1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
The band is going from strength to strength; gigging the more recent demo, working on the full band EP and breaking in new live band members.
2. So far this year you have been a part of 2 splits and also have released a demo, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on those recordings and also how do they differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
We’ve released a lot of material this year; and I didn’t even see that coming. The two splits were a great chance to work on a different side of the music that I like to write without it interfering with what fans can expect when they come to see us live or check out one of the demos.
I am a huge fan of Tom DeLonge and his Angels and Airwaves project. He toys, plays around and smashes the pop-punk/space rock box to achieve something bigger but it still all ties together. I guess I am trying to do the same with Horrenda as a black metal version of this.
Horrenda is first a side project then an outlet for ideas and other musical ventures. I am using it to write what I want to write or to explore genres that I feel haven’t been explored in some time. That gives me a lot of scope as a musician; I can work outside the “black metal” box, bring in outside elements on one hand and on the other craft pure black metal for the band and live shows.
That would be the difference; the splits and other non-band based Horrenda releases are going to be more experimental than the band stuff by its very nature. But everything ties together; I am hoping that people can pick up on that. Everything I release Horrenda/32x ties together but every album, EP, demo, live show and spilt all tell different sides of that overall unit.
3. The lyrics on the demo dealt with Irish Paganism, History and Politics, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in those topics?
Sure thing; I’ve always been into these things growing up and it just comes naturally when I sit down to write my lyrics. I feel that in this day and age in Ireland, and Western Europe, national identity and culture is being demonized and discouraged. It is something that is timely but also something that as an Irish person, it is close to my heart. I admire what Valfar did with Windir; and seem to be working a lot of the same things into my music.
I guess it’s all the Megadeth and Anti-Flag I grew up listening to. But I find it more rewarding to write about something that is important. Rather than what other black metal bands do: write about demons, devils and so on.
Horrenda is not about that stuff; it is about challenging the listener/viewer to think about their environment, their past and their place in the world.
4. Also on the fb page one of your interests was Phillip K. Dick, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this author and also are there any other writers you have an interest in?
Philip K. Dick is the greatest author of the 20th Century and understood the world, reality and concepts like the “multiverse” and “time” better than a normal man ever could. That’s why I dedicated the first 32x album “Simulacra and Simulation” to him.
His books are timeless, yet forward-thinking. And as a man he is very complex. There are some great books, like “The Man Who Remembered the Future” by Anthony Peake, that talk about his life and the overall themes that I toy with on the 32x side of things.
These great figures don’t come along very often so if I can get someone to check out his work based on a reference, clip or something else from this band than awesome. Everyone should know this man’s work on some level.
5. Since 2015 you have released a great amount of material, do you put a great amount of time and effort into the band?
A lot of the early stuff was written in some forms over the past two to three years, for other bands or projects but due to creative problems they just stayed on paper or on very rough demos.
I decided to just go for it and do this myself and start making music for me. When I started doing this for real, I found that the creative tap was on and I could use it.
I guess, after being a bassist for so long, playing other people’s songs you forget what it’s like to play something that is your own, something that means something to you.
Now, things have a different dynamic because I am writing for a band instead of just me and trying to make this stuff possible to play live. Thanks to Brian Colfer from Scrawb who really helped make a lot of the new sound of Horrenda click. He is like an unofficial member at this point as he did most of the drums of the last demo.
Ha, too much time. I have to stop sometimes or they’d be double the releases on the Horrenda bandcamp page.
6. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Horrenda'?
Originally, I wanted to use “Synodus Horrenda” as a band name. This was the name given to an event when a Pope put a dead ex-Pope’s corpse on trial in 897 AD in Rome. But, like most things, it was taken and when I was renaming the project, Horrenda worked and fit even better than I had thought.
Horrenda is a form of the Latin word for “terror” or “frightful”; so the concepts and themes that I write about deal with the darker nature of us as humans, our history and forgotten pagan identity.
7. Originally the band started out as a solo project, what was the decision behind forming a full line up?
I like to gig, that’s about the size of it. Honestly, the best thing about playing music is performing it for people. So I decided to add the live band side of the project last year and the shows are very fun and people seem to enjoy them.
However, as I said above, the live side of Horrenda is just one element and that’s good because we can still be active as a “band” without gigging all the time. But we’ll never turn down a show that’s for sure.
8. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
We’ve been extremely lucky so far that all the shows that we have played have been rather big, had a great crowd and supporting awesome bands. My favourite has to be our first ever show with the Norwegian band Incipit and fellow Irish bands Aeternum Vale, & Saint Slaughter.
That was huge was us, and it was kind of weird as I was playing bass for Saint Slaughter too, it set the tone of what we wanted to achieve as a live act plus proved for me that these songs work live.
Our live show is a straight black metal assault; fast, heavy songs with few breaks picking the best from the “Neronian Times” demo and give an even more aggressive flavour. We work in samples, something that I owe to my time with Axial Symmetry, use corpse paint and really make a show for our fans. I want anyone who comes to see us live to walk out thinking they’ve seen something unlike anytime that is on the Dublin scene today.
9. Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
We have a few gigs lined up, still taking bookings, then it’s going to be heavily focused on a follow up to the last demo with a full band release.
We’re playing two huge gigs in June; the 18th June at the “On The Rox” venue in Dublin with very good friends of mine, and the band’s, the amazing Outright Resistance from the UK. And a cracking line up of Irish acts: Words That Burn, Symptoms of Silence and A Letter to Jane.
And our last gig that is confirmed is again in Dublin on the 25th of June in Fibber’s, we’re playing the Black Midsummer Night with our Irish pagan brothers in Corr Mhóna and the killer Skullthrone and Nonserviam.
We don’t play live a lot but when we do, you don’t want to miss us and the outstanding talent that we a sharing a stage with.
10. Recently you were a part of some splits with 'Harsh Discipline' and 'Mort aux Guex', what are your thoughts on the other bands that had participated on the splits?
Paul from Harsh Discipline, what can I say about the guy, man? He is a true artist and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. We still work together and are at this moment, working on something very neat indeed.
There is nobody that you want to work more with on a “noise” based ambient project than Harsh Discipline. What he did with my tracks, and his own, on the release was unreal.
The Mort aux Guex release was one of the chances that I took to release some very much solo based Horrenda material to a wider audience and it worked. Our two styles of black metal matched and I love that split; Mort’s style is unforgiving and if you’ve not hear of them, do so! It was a true pleasure working with Francois and I hope to again someday.
11. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been so far by fans of black metal?
Very positive; a lot of black metal fans around the world have embraced the material but for various different reasons. People seem drawn to the old school approach I think, the production values and the overall feel of the band. And that’s awesome; I am directly inspired by old school black metal and that’s what I want to try and revive.
12. What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that you are a part of?
A lot; in all seriousness, may be too many but I make it worth. I love to play music and will never turn down the chance to work with others. However, that’s why Horrenda is side project; the other lads, Creachta in particular, is in loads of bands as am I.
I play with Saint Slaughter and Skewered and I also fill in with Axial Symmtery. While Daragh (Creachta) plays in Svet Kant, Morality and Three Armed Decoy. While Arron (Nomad) is only in Horrenda but he is an excellent singer and I am sure will have other projects soon. We seem to have a rotating bassist/drummer at the moment but that’s the fun of it, right?
13. Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Let me know, say this much, if you liked the last demo then you’re going to love what comes next. We’re going more in that direction; like a mix of Gorgoroth, Windir, Abbath and Burzum.
A few words from Nomad – I was a fan of Horrenda before I joined. They’re my first band but I can’t wait to bring my own style to the group in the future.
14. 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?
There is so much, dude. I love all sorts of music except rap and metalcore. And that wide range of tastes boils over into Horrenda in some form, and a lot of the time on a solo or 32x release.
But for the band stuff, I draw a lot of inspiration from Varg’s and Abbath’s projects; a lot of Burzum, Abbath, I, Darkthrone and so on. I like to fuse the hate and rage of second wave Norwegian black metal with the melodic breaks of Gorgoroth with a gloss of esoteric, political or historical lyrics.
I listen to mostly some kind of extreme black metal (Marduk, Nargaroth, Tsjuder, Windir etc), Burzum once a day when I am writing, loving Abbath’s side project “I” and their album plus a little Robots with Rayguns/Angels and Airwaves to balance it all out.
Nomad adds that his vocals are drawn from those of Mayhem, Gorgoroth, Pig Destroyer, Napalm Death and Sepultura.
15. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Firstly, thank you for your time, support and review. And secondly, if your readers like what they’ve heard from Horrenda already that is nothing as to what is coming next. We’re doing our best to bring pure black metal back; so hopefully you guys will be us for that ride
Darragh “Outis” O’Connor