How would you describe the music of Black Crow King to the uninitiated? Give us an introduction, of sorts…
I would describe it as raw, experimental, blackened doom. I suppose it could be compared a bit to a mix of bands like Khanate, Atavist and Moss with Gnaw Their Tongues. It has even been described as experimental Black Metal but to me the foundation is doom.
Your album, To Pay the Debt of Nature is currently available through Badgod Music. Is this your debut or were there previously releases still available? How did the album come about?
This is the debut Black Crow King album but I have had a previous release on Crucial Blast with my other band Project: Void. The album and the idea for Black Crow King came about because I love doom and wanted to explore the concept of making a doom album with a difference and it also gave me the chance to explore some different themes to what was happening in Project: Void which is a power electronics band driven by misanthropic rage and hatred.
Did you have specific ideas or goals in mind when you began writing the material? What themes or visions run through To Pay the Debt of Nature?
Yes I knew what I wanted to create from the beginning, something fresh within the boundaries of doom, something that would challenge the listener and make them sit up and pay attention and after hearing the album, like it or not, they would know they had listened to it. Each song explores a theme but there is a central theme of death to the album which runs through every song. The other themes explored would be the role of crows in the supernatural as messengers and harbingers of death, nature, ancient pagan death rituals and misanthropy.
How did the relationship with BadGod Music come about? Are there plans to do future releases with them again?
Dave from badGod approached me after hearing my songs on myspace, he asked me if I was signed and when I told him I wasn’t he offered me a spot on his label which he was in the process of setting up. Yes there are plans to do future releases with badGod – the next release will be a split album with the Belgian band The Earth King and after that we will look at a re-issue of the Project: Void album on cd as it was released as a limited edition cassette.
Give us some insight to your recording and writing process. Do the songs come first lyrically, musically, rhythmically, etc. How to you prefer to capture your work on a recording? The songs are all unique from one another, very lucid and seem to be improvisational…
I write the lyrics first, from this the idea of the sound of the song takes shape and I know then where I want to take it to. The lyrics form the core of the song around which the music must fit in order for it to work, the music is a reflection of what is being uttered in the lyrics. I prefer to work on the music late at night when there are no disturbances and I want to capture the rawness of the music and emotions as much as possible, to me a slick production would not fit hence I have left it sounding raw and barbaric. Yes the songs are all very unique, I suppose the trademark sound of the songs is my voice. The songs are actually carefully thought out and planned, but you are right there is a degree of improvisation in the experimental side of the songs – I add these sounds in last and capture what seems to suite the song the best.
To Pay the Debt of Nature is an interesting title…what meaning does it hold for the collection of songs on the album, as there is no track with the title.
To Pay The Debt Of Nature is an old euphemism meaning death or to die, I used it as this is the central theme of the album. I had the title picked out before all the songs where done as I knew what my central theme was and the title seemed to be very fitting. This is also reflected in the artwork of the album, each picture has an element of nature in it and an element representing death be it the more obvious tombstone or the less obvious decaying building or fallen tree.
Black Crow King is a one man project, if I am not mistaken. Have you performed in a group setting previously in terms of writing, recording or performing live? Do you have plans to do this in the future?
You are correct it is a one man project although I did use 2 guitarists to assist on some of the songs but they worked to my specifications and vision. I have worked with people before in a band setting but nothing was ever released by those bands and no I have never performed live. I have recently been invited by my friend to join his death industrial band N.D.E and have gratefully accepted, it will be interesting and new for both of us as it will follow both our visions working together as one.
With the abstract nature of the music, what would be a suitable live performance to fit your sound?
For various reasons that I don’t wish to go into I will never perform live so I have never considered a live setting for the bands music.
I am unfamiliar with you country of origin. Has it remained a mystery on purpose?
Yes everything about me personally has remained a mystery from my real name to my country of origin, I am a very private person and wish to remain so.
Where do you find yourself drawing influence from? Philosophy and sciences, misanthropy and anguish, art and literature, etc.? What about musically, who do you listen to or would you recommend?
I draw my influences from personal beliefs, misanthropy, my interest in crows, ancient cultures and my respect for nature. Musically I have drawn from doom, power electronics, black metal and my own twisted ideas. At the moment I am listening to a lot of doom and death metal. Some new bands that I have been listening to that I would recommend would be Lazarus Blackstar, The Abominable Iron Sloth, Nails, Acephalix, Twilight and the new death metal album by my label mates Never To Arise. Some of my older favourites would include Gnaw Their Tongues, Black Sun, Khanate, Mistress, Nile, Fukpig, Whitehouse, Wolf Eyes, Der Blutharsch, Current 93, Esoteric and Unearthly Trance.
What is the most challenging thing about creating the music that is Black Crow King? Is that same challenge also the most rewarding? What is the easiest?
The most challenging thing I would say is to keep the music interesting over the length of the songs so that it will keep the listener interested. Yes this is probably also the most rewarding part that after hours of work you finally get it right and have created something that you can be proud of. The easiest part is writing the lyrics when I am in the correct frame of mind.
What are you currently working on? When can we expect a new release, etc.?
I am currently working on the follow up album to To Pay The Debt Of Nature and as mentioned above I have now started work on lyrics and music for N.D.E. The split album between The Earth King and Black Crow King will be out later this year on badGod and more news will follow about Project: Void.
Last words are yours, thanks for your time!
Thank you for taking the interest in my music and for affording me the opportunity of this interview. And lastly listen to Black Crow King and blow your mind.