Interview with Sruthán (guitar, bass)
1. For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Artach came about from the desire of two people to play a style of metal that we both enjoyed but were not actively playing in the other bands or projects we were involved with. We had talked about recording something back in 2018, but it wasn’t until May 2019 that things came together and we recorded our first song “Eternal Black Winter”. The experiment went well and we decided to keep at it...and here we are 8 songs later with another one to be finished in the next week or 2.
I have played in traditional/power, and thrash metal bands for most of my life. In recent years, I have been listening to a lot of black metal. So much so that I found I was coming up with musical ideas and riffs that just didn’t fit with anything else I was doing. I wanted to have an outlet to incorporate these ideas, and that’s where this idea was born.
2.You have released a good amount of singles over the past few months, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical style you went for on the songs?
The musical style is black metal. It’s not a polished form with huge production and orchestrations etc. It is meant to be somewhat primal and raw. I think influences from other metal styles (traditional and thrash metal), adds some of the “epic” kind of feel as does having mostly melodic guitar solos. We are not identifiable as having a sound just like any single band, thankfully. We do sound a little more like earlier black metal with hints of Celtic Frost, Venom, and Bathory. I also love newer albums from black metal bands like Immortal, Abbath, Satyricon, and Darkthrone so that also creeps its way into the style we have.
3. So far you have released singles instead of an album and full length, can you tell us a little bit more about going into this direction?
There’s a few reasons for this. Writing, recording, mixing and producing a full album is a long and often costly endeavor. The immediacy of continually releasing new music appeals to me in a time when a lot of attention spans are short. So keeping the level of visibility and excitement is higher with always releasing material as soon as it’s ready. Even though I buy albums every month, I sometimes wonder if the age of the album is waning. That doesn't mean that this stuff won’t wind up on a full length album - but for now we are forging ahead and being 100% self indulgent and enjoying the continual creation process.
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you have explored so far with your music?
For the lyrics I have contributed, I use words to paint a picture of nature/wildlife, the environment, or maybe outer space. There is some mysticism in there but we don’t sing about satan or god as it’s been done, and done well for decades by others. I have an affinity for crows and ravens, so they are always finding their way into lyrics (and artwork) as is the cold/ice/snow winter theme. We live in a place that has about 8-9 months of the year being winter or winter-esque, so the impact was bound to occur. There are also some non-overt environmental themes that arise in songs like “Permafrost” and “When the Forest Ends”.
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Artach'?
It’s an old Gaelic word which translates to English as Arctic. As the main inspirations are winter, ice, cold, nature, and we live in the sub-arctic, the band name is very fitting.
6.Currently there are only 2 members in the band, are you open to expanding your line up or do you prefer to remain a duo?
I would consider it, but it’s not anything we are pursuing or discussing. It’s very easy with two people to present a clear vision and to quickly bring our ideas to life. This doesn’t make it better than a full band of course, but it has an appeal and positives that make having this remain a two-man band the best for what our goals are.
7.You have also done a Celtic Frost cover, what was the decision behind doing your own version of one of their songs?
When I first heard Fíochmhar’s vocals, I was thinking it had hints of the great Tom G Warrior. That planted the seeds of doing a cover of one of their older songs. We chose a somewhat deeper cut as not as many have covered “Jewel Throne” as some of the more recognizable Celtic Frost songs. We may eventually cover another CF song, or some other classic, but doing covers is not what we are about.
8. I have also noticed that you have different artwork for each video, can you tell us a little bit more about it?
For every song, we have a single cover (you can see the 8 we have done to date here). Each has a style that visually reflects an aesthetic that pairs with the song. The main reason to do this was to present the song with a visual as our music is released on YouTube and Facebook.
9.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal?
To be honest, we have been busy with the creative side, so promotion has taken a back seat. Thankfully, the reactions we’ve received have been favorable so far. It would be of course cool to have a few more ears check out what we do, but speaking for myself, I am doing this for the musical outlet and I want to keep doing it regardless of anyone’s reaction.
10. Where do you see the band heading into musically?
The style will remain black metal. As with our other songs, there are, and will be, hints of other styles, but overall the raw black metal style is what we are playing and want to play.
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?
As for what is an influence and what I listen too, there are some things I listen to that do not influence Artach, but they may influence me as a musician overall. As a younger guitarist I was weaned on a lot of thrash metal, so that kind of influence is going to be evident in anything I do. The bands that I listen to and which I think are key influences for what I do in Artach would be: Immortal, Satyricon, Celtic Frost, Darkthrone, Slayer, Abbath, Vreid, Mgla, Taake, Dimmu Borgir, Venom, Borknagar, and more.
12.The band is also from Newfoundland a part of Canada that I have not heard many metal bands from, are there any bands or musical projects in your area that you would recommend?
There are a number of cool bands from here. Black Metal isn’t a very big part of the scene, but there are some bands that have released material such as Winterhearth and Mistwalker. There are hard rock bands like The Sea Dogs, traditional/power metal from Category VI, NWOBHM styled metal from Emblem, grinding metal from Goreforge, and much more. There is a local blog called Heavy NFLD (https://heavynfld.wordpress.com/) that covers the scene from punk/hardcore to all styles of harder rock and metal. I would recommend people interested in checking out a bunch of talented unheard of bands to check it out. :)
13. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Create. Don’t copy. Play the music that you want and enjoy it for yourself first and foremost because life is short. If anyone likes what we are doing, then that is a bonus. Hails to you, or any of your readers, for taking the time to check out our underground “DIY” black metal band.
Sruthán (guitar, bass)
Fíochmhar (battery, vokills)