The recording and release of the EP is the most recent thing that we’ve worked on. Since the release we’ve just been promoting it on social media and trying to get it sent out to reviewers. Outside of that we’ve been rehearsing for some upcoming shows.
In terms of the recording of this release, though, it was very much done in the typical way that we do things where one of us will have an idea and pretty much write the entire song from start to finish, often without the other party even knowing, and then present their ‘finished draft’, as it were, to the other to add their flair and ideas to it. This process alone can change big parts of a song, just by us then being in the room together and being able to bounce ideas as to what could better off of each other, for example the section of the song where there’s a few seconds of just bass before it kicks back in wasn’t in the original draft. That section and the melodies in the bars before and after it were spawned entirely from us sitting down together with the first draft infront of us and just seeing what we could come up with.
2.Recently you have released a new ep, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
It’s a much darker sounding EP than what we’ve previously released. Obviously it’s a single seventeen minute track, so by that point alone it’s a little bit more complex than anything we’ve released previously. The production is different too, since we went for a more raw sound inspired by more classic Black Metal albums, though admittedly not quite that raw.
It’s more melody driven, too. There less of the atmospheric side to it than our previous releases, those being Jera and Memories of You, which was on the ‘The Wanderer’ Single, both of which had much more obvious atmospheric sections. That’s not to say this is without atmosphere, but rather the atmosphere is more like a hillside at night with fog near choking you as opposed to a brightly lit, light filled forest.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores on the new release and also how would you describe your progress as songwriters over the years?
There’s some hints towards religion on the EP, a topic which we haven’t covered before and likely won’t touch much again in at-least the near future. Though, for the most part the lyrics are a collection of just what was going through my (Ellis) head at the time. I suppose I was angry and upset about some recent events which manifested itself through lyrics such as “As the rays of your holy love are hidden by gathering clouds” and “I feel the plague as it eats my flesh and rots me from the inside.” Though, the lines referring to “The Cult of Nature” have a sort of double meaning in that, without revealing anything, they are referencing future plans, but are also a bit of a commentary about how we’ve recently had a multiple amounts of natural disasters which seem to awake more and more people to the many crises affecting our world at the moment, hence “For once life has died, the cult of nature will arise.”.
As songwriters I’d say we’ve just gotten better at writing, I’ve become a better lyricist and we’ve found ourselves finding it easier to write shorter and longer songs, whereas before a typical song length was around the six or so minute mark, with not much in the way of deviation from that. Obviously this EP was an example of that progression.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Saarkoth'?
I feel like this is quite typical for Black Metal, but it’s origins are actually a little bit geeky. It’s a slight rework of the name of an NPC from a game.
5.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new ep cover?
The artwork is the ‘Jera’ rune, which is the rune which symbolizes ‘Year’ and ‘Harvest’ in the Elder Futhark set of runes. It’s a rune we adopted as our symbol on our debut album titled ‘Jera’. We wished to have a personalized version of that, one which had a bit of detail which will hopefully be recognisable as ours, to people who knows us, and not one that you could just be off of Google.
So, in that respect, consider that artwork as our ‘Second logo’, our emblem as it were. It’ll likely crop up again.
6.Currently there are only 2 members in the band, are you open to expanding the line up or do you prefer to remain a duo?
We’ve been trying to fill the ranks since 2018. We spent a year and a half as a trio with our bassist, Asa, but he left us at the end of 2019 to pursue other musical interests with his other band. But yes, we do want a full band. It’s been a thorn in our side ever since the drummer pulled.
7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Without a doubt, our best shows have been Oakfest 2019 and The Blackwood Gathering 2019. Those were two times where we walked off the stage just knowing we’d killed it. For the last two shows we’ve played, we have begun to add a small bit of flair to the show in the sense of a solidified dress sense. But I like to think that our show is engaging to watch, I know that I try to put on a bit of an aggressive presence.
8.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Touring would be nice, but it’s a stage we aren’t at yet unless we were touring in support of a fellow band. This year we’re cutting down a little bit on the shows and we’re trying to be a bit pickier about the shows we play. We want to fit on bills, whereas there’s been a few shows in the past where we a bit left field and the crowd weren’t there to see that kind of music.
9.Currently the band is unsigned but has worked with a label in the past, are you open to working with another label again in the future?
Yeah, we’re more than happy to work with labels. We just decided we wanted complete control over this release so that we could just drop it. We didn’t want any beforehand promotion and we figured the best way to do that would be to self release, as it’s more than understandable that labels will want to promote beforehand in order to secure sales, they’re businesses afterall.
10.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal?
I’ve not heard anything bad so far! As of writing this we’ve had two reviews back, averaging out at 8.5/10 so we’re more than happy with that. On a one to one level, we’ve been told by multiple people that they’ve really enjoyed the release and the changed sound.
11.When can we expect another full length and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Hopefully this year. We’ll decide that when it comes to it. We’ve tried a planned release before, but it just didn’t work out, so it makes more sense to just see what comes out when you sit down to write rather than try and plan how you want to sound however many years down the line.
12.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/
I wouldn’t say our influences changed, when I was writing this I was mostly listening to the same stuff I always do, a lot of UK bands and a lot of old school bands. I think the only influence I tried to incorporate into this release was a bit of the more recent sound of Behemoth, specifically The Satanist era.
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Just a thank you to yourself for offering us this platform to talk on and for the kind words in your review, as well as a thank you to everyone who has supported this release by either buying it or sharing it with friends. It all helps and we appreciate it all.