A year ago, the industrial project Carrion released the Iconoclasm LP, planning this to complete its history, but this didn‘t happen. Now listeners are waiting for the new album Testament Ov The Exiled. We talked with the frontman of Carrion — Hide about his upcoming release and about the world that has changed so rapidly in a short time.
And let’s go straight to the new LP. What makes this work different from Iconoclasm? And that should tell «The Blood Ov Saints» and «The Tempest»?
Hide: After Iconoclasm I expected all Carrion activity to cease as hinted at by the title of the last album as the term iconoclasm refers to the destruction of icons. I delved into the world of modular synthesis as a way to explore sound design on a much deeper level than I had before and through my explorations and experimentations I found myself creating things I would like to work with in a slighlty more structured context compared to the avant garde musical pieces I released under the moniker From The Mouth Öv Belial.
«The Blood Ov Saints» is 98% percent modular based, the only exception being the drums. Without getting too deep into things you might look at that song as an invitation to a path to salvation, although that path is darker and may lead you to discover things about yourself that might be quite unpleasant.
«The Tempest» on the other hand is where my love for power ballads come to light. I look at it as more of a rock song than anything industrial though it seems to straddle the border of the two. I think what surprised me the most about the creation of that song is how it lead me to discover that beneath my inherent pessimistic and often quite nihlistic outlook there is a small piece of hope buried deep down.
The release of singles always creates some kind of opinion (expectation) from the upcoming release. Do you think the audience’s expectations are correct? Or will they be shocked? Maybe there are some special, unexpected tracks on the new album?
Hide: I feel like having no expectations is always the best approach. I try not to repeat myself, I don`t want to make the same album twice. There will be similarities to «Iconoclasm» in terms of guitars and a more raw, stripped down approach but don`t expect Iconoclasm part 2. If nothing else I would say this one is a lot darker, lyrically it`s more open and direct and the songs come from a place I rarely I show others.
Let’s go back to the past. What was your path in your musical career? What it was before Carrion?
Hide: I started playing in bands when I was around 13-14 years old. I played in local punk and metal bands but never really found a group of people I clicked with so things always ended.
I discovered industrial and after playing in punk bands for years and becoming a bit tired of that particular style I wanted to learn about electronic music.
Carrion came about as a way to explore this unknown side of music though I quickly realized that electronic music, as in EBM or aggrotech and such styles wasn`t really my thing so I began incorporating my punk/metal influences as well as more underground styles of electronic and experimental music.
What sources inspired your project? Musical, visual? What is Carrion made of?
Hide: Musically I`ll be inspired by anything at all. I could create a song based on just one single sound I stumble upon while patchig my modular synthesizer but I could also find inspiraton from other bands wether that be Morbid Angel or Einsturzende Neubauten.
Lyrically I always felt like I`m not really writing the lyrics as much as I`m dictating, just taking notes of what I`m being told and shown by something or someone which I have yet to fully understand or find the words to describe but I will say there is definetly a spiritual element to that part of it.
Visually I always felt that the artwork should in some represent the way the music sounds. I tend to stick to very simple and DIY forms of art. I use a great deal of metaphor and symbolism in how I portray anything Carrion related.
By the way, about the visual side. The last cover art was decorated with the work of Vladimir Vacovsky. What will happen for this full-length release?
Hide: «Iconoclasm» is the first time I used someone elses artwork. For this release I`m going back to doing it myself, not because I wasn`t satisfied, it just happened to work out this way this time around. It`s more simplistic and clean I suppose, it`s also much lighter than the art of any other release which ties into subliminal concepts of birth-death-rebirth explored during the album both lyrically as well as through the music itself.
Let us turn to the sad part of our interview. How has the pandemic affected you and your project?
Hide: I was in the U.S during the first half of 2020 so my first contanct with the pandemic happened there which was quite a different experience than if I had been in Norway.
I also play synths for the band MissFit Toys and we had several shows and events which all got cancelled and needed to be rescheduled so of course that`s never a fun experience in any circumstance. I left the U.S the day the Black Lives Matter protests had begun picking up some steam and found myself flying from Florida to Chicago as America burned beneath me. Not to undermine the importance of the movement but I found a sense of poetry in that thought.
Due to having close connections to the U.S through my friends and my partner all living there I might feel the burden of our times a little heavier than other non-Americans.
There`s definetly some inspiration born from anger and frustration directly related to these events which take shape in the heavier, fast-paced songs on this release.
There is already a firm statement that «we live during interesting historical events (but would like to return uninteresting ones, lol)». Is there a place for the coronavirus themes in Carrion?
Hide: Anyone who ever reads my lyrics would quickly find themselves reading about quite apocalyptic scenarios. As mentioned earlier the lyrics all come from some other place, a different realm perhaps. I write down the what I hear and see as result of this experience. Perhaps there is a prophetic quality to it. So yes, there is definetly a place for it in that sense.
How were things on the Norwegian dark scene? In view of the pandemic, of course …
Hide: The alternative scene here is quite small and very spread out across every tiny town around the country. We did recently have successful attempts at arranging meetups for like minded alternative people which of course had to come to a screeching halt in favour of the safe keeping of both ourselves and our peers. I think everyone just wants to be able to regain a sense of normality as quickly as possible and be able to partake in these activities again. The person responseable for arranging these meetings has recently began DJ`ing so that`s one way of keeping things alive while we await further instructions.
Tell us about your studio. What tools do you use for writing music?
Hide: I currently use a modular synthesizer which simply put is a synthesizer where you pick and choose each and every part of it which you can change and switch up whenever you see fit. This allows me to create a custom made,very personalized instrument where I can carve out my own sound.
I also tend to collect a fair amount of field recordings which I will cut and process and make samples and loops out of, some of which I have for sale via blackbataudio.com which is a company founded and ran by Darrin Lewis of Nothing Valentine who produced the last Carrion album.
Other than what`s already bee mentioned I`ve introduced more guitars lately.
I`m trying to play music rather than programm it. I suppose it`s a side-effect from having my roots in punk and metal. I use my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) as a tape recorder more than a compositional tool as I strive to play as much as possible by hand.
What are your plans after the release of «Testament Ov The Exiled»? Maybe participation in side projects?
Hide: I actually have an all modular based album finished and ready to go with my side project From The Mouth Öv Belial. It`s a 9 track album consisting of fully improvised music, all recorded live with nothing but my modular system. I wanted to release something which captures every flawed note, every little imperfection that often gets edited or «fixed» in the modern and digital era of composing while at the same time capturing these moments in time which I found interesting in one way or another which by the very nature of a modular synth, that being the fact that once you pull out the patch cables you won`t get that sound back, these are moments in time which only exists once and are never to be repeated.
It`s mostly instrumental though I did ask my friends in AGGRESS to provide vocals for two tracks which they kindly delivered.
My other band MissFit Toys is also close to releasing our single «Blithe Din» which will serve as the first taste of the upcoming album called «The Nine». The single also features remixes by some great artists such as Nero Bellum of Psyclon Nine, Decent News, Dead Agent etc etc. I also did an all modular remix for the release.
Those who know me knows that I never stop working. I`m sure some of them are convinced I`m some kind of vampire due to my sporadic nearly non existent sleep patterns haha!