Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Interview with Tiamat Invictuz of WORMLIGHT by Dave Wolff

Interview with Tiamat Invictuz of WORMLIGHT

Wormlight began in 2014 as Unhallowed. After a change in lineup the following year the band changed their name and changed their lyrical content. What are the differences between your lyrics as Unhallowed and your lyrics as Wormlight?
The lyrical theme of Unhallowed was mostly centered on a general distaste towards Christianity and the lies and weakness that the word of God spreads amongst the weak willed. The lyrics were non-religious and so any mentioning of Satan is a reference to his metaphorical role as the opposer. This is where the transition begins, Unhallowed dies and Wormlight rises from the ashes. The lyrical theme transitions from a symbolic Satanism into a more refined chaos Gnosticism. A result of me taking up the role as vocalist and main writer of the band. A new mind behind the words will naturally create a significant change in the contents of the lyrics as well as the perception of them when visualized. Death and the anti-Cosmic is the foundation that my lyrics originates from, often woven into a theme other than the core itself. Like the album that is planned for release in 2017 that will focus on creatures of the old Norse mythology and folklore.

What was the religious climate in your country when Unhallowed started? Did this have any bearing on your early lyrics? How are musicians in your genre seen by society?
Since the band hails from Sweden, a land where Christianity is fading with every generation. And Protestantism being the state religion, there are no fanatic masses. The genre does not follow the norms of the general population, so naturally there are opinions against it. Mostly from the free churches.

Were your references to Satan in his metaphorical role as opposer derived from Anton LaVey’s writings? Are there other occult authors you and the band most admire?
The words of LaVey’s targets those with low self-esteem that are afraid of being judged. So instead they shroud their anxiety with the word "Satanist", a role to hide behind. It's also perfect for those who just want to justify being an asshole. And since "The Satanic Bible" contains neither Religious nor philosophical texts, and there is nothing occult within it, nothing in the lyrics of Unhallowed nor Wormlight has, or ever will be associated with it. The symbolism of Satan in the old lyrics is that of the orthodox role of Lucifer. Anti-Christianity being the main theme on the "An Ancient Enemy" EP. It's simply that, a hatred towards what God represents, thus the symbolism of Lucifer was used.

Describe the beginning of Unhallowed and how they went on to become Wormlight. How would you define Gnosticism as applied to your lyrics?
The band, Unhallowed, was formed in 2014 by King and the departed Deafeathered. Joined by Lator Mortis and Nordlyst they recorded the "An Ancient Enemy" Ep. After the release Deafeathered left the band Arktos and I joined. We recorded the "Bloodfields" Ep and Nordlyst left the band soon after. This left me in the role of vocalist and guitarist, as well as the main writer of music and the sole lyrical writer. This naturally changed the bands inner structure, as well as the general visions and musical influence of the band. These changes made it clear to us that Unhallowed was no more. Thus Wormlight rose from the ashes.
The Chaos Gnostisism, the Left-hand path and Death are some of the influences that always are present in my creative process, and has always been woven into my lyrics.
The lyrics are written for those that can see past the metaphors used, and for those that don't, the lyrics contains a story to color the music, and for example, describing a being or deity of old.

How long have the members of Unhallowed/Wormlight been in the Swedish underground? Does the band have more interest in black or death metal, or have differing tastes?
The band members involvement varies, some have been in the scene since 2003/04, but listening to black since 1996, others joined later. As for the personal preference in music, most of us prefer black metal over death. But as musicians, we are not bound to one genre. We can appreciate music as an art form that comes alive in many ways.

How was the symbolism of Lucifer used in the lyrics on Unhallowed’s "An Ancient Enemy"? What are the songs appearing on this EP? Are there still copies available?
The first track on the EP "Scourge Of The Parochial" is centered on the slaughtering of angels, which represents God and Christianity: "Worthless flesh, dying breed, sickened, bleak and lying creed." And this theme continues throughout the EP. The title track "An Ancient Enemy" is as the name suggests, Lucifer being the enemy of God. Once again a symbolic use of Lucifer, to represent the fight against the lies of God that was the lyrical theme of the EP. "An Ancient Enemy" was released digitally and has never had a physical release. The EP is available for purchase through our Bandcamp page.

Are you Wormlight’s main lyricist? How long before the band started did you have an interest in writing and playing an instrument? Did you draw on reading material to learn about Chaos Gnosticism and the left-hand path?
Yes, since I joined I've been the main lyricist, I wrote the lyrics for the "Wormlight" and "The Bloodfields" tracks when Nordlyst was still the vocalist, as well as the music. And when I began writing new material for the upcoming full length album, as I was the vocalist, it came naturally that I continued to write the lyrics.
I have always been creative, and music has been one of the outlets. Before I joined what is now Wormlight, I was, and is still, active in Sons ov Omega, a band that I and Arktos formed in 2012. And I have been writing lyrics and music long before that.
My closest brother introduced me to the dark arts and has been my guide through the treacherous roads of the occult. And he awakened my hunger for the knowledge and power hidden within. To take part of it, there is of course many hours spent reading.

Which aspects of black metal does Wormlight incorporate? How does the influence you draw from death metal and other subgenres fit with your influence in black metal?
Black metal is a complex and diverse genre, my mindset in the writing process is influenced by both black and death metal. The lyrics are very much inspired by the atmosphere and mystic that black metal has been able to personify. While I want the music to contain both the spirit of black metal, and the power and force that death metal has perfected. My own musical preference is present in the music I write, and is then coloured by my bandmates interpretation of the individual tracks. And I try to balance the atmosphere of the final product with my vocals that is darker and sharper than my predecessor.

Can all the tracks from "An Ancient Enemy" be streamed at Bandcamp or just a few? How many people have heard of the band through social media and ordered the EP online?
All the tracks of the EP "An Ancient Enemy" are available on our Bandcamp page and Youtube channel. I don't have the statistics on the EP's sales since it was released before my time in the band.

Was Sons Ov Omega the first band you wrote lyrics for, or were there other bands? How much material does Sons Ov Omega have out? Are they available physically or digitally?
Before Sons ov Omega I wrote lyrics for "Apocalyst", a band that split up in 2010. Sons ov Omega will release a debut album February 18th, 2017 through Black Lion Records, digitally and physically. This full-length album will contain eleven tracks. Its release will be kicked off with a show in Umeå, Sweden, where Wormlight will perform as well.

How much work has been completed on the debut Sons Ov Omega recording? Did the band work on this release independently or did you work with any mixers or masterers?
The album is complete and has been for some time. We singed with Black Lion late last year, resulting in a delay in the release. The album was recorded at Garageland studios by Ronnie Björnström of Enhanced Audio Productions, he engineered, mix and mastered the album. The majority of the album was recorded in the studio, then some details, such as solos and vocals, were recorded by us and added to the mix.

When did you first become interested in learning about the occult? How many books have you read on the subject that you would recommend to people who want to learn occult subjects?
I've known my brother for over a decade, so my interest in the occult started early. Reading a book on an occult subject is one thing, but understanding its content is another. And for that, you need a solid foundation of knowledge that grants you in sight of the use and place within a certain subject. "The occult" is not a subject in itself, the subject is defined by the path to knowledge that one choose. This is achieved by countless hours of research and study that cannot be measured in hours or books.

How long were you in Apocalyst before going on to join Sons Ov Omega? Is this band likewise still active today?
Apocalyst split up in 2010. After that there were some projects that didn't end in a release. Then I formed Sons ov Omega in 2012 in the lack of another band with a stable line-up.

Looking back, what do you personally consider the finest lyrics you penned for Sons Ov Omega and Apocalyst?
Given that my lyrics contain many metaphors used for myself and the enlightened, the content of the lyrics will be perceived differently by the beholder. For me the lyrics are of great importance, but the way it is given life through the vocals and how it's woven into the music and presented is of absolute importance. With that said, choosing a lyric to deem my favourite is a difficult thing to do. But I think that the lyrics role in the end result of "Pandora" the first track on Sons ov Omega's upcoming album turned out great.

How much had your lyric writing improved by the time Wormlight released their first CD?
Considerably, given the many years between when I started writing lyrics until now. The vocabulary, knowledge, inspiration evolves with the years. So naturally the lyrics change along with it. The lyrics will always be mine, whit my choice of word and way of writing, the way I visions the vocals to influence the end result of the lyrics. Depending on what the vision of the band is, the lyrics may change.

Wormlight’s Bloodfields EP was released in 2015 and re-released in 2016 with additional tracks. Why did the band decide to come out with a new version of the EP?
When we signed with Black Lion Records and were given the opportunity to re-release the EP, given the big difference in vocal style between me and my predecessor, we thought it would be fitting to give the listeners a taste of what to expect from our upcoming full-length album. My vocal style changes the atmosphere of the tracks and the way it's perceived. And to represent the true awakening of Wormlight as a band.

Discuss the additional tracks you re-released on Bloodfields in 2016, and if there were any different methods of recording.
The original recording was done in Garageland studios, also engineered by Ronnie of E.A.P. When I recorded my vocals I did it by myself and not in the studio. Then Ronnie mixed and mastered the new versions of the track to make sure it had a unitary sound with the rest of the EP. The new vocals were recorded on the original recording, so the music is the same.

What is the title of Sons Ov Omega’s debut album? How satisfied are you with the job Ronnie Björnström did on it and Wormlight’s releases?
February 18th, 2017 is the release date for "Reign", the debut album of Sons ov Omega. The recording process of a track or an album can be done in many ways, and is colored by the different equipment, hardware, software, that is used as well as the experience and preference of the engineer. But the recordings are mostly colored by the choices the band makes in sound and their performance. So for us it is an experience that will grow with every record. Seeing the result of a choice, and learning from it. We did many different mixes of the album until we got to the end result. The band was present during the mixing, which gives us the possibility to shape the sound through Ronnie. And the more we work with him the more we understand his way of working, and he understands our visions of sound.

What band has Ronnie worked with before Wormlight and Sons Ov Omega? How many mixes of the debut S.O.O. album did you and Ronnie undertake before you were all satisfied?
Ronnie has worked with a lot of bands of different genres, like Aeon, Sorcerer, 220 Volt and Volturyon to name a few. I think we did three or four mixes in total. The last one being the mix that was mastered. During the different mixes we added vocal parts that had to be implemented in the earlier mix.

How many vocal parts were added to Sons Ov Omega’s debut? In what ways did they enhance the songs?
The lyrics and the vocals were decided beforehand, so we did not add or change anything in that aspect in the studio. I can't recall exactly how many, most of the vocal tracks we added to the mix were added to enhance the original tracks, or to record it again on parts that we weren't pleased with. Anthropos added some choirs, backup for the choruses on some songs. We changed one word in the lyrics on the track Brainwave Zero.

How would you rate Garageland as a studio, regarding the equipment at the bands’ disposal? Would you recommend this studio to other bands seeking a recording location?
Garageland Studios are no more, it closed shortly after we were done recording, due to schedule demolishing of the building the studio was located in. So Ronnie and E.A.P now operates from "Ballerina Studios". I have not had any reasons to complain about the equipment that Ronnie has to offer for the band, an as for his hardware such as preamps, compressors, mixing board and whatnot, I'm not the best of judges as I have little to compare them to. But Ronnie is easy to work with and is present during the recording and offers great insights and solution to situations that might occur. Wormlight plans to record our upcoming full-length album at Ballerina studios, which gives us the possibility to try the new studio. Once again with Ronnie as engineer. So yes, I would recommend him for other bands.

What equipment are your bands currently using to practice and perform with? Was it a long process to find equipment you all felt comfortable working with?
In Sons Ov Omega we are currently using two Engl Powerballs as guitar amplifiers and 7 stringed Ibanez guitars with bareknuckle pickups. I use my ENGL in Wormlight as well, while Lator uses a Blackstar series one amp and an Ibanez XG307-BKF with Seymour Duncan Nazgul pickups. Arktos plays a 5 string Warrick custom, fretless bass. I and Anthropos use the classic, Sure Sm58's for the vocals. When I formed Sons Ov Omega I played bass-guitar. So when I switched to guitar I went straight for the 7strings, since Mors had already started to implement it in the writing process, And an ENGL Powerball, to be Able to build a solid union sound between the amps. My main guitar is now an Ibanez Rgd with Barenuckle Juggernaut pickups. The juggernauts provides great tone separation without sacrificing the power. The first 7stringed guitar I bought and the one I used to record Reign and the Bloodfields Ep was an Ibanez S7420 With Dimarzio D'activator pickups that has a deeper and rounder sound. I have always preferred Ibanez's necks so when I was trying out for a new guitar I naturally went for an Ibanez this time.
[Mors (Sons Ov Omega)]: "I bought my Engl Powerball when I was 18 with the money that was supposed to get me my drivers’ license. It was the first tube amp I ever tried I think, and I can’t see any reason to ever switch really. So the journey for my perfect amp ended even before Sons’ journey begun.
In the beginning of Sons ov Omega we played 6-string guitars, but I had always been intrigued by seven-stringed guitars. A couple of months into rehearsing/writing, I got myself my first seven-string. A LTD AW-7 and implemented it in our already written songs, such as nuclear salvation, which just made it so much better. So finding use for the extra string was never an issue.
Through the years I have tried a bunch of different 7-strings with different pickups. My favorite right now, which we recorded ‘REIGN’ with, is the Ibanez RGD 2127z equipped with Bareknuckle Juggernauts. I like this guitar the most because it has a slightly longer scale length that gives you some extra string tension which tightens up the low end a bit without sacrificing comfort, the pickups also have that really tight low end bass response and really sharp, defined mids which then goes into the high-gain mid-monster known as the Engl Powerball.
There are many different bands that influenced my/our sound. When we started playing I listened a lot to bands like Periphery, which had a sound I tried to mimic at the time. That evolved through time to become what our sound is today. More recent bands I have started listening to that have had an impact on our sound is Feared. Ola Englund really knows how to dial a tone; Furor 2013 is a perfect example of a bone smashing sound/mix."

How does the equipment you and Wormlight choose to work with help the band achieve their desired sound?
It gives us the means to try different alternatives, and pinpoint what we want to change. There are many things to experiment with when it comes to sound. The amp, pedals, pickups and so on effects the sound and can be changed in the search for the sound we look for. The coming album will be recorded on a sound we have already chosen, but things tend to change in the setup between albums.

What aspects of old Norse mythology and folklore are you drawing inspiration from while writing lyrics for the new album?
The writing of the upcoming Wormlight begun when I had just joined the band. So the lyrical theme was chosen at a time where I was unsure what I wanted the band to be and represent. So it fell on a neutral subject that is of personal interest to me. The beings of the Scandinavian folklore that I've heard or read about. The folklore, having its roots in the old Norse beliefs, although the origin has been forgotten by the masses, as they too has been adapted to fit Christianity, to make way for an easier transition. During the writing of the album the essence of Wormlight and the plans for future releases took shape.

Discuss some of the old folklore tales you are basing your lyrics on. How much research have you done on them?
As many of the tales of old has been perverted to fit Christianity, many of the old tales now centers on the "need of burial in sacred ground", a Christian cemetery. Though it is not the origin of the tales. Some of the beings I've chosen to use for the lyrics, are Vittra, Night Mare and Myling. The Vittra is an obscure and complicated being to describe a ghostly being, a race existing our world and in their own, separate by a thin veil from us. The Mare being a shape-shifting female that is to blame for all nightmares, henceforth their name. And Myling being specters of the nameless. The murdered or stillborn children, abandoned by their mother. A vengeful spirit, that longs for retribution.

Which of those old tales have been "revised" to sound more like Christian legends?
Majority, if not all of them. It was not in the culture to write down tales and folklore, they passed it on with the spoken word. The texts that we have from the era is written during the conversion, thus written with a Christian undertone.

What books would you recommend for research on the Vittra, the Mare and the Myling?
To research the folklore is a struggle, since little is written down because it wasn't a part of their Kultur to do so. The few genuine scripts we do have is influenced by Christianity. The books I've read is mostly old Swedish books from and before the beginning of 1900, as well as modern sources with different interpretations. And I have not yet found a genuine book on a specific subject, as the beings is mostly mentioned in shorter pieces of texts.

How did you manage to track down those books published in Sweden before 1900? Did you search for them on the internet or a local library? Which of those books do you want to cite?
I mostly searched the material on the internet, for sources. Most are to be found on eBay in PDF format.

What other material on the Vittra, Mare and Myling did you find on the web worth looking into?
It's easy to find modern takes on folklore, much inspired by the fantasy genre. Many of them can be found in different fantasy novels, games and movies. My goal was to find an authentic source. I succeeded on some, and not on others. But in the end, I chose how I want to portray them as I vision them, and hopefully I have managed to do just that.

How much of the new full length has been completed at the time of this writing? Are there any songs you want to mention?
Because of a technological meltdown we have to start over and record it anew, from scratch. We enter the studio to record the guitars. When the guitars are done, I'll record the vocals by myself and Arktos will lay down the bass. In the meantime King will record the drums in the studio. Some of the new material is available as live performances on YouTube.

Can you describe the quality of those live videos? How have audiences responded to them?
The live clips are mostly recorded by people in the audience, so the quality of the audio is that of the recording device they have used. But the quality has been acceptable, so we decided to upload them.

Is recording for the new album the same as before or are you approaching it differently?
We were going to try a new way of recording the guitar. But because of the unfortunate events that forces us to start record it anew, the old plans for the recording will have to wait. We’re recording the guitars and drums in the studio, the vocals and bass will be recorded by ourselves. And when all is done, we'll go back to the studio for the mixing/mastering process.

Describe the amount of experimentation you planned in preparation for the next album.
We were planning to "pre-amp" the guitars by recording them as a clean track that could later be re-recorded as a real solid track. But due to some difficulties, those recordings are now lost. So we recorded the guitars the classic way. But we tried some new studio gears. When I write the material I envision the end result in my head. So to get there I have to try things out, to find what I'm really searching for. Even if I'm not pleased, I have learned from that and try something else.

What is the new studio gear you are recording with and how is your method panning out?
I used my Ibanez Rgd 2127z and my Engl Powerball for the guitars. And we use a Two Notes Torpedo live, as a digital cab simulator. Just to try and see what we could do with it.

Would you consider using the “pre-amp” method again, even if it didn’t work out this time?
It was a time-consuming process as I become a perfectionist since you hear every single fault. But I will definitely try it in the future. But I prefer the classic way of recording guitars.

Did the band hire someone to mix and master the tracks after they are recorded? Are you working with the same people you worked with before or are you hiring new talent?
We are going to work with Ronnie from E.A.P on this record as well. He will also be our sound technician during the recording of the guitars and drums. And when the bass and vocals are done, we will go back to his studio and begin the mixing process.

Are you releasing the new album on your own or are you considering independent labels?
We have signed a deal with Black Lion Records for the upcoming album, so we will continue our cooperation. For future releases, time will tell.

Is the band planning an ad campaign for the next album, and will live shows be involved?
I'm concentrating on getting the album finished. In the meantime, we're brainstorming ideas for the PR, but we take one thing at a time. When the album is done, I can put all my attention on the next steps. We are of course planning for a live show when the time has come for the release, but no concrete dates as of now.

-Dave Wolff

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