Tuesday, March 14, 2023

an interview with Woods of Desolation

Woods of Desolation is an atmospheric black metal project from the prolific Aussie multi-instrumentalist referred to only as D. (who is also the main man behind Forest Mysticism, Remete and Unfelled, as well as the Cold Ways label/distro). The project's fourth full-length release The Falling Tide is out now through Season of Mist Records. D. was kind enough to answer my questions.

Dreams of Consciousness: What is Woods of Desolation? If you had to describe your band in 5 words, what would they be?

Woods of Desolation is a Black Metal project that I started in 2005 to create music whenever and however I felt like. Providing descriptions for the project is something that is probably easier for the listener to do than for myself, being as I am so closely involved with it. But if I had to, I’d say: atmospheric, melodic, guitar-driven, Black Metal.

photo by Nuit Photography

DoC: What was the genesis of Woods of Desolation? What did you set out to accomplish? How clear of an idea did you have of what kind of music you wanted to make when you first started?

As briefly touched upon above, the genesis and aim of Woods of Desolation was to create an avenue for my own musical expression, and to do so without any external restraints. I bought a drumkit and taught myself the bare basics in a month or two, then started recording. It some ways there was a clear idea of the direction insofar as it was an obvious Black Metal project, but on the other hand there was total freedom to create whatever I wanted within that framework, often largely improvised.

DoC: Your first album Toward the Depths came out in 2008. How would you say Woods of Desolation has changed since then? How do you feel about your early releases now?

I still like that release, and the demo era of the project, raw and as stripped back as it is. I think since then my song/riff writing has developed and improved (as well as my drumming), but in some ways there is still the same essence within Toward The Depths as now. Additionally, my approach to creating music remains the same now as it did back then.

DoC: You have other musical projects (Forest Mysticism, Remete, Unfelled) in addition to Woods of Desolation. What would you say distinguishes these from each other? How do you keep the music you write for each project separate from the rest?

It is easy to keep each project separate, as each offers a different avenue for me, such that I know quite early on, if not immediately, what the riff/idea is going to be used for. In comparison to WoD, Forest Mysticism has a subtle folk-influenced, triumphant type of feel; Remete has a more atmospheric approach; and Unfelled has developed into something more aggressive than has probably been heard from myself before.

DoC: How does a song usually start for you? How clear of an idea do you have of how you want a song to sound when you begin writing?

I never really have a clear idea of the song before writing (this is probably why I take so long to write!), it should always come naturally and develop naturally. My approach has been the same since the beginning, whereby I simply play unelectrified guitar and allow whatever to come out. Plenty of times nothing will, sometimes a riff will come out that will finish off a song from years ago, sometimes a whole song comes out of nowhere. For me personally, it has always seemed a bit disingenuous to decide to sit down and say I’m going to write “xyz” song now. Creativity doesn’t work like that for me.

DoC: You recently released a new album, The Falling Tide, through Season of Mist. When did you begin work on this album? What were your intentions for this release, and what do you want people to experience when listening to it?

Work began on it quite awhile ago. Some of the material is from 2015. Recording began at the start of 2021. My intention for the release was to create another Woods of Desolation album and explore a concept/theme that I needed to explore. If some people connect with it, that is great. If not, that is fine too.

DoC: How did Vlad Petrov get involved with Woods of Desolation? Why did you choose him to contribute drums to your recordings, instead of someone who lives closer to you?

Vlad was also involved with the drumming for As The Stars as well, so he was the obvious first choice to ask to drum for The Falling Tide. He is a great drummer who has always been willing to help. You’d think working with someone on the other side of the world would be difficult, but it has always run smoothly, and arguably easier than working with someone closer by.

DoC: Where were the tracks recorded? What can you tell me about ViTeR Music, the studio in Ukraine that handled Vlad's parts as well as mastering the album?

My parts for the tracks were recorded at my own home studio in Australia, with Vlad’s parts record at ViTeR Music in Ukraine. ViTeR Music is Vlad’s own studio.

DoC: How did Season of Mist get involved with this release? Why did you choose to partner with them, instead of releasing the album through your own record label and distro company, Cold Ways?

Season of Mist contacted me sometime shortly after As The Stars, and thankfully they were still interested when the new album was ready all these years later. They are undoubtedly a highly regarded label with great distribution. Releasing through Cold Ways was never really going to be an option, as unfortunately it has become increasingly difficult to adequately distribute a release from Australia.

photo by Nuit Photography

DoC: What's next for you?

Most immediately is the debut Unfelled full-length, also out via Season of Mist in March. After that, who knows that the future will hold? I’d like to do another Remete release at some point. Hopefully another WoD release will not take several years again, but who knows?

Appreciate the interest and support. Thanks for the interview.

Woods of Desolation on Facebook

Woods of Desolation on Bandcamp

Woods of Desolation on IG

Stream/Purchase The Falling Tide

The Falling Tide on Season of Mist's Webstore


Going Down Under:

Episode 238:
Episode 234:
Denouncement Pyre
Episode 210:
Nocturnal Graves