Interview: Dordeduh (2021) | From The Bowels Of Perdition

Conversation with

Dordeduh

What the album title Har means exactly and how the artwork made by Costin Chioreanu reinforces that meaning? What kind of duality is represented by the figure of a man cut in half, with his lower body consumed by the flames and the upper floating in what appears to be some kind of peaceful, comforting blue ether?

Edmond: The name of the album, Har, means grace, divine grace. It can also mean a given talent, as if you’re graced with a certain talent. The themes of this album are related to a journey of deep inner transformation, a journey of initiation, that very few dare to take and even fewer manage to complete. For some this journey expands for the rest of their life, for others it manifests in a difficult, crushing moment in time, when the reality unveils itself and one is confronted with the deepest and darkest fears, with all the accumulated trauma and tensions, all the addictions, commodities, and unproductive programming one had running in the background his entire life. To be able to get out clean from such a journey is very difficult, if not nearly impossible. All these ideas and concepts had to be complemented by a nice artwork. Costin asked me if he could have a free hand in doing the cover for us. We were talking about the album a lot, he had the chance to listen to the album before it was released, gather his impressions, and materialize those impressions on what became this cover. We’re very happy with it and we received many compliments for it. Costin did a great job.

Which particular affinities or traits of your personalities are represented by this album? What should Har let us know about you that your previous recordings didn’t already reveal?

Edmond: This album is musically very little related to black metal. However, ideologically, I still follow the recipe I started applying in 1994 when I started playing black metal. In black metal there’s no place for personal interference. So, the album is not telling anything about me. It’s just a tool to connect people with transcendence. I know that all this sounds very pretentious. And, of course, personal mood and events in life add an involuntary coloration to the music. I could also say that this album has more of me infused in it than usual, but it still keeps the focus on the main aim which is more related to the ritualistic side of the music. There the musician is just a tool in tune with the flow of the universe, where one can keep personal preferences out of the creative process and serve the general purpose. So, to answer your question, I was not that focused on expressing my personality through this album.

Speaking of moods being an involuntary coloration to the music, has Har come from a sad or a happy place, and was getting it out of your system a chore or a relief? Would you deem it one of those albums that you write and record because you want to or because you have to?

Edmond: The only inspiration I have to write music is this calling that I have to do this creatively and that I have to serve. It’s like a duty call.

Dordeduh Interview

Dar De Duh and Har are vastly different albums. What are the most glaring differences between them in your opinion and what are the features that suggest their tight bond?

Edmond: The main difference is our musical expression that changed and hopefully matured due to a rather long time span between the albums. Another aspect is related to the fact that we would hate to do two albums by applying the same mindset. On the other hand, many people claim that they can hear the same people behind the music, drawing parallels even to the earliest Negură Bunget days. Which is great. As an artist, being recognizable is probably the greatest compliment one can receive.

The sound on Har is warm and organic, not too compressed or overproduced. How difficult was to capture that particular sound and did you spend a lot of time playing with it, trying to make it rawer, or more polished?

Edmond: The choice to externalize the mixing and mastering work was a deliberate one. It’s really difficult to mix your own work because of the lack of objectivity and this lack of objectivity generates another problem, which is the time spent wrapping up the whole mix in the desired way. Having our own studio and being always on the side of needing to save money, we always mixed and mastered our own products by ourselves. And most of the time it was a hell of a job for us and took us ages. We’re very driven towards reaching the goals we initially set for ourselves and that’s a very time consuming and exhausting process. Sol, Andrei, and I work in our studio and we decided to have a different approach this time, to save some time and effort, and have someone else doing the mixing and mastering with a more objective view towards our material. We recorded the material in our studio and Gunnar Sauermann facilitated our contact with Jens Bogren, who is widely known and renowned for his high-end productions. So, for us it was a no-brainer to try to work with him. We settled a deal, created pre-production with some guidelines regarding what we wanted from our album and that was it. Luckily Jens resonated from the beginning with our music and he quickly understood what we wanted from him. And yes, if we would have mixed this album by ourselves, it wouldn’t have been so objectively good sounding. For example, I would have mixed my vocals more in the back of the music and the final result would have been much different.

Did you know from the moment you finished writing them that Timpul Întâilor and De Neam Vergur should be the opening and the closing gate to this album?

Edmond: Working on a conceptual frame, the songs were shaped according to the needs of the concept. The beginning and the ending had to incorporate certain moods and it had to reflect particular feelings, so the songs were constructed to embody all these characteristics.

Dordeduh Interview

The framework of Dordeduh obviously wasn’t broad enough for you to bring some of your musical ambitions to fruition, which eventually justified launching Sunset In The 12th House. Could you say something about the purpose that band serves in your life and the importance of having it around, together with Dordeduh?

Edmond: The main difference between those bands is that Dordeduh is and will always be more focused on trying to embody a more impersonal ideology. It’s the reminiscence that still connects the band with black metal. On the other hand, Sunset In The 12th House reflects moods related to my personal experiences in life. I am aware that it’s unavoidable to feel connections between the bands because of the common way I express myself musically, but for me each one has a different meaning.

Have you written any new music for Sunset In The 12th House since Mozaic came out?

Edmond: Yes, there are two new songs that I’ve been working on for ages.

Speaking of Mozaic, that word feels like a potentially fitting title for any album whose songs interact well between themselves and bring the best out of each other through vivid contrasts and variation. That said, do you believe that Har fits that description as well? Do you see it as a collection of songs that work together flawlessly, despite being all over the place influence-wise and significantly different from each other?

Edmond: I personally think that we managed to create a package that can be perceived as a whole despite the obvious differences between the songs. I think the album has a nice narrative that flows from one song to the other and makes for an immersive experience for the audience. Then again, I would not be surprised at all if I was to hear a completely different opinion. I guess that someone who could not feel and resonate with the album would most probably think that it lacks a sense of unity.

Ideally, should music go straight through the ears to the heart, or should we intellectually process it first, before getting emotionally invested in it?

Edmond: I am a big supporter of the heart in this regard. This is also why I am not very keen to talk that much about concepts and all the intellectual investments. That’s important for us to shape everything accordingly, but it’s not for the listener.

In one of your older interviews you said that wise things always appear in simple forms. Do you still stand by that sentiment and do you feel that your music, while often technically challenging, manages to maintain that layer of wise simplicity, for the lack of a better definition?

Edmond: I still stand behind what I said. I feel that lyrically I managed to express myself in a more direct way and reached a level I never hoped to reach, but musically, if this album comes across as complicated, well, I guess that means that we’re far from being wise (laughs).

Dordeduh Interview

Have you ever written some upbeat music while being in a bad place emotionally or vice versa? Would you say that doing so always and inevitably implies dishonesty?

Edmond: Of course I did things that didn’t necessarily represent the state of mind I was in those particular moments. That mainly happens when I work in the studio for different other bands, which I see as a matter of professionalism. I never felt that was dishonest to myself, quite the opposite. I don’t think that all our musical involvements have to represent our beliefs. For example, when it comes to producing someone else’s album, one needs to dive into what the artist wants to express and to polish that intention. Personally, even when I follow completely different visions compared to mine while working as a producer, I always leave a little bit of myself in it, a small personal touch in the music, and I think it’s normal to be like that, otherwise the artists would not contact me to work with them.

No doubt that, after being friends and bandmates for more than 25 years, Sol Faur and yourself have an extremely deep understanding of each other, both on an artistic and personal level. Are you now in that stage where you don’t even need to talk in order to know what the other thinks or feels like? How would you define your relationship?

Edmond: I would say that even such a lengthy collaboration as ours occasionally suffers from ups and downs. Sometimes we are very much in tune and all the years of working together contribute to the flow of the music and then there are times when we prefer to work alone for various reasons. It’s like a marriage (laughs).

Is Sol Faur, as you once said, one of the last few remaining people who understand and live black metal the proper way? If you don’t mind, would you please explain what does living according to those principles entail precisely, down to the most earthly, practical terms?

Edmond: I’m afraid you will have to ask him all these things. But to answer your first question, yes, I know for sure that he’s one of the few people who understand black metal in a proper way. I’m fortunate to know a couple of other fellow musicians that are similar in that way, which I won’t name here because we’re talking about black metal and in black metal the impersonal has way more importance than the personal.

Is spirituality a sign of value in someone? Do you believe that conscious spiritual understanding is a blessing or a curse?

Edmond: I believe that spirituality is a predisposition, not a value. Some people have this predisposition and it doesn’t help them a bit. Others are transforming this predisposition into a driving force and it makes them better beings. In other words, spirituality is what you make it to be. But essentially it’s just a predisposition. I believe that everybody has a spiritual nature that can be accessed, it only depends if one is focusing on this aspect in his daily life or not.

Dordeduh Interview

For the sake of all the people who were fond of Sergio Ponti and his work with the band, could you say a few words about the reasons behind his departure?

Edmond: For me it’s a bit hard to answer this question because I don’t know in depth his reasons for that decision. I know that it became quite hard and challenging to work on distance and my decision to temporarily step away from the musical activity when my kids were really small was also not helping at all. I’m sure one day we’ll grab a beer and talk about these things. I appreciate him both as a musician and as a human being. He has a very pleasant and joyful personality, it’s very easy to spend time with him. We all miss his jokes and his playing as well. He’s a very intuitive drummer. On the other hand, we’re extremely happy to have Andrei, both musically and as a friend. He’s only 25 and his level of drumming is already stunning. He is a very pleasant and easy going person too. I think that, for his age, his perspective in life is very mature. I’m glad that he became one of my best friends.

Despite the fact that there’s hardly anything in common between them, would it be fair to say that Arcturian, the last Arcturus album, influenced the writing process for Har, at least to an extent?

Edmond: I would gladly admit if it did. But it didn’t.

Let’s end the interview with one personal Negură Bunget related question. All the unpleasantness Sol Faur and yourself went through with Negru prior, during, and after the split aside, now that he is not alive anymore, do you wish the things between you didn’t end the way they did? If he didn’t die so suddenly and if you had a chance to reconcile before his death, would you take that chance?

Edmond: I have to admit that I was hoping that maybe 40 years after the split he would become wiser and realize his mistakes, as we did on our side, and eliminate together all the tensions we accumulated all these years. Because actually nobody really wants to carry such tensions for the whole duration of one’s life. And that’s kind of all I hoped.

 

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