Bykürius was born in the wilds of Southampton, many frozen moons ago. We started with an unholy re-recording of the song 'Hellfire' from 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame'. That song has such a rich undercurrent of malevolence, arranging our version felt like chipping away at an incomplete sculpture to reveal the true evil form beneath. That's been a consistent drive of our musical efforts: highlighting and magnifying the veins of real darkness running just under the surface in the works of those who came before us.
2. You have a new EP coming out in September, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
'A Heretic Art' is our first offering of purely original material. The process of writing original compositions is deceptively similar to arranging a distinct cover. Ultimately you're shaping sound until it matches your internal vision. It doesn’t make much difference whether the starting point is an idea that comes to you, or a song that people have known and loved for years. The only significant departure in the creative process is lyrical; this was the first opportunity for us to explore and express our relationship with Satan in musical form.
3. You have also done plenty of cover tunes over the years, can you tell us a little bit more about the songs you have covered?
The focus on covers really started as experimentation: noticing and refining the dark traits of other music. Before long we had amassed enough to release our first album 'Sons ov Southern Hampton'. The response to particular songs informed the direction of the next - 'Our World Blackened' was entirely comprised of blackened re imaginings of heavy metal classics.
We very recently released a final EP of covers, 'The Veins ov History', which felt a bit like fulfilling our bucket list of songs to reshape before we set our sights on original material. That EP was actually recorded in the same sessions as 'A Heretic Art', the two are very much companions to one another.
4. The lyrics on the new EP deal with Luciferian, Satanism and Occult themes, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in the black arts?
As mentioned, we found lyrics were the main difference when creating original pieces. As with all important relationships, our bond with Satan is fiercely personal. It's a challenge to give form to it lyrically in a meaningful way. So the songs make heavy use of metaphor and narrative, but at their heart is a firm devotion to Satan and a will to enact his vengeance.
5. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Bykürius'?
The name Bykürius came to us both in a shared dream. We've since come to believe that what we experienced was Lucifer's touch on our consciousness. He spoke to us in a silent tongue, expanded our minds and broadened our experiences. His teachings that night revealed a lot about ourselves, and we’ve remained his students and continue our explorations to this day.
6. Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new EP cover?
With both EPs being released alongside each other, we wanted to represent the differences and similarities between them, with colour and symmetry. This meant we had to find an artist with a wide body of great work to pick from. You might notice a slight Emperor and Dimmu Borgir influence in our music. Following in their footsteps led us to Gustave Doré, and made his works a perfect choice.
7. 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?
We feel strongly that Bykürius should remain the two of us. Certainly we've no intention of recreating our music on stage. Our music is a carefully crafted window into a specific vision of darkness - to take it and perform it live would cheapen the discovery to be had by the listener.
8. Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
We've had some small offers over the years, nothing that has piqued much interest on our part. For now, we're content to remain a strong, independent black metal project, who don't need no label.
9. On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal?
The reaction has been very positive from black metal fans, especially those with similar tastes to us in other musical realms. The Iron Maiden and Judas Priest covers are popular, as you might expect, but you'd be surprised how many of our fans are also into Madonna, Andrew Lloyd Webber... Disney! Perhaps they've tasted that same concealed vein of malevolence. Many fans of mainstream metal meet our work with confusion, but it's then acted as a gateway for some of them into a genre they'd never usually approach.
10. When can we expect another full length and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
It's hard to see what the future holds for Bykürius. We’ve got a lot of other musical projects between the two of us, those keep us busy. Having said that, some ideas are slowly starting to take shape. We're going to let the dust settle on these two EPs, and then see where the dark winds take us.
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?
Skirting around the usual suspects (Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Watain, Satyricon) there are dozens of great black metal albums we could point to. One of our favourite records is 'Harvest' by Naglfar, they did a great job of maintaining ferocity without sacrificing melody. A bit of that can be heard in places on ‘A Heretic Art’.
Your readers must agree to keep this secret, but our listening tendencies stretch further than the black metal brethren we draw influence from - Run the Jewels, Immortal Technique, Blood Orange, RJD2, Purity Ring, M83, Storm Corrosion, Future Islands, even CHVRCHES (and not just because of their spelling). We've recently been on a musical journey through 70s rock. By way of Sweet, T.Rex, ELO, and some great poets from across the Atlantic such as Springsteen and Gordon Lightfoot, we've stumbled upon the shores of soul and R&B. If you dig deep, there's a rich darkness to be found in that music. Listen to James Carr's 'The Dark End of the Street' - it's soaked in desperation, resignation and emotional release. It's powerful stuff.
12. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Worship to Satan. Seek his voice with indiscriminate hunger, and you’ll be surprised where it can be found.