screamo and some indie as well. An old delta blues record can contain far more darkness and power than a run-of-the-mill Nuclear Blast record.
How would you describe your local musical scene?
Utrecht has a great scene actually. With a couple of spaces available for bands of every underground ilk to play at, ACU and dB’s most notably, the underground is really productive. We as a band decided to start booking shows at dB’s under the moniker “Footprints In The Void” to give a place for bands that fall out of the standardised musical spectrum and we have been given full cooperation by the venue. So we have been able to put up shows for Thou, Aderlating, Celeste, Conan, Aesahaettr and Alkerdeel among many others. These shows have been great and often very well attended. Besides these shows, lots of bands have started these past years, so Utrecht is really making itself known in whatever scenes you’d like.
Are there any bands we should keep an eye out for?
For local bands, I’d especially check Northward, Laster and White Oak and -a little less local- Alkerdeel. All of them fall within the black metal spectrum, but explore completely different realms. Besides the locals, everything Gilead Media, Antithetic Records and Flenser Records release seems to be amazing.
Is that a banjo I can hear on The Roots of Doomsday Anxiety?
Who’s idea was it to include this, and was it an important part of setting yourselves apart from more common Black Metal conventions?
At that point Demian wasn’t a part of our band yet. But we as a band had already thought about making a bridge between “Roots…” and “Non Timetis Messor” using an instrument or a sample to accompany Johan’s poem “Bedrock, This”. While talking about that we started talking about 16 Horsepower and the darkness and pain that they are able to convey without any distortion or screaming. Suddenly we all realised that a banjo could be, should be the link between a song about eschatology and the rejection of deus ex machinae and a song dealing with grasping life and using it for all it’s worth. A banjo can encompass pain, melancholy, salvation, joy but all at the same time. We asked Demian to compose something, which we heard one day before recording started, but we all knew that it was perfect. Demian became part of Terzij de Horde instantly.
How would you describe the Terzij de Horde live experience?
A cathartic one. Since most of us come from a hardcore/screamo background, ignoring the props and “showmanship” that runs rampant in metal was easy. All we want is to let everything out, to grasp every single fucking moment of that show, to share the experience with those that are present and to be there, as honest and alive as can be. Is it difficult sometimes to transfer the atmosphere of recordings to the live format? I’d say it’s a problem the other way around. When listening to the recordings, I still tend to cringe every now and then – I would love to be able to capture the noise and rage of a live show one on one, but I don’t think that will ever happen. I’m really happy with our recordings throughout the years, but I don’t think they do our live shows any justice.
Are you currently working on any new material?
We have been for the past two years. We played a lot of shows, and we had to deal with several medical problems within the band, so it took us far too long, but at this point we’re consciously writing for a full-length which is really coming together now. With a bit of luck we can start recording within this year. Has the split with Starve come out yet? NO! FUCK! Badger Records’ Erik is a great guy, but he had to deal with a lot of things this year, so it took 6 months longer than expected/hoped for, but it seems like it’ll be here at the start of July. Fingers crossed.
What will a new Terzij de Horde record sound like?
Strangely enough more black metal. The overall sound has become more focussed I think and a lot of the riffing, when listened to at home, surprised us with being more like black metal than anything we have done before. But the songs we have now still have loads of elements in them, and I don’t think anybody who has listened to us before will be completely shocked. What have you tried to achieve on these new recordings? A more concise sound, a more matured band. For the first time Joost and Johan have started to write lyrics together and the picture of a complete band being their own masters is finally taking form. There’s less searching for a certain riff or sound and a far more confident writing and discussing.
Where can you see Terzij de Horde heading in the near future?
We are planning a tour with label mates The Great Old Ones at the end of the year, our full-length should be released around that time too, and after that: who knows. Touring in the US and Canada is a viable plan, and when the full-length is released and appreciated as much as our EP, which still leaves us baffled, I see no borders we can’t cross.
Thank you very much for your time, any final thoughts?
Thanks so much for this interview, it’s amazing to get a request from half a world away, home to Portal, Thrall and D666. Keep supporting local bands, local scenes, embrace your sins, resist oppression.
What is your name, and what is your involvement with Antithetic Records?
Shawn Sambol, I’m the owner/founder of the label.
How long have you been running the label?
Just under 2 years now. I opened an online store in June 2010. The first release was shipping that November (though we were working on it for months before).
What inspired you to start your own label?
I started getting into vinyl sometime in 2008. The first thing I bought was a Mastodon box set from Relapse. I thought I would just keep it as a collectible, but then I decided that I wanted to be able to listen to it too. Then I started buying some of my favourite albums on vinyl, and the list kept expanding. There were a few albums I looked for and couldn’t find any info on a vinyl pressing, which were the 3 maudlin of the Well albums, and The Postman Syndrome’s Terraforming. I decided that I would set out to press one of these myself. In addition to those albums, I wanted to press some really hard to find albums, or others that were never on vinyl (stuff from Tomahawk, Hum, Faith No More, Cynic). I quickly realized that this wasn’t an easy task, and it would be best to stick to albums that were put out on smaller labels (the major’s don’t give a shit about some guy wanting to release 1 album from their back catalog), or working with the bands themselves.
How did you approach the release of your first record, Maudlin of the Well was it?
I didn’t know what I was doing at first, so I sent some emails to a few label owner’s for some advise, then set out to email the bands I wanted to work with. I got a response from Toby Driver for my request to press the motW albums, but was told that the only one available (at the time) was Part the Second. I really had my heart set on doing Bath/Leaving Your Body Map, but I was very happy to get a positive response at all, and from someone who’s work I really admired. So I decided to move forward with it. Toby and I worked through the layout for all of the artwork, and getting the audio remastered for vinyl as well. It took such a long time! Something like 4-5 months after we decided to go through with the project, till we actually had the final product in hand. I really learned a lot from that release though. It’s been one of my most successful to date, we’re nearly sold out!
What do you look for in a band that you want to release?
I definitely need to be a big fan of their music first. I have also learned that it is a HUGE help if the band is active, and touring in support of the album that we are releasing. I’ve grown to be good friends with all of the bands that I’ve worked with, so that is certainly something else that is a plus! As for the musical style, I’m obviously a fan of metal and experimental/progressive styles. There is a lot of diversity in the Antithetic lineup, and I really enjoy working with a diverse group of bands. Sometimes I think that I’m at a disadvantage since I can’t just advertise that we offer metal records, but then I wouldn’t be doing what I really want with the label. In the end, I want to support what I enjoy, and that’s much more than just metal, so I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing!
Did it get easier to approach bands after you had a couple more releases under your belt?
Absolutely! There have been quite a few who have commented on the fact that we’ve done releases for some bigger bands, and that speaks for itself when you’re approaching someone new. Now that I’ve done this several times, I’m much more comfortable with the whole process, and I think that helps out when approaching a band as well. They like to know that the label owner is knowledgeable and can get things done! I’ve been told by a few of the bands we’ve worked with that the whole process was very smooth in comparison to some other labels. That was a huge compliment for me! It was great to hear that they were happy with everything, especially how the final product turned out.
What does the term DIY mean to you?
To me, DIY is much more than just “do it yourself”. Being an independent label, it means doing this for the love of the music and respect for the musicians. I try to carry over the DIY aspect into our packaging when I can, making patches, having jackets, etc printed at local print shops, and I’ll soon be doing more screen printing in the future. It’s cool when people get one of your releases and send you a personal thank you because they know it was just you that made it happen, and not a large record label. I don’t want to lose that touch. I hope that all of our releases have some element of DIY in them, especially our vinyl output.
What’s coming out soon that people can get excited about?
We’ve got the Kayo Dot – Gamma Knife vinyl & Digipack CD, Wildernessking 2xLP, The Great Old Ones 2xLP, maudlin of the Well’s My Fruit Psychobells 2xLP, a release by Nick Hudson with guest appearances by Toby Driver, Greg Massi, Stuart Dahlquist, and many others, a release w/ Blood Bright Star (featuring Reuben Sawyer of Rainbath Visual), and a split between Botanist and Palace of Worms! There’s talk of a couple splits with Young and in the Way as well. It’s a ridiculously busy release schedule for sure, and the timing of some of these may shift a bit depending on finances, but they’re all confirmed and we’re stoked to be a part of them!
Thanks heaps for your time, any final thoughts?
Thanks so much for reaching out and doing this interview!
Website – http://www.antitheticrecords.com/
Bandcamp – http://antitheticrecords.bandcamp.com/
Twitter – http://twitter.com/AntitheticRcrds
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AntitheticRecords
This is a great band from the states that I did a brief interview with for Issue 7. I’ll post the interview later, but in the meantime, watch this epic VT.
Who is Ensorcelor?
Ensorcelor is Hal, Mike, Jonah, Yailen and Sam.
Can you give a brief history of the band?
Hal, Mike, Yailen and I started playing music together probably in 2009 at some point; since that time we’ve gone through four drummers and I think it’s safe to say have gotten sadder and slower.
How would you describe the Ensorcelor sound?
Sad and slow. It’s interesting to read reviews that focus on how much “hate and suffering” we can convey. “hate” is not a word that I ever would have associated with Ensorcelor, and in a lot of ways, it’s probably the least angry-sounding band i’ve ever been in. At least I personally am less angry. Everything we’ve released up until this point has been more about resignation and confusion and . . . perhaps the irrelevance of hope.
What inspired you to start a project such as this?
It’s hard to say. Or maybe just hard to remember. I think in the beginning we had the idea of it being a slightly more stoner metal project. But I am incapable of singing without screaming, and so I think from that practical reality the blackening began.
What influences you culturally, musically and personally?
Fuck, what doesn’t? Musically, I think the two bands that over and over make me think “what can we learn from this? how can we ever bring this alive in what we do?” are The Cure and Neil Young. This spring Mike and I found ourselves in a treehouse in the woods in Norway listening to Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” too slow on a record player, and it was just mind blowing, and Faith is probably one of the darkest albums ever recorded, but it’s one that I think defies an easy classification of the emotional atmosphere it creates. It is not black, it’s grey. It feels lost and alone and confused, but it is not clear whether this is an articulation of the deepest sorrow or of the dull, blank, evacuation that remains when sorrow runs out.
Is nature an important theme in your songs? What else do you express in your writing?
Nature has definitely played a big part in our lyrics in the past, but it’s not something I want to define us. For one thing because I think “nature” is already such an object, and really a -product- of romanticization, and for another, does the world really need one more fucking “nature metal” band? I find the intersection of nature and nationalism in black metal to be really interesting, because it’s such a classic fascist gesture to make the people and the land one. Of course, not only or always fascist, but I think it’s pretty bald a lot of the time.
Both of the songs on Crucifuge though were about using ideas of nature to problematize the species boundary, and that’s something that I wish I had pursued further – there is definitely a trace of the sort of “lose yourself in the infinity, we are all one” rhetoric that totally reeks of new age spiritualism, and that’s definitely not where I want to go with things. I’m more interested in asking why it is that we find these narratives of returning to origins, of de-differentiation, or even of cosmic erasure so attractive and comforting? Lately i’ve been thinking more about bacteria and virology – microbiology at the limits of life, or definitions of life that challenge the content of biology. I’ve said in the past that while -Urarctica Begins- was all about destruction, about total death, the Mors Ontologica, -Crucifuge- is more about life and life systems, and I think now “life” is something that I want to go beyond a little. Although who knows, maybe the next record will just be about orcs or getting drunk or some shit.
Would you describe the Ensorcelor live experience as somewhat ritualistic?
Only to the extent that any and every performance has an element of ritual. So no. Rituals have a purpose, they are enacted to please a god or a community. There is very little that is prescribed or really intentional about Ensorcelor, even if at times the material trapping of familiar rituals (candles, carvings, goblets) have made their way into our performances.
Is this an important part of the band’s existence?
If there is a ritual element, then it involves everyone in attendance. You’d have to ask them what is important.
Have you been working on any new material since Crucifuge?
Yes, we have two split records coming out some time in the next year, with Moloch and Lycus, respectively, and have since been working on some stuff that hopefully will become the basis of a full-length.
What can we expect to hear in a new Ensorcelor record?
The record with Lycus is the newer material, and I think it just picks up where Crucifuge left off. Sadder and slower.
Who should we check out and support in your area?
XOTHOGUA is another sludgy band from Montréal, who are good friends of ours. A little more stoney, a little less blackened, and I would say a lot more weird. VILE INTENT is a phenomenal power violence band that one of our ex-drummers plays in, and they are so severely crushing, and also tour a lot, so you’re actually likely to see them if you live outside of Montréal, unlike us. USA OUT OF VIETNAM is another great band, if you like heavy, emotionally manipulative post-rock.
Thank you for your time, any last words?
There is a really tremendous amount of misogyny and homophobia in the metal scene, and it’s fucking tiresome. If I never have to hear a song that thoughtlessly or “provocatively” uses the word rape again, it’ll be too soon.