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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Oaks Of Bethel/EEE Recordings Interview

For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit yourself and the many musical projects that you are a part of?

I am E. I currently perform in the musical projects Aptrgangr, Bladecatcher, E., Funeral Eclipse, Grok, Husk of Elohim, Njiijn, Njiqahdda, Oaks of Bethel, Worship of Nuit and Extispicium. I also run EEE Recordings and co-run/work for a few other operations as well.

·         Can you tell us a little bit more about your current musical projects and the musical styles you play with each one?

Aptrgangr is bestial black/death metal, Bladecatcher is death metal, E. is psychedelic rock/ambient, Funeral Eclipse is melodic black metal, Grok is symphonic black metal, Husk of Elohim is melodic black metal, Njiijn is experimental ambient/noise/drone, Njiqahdda is every type of bizarre sound imaginable, Oaks of Bethel is atmospheric black metal, Worship of Nuit is black ambient and Extispicium is atmospheric/melodic black metal.

·         In addition to black metal you are also involved with ambient and death metal projects, do you feel you have a lot to offer these other musical genres?

That remains to be seen, I simply create. Whatever feels right is what I go with at the time. The relevance of my work to these genres is irrelevant to me. I have no investment in musical genres, only in myself.

·         With some of your projects you also explore Occultism, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topic?

Religion and philosophy have been obsessions of mine since I was a teenager; they shape and have shaped the world we live in. It really just boils down to the fact that I like to learn about things. I adhere to no belief system - outside of a base moral structure. I enjoy the exploration of thought.

·         Some of your earlier projects were more 'unblack' metal, what was the decision behind leaving that faith behind and also, have you received any backlash from hardcore black metal fans that would not approve of your past musical projects?

There were a lot of different factors that lead to my straying from the xian path and ultimately it was something that was not meant for me. I was only xian for 5-6 years total in the 35 years I have been alive; I came into it on my own accord and left the same way. It was a great learning experience, but I am glad I made the choices that I did. My natural disdain for the brainless desert philosophies was something that I could not bargain with, so it ultimately had to go. I have yet to see any kind of backlash in regards to that part of my history. No one bothers me about it. I think people are aware that we all make mistakes as we find our way through life - philosophy included. If someone has a problem with it, let them. I have no time to care.

 ·         Besides Occultism, what are some of the other things you have explored lyrically with your other bands or musical projects?

Anything that has influenced my life eventually makes its way into my music. Life, death, relationships, etc. I do not restrict my topical matter, although there are a great many things I am pretty sure will never come into being for my works, simply for the fact that they do not affect me or cause me to have interest in them.

·         Originally you were from Illinois but have re-located to Colorado, what was the decision behind the move?

It was more of a forced move than anything, I never planned to live in Colorado. Life happened; a long-time relationship exploded on a nuclear level, I lost my home, job and almost everything I owned because of it. I had to make a choice to better my situation and I ended up in Colorado (hails to the Velnias brotherhood for providing the opportunity). Great place though, I love it here and am grateful for my opportunities in this place. Far better than the shithole that is Chicago and its surrounding toilets. My life improved 1000% coming to Colorado.

·         You also have done some session work with 'Velnias' as a live musician, have you also done any live shows with any of your other musical projects?

I have done a couple of random improv performances as E./Njiijn, but that is really about it. I do not like playing live, I do not like the live experience, do not like going to concerts and do not consider myself an entertainer (which is what live musicians are). Just not my thing.

·         Can you tell us a little bit more about 'EEE Recordings' which not only releases your music but also the music of other bands?

EEE is simply a base for me to have an output for my personal work. It has existed in some form since 2000. I am not interested trying to negotiate my “selling value” to some idiot with deep pockets who cares not about my work - except for its monetary value, so I keep/manage it all myself. I like being in control of my material - for good or bad. Every now and again I release material from artists I enjoy or think are unique as well.

·         You have also released around a hundred or more albums all the years, does music take up all your time and energy?

Yes. Right now, I technically work 3 jobs and they are all involved with music on some level. It is the biggest part of my life, without a doubt. My day-job is working at a bigger record label, so I do my label/music and eBay store on the side. All my personal (non-work) time is either spent working on music, lifting weights or reading/studying. I am in my mid-30s, have no significant other, no kids, no social life/circle and live a thousand miles from the people I am closest to - I exist in relative isolation. I channel my energies and concentrate on doing the things I like or enjoy - which consequently are entirely selfish endeavors. I am fortunate for the fact that I have been able to exist/be productive in the music scene for 20 years, make a living doing it and not have to answer to someone or compromise my visions in the process. It is a unique set of circumstances, to put it lightly.

·         On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your musical projects by fans of black metal and other forms of underground music?

As far as I know, no one knows who I am or what I do outside of a small minority of people. There is no opinion or feedback that I hear of. Either something sells or it doesn’t. I do not have access to other metrics than that. I also wish for that to remain. I have no desire to be in an "artistic" popularity contest with a bunch of posers, a glorious “hero” of a totally compromised/paid off media system or be associated with the idiots that make up this supposed underground. Keep my name away from these people, their thoughts and their nonsense. No fucking support.

·         Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?

I will continue to create music as long as I enjoy doing it. Once the enjoyment stops, I will no longer do it. As of right now, I am not going anywhere, nor am I slowing down. That is about as far as I look into it.

·         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?

Too many to list and too long to explain. Haha. Currently listening to a lot of Supuration, Ancient Records projects, Van Halen, Amorphis, early In Flames, Mortal Decay, Vildhjarta, Judas Priest, Bardo Pond, Deicide, Monstrosity, Opie and changes weekly.

·         What are some of your nonmusical interests?

Weight lifting, religion, writing, philosophy, politics, MMA, pro wrestling (lucha libre), comedy, weed.

·         Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

I will close with 2 quotes from Patrice O'Neal:

"This business is the beast and it eats everybody and shits them out. But here's what's funny about the beast: it's a never-ending line of people who want to get in the mouth and get chewed up and shit out. It's because, when you get in the belly, you get $2 million a week. And when you get shit out, you're a pile back there. And you have the option to wait to get back in line, and wait to go get back in the beast, and get eaten and shit out! And we line up! And I didn't even get to the beast yet. 20 years! See, when the beast pick you up, to put you in its mouth, you shinin'. People see you...So, anybody that gets that deep and turns on the beast, man, you've got to root for him, no matter what, because they're martyrs, because no one's going to stand up for them."

"That emptiness of "I made it!" What's it? You know what I'm saying? So I just do it because when a guy says to me "Dude... Man, you changed my life," that feels good. If a dude says "You changed my life" or a woman says "You changed my life," for some goofy shit you did... you know, that means something. That's "it". I want to change lives but not be profound about it."

Hails for the interview and support.

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