Interview with PerKelt part. 1
Carmilla: Your new album will be released very soon. Can you lift the veil of secrecy and tell what is on the album?
Stepan: Music!!! We have been composing, arranging, and tweaking new songs over the last two years and chose nine of them to put on the next album. It’s going to be named after the latest composition, Dancer in The Wind, and while it’s generally hard to describe the music in words, let’s say we gathered all the inspiration we’ve encountered (W. Shakespeare, Pagan music, Wiccan poetry, and math punk, among many others) and with a big delight, played around like little kids. Changing time signatures freely whenever desired (hence the math punk), writing original lyrics, speeding things up (Speed Folk rules the world)… So on the CD there is going to be some very free and barely recognizable arrangements of W. Shakespeare songs, a couple of songs with original lyrics, a lot of instrumental passages of Paja’s unbeatable recorders and also her absolutely stunning vocals. And so much rhythm, that I was actually listening just to the rhythm tracks of the whole album several times in a row, having a great time…
Paja: As Stepan already said, there is gonna be nine tracks on the album and all the music is a pure distillation of our inspirations taken from different sources mentioned above, but the music is gonna be totally different from our previous CD’s, especially because of the new line up of the band; we’re gonna use some new instruments, but also because of our new arranging style.
C: What did recording process look like? Had you got any problems?
S: Recording is always fun. Rick Lehane offered his help and the cooperation seems to be great, so far! It’s not all finished yet but I think the only real problem is the never-ending story of Will’s visa, so he is recording his parts in France… Other than that it’s the usual process: rehearse the rhytmic section like Hell, record it, edit it, and once that works as it should, go on with other layers of the tracks. And stay open to any creative ideas that come while you’re listening back to it.
P: It took us a while to find the right way to record the harp, but as we have a really capable sound engineer, we found the way, and the sound of the harp is definitely going to be one of the highlights of the album…
Will: Like Stepan mentioned, I have been stuck in France during most of the recording sessions due to a visa problem, so my parts were recorded in Paris at the end of March. The issues are not so much that I’ll be recording separately, because we are doing most of the tracks separately anyway for isolation of sound, but more that we will be in various environments. Luckily, we had the microphones that we are used to using for my percussion, so, the different recording studio wasn’t m
uch of an issue, and it was fun to have a change of scenery for part of the sessions.
C: Where do your inspirations come from?
S: Everywhere. Friends, poetry, books, more famous bands, less famous bands, classical music… Any idea that catches your attention is good to be stolen. I remember listening to one particular badly written, cheeky pop song from the Czech Republic, that my friend sent me just for fun. It had one neat idea in instrumentation we used later in one of our arrangements… you never know 🙂
P: My inspiration comes mostly from the lyrics, that gives me the idea how to compose music to match perfectly the atmosphere and the mood of the lyrics. I don’t really listen to any other music as we are so busy with recording and gigging nowadays.
W: For me, almost all of my inspiration comes from Lovecraft or things related to Lovecraft in my mind. I am truly driven by Gothic aesthetics and mentalities, unusual creatures, and the supernatural. It’s not only Lovecraftian literature that influences me, as comic books, film, visual arts, theatre, even less directly creative things like gardening and (as mention below) building musical instruments, contributes to my pool of influential sources, but inevitably, it is how these sources relate to and draw from Gothic aesthetics and Lovecraftian sensibilities that makes them creatively valuable for me and my work. More specifically for PerKelt, my percussion is a connection to fantastical cultures and imagined geographies that carries with them a sense of otherness that I can evoke in my percussion performance. Obviously, there are specific historical eras and cultures to which PerKelt’s music can be linked, but I hope to expand and deepen those connections to include a sense of magic, Paganism, and otherworldliness that goes beyond accurate concepts of Medieval or Celtic, or even Middle Eastern, African, Native American, or other tangible cultures through my musical contributions to the band. I realise this all sounds a bit pretentious or over-thought-out, but this is truly what drives me musically.
C: Do any of you play in other bands or played in other bands in the past?
David: I used to play in a death melodic metal band called ”Shades Of Syn” from 2005 to 2009.
S: At the moment, to my big delight and appreciation (and their personal sacrifice) all members are full-time members of PerKelt. In the past I have played in several classical music ensambles like Bohemian Guitar Orchestra, guitar quartets, trios, duos with many different instruments, but last 5 years it’s purely just PerKelt.
P: I used to play a bit of classic chamber music when I was a student, otherwise I’m a full-time member of PerKelt, of course.
W: I have performed in many other projects with Goth music, math-punk, metal, noise music, improvised performance, and theatrical sound design primarily, but also film sound tracks, modern styles of composed works, Asian classical and folk music, and even hip-hop, (noisy) trip-hop, and fusion world music forms being part of my performances in the past. Currently, outside of and sometimes as an extension of my work with PerKelt, I perform solo percussion dark ambient soundscapes (heavily influenced by Lovecraft) under the name Seesar, I work with noise artist Antonino Sita in the Ulthar Futurist Occult Orchestra, and I compose and assist with sound design for the Gothic/Fairy Tale based drama company Dread Falls Theatre (who is currently working on a video for the title track of PerKelt’s upcoming CD release). I will also have a duet CD release with sound artist Anton Mobin in 2016; I’ll be appearing on a few tracks on Timur Iskandarov’s (Father of Serpents / The Hell) upcoming solo release, a CD with Anthony Donovan and many others performing some rare composed works from the 60s and 70s, and I hope to be collaborating with Plaguewielder (as Seesar) as well as Mizfit tha Menace: Horror Himself (NYC based Gothcore/Horrorcore artist) within the next year, as well. But, yeah, PerKelt is my main focus and it’s a full time commitment.
C: What are your plans for this year? On which festivals you will play?
S: That’s probably better a question for Will, as he bears the management burden but I particularly cannot wait for Castlefest in Holland! Many of our hero-like bands perform there every year and it will be a fantastic weekend!
P: Goblin King’s Masquerade Ball, 29th April is the highlight for me, The 3 Wishes Festival and of course Castlefest, too…
W: PerKelt will be touring almost non-stop from May through September this year, performing at a multitude of Celtic, Medieval, Rock, Folk, and other festivals, as well as playing concerts at art centres and club venues, with a few private functions to boot. As Stepan and Paja already has said, Castlefest is going to be a major event for us and is super amazingly exciting! Some other fantastic ones are (again, as Paja said) the Goblin King Masquerade Ball in London, the 3 Wishes Faery Festival in Glastonbury, the Dentdale Music and Beer festival in Cumbria (one of our favourites!), and Fantasia Fest Leeft (The Netherlands) and Celtic Night Gewule (Belgium). We will be supporting the new release fervently and will even be localizing the CD for release in Japan in preparation for our upcoming Japanese tour slated for 2017 and we hope to go back to Ireland again, soon, too. We are going to be supremely busy this year!
Photos by Haydn Davis Photography
END OF PART I