Gabriel Pastor talks to Erdve, the black metal band that have recently released their debut album.
Hello guys and thank you for your time! First of all, would you like to introduce yourselves and tell us about ERDVE for those who don’t know you yet?
Hey, thanks for speaking with us! We enjoyed reading your review of our album, lots of interesting insights indeed.
As for introducing ourselves, we are ERDVE, an experimental hardcore/metal collective from Vilnius, capital of Lithuania. We have now been active for a bit more than 2 years and recently had our first self-recorded album released.
In your opinion, what can we find in ERDVE’s sound that we cannot in other bands of similar genres?
Our music is very much influenced by a very wide variety of genres, bands, artists, which means that for most part you can find references that might be familiar with something else in that regard. Yet, I believe, this is how most of the musicians are able to make music in the first place, by making interpretations, harnessing their influences, with which in time they develop a musical identity of their own.
I guess, the main thing with which we can stand apart from others is by the very essence of who we are as creative individuals, where do we come from and what background has shaped our approach, attitude and format, through which we transmit our artistic output. I cannot say that this is something unique, it’s just something that every artist possesses and it is the listener’s choice whether to appreciate those things about an artist. In that regard, we are certainly not special, but we do have things that are our own, which is a certain communication between the band members, the way how we perceive or understand music, or how we shape our creative vision.
I enjoyed Vaitojimas a lot, but most of all I found it super interesting; the mix of different styles and putting black metal in the center of it. How did that happen? Was it something you were looking to do or more like the result of putting together your own styles?
I mention this often, but I believe this is how music is essentially being created – throughout many years, you find different things in art, music that you admire and choose to identify yourself with. The more you explore, the more things you find, but of course not everything sticks to you. As a songwriter, I see and appreciate many things in all kinds of music, and black metal is not an exception, yet to transmit my creativity, I want to explore elements that would most accurately express my certain creative vision. This is how the so called ,,genre-mixing’’ tends to happen, yet by no means it is intentional, it just cannot be. If you take away such concept as a ,,genre’’ out of the picture, what you get is a very wide spectrum of soundscapes, musical approach, intensity levels, speed, instrumental usage, technical adaptations etc. which for me is a same thing as a colour pallete, with which you paint a picture. Using and mixing colour tones, using different brushes, different techniques, type of paint, type of canvas, you create the picture that you have in mind. This is how I perceive writing music, that’s why we use keywords like experimentation, because essentially, this is what we do with music, we experiment with things we appreciate and admire.
You’re now working with Season of Mist, are you happy with them? It must be an awesome feeling working with such a label!
Yes, it is an awesome feeling, believe me. Being a complete nobody from a small country with a very small scene, it was very overwhelming to receive an offer from them. We are very persistent in what we do, but still we did not expect to work with anyone like Season of Mist, and we had even given up on thoughts of releasing our album properly.
Working with them is quite a lot of fun, yet the business side of music was something that we did not have any experience before. I mean, we did have some as we have been around the local scene for a while, but working with SOM has presented the music industry to us on a completely different scale, about which we have a lot to learn still. But they are very helpful to us in many ways and understand in what position we are. This acts as a stimuli and a possibility on many levels, gives an entirely different motivation to go on further with your art
As a band, if I’m not mistaken, you’re fairly new. Does any of you have side-projects? What plans do you have for the near future?
ERDVE has been active for a few years, but all our band members have been very active in the scene for around 10 years, playing in a wide variety of local acts within different genres. Me and drummer Valdas have been playing in an experimental black metal band NYKSTA, our bass player played in a progressive metal/hardcore band SPIRALE.
Currently, me and our second guitarist/noise-maker Kristijonas are playing in another experimental/avant-garde/psychedelic/blues/whatever band called SRAIGĖS EFEKTAS which is also quite active and has just released a second full album.
Since ERDVE has released an album, we are planning to continue with concert activities and writing more music. We are trying to take things slow in order to enjoy them at a maximum capacity, to remain ourselves being fresh and full of creative ideas.
How was the composition and recording process of Vaitojimas? Which song gave you the hardest time? Why?
I have been working a lot with sound engineering, recording as a parallel musical activity while playing in bands, therefore we decided to record everything on our own, as what bands often do in our country. As we have a DIY studio established we are able to create and record music immediately to see how it sounds like. So it’s sort of a combination of writing and recording music at the same time. This is how the whole album was written, so it happened relatively fast as we had the whole sound ready and in place while recording it.
For many years, we have been hoarding quite a lot of ideas, what eventually became a raw concept for Erdve. Even while playing in other bands, some of us have been constantly communicating about this other idea to create very intense music.
Atraja was the hardest song to write, because it was the last one, we were a bit burned out at the time, even if the album is only 37 minutes long. All songs were written in the same sequence as it is on the album and it was the easiest to write those first songs, based on many piled up ideas that have been roaming around in our minds for a long time. It was quite an intense emotional/creative process since it was a while since we had to start-fresh with a completely new project, we questioned things a lot, wanted to make sure that this time we are 100% sure about the ideas that we put in place.
I found interesting the theme of the lyrics but sadly I have no idea when it comes to lithuanian, care to elaborate what your message is in this album?
We choose to build our narrative using our mother tongue, because we strongly believe that there is no other way to really honestly transmit the ideas as accurately as possible. We care a lot about our surroundings as part of our influence, and we choose to embrace that.
The album as a whole seems a very grim picture of immorality as an inevitable part of our surroundings. Vaitojimas is an illustration within concepts of domestic violence, substance abuse, crime, inhumanity, sexuality, religion and many other things that we find personally frightening or somewhat troubling. The concept is built upon to help one reflect upon himself as in regards to interconnection with the outside world. Choosing to see and acknowledge things that help you cherish your own things in life or help you understand what is essentially important to you. This might sound confusing, so to put it simply, we believe that people are losing their focus very easily and get drawn in their everyday life problems, work, relationships etc. until they get those brief moments of clarity, for example, once they lose someone they love, or something terrible happens nearby. We are now living in an unbelievably fast-paced flow of useless information in which it’s very easy to get lost in. Only by reflecting on yourself and how your life interconnects with everything that surrounds you, then you can truly find a way to lead a fulfilling life.
What would be your top 5 european countries to tour? What about outside Europe? Why?
I would say everywhere where we might be appreciated and welcomed to. I honestly do not have a lot of experience in touring, if I have at all, so this the area that I might be able to discuss more thoroughly.
Touring across mid Europe, Germany, France sounds good, of course southern countries as well like Italy, Spain, as we do admire a certain cultural atmosphere and warm possitiveness.
Outside of Europe still sounds an unachievable thing, but a world-wide album release seemed as such as well, so we shall see.
Which bands serve you as inspiration? What do you like about them?
We draw inspiration from a very wide spectrum of bands, artists, communities. Soundwise, we have been largely influenced by the notable collective within Hydra Head, Neurot communities. For sure, that would be ISIS, Neurosis, Old Man Gloom, Sumac, Gaza, Botch. Also other visionary bands like TOOL or the SWANS.
We also appreciate a lot of experimental artists which inspire us to use different sounds or looking for unique ways of using our instruments in more unconventional ways to produce sounds by modulating physical contact with the instrument. That goes in a wide area of jazz, avant-garde, electronic, noise and all kinds of other scenes.
Do you know any spanish band? Any favorite? Why?
I am a fan of our Spanish label-mates ALTARAGE. They produce an immensely heavy and interesting death metal. Seen them live once and their sound is very oppressive, almost brain-pounding, very uneasy, quite superb.
What would you say was the toughest moment for ERDVE? And the happiest?
In our very brief band history, I would say the toughest moment was to deal with all the album release tasks. We are all working full-time and have lots of activities on our plates, so it was quite difficult to meet all the deadlines, documentation, designs, information packages etc. when you have as little as a few hours a day before you go to sleep. Yet, it is very rewarding in the end and definitely worth the effort.
The happiest moment was when we were contacted by Season of Mist straight away with an offer. At the time, it seemed that all those persistent 10 years of playing music in local bands are finally going towards something.
If you were to choose 2 more bands to tour with, which ones would you choose?
The first one would be our neighbours from Latvia – TESA, who in our opinion are one of the best and most inspiring bands for us at this time. They play very atmospheric, intense, post-hardcore, sludge, experimental music. Their live shows are amazing. I believe us and them would be a perfect duo for the tour.
Another one would be our Lithuanian friends FARŠAS, who are our favourite grindcore band in the world and our dear friends. I believe it would be the most rewarding to tour with friends, sharing such an experience.
Any plans to come to Spain anytime soon?
For now no, but hopefully in the future!
To finish this interview, would you like some last words and/or recommend us a song?
I would recommend to listen to our album as a whole single piece. I know that time these day is even more valuable than ever and hardly any people just sit and listen to a record without doing anything else at the same time, but we would appreciate if you could take time while listening to it and let it breathe.
Another recommendation, I am currently listening to a new SUMAC/KEIJI HAINO improvised collaboration album. It’s one of the most intense things that I’ve heard in a while and definitely something different from what you get once stumbled upon a new album.