An Interview With CARRION (industrial metal)

Carrion is the Norwegian industrial metal act fronted by Hide Tepes.  Their bio states:
“Carrion blends the bleak and apocalyptic sound design of industrial with their rock/metal influences ranging from WASP to Morbid Angel, topped off with Hide`s banshee-like vocals.
The latest and forthcoming release is Evangelium Haeresis.  We’re grateful for the interview and we thank Carrion for their time.

Hello and thanks for the interview.  Could you begin by telling us a bit of the background for the name, Carrion?

Sam had an interesting albeit somewhat direct interpretation that Carrion, much like it`s definition, is perhaps a place that’s lying in wait, rotting eternally waiting for our mental states to disintegrate enough to make us approach again in search of reprieve. There was never any clear reasoning behind choosing the name. Much about this band is done the way it`s done based on that it feels right, as our sigil was born in a dream I`m sure I heard a disembodied whisper of the word we have chosen to represent ourselves.

On a perhaps more light-hearted note however I do find it interesting that what began was merely a way for me to explore new styles of music by myself has become a vital tool for my own survival, to make sense of the noise and buzzing in my head, something that allowes me to carry on, pun very much intended.

Your sound is highly unique, very organic.  How much of your creation is through digital and how much is with physical instruments?

I utilize hardware and modular synthesizers paired with found sound and my own private collection of samples, the DAW acts more like a tape machine than a compositional tool for me.

There is quite an element of old school industrial hits, a bit like Einsturzende Neubauten.  Were they an influence?  Who might you cite has influences?

Yes, Neubauten as well as Coil and the rest of the early industrial pioneers is definitely a big influence. I`m not sure if I`d be able to point to one specific artist as a source however upon discovering industrial music what originally attracted me was the idea of that anything goes, that you can make music out of recordings of banging pots and pans, breaking bottles etc. The limitless potential of it all. Beyond that I`m firmly rooted in rock and metal be it WASP or Morbid Angel, I pull from each of the spectrum.

The new album is ‘Evangelion Heresies.”  Are there any central themes that run throughout the album?

This album served as both a therapeutic tool, a mirror reflecting some ugly truths as well as giving a sense of purpose. It`s a vessel I`ve shaped and filled with things I found while walking around in my own head. If there was a theme for the album I`m tempted to use terms like “Survival”. The album took a bit of a toll both physically and mentally, the side effects of which I`m still grappling with.

The album may be seen as a continuation of sorts of the previous, though none of them are concept albums per se there is a red thread comparable to the stages of alchemy. Whereas the previous album dealt with the idea of having torn yourself down to rebuild from scratch, this album turned out to perhaps present a scenario of failure. The idea that your efforts were in vain, there is no resurrection, no rebirth and you only made it worse.

A lot of people over the past couple of years have been pulled apart mentally, emotionally and of course physically because of the pandemic.  Was any of this album inspired by the last couple of years?

I wouldn`t say the pandemic has worsened my state of being by much, as for other events the ones to come to mind have mostly taken place in the U.S, being Norwegian I couldn`t claim this has had as much of a direct impact on me as it may have had on friends and loved ones who find themselves in caught in the crossfires. Of course one can sympathize and as I`ve spent quite a bit of time abroad perhaps I can more than the average Norwegian citizen.

That said, third track of the new album, a song called “Malleus” was constructed entirely by applying the ideas of granular synthesis to create something musical out of samples taken from events such as the January 6th insurrection coupled with other examples of fascism throughout history. While the coupling of events in Europe during the 30s and 40s with the insurrection wasn`t intentional it did seem fitting once I saw the connection. I also found it quite interesting to take such ugly displays of humanity, or lack there of, and shape them into sounds like choirs that you may even want to call beautiful.

I live in a quite isolated area by myself where I spend my time in a constant state of creation in an attempt to keep my own issues at a tolerable distance. I`m not someone who mourns losing the ability to go out to the club or partake in other such activities as I rarely did this in the pre-plague days anyway. Of course the cancellation of shows, tours and other events that were either coming up or in the works was a major disappointment but compared to how this might have affected others I feel as if I may have gotten off easy.

You’d said in an interview one time that if someone read your lyrics, they would find themselves reading about “apocalyptic scenarios.”  Could you expand on this and explain, maybe give an example.  

Carrion is a tool of therapy, spirituality and survival. It`s also my ever-expanding obituary. Due to various health issues I`m very aware of the deal I`ve struck with the reaper, these songs, words and everything else that comes with it all is all that will remain of me one day, for that reason you won`t see me write some fun song about going to the club to hunt with the intent of finding a body to adore for the night, I`d hope to be able to say something a little more substantial.

As far as the apocalypse is concerned, I`ve had quite a few dreams displaying the world as it ends or the immediate aftermath of the coming end. I often say that I feel as if I`m dictating rather than writing, that I simply repeat something I`ve been shown or told by an entity I don`t quite fully understand or comprehend yet and I`m not sure if I ever will.

I often find myself writing without fully understanding the meaning of the words until much later, several songs on this album are attempts to convey imagery, messages and make sense of different scenarios experienced in a state of in-between. Whether that’s dancing along the borders of insanity or some dreamlike state however will be up to the listeners interpretation. Who am I to tell you how to feel?

Do you find that it’s easier to write when you are sad or depressed or happy? What I’d like to know, is if you could give us an example of a lyric that was written outside the normal way you write, or outside of the typical mood you find yourself in to write.  

My mood is always shifting as is often a side-effect for anyone experiencing various mental health issues. I don`t limit myself to only writing when I`m in this or that mood but that said I`m not sure if I“ve ever written what you could describe as a happy song, not necessarily going out of my way to avoid that but I believe authenticity is key and if what is authentic for me there and then is to create something that sounds like the sonic equivalent of amphetamines full of delusions of grandeur then so be it. The next day what feels most authentic may be a slow paced acoustic ballad. I find that I write and create as an attempt to figure out what I`m feeling as opposed to doing it to express a certain feeling most of the time.

Jung`s ideas on active imagination is an example of one way to approach creating in this manner. If I had to pick a song or lyric that feels alien to me I`d have to choose “Revenant”, the second single off the album. The song carries quite a god complex really, a grand display of narcissism and not at all something I`d say is an accurate representation of my character. The song was conceived while fighting sleep deprivation induced psychosis.

Would you ever score a film…horror or otherwise?  If you were hired to re-score an old film, what would it be and why? Or if they made a decent remake, what remake would you like to work on? (Example..  if they decided to remake Dracula)

I would love to score any film regardless of genre as I do quite a bit of sound design work when I`m not writing for an album or other similar things.  I`ve been playing around with the idea of perhaps scoring the original 1922 version of Nosferatu as it`s not only my all time favorite vampire movie but also one of my all time favorite movies at all. I think it`d be an interesting exercise if for nothing else than my own pleasure, I don`t imagine such an experiment would sound anything like any other music I`ve done however. Suspiria is another favorite of mine, they should`ve contacted me for the remake rather than Thom Yorke but I`m not sure if anyone could ever outdo the original Goblin score either way.

The last album, ‘Testament Of The Exiled” seemed to employ more textures that were a bit more death industrial, noise or dark ambient in nature.  Was it a conscious decision to go for a more straightforward, in-your-face approach with ‘Evangelion Heresies”?

Both yes and no. Yes in the sense that this album was written with a live show in mind, I knew we have offers and plans for tours both in the U.S and the UK and I want to deliver a dynamic, energetic show. I also have absolutely no interest in repeating myself. Testament is out there for those who enjoy it, I`ve come to see that album is a sort of prelude to this one recently in terms of it feeling like one big tense build up to the explosion that is the new songs. As I mentioned earlier, authenticity is key and there and then when writing Testament that`s how I felt, that`s an accurate and true representation of my state of being during that time just as how Evangelium Haeresis is an accurate representation of the time afterwards and up till now. Given that I started out playing in punk and metal bands I don`t believe it`s much of a surprise that I eventually incorporated these elements in a clear manner into my own music. I like to think of this new album as a dirty little punk rock band with synthesizers more than anything else.

Your new album is about to come out on Brutal Resonance records.  What plans do you have beyond that?  More Carrion music?  Collaborations?  Other?

We are currently working on setting up shows and full tours in the UK and U.S for next year though obviously as I`m sure we all know by now it may be best to not get too excited about it as the rug can still be pulled from underneath at any moment. I`m completing a couple of remix jobs right now that will come out over the course of the next few weeks and months as well as crafting sample packs that will be available for purchase for anyone who wishes to get new and interesting textures for their scoring work, composing albums or whatever they choose to do with it.

If referring to the past one might assume I`ve begun work on a follow up album already as has been the case earlier, however I have no such plans for the time being. I`d like to focus on the live aspect of it all and get out there and play these songs for everyone who has supported us thus far as well as meeting new people to convert to our weird little church.

I think I`ve managed to empty myself completely of anything I felt was relevant enough to put to the proverbial tape and while it could all change at any moment I do believe it`s a fair assessment that it will be quite a while until a new Carrion album appears with the exception of a possible remix companion to Evangelium Haeresis at some point.

Do you ever make use of any field recordings or “found” sounds?

I spent quite a bit of time collecting field recordings that I twist, shape and mutate into whatever I find interesting or useful either for a specific project or to store for the future.

I recently acquired the eurorack module Arbhar made by Scottish brand Instruo Modular. It combines granular synthesis with sampling in an incredibly intriguing and useful manner and is heavily featured all over the new album as well as my solo work. I`ll often record oscillators or percussion directly into the internal mic and mangle it from there or I`ll have a recording on my phone that I`ll play into it. Sam [fellow Carrion member] also collected a handful of such recordings throughout the albums writing process, one of which being a big old bell located at a church local to Sam if I remember correctly. The bell was once used for funeral purposes, to call in the townspeople to gather in the church before the burial I suppose. The bell can be heard during the intro of the final track of the album “Follow The Sirens”.

Thanks for your time.

Thank you, I appreciate you and all your hard work immensely.

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