Woods of Desolation Interview

I’d like to start by describing the joy I felt when I found out that there exists a brand-new Woods of Desolation release! At first, I couldn’t even believe it, because seemingly nothing had happened for a very long time in this regard. Then my subsequent reaction was to click on the YouTube link with trembling hands – then the atmosphere, the bliss and the chills came flowing towards me and I immediately fell in love with it. I said to myself: “he’s done it again; he’s done something extraordinarily!” – and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m sure a lot of people are waiting for the release of the new album. How are you feeling? How is your current energy flow? 🙂

Thank you, I appeciate it. Things are well, thanks. It has been a very long process with this new album, so I am glad that the release date is very near now.

I would also like to go back a little bit in time. Kronos Mortus is a Hungarian metal website – that’s why I ask you the following question. In 2008, a split release with the Hungarian band Vorkuta was released on cassettes in 100 copies. What would you say about it? How well did you get to know the members of Vorkuta? Above all, why do you think this was a good match?

Personally having Hungarian ancestry, there was a natural curiosity and interest during those early days as to what was going on in the underground Black Metal scene in Hungary. These were the days when you could find demo tapes very cheap and take chances on unknown bands – often finding obscure and unique gems. I recall sometime in 2003 or so finding the Vorkuta ’…Where Only Darkness Dwells’ demo tape and liking it enough to send a letter to the address listed in the tape layout (yes, a handwritten letter!). They wrote a letter back, and we started communicating from there. We still keep in contact with each other almost 20 years later.

As for the split release itself, I don’t remember who came up with the idea initially. It was some raw demo stuff from both bands, but the idea of the split was good. Hopefully those guys end up doing some more with Vorkuta eventually.

You started in 2005 and I suppose you wanted to make music for several reasons, because your music has a spiritual side, too. There was a quite long break in terms of Woods of Desolation releases. Before writing the new songs, was your motivation and spiritual state like in the beginning, or is it completely different now? How would you describe it? What did you feel?

In many ways my motivation and approach to the music remains the same as it was when I started WoD. That is, to create an avenue for honest expression and to do so whenever and however I like. This mentality remains unchanged, and will never change until I decide it is time to finish creating music. I would say the main difference now is a clearer understanding of the necessity to get as close as possible to capturing the essence of the release. There wasn’t any singular event that precipitated the advent of creating new music for WoD again – there was just an inner sense that the songs and concepts were starting to align and develop into what became ’The Falling Tide’.

Last year you completed the new material and this year you signed to Season of Mist – one could say the biggest and probably the best – label. What were your criteria for choosing Season of Mist? Would you have done it for a previous release if the opportunity had arisen?

Season of Mist are a great label and one that I have of course known for many years. So when the opportunity came to sign, following ’As The Stars’, it was a relatively easy decision. The main criteria for me is that a label offers good distribution and high quality releases, I think they succeed in both areas there.

If I should summarize the music in one word, I would say it’s fantastic – but it’s also melancholic, upliftingly melodic, post rock, shoegaze, atmospheric, pain wrapped up in a beautiful package, unique, full of emotions, depressing. How would you best describe it?

I think there are many of those elements that you mention within the music. Honestly, I think it is probably easier for others to describe it. I am just following my own inner path when creating, such that I would say WoD is a primarily a mood of inward contemplation for me.

The topic of the new album is different compared to the previous materials. Obviously, a lot of time has passed compared to the previous releases, but I’m curious to know what you think, why is it different?

From ’As The Stars” onwards there has been a shift towards exploring more metaphysical aspects conceptually, particularly surrounding questions regarding the possibility of life after death. This is undoubtedly due to my own contemplation of such matters as I get older. The new album, ’The Falling Tide’, focuses on similar themes; here, through the metaphor of the sea and tides. However, in contrast to ’As The Stars’ there is perhaps a growing pessimism to be found within this metaphorical exploration.

What if I told you that you are the best person to mix pain and beauty? How did it develop in you? How many people do you think is truly happy these days – how do you see it?

Thanks for the compliment. Some people have mentioned my writing style seems to mix together both elements into one. I’m not sure why or how this style eventuated. As mentioned previously, my music is simply an avenue for honest expression, so what comes out just natually comes out. There has never been a conscious decision to purposefully force one emotion or another, perhaps that is where this mixing occurs.

How many people are truly happy these days is a question that is more complex than might first appear. I’d say it depends on what the approach to the question is. Psychologically speaking, it is possible to quantify and measure happiness in a given population and yield an answer. Philosophically speaking, however, it is a whole other story – a question that has been grappled with for a long time with differing answers.

Returning to the previous thought: in my opinion, a lot of people are captivated by your music: your musical creations give us a kind of plus. Do you feel the feedback and the high energy flow towards you?

I appreciate the fact that anybody has ever been interested or connects to what I do musically. But I don’t neccessarily seek out such feedback or comments. If people like it, that is great. If not, that is fine too.

All the releases of Woods of Desolation differ slightly from each other – I would call them a refinement and professionalization of pain and pleasure. “The Falling Tide” is exactly like this. What kind of changes would you name, compared to the previous materials? What would you highlight?

I think there is has been a natural progression in my writing style and ideas, yet still always retaining the core of WoD. I think the biggest change, for me personally, is a stronger sense of conceptual cohesion between the lyrics, the music, and the album as whole, something that perhaps wasn’t as present before.

The album again features Vlad from Drudkh as a guest musician playing drums and keyboards. How would you describe your relationship? How close are your ideas?

Things operate well when working with Vlad on releases. I think he respects my decisions regarding what I have written for the drum parts, but he also has a good understanding of what the songs need and when, without ever forcing it.

During your break from Woods of Desolation you worked on other projects. Please share with the readers which bands were they, and what is worth knowing about them?

There is Remete, specifically the ’Into Endless Night’ release. That release was the debut full-length from this atmospheric black metal solo-project. With ’Into Endless Night’ I feel I was able to come quite close to capturing the individual essence (a notion I touched on previously).

There is also Unfelled. Originally a solo-project, but now joined by Mitch (Austere) on vocals & Vlad (Drudkh) on drums. The debut full-length has been finished for some time now, and will be released via Season of Mist next year.

I assume that you read a lot and that’s how you form the images in your mind that you follow. Could you please share with us some of your favorites? What interests you most right now?

Right now my reading interests are primarily late 19th – mid 20th century European fiction. Having had to read far too much philosophy and psychology in the past several years, I tend to focus more on reading fiction these days. Lately there has been plenty of Gustav Meyrink and Leo Perutz. My favorites here would include Meyrink, Kafka, Dostoevsky, Camus, etc.

The new release will be out on the 9th of December. Please try to describe in words what does it mean to you and what it might give to the fans?

I think fans can expect a Woods of Desolation release, there are some different elements like each album before, but still it retains that particular atmosphere/feeling that is WoD. For me, this release was undoubtedly the most personally imbued album to date. A lot went into this album. Some people may gather and understand this.

Thank you for your replies. For me, Woods of Desolation will always be a favorite. I will keep watching you because you are important to me! 🙂

Thank you for your interest and support, I appreciate it. Until next time!

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