First of all, I would like to know your opinion about the anonymity of a swedish band like Ghost? In 2012, in a world post-modern, with all these new technologies, you think it could be utopic to want to protect/mask his identity? What is your approach about that?
Nowadays anyone can do a little detective work on the internet and anyone can post anything at any forum whether or not it is the truth. The question I ask myself is why people want to know who are behind the masks. I personally like to partake in the fantasy presented. trying to unmask them on the internet and taking away the mystique is just ruining it for yourself. Anyway, in the long run I don’t think that it really matters. Those who like it are there to see that dark pope and that is what they will see whether or not they think they know who they guy behind the mask is. In our case, the connection to Breach is no secret but isn’t it more exciting not knowing who´s who and to view us as something otherwordly instead ? We´re trying to create something that suits the music and further enhances the atmosphere of it.
In three words: scary, monolithic and cold. How did you manage to organise your ideas/inspirations into the whole writing process of "The Tunnels", something so homogene?
It started with me fooling around with old ideas, experimenting with different effects and letting myself be taken in directions I wasn´t really used to. When I felt I was on to something, one idea gave birth to the next and the whole process took on a life of its own. The only clear intent I had was that I wanted it to be dark and meditative. Since it was new ground and a new way of writing songs for me it was very exciting and my head flooded with ideas I wanted to try out. I had gotten pretty bored with music and playing in bands and now it was fun again. Before, while writing music I would have a clear idea that I then would try to play out and now, instead I kind of let the fragments I had take me in whatever direction they wanted to take me. So often one has an idea that sounds good in the head but when rehearsed is so disappointing. sometimes something I´d read could evoke a feeling I would try to translate into music, recording it immediately and then let the sketches tell me what to do next. Or while meditating I could have sensations I wanted to put sound to. I recorded bits and pieces that I could present to the others instead of trying to convince them that it is a good idea to play the same theme for five minutes while in rehearsal, me being the only one hearing all nuances. this made out a platform we would then keep building on, letting the music guide us instead of us guiding it towards a goal already set. While in the finishing stages I wanted to create a feeling of connection as if the tracks were chapters in a book or different stages on a voyage and to put the tracks in a sequence so that the album would become a pathworking of sorts. A guided meditation through the darkness of the listeners own mind. And I´m not speaking about darkness as in good or evil but as in the unknown, uncharted territories of the soul where you may encounter monsters but also find hidden treasures that you can drag out into the light.
According to you, what are the ideal conditions for listening to your album?
I wish that those who listen to the album would listen to it from beginning to end, preferably in a meditative state with headphones and the lights off. Or maybe while taking walks outdoors far away from manmade structures. I don’t think the ideal setting is a party or quiet in the background while reading a book or cleaning. Listen to it loud and meditate on it. That was my ambition anyway.
You announced that the new record was recorded. What were your sources of inspiration for this new album? What do you think is the main difference between your first full-length and this new?
Like I said before one idea gave birth to the next and when we we´re finished with the Tunnels I just kept going. Some of the songs on the new album I had already laid down some sketches on while working with The Tunnels but I felt that they didn´t really suit that album. So the source of inspiration I have to say is The Tunnels. Its hard for me to point out the differences between The Tunnels and the new album because I´ve tried to stay away from The Tunnels while working on the new album. I wanted the process to keep going without taking too many impressions from The Tunnels. But my ambitions were to make the songs a bit more structured and working more with different parts. On The Tunnels we worked with slight variations on the same theme. I´m not saying there´s not some of that to but I think we took that as far as we could on The Tunnels. Also I think that there´s more vocals on the new album. I say “I think” because on The Tunnels some of the vocals were so low in the mix that people thought they were just sound effects. So where people hear a song that’s mostly instrumental but with lots of ambient stuff I hear a lot of vocals also. It wasn’t a mistake that they are low in the mix but I guess me knowing that they are there makes them more audible to me. So maybe there is not more vocals on the new album but instead vocals that are easier to make out? Anyway, we have finished the recording but still have work to do so I cant really say anymore than that.
"Also it enables me to draw a distinct line between Terra Tenebrosa and the real me. Since Terra Tenebrosa is kind of a manifestation of the darkness within me I don’t want that manifestation to blend with my everyday life." These sentences are really interesting.. can you explain me what are the sources of this darkness? You seem to be truly disappointed with the humanity.. inside your 2LP, you quote Jiddu Krishnamurti: "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
Since my younger teens I´ve been carrying around with me a feeling of balancing between darkness and light. Even in my happiest moments I´ve always been aware of that darkness and I´ve always felt haunted by something that will overpower me if I´m not careful. Something that scares me but also something I have been drawn to. Once again, Im not talking about darkness in the sense of evil but as something I cant really make out and something I don’t understand. Sometimes it feels destructive but I think only because I don’t understand it and I believe that if I explore it carefully it is something that will enrich me as a human being. Like diving into the ocean, once down there you will discover a beautiful world but from up here you only see an abyss. At the risk of sounding pretentious, The music of Terra Tenebrosa for me is bits and pieces of things hidden in that ocean that I am taking up to the surface. So while trying to translate all those feelings and thoughts into music I´m exploring that darkness and as with any ritual you want a distinct beginning and end of it. Also the persona and mask I´m hiding behind is a representative of that dark unknown for me. When I made the first mask of The Cuckoo I was trying to mimic a face I´ve seen in dreams and visions several times and I chose the name The Cuckoo, although I´ve been ascribing other meanings to it as well, because of the entity with the same name that haunts peoples dreams in the Sandman books. Anyway, in the end it´s only music and Terra Tenebrosa is only a band but for me, in the process of making that music, I have to dive deep and you hear a lot of my emotions in it.
I don’t think disappointed is the right word. That suggests that I have had any hopes to begin with. Anyone in their right mind reflecting on this world should be filled with disgust. Humanity in its present form is leading a meaningless and destructive existence. we exploit our surroundings to the point where we make it uninhabitable, we erase species and plants from this earth, we kill each other and ourselves, some starve to death while others have an abundance so great it should choke them, governments telling people what to think and feel, every small outburst of trying to steer this in the right direction is considered antisocial, media controlling us through fear and disinformation, religion preventing people from really opening their eyes, we´re moving faster and faster in the wrong direction and we don’t stop to think about what we´re doing, we don’t have the time or the strength to stop and think because of a society that will run us over if we don’t keep up the pace. But I think a big change is about to come. I sense an increasing restlessness both in man and in nature. Don’t know what kind of change but I think the time has come to take the next step in evolution. I put my hopes in a future breed, something truly human or maybe more than human, something godlike. Society is stifling us, force-feeding us shit and turning our souls into sewers.
How did you come to work with the label Trust No One Recordings? I love the approach of Tim: few releases, but only fascinating. Quality over quantity.
I´ve known Tim for a long time. We rehearse at the same place and have been doing so for the last 10-15 years I think. I have never had any good experiences with record labels, big or small, but Tim is straightforward, a good friend and I trust him all the way. Also I knew his taste in music so I sent him a couple of songs with no greater intent than to hear his opinion. He liked it so I kept sending him stuff and at some point we started talking about releasing it.
You told me some month ago that you could be interested playing live your music. Do you have some (good) news about that? Can we hope to see you in France soon?
We are rehearsing but it’s a slow process since it’s a bit more complicated than to just plug in the guitars and start to play. I personally don’t want to cut back on things to be able to play live, as far it is possible I want the music to sound like it does on the record. And we all have full time jobs, families and we don’t even live in the same city. Also We´ve been working on the new album. That might seem unnecessary to have a full- length ready this close to the release of The Tunnels but we were already in the process of making the new album even before The Tunnels was released. And I personally cant leave things hanging, I have to finish one thing before I can move on and whenever an idea arises I have to record it. Since we are done with the recording we have more time to focus on taking it to the stage. But it´s not only the musical aspect. The masks we wear on photos I made in papier mache and for me to be able to sing I had to find someone who could do The Cuckoos mask in a more flexible material. I now have a mask I latex but I´m still working on the designs of the others. Looking at the photos now I´m not that happy about them. So there´s still much work to be done but we have set a goal to be able to play live after the summer. It might happen before but when we are ready I really hope we will able to come to France.
"Apokatastasis", the unreleased track available on our third compilation, was recorded in the same period like "The Tunnels"? Can you give us more informations about this song? Why you decided to not put all the recorded tracks on your full-length?
“Apokatastasis” was one of the first tracks recorded but when choosing from all the material it didn’t quite fit The Tunnels. I couldn’t fit it in anywhere on the record apart from making it the opening track and that spot was reserved for “The Teranbos prayer”. Glad it made it onto your compilation though! And about the other tracks that didn´t make it, I just didn’t want the record to be too long. The music is quite demanding and I felt that if it were too long it would just make the listener shut down. At first we weren’t talking about releasing it on vinyl, and since it was too long for only two sides we ended up putting “Breaking open the head” on side D for no other reason than that it was the longest track we had left.
Sleep, Black Sabbath, At The Drive In, Refused, AND SO ON... What do you think of this phenomenom of reunion? Interesting or sad? I guess a lot of people would like that I add now a question about that. I guess so.
Personally I´m quite happy that Kiss decided to reunite in the 90´s, giving me the opportunity to see my childhood heroes, although they have taken it too far now. All nonsense about doing it for the fans and what not is just pathetic. It´s all about the money. Its great for those who want to see the bands, those who don’t can sit at home listening to the old records and maybe sometimes the bands themselves have a good time. Although, in most cases I don’t think they do. The only thing sad is that many times what they are doing today overshadows what they have done in the past. That goes for all the bands that wont quit in time as well. I really hope that this project wont become one of those but I don’t think that will happen. We´re not making our living playing music so for that reason alone I don’t think that we´re in the danger zone. When I no longer like what I hear or don’t think this is exciting I will terminate Terra Tenebrosa.