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FORHIST - interview with Dehn Sora

FORHIST - interview with Dehn Sora

Being long time collaborators, Vindsval (BLUT AUS NORD) asked multitalented artist Dehn Sora (THROANE) to create the cover artwork for his first FORHIST album. We took the chance to talk with Dehn Sora about the creative process behind the artwork, Vindsval’s first inputs concerning the picture, and the atmosphere evoked by early Black Metal releases in the 90s.

Q: Dear Dehn Sora, let’s start with something basic: can you tell us how the general idea for the artwork developed? Did Vindsval have a clear vision about how the picture should look like (the forest, the fox, et cetera)?

I knew what it would sound like, even though I had never heard the record before. Vindsval gave me some input with the help of a couple of references (the Black Metal era of ULVER and the early artworks of SATYRICON, for example). My first idea for the artwork contained too much tension for his liking. He told me that he was looking for something more serene. In our discussion as well as when thinking about the project’s name, it became clear that the symbol of the forest could be central. After thinking a bit about it, I finally did a sketch of the actual cover, and Vindsval approved.

Q: You are working together with Vindsval often and have designed lots of things for his main band BLUT AUS NORD. Did the collaboration for FORHIST work as always with Vindsval or was it different this time?

Yes, the collaboration between us happened in the usual manner. What I like about working with Vindsval is the fact that I am accepting the challenge to catch his vision while he is still embedded in his own creative process. As I said, I do not listen to any music before I start working on the artworks. It was also like this for the FORHIST record. Instead, I try to catch his feelings while composing. Of course, I cannot speak for him. But I think he likes it a lot when I manage to come up with something unexpected, a surprising element.

Q: Could you lead us through the creative process of this artwork: how was it created? Which technique did you use to “draw” it?

For this artwork, I used graphite. I wanted to have a natural feeling, with a lot of texture and vulnerability. When I think about this specific atmosphere I wanted to evoke, then these tools are the logical choice for me. I feel very insecure when drawing. So, it took a long time to achieve this result – something like 25 hours. I like the fact that there was a lot of tension in me while drawing. This energy I felt was fed by my search for the fitting dynamics of the picture. It almost felt like anger. But it was necessary to delve into a more meditative kind of state to draw this artwork. Also, the process of painting this picture elevated me from my usual visual obsessions for specific phenomena. When I was younger, I was, for example, very much focused on mud. Bands that were evoking medieval and forest spirits as well as other vibes of this sort, they were not the ones which granted me salvation. Nevertheless, I was blown away by the first ULVER album, but more because of its depictions of decay. The fire of bands like BLASPHEMY was much closer to me than the snowy feeling of early SATYRICON. Even though my taste evolved over the years, it was challenging to immerse myself into these feelings to draw the picture for FORHIST.

Q: When you create such a piece of art for another musician, do you listen to the album regularly to get into the feeling?

It can help. But as mentioned before, I am usually involved during an early stage of the artistic process, especially when working with Vindsval. This means that the discussions with the artist are more important to get me into the right feeling. I learned to work without the music. The advantage of this is that it leads to a form of distance which continuative leads to a surprising moment in my art.

Q: Can you tell us more about the symbolics present on the cover-artwork of FORHIST’s debut? Why is the fox/nature being depicted in the form of the ouroboros snake?

For me, it is important that the visuals open questions. They shall allow several interpretations. Let us take the symbol of the fox, for example. This one came naturally. It spontaneously evoked in me the picture of an apparent danger. Foxes can be dangerous, but I never knew that. In some cultures, they are even considered tricksters. But every time I witnessed a fox in nature, it was much more afraid of me than me of it. And I think this accounts for a lot of animals of the forest. So, the idea came up to draw a fox going to sleep. This happens supposedly during nighttime, and the fox is feeling out of any danger because its tail is melted with the branches. Additionally, there is the symbol of the cycle present, but I did not have the ouroboros snake in mind. Finally, there is also a personal reference to be found in this picture. I am talking about the fox scene in Lars Von Trier’s movie “Antichrist” and the slogan “chaos reigns”. Thanks to that I managed to also insert a little opposition to the serene feeling.

Posted on 04-21-2021 | Category: