‘On the Blackest of Nights’ is your first full length album release, please tell us a brief history of the band. I know you had previous demos and an EP circulated, as well….
The band was formed in 2009 by Jonas Gustavsson (guitars/vocals), Thomas Hedlund (drums) and me, Peter Svensson (bass). I have known the others for close to 15 years and at the time I had just re-kindled my friendship with Jonas after a 10 year hiatus. Thomas I have played on and off with in different bands over the last 10+ years. So we just started to jam some songs I had written and very quickly found each other. The first songs went on the first demo. After that Erika Wallberg joined us as lead guitarist and we recorded a second demo. After playing some gigs and spreading the word we were picked up by Cruz Del Sur in the spring of 2012 and they just released our debut album.
Tell us about the new release, ‘On the Blackest of Nights’! I noticed a few of the tracks appeared on previous demos, etc. What were some of the more memorable events that led up to this full length?
Well, we decided to re-record all the songs from the demos and record three newer songs to have some material to choose from. We wanted the album to be a collection of our best songs up to date. Actually I hope we can release the left over songs from this session as well, since they also sound really good. There are two really memorable events that come to mind from the recording, the first is the recording of the drums which we did in record time over 1½ days. It just went so fast, we finished one track and went on to the other, stopped discussing some drum fills or something and then continuing. The other is the vocal sessions, which took a bit longer but that was mostly due to people outside of the band. But me and Jonas spent many long nights (after days at work) recording the vocals and finding the right moods. At the time there was a lot irritation from other people and we had a hard time finding time to record so we knew we had to make to most of every session. But there were a lot of very creative moments when we could shut everything else out and I think the vocals on the album are superb.
How was the recording process for ‘On the Blackest…’? Was there a producer present for the direction of the album?
The album was more or less produced by me, even though I wouldn’t call myself a producer. But in the end I pulled most of the strings, writing and arranging, recording and post-production. Of course the rest of the band had their say as well. So we recorded the album by ourselves, utilizing the help of a friend who works as a sound engineer and another friend who is an amazing engineer for the mixing and mastering. It allowed us to take the time we needed to find the right sound and mood for everything.
What are some of the words you would use to describe your sound and vision? How do you present yourself to fans that may not be familiar with your genre?
We usually present ourselves as Epic Doom Metal but I think we have a broader spectrum than that. We include influences from all kinds of metal into our music, some stuff could be just a drum pattern normally used in black metal played in a doom metal song. To somebody who never heard of “Epic Doom Metal” I would describe it as heavy, slow music with very much emotion in it.
The world is awash with media programming, music, television, smart phones, etc. What sets Void Moon apart from the relentless masses of music fans have access to in today’s age? How do you keep fans attention?
Of course, it’s a problem and I am a bit naïve since I think that every time we put out new songs/demos everybody who hears it will understand how good it is. The amount of bands/records is incredible and it is probably impossible to reach out to the general audience without a massive hype and media circus. I am very thrilled to be on Cruz Del Sur since they have very good distribution and hopefully the album will find its way to the people who really appreciates it. We try to do our share on facebook, youtube and our own website (www.void-moon.com) as well. We are diehard underground fans ourselves and visit a lot of shows and festivals every year, both in Sweden and rest of Europe, in that sense we have a good network to spread our music underground. In short, we hope that people will hear us and appreciate the honesty in what we do. We seek longevity instead of creating a spectacle and we hope to create that by playing what we want and doing things our own way.
The included lyrics in your digipack release from Cruz Del Sur gave a nice insight to your vision. There are phrases like ‘astral bonds’, ‘his will be done’ and ‘can you cross the Abyss?’, are these in any way referencing Hermeticism or I am reading too deep? What influences your lyrics and attitude?
There are a lot of different sources of inspiration, but you are quite clear about the Hermeticism reference since the lyrics to “The Word and the Abyss” were inspired by Aleister Crowley’s concept of Thelema. We try to bring in lyrics from different angles but that still fit together. Usually when I write lyrics I want to write them with more than one meaning, so you can read and think it just sounds cool or you can read something more into them. There are other lyrics as well which are more direct, the lyrics to “On the Blackest of Nights” are based on the short story “The Shadow from the Steeple” by Robert Bloch for example. I want to keep a broad base for the lyrics and if there is anything to learn from it, it is to think for yourself.
How has the band evolved since the inception up until now? Do you see the band making drastic changes in sound or direction in the future? Why or why not?
I think we have very naturally grown as a band to be more of a unit over the years. We have taken our time to develop of our sound and style, that was the reason for doing two demos before looking for a record deal. I can’t imagine that we would sit rigid in this position for all eternity and I am very curious to see how the band will develop over the next few years. However, we do not have any plans to make any direct changes, we will just keep doing what we enjoy and what we feel represents our concept of Void Moon.
How did the relationship with Cruz Del Sur come to be? Are they releasing the album exclusively?
We have met Enrico (president of Cruz Del Sur) at the Keep It True-festival in Germany for a couple of years discussing bands on his label like Slough Feg and Pharaoh. This year I handed him a promo of both our demos and he later got back to us and said that he was interested in releasing it. So far it has been working out really well. Yes, they have exclusive rights to the album, hopefully there will be a vinyl version out in early 2013.
The artwork for ‘On the Blackest…’ is rather haunting and melancholic, like the music, at times. I could really see the connection between the art and the music on a track like ‘Among the Dying’. Who is the artist and why this piece of art for the album?
The artwork was actually painted by me. We had a professional painter that was supposed to do the cover and I just did the painting to get my own idea down. In the end, however we decided to keep my original since it fits really well with the feeling of the album and the others really liked it (I think I was most opposed to use it).We didn’t want to use graveyard pictures or classic paintings since these are a bit to common in doom metal today. I am very glad, and proud, that you like the cover!
Tell us what a live performance of Void Moon entails…is there a certain mood that is conveyed, a visual aspect that involves light and fog, etc.?
We do not have a lot of effects on stage, we keep it very simple with just the band; vocals, two guitars, bass and drums. We use a prerecorded intro to start the show which works both as an introduction to our show of doom metal as well as a short time for us to focus on the task at hand. We have gotten a very good response to our shows from the fans, sometimes however they think we play to fast and too many different changes and it becomes a bit chaotic compared to regular doom metal bands.
Does Void Moon prefer to studio to the stage or vice versa? Why?
I would say that all of us prefer the stage actually, it a great feeling playing live. In contrast to that, however, I would say that I think I enjoy writing and listening to the slower songs more. It is very difficult to achieve the exact feeling of those songs live.
What does the future hold for Void Moon? New material, tours, side projects?
At the moment we are writing new songs and rehearsing. We have some gigs planned for next year, but at the moment nothing’s official. Hopefully we can play a lot of doom festivals to promote our music. Apart from playing live there is a vinyl version of our second demo coming out on Emanes Metal during early 2013 and we also have a live cassette coming out on Burn Records (label of Felipe of the band Procession).
The last words are yours!
Thank you very much for the well-researched questions. I hope anybody into Doom or any form of Metal gives our album a listen, I really believe that it represents some sort of originality and musical quality compared to the many computer engineered albums of today.