After each major release, we actually take a few weeks to clear our heads and start organizing everything for the next phase. During this time, we managed to put the finishing touches to the LEVITATE EP, which is being released through Permanent Record and Breathe Plastic Records. Currently, we are preparing for the start of intense work on the next full-length album and are very pleased with how everything is sounding so far. Over the next while, we will really get stuck in to the process. A lot of time and energy will be spent.
2. In January you had released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
With Mystical Future, there was definitely a clear shift from the releases of the past. It seems as if the latest album was easier to conceptualise, or - it was easier to aim all of the musical elements towards a central theme. For example, we were able to use the guitars in a new way, to fulfill a different purpose in the general flow of a song. We wanted to explore a less ‘riff-driven’ arrangement, and write from the perspective of the emotive theme. Perhaps this somewhat melancholic album would not have translated as well if we had to approach it with the same mindset as the older releases. In saying this, most of our observations actually happen after the fact. Looking back, it’s possible for one (or more) of the songs on The Writing of Gods in the Sand to be a precursor to a theme on Mystical Future, but ultimately we always try to leave behind old sounds, and therefore expect our music to constantly deviate from our beaten path.
In terms of production, we strive to work with different people in the making of our albums. We enjoy the new approaches and perspectives, and are always surprised at how well the sound is interpreted by the people we work with.
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?
With the latest album (and Levitate), the lyrical themes definitely touch on nostalgia, relationships and loss. Mystical Future tackles the idea of looking ahead while acknowledging one’s past. This is a general approximation however, as all four of us look at the themes in a more personal and intimate way. As a whole, we’ve noticed an uplifting yet melancholic atmosphere both musically and lyrically – but ultimately it is up to the listener to interpret in their own way.
4. Originally the band was called 'Heathens', what was the cause of the name change and also the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Wildernessking'?
While writing under the name Heathens, we began to notice a shift in our sound and felt the name to be somewhat limiting. In a way, we decided to re-form the band, and use the concatenation of ‘Wilderness’ and ‘King’ as our new name. The interplay between the two words create a theme that allows for more innovation and exploration, both conceptually and musically. We certainly feel that the name will follow us for as long as we are all making music together.
5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
We have had so many wonderful experiences on stage. If we had to answer the question a few years ago, we would have probably said the same thing – and perhaps that illustrates how unique and special we find each live performance to be. A few weekends ago, we had the pleasure of sharing the stage with God Mother (SWE) while they were on tour here in South Africa, and that was a fantastic show. It’s difficult to single out any particular shows as the crowd and the atmosphere on the night really make each experience memorable and unique. We are conscious about this fact, so we try to make our stage performances as relaxed and intimate as possible.
6. Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Yes, we are actually just about to leave for a tour of South Africa, to play a couple of shows up north. We have been touring the country every year for a short while now, and we really enjoy the sights, the people and just being able to play our music to new audiences. We are definitely working on doing a European tour soon, possibly with the release of our next album.
7. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your newer music by fans of atmospheric black metal?
We are blown away by the feedback we’ve received and continue to receive from the international community. Because of the digital age that we find ourselves in, we’re privileged to be in close contact with our supporters, and truly appreciate all forms of correspondence we have with them. This is also one of the main reasons why we are excited to tour, as most of our fans are in Europe and the States. In terms of feedback from fans of a sub-genre, it would be difficult to say. Just like all music, some people enjoy it and some people don’t. We are thrilled to be making new fans with the release of Mystical Future, and that’s all we can really ask for. This is very inspiring and we are highly appreciative of it. The fact that someone else far away notices our passion in a particular part of a song, or a subtlety in a certain theme, that really means the world to us.
8. Are any of the band members currently involved with any other bands or musical projects these days?
Yes, Keenan and Jason are currently involved in ‘Sakawa Boys’ and ‘Wargrave’ respectively. We are all very passionate about music in all of its forms, and enjoy making it a large part of our lives, by collaborating with other people etc.
9. Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
This is probably one of the most difficult questions to answer, because when we look back at the path we’ve shared over the years, we really couldn’t have predicted nothing like this. We’ve all experienced a lot during the making of Mystical Future and the years that lead up to it. All we can say with assurance is that the phase we find ourselves in has prepared the groundwork to delve deep into the writing of the new record. Many factors have helped to define the ‘Wildernessking’ sound, for both us and our fans, and we are only eager to discover more.
10. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
When starting out, we obviously focused on the metal bands we had in common and tried to write music that we would enjoy listening to... As the years pass, we find that other metal bands actually tend to influence us less and less – or perhaps in a more subconscious way. We are influenced by human relationships, art, movies and anything else which affect our outlook in a particular way. That leaves our individual music taste as members to be a much more personal part of our lives. What we listen to is often a reflection of where we are and what we are feeling – something we hope Wildernessking is to the listener. At the moment, we are enjoying The Besnard Lakes, Jessica Pratt, Mgla, Flatbush Zombies, Mastodon, Perfume Genius etc.
11. Does Occultism play any role in your music?
Not really. There has definitely been no drive to include occultism in the writing and music, or more specifically in the way we approach our music in general - especially when placed in relation to other bands out there. It would be an interesting thing to discuss actually, because if we treat occultism to an exploration of supernatural forces, then much of our work would certainly focus on these forces, amongst others. We have always deeply respected the natural world, and we feel that the ‘supernatural’ is surely included within that particular framework.
12. What are some of your non-musical interests?
We enjoy the outdoors, relaxing, hiking and spending time with friends. We especially enjoy traveling to the countryside for a few days, when taking a break from our personal careers outside of Wildernessking.
13. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thank you for the interview! We really enjoyed your diverse questions and look forward to visiting our Italian fans soon. A big show of appreciation to everyone who listens to our music… We are truly grateful for the support you have shown us.