- Au Champ Des Morts
- Bestia Arcana
- Blut Aus Nord
- Crimson Moon
- Cultus Profano
- Eryn Non Dae.
- In The Woods...
- La Morte Viene Dallo Spazio
- October Falls
- Terra Tenebrosa
- White Ward
- Year Of No Light
Interview with Vindsval
Q: YERÛŠELEM is very similar to the anglicized iteration of the Aramaic word for Jerusalem. How do you connect this project to Jerusalem? Does that city hold any special significance for you?
Vindsval: It's an interesting name, both deeply rooted in reality but also profoundly mystical. It is an absolutely fascinating place, at the same time a symbol of ultimate wisdom and absolute chaos. No place in the world is at the same time closer and more distant from God. For all these reasons it's a very inspiring name that allows you to explore a very wide range of emotions.
Q: Musically, the album is clearly a successor to the 777 series. At what point did you decide to break away from BLUT AUS NORD to funnel that sound into a separate project? Do you intend to stay in the realm of industrial and post-punk influence or will YERÛŠELEM be more of a project for you to explore different areas of sounds? Is there lyrical continuity between the projects? Different sources of inspiration?
Vindsval: I wanted to take BLUT AUS NORD to other territories, I’ve given what I have since "The Work Which Transforms God" regarding this form of black metal, dissonant and tinted with industrial. I feel it's time to move on. I want to work on compositions more atmospheric, more melodic and more progressive with BLUT AUS NORD. This also allows us to develop this purely industrial/electronic approach with YERÛŠELEM exclusively, without the two projects being too close on the musical level. Even if the affiliation between "The Sublime" and "Cosmosophy" is obvious and fully assumed, this link will gradually become distended. YERÛŠELEM is by no means a side project, it is as important as BLUT AUS NORD to me and we will start the process of writing the second album in September.
Q: Am I hearing correctly, that the last song on the album uses the thesis, or very similar notes to the first song on 777 Cosmosophy? Was this intentional?
Vindsval: As I told you, "Cosmosophy" is the starting point that allows YERÛŠELEM to take off, so there are indeed some reminders, some more obvious, audible, or hidden than others.
Q: In 2019, black metal is a very divisive genre. It seems that the political aspects, both NSBM and anti-NSBM factions, are more vocal than ever. BLUT AUS NORD, and by extension, yourself, seem to have always avoided the political end of things. Would you like to speak on that? Where do you see yourself fitting in?
Vindsval: It shows little consideration for music, and art in general, to mix it with such futile concerns. Nevertheless I sympathize. When talent is lacking, we must find other ways to try to exist...
Q: Who do you see as your contemporaries musically?
Vindsval: It is hard to say but I feel close in this process to ENSLAVED or DEVIN TOWNSEND. I've always liked artists who can offer very different albums with each new release. Musicians who evolve, progress, and jostle their fans. I hate not to be surprised when I buy a record. For this reason I was (and still am) very fond of bands like DEATH, CARCASS, CORONER, ATHEIST and PESTILENCE for example, who pushed their limits with each new album. My contemporaries are therefore among those who follow this path.
Q: You have expressed your wish to collaborate with such artists as Diamanda Galas and Dalek in the past. If you could pick anyone else living or dead to collaborate with, who would it be?
Vindsval: Maybe Nils Peter Molvaer, I think that mixing these two worlds could create something very interesting, and I would have loved to have Jimi Hendrix compose solos for some pieces of BLUT AUS NORD…
Q: BLUT AUS NORD has a truly distinct visual aesthetic that has seemed to carry through to YERÛŠELEM. What inspires that aesthetic? Are there particular moods or emotions you are attempting to invoke?
Vindsval: It's very important for us, we try to offer a complete and immersive experience, to create a coherent universe every time we release an album. Dehn Sora allows us to develop this aspect of our work. We give him some indications on the kind of atmosphere we want to create, which vary from album to album, and he always offers us wonderful ideas.
Q: What is your writing process like? Do you create scratch beats and build upon them, or do you write the melodies and build songs around them? Do lyrics or music come first? Do you plan to publish the lyrics for The Sublime?
Vindsval: For YERÛŠELEM we mainly let beats carry us, it is often they who gave birth to the pieces when they were sufficiently hypnotic. Unlike BLUT AUS NORD which is mainly based on riffs, harmonic progression and more complex structures, YERÛŠELEM works on repetitiveness, the impact of a beat or a melody or a strong idea. It is a very different job. We may publish the lyrics in the second album but there is nothing conceptual with this project, just words assembled and repeated.
Q: Do you ever have any interest in playing live, with any project you are involved in now or in the future?
Vindsval: Absolutely not. Music is something that I like to live alone, an almost intimate experience, a way out that must allow an escape from this desperate world. I do not like live performances, I do not feel any need to play the same songs every night. Besides, I never play exactly what I recorded, what's the point? As a listener I get bored very quickly in front of a band on stage. To see a composer at work interests me much more than to see a musician performing in front of his audience. I make an exception for jazz, which in essence makes sense and is fascinating in a live setting.
Q: Will we ever see any other releases from The Eye, or Karras?
Vindsval: Probably not. A few years ago, I imagined the possibility of releasing a second album of THE EYE, but when I started thinking about it more seriously it seemed to me that this project would have nothing relevant to propose today. As for KARRAS, it was a one shot, composed and recorded in a few hours. Nothing very serious.
Q: BLUT AUS NORD began releasing material on the cusp of what is considered the second wave of black metal. Did you ever communicate with the other bands of that era, either through tape trading as was the standard at the time, or other means? If so, do you keep in touch now?
Vindsval: At the time of Vlad's demos, like everyone else, I did a lot of tape trading and I was in contact with a few bands but that's not the case today, not for a long time. I have never been very tied to the Black Metal scene. It does not interest me at all today.
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors and artists?
Vindsval: Leon Bloy, Georges Bernanos, Barjavel, Marcel Pagnol, Emile Zola, Celine, Aragon, Gide, etc. French literature is full of geniuses and masterworks, and is my main source of reading. I admire artists who devote themselves to their art, who work a lot and therefore produce a lot. How can one not be intimidated by the colossal work that Victor Hugo or Balzac left for example? I also feel a deep admiration for musicians like John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Paco De Lucia (who fascinates me) and many classical guitarists... I really like classical guitar. The list of artists that I admire is endless, and it grows every day as I discover more, be it through film, music, paintings or photography.
Q: The Blut Aus Nord Facebook page links to a large amount of very varied music coined "Echoes”. Am I to assume that these are some of your favorite musicians?
Vindsval: Yes, it is a way to share with the people who come to this page, who are interested in the work of BLUT AUS NORD. These are albums that I appreciate, that marked me, which can be inspiring, etc. It is always interesting and rewarding to share music, there are always discoveries to make.
Q: What are your long-term goals as a musician?
Vindsval: I have been composing music since I was 11 or 12 years old almost everyday. I hope to keep this freshness intact and never reach the end of this quest.
Q: The press materials surrounding “The Sublime” quotes Godflesh and Killing Joke as influences and mention post-punk as a strong basis. What are some of your favorite albums of that ilk?
Vindsval: I do not know if the term Post-Punk is the most appropriate. The musical spectrum we are going to explore with YERÛŠELEM is very vast, ranging from electronica to purely industrial works, from dub to purely ambient music. I could give you some references like JOY DIVISION, THE CURE (mainly the first few albums), BOARDS OF CANADA, PITCH SHIFTER obviously, SCORN, AUTECHRE, DEPECHE MODE, THE BLOOD OF HEROES, MASSIVE ATTACK, BILL LASWELL, CHASMS, etc. As you can see, the playground is huge, "The Sublime" is just the beginning.
Q: Now that YERÛŠELEM is an active band, do you see yourself scaling back the industrial influence in BLUT AUS NORD?
Vindsval: As I said earlier I think I have reached my goals with this industrial approach of Black Metal and I have no desire to redo what I have already done. To compose this kind of music becomes a reflex, an automatism, an obvious approach, it becomes much too easy. I can compose an album in this vein in just a few days today as this aesthetic is familiar to me and I do not want to fall into this facility. I want and need to get out of this comfort zone. "Deus Salutis Meae" was an end of a cycle. I have just finished the composition of the next BLUT AUS NORD, which turns out to be very far from this profoundly obscure universe in which BaN has been bathing for years. It is the beginning of a new era.
Q: Is there a particular reason for the pseudonyms and anonymity? Why did you choose Vindsval?
Vindsval: From the beginning of this adventure I decided to completely dehumanize the project. I did not want a line up, no images, no egos, no identities, just an artistic proposal and the imagination of the artist. I never wanted to be an actor in the whole Black Metal circus with my own poses and attitudes. When I saw such groups in pictures, I knew I did not want to be like them.
As for the nickname, I was very young when I chose it. It was another time and it does not make much sense today.
Q: Do you travel? If so, where are some of your favorite places in the world?
Vindsval: No, I do not particularly like to travel and when I do it it's only to rest and relax. Anywhere where I find calm and serenity, and I don’t need to go to the end of the world for that.
Q: Do you feel any connection to the French music scene, either locally or nationally?
Vindsval: Not especially, there are many excellent bands and musicians in France but I maintain little relations with them and I do not feel part of a hypothetical French scene. If this is a certain daring which French groups unfortunately missed in the 80s and 90s, I do not really see what could identify us as a specific scene.