Wednesday, January 29, 2014

SOL interview

Digging deeper into the realms of doom/drone, I hit upon SOL's excellent album And the Mouth Of Time Was Open, released as a free download through Drowning Records. In contrast to the feedback laden work of Sabazius and Black Boned Angel, SOL offer a nuanced, even soulful take on the genre, making good use of unconventional instruments and meditative repetition. Plus, we share a name - consider me Adrian Sold. Drowning's Danny Kreutzfeldt put me in touch with SOL mainman Emil Brahe, who was kind enough to answer my questions.

Dreams of Consciousness: What were your goals for SOL when you conceived the band in 2004?

I was staying at a school on Djursland, Jutland from 2004 to 2005. It was a rather unstable and chaotic yet "cosmic" period of my life. I guess I started SOL as an output for the strange things going on within. I don't know if I had any goals as such, SOL started as an experiment, both in terms of lyrics and music, so I guess that's a goal in itself?

DoC: SOL has been described as "True Jutlandian Doom Metal." How would you describe Jutland to someone who has never been there? How do your surroundings inform/influence your music?

I don't know how to describe Jutland... HAHA.

I grew up in a small country town. I always loved the fields. Especially at wintertime when the fields were frozen and you could walk for miles and miles and miles across the fields. It is the closest I've come to serenity. There is something monolithic and iconic about huge flat terrain. I think that's the biggest inspiration in my music. There was also a forest next to my childhood home. But even though I always loved to walk in the forest it never inspired my half as much as the fields and the moors. Some of my friends lived at the other end of the forest, next to their house there was a giant heath. It was amazing just wandering around there.

DoC: Your music has a varied style, ranging from funeral doom to drone, to an almost ambient neo-folk style. Is there anything that you wouldn't write or record within the parameters of SOL?

SOL is mainly an atmosphere. A mood. A SOL record can be in almost any genre, hypothetically, if the mood of the music and lyrics are right. That said I don't think I'd ever make reggae, hip hop or R&B... Mostly because the generel feeling of these genres do not really fit with my interpretation of the sphere of SOL.

DoC: Almost 20 people are listed as guest musicians for SOL's recordings. How are your collaborators recruited? Are they all people you know beforehand?

I like to work together with people. It gives a flavour to the music. Sometimes it's great to work alone - but one can easily get stuck, or the music or lyrics can get an "inbred" feeling. Sometimes you need fresh blood, HAHA. When I made Offer Thy Flesh to the Worms I wanted to create the mood of SOL in an acoustic setting. So I had to get some people playing other instruments then I master. If I need a viola or a trombone on a track, I "recruit" a person that plays one of these instruments. Many of my friends are musicians, and many of their friends are musicians too, so I've got a great network to work with.

DoC: Given SOL's varied style, and the number of different collaborators you have had, what is your songwriting process like? Do you have a tightly conceived notion of what each song should sound like before recording/rehearsing, or is there room for experimentation/ improvisation?
I normally start with the lyrics, and then try to decipher the specific atmosphere and ideas in the concept, then I start recording. And then sometimes I listen to the mix and think: "Hmm, this needs pump organ" or: "This needs tuba" or whatever.

When I record with other people it is mostly improvised. There can of course be a theme or a riff or a scale they'd to work with but most of it is improvised. Many great things come out of improvisation. For example many riffs and guitar lead themes from Let There Be a Massacre is improvised.

And as for experimentation: I guess every SOL record / live performance is an experiment.

DoC: How would you describe the progression in SOL's sound from your first album Let There Be A Massacre to now?

Well, the I think the biggest progression within the confined bounderies of SOL is the lyrical themes. When I recorded Let There Be a Massacre I was a very angry young man (as the title may indicate) the same goes for I Am Infinity, The Great Plague Imperium and Old Europa Death Chants. Alas one gets older and things do not seem so black and white. The more I think about things it seems to me that we are all just chasing the wind under the cloud of unknowing. Truth is the plant that poisons the well.

And besides, on the bottom line nothing really matters. I guess that's my main inspiration these days. So to answer your question, SOL's progression within the lyrics moves away from erratic misanthropy to describing a certain mood or atmosphere within certain aspects of life on different planes. I guess the same goes for the music, even though these days I am very fascinated with drones and repetition. Especially live. However the last couple of albums I made, which hasn't been released are more related to Offer Thy Flesh to the Worms. Acoustic, drony folk doom. Or whatever you'd call it. Haha. 

DoC: With SOL largely being a one-man project, how often do you get to play live? 

SOL started as a one-man band. And will in many ways probably stay a one-man band as in the fact that I am the only full time member. When SOL plays live, which we have been since 2012 it is normally with the same five people: Trúa from Blódtrú, Andreas Hansn & Lotte Maxild from Singvogel, Peter Borre from Mammatus Cloud and Christian Qvortrup from Hahn Kult and Tongues. But on the albums SOL will probably always experiment with different genres and collaborators.

DoC: Your last album, And The Mouth of Time Is Open, was released through Drowning Records, as was a previous EP Black Cloud Of Becoming. How did you get involved with the label?

I spoke with a friend that told me one of his friends, Danny Kreutzfeldt, had started a drone and doom netlabel. I just recorded Black Cloud of Becoming, so I contacted Danny and he was game.

Danny also runs the SOL facebook page, and is a huge support for SOL. 

DoC: You're Emil SOL. I'm Adrian Sol. Do you think we're related?

You never know?

DoC: What does 2014 hold for SOL? 

Cold Spring Records will release a couple of albums in 2014. The first being Where Suns Come to Die, which should be released this month (January). Thomas Bøjden of Danish martial industrial / neofolk project Die Weisse Rose has supplied vocals for this album.

We will also be releasing a 7" vinyl single sometime in 2014 on Raum Eins records.

Lastly we are playing a couple of concerts in Denmark in march. Justin from Cold Spring Records have talked about a gig in UK. So let's see what happens.

SOL on Facebook

SOL on Wordpress

SOL's most recent album And The Mouth of Time Is Open is available through Drowning Records as a free download HERE.

Drowning Records also released SOL's Black Cloud of Becoming EP, which you can download for free HERE.

Dreams of Consciousness is on Facebook, moving away from erratic misanthropy towards cranky apathy.