Interview with Funeral Fornication 2010
By Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith - Is your new album, Pandemic Transgression finished yet? Can you describe the progression you have made since Solitude and Suicide? How do you feel you have developed not just the music but the philosophical and emotional foundations of Funeral Fornication in this time period?
Vultyrous - It is nearly finished, a bit more recording needs to happen, then the mixing stage. There has been quite a bit of progression since Solitude And Suicide. With that album, I was diving into unknown waters with a new sound for Funeral Fornication, and I was not sure what the public response was going to be. Fortunately, it has been quite positive. Now I feel that with Pandemic Transgression I can take this project to the next stage of its evolution. The sound you heard on Solitude And Suicide returns, only this time with additional elements. There are clean singing vocal parts, which are something I used to do on older Funeral Fornication demo material, and the songs are a bit more progressive. Also, I think Pandemic Transgression is the most ambitious and grandiose undertaking of Funeral Fornication to date. As for the philosophical and emotional foundations of Funeral Fornication, I think the message or emotional stance is never stationary. For example, I may have two or three different songs that are trying to convey, and are inspired by, two or three different emotional states. By exhausting my own emotional palette through the musical and lyrical ideas, I am hoping to spark the listeners’ emotions. In a way, I intend Funeral Fornication to act as a mirror, leaving the listeners to decide their own emotions and philosophy. I am not trying to convey a philosophy of any sort. Depressive black metal isn't about a philosophy to me. It’s about depression and all the levels of it as explored from an artistic angle. I leave the philosophy to the NSBM groups.
Brad - On Pandemic Transgression you composed the lyrics first. How does that affect your approach to writing and arranging the song? Do you find this a more constraining approach to songwriting than writing the music first? Why or why not?
Vultyrous - Ummmm...actually if you re-read the interview you read that in, you'll see that i stated that for Pandemic Transgression I wrote the music first. I find the process of writing the music first more freeing as I can be more experimental. When I wrote lyrics first, it was too easy to fall into the trap of holding back the music and limiting it to a predictable song structure. I feel that now I am able to delve deeper musically into the ideas I am putting forth, and really take the listener on a journey.
Brad - As you put it, black metal is “the most primal and emotionally violent side of human nature released through the medium of music.” When you visualize primal urges in the context of black metal, what do you mean? Do you not believe there is a philosophical/spiritual element to black metal?
Vultyrous - When I said "the most primal side of human nature", I was referring to a more reptilian way of thinking. Kill or be killed, no morals, no conscience. Raw aggression through the medium of music. Although I agree that some may hold a certain philosophy or spiritual belief behind the music, for myself, I merely use black metal as an emotional outlet. Black metal means something different to everyone who likes it.
Brad - Based on the pictures you have had taken and what I have seen of British Colombia, Canada it seems there are vast amounts of Natural beauty on display. How has living in this environment affected your development as an artist and what does nature mean to you?
Vultyrous - Nature holds a great beauty to me, that at times inspires a lot of my music. "The Weeping Tree" off Solitude And Suicide is a good example of this. I was walking through a dreary meadow on a cloudy day and came upon a creepy looking tree that was void of leaves. It was truly a depressive yet beautiful sight, and I wanted to recapture the feelings it gave me and "The Weeping Tree" was the result. This is one time out of many that I've been inspired in this way, so I guess you could say that living where I live has affected my artistic development quite a bit, but definitely in a positive way. Nature to me means escape from the things of man. I find I write some of my best material when I go away camping for the weekend, and get out of the city.
Brad - Many trains of thought can be started with the words “mankind as a disease.” How do view this in relation to your music and what is the logical conclusion to man’s existence? Or do you think that in general our fate is unknowable?
Vultyrous - Hmm...interesting question. "Mankind as a disease", of course being the theme of Pandemic Transgression. The journey that I take the listener through on the album ends with the destruction of the self, which is inevitable because even the speaker is part of humanity, ergo part of the disease. I think all black metal has a degree of misanthropy to it. It goes without saying that the idea of hatred towards humanity is a crucial element in black metal in general. I think its fair to say that a lot of the themes I've used since the inception of Funeral Fornication perpetuate the idea of hatred for humanity. As for the fate of man, I think in the end our fate lies inevitably with self-destruction.
Brad - I read in an interview that you are opposed to the elitism within black metal that occasionally rears its head. Why do you think there is this pull for some bands to be elitist and why do you dislike elitism within the scene?
Vultyrous - I honestly have no idea why so many bands choose this elitist attitude. There is no reason for it, and taking that stance achieves NOTHING. I understand the idea that black metal began as a revolution against the music industry, and that over the years it became commercialized and watered down to some degree, and I suppose the elitist bands are trying to preserve the original idea of black metal, but quite frankly, I don't hate the music industry so much that I'm going to waste my time playing in a band that I intentionally don't want to have people be aware of. I guess that makes me not "underground"? I will continue to play the form of black metal I enjoy, and if I am considered to be false black metal or whatever by the elitists, I couldn't really give a shit. The only thing I have against the elitists is that their plight is getting old, repetitive, and boring. No one cares anymore what black metal started out as. If people took that attitude towards metal in general, we'd all sound like Black Sabbath.
Brad - What was the oddest thing that ever inspired a musical or lyrical composition for you? What is your primary inspiration for your art? And what atmospheres and emotions have the strongest pull on you when you are focusing on your artistic creation?
Vultyrous - My inspiration often comes from within. Sometimes I will remember a dream I had and write a song about it, or I will just start writing, and see where my mind takes me. Outside of that, nature inspires me quite frequently. Those are the primary sources of my inspiration. I've also been inspired by movies, other bands, classical music, even memories from my past. I don't suppose any of that is really odd though. When writing depressive black metal, the atmospheres and emotions I generally cling to when writing are quite rightly the more negative ones: Anger, melancholy, rage, shame, sorrow, pain, suffering, utter defeat, and of course, depression.
Brad - With the death of Ronnie James Dio you mentioned that you Shared the grief of his family at his passing. How does one share grief? I mean how does an event unite us disparate humans and what in particular is so unifying about grief? Are there any other of metal’s stars that you have mourned?
Vultyrous - We as a species for some strange reason tend to unify in the face of grief rather than in the face of joy...which is something I find very interesting, because I think it grows out of a subconscious worship of death. Dio has always been a huge influence to me, and I was very sad to hear of his passing. I tend not to mourn the deaths of fallen metal brothers, although I am sad they are gone, and have sympathy for their loved ones. Rather I find it a tragedy that their music is dead. I felt the same way when Chuck Schuldiner and Quorthon died. And as for sharing the grief of Dio's family, I wasn't only speaking for myself. The man had fans worldwide that worshiped him. He will be mourned by all of them.
Brad - I noticed that one of your influences for Funeral Fornication is existentialism and wondered how you thought a philosophy that centered on man’s existence as an individual played into another influence of yours, the mentality of suicide and suicide itself. What about these two intertwined themes appeals to your creative output?
Vultyrous - I am often amused by human mentality. Existentialism to me is designed to build up an individual’s self-confidence, as it declares that it is up to the individual to give their own life meaning, thereby removing the idea of God from the equation. This indirectly gives the individual a sense of being their own god. Existentialism promotes the vanquishing of emotions such as despair and anger, and living your life as passionately as you can. Now, on the opposite side of the spectrum you have the concept of suicide. Suicide is a unique topic because it is an inherently unique decision: To voluntarily end one’s own life. The irony of existentialism is that there are some who cannot handle the idea of an absurd universe void of God, and when given the idea that they are responsible for their own life's meaning, find it too enormous a concept to accept...and then entertain thoughts of suicide, unable to accept the enormity of their lives. Perhaps I am stretching that a little far, but in the end I find the idea of one gaining power of mind from being their own god, and the idea of an individual feeding the negative emotions that lead to a suicidal mentality, opposite though neither one void of lyrical inspiration. These two concepts have been two things I've studied in my leisure and written songs about, but it would be more apt to say that human mentality in general has been a bigger factor in my creative output.
Brad - While we are on the topic, could you ever see yourself committing suicide? Do you find it in general a “romantic” concept? I mean is the act an idealized statement for you that transcends the mere killing of oneself? Or is it just a flat act where everything about it lays upon the surface?
Vultyrous - Could I ever see myself committing suicide? Not at the moment. I don't find suicide a romantic concept, but rather I am attempting to portray it, and death, as a romantic concept. What interests me is what causes one to decide to kill one's self. What goes through an individual's mind when they were preparing their own death. The act of suicide is simply what it is. It’s the events leading up to it that interest me.
Brad - You are active in several other projects, can you tell me which ones and what activities these projects are involved in currently? What are your upcoming plans for Funeral Fornication besides the new album?
Vultyous - I am in ARTEP, and we are currently preparing material for our second full-length album. Our first has just been released. ARCHSPIRE has just completed recording our EP, "All Shall Align", and we'll be going on tour in July. Other than that, I plan to promote the new Funeral Fornication album, and as always continue writing new material. There will also be A Funeral Fornication split release with Uruk-Hai from Austria forthcoming.
Brad - I will leave any final words of atavistic regression to you.
Vultyrous - Thanks for the interview, and keep listening!
In : Interviews
Tags: funeral fornication solitude suicide vultrous ambient depressive black death doom epic symphonic