Arcane North is a very new project of mine. Having played in many bands over the years I’d always wanted to create a project that is solely mine. In the winter of 2013 the time felt right to start working on some songs, experimenting with sounds and melodies. Some of the riffs are one’s I’ve had lurking in the background for years and the more I began to write and experiment with them, the more I realised I could make a half decent project out of it.
So, over the winter months through to early 2014 I worked on the 3 songs that became the ‘Enter the Arcane North’ EP and then subsequently recorded them properly. That pretty much brings us up to date. Not much to tell so far, but this is hopefully just the beginning.
2.Recently you have released your first ep, can you tell us a little bit more about your musical sound?
The main thing I wanted to achieve with Arcane North was atmosphere, via the medium of black metal. It’s hardly untouched territory and I openly admit my inspirations from the likes of Summoning, Burzum, Bathory, Forteresse, Drudkh to name a few. Through this there are many hypnotic guitar patterns with mostly simplistic and mid paced beats.
Where I personally believe the music comes alive is through the use of synths and melodies. As opposed to most atmospheric black metal which usually focuses on traditional keyboard choir and string sounds, I’ve adopted the use of harps, horns, timpani’s and singular string instruments too which almost gives the music a more orchestral sound. Not so much in a bombastic film score kind of way, but more so in the way the likes of Summoning use these sounds. I’ve also tried to challenge myself a little vocally ranging from traditional black screams, almost DSBM style shrieks and clear chanting.
It’s almost impossible to create something truly original within this genre these days, but hopefully all of this put together creates something which has even just a hint of uniqueness.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with your music?
I’ve not limited myself to a set theme as such. So far my lyrics are quite personal to me, in that really I’m the only one who truly understands where they came from. Descriptions of my own dreams and nightmares, my own desires and my own thoughts. I also deal with “the north” as it were. Places of interest and natural beauty particularly in County Durham and North Yorkshire. In contrast to that so goes the old saying in England that “It’s grim up north”. Well that kind of plays a part in some of my lyrics, perhaps more in a metaphorical sense.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Arcane North'?
Well the north part is easy, it’s relevant to me and where I come from. As I mentioned before I like to deal with places that I visit which are perhaps mysterious, hidden or secret and very few folk know about. That to me is the meaning behind Arcane North. Through these places I am inspired to write lyrics. I like to involve an element of fantasy, merging reality with my dreams. Combining these two makes for the basis of most of my lyrics and themes.
5.You record all of the musical instruments and vocals by your self, do you feel this gives you more control over your musical sound?
Absolutely. When I write and record I feel very free to experiment. Quite often I’ll have a few beers or a glass of wine and sit and play my guitar or keyboard and the riffs and melodies present themselves to me. I do have a number of close friends though who I often look to for an opinion on a particular song. I feel it’s always good to have another honest opinion from a like-minded soul.
6.Recently you had your ep released as 40 limited copies on cd, are you planning on expanding on cd's or is this going to be more of a digital release?
I haven’t really thought that far ahead to be honest. I wanted the very first press to be a little more special than your average CD and as a result I made them in short DVD cases with a handmade insert. This limited me to the amount I could feasibly make and as such I ended up making 40.
I will definitely want to press it again if/when the first press sells out. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Digital is always a possibility but one thing I will always focus on with Arcane North is having physical releases. As a collector of music I am very much a fan of physical releases, be it CD, vinyl or even tape.
7.Glorious North Productions is distributing your music, is this going to lead to a recording contract with this label?
I have been in contact with Glorious North for many years now and when I told them about the project the label owner was instantly interested. This does not necessarily mean there will be any sort of contract with them for future releases, but they agreed to distribute the EP which I was very grateful for, and who knows what the future will bring. Needless to say, I’d be happy to continue to worth with Glorious North on future releases, if they are happy to work with me.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
The EP has only been out a few weeks so it is hard to judge any feedback at present. I have sold copies to people in Finland and Germany as well as in the UK so far so hopefully over time, I’ll have a better gauge of how my music is being received around the world.
9.When can we expect a full length album and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
I am working on a number of new songs. The plan is for a full length but I wouldn’t rule out another EP or even perhaps a split. Ideally though, a full length would be the next step. Expect a release to surface in early 2015 as I will certainly be recording during the winter months.
Musically it’s hard to tell. The new songs I’m working on and the music I have written in my head is still in the same direction as the EP. I think after completing the EP I’ve found a “style” I’m happy with so I will likely build on that. It will be interesting (even for me) to see where it will head in the future.
10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Particularly on Arcane North I suppose I summed this up earlier. Atmospheric black metal is the main influence. Bands like Summoning, Drudkh, (some) Burzum and the like.
Whilst I do listen to a range of music, I feel to be relevant I should discuss the bands within the black metal remit and recommend some of the great acts the UK underground has on offer. Nordland, Hryre, Ulfarr, Nordenglander, Mountain’s Crave to name a few are some emerging black metal bands with a lot of promise.
11.Does Paganism or Occultism play any role in your music?
I suppose it does. I would not class myself as pagan, but I do sympathise with many of the pagan ideals. I have an interest in Occultism but that is pretty much where it ends. I think the imagery of occultism and paganism are very fitting to black metal and therefore I support their use in that respect.
12.What are some of your non musical interests?
It’s perhaps very cliché but I enjoy visiting places, going out for walks etc. Where I live it is very easy to be out into the countryside very quickly so I try to take any opportunity possible to do that. There are many places to explore and discover and it’s amazing what you can find in the wilderness.
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Arcane North is still a very new project so I urge all readers to take a few moments to check out my music and if you like it, to share it with like-minded souls.
Expect more to come in the not too distant future.