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Friday, December 11, 2020

Old Growth Interview


1. For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?

With Old Growth i wanted to create music honoring Nature, wilderness and all non-human lifeforms we share the earth with. For me black metal is the most spiritual music genre out there and I think it has some sort of raw energy and a primal wildness to it, so it was clear to me, that a band, which tries to connect with ancient landscapes, feral creatures and natural surroundings should be a black metal band. Nevertheless it was important for me to include acoustic guitars and melancholic melodies to create a special atmosphere that sounds more organic, than the distorted guitars and blast beats. The outcome was the album „Mossweaver“.

2. Recently you have released a new album, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical style that you went for on the recording?

It is an atmospheric black metal record with harsh blast beats parts, frantic guitar riffs as well as quite some atmospheric clean parts. At times it has a folk or neo folk sort of vibe, while all in all it is a black metal record. The most important thing for me was to take the listener on a journey away from modern civilization and towards ancient landscapes and primal wilderness.

3. You refer to your music as being 'woodland black metal', can you tell us a little bit more about this term?

I live in a place which is surrounded by woodland area and so i spend a lot of time walking through forests, tracking animals and learning more about the creatures living there. It is a process of rewilding myself, which means, that I try to reconnect with the land and the natural phenomenon's that can be found there. I am working towards a perspective that sees the natural world as my home. I don't want to be a visitor, when i go to the woods. Learning more about edible wild plants, bushcraft, animal behaviour and the way of life of our ancestors thousands of years ago can be a key to a whole new world.

Black metal is unbeaten in creating grim, mystical and melancholic, yet powerful atmospheres. That fits perfectly to what i experience in Nature and to what i wanted to communicate with these songs, so it was only logical for me to call this music woodland black metal.

4. A lot of your lyrics cover Shamanism themes, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topic?

Edward Abbey once wrote: „The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need — if only we had the eyes to see.“ I think, that this is absolutely true. Humans lived for almost 200.000 years as hunters and gatherers on this planet. It was a life in harmony with the natural world, a life as animals among animals. The two destroyers of this world - agriculture and civilization - exist since around 10.000 years. Since their beginning they domesticed men, dominated Nature and led to the artificial world we see today.

I think it is of utter importance to rewild ourselves, to reconnect with the land we live on and to learn how to sustain ourselves with what nature has to offer. Modern man is a slave of its culture, a slave of progress and all in all a slave of wage labour and the supermarket. If we want to break free from these chains and want to live our lives self-determined and proud, we have to be able to provide for ourselves without artificial support systems or states, that domesticate and subdue us. 

Shamanism and ancient rituals can help to focus on a world that is not dominated by humans. There is still wildness out there – and also within ourselves. Shamanism in general and the philosophies of Animism in particular can help to understand who we really are and what our place on this earth should really be. 

5. What are some of the other lyrical topics and subjects you have explored so far with the music?

This band is all about Nature, primitivism and the sort of change in perspective that needs to happen, if we want to perceive ourselves more as animals and less as humans, more as a part of the natural world and less as a domesticated creature existing in a completely artificial world.

This lyric fragment of the song 'Oakenheart' can illustrate what I mean with this: „I cloak my body in leaves of fern and make my mouth the nest of the night snake. I replace my lonesome heart with acorns. The seedling will sprout within my chest. I place two cones of pitch pines in my orbits. I will envisage a new world. I witness my last breath vanish into the cold air of the first autumn night. A flock of birds ascends into the clouded firmament. A white stag heads for the forgotten glade. The black wolves prepare for the sacred hunt. A druid is born: Mossweaver. Oakenheart.“

6. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Old Growth'?

Old growth forests are the essence of ancient primal wilderness. These forests existed for thousands of years and are still home for trees, that are centuries old. Such a primeval place helps to overcome the myth of human supremacy. Experiencing these landscapes makes one realize, that we are just tiny, worthless creatures and i think it should be natural, that we respect these landscapes and show reverence. 
The band name also revers to the fact, that our species is an old one. We already lived for thousands of years on this planet, but only in the last few thousand years we developed a world order which is nothing but a monument to greed and hubris. We can find wisdom and integrity again, if we look at how our ancestors lived thousands of years ago.

7. Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?

Did you ever create a fire with your own hands - using only 'tools' you can find in Nature? If you'll ever try it, you will hopefully find yourself (after many hours of training) in the situation shown on the cover. To start a fire is an ancient skill to protect yourself against the cold, against the seasons and against predators. We once knew how to live within Nature – we seem to have forgotten a lot. Yet, there is still time to rediscover what has been lost.

8. With this project you record everything by yourself, are you open to working with other musicians or do you prefer to work solo?

I prefer to work alone.

9. On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal?

The response is really good. People from literally everywhere told me (and keep telling me), that the record is great and that they find something very special within these songs.

10. Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician during the future?

I started to write songs for a second album quite some time ago and i already recorded most of it. I will continue working on new songs, so you can expect more material from Old Growth in the future.

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?

I listen to black metal for many years now and it still amazes me how powerful and inspiring this music is. I draw inspiration from several other genres as well, but recently I am listening mostly to Scandinavian old school black metal and US black metal. Ulver, Agalloch and Wolves in the throne room are definitely among my all-time favourites.

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

We should show some reverence.

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