Sunday, March 29, 2015

Interview with Invisus of Terra Australis!!

Invisus
Interview conducted via e-mail in March 2015.

Listen and support Terra Australis' music: https://terraaustralis.bandcamp.com/releases
Keep updated about Terra Australis: https://www.facebook.com/TerraAustralisBlackMetal
Terra Australis' Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/SatansSoldiersElite
Terra Australis' Official Site: http://terraaustralisband.com/

WULF:  There isn't too much information I can find about you guys...you are quite mysterious!   Give us a brief history of your band up to this point. 

INVISUS: The band began in mid 2008, release a few independent demos over the next 2-3 years. It originally had a more DBSM-type edge to it, but with the joining of new members and just time itself its become far more 80's death, thrash, black metal inspired. But still retains that atmosphere that it was originally founded on.

WULF:  Another obvious question we have to get out of the way...   You just successfully completed what appears to be your first tour of Japan.   How was it?   How did the Japanese metalheads react to your brand of evil-as-fuck black metal? 

INVISUS: It was our second tour we had done in Japan, the first was with Rotting Christ in 2014, the second tour was more successful than the first from having done the first already and people being more aware of our sound and songs etc. Which is I think the way you would want it, with every tour being better and paving the way for the next one.



WULF:  According to an early interview with Invisus, Terra Australis was intended to just be a solo endeavor... even going so far as to imply that it will always stay that way.   Why did he decide to expand the project into a full band?   Is the band still primarily driven by Invisus, or is it more of a collaborative, group effort at this point?

INVISUS: When I started the band I didn't have much outlook for where it would go and where I wanted it to go, I had been playing in other bands through out the previous years and was tired of the politics that bands can suffer from, so I wanted to do it on my own and have complete control. That ideal I was holding began to shift with meeting and talking with Thorgrim Hammerheart, it seemed obvious to me he was a much better vocalist and would only benefit from being apart of Terra Australis, and that then snowballed into wanting to do gigs and therefore more members. But as for musical and lyrical say so, its still in my hands. I'll still write 80% odd of every release and designing cover art etc.

WULF:   It's clear that Satan / Satanism plays an important role in your music.  Is your concept of Satan literal, metaphorical, or perhaps even a bit of both? Is there a specific form of Satanism or dark philosophy / belief system that unites the band?   Also, are there any writings or works of literature that can help the listener better understand / appreciate your music?   What are you hoping to accomplish with Terra Australis?   This is the sort of question that I really wish we could elaborate on together in detail, as I find this subject fascinating, but unfortunately it's difficult to do via email / internet interviews.


INVISUS: That is a big question with a long answer, to sum it up would be to say, Satan too Terra Australis is the carnal lust for power and destruction that is in every person. The instinct of ambition and domination I guess is another way to say it.  When it comes to literature, philosophy etc we take
certain methods of thought from a lot of places so its hard to name a single book or work that reveals everything, because rule number one in life is no one is always right.  As for what we plan to accomplish is certainly close to that ideal, more power, stronger, heavier. The band itself to become bigger and bigger without a single fucking note compromised for $$.

WULF:  Aside from Marduk, you guys are one of the best live black metal bands I've seen in a long time!   While you obviously have your own sound and style, I really felt a strong old-school Scandinavian black metal vibe (especially from a visual perspective), but with perhaps a bit more melody.  Do you agree with this? For those who haven't had the pleasure, what can people expect from a live Terra Australis show? 

INVISUS: We want to show people that the old school is alive and well, it has not gone anywhere nor will it. Our music is intense so we much be intense with our live performance visually and sonically. Of course we share a love for old Darkthrone, Burzum, Marduk, but also a lot for the real classics like Sodom, Kreator, Sadus, Possessed, Nihilist, Hell Hammer, Celtic Frost, Venom, Bathory, Sabbath, Dio, Priest, Motorhead, and more.


WULF:  It looks like both Warlock Necrofiend (guitars) and Desecrator (bass) recently quit the band, and have been replaced by Morgue and Abysmios, respectively.   What brought about this change in lineup?   Have you considered making Morgue and Abysmios permanent members, or is Terra 
Australis going to remain a 3-piece for the foreseeable future?

INVISUS: Terra for the moment will remain Thorgrim Raven and myself for the moment, With Warlock that was his choice to pursue another band he had started (Deathripper) with Desecrator there was just a mark that he wasn't able to reach.

WULF:  On this Japanese tour you were also joined by fellow Australians Earth Rot and The Arbiter.   Was it through this connection of being a part of the Australian underground metal scene that led you to join this tour, or was it something else?   Do you feel as if you play a role in the local Melbourne black metal scene, or do you prefer to isolate yourself from this sort of thing?   Having lived in Sydney, I'm much more familiar with the New South Wales black metal scene than the one in Victoria... for the most part, is there a friendly / serious rivalry or competition between the two (or even with Perth for that matter!), or do the two not really associate? 

INVISUS: We were offered to play on the tour from a contact in Sydney, and since like I said already touring with the same company the year before. We don't really associate with many other bands and more just do our own thing in our own time. Where there is people there is bullshit, and we decided its best to be avoided. As for Melbourne vs. Sydney, I think that really depends on who you are asking, as for me no not really.

WULF:  Stupid question... but why did The Raven cut his hair?   Long hair may be a huge pain in the ass, but it's also way more evil! 

INVISUS:  Yeah it's shit, but it was a thing he had to do for a new line of work he was taking up. He's not going to be removed over something like that, his dedication to Terra is without question.

WULF:  What are your goals for the future?  Any upcoming tours, releases, or music videos you'd like to tell us about?   Also, any chance of you guys making a stop in South Korea? 

INVISUS: We are working on the final recordings for a new Cd to have out by late this year, try and sort out it being released on a proper label rather then Independent like almost all the others, Its has this real old school Death metal over tone to it.

Here is a promo release of some of the songs for your readers:
https://terraaustralis.bandcamp.com/album/souls-for-satan

If we got a solid offer to play in South Korea then we would be there!

WULF:  The interrogation is over!  Any final proclamations / blasphemies / curses for our readers?

INVISUS: Born to lose, live to win!



Thursday, March 26, 2015

Interview with Hedge Wizard!!

Interview conducted via e-mail in March 2015.

Listen and support Hedge Wizards' music: https://hedgewizard.bandcamp.com/
Keep updated about Hedge Wizard: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hedge-Wizard/725977330805106

WULF: OK, there's seriously like no information about you that I can find on the internet, except that you're from Toledo, Ohio, and you produce your own minimalist dungeon synth music recordings on cassette tapes. Tell us about yourself, Mr. Wizard!

HEDGE WIZARD: Yes, I am from Toledo.    I live in a place that sort of feels like a boarding house for factory and retail workers.  A lot people in one spot, you know.  Working long hours while playing games and drinking on our nights off.

I occupy my time with a lot of other good stuff though like books, comics and magazines.  However, I do spend most of my time playing and listening to music, while at the same time trying to avoid both death and taxes.

WULF: Speaking of cassette tapes, I like the art that you've chosen for the cover. Did you make this art yourself? If not, then who did? 

HEDGE WIZARD: Yes, I created the cover.   I just wanted to make something by hand and have some fun with it.  It seemed to work out in the end and the response I have got back has been encouraging.

WULF: Your music seems to fall into the "old-school" dungeon synth style, similar to (era I) Mortiis and point-and-click adventure games from the 1990s. Do you agree with this?

HEDGE WIZARD: I'm not sure where this album would be placed.  I would have to leave that for others to decide.   But when it comes to Dungeon Synth inspiration, I was listening to a lot of Gvasdnahr and Darkstroll at the time.  Along with a lot of the 90's DS recordings.  So I'm sure some of that influenced my musical direction.

WULF:  Is this a particular style you are aiming for on purpose, or is it just a matter of working with a lower budget? 

HEDGE WIZARD: There was no clear direction for this album. It was just a hodgepodge of spells I conjured with the equipment that I had.

WULF:  Do you plan on making future Hedge Wizard music within this style, or could you see your music evolving into something similar in sound to the newer, neo-dungeon synth style (such as Erang or Lord Lovidicus)?

HEDGE WIZARD: I am not entirely sure what the horizon brings.

WULF: Is "More True Than Time Thought" a concept album, or is there an underlying, unifying theme? Honestly, the vibe I get is that each song has kind of its own mood and storyline, but that's just my interpretation. 

HEDGE WIZARD: This album is about smoke emerging from strange mixtures.  The aroma of mildew in a dank hall.  Maybe this music sets the pace to the beads of sweat that roll down your face at the climax of a reoccurring nightmare.  These are a few of my favorite things.

WULF: Also, is there a particular way in which you would encourage the listeners to experience your music? Personally, I think most dungeon synth works best as ambient music for table-top RPG sessions in the evening, but I'm not sure if everyone else feels that way.

HEDGE WIZARD:  Like any music, I believe it is in the eye of the beholder.  I could see a lot of pen and paper players really digging Dungeon Synth for their sessions.  Or set the mood for a fantasy author to write their stories.  It could be the soundtrack to an entity's nightly musings.  Personally I love to walk around or drink ale while telling stories. I suppose everyone has their own unique interpretation.

WULF: Are tabletop role-playing and/or computer games an influence in your music? I know that many dungeon synth artists have gaming backgrounds...

From when I opened up my first Magic booster and smelled that fresh print to the grueling raids during the MMO boom, I would say I have some gaming blood.  And yes, quite a few RPG and tabletop sessions.

WULF: Is there any literature that you'd like to recommend that has either played a big role in your music production, or would perhaps enhance the listener's experience or understanding of your music?

Reading is probably my biggest past time besides music and it has a large influence on my musical script.  I enjoy the Sword and Sorcery short stories the most.  One of my favorite authors being Fritz Leiber.  I've recently been reading the Swords of Steel anthology by DMR Books. That's been killer.

WULF: Along the same lines, is there any particular philosophy or world you are attempting to convey through your music, or at least something along these lines that you adhere to and would like to share with us?

HEDGE WIZARD: The blending of the real world and the fantastic.  I walk this line constantly.

WULF: I've asked you a bit about your plans for the future of your music, but would you like to add to this? What can Hedge Wizard fans expect from you in the coming months or next couple of years?

HEDGE WIZARD: I'm not sure when the next album will be ready, but I am working on it.  Only time will tell.

WULF: That's all the questions I have for you, my friend!! Any final spells or incantations before we end this Malicious interrogation?

HEDGE WIZARD:  Hey! Thanks for the interview Wulf.

Forever In The Dungeon!



You can read more of Wulf's thoughts on Hedge Wizard here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dungeon Synth Explorations - Part 4 - Hedge Wizard


Click below to check out previous installments of this series!
Part 1 - here
Part 2 - here
Part 3 - here

Hedge Wizard is a very mysterious, obscure dungeon synth artist hailing from the equally mysterious, obscure city of Toledo, Ohio (seriously though, I know nothing about Toledo).   What I find most interesting about his style is that it reminds me not so much of (Era I) Mortiis or Wongraven, but point-and-click adventure games from the 1990s instead.

Have you ever played Inherit the Earth?   I remember playing this game for hours when I was about 9 or 10 years old, and really loving the game in terms of storyline and atmosphere even though I found it to be pretty difficult.   Actually, it was because of a glitch that caused me to never actually finish the game, so I've always been meaning to go back and see what happens to Riff after he escapes the dungeon of Dog Castle!  Anyway, the point of this story is that for some reason the music from this game really stuck with me, even though when I listen to it now it doesn't seem that special or memorable.   I guess I just really loved the ambiance that the low budget keyboards generated...it really matched the "low-fantasy" style of the game, much different than the high fantasy atmosphere that I was used to from playing hours of Warcraft 2 or Baldur's Gate.  It was because of these games from the '90s like Inherit the Earth or Hero's Quest/Quest for Glory: So You Want to Be a Hero that made me appreciate this specific video game soundtrack style, and for whatever reason Hedge Wizard's music reminds me of that.

More True Than Time Thought (2014)

I feel like this would make the perfect soundtrack to browsing through the original AD&D rulebooks... this music doesn't exactly make me think of someone tiptoeing through a dungeon, but instead maybe a wizard or enchanter reading up on mysterious creatures of the wilderness in a large, dusty tome.   You can emulate this by dusting off your old original AD&D monster manuals, loading a pipe of your favorite shit to smoke / alcoholic beverage, and spending an afternoon or evening checking out the cool shit inside!
Each of the songs kind of have their own mood, but they all fit into a similar, laid-back kind of style that really leaves a lot of room for your imagination to explore.  For example- "The Conjurer's Clutter" makes me think of an absent-minded wizard bumbling around his weird tower trying to remember where he put the final ingredient for some strange concoction he's been working on for months... I don't know if you guys are into Lamentations of the Flame Princess or not, but it kind of reminds me of the "Tower of the Stargazer" adventure.   Or another favorite, "Huffing Petrichor", brings to mind a scene of a sorcerer inhaling mysterious fumes reminiscent of the smell of petrichor and recalling some sort of riddle or code that he encountered decades ago that still remains unsolved to this day.   Honestly though, my favorite song on the record is the first track, "Ancient Vibrations".   While it's certainly evocative and atmospheric, it's one of the few songs on the album that doesn't immediately bring a scene to my mind...it's just the one that reminds me the most of the old games I was talking about earlier.

So if you want to listen to some more laid-back, lo-fi, simplistic dungeon synth that still does an excellent job of stimulating the imagination and evoking an old-school, retro-gaming atmosphere, then definitely check this album out!!

You can listen to the entire album here.

Keep updated about Hedge Wizard: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hedge-Wizard/725977330805106

OUR EVIL NEW LOGO!!

Malicious Intent has a brand new logo, courtesy of Erick Neyra (Goat Semen, Evil Damn, ex-Black Angel) / Austral Holocaust Productions!!

BEHOLD:


More exclusive artwork for Malicious Intent is on the way as well!  

In the meantime, you can follow the links below to check out all of Erick Neyra's stuff! Also, if you're looking for an artist for logos or whatever I would highly recommend him!  His prices are more than reasonable, he's professional, and obviously his work is of high quality!

FACEBOOK LINKS:



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Review: Ghost Bath - Moonlover


We recently did an interview with Ghost Bath, so it could only make perfect sense to follow up with some thoughts regarding the album. All of us here at Malicious Intent were pretty eager to hear this album in its full context, and these are my thoughts towards that end. 

It is not often that a band as divisive as Ghost Bath comes around. Sure, you could argue that their genre-brethren, Deafheaven, are of the same ilk – challenging conceptions of metal imagery and genre casts altogether. In both cases, we look at bands who incorporate driven, post-rock rhythms into black metal soundscapes that fulfill their roles more typically with tortured shrieking and meandering, depressive melodies. In both cases, still, we have bands that will undoubtedly piss off the genre-faithful, but invigorate those who are more interested in the quality of the product, and not necessarily the “trve”-ness of its sound. My personal argument is that Ghost Bath’s Moonlover is the dark, loathesome sibling of Deafheaven’s Sunbather (seriously, the titles) and that each have a place in changing how metal fans interpret the next (d)evolution of its most grim, sorrowful and gritty genre: black metal. 

Ghost Bath, rumored for some time to hail from China, have recently come forth and confirmed their location as Minot, North Dakota. In that confirmation, they carry a personal mantra forward: that they are so hateful of themselves and their personal existence that they chose to disguise their location, names and likenesses. We still don’t know much about who they are, but this is a group who have fully bought into their own image. Whether or not that’s a good thing is to be debated. The more crucial point, here, is that the music they write is actually good. It’s not traditional black metal, no, but this might be exactly what Deafheaven’s Sunbather wasn’t: palatable and interesting. I’m not here to say that Deafheaven wrote a bad album at all. I enjoyed Sunbather, but I think that Moonlover offers a better product, and a final confirmation of blackgaze as metal’s next big thing. To some, this will be for the absolute worst, but this kind of genre combination is not unprecedented. Bands like Agalloch, Alcest and Woods of Desolation have either toyed with or incorporated these ideas long before Ghost Bath ever conceived the thought of it. The difference? The floodgates finally seem to be open. The band have done the formula so well on this release that multitudes of copycats are sure to follow. 

As for the album itself, Moonlover achieves a sort of mystic completion by doing exactly what you expect, and turning that expectation over on its head. Melancholy is manifest here in both minor and major keys. Some motifs are of unexpected happiness, while others feast on abject sadness and the infinitude of deep atmospheric chord progressions. What surprised me foremost was how focused the instrumental sections were. With thoughtful composition, no second feels wasted, and the music itself survives despite lacking the highly characteristic shrieks that otherwise fill sonic voids. We are treated to a sense for songwriting, decent production and a product that knows exactly what it was meant to achieve. I know the reasons for which this album will receive flack. I have read countless arguments both for and against what this band is doing. That being said, I count myself amongst those who are intrigued, in addition to those who found the album to be wholly enjoyable. Is it completely original? Not really, but the execution is so tasteful that even those who hate the direction this takes seem to recognize just how complete the vision on Moonlover really is; and finally, no remark can be made without sheer appreciation for the album artwork alone, which may be the most captivating image this genre has yet produce. If that doesn’t catch your eye, I surely don’t know what will. 

Be it that this album finally defines the presence of blackgaze and its combination with atmospheric black metal as a complete and driving genre-shift, I cannot say that I disliked it one bit. Ghost Bath are rumored to have already completed over 10 tracks for another album which boasts a length double that of Moonlover. I also have my theories that these guys are, to the contrary, just one individual as opposed to the claimed four. We’ll see what more there is to learn about Ghost Bath in the coming months, but for now, I’ll go back to listening to an AOTY contender.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5   

Recommended Tracks: All of it. This album is best as a whole.  

If you want to hear more from Ghost Bath, please check out the Malicious Intent metal show hosted by myself every Saturday night from 10 p.m. – 12 p.m. Tune in at KJHK 90.7 FM or listen online at www.kjhk.org!

-CJ


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Introducing: CJ, current Malicious Intent Host at KJHK 90.7FM

Hey there folks,

I arrive bearing good news! Despite a brief absence, Malicious Intent is live once more at KU and after connecting with Wulf a couple of weeks ago it became apparent that my presence in the extended MI family was an absolute necessity. I'm glad to be a part of this blog, and even more glad to be a part of the MI revival.

I began hosting the show back in August at the request of an old friend and current programming director at KJHK. My passion for music has always been best explored in my love for metal, so it's hardly something I could say no to. I'll not bore the lot of you too much of those details, but I'll at least explain my connection to the genre and how I approach hosting the show.

I’ve been an avid metal fan since I was a wee lad, and moved into the more extreme realm of its existence during middle school. I guess I’ve never really looked back, and while I’ve certainly branched out to other genres since that time, I still barrage my ears with wall-of-sound rhythms, buzzsaw riffing, blistering solos and machine-gun drumming at least 80% of the time.

As a hobbyist musician, I know that what I appreciate about the genre of metal most is its relation to classical, jazz and blues stylizations. There are so many talented artists out there who are attempting to reshape music as we know it, and I believe that comes from the ability to take so many influences to an extreme and abstract fruition. That makes my time as the host of Malicious Intent that much more enjoyable because I can simultaneously enjoy such a visceral genre and still discuss intricate compositional qualities on air.

As far as Malicious Intent goes, my goal from the beginning was to represent the genre of metal in the same way that I listen to it: all of its sub-genres capture my attention in some way or another, so what you hear is a reflection of that. I also like to be sure that I'm not simply playing the things that I enjoy. For example, I don't play much deathcore, but I don't shy away from it for the sake of "trve"ness. We’re currently rebuilding our metal collection in the station based upon what I can bring in every week. This has limited request potential to some degree, but I'm doing my best!

One other bit of important information is that the show time has actually changed - it now runs from 10 p.m. - midnight on Saturdays as opposed to the Sunday schedule it used to be on. Wulf had a nice suggestion that I'm trying to follow up on that will allow me to rip the streams of the show and republish it as a podcast - stay tuned for more on that in the near future. Until that time, you can check the show out on 90.7FM in Lawrence or online at kjhk.org! 

I'll be popping up here pretty regularly now, so cheers until next time!

-CJ



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Interview with Crow of Lord Lovidicus!!

Interview conducted via e-mail, February 2015.

Listen and support Lord Lovidicus' music: https://lordlovidicus.bandcamp.com/
Keep updated about Lord Lovidicus: https://www.facebook.com/LordLovidicus
Lord Lovidicus' Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/CrowHavenBM
Mithrim Records: http://mithrimrecords.bandcamp.com/


WULF: So from what I can tell, you haven’t done too many interviews. Tell us a bit about yourself and your music. How did you get into the mysterious, intriguing world of dungeon synth?

CROW:  I'm just a human that likes to keep himself busy. I've developed many hobbies that I undertake in my spare time, one of which is music. For me, growing up in a musical background with a father who is a musician, I've always had a passion for composition. I started writing Lord Lovidicus when I was 15 years old, and now I'm 20. I've come a long way, and what started out as musical expression turned into something that I could share with others through social media. Of course, this isn't something I've strived for, it's something I've incidentally stumbled upon. Particularly, dungeon synth was not in my mind when writing my music. I wrote music inspired by what I was surrounded by: video games and fantasy books. Eventually my music developed into what could be considered dungeon synth, but I never intended to write dungeon synth music.


WULF: Maybe I’m, crazy, but I feel like there’s been a drastic improvement in the quality of your music ever since you released “Forgotten Ruins” in June 2013. The following album, “Kyndill og Stein” was great as well. However, shit really got kicked into high gear with your most recent album, “Waldervogel des Waldes” (released in November 2014)! In my opinion, that’s one of the greatest “neo”-dungeon synth albums of all time, and is bound to be a classic! While I do appreciate the more “old-school” dungeon synth style of some newer artists (such as Splendorius or Murgrind), I feel like both you and (fellow dungeon synth conjurer) Erang are redefining the genre with your newer music while simultaneously demonstrating that this kind of music doesn’t necessarily have to sound like it came out in 1991 in order to belong. How do you feel about this evolution in your style? What brought about this drastic change in sound?

CROW:  This decision was purely a matter of composition in my mind. I loved the authentic, lo-fi sounds of my earlier work, but it became a limitation as far as composition. With a keyboard full of MIDI sounds, I was able to get the different sounds that I thought of as sufficient, but what I could actually play on the keyboard, I felt, limited my ability to compose. Writing in an electronic interface fixed this problem, and I was able to reinvent my project and limitlessly compose to whatever my mind could conjure. This is where my view of music sort of clashes with most people's views. I feel the essence of music is in the composition, and the medium that it is played through is just a way of conveying the abstract. Many people think that the mixing and production of the music is the most important thing. No, to me it is the notes. The notes themselves are like the words of a book. People may argue whether paperback or hardcover is the best, but in the end the words are the reason you buy the book.

WULF:  Is there a particular concept or storyline that you draw inspiration from for your songs / albums, or do you just kind of improvise in that respect as you write? In a previous interview, you mentioned a kind of loose storyline that you had in mind when you composed the “When the Mountain Falls” EP (September 2012), but has been the case for your music after this?

CROW: To answer the first question, it's a mixture of both. If there is something I read or saw that particularly inspired me, I would write a song in its respect. Most of the time it is improvised. That EP was the first time I tried doing a full length story concept for an album. I did it mainly because a friend recommended I should try it out. I may try that again in the future. It was an interesting experience.

WULF: Are we ever going to see a Lord Lovidicus music video? What about the possibility of a live show? If this was something you’d be interested in doing, what would your ideal show be like?

CROW: My music is instrumental for the same reason that I would not make music videos or perform live. Music, to me, is about what can't be explained through words or visuals. I had a conversionation with one of my fans and he asked me what visions I thought of through one of my songs. I told him my ideas, and then I asked for his. They were fairly different, and that is what I love to get out of my music. It should stimulate everyone's imagination differently. It's much of the same reason why people play tabletop games as opposed to triple A video games. People like to use their imaginations rather than be force fed super specific visuals or commentaries.

WULF: Your music would fit quite well in a short film or video game, even though personally I think its best as a soundtrack to an evening of D&D / Pathfinder. What do you think it is about dungeon synth that separates it from just being atmospheric video game or movie music? Have you ever had any offers to compose game music or anything like that?

CROW: I think your first question ties in a lot with what I had to say in the previous question. Unfortunately I've never had offers from people asking me to compose music for their video games or anything. I would love to do that. I'm almost done with my degree in computer science and plan on making video games. If I did make video games, I would definitely write the music for it; possibly even through some Lord Lovidicus in there.

WULF: Does the music of Lord Lovidicus represent a personal philosophy or belief system of your own? You’ve mentioned that you have a sort of apathetic, nihilistic, misanthropic view towards mainstream society / humanity. You’ve also talked a bit about how for you personally, your music acts as a sort of temporary escape vehicle out of this reality. Does this also reflect your personal philosophy towards overall existence in general? Being a black metal fan, what are your views towards the occult, the supernatural, etc.? Also, I highly doubt you’re a religious fellow, but I think it would be really cool if you would release an Old Testament-themed cover album of some of your own music and then release it under the name Lord Leviticus. Just putting it out there. 

CROW: This is a highly in depth question so I'll try to tackle this piece by piece.

First off, I like my music to be as far removed from philosophy and beliefs as possible. It's fantasy music. Fantasy shouldn't have to deal with philosophy or belief systems, those are for reality where the actual questions need to be asked. Again, with my music being an escape from reality, it really shouldn't associate itself with the concerns of existence.

At the time of that interview, when I was 17, I was going through a lot of psychological problems. I ended up suffering from depersonalization disorder from which I've emerged a completely different person. Interestingly enough, that's when I began my switch to electronically produced music. My thoughts on existence at the time were hopelessly nihilistic. I viewed the world as a meaningless and empty place filled with arrogant, oblivious, and egocentric drones. My views on the state of the world have not changed much, and that reality that I have recognized has not changed; however, my perception of that reality and the way it affects me has changed, drastically. I stopped viewing the world in a purely objective and detatched state, to one more subjective and in tune with who I really am. I spent most of my life training my mind to analyze the world in a rigorous, objective light. Now, I am doing the opposite, for my own sake and sanity. It has led me to an existential crisis in which I emerged the master of my consciousness; however, I think psychological and philosphical development never ends and it is something to be developed upon the further we travel through life.

It is true that I was an avid black metal fan some time ago. I've lately become somewhat detatched from the scene. I still listen to it here and there for old times' sake, but as I develop my musical tastes I realize I really don't like vocals in my music. That's probably why black metal was so appealing to me because the vocals are incomprehensible from face value and serve as a sort of instrument themselves. I feel like vocals, lyrics specifically, bring an unwanted element into music that detracts from the purpose of music in the first place. It ties in with my other answer about playing live or making a music video.

I find the occult silly. Stylistically, it has its aesthetics, and they are fairly attractive, but inherently I find it silly. The supernatural on the other hand is a realm that does intrigue me; particularly metaphysics. At the same time I haven't decided whether such a philosphy is probable because it is founded in biased human egocentricism along with the physical manifestation of something abstract (i.e. a soul), but there is no evidence against it so I remain open minded.

It's funny you bring up the whole Lovidicus - Leviticus thing. I've thought about that many times in my mind and all the time I think "Damn, I should've come up with a better name."

WULF:  You’ve covered music by Erang (and vice versa), and have also released a split together as well. I would argue that right now you guys are arguably the two most popular contemporary dungeon synth artists. The world is not big enough for the both of you. In a duel to the death, who would emerge victorious… Lord Lovidicus or Erang?

CROW: I know Erang was inspired by a lot of my earlier works, and I became inspired by his works as well. I had a great time collaborating with him and hope to do more in the future. He is a great guy. In direct response to your question I would say Erang. He has the production quality that people crave and the stylistic visuals to aid with his music. In all seriousness, I think me and Erang have our differences and we are both trying to acheive different things with our music. I can tell that Erang is trying to perfect some stylistic archetypes that exist in music genres. For me, I'm just trying to uniquely express myself in a way that I've never heard before. It's really hard, and I get a lot of backlash for it because people wish my music was more "true" to the scene. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to plateau and reinvent the wheel. I want to go places with my music that people haven't gone before, and whether people like it or not does not concern me.

WULF: I’m actually really interested in creating my own dungeon synth as well, but all I have is Garage Band for my iPad and it’s not working out too well. Do you have any advice or tips for newbies like me? Feel free to get as technical as you want regarding hardware, software, musical equipment, songwriting, etc.

CROW: It's a pretty hard process. It takes a certain level of dedication. I feel there is no general formula to writing this music because it should be a methodology that is unique to each artist. I could explain how my methodology has evolved over the years but I'm not sure if that would have any use to you. Essentially, if you are using an electronic interface to write music, you need two types of hardware. Something that specializes in MIDI's and VST's so that you can dynamically modify synthesizers on a tracklist of plotted notes. If you want your music to have a more authentic sound, you could hook up a keyboard through a computer with a MIDI adapter. I know in FL Studio you can record notes in real time and then set those notes to a synthesizer that you customize. The second type of software that is necessary is a sound processing software that can import and export most sound files and can modify their equalization, pitch, reverb, etc. For this I use Audacity.

As far as songwriting goes. It's really your own formula. For me, I usually envision some sort of landscape or scenario in my mind. Then, I paint it with the notes. It's really hard to explain how that is done. I guess the best way I could explain it is that in my own mind there exists a library of connotative and associative sounds or melodies that coincide with different sceneries. It's a very abstract model that I use to pick and choose different note sequences to represent specific things in a scenery. Of course, this is just my mind's interpretation, and on a listener's mind it has profound results that end up in largely different interpretations.

WULF: The name Lord Lovidicus comes from “The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion” video game. Obviously, you’re an Elder Scrolls fan, so just out of curiosity, what was your opinion of Skyrim? Also, how do you feel about “The Elder Scrolls Online”?

CROW: I have no thoughts for Elder Scrolls Online. Honestly, the series died for me once Skyrim was released. I'm a fan of highly strategic RPG's with an in-depth meta to them. Skyrim has fairly limited RPG elements and requires little skill to create powerful builds. Not to mention, Skyrim was a vast, desolate, bleak, and empty world based off of low-fantasy realism while Oblivion was a vibrant and magical realm based off of high-fantasy imagination.


WULF: It’s already been established that computer and video game RPGs are a big influence, but what about tabletop RPGs? Also, do you currently play roleplaying games? If so, which games?

CROW: I used to play a lot of D&D with my friends in high school. I'm hoping on trying out D&D 5e soon because it looks pretty awesome and took care of a lot of the problems I had with 4e. Currently, I've been playing a lot of Guild Wars 2, I'm also a big fan of 4X strategy games and have been really into Endless Space and Endless Legend.

WULF: It’s only been a few months since you’ve released the last album, but have you got anything planned to come out in the near future? What’s currently going on in the realm of Lord Lovidicus? I can’t wait to hear some new music!

CROW: I've already tried to write more music since the release of my last album. My last few albums have been similar in composition style, so this time I'm really trying to change it up again. I'm still not sure what direction I want to go in. I've written quite a few melodies here and there but they're just bits and scraps of what will come. The problem is, I want something new. I can't write another "Wandervogel," or even another "Trolldom" for that matter. I want to head in a completely new direction, and I'm still not sure where that will lead me.

WULF: Those are all my questions, sorry I had so many! Anything else you’d like to say?

CROW: Thanks for the interview. It was a great oppurtunity for me to really think about my musical career and focus on some of my objectives. Again, thanks, and thanks to all of my fans who love my music.


You can read about Wulf's favorite Lord Lovidicus albums here!