Tuesday, February 9, 2016

An Interview with Ego Depths

FEAR EMPTINESS DESPAIR: It's not just one of the seminal albums of my youth, it's the prism through which I see the world. So when I discovered one man project Ego Depths (OᎮƎDEPTHS if you nasty), I felt an immediate kinship since that was the description attached. At times oppressive and overwhelming, at others calm and meditative, their approach to extreme doom is something I found myself returning to often. With a new album out through Dusktone records, the time seemed long past due to find out more. The mysterious Stigmatheist was kind enough to answer my questions in the limited window my Chinese New Year weekend provided...

Dreams of Consciousness: What is Ego Depths and how would you describe the music you create?

I keep asking myself that very first question pretty often. My music is my subliminal expression. Everything I experience gets its own small facet or reflection in what I create with Ego Depths. It is not always music per se, more like a creative sound utterance.

DoC: What was the genesis of Ego Depths? What did you set out to accomplish?

Genesis was very natural and will be so until the end, with no particular goal to aim at. What I was always striving to accomplish, is the detailed representation of my ideas through music. I am always trying to reach higher precision, better fluency of my musical language, to translate the emotions and feelings into my creations more accurately. I still cannot read well what I feel; especially when I fuck up, and, of course, its transition into Ego Depths’ kind of thing still suffers too. But I am getting there, sooner or later.

DoC: One of my favourite elements of your music is the vocals, which are beyond inhuman. What is your approach to doing vocals? How have they evolved over time?

Thanks on this. I meditate a lot, ahem ;) Frankly, there is nothing special about doing this kind of vocals. I don’t have a particular scheme to work through in their production, very often it comes as instant, one take shit, but it is always double tracked with a whole lotta effects, excluding the pitch shifter, of course. Throat singing has helped me a lot, although my throat singing still sucks, but I’m working on it.

DoC: You've been fairly prolific the last few years, having released an album every year since 2013. How long does it take you to write and record new material?

I have been so because there was a ton of material collected since my debut record, so I had that stock to work with, that makes the whole process a lot easier, giving you at least a primer to build upon and swing around. As well, I get an enormous amount of things that affected me and kept me inspired through the last five years, where each moment appeared as a consequential result of the previous ones. I always do have the ideas recorded here and there, and they keep constantly coming up, as well as new inspirations keep its pace in reaching me. When it is about recording and producing the material, this may take long nights and litres of spirits, but not years.

DoC: Tell me about your latest album Dýrtangle. How would you describe the progression from your early albums like Equilibrium Sickness to now? What themes does it explore?

First of all, the sound, it is the one that has progressed a lot. The precision of reaching the aim, as well as, the vision of things have changed since my debut work. Now I pay much more attention to details of musical expression and am trying to incorporate “the devil (is in the detail)” as much as I can, as much as I like. This includes playing all instruments used on the record by myself, introducing new ones, which provide new introspective turns and colours to my music. Plus, the philosophy behind it became more profound. It is more like exploring yourself by the means of music you create rather than exploring music through yourself, through feelings and emotions you are getting from it...

On Dýrtangle I am trying to explore Ancient (Tibetan) Shamanism, Tibetan Buddhism and the futility of existence ;)

DoC: Tell me more about Gshin-Rje, the Lord of Death. Who is he, and what happens when he awakens

Well, “Gshin” is death; “Rje” is honorific, such as “Lord, God”, a wrathful deity in Tibetan Buddhism. This is the guy who holds the wheel of life in its jaws, sometimes known as Yama. After conversion, he is set to judge the dead and to control the “hells” and “the cycle of rebirth”, literally forcing everyone to continue inside the samsaric suffering existence.

Prehistoric legend says, that Yama was a holy monk, who was meditating in the cave for 49 years and 11 months to achieve the enlightenment on the 50th year, but in the last month, two fuckers came into his cave with a stolen bull to cut off its head, and, after they realised the monk was there too, they beheaded him as well. After that, the monk had put on the bull’s head and undertaken the horrific form of Yama, killing those morons, drinking their blood, and all people near around as well. By this, in his rage, he inflicted a terrible destiny to the whole of Tibet. Then, the Manjushri, the keeper of wisdom, manifested himself as even more terrible Yamantaka (another wrathful deity) and chilled Yama out, converting him into the keeper, protector of Buddhism. This legend is described in that track.

DoC: How did you get involved with Dusktone Records?
I knew them for a few very interesting releases, so I have sent them my demo, they replied me with an offer. That’s it.

DoC: Do you have any intention to play live? Why or why not?

It scares the fuck out of me; the thing is that I have no idea how to embody everything I do in the studio during the live performance. Performing with a soundtrack in the background is fucking pathetic. So here’s why ED is going to be a studio project, unless I will find those idiots who will agree to play my music and to perform it on stage.

DoC: I'm actually fairly new to this realm of extreme doom. What are 5 albums you think I should own?

Longing For Dawn - Between Eation and Despair;

Mournful Congregation - The June Frost;

Esoteric - The Maniacal Vale;

Ataraxie - Anhedonie;

And probably: Nightly Gale - Imprint/Illusion of Evil. Check out some Unholy - The Second Ring of Power and Dolorian - Voidwards. Oh, and maybe take some Evoken - Embrace the Emptiness and Catacombs - In the Depths of R’lyeh too, those are classics now. Not really five, but I cannot recommend less.

DoC: What's next for Ego Depths?

New record for 2017; meanwhile, I want to do a split album this year, with some special guys.

Ego Depths on Facebook

Ego Depths on Google Sites

Ego Depths on Bandcamp

Dýrtangle is available through Dusktone Records Bandcamp