Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Gig review: Nadja, Elin Piel

For the hundredth time, I've entered a bit of a lull period with posting things. Life has been extremely difficult in the past few months and what little energy was left to spare was used on other things. Which is somewhat sad, since I've attended a few great concerts (Wolves In The Throne Room and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, to name a few) and simply didn't have the willpower to write about. C'est la vie! 

Tour poster taken from Nadja facebook page, found here

The concert took place yesterday evening, namely 23rd of May 2023, at a venue called Oceanen in Gothenburg, Sweden. Never been to this locale before, but I must say that the choice was superb for this kind of event. Getting to the back side of the building through a cafe garden leads you to tiny half glass, half wooden entry hall which takes you to the room with a bar and a small stage at the far end. Usually I find drone and noise concerts to be a bit extra demanding on the venue and its acoustics, since if the location is not up to the task it could be quite detrimental to the experience, even more so than compared to the regular strings/drums/vocals acts. Oceanen managed to pull its weight and proved to be an excellent host for the occasion, with truly great containment of sound and a miniscule addition of its own tones which actually contributed to the whole experience. 

Elin Piel was the first to take the stage, standing in front of a small table filled to the brim with synthesizer electronics. I was instantly hooked to the sound as the venue was slowly flooded by gentle tones quickly transforming into a harsh, pulsating wall of noise. The said harshness and crackling was brought to extremes, swallowing the crowd, but periodically broken by calming blips in a sea of noise. Just when you think that the sound is on its way to become even more aggressive and nigh unbearable, it slowly swings into a kind of relaxing and almost meditative binaural blip therapy. In my mind, the entire session was a sort of a clash between this truly heavy, industrial-like monstrosity being wrapped in an innocent, nature-infused gentleness. A big part of the whole experience was witnessing how Elin shapes the soundscape, a constant moving of hands which were manipulating buttons, knobs, plugging and unplugging and rearranging the cables, swinging between the two opposites of sound. 
This part of the evening was a complete surprise to me and truly wonderful at that. I'm excited that Elin actually lives in Gothenburg, so hopefully some time in the near future I'll be able to attend another show. Definite recommendation to anyone reading this to check out Elin's work, which can be done on bandcamp here


Ah, Nadja. It actually took me several deep breaths and a few minutes of contemplation to actually come up with words that will open this following paragraph. Nadja is simply one of those projects which radiate a specific kind of energy and demand a certain type of respect from the listener. Personally, I am amazed and in utter awe of long running projects which never seem to slow down their pace and in fact become more and more brilliant over time. I get similar emotions about "Envy", who bring a tear to my eye when I consider their endurance and influence on the screamo genre as a whole, about which I wrote here. Or, in a different genre, when I think of "Thou", a band with so much passion infused with inexplicable quantities of hard work and dedication to their craft for almost 20 years straight. 
Simply put, Nadja is exactly like that in their field of music. They've been creating their soundscapes ever since 2003. and have never stopped to amaze with their process of two decades of metamorphosis. Pushing the boundaries with every release, year after year of experimentation and developing their craft, they've become more marvelous with each of their steps. Even if you are not familiar with the entirety of their career, simply knowing a small amount of their repertoire and history is bound to produce a certain kind of awe in you, if anything by the sheer volume of work put into their music. 
And frankly, that being said, reviewing their live performance is rather pointless and almost dull, in comparison to the actual experience one gets on their shows. There's just this special something that Aidan and Leah do with their sound that is so powerful and beautiful, but so maddeningly indescribable and fleeting. The second they went on stage, that aforementioned power was undeniably present and the sound which they unleashed instantly had that special Nadja ingredient. The sheer amount of deafening and nigh violent audio was overwhelming, but at the same time soothing and self-reflective, both quirks so unmistakably Nadja. 
I saw them perform once before and back then I remember the drum machine was not used extensively. Now however, it seemed like an integral part in the soundscape which they were weaving and it somehow gave them a little bit of steady ground, making them a step closer to resembling a metal band, and I use this term extremely lightly. Trust me when I say that there is absolutely nothing standard or conventional about Nadja's music, instead I am merely referring to the overall structure that the use of drums adds to their song structure. Their entire performance was fused into one huge maelstrom of sound with the drums as the only solid, unmoving part. Above that loomed Leah's bass which was this omnipresent force that absolutely dictated the mood and setting of a particular section. The way she manages to mutate the ambiance and somehow grasp the entirety of the band in order to control the boundaries of what is happening is astounding. And then, amidst all that chaos comes Aidan's guitar which fights all this turmoil and sends out shockwaves of strings played in a variety of ways, tempos, and rhythms. The vastness of sound constantly remained on the highest of levels, while the groove of its message fluctuated, forming islands of well structured segments in a sea of turmoil. As you are listening it feels like you can get lost or it can easily slip into being "too much", but a solid anchor of the whole performance is the accompanying video collage running over the band.
As briefly mentioned, I previously saw Nadja live way back in 2011 in Serbia, alongside Ghone*, and reading that gig review (which you can check out here) I can't help but notice how perfectly that blog entry and this new one align. The craftsmanship of Nadja absolutely evolved over time, undeniably so, but the brilliance and awe which they leave you with is all too intangible for a review and must be experienced first hand in order to understand what these words of mine are trying to describe. Even if this type of music is not your cup of tea, you need to give it a chance because it is bound to leave you speechless. Until next time... take care everyone. 

*remember Ghone? In 2019 I showcased his entire discography, which was also followed up by an interview.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Gig review: Elder, Pallbearer

Taken from the show organizer, found here

Oh man, here we go again. This show happened immediately the next day after "Envy" and I seriously needed some time to collect my thoughts. Two exceptional shows in two days is not something neither my mind nor my heart can handle anymore. October was glorious.

As you can see on the concert poster, the event was held on the 26th October 2022 in Gothenburg, Sweden at the venue called Pustervik. I've so far listened to quite a few bands at this place, most notably "Neurosis"/"Author & Punisher" back in 2017, which sadly I haven't covered on the blog, and the "Cult of Luna"/"Brutus" show which was written about here.

"Irist" opened the gig that evening, but sadly I missed them completely due to a botched "let's meet up for pizza before the show" gathering with friends. I truly hate when that happens, but life throws you curveballs like that some times. Sorry to "Irist", I'll make sure to catch you the next time around.


"Pallbearer" was the first opening act for my fellowship and myself. In all honesty, they weren't so keen on attending this part of the concert either, but I kept insisting on it to the point where I was probably quite annoying so they gave in. In the end I'm happy that I kept pushing them, because I was rather mind blown by the end of their set.
The doom metal quartet hit the scene way back in 2008, but it wasn't until 2012 that I personally heard their music, which back then came in the form of the "Sorrow and Extinction" release. It boggles my mind that 10 years have passed since that album... Time flies when you're having fun, since that record became a sort of golden standard for me when it comes to this particular genre. I've always been easy to fall for various doom metal bands and albums, but "Sorrow and Extinction" had that truly special something that elevated it from all the rest. It harbors a unique intricacy in its sound that urges you to keep on exploring it and it resulted in me coming back to it over and over again, each time discovering a little tidbit that will make me want to revisit once more. To my utmost pleasant surprise, they continued this through the other releases as well, especially "Foundations of Burden" which I also thoroughly adore.
And indeed, the full range of these merits of sound came into full bloom during their live performance in Pustervik. A towering wall of music showcasing expert craftmanship of sound-scaping, "Pallbearer" weave an epic narrative with every note, the singer's nigh angelic voice followed by a monstrous entourage of instruments. The band absolutely picked up a fitting name, since visually they do sound like you are witnessing a funerary procession of some great cosmic entity. 
They don't shy away from writing songs that are 10 minutes or beyond in length, but what is truly amazing with their style is that they take that time to slowly build up the said narrative. It's a steady, droning progress with so much room given to the listener to enjoy and pay attention to all the minute details, the newly added notes to the melody or interesting pitch changes. 
I realize now that this gig review reads more like an album review, but I feel like this speaks volumes to the capabilities of this band. It simply felt like listening to them in as high quality as on their recordings, but magnified a thousand fold in grandeur and enjoyment. I was insanely thrilled that they played the legendary "Foreigner", first song off of "Sorrow and Extinction" which instantly took me back 10 years into the past, as well as "Caledonia" which is my current favorite from their latest 2020 "Forgotten Days" release.
Hopefully this made you want to check the band out, which you can do on their website here or support them directly via their patreon page found here


A short break later and "Elder" kicked it off in a fashion only they know how to pull off. I've already seen this US-based quartet perform back in 2018 which was arguably my favorite concert that year, sadly undocumented. On both these occasions there has been a lot of hype about attending, since several friends of mine, and myself included, swear by them when it comes to live shows. They know how to pack a punch and make their performances a wild and entertaining ride. But I'm getting ahead of myself a bit...
The band has been kicking ass and taking names since 2006, but they've largely flown under my radar up until 2011, mostly due to my own "fault" since those years I've been fully consumed by screamo and discovering more bands there than I could properly digest. But 2011 saw the release of "Dead Roots Stirring" and, man alive, was that a massive sucker punch! Funnily enough, I thought that this release was a record from the screamo band "Elder" (active from 2008 to 2009, which released the album "Reflect"), so hearing "Dead Roots Stirring" can be contributed to a destined mistake. Truly a happy chance.
By now, that album has climbed legendary heights in my mind. It dishes out an amazing fuzz-induced progressive metal wrapped in a delicious psychedelic coating of stoner goodness. Over time, the band progressed a bit farther from their crunchy, distorted sounds into a more clean and pristine version, but also ramping up the epicness of their melodies into literal space. In several reviews I saw them being tagged with "space rock" and I can definitely see why. On a surface level, their writing style is sometimes chaotic and it feels like a 10 minute song actually has four different songs packed together, all with vastly different melodies, pacing, and riff construction. But once you actually delve deeper into their sound, you notice how all these tunes are masterfully entwined and go perfectly hand in hand with each other. That is where the beauty of "Elder" shows for me, the vastness and infinite possibility of sound.
Quite literally, their performances do seem like a voyage through space and time. Buckle up because they won't leave you time to breathe. A rushing melody with an intense solo can instantly drop and change pace, an atmospheric tune can take a sharp turn to a rising wall of sound chased by a crazy up-front drum section, you simply can't rest with these guys. Fast or slow, thrilling or sluggish, they take you on a sonic adventure which you don't want to stop. I vividly remember in 2018 when they played "The Falling Veil", a song that has to be one of the most thrilling metal experiences when viewed from the crowd.
This time around the attendees were blessed with songs such as "Compendium", the titular "Dead Roots Stirring", "Sanctuary", and the amazing "Halcyon" which became my new live favorite from "Elder". In case you don't know any of these songs, you can check them out on bandcamp here or check out the band's website found here.

The thing that resonated quite clearly for me near the end of that evening is that these two bands go hand in hand together. They are two perfectly complementary bands for one another, similar yet utterly unique at the same time. While with "Pallbearer" you can focus on the subtle changes in music and the developing of narrative, with "Elder" you just let them guide you and there is no clue where they will take you. Rare are the occasions where touring bands fit so well together and this is something that I most definitely must applaud.
That's all for now folks, I hope you enjoyed the read. Stick around, many fun things approach!

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Gig review: Envy, Bossk

Taken from the official Envy website, found here

One month, two important bands (three if you count the review which will soon follow this one). I could say that I am at a loss for words, but seeing how this prelude is probably going to be followed by a wall of text, I'd be misleading you. Let's just dive into this! 

This magnificent spectacle took place on a gloomy evening, October 25th, at Musikens Hus in Gothenburg, Sweden. I've already attended a concert in this venue on one previous occasion when "Draconian", "Harakiri For The Sky", and "Rome" performed back in 2018, a performance which sadly went undocumented by yours truly. By now I can safely say that I find the venue quite lovely, small enough to be nice and cozy, but also spacious enough to host a vast number of people without everyone being crammed together too tightly. A small flight of stairs takes you to a wardrobe and a space for a big merch table and then one more set of stairs leads you to the actual gig space with a big stage and a bar, lined with chairs at the far left and right ends of the hall. The acoustics of the venue are superb, so far proving the ability to respect a plethora of different sounds, coming from both mellow acoustic tunes of "Rome" and absolute chaos wrought by "Envy". Musikens Hus definitely lives up to its name.

First in line for the evening were "Bossk". This UK-based quintet has been killing it ever since their formation in 2005, with numerous releases, music videos, and literally hundreds of live shows to boot. During this time they have continually kept playing to their strengths, dishing out an impressive post-metal/sludge amalgamation, which is all the more powerful when witnessed live. If you want the epitome of "massive", then this band is undoubtedly for you. Wave after wave of heavy riffs, moody bridges, droning swampy tunes which are at times reminiscent of good old "Crowbar", but then also at times refreshed by groovy stoner rhythms, the plate of soundscapes that you're served with is truly diverse, but all neatly packaged. This whole packet lays lumbering when listening live and it is hard to explain just how it feels when their enormous crescendos fall down and just completely flood over you. My own mistake was that I haven't listened to them prior to the gig in ages, so most of the played songs sounded rather unfamiliar to me, so I just tuned my brain out and enjoyed the show. Definitely go and see them live if you have the chance and, in case you haven't already, you can check them out on their bandcamp page, found here.

A short break ensued, just enough time to get a breather and a sip of liquid... and a burning sensation in the chest. Even though I was laughing and talking on the outside, there was some turmoil on the inside. A sense of positive anxiety that crept up on me. After so many years of waiting, almost two decades, they were coming, they were finally here, and I had no idea if I was ready. 


"Envy". That is all the introduction they need. Simply by uttering their name you invoke a tenure and legacy spanning 30 years, three decades of genre-pushing recordings, international live shows, collaborations with so many other artists of various genres, a seed planted heavily in the post-hardcore genre that never could and never will be underestimated. Their vigor and persistence has arguably granted them the title of the longest active screamo act, hitting the Japanese scene in 1992 and not stopping for a second ever since, a fact that will leave many other important names envious. How fitting. 
To put it in my own personal perspective, "Envy" started playing when I was 5 years old... This blows my mind on so many levels. It was not until 2003 and the release of "A Dead Sinking Story" that I first heard of them, almost by accident since that release was randomly added to a burnt DVD compilation of hardcore bands my older brother made for me. I clearly remember the evening at home when I browsed the compilation and saw a folder named "Envy", the name catching my attention instantly. From the very first second of "Chain Wandering Deeply" I was captivated beyond comprehension, the song remaining one of my all time favorites to this very day. Still it represents an iconic monument of sound that is above anything I ever heard of at that point. The enormity of the soundscape, an inescapable feeling of vastness and melancholy, the sheer talent displayed with every tone and word, it completely obliterated me and hooked me for life.
"Envy" is the same today, bearing the same qualities, the sum of all their individual magnificence, but it would be insulting not to say how much they grew and changed over the years. They always represented progress within the post-hardcore/screamo scene with their exceptional fusion with post-rock, yet it is impressive how much they have evolved while also remaining true to their sound and their roots. The accent is put on those epic post-rock melodies that are worthy of being a movie soundtrack, but with no shortage of the chaos and emotional impact that was omnipresent in their earlier works. 
And after so many paragraphs of praise and "basic" introduction, how do I even describe their concert in Musikens Hus that night? It would be an understatement to say that it was emotional for me. They were there, in front of me, a band so important to the developing of my own musical tastes and education, one that I never imagined I would see live. The first tones flooding from the stage opened a portal and the first words from Tetsuya Fukagawa pushed me through and I was back in my room in 2003 hearing them for the first time, the lyrics I heard back then echoing in my mind again. 

"We are accustomed to the habit of waiting so much..." 

But the wait was worth it in the end. They exploded on stage with "Footsteps in the Distance", later with "Statement of Freedom", "Two Isolated Souls", "Swaying Leaves and Scattering Breath" and so on. I couldn't believe how insanely good they sound live, definitely being an example of a band you love to listen to at home, but are even more so enamored with when seen live. The songs impactful and loud, right at the tipping point where they are perfectly clear, but also so massive that you are absolutely consumed by them. The band's physical performance was entrancing, the swaying and dancing and being one with the music, being unable to look away as a spectator and just completely giving in to the spectacle. 
At some point in their performance they played an unreleased song which is set for release on November 9th, which was a beautiful cherry on top of the whole event. It is unreal to me that they keep being so creative after three decades of work, never shying away from the chance to impress, never losing a milligram of passion and dedication. The song was a wonderful teaser of some grander thing "Envy" has in store for us and it makes me excited of what is yet to come. 

Nearing the end of the set they performed "Farewell to Words" from their 2001 release "All the Footprints You've Ever Left and the Fear Expecting Ahead", beautifully going full circle with the showcase of their discography, the song a thrilling and chaotic homage to the band's beginning. Ending with a maddening crescendo the crowd was craving more, thus we were gifted with one more song, "A Warm Room", and a promise that they will be back to Sweden in the future.
If somehow you never heard of "Envy", you can listen to them on their bandcamp page, found here

So what to say at the end of it all? It is my impression that I've become a lot more emotional in my reviews lately, as well as with my overall experience and recognition of music. This blog has always been a diary of sorts, but it has become even more so after the Jeromes Dream review back in 2019 and the overall self-reflection and contemplation in the years slightly before and during the pandemic. Life, in general, has been extremely difficult for the past 20 years, but as cliché as it might sound, music has always been there to pull me through, and it is remarkable to me that the older I get the more opportunities I get to make many of my dreams come true, both personal and musical ones. After so many years of struggling, I have found my "warm room", a place where I can breathe and flourish, and surely "Envy" has finally become one of those materialized dreams. 

 "I see the end now. Let's go home."

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Gig review: Suffocate For Fuck Sake, Young Mountain, Nathan Aeli

Taken from Revival Booking's Instagram, found here

Long time no see. Life has been hectic (a global and personal understatement), but I am still around. This was my first live show ever since the plague began, so it was a thing to be excited about. 

The concert took place on a rather gray but lovely evening on September 24th, at a secret location in Gothenburg, Sweden. This has been my first "secret" show and I have to admit that I like the concept. Basically, the location is unknown up until 48 hours before the gig, at which point you are informed about the location via SMS. The idea behind the whole thing is to give people an incentive to explore less familiar parts of Gothenburg, outside of the more popular venues like "Pustervik", for example. This time around the event happened in an empty apartment in Majorna, two rooms and a bathroom, a corner for the bands to play on the floor, a small merch table, a fridge for drinks, and enough space for... I guess roughly less than a 100 people (this could be way off, as my headcount at shows is exceptionally bad)

"Nathan Aeli" was the first band to kick off the evening. Never heard of them before, so the only knowledge I went off of was how they were described by the show organizer: "a gay Nine Inch Nails" and "another black metal appropriator in the wrong style of music". I mean, truly difficult to not become curious after reading that.
Curiosity surprised the cat this time around and I've been instantly hooked into their performance from the very first tone. In reality, the organizer's teaser of the band definitely didn't do them justice now that I think about it, because the band completely subverted my expectations. The 30ish minute performance was just... insane, in a very peculiar way. 
To backtrack a little bit, there's not a lot of info about the band on the internet. Hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden, they apparently have two albums, the first one being an acoustic 4-song release from way back in 2013, while the second is an LP from 2019. There are several interesting interviews floating around the net, so definitely sink your teeth into those if you're interested in finding out more.
Looking back at the show, their performance that night seems like a step beyond what they usually do, since their recorded material involves less (or more accurately, no) electronic segments. I listened to them while writing this review and the experience of the stuff they put up on bandcamp is like you're listening to an entirely different project. The duo unleashed digital soundscapes which do sound reminiscent of a crunchy, hungover kind of NIN, but the madness goes way beyond that. Electronic sounds were at times hazy and dreamy, only to break off into glitch-infused industrial pounding which at times morphs into some kind of drugged up version of pop with jungle beats/dnb. I heard sounds that reminded me of work from Mike Cadoo, sections of "Tapage", and some beats shooting straight up from video game soundtracks like "System Shock" or "Unreal Tournament", wrapped with a blanket of raw distortion. And all the while layered with the singer going completely nuts, gentle singing, at times almost a spoken-word with a deep melancholic voice, but then wailing and screaming and hitting high notes and nigh crazy "oooooooooh" sounds. It pretty much borders madness, jumping between calm and extremely loud, the band just pushing the boundary ever so close to being mental and unpleasant, but keeping it well in the confines of the enjoyable. Loved every damn second of it. I was truly impressed with their show and would love to see them perform again, especially to see whether this electronic infusion was a one-off experiment or a solid path straying away from their existing recordings. Show them some love on their facebook page here or check out their current recordings on bandcamp here.

Young Mountain sticker
Next in line after a short break was "Young Mountain", another band from Gothenburg. I was vaguely sure that I was familiar with the band, but my old brain couldn't recall what was it that I heard from them, until I sat down to write this. Then I finally remembered that I've listened to "Fragile" way back when it was released in 2014, at the time the band's second release. This Gothenburg 5-piece screamo project formed in 2013 and it came a long, long way since then, piling up an impressive number of regular releases. I need some catching up to do. 
Short, sweet, and very direct, their performance was both a gentle touch to the feels and a severe punch in the throat. An outstanding and truly inspiring screamo manifestation, their 30 minute segment took me to all sorts of places. Their sounds was a raw homage to early works of "Adorno", with chaotic bits from "Someplace To Hide", occasional vibes from old "Damezumari", epicness of "I Create", but sprinkled with that special Swedish screamo seasoning that the scene is famous for. They weaved and swung on notes that were delicate and nostalgic towards downright fast, thrilling, and anxious, with the aggression hitting hard, but the melancholy hitting even harder.
I took a listen to their discography today while at work and it's unreal how much growth they show with each passing release. My mistake for letting them slip through the cracks and my attention avoiding their development, but definitely a lesson to be learned. You can check them out on their bandcamp page here or get in touch via facebook here.

And now, the grand finale of the evening, the time reserved for "Suffocate For Fuck Sake". Their name is deeply established in the post-rock/screamo genre, so much so that I believe there is no true need for an introduction. The Swedish septet hit the scene way back in 2004 with their self-titled EP and have since become a true landmark for their own genuine take on sound delivery. From day one, their mark of uniqueness came in the form of using audio samples as the main source of storytelling. The said samples, featuring people talking about their addictions and mental disorders, superbly set a truly heavy kind of atmosphere which is then built upon with absolutely massive layers of sound that rival beasts such as "Cult of Luna" and "Neurosis", while also showing a more delicate and fragile side of the equation by the likes of "Mono" or "Sigur Rós". 
Thus far the band produced four albums, each a worthy piece of their puzzle. Like a true gentle behemoth, they have a tendency to submerge themselves under the waves and spend many years in silence, most notably the 8 year break between their second and third albums, thus it is a true wonder to catch them live. I saw the show announcement by complete accident thanks to the mercy of one friend who doesn't even know the band but simply thought that "the name sounds like something that you might enjoy"... and oh boy was he correct.

You can follow this link to view a short video of the opening song (YT decided to age restrict it cause of the name, so can't embed the video into the post...)

Their set was everything I hoped for and that much more. I honestly never dreamed that I would see them live, yet there I was being slowly overwhelmed by the opening sounds of "Blue Lights and Sunshine" from their masterpiece "Blazing Fires And Helicopters On The Frontpage Of The Newspaper. There's A War Going On And I'm Marching In Heavy Boots". The opening moments were perfectly showcasing what this band has always been famous for, the slow buildup of sound and the anxious unraveling of the story which they want to tell. The mood cold and melancholic, expressed both with soft spoken words contrasted by piercing screams and the gigantic wall of sound crashing all over you, they took the crowd on a journey where everyone was consumed by the unraveling spectacle. "Hope" came up close, in my opinion the crown jewel from their latest album "Fyra", putting a spotlight on the a more droning melody enhanced by an oasis of beautifully chilling clean vocals. I'm listening to the song now as I type this and cannot help myself but marvel at how powerful it sounded when witnessed live, despite already sounding amazing as a recording. The absolutely brightest merit of SFFS has always been the ability to create a specific atmosphere and drench you in a particular mood, yet the ability to replicate those feelings in an even stronger way live is a talent few musicians manage to cultivate.
The concert came full circle, ending with sounds from "Blazing Fires...", the crowd absolutely elated despite the unreal heat and lack of air in the small room. I was truly beyond myself with various emotions and all I could do was muster strength to go and buy a record to support the band and then head home.  You can also support them via their bandcamp page here or get in touch via facebook here.

I mentioned previously that this show has been important since it is the first one since the pandemic began, but it means to me so much more beyond that. I've landed on the SFFS bandwagon way back in 2009 when "Blazing Fires..." has already earned its status as a record that pushes the boundaries of its respective genres. It is 13 years since then and I can't seem to deny myself the desire to think about what my life was then and what it is now. Back then I was listening to them with my girlfriend at the time in the same room where this blog came into existence, thinking about the fact that this band comes from a country so distant to me, so unknown, speaking  in a language that seemed so alien. And now, more than a decade later, I am actually living in Sweden, sharing my life with the same girl from back then who turned out to be the one partner in crime and my dear wife, standing there together in an apartment show, the epitomal screamo setting of a scene I always wanted to be a part of, listening to samples I can now understand but a little, the language not so unknown anymore as it surrounds me every time I step outside... Life is beautiful as much as it is vicious, and this show made me realize its sense of the poetic. An experience which will surely leave an imprint in my mind forever, a mark of change and endurance, yet I certainly hope another 13 years don't have to pass for me to see this band again.
Not sure how to close this review after such a personal outpour, so I will leave it at that. Whoever reads this, I hope you enjoyed the read and thank you for still being here, after so many years. Be good.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Exclusive premiere: Mihai Edrisch - Farewell Show (live at Sonic, Lyon 07/2006)

As promised, following the previous interview with Mihai Edrisch is a video premiere of their final show, straight from Johan's archive. It is simply an amazing performance, although rather bittersweet, since we are given a few glimpses of things that were yet to come, sounds which were sadly never recorded in a studio. The final tunes ringing and dying as the video ends, knowing that such an important and iconic band of the genre will never play again... it all weighs heavily on you when you're left alone in silence.

Not much else to add, since you should be watching the recording instead of reading my words anyway, but I just have to say that I am truly beyond excited and proud to be hosting this on the blog. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Interview: Johan (Mihai Edrisch/Celeste)

It is with great pleasure that I'm posting this today, an interview that has been arranged more than a year ago, but was dragged out by the, back then newly encroaching, global pestilence. "Mihai Edrisch" is undoubtedly one of my absolutes and it has been such a thrill to have this conversation with Johan and I thank him once again for his time and willingness to revisit and share his memories of the years spent with this legendary screamo band.
Stay tuned for next week, since this interview will be followed by an exclusive "Mihai Edrisch" video release, the never before seen live video footage from their farewell gig. So, without further ado...

1. I have to start with “Mihai Edrisch” and asking about “his” name.  In the few interviews I’ve read, you guys give different answers to who Mihai is. The most popular version floating around is that he was a Hungarian mathematician, but the research I did doesn’t show this person actually existed. Another version stated that he was a Czech pianist, while another claimed he was a band member’s deceased relative. I guess it would be pointless to ask you the same question, who he is, so instead my question will be: what is your favorite version of the origin of Mihai’s name?

Haha I don’t remember all of them actually, but probably the Hungarian Mathematician, because when Remi answered this one he also set up a whole story behind it which was quite funny.

2. Your first album, “L'un Sans L'autre”, is quite fast and chaotic, but it deals with very intimate and tender subjects. As a musician, how do you manage to successfully fuse these two extreme contrasts together?

There was no fusion to do in my mind because at the time what we were doing was exactly what I loved, what I wanted to hear and what I wanted to tell. There’s no huge reflection behind it, this thing comes from my/our guts and our state of mind during this period.

3. “Un Jour Sans Lendemain” is pretty much a concept album in all respects. How did you come to the idea to create an album that actually represents stages of life?

It’s such a while ago that it’s quite hard for me to remember the whole process and the intentions behind it. I remember how I felt at this period and what I wanted to deal with which is quite personal actually. I for sure felt like that the album as a whole could be more meaningful if there was a story behind it. Since the main topic is about love and suicide, it probably felt quite obvious to me to depict the whole story of a guy who lived in love and pain and who was thinking about giving an end to all of it

5. In a previous interview, you explained that you do not wish to analyze your lyrics and that people should come to their own conclusions. But how do you feel after listening to “Un Jour Sans Lendemain”? Given the fact that the person commits suicide in the end, do you find the album entirely depressing or can you find traces of hope within?

It’s a pretty dark album, but not only. You can feel hope, nostalgia and other feelings here and there which probably help the darkest parts to be even darker I guess. From my side, I can’t be objective about it because that’s an important part of my musical life. I feel a lot of nostalgia and a feeling of un-achievement too because I think that we should have made at least one more album after that one, because the unreleased stuff we had done after « ujsl » was promising in my opinion.

6. You also did the artwork for the band, what was the driving force behind that inspiration? It is a unique art style, did you have any formal education or are you self-taught?

I was self taught. Actually I drew with that style only on that artwork and the repress of « Lun sans L’autre » otherwise I was more a graffiti artist, so I was drawing things totally different than this. I actually never really tried to draw again for CELESTE’s artworks or any other stuff. I was more into photography after that.

7. I’ve always been curious about the meaning of the one red leaf on the white cover of “Un Jour Sans Lendemain”. Any specific secret behind it or was it simply an aesthetical choice?

Sorry to disappoint you but that’s just an aesthetical trick which also reminds of a bit blood, but there’s no deep meaning behind that

8. Was the decision to disband after the second album a conscious one? It seems rather poetic that the end of that album symbolizes the end of the band. Or did something else signal the end?

Unfortunately there’s nothing poetic behind that decision. Our bass player Florian decided to quit the band because he didn’t felt comfortable anymore with this kind of music, and not much later Remi our guitar player decided to leave the band too because he didn’t enjoyed playing guitar anymore. So there was no meaning to continue.

9. You’ve been quite adamant at keeping politics away from “Mihai Edrisch” in the past. Do you think that there’s a trend, so to say, in the scene of making everything and anything political? Even towards the bands that are not political, per se. In contrast, does it irritate you that people immediately assume that you have to be political, just because you are in a hardcore band?

Honestly I don’t give a fuck about the hardcore scene anymore. I have my political opinions but I don’t mix them with my music, I let that aside and I don’t want anybody to blame me for this. I don’t know if there is a trend about getting everything political. I just see a sad trend which tends to kill any freedom of speech and creativity. Now everybody wants to avoid any controversy, because reputation is the most important thing to stay alive as a band. You’re getting judged for any of your moves and people forget how to differentiate art and reality. It’s getting more and more difficult to be subversive without risking to get judged/banned.
It’s not related but from from what I see, bands who are very engaged when they start tend to loosen up things with time.

10. This is different with “Celeste”, yes? Here you tackle political themes, issues that society is facing and difficult subjects of the human psyche. Was this intentional from the start with this band?

Actually it’s not different. It’s not because I talk about the society we live in that it’s political. The intention from the start with the band has nothing to do with my lyrics. We just wanted to make dark and violent music, and I just wrote things that fit to this music

11. Maybe a direct question, but how do you feel about life and the human condition, outside of your music? Is it all as bleak and nihilistic as you  portray in “Celeste” or is there a spark of positivity?

It’s pretty much as bleak as I portray it. And I’m not really helping the thing, because even if I don’t feel like being a bad guy, I can at least say that the more I grow the more selfish I become.

12. Did you enjoy other screamo bands back when “Mihai Edrisch” was active? I read elsewhere that, in regards to “Celeste”, you guys aren’t into black metal, so I’m curious if the same applies to screamo?

Not that many or bands that I consider being more than screamo bands. It’s not because we shared the same drummer, but Daitro was and is still definitely my favorite band in the « genre »

13. If you could turn the clock back, would you do anything different during your time with “Mihai Edrisch”? Do you miss that project?

I missed it a lot for a while. I still do but I miss it less and less, and I also think I wouldn’t feel comfortable to play such music now on. The thing I missed the most are the melodies that we built. That’s something that I would love to hear elsewhere but that I never really found anywhere

14. In contrast to the previous question, for the entire duration of your involvement in music, what has been your most memorable or cherished moment?

For Mihai Edrisch, I would pick 2 events. The first one would be the first time I listened to l’un sans l’autre mastered. I really didn’t imagine that we would’ve done something that great. I felt so proud about it.  And the second time is when we played Sant Feliu Fest. I remembered that I was in the audience a few years before, I didn’t have any bands and I was thinking that being on that stage would be the greatest achievement I could think of. So it was really something to be there for real a few years later
With CELESTE, even if we’re having an amazing career, I lived this story with Mihai’s background so I discovered less things. It’s more an overall thing that I cherish because I’m just enjoying it every time we’re on the road since almost 15 years now.

15. How is your local music scene right now? Is “Celeste” involved much in local happenings or are you just doing your own thing?

In my opinion, the scene is almost dead in our hometown and we’re not helping since we’re only focused on our own « business »

18. What are your favorite music releases in the past few years?

I’m so bad at name dropping. I listen to stuff that is really different from what we’re playing. For example the last things I listened the most are Northlane and Tesseract. Now I’m looking forward to the new Deftones, I liked some songs from Korn, Caspian, Heaven In Her Arms, Newmoon…. Really hard to name more, sorry, I don’t listen to music very often actually.

19. Time for you to ask a question!
Johan : How did you discovered Mihai Edrich and CELESTE? Do you really still listen to us and why?

I discovered ME by accident and there is a funny story behind it. I remember that I stumbled upon some blog (or it was via P2P fileshare, can't remember) which had a huge database of hardcore/screamo bands so I grabbed all of it en masse and started listening. To be completely honest, I recall that I skipped listening to Mihai because I confused the name with one other Spanish band called Enoch Ardon haha and they didn't click with me on the initial listening. Later at some point I was viewing my music folder and realized these are two different bands, so I finally gave Mihai a listen and I was instantly in love. Celeste I discovered more naturally, as I've read online that similar people were involved in the band and I had to check it out.

And yes, I still listen to both bands, a lot in fact. Even though I love both projects, Mihai Edrisch is more dear to me, since it has a certain something that no other band has. As you say, it directly triggers many different feelings, sadness, hope, grief and nostalgia, to which I am quite sensitive to. Even though I don't speak French, the music speaks to me in a peculiar way and listening to it never fails to stir up emotions. 

And if this doesn't answer your question well, two years ago I tattooed my right arm with parts of the cover and the song titles of "Un Jour Sans Lendemain".

20. Thank you so much for doing this interview, on a personal level, this conversation truly means a lot to me. Do you have any final message for the readers?

Just come to our shows if we hopefully can do some again, that’s the best way you can please us.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Derek Piotr - Raj (2013)

After sending out the previously mentioned work-in-progress interviews, I found myself in somewhat of a slump as to what to write about next. Musically, I’m all over the place right now in my free time and I’m also currently working on another writing project which I’ll share sometimes soon, for those interested. So in the end, the good ol’ submission basket saved the day once again.

Derek Piotr - Raj (bandcamp)

Based in New England, US, this Polish-born composer/producer dropped into my view out of nowhere. Back in 2013, I wasn’t too deep into electronic music and noise, so in all honesty I was completely oblivious to his past work even though his repertoire up to that point contained a number of previously released albums. The main focus of his work is centered on samples of the human voice which are then used in various incarnations of electronics, ranging from noise, glitch, industrial and even something that would be considered dream poppy.
Immediately after the first tone of “Raj” kicked in, it grasped me fully. “Spine” manages to create a certain kind of mood within seconds, setting the tone for the rest of the record in a very direct and simplistic way. It easily gears you up for what is coming up ahead and, let me tell you, you should come prepared.
Compared to other electronic noise projects that I’ve listened to, “Raj” is not as dirty and harsh. Sure, even the opening track hosts a considerable amount of static waves and crackling walls of distortion, but it is all executed in a delicate way. In the midst of the noise, you get introduced to small oases of serenity. There’s a weird elegant swinging going on between the violence and the peacefulness, an almost naturally calculated ebb and flow. 
It feels like this edged precision is the main characteristic of the vocal section of “Raj”. One of the interesting things about Derek’s work in general is his previously mentioned focus on using and manipulating vocal samples. On this record specifically, those samples create a thin line which is continually pushing the aforementioned ebb and flow. You would assume that the vocals would bring a certain dose of calm into a noise project, but even though they are peaceful they are also quite eerie in a way, droning and almost mentally violent somehow. The way they are sampled, cut, used and looped, gives a nigh maddening feeling and it ends up seeming like the whole record has a ritualistic theme to it. These samples build such an image in your mind’s eye that they can go towards both ends of the spectrum, soothing and aggressive, but never quite tip over fully. The cacophony of it all is methodical, almost technically precise and even cerebral in many instances. It's an endless dance of contrasts and steep divergences.
Another flavor to all this, despite having this ritualistic and naturally flowing trait, the record seems cold and alien. There’s just something strangely robotic about the entire thing, as if “Raj” was a recorded diary of some rusted and malfunctioned android from an age long forgotten. And it demands that you listen to it.
When I listened to “Raj” a couple of times for this review I then decided to check out some other material from Derek.  There is a whole swarm of recorded material up on his bandcamp profile, so I seriously need some catching up to do. It sincerely warms my heart when I see artists so passionate and active after so many years of working on a project. All the best of luck to Derek in all his future endeavors and I hope all of you decide to give him a chance and check out his work. Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 31, 2020

Wolf Shaped Clouds - Demo (2011)

It’s been a while since I managed to get a submission review on my writing schedule, mostly since I was so focused on working on the “Ghone” showcase and trying to hunt down some names for future interviews. The latter bit is going relatively slow at the moment, but some of the planned interviewees I’ll be extremely proud to host on here. Just have to stay patient and time will tell!

Wolf Shaped Clouds (bandcamp page)

Wolf Shaped Clouds was a 4-piece screamo band from Budapest, Hungary, active from early 2011. up until 2013. These years might not be the most accurate, since bandcamp states 2011. as the year of their conception, while their discography tape lists 2009. as their beginning. In any case, they had a fruitful run in those few years, chugging out a nice selection of works including this demo and a rehearsal room recording, two splits (one with “Black Hourglass” and another with “Oaken”, respectively) and they were also featured on the “Swollen Lungs” 7’’ compilation, which is a selection of artists featuring songs less than 30 seconds. Short, but sweet.
This release was not a blog submission per se, but instead an actual gift from Tomi, the band’s vocalist. Back in 2011 I was staying at a friend’s apartment in Budapest (hi Botond, hope you’re still out there!), a place where Tomi was also living at the time. We didn’t really hang out all that much, but after some music talk the name of his band popped up, which I thought sounded super cool. Turns out it was screamo which made it a complete hit with me, obviously. Long story short, I walked away from that conversation with a neatly packed CD pictured above and I was extremely excited to take a listen.
Apparently, only 50 physical copies of this demo were made, judging by the handwritten number at the back of the case. Aside of the wonderful little black and white booklet with lyrics, the audio contents of this CD are everything you would ever want to hear from a screamo band's demo, a raw, passionate, perfectly imperfect collection of debut songs that just hit hard and ask questions later. Its five songs are fused in such a way that they simply call out to be listened in one sitting, with one breath. It’s a whirlwind sweeping you off your feet with the very first song and carrying you all the way to the end, relentlessly. And it is only when the final song ends that you get a chance to catch your breath and contemplate on what you just heard. I think that is why my favorite song on the demo would probably be the first track, “Rotting Sea”, simply because it sucks you in and sets the tone so well. 
The overall sound of the band is a strongly compressed amalgam of aggressive “Loma Prieta” outbursts, melodic “Raein” strings and at times the pounding beats of chaotic German influences from bands like “Danse Macabre”. Add to the whole mix some very bleak, almost crust-like lyrics performed with an exceptionally haunting wailing scream and you got yourself a package which you shouldn’t avoid.
What I always associated with this band was that pure passionate energy which always seemed to radiate from their releases. You could listen to them regardless of your mood and they would always manage to get your blood flowing. In all honesty, this is something that I severely miss with some of the bands today and that’s why I guess that bands like “Wolf Shaped Clouds” need to be cherished. They popped out of nowhere and brought something great to the table. It saddens me that they didn’t have a longer run at this project, it would have been an absolute pleasure to watch them grow and evolve. 
At the end of the day, this is a great little release and a definitive invitation to listen to the rest of the band’s discography. You can find them in their entirety on the above linked bandcamp page. Hope you give them a listen, they deserve it!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

2019 blog retrospective

During the heyday of the blog, I enjoyed doing the traditional retrospective at the end/start of a year. It was always interesting to look back and revisit the releases/experiences which marked the passing year and which made it so great. 
Let’s start with my favorite recorded material of the past year. Since I didn’t have a chance to cover any of these on the blog, I’ll just sum up my thoughts with a few lines on each of these. So, without further ado...

Top releases of 2019 (in no particular order):
- "Potence - Le Culte Des Bourreaux" - Members of “Daïtro”, “Géraniüm”, and the insanely underrated “I Was A Cosmonaut Hero”, need I say more? Rushing between being melodic and extremely aggressive, they mix and match the best violent pieces of neo/crust and the somber tones of screamo/post-hardcore. Aurelien’s voice gets me every time.
- "Tool - Fear Inoculum" - I’ve been an avid fan ever since I first saw their music videos on a local TV station back in early 2000’s when “Lateralus” got released. The 13-year-wait since their previous recorded material and the patience needed paid off. In my mind this album is a well morphed mix of “Ænima” and “Lateralus”, yet at the same time it shines light on a completely new incarnation of the band. Marvelous and mesmerizing in all aspects.
- "Senza - Even a Worm Will Turn" - I don’t even know where to begin with this one other than saying that it is simply an amazing record and probably some of the most important and outstanding screamo material written in the last 5 or so years. Chaotic, brooding, atmospheric and explosively violent when needed, they take the best parts of bands such as “Jeromes Dream”, “Sailboats” and even some elements of “The Spirit of Versailles”, all the while adding a strong touch of their own magic. Just outstanding across the board and an absolute must. 
- "Mgła - Age of Excuse" - This band has already been covered twice on this blog in the form of concert reviews and if you read those articles then you should have a pretty solid idea about my thoughts on this project. “Mgła” continues to be a remorseless beast, as this album is a perfect descendant of “Exercises In Futility” while bringing so much innovation to the table, completely removing the option of being boring or repetitive. You could zone out and focus on only one instrument at a time and be shocked with the displayed creativity. Listening to this made me feel like I re-discovered the band all over again and is one of the rare albums that I was eagerly anticipating and was genuinely excited for it to finally drop.
- "Jeromes Dream - LP" - The screamo legends are back, what more do you need to know? A perfect amalgam of the “Seeing Means More Than Safety” and “Presents” eras, while also showing signs of musical maturity and evolution. An excellent stroll down memory lane performed by some of the most influential screamo storytellers of all time, adorned with a new incarnation of sound.

Honorable mention: 
- "Alcest - Spiritual Instinct" - I feel like this band is not capable of creating something less than absolutely wonderful and simply by being material with the “Alcest” tag is enough for me to feature it on this top list.

Top performances of 2019 (in no particular order):
- Jeromes Dream (Vienna/AT)
- Cult of Luna (Gothenburg/SE)
- Tool (Firenze Rocks Festival, Florence/IT)
- Ólafur Arnalds (Belgrade/RS)
- Mgła (Belgrade/RS)

The only concert from the list above which I didn’t review was “Tool”, which kinda makes me sad since it has been such a mind blowing experience. This was the second time I got to see them play live, first time being in Serbia in 2007, and I can say that the concert in Italy can easily drop into my top 10 concerts of all time. Now that “Fear Inoculum” is still fresh and a new European tour might be looming on the horizon, I’m absolutely certain that I will make an effort to catch a show wherever it may be and share my thoughts with you afterwards.

Looking back, 2019 was an excellent year for music and at moments it felt quite surreal, especially when it comes to concerts. Some of those show reviews have been the longest I have ever written and it is while writing those that I fully realized how much some of those performances moved me. Thinking about them now, especially JD and CoL, I’m tempted to write a few words about those experiences now, but the reviews have been so extensive (and exhausting) that there really is no need to say anything else. Just scroll down the page and delve into the wall of text, in case you are interested in the specifics. 
The last time I did one of these retrospective posts was 2013 and it is unbelievable to me when I realize that I’m writing this one in 2020, seven years later! Back then there were more “categories” for the top whatever and I remember that it was quite difficult to make the choices, simply because the blog was way richer with content. It is my sincere hope and goal to keep writing and bring back the blog to the post count per year that it once had. To start that journey, after this post I’m planning to cover one old submission release while also currently working on the next interview. Stay tuned!
In the end, I’d just like to thank you all for still visiting and reading. It warmed my heart to see people mentioning and visiting my blog even when it was defunct and now that it is getting back on track with content, the slow and steady increase of visitors has often put a smile on my face. Thanks for sticking with me for all these years and I hope that 2020 will bring an abundance of great music, strength, inspiration, joy and wonderful experiences for all of us.

P.S. If you would like to share your top picks of 2019, feel free to leave a comment, I’d love to read about your thoughts!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Interview: Ghone

"Ghone" live @Cult of the Amps vol. 2 - by Chris Lemonis

1. First off, I'd like to thank you for doing this interview. Nice to have you on the blog! Please introduce yourself to the readers.

Thank you for your interest. Great to hear a site from abroad is curious about your work. So, I’m John from Athens, Greece and Ghone is my personal sonic project with which I’m exploring the abstraction of sound spectrum through noise, produced by both natural and electronic media and manipulated mostly in real time, trying to create gasping and aerie environments.

2. Describe "Ghone" in three words.

That’s a hard one. I think I’ll go for: Party-crashing Noisy Ritual

3.  I discovered your project when I saw you play live in Novi Sad along with Aidan Baker and "Nadja". In our previous conversation you told me that it was one of your favorite shows to date. What made this set so special for you, so much so that you even decided to record it as a proper release?

It was actually my 4th show on this tour -and, in matter of fact, my first ever as Ghone in general- and it was the time my set was coming together. It felt like I had finally tamed my equipment to a satisfying level and felt more confident that I could communicate what I had in my head. I remember the venue was full and the audience was very quiet. This can be stressful and flattering at the same time, a very compelling feeling which I have rarely experienced over the years I’ve been performing with various bands. The venue itself helped a lot as well of course. It was the third time I had the chance to be there and first time as a performer. Such warmth and hospitality always give a substantial boost in general. I was lucky enough to have my set recorded by the sound guy, and it only felt right to share it.

4. Any plans of coming back to Serbia again some day?

I actually played this May as a guest of the legendary Athenian noise-punk band Rita Mosss, along with the mighty Cassilas. They made a great couple. But anyway, I don’t have any solid plans for touring yet since life gets in the way constantly. I do want to come and play the soonest possible, so I’m open to ideas.

5. One of your other releases is the live show in Thessaloniki with "Six Steps Above The Earth", so please give us some more details about that collaboration.

I’ve known Bill and Sakis from the band for quite a while now. In fact, with Bill we have previously collaborated with his solo project The Dandelion Fields ( a couple of times. The guys asked me to open a show of theirs and long story short we ended up playing a seamless show with the middle part having me jamming with the full band as they started entering the stage one by one, and this is the track you hear as “intro” at the release with Six Steps Above The Earth.

6. How does your overall process for live shows look like? Do you go into it with a specific idea in mind or do you just let it flow out of you in the moment? Also, do you record all of your sets or just some of them?

For me it begins toying around with field recordings, feedback loops and new equipment, putting all those together and trying to make some sense out of it and how it can be manipulated to some kind of form of communicating. You can say curiosity is the driving force, I guess. When performing I’m generally trying to follow a skeleton idea but it can always swift to a different direction very easily depending on the moment. I think most of my sets have been recorded in a way or another.

7. You were part of an interesting collaboration recently, the "Spit" wine tasting performance art event where you created live sound-scaping. Could you tell us something more about that event? Are such collaborations/projects common for you?

It was an incredible experience! The location, the performance, the wine. Could do this again any time given. I was invited by the curator Eleni Tranouli to create the soundscape that Despina Charitonidi and Panos Profitis have prepared. They even created a number of incredible ceramic spittoons and laser cut “exoskeleton” suits for the waiters. An event of high aesthetics and great wine. What else can someone ask for?
The closest I can remember I’ve been a part of something similar was when I played a two-day live soundtrack for a live painting performance of Friki Krux back in 2014. You can’t say it’s pretty common then, but it’s definitely an area I’d like to explore further.

8. With all the relatively frequent live performances happening, does that mean there is an active noise/drone crowd in Greece?

Experimental music (and arts in general) community is quite active actually, mainly in the biggest cities though, but there are probably more stuff happening nowadays than ever. Small shows are taking place more and more often, and more people are curious to explore this side of the music spectrum. There are some really interesting artists that rarely have the chance to present their work abroad like Dead Gum, Savvas Metaxas, Georgios Karamanolakis, Acte Vide, Panos Alexiadis just to name a few, which is a real shame.

9. Are there any other music projects from Greece which you would recommend?

I think I answered this one above :)

10. What do you think of the overall state of the music scene in the world? Do you consider noise/drone to be a relevant genre in the "big picture"?
"Sram Schet" cover by EviKarastamati

It sure is. Just in the form of constant TV static-like pattern in the background.

11. A somewhat similar question asked above, what is your process for recording studio material? Does it differ from live performances?

I don’t think I have an answer for that. So far I didn’t felt the need to go through the labor of preparing a “studio album”, carefully layering noises and crackles. I’m focusing on live performance and presenting a coherent piece and if it still sounds like it stands as a recording as well, that’s great and it’s out there with no further ado.

12. "Ghone" had yearly gaps between recent recorded releases, any particular reason for that?

Mostly life just got in the way and had to focus on things other than playing. Looks like this is changing though.

13. What inspires you the most to create music like this?

Surely the grey period we are living through is great inspiration for anyone to create dark art in general. Trying to avoid getting psychoanalytic here, I’d say that I’ve always been drawn by darker themes in general. Horror movies, anatomy, insects, worn out patterns, abandoned buildings, history of crime and naturally that extends to my taste in music I suppose.

14. When working on a split release, how much do you get inspired by your split partners? I'm under the impression that there is a kind of symbiosis between Ghone and its collaborators.

It's pretty different when it's a split release from a collaborative wort, but you get it right about the symbiosis part. When it comes to split releases, personally I want to keep some kind of flow from one side to the other, meaning that for example I'd try to avoid giving a harsh noise piece for a split release with an ambient artist. I don't consider myself to have a standard approach when it comes to experimental music (it's all an ongoing experiment after all), and I enjoy this challenge to create something that resonates with me personally and in the same time keeps a release from being incoherent. On collaborations on a same track now, it's a whole different procedure. It feels more like a dialogue or dance if you prefer. The dynamics between the participants have great impact on the direction the improv. session will take.

15. What was it like to collaborate with Frans De Waard/Modelbau? I actually didn't know who he was, but seems like he's quite an influential figure in the Dutch/global music scene. How did you guys get in touch?

Frans part from being some kind of legend in the scene, also used to publish the now cult Vital Weekly zine from late 80s to mid 90s. Nowadays he has switched online of course and you should check it out: We got in touch with Coherent States to review our new releases back then and one thing lead to the other and we agreed on releasing something for him. I had this recording in the vault already and thought I suggest to put it out there as a split release, and there you have it.

16. From the perspective of the listener, even though there are no lyrics it still feels like all your records are trying to speak to the audience. Is there actually a message that your music is trying to convey?

If we were in the 60s I’d encourage you to play my records backwards and find out yourself. But no, there are no intended hidden messages. Maybe what you are hearing is my inner world trying to find its own language.

17. Out of all your recorded material, what is your favorite release and why?

To be honest I like them all equally, each one for its own reasons. For me they double as bookmarks for life events too. The part you can hear plays like a soundtrack for these periods in my head. I’m always more satisfied and at the same time challenged by every last one. A pretty weird sentiment.

18. If you could do a collaboration record with any other artist/project, who would it be?

I tend to observe that people with no musical education or those who are not even aware that this side of music exists at all, tend to have the most interesting and genuinely curious approach when it comes to experiment with it. Or maybe, playing with it. That’s a more proper word for it. I’d work with everyone if I could! Including you reading this right now.

19. What gear do you use to create music? Do you have a favorite piece or a specific gadget which you deem essential?

This is a question that will get you multiple answers depending on when it’s asked. For a while it was an electric upright bass through distortions and loop pedals. Later it was a thrashed snare wire with contact mics. Right now I’m having TONS of fun with Stereo Fields by Landscape which gives a whole new way of expression with it’s unique haptic interface. I’m also waiting on the new Dreadbox Antiphon monophonic synth to be assembled. My anticipation vein is pumping hard!

20.  What are some of your other interests/projects/hobbies outside of Ghone?

I’m working as a freelance graphic designer, concert promoter and production manager. I’m also run Coherent States -a small experimental music label- with my friend Manolis. We have just released an amazing new vinyl record, for the French artist Gaël Segalen, for which I’m really excited to be finally out! You can safely say that Ghone is an extension of my everyday activities.

21. Time for you to ask a question!
Any drone/noise/experimental acts from Serbia to recommend? Pretty lame question, I know, but I’m genuinely curious.

To be brutally honest, aside of a handful of noise/drone projects, I'm not too deep into the genre, so I don't really know of any such bands from these parts. There is an ambient project that I would recommend though, called "Paleowolf". It's an amazing dark tribal ambient inspired by prehistoric ages when humans were still hunter-gatherers. 

21. 2019 is coming to an end, what have been your favorite music releases so far? Any guilty pleasures?

Pleasure shouldn’t go with guilt whatsoever. Having said that I really liked Tyler, The Creator’s new album “Igor” and from the experimental-esque side of music I can’t stop listening to Gaël Segalen’s album we released. But don’t take this as a plug. I’d still be playing this album non stop regardless of the label. It’s just so good! 2019 was a very good year in general. So many interesting new releases. The list would be pretty big and I’m sure I’d leave a bunch titles out, so I’d prefer to restrain myself.

22. Do you have any book/movie recommendations?

I’m not much of a reader nor a cinefile. I really enjoy flipping through my most recent photography book purchase though which is a documentation of the African Ndebele tribe murals. A tradition going back hundreds of years among the women of the tribe with great vibrant colours and forms.

23. What does the future hold for "Ghone"?

Looks like it holds more performances and more traveling. And hopefully new recorded material and collaborations as well. But life is a curious path with many crossroads, so I try not to make long term plans.

24. Do you have any final message to the readers?

I miss Serbia! Hope to have the chance to return sooner than later. I often recall my visits there fondly.