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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Valravne Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?
Valravne is a solo black metal project I started in late 2019, after playing with several ideas since earlier in the year. I describe the music as aggressive, depressive, misanthropic black metal. It is aggressive in style and depressive/misanthropic in content.

2.So far you have released a full length and an ep, musically how do they both differ from each other?
The biggest difference between the two is the production. I went for a much cleaner and clearer mix on the first release and on the EP, I strove for a more raw sound. It still is relatively clean sounding as compared to old Darkthrone records, but I think more hard-hitting, to be sure. I strive to make sure the songs do not sound the same, so every song is unique in its own way, I hope.

3.Can you tell us a little bit more about the lyrical topics and subjects you have explored so far with the music?
Sure. Lyrically the subject matter is really just me playing with my worst impulses. Feelings of depression, suicide, hatred of myself, hatred of religion, hatred of humanity, hatred of existence. Just an overall contempt for this plane of being we have been thrust into. I don't feel each of those ways all the time, but Valravne is a place where I can feel them intensely.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name Valravne'?
I was born in Maryland and spent much of my childhood in Baltimore, where Edgar Allen Poe looms large. Given his poem "The Raven" and the NFL team, I wanted something related to ravens. I began researching ravens and myths and folklore that surrounded them and came across the Danish folklore of the Valravn, which in short is a Raven that eats the souls of the dead and turns into either half-man half-raven or half-wolf. The "e" at the end is arbitrary.

5.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the ep cover?
The EP cover is simply a picture of American serial killer Ted Bundy. I had always been fascinated with him and the hope was that with the cover being a picture of a person rather than a scenic nature picture or a hand-drawn piece, it would help the EP stand out.

6.So far this year you have put out 2 releases, do you spend a great amount of your time writing and creating music?
I have a compulsion to do it. I would be doing this even if no one were listening. I spend far more time working on music than those around me would prefer, but I never think it is enough. In fact, there is a second installment of the "Some Kind of Vampire" EP coming out in June. I intended on releasing another record by the end of the year but with the pandemic, I thought it might be interesting to release it in serialized installments, episodes.

7.With this project you record everything by yourself, are you open to working with other musicians or do you prefer to work solo?
I have been working with other musicians my entire music life playing in punk rock bands (in my anecdotal experience, about 80% of American black metal artists started out as punk rockers of some sort), this is my first real solo project. I think Valravne is too specific to me for me to work with anyone else on it, but I am happy to at some point perform Valravne live with other musicians if the correct opportunity presented itself.

8.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal?
There is an inherent bias against USBM, oftentimes for good reason, but overall the response has been very positive, especially internationally. I have more followers outside of the states than I have local to my own area. That is an exciting thing. I haven't quite had the pleasure of internet troll hate just yet.

9.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
Profound Lore isn't beating my door down or anything, but I have had some discussions with some labels about small distro runs. I hope to get physical copies out into the world by the end of the year, if not sooner. But you know, any label reading this, my DM's are open.

10.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician during the future?
I have absolutely no idea, and I find that enthralling. There will continue to be much more Valravne and that is all I can say with certainty.

11.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?
For this project, USBM bands like Leviathan, Weakling, I Shalt Become, other bands like Shining, Burzum, and Gorgoroth. Leviathan, in particular, is heavy on me, Wrest's use of dynamics is something I really try to bring into my work. A repetitive droning effect if done intentionally can be impactful, but I never want to record an album where it all sounds like one long boring song. As far as what I've been listening to lately, a good bit of punk rock, I've been trying to get more into death metal so some of the classics there like Entombed and Morbid Angel. In black metal, I have been really into The Projectionist's new album and my buddy Vide's "Collection."

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanks for the opportunity to chat, and to people out there reading, I hope you enjoy the music. Reach out to me on the socials and let me know what you think, I am on my phone 90% of my waking existence anyway.

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