SOUL DISSOLUTION

1.Hell-o Jabawock! How would you introduce your band for people that have never heard of you before?

Soul Dissolution is an Atmospheric Post-Black Metal band from Belgium. It was conceived as a studio project in 2012, with Acharan as a vocalist, and myself writing the music and lyrics. 2018 has been a busy year for us, as it saw the release of our second album (Stardust, on March 25th) as well as an EP (nowhere, October 18th). We also gathered a live lineup and played our first ever gig in May.
Our music might appeal to fans of such bands as Agalloch, Drudkh, Alcest, Forgotten Tomb, Imperium Dekadenz, Winterfylleth,…

 

2.Have you always been into heavy music, since childhood, or did this come about later in your teens? Was it hard to find like-minded people where you grew up?

Like many other kids, I got into heavier music through the rise of Nu Metal, when I was 13. Then, 2 years later, I started digging into more extreme stuff, starting with Thrash, Death,… and eventually Black Metal. In these first years, I was clearly influenced by some of my peers at school and whatnot, but later on I continued exploring this music on my own. I could probably have found some like-minded people around me, but being pretty much a loner back then, it just didn’t happen. I remember attending many gigs, yet mostly never speaking to anyone while I was there… So it was not a lack of opportunities, but more of a character thing.

 

3.Do you think the atmospheres of your surroundings have something to do with becoming fascinated with musical styles such as black metal? Have you been mostly intrigued by black metal, or have you at the same time been into other extreme musical styles as well?

It wasn’t really about the surroundings, no… I guess I always enjoyed melodic music, and eventually, the almost transcending melodies combined with a dark atmosphere was what got me into Black Metal. At the time, I was exploring broadly in the Metal sub-genres, and Black Metal was definitely not the easiest one to get into. But once I “got it”, it was obviously the perfect style for me.

 

4.How much time does Soul Dissolution take from your lives. Do you play live a lot, or spend time at the rehearsal place with regular schedules, or do the albums come to be when it seems like a good time to play some fucken Black Metal, without too much effort?

We aren’t really functioning as a full-fledged band, with regular rehearsals or anything like that. We only ever played live once so far, and at that time we indeed rehearsed more or less regularly with the live lineup. But usually it’s just me working on the music on my own, and when I have something ready, I share it with Acharan and we continue from there. These days, I’m also spending more time on promotion and administrative tasks related to the band. So yeah, all in all, it does take quite a bit of time, at least for me.

 

5.How is the Belgium Black Metal scene to you, are you much involved in it, or do you prefer to stay outside of the gossiping of the underground?Do you feel much connection to it?

Our Black Metal scene is certainly not as strong as our European neighbours, but there are quite some good bands to be found : for instance Wiegedood and Possession have been getting much hype in recent years, but lesser known bands like Drawn into Descent or Antzaat are emerging as well. There is no such thing as “Belgian Black Metal” as a sonic entity though, only a bunch of talented musicians/bands with each their own sound and individuality.
I don’t think Soul Dissolution is tightly connected to the Belgian underground, at least I don’t perceive it that way. Certainly the fact that we haven’t really played live much, and that we never worked with a Belgian label, doesn’t help our cause. For me the goal has always been to create music and make it available to the global community, so I haven’t put much focus in promoting the band locally.

 

6.What are your favourite bands when it comes to early First Wave of Black Metal and 90’s Scandinavian Black Metal, and what are the newer bands you like at the moment? What other music styles are you mostly into besides Black Metal?

Among the pioneering Black Metal albums, my favorites would be Transilvanian Hunger, DMDS, and in a slightly different vain, Hammerheart. Speaking more broadly, my all time favorite bands are Blut Aus Nord and Darkspace. And among very recent works, the latest albums from Eneferens and Stryvigor are really impressive!
I can’t say I listen to many different styles outside of Black Metal, except for some Doom, and maybe the odd Melodic Hardcore band once in a while.

7.Soul Dissolution was formed in 2012, but because your first full-length „Pale Distant Light”of 2016 sounded so extremely honest when it comes to playing Black Metal, I must assume you had a past in playing this kind of music before Soul Dissolution?

This goes back to the point when I joined L’Hiver en Deuil in February 2011. This was my first band experience, and although I had been writing some music earlier, it was very inconsistent and not so much related to Black Metal. Being a part of this band really inspired me to create this kind of music myself, and soon after I was writing my own Black Metal songs. The first such song has actually been recorded as part of the “Ter Aarde” EP by l’Hiver en Deuil, and is called “As”.
As months passed by, I was writing more and more songs, and it quickly became clear to me that I had to start my own project to fully channel this new-found creativity, especially since my compositions had a slightly different tone from the L’Hiver en Deuil songs. This explains why you have this impression when listening to Pale Distant Light : the album was released in 2016, but these songs were actually composed at least 4 years before that, and have been thoroughly polished during that time…

 

8.What can you tell me about your other projects besides Soul Dissolution – Ah Ciliz and L’Hiver en Deuil where the second half of the Soul Dissolution,Acharan also plays. What are the other important musical styles in your life at the moment?

L’Hiver en Deuil is the first band I ever joined, and we play a melancholic blend of Black Metal, not too dissimilar to Soul Dissolution in some aspects. The band hasn’t been very active recently. We have only one release with this band, an EP called “Ter Aarde”, released in 2013.
As for Ah Ciliz, it’s the atmospheric black metal project of Elmer, who lives in Seattle. He writes all the music and lyrics, and I’m just helping out with the vocals. He released a few albums by himself, and since my involvement we have released a split album with Chiral (Origins, 6th of November 2017 through Hypnotic Dirge). Hopefully we will have more releases in the future!
Next to that, I’m also the bass player of Marche Funèbre, an eclectic Death/Doom band with diverse influences. The band is quite active, and we get to play live often. We even did a US tour earlier this year, which was a pretty cool experience!

 

9.So tell me about your relationship with Acharan [vocals]? This isn’t the first band that you’ve had with him and obviously Soul Dissolution isn’t the first experience you’ve shared with him. How has your relationship with him affected your music or even vice versa?

I met Acharan when I joined L’Hiver en Deuil, of which he is a founding member. Our common interest for underground black metal brought us together, and personality-wise, it “clicked” as well. So, when I was looking for a vocalist to start Soul Dissolution the following year, it seemed like an obvious choice to ask him. I love his vocals, and I knew I could count on his support for this project. I’m really glad to have him on board!

 


10.How important do you think Soul Dissolution ideology, if you can say that in capital letters, is to the appreciation of your music? Would you be content if your fans just heard Soul Dissolution album’s as music bereft of the ideology that, as I understand it, births a lot of your music?

 

There isn’t really any “ideology” in our music. The lyrics are very personal, and obviously they a have a deep meaning for me, but I don’t really care if anyone reads or understands them. Likewise, as a listener, I very rarely read the lyrics of even my favorite albums, so this is really of no concern to me. The music should be enjoyable on its own, regardless of lyrical content.

 

11.Soul Dissolution music feels really visceral to me,is it important to you that your music is cathartic in a physical sense as well? It is often said that great music is made out of times of strife, great art out of struggle or protest. If black metal is essentially protest music, what happens when the hope is fulfilled and when the world is born anew? Is there a place for this music anymore?

This is a great question! I think, originally, it was indeed very cathartic for me to write and record these songs. Back then I was in a much darker, or let’s say colorless place, pulling these feelings out to create something meaningful was a big help. But as years went by, colors returned, and my musical work shifted to something less dark and more “beautiful” in a way. Maybe it’s not so apparent, but for me, Stardust is a much more positive album than the debut, and I think this trend will continue on future albums as well. I still have the drive to write and perform this type of music, but as my life goes on, the tone of my music will evolve accordingly.

 

12.How has the response been to Soul Dissolution so far and your album’s? Do you know if your fan-base comes strictly from the Black Metal world, or is the basic Soul Dissolution-buyer an open-minded music fan into all kinds of stuff?

The response to our music has been really great, especially since the release of Stardust, and we’re extremely grateful for that!
It’s difficult to really know your own audience. Obviously a big part of our fanbase is into Atmospheric Black Metal, but it seems a bit broader than that, with some fans of MeloDeath also enjoying our latest works. This is probably thanks to the efforts of Black Lion Records, which is not specifically an (Atmospheric) Black Metal label. At least, those are my impressions.

 

13.Do you feel the aesthetics in Soul Dissolution play a big part in your music? When I buy a Soul Dissolution album it’s a unified experience beyond the music. You get the cover art and you get, a feeling of a world separate from our own. Is that something you consciously try and create?

Yes definitely, and I’m glad to hear you feel this way about our physical releases!
From the first album, I made a point in creating all the visuals for the band. In fact I picked up photography as a hobby around the same time the project was starting, and there seemed to be an obvious synergy between these two activities. Obviously, the mental images I have when writing music and the way I see nature through the camera viewfinder are closely related, and I do believe that this combination brings an added value to the experience that is Soul Dissolution.

 

14.From the very beginning of the Soul Dissolution, starting from the demo „Cold Rays and Grey Waves”, through the debut „Pale Distant Light” and this year’s two releases, the second full-length „Stardust” and latest, EP „Nowhere” the songs are multi-textured and very well composed where sound is absolutely incredible – what made you decide to concentrate on creating such an atmosphere?

It’s strange, because I never considered our sound to be so “multi-layered” as you say. I mean, when it comes to multitudes of layers, there are way more impressive bands out there!
For me, it all starts from a rhythm guitar line, which becomes the foundation of any song I write. Then I add leads, and sometimes orchestrations or other things, until I’m satisfied with the result. And I do like straightforward and catchy music in general, so it’s not like I try to always push for more depth or complexity. In the end, I only seek to create music that sounds beautiful to my ears.

15.Jabawock as the main composer,songwriter,lyricswriter and creator of Soul Dissolution musical landscapes tell me how did the writing process work for this album’s?Can you describe in a few words each of your releases please…

Well, starting with Pale Distant Light, that album is something I had envisioned from the very beginning. Back in 2012, I had already a whole bunch of songs to work on, and the earlier ones all kinda fitted into this journey, depicted on this first album. There was a lot of trial and error for me during the writing and recording phases of that album, as I was still lacking experience at the time.
For the second album, things went quite differently. Instead of reusing some of the older ideas I had lying around, I started from one of the most recent songs I had written at that time, and composed a few more songs that would fit with it. Only “The Last Farewell” was reused from an older song I had originally written for L’Hiver en Deuil in 2014. That writing process was right after Pale Distant Light had been mastered, and I was really eager to surpass that album and write something much better and impactful as soon as possible. It went very fast, and already in spring 2016 the Stardust album was fully written.
Finally, the work on the “nowhere” EP started from the song Road to Nowhere, which was an outtake from the Stardust album. I decided not to use it on that album as it didn’t fit in the general flow, yet it was such a solid piece of music that I couldn’t just throw it away. So I wrote the song Fading Darkness to go along with it. Probably I could have just written more material to make a full length album out of this, but it didn’t feel right to do so, as it would have been just a collection of songs instead of a properly fleshed-out concept. So the EP format seemed perfect to let both songs “breathe”.

 

16.How do you go about initially creating a Soul Dissolution track – your music is so layered and such a textural experience it’s hard to imagine the starting point?

It’s difficult to know when inspiration will strike, or what will trigger it… but when it happens, I make sure to grab my guitar and write some riffs. Therefore, I always have some sort of “backlog” of ideas, created during such times.
When it’s time to work on new material, I start from these raw ideas, and elaborate them into proper songs, also writing the lyrics. This can take many iterations before I am completely satisfied, as I’m a bit of a perfectionist : I always make sure that every riff, every transition, is the most adequate possible. During those times, I’m in a bit of conflict against myself, as, on one hand, I’m quite attached to the original ideas I have created, and on the other hand, I have to second-guess everything on my quest to perfecting the songs.
Once I have a full version of every song of the album, with programmed drums and vocal lines recorded by me for ease of presentation, I pass them on to Acharan. The songs get reworked some more based on his feedback, and we record a first version with his vocals Then we pass it on to the drummer. At that point, we can start preparing for the proper recording of the album.

17.Production and tonal choices seem crucial to your sound. Did you always have a certain destination in mind when you started recording?

Yes, definitely! I always have some sort of idea about what kind of sound or production I want for the album I’m working on. This depends on my preferences at the time, and obviously on the style of the songs on the album. For Pale Distant Light, what I had in mind was something like “Les Voyages de l’Ame” by Alcest. For Stardust, it was “Dis Manibvs” by Imperium Dekadenz. And for the latest EP, I guess “The Circle” by Heretoir was the main point of reference.
Of course, you can’t just pick an album and have your music magically sound exactly like that! Production-wise, we had varying degrees of success over the years, depending on my abilities to record instruments at my home studio, but also the communication with the mixing engineer, and obviously the compositions themselves. I think we will continue to improve the sound of our albums from here, and it’s a normal part of a band’s evolution.

 

18.Whatever you want to label it there seems to be an onrush of brilliant Underground bands reshaping what is generally considered the Black Metal sound. Do you feel a sense of being at the forefront of a sound or a part of a wider creative community?

I don’t think we are at the forefront of anything, really, but I do feel we are somehow a part of this community. From a musical perspective, and regardless of its original message, Black Metal is a genre that was shown to have the potential to convey a wide array of emotions. So I think it’s not completely surprising that more and more bands use these elements to create something new, yet mostly detached from the traditional notions of Black Metal. I believe this trend will continue steadily, and will be an important part of the evolution of Metal as a whole.

 

19.You have released two full-length albums and one EP on three different labels. How did these deals come to be, did the labels contact you or vice versa?Probably the most important in this topic, who is the official publisher of Soul Dissolution next album, with whom you have a signed circographer – Swedish Black Lion Records?

For the first two albums, we did the usual “label hunting” thing, sending around promos and hoping for the best. That’s how we got in touch with Throats Productions for our first album, and Black Lion Records for the second. At that time, we had an informal agreement with Black Lion that we would continue to work with them for future releases. In fact we were expecting to release the EP with them as well, but it ended up not being feasible for them. As we didn’t want to compromise on the timing (for example by pushing it back to 2019), we got in touch with GS Productions for that one. This label was recommended to me by my friend Daniel (Clouds, Eye of Solitude), and based on his experience I was confident we would get a quality product by working with them.
Speaking of the next album, according to above-mentioned agreement, it should indeed be released by Black Lion Records when the time comes.

 

20. Jabawock you created brand new label Viridian Flame Records with the intention to handle the band’s releases in vinyl format, and also work on a select number of albums from other bands in the Atmospheric Black Metal genre. Tell me something more about this new chapter in your career, where did this idea for the release of other bands come from?

Well, this decision comes from a combination of several factors. First of all, Stardust has been receiving some attention from the Black Metal community, and there was definitely some demand for a vinyl version. In fact the album has originally been mastered for both CD and vinyl, as I was convinced there would be a vinyl release eventually. However it proved difficult to find a partnering label who would release the album on vinyl. So the option of a self-release was a natural fallback route. While discussing this topic with Acharan, the idea emerged that maybe, instead of just releasing this vinyl ourselves, we could start some kind of label to do it. Not only would it increase our options for distribution, but by working with other bands in the genre we could grow a “brand” for this label, creating even more visibility in the process.
The other main factor comes from my private life, as I have recently switched to freelance work in my day job, operating under my own private company. Because of this change, I now had the option to integrate the label as a division of that same company, which made a lot of sense from a financial perspective.
Lastly, I like to see things “big”. Entrepreneurship has always been somewhat appealing to me, and the timing seemed perfect to try my hand at that by starting a label!

21.Do any of you have a family or a job that must be balanced with the band’s activities? What are the challenges you face in that respect and is the goal to one day have Soul Dissolution be your career?

Obviously playing in small underground bands is not going to pay any bills, so yeah, both me and Acharan have day jobs. Making a career out of this band is not even remotely realistic. Of course we will always try to grow it as much as possible, but not with the purpose of “making money” ; only as a means to reach more people with our music.

 

22.Let’s run into the future…Is the upcoming material on new album going to be in the same vein as the last full-lenght „Stardust” or maybe more in the vein as EP „Nowhere”, or are you guys experimenting a little with your sound and you will surprise us with something completely new?What are the plans for the band in 2019?

I’m currently in the first writing stages for the next Soul Dissolution album, and so far it doesn’t really feel like a direct continuation to any of our previous releases. If I had to describe it, well… I guess it will have more “post” elements, a more mellow vibe… and a more conceptual feel to it as well, with songs being more tightly connected together.
But for now, it is not a priority to finish this album quickly. We would like to focus on promoting the material we have released this year, and play more shows. Perhaps do a tour. And then we’ll have the vinyl version of Stardust around February-March…
That’s the kind of stuff we’re working on for 2019.

 

 

23.Thanks for your time! Jabawock, the last words are yours…

It was my pleasure answering this interview, so thank you for this opportunity, and thanks to everyone reading these words!

MORE INFO:

https://souldissolution.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/soul.dissolution/

https://www.facebook.com/ViridianFlame/