In All Seriousness...

As a follow up to the Satanism in Black Metal blog posted earlier, I thought I would take the time to show you a recent interview the organisers of Damnation Festival had with A Forest of Stars. For those of you who have listened to the band, you'll know they play a rather unique psychedelic style of black metal, which I personally love. As a black metal band, they often base most of their lyrics on philosophy and life as a whole, which is rather original for the genre. Most black metal bands centre their entire band on death or atheism, and you rarely find a band like A Forest of Stars so willing to push the boundaries. Nonetheless, that is not why I'm writing this follow up.
If you take the time to read the earlier blog concerning Satanism in Black Metal and more specifically the interview with the band 'Funeral Throne', then you will know exactly how I feel about the topic in question. Some bands, like the aforementioned, take the image far too seriously and up looking either foolish or like a gimmick unintentionally. A Forest of Stars, while they make subjectively equally great music, still manage to maintain a sensible image and never fail to bring a certain lightness to the scene. As you can read below, they are a shining example of how I feel musicians in the genre should be aiming for.
...and let's not forget their impeccable dress sense.

For the people who are coming to Damnation could you please describe you’re sound and give a little background to the band?

Certainly! According to the incredibly pretentious/vacuous press release I’ve just cut and pasted, we are apparently a collection of 19th century vaudeville, classical and burlesque musicians, inspired by the teachings of our ages’ greatest writers, composers, artists and mediums. Essentially, our intention is to appoint a fusion of black metal, romanticism, the occult, psychedelia, folk and the improprieties of madness into one unsightly whole, much against the wishes of both Her Majesty’s Government and indeed fashionable society at large. We believe that just about sums up a) our intentions and b) just how delusional we all are. Our music is more often than not described as a failed attempt to reach out to the celestial glory of the unconquerable cosmos through the deepest, cloying, incense-choked, dimly lit attic of our spiritually corrupt minds; a messy, highly flawed journey awash with violins, flutes, Middle Eastern percussion, doggerel verse, opium, karimbas, claret, base chants and grossly unprofound meanderings all wrapped into a filthy, threadbare blanket of black metal; An ethanol soaked and laudanum fuelled journey through the highways and byways of a shadow world populated by venomous villains and corrupt clergy, whirling endlessly through the infinite, cold void of space. In summary, we are so far up our collective arses, we’ve come out the other side. Yeuk.

Each member of the band has a character, and each character has their own back story. Where did the idea for such a detailed tale of fiction come from?

Fiction? I’m not sure what you mean. Are you implying we’re making this up? For instance, why would Mr Bishop invent the fact that he effectively pushes workers into textile weaving machines so he can sell the resulting mess of body parts? What kind of sick individual would make that up? What would there be to gain from falsifying such a tale? I’d say what you’re implying is rather libellous. Fiction, indeed..!

You have quite a large line up and incorporate a lot of different styles into your music. Does this pose a problem when it comes to writing music or when it comes to playing live?

Equal parts yes and no. Live, for some reason it seems to work rather well, much to our constant surprise. I suppose we’re simply well-tuned to each others idiosyncrasies or something. In terms of writing, it’s the complete opposite – we usually work initially either by ourselves or in pairs or whatever, and then bring it to the rest of the Club for completion to give the songs a bit of spit and polish. Figuratively, of course. Otherwise that would be a phenomenal chore every time there was a new pressing.

You have your own projectionist and lighting technician. How do you think this helps improve your live show?

First and foremost, it helps to distract the audience (assuming there is one) from the music. Smoke and mirrors, that sort of thing. God knows we need it. Also, it looks pretty. Or atmospheric; I forget which.

What was it about Damnation that appealed to you?

If I’m honest, I’ve wanted to play this festival every year since it began, so to finally do so is rather super. And, of course, Ulver are playing!

Anyone who has heard you won’t need to know, but what do you think will make you stand out at Damnation?

Punctuality, impeccable dress sense, wholesome manners and far too many people crammed onto the stage.

Who are you looking forward to seeing at Damnation?

Ulver, Altar of Plagues, Dragged into Sunlight, Grand Magus, Amplifier and Humanfly would be the main ones, though how much of them I actually get to see is in the hands of the gods.

Interview courtesy of Damnation Festival*

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