36.9 C
Athens

Interview with Midnight Odyssey

Published:

Last Updated on 05:32 PM by Lilliana Tseka

After almost 4 years, Australia’s Midnight Odyssey’s sophomore double album, “Shards of Silver Fade” was released on early summer, and was unanimously well-received. Now that the smoke has gone down, we had a chance to ask some questions to Dis Pater, the man behind the band (as well as numerous other projects), concerning the album, his other bands, as well as the possibility of ever seeing Midnight Odyssey live.

Hello and greetings from Greece. Congratulations on your grandiose, latest behemoth-of-an-album, one we have been expecting for almost 4 years. How do you feel about it, now that roughly 3 months have passed since its release?

Thank you, greetings from Australia! I feel very relieved it is out there in the world, and that a lot of people are really getting something out of it. I feel everything is just quietening down now which is great, as it means soon I can start focusing on writing new music!

All your releases, especially the Midnight Odyssey ones, have been on the lengthy side of the clock, running almost unanimously above 60 minutes. But with “Shards of Silver Fade” you seem to have surpassed yourself, reaching almost 2 and half hours (that’s almost 150 minutes!). How did you come to such a decision, which undoubtedly is a bit controversial, since it requires from the listener the dedication of a large amount of time? Were/are you afraid that it will discourage a part of your potential audience?

Yes I have always been a fan of doing longer albums, and long songs. Since “Funerals From The Astral Sphere” was a double album, I couldn’t go back to a single disc release. I understand it’s a long haul for a lot of people to sit and listen to this, hell, most people don’t listen to a forty minute album in one hit these days. I understood it was going to be received with mixed opinions, but, in the end, music does anyway, so I just did what I felt was appropriate to me.

Staying on the duration subject, how do you navigate, mentally, through the sheer musical mass of such a creation? Personally, I use the lyrics to chart such enormous “seas”, but I am curious as to how a creator does it.

For me it really is about what musical passages I have written and weaving them together in a way that captures an essence. These songs take a long time, years most of them, starting with one layer of guitars or keys and then just adding others. Not trying to sound arrogant, but if you imagine an orchestra where the music altogether is really quite complicated and rich, but if you break it down to each instrument, it can be fairly simple by comparison. I kind of use the same writing method I guess.

dis_pater_4(1)

You make extensive use of keyboards, and not only from a quantitative perspective, but also qualitatively. With that, I mean that keyboards have an active and many times leading role in the composition, “stealing the lightning” from the guitars on many an occasion. Do you consider them to be a black metal instrument, on par with the guitar, as far as black metal sentiment expression is concerned?

A lot of the passages in my songs are written on keys first. There is a difference between using keys as an instrument, and using them as background filler. Whilst I love the cheesy black metal keys from many 90’s bands, they are really just there to add atmosphere. Few bands really took the keys as a serious instrument, and those who did usually made something truly breathtaking (Obtained Enslavement’s “Witchcraft” for example). I do consider it to be an instrument that has a home in black metal, but below the guitars for most bands, just for me it’s about the same.

On a relevant question, what are your influences, as far as keyboard use is concerned? Summoning is an obvious name that comes to mind, though there is certainly a differentiation in the implementation of them between them and you. Any other artists that have been of inspiration to you?

My music draws as much from Neoclassical and dark wave bands, like Dead Can Dance, Arcana, E’lend, etc as metal bands like Summoning. So that is where my use of keys as a main instrument comes from I guess. Summoning were great for their more medieval sounding melodies, which is a big inspiration. But I actually do listen to a lot of electronic music and also classical music, particularly renaissance and baroque music, so the way I use the keys come from me dabbling in other styles over the years as well.

I Voidhanger Records, Australia,Midnight Odyssey,Black Metal,Doom,Ambient,

There are some almost folk-like elements scattered throughout the album (the magnificent later part of “Hunter of the Celestial Sea” being a prime example), not in the form of extra instruments, but embedded in the riff structure. What sources do you draw upon?

I do like a little bit of folk music from time to time. Irish folk has always interested me, more for the melodies and song structures. Good friends of mine are a four piece traditional Irish band and I’ve been seeing them play for years, so there is definitely an influence there! And that comes into my music from way back with “The Forest Mourners”.

Tell us a little about your lyrical themes. I noticed that you mainly stray on the narrative side. What is the story you ultimately want to tell? Also, will you be returning on mythological themes, as you did on the “Converge, Rivers of Hell” release?

My lyrics are usually narrative, but they are somewhat set ambiguously in time. There are a lot of mythological references in “Shards of Silver Fade”. “Hunter of the Celestial Sea” is about Orion and “Scorpios, Son of Phoebus” is about Ovid’s tale of Phaethon. But ultimately they are all about death, and a cosmic end to the world. It’s a universal theme that translates to every people, and has historical and mythological roots. The narrative part is usually telling it from my perspective, but I’m not necessarily playing me as such, but rather a particular character set in the theme of the song.

You have been on I, Voidhanger Records for a number of years, a fact that implies a satisfaction on both sides. Is it so on your part? Also, Midnight Odyssey seems to fit, spirit-wise, excellently with some other of the most recognizable of the label’s groups, namely Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum. All of you seem to thrive on atmospheric and extensive structures, and, let’s say, a more intellectual approach to black metal. Is it I, Voidhager that unconsciously urges its roster to such a direction (because it provides a community for individuals that are on a level like-minded), is it you, the bands, that urge the company on such a direction, or something in between?

Yes I, Voidhanger is a great label. Actually honestly they are pretty much the best label one could hope for. There is great variety on the label, not just your atmospheric spaced themed black metal bands. But ultimately, it’s about I, Voidhanger wanting a certain aesthetic for the label, and if that band fits, then it is encouraged to do what they do best. I can’t speak for other bands on the label, but they push me to do what I really want to do, not worry about time limits etc, but they will always push me to improve, and try other things as well. But it is idealistically a place for art, music and literature to come together, and all the bands on the label’s roster think the same anyway!

Concerning your other projects, will we see a revival of either Tempestuous Fall or The Crevices Below in the future? Or, will we see a new Dis Pater project? Finally, will we ever see a Midnight Odyssey live performance, difficult as that may sound?

No revivals of Tempestuous Fall or The Crevices Below. I am working on an ambient only project with Svarthen from Aeon Winds called Dissvarth. That album is nearly finished! I do have some other plans for projects, probably one off albums that are currently far too different to go under the Midnight Odyssey banner. A Midnight Odyssey performance? Well I’ve said no many times as it is going to be impossible. It would have to be, how should I say, “re-arranged” which isn’t maybe what people would want to see.

How do you see the next album of Midnight Odyssey? Meaning, what can follow such an enormous (in many aspects) album such as “Shards of Silver Fade” is? Will there perhaps be a change in conceptual direction, or do you feel that you have not yet exhausted the path you are currently in, that you can still surpass yourself on that path?

Well honestly right now I can’t see the next Midnight Odyssey album at all. I’m quite uninterested in writing anything new right now. Maybe next year I might have some ideas, but it is pretty empty inside me at the moment. I guess the conceptual direction will depend on what I feel at the time. I imagine it will still be astral sounding, steeped in mythological poetry, but hey, stranger things have happened!

I want to congratulate you again for “Shards of Silver Fade”, and thank you for your time. Any last words are yours…

Thanks for your questions and I hope your readers can take a bit of time, okay, a lot of time, to just sit back and listen. Do it at night, sit outside, feel the cold air on your skin. Let thoughts of death enter your mind. Feel a part of the universe inside you…

Athotep Nyarl
Athotep Nyarl
I Dream of Lars Ulrich Being Thrown Through the Bus Window Instead of My Mystikal Master Kliff Burton

Related articles

Traitor – Shot Down EP

Triptykon Confirm Work On New Album

spot_img

Recent articles

spot_img

Kerry King – From Hell I Rise