Acathexis is an Atmospheric Black Metal supergroup, which brings together the solo artists responsible for Mare Cognitum, Downfall of Nur and Cult of Erinyes. This Is Black Metal Webzine talked with Dany Tee, Jacob Buczarski and Déhà about all the things you want to know for this remarkable project.
This Is Black Metal: It’s great to have you for this interview; you have a nice start story with Fallen Empire getting you together. Can you elaborate on it and how you felt at the time and how was when you first reunited?
Dany: I think it all started with Déhà sending the Demo to Fallen Empire and F.E kinda gather us all, I think this was in early 2016, Jake and Déhà began discussing what could be the best way to shape the demo to get an album of there, Déhà already was working in a lot of bands / projects ( as always ) so he didn´t want to sing in this album, he preferred to delegate that task, so… after a few ideas they decided to ask me if I was interested in the project and I accepted right away.
I think we all had experience in the scene and to work at a distance was really easy, we all knew at first listen that we had in our hands what could be an awesome album so we were so excited to work together that from there everything went very fluid. We talked a lot by email discussing details, and even F.E was a big part of it, making suggestions and giving us all the support we needed always.
Jake: When FE sent Deha’s demo material to me, the quality was quite shocking in the best way. I was immediately motivated to bring it to the highest level possible. It had serious potential and was extremely unique sounding. I’m usually extremely picky and pessimistic about new music, but even in a primitive state, I knew this music was something special that I wanted to be a part of. To be honest, it was surprising to me that Deha apparently had this material sitting for quite some time, because it clearly had so much work put into it. It just needed some love and I’m glad I came to mind as the person who could help with that.
TIBM: What are your occupations besides music and how old were you when you decided music was a part of your life?
Dany: I am a clinical psychologist, I work in private practice and in a clinic. Basically, that’s what I mainly do when I’m not working in an album recording or producing. When I was a teenager I realized that music will always be the main thing in my life, that’s why I choose to work as a clinical psychologist because it allows me to have my own schedule in order to keep focused on music
Jake: I am a software developer. This type of work is great because I don’t have to deal with people very much, haha. It pays well enough to let me explore my musical endeavours comfortably and without worry. I have been playing metal for 13 years at the age of 16, when I had been listening to metal, mostly Death Metal and Hardcore, for a few years. I began listening to and then playing Black Metal a few years later, after playing in bands of several other genres. My interest in metal and music in general spans across many different styles, but my focus has almost always been on Black and Death Metal. Extreme metal has been nearly the only constant in my life since then – it grounds me and brings me great joy to work on and be a part of.
Déhà: I’m trying to make a recording studio, around in Brussels. That’s really what I’m doing 200% per day. And… there’s nothing else. Pretty sad.
TIBM: With you all being geographically apart is it harder for you as a band to compose and work on the songs?
Dany: Not at all, we are all open-minded and we all knew what the project was about, even the fact that we all listen to very different styles of music and different genres, somehow we implicitly agree in the direction that the project took.
We always listen to each other in order to add something different or personal to the music we make, but it was so fluid that the whole process was really easy, of course, it took time but that was because we wanted to make the best of it, To record an album is not an easy thing to do so… it takes time.
Jake: Working with Dany and Deha was extremely natural, these guys are really flexible and open to critique (and I hopefully was as well, ha!) I think going into the project, we were all aware of each other’s professionalism, and there was no ego to break through with any member which made things operate fluidly even from across the globe. We all had one goal in mind, we knew how this album should sound, and our coherent vision shows in the final result.
Déhà: There’s a huge difference, in my opinion, between playing three times a week with good friends yet mediocre musicians with no dexterity in understanding each other, and having people such as Dany & Jake, who not only understand everything, but also “know” (the music, the essence, the workflow, …). It’s been one of my biggest pleasures in my musical career.
TIBM: Fallen Empire had to close doors and now you work with Entropic Recordings, how’s your relationship with the new label?
Jake: Entropic Recordings is run by me, and I will be heavily involved in the physical production of Acathexis albums to come, as well as other albums that I perform on. I’ll also be releasing works by others that I love in hopes that I can promote some truly esoteric works in underground metal. Releasing Acathexis as well as the Mare Cognitum reissues was a sort of test-run of this operation and it went extremely well. I’m looking forward to showing people more of what this label is all about very soon.
TIBM: Your self- titled debut is a journey through emotions and the chemistry between you is notorious, how was the process of creation?
Jake: Déhà had laid the groundwork for this album long before Dany or I got our hands on it, so when our collaboration began, it was a matter of filling in evident gaps. When it reached me, I needed to add drums, alter some arrangements, and add bits of important detail. And of course, record vocals! Originally, FE wanted me to record the vocals, but I didn’t think my style was right for it. Dany came to mind immediately as I was familiar with much of his work and knew his style was extremely fitting for this. So we collaborated on lyrics and shaped the vocal patterns together. From there, it was a matter of back and forth emails, constantly refining and critiquing all details of the recordings diligently until we reached completion.
Dany: Déhà wrote the music for the demo he sent to FE and then Jake worked on the drums while he and I started writing the lyrics and although we all give each other the freedom to decide what each of us thinks is best for the album, we all share opinions in order to improve what could be an idea, so it was a back and forth process of emails trying to give to the song what the song needed. All the lyrics were written after the music, trying to make an album that could be felt as a whole, making each detail count.
Déhà: As said, I composed most of the basis of the music, and I was simply in a mindset to create something which contains the aggressive music I needed to express my emotions, but also those… epic (?) melodies, with a fast paced Black Metal background. It’s not something that I was used to do a lot in my (too many) projects. Fun fact: the lyrics are perfectly fitting to what I felt before it all.
TIBM: In “Immurement” I hear a perfect combination of anger and sorrow. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Dany: Thanks, I’m glad to hear that kind of feedback, I agree, anger and sorrow are there and I think I would add “desperation”
Jake: Frustration, maybe, and brokenness, or about to break perhaps. This is meant to illustrate the lowest point of the human psyche, a complete breakdown of normalcy and a crumbling stability of the self, as if the process is happening during the song. The whole album illustrates this breakdown in various ways.
Acathexis – Immurement
TIBM: “Veins Hollowed” is my favorite song of the album, a masterpiece and a perfect example that Black Metal can be melodic and savage at the same time.
Dany: It is one of my favorite tracks too. It has lots of little details and it goes through different atmospheres spitting rage and pain from the beginning to the end.
Jake: I think it’s commonly thought that intensity needs to be tempered in order to illustrate sadness in metal, but I’ve always liked to challenge how far you can push extremity while still demonstrating this. I think this was done well on this track.
TIBM: For the next album can we expect something in the same path?
Jake: I think there is still a lot to explore in this sound, and I’ll be more heavily involved in the riff department next time around. We also have an unused track from this album, the most experimental of the bunch, that was not used which will certainly be included on a new release.
Dany: Definitely, but Jake will be more involved in the guitar songwriting so I think that can be one of the main differences, the structure of the band will continue as it is now but, definitely we will try to double the bet and create a better album.
Déhà: As also said, I think it will be the same yet different. I cannot wait to work with Jake!
TIBM: Have you been working on new material with your other projects?
Dany: I’m working in two other BM projects, which one of them I think will be ready in late 2019.
Jake: I am working on two new Mare Cognitum releases, both of which will hopefully be out in late 2019.
Déhà: I really don’t want to answer this question, there are too many releases to happen. Just, peel your ears (yes) for early winter 2019 with the newer ‘Slow’ album.
TIBM: What is your opinion on the Black Metal scene nowadays?
Dany: I like the first wave of Black Metal as well as the second, I grew up listening to that, I think there is no doubt about that and this topic has been talked about enough, personally I have seen how the genre grew and expanded to different places of the world, previously the scene seemed to be nucleated in the Nordic countries, but for a few years (and probably due to the Internet) many bands have appeared, each with their personal imprint coming from different corners of the world brought a new air to the genre without losing the essence of black metal, although the genre has become quite popular in recent years it is still underground and at some point I like it to remain that way.
Jake: It might sound strange but I don’t have a lot to say about it. I’m not personally connected to a physical scene, so to speak, having not played live in a band for years now. I enjoy supporting great bands from around my area, but I think the “scene” as an idea is less important with the way the internet has changed the way music is distributed and consumed. Bands signed to small labels or even independently releasing albums get praise and notoriety based on their merit alone, thanks to new inexpensive methods of getting albums out there. People have begun to group with like-minded listeners based on ethos and focused, specific tastes rather than a large, homogenous scene. I prefer it this way. I can choose my scene for myself and not be limited by geography or anything else.
Déhà: Black Metal is known, felt. Not told.
TIBM: For you what is the true essence of Black Metal?
Dany: I think that is one of the most difficult questions to answer because this is so personal and subjective. But far from trying to give a dictionary definition I think that Black Metal is one of the most prolific and diverse genres that have existed, although there are many subgenres within the BM and each of they have something different, I think when you listen to it, you immediately understand that it is BM, and I do not mean a certain sound, or aesthetic, or quality of sound, and thats what I like the most, it does not matter if you have a big budget and you can record an album in a big studio or if you do it by your own means achieving a very low-quality sound, none of that defines a great BM song, nor the speed, or blast, or tremolos, all that is secondary, the main thing is what music transmit, and that what you want to express is authentic, I think you can interpret any style of music without being totally committed to what you are playing or creating, Black Metal is, in essence, the musical expression and manifestation of the darkest emotions of the human being, but what defines this genre over others is the authenticity of what you want to express, because if what you want to express is not authentic then it is not black metal, its something else. It’s kind of visceral what it feels like to listen to black metal, that’s why I think it’s not for anyone, but for those who dare to deal with such energy in music.
Jake: A phrase like “true essence” implies that I am ready to accuse falseness with a broad brush, which I am not. I judge each band and each sound with my own ears and enjoy what I enjoy. I play what I want to play. It can be Black Metal, it can also not be black metal. It keeps things very simple for me! I don’t have to abide by dogmatic rules that have been arbitrarily created by self-proclaimed lords of the scene. I enjoy black metal that celebrates wild creativity. I would never want to be the one stifling innovation by trying to dictate what is true and what is not. I only want to hear the sound of artists being true to themselves and their ideas, rather than being followers and rehashing old ideas in fear of being considered untrue.
Déhà: Black Metal is, once again, known, felt. Not told.
TIBM: It was really nice talking to you, hoping next album will be as good as this one. As a final note would you like to leave a message for our readers?
Acathexis: Thank you for this interview and we want to thank everyone who has shown full support since the album was released. We’ll be back.
Acathexis – Acathexis (Full Album)