1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?
Deimon: Basically, we are busy to supply our fans and listeners with the new album, having various conversations about the sound and the lyrics. Especially this new Grim Dark Fantasy story is very well received. Then we have planned a visual project for the title track “A Blackcrowned Majesty” with a video artist, which will be released soon. We also get exciting feedback from various bloggers and journalists. What surprises us is that there are so many people who grew up with Tristwood as a band who are still interested in us. And it is fantastic to hear and know that they like the fact that we give every album a new direction and love exactly our sometimes strange and weird musical experiments. That gives us the strength to keep going. So Tristwood lives very much from the acceptance and interest of the listeners. Currently, we are working on an Ep with the working title "Vortex of Damnation", but with Tristwood a lot of things change mostly until the end. I also think I can say this: Jegger has already finished writing the lyrics for a complete album. We are also already composing a new album which will be the successor to "A Blackcrowned Majesty", while Neru, the other guitarist, is rebuilding our second studio, Hellsound 3.0, to work on another album from 2021 on. So, now everything is in flux.
2.Recently you have released a new album, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
Deimon: The album clearly differs from other albums in terms of approach. This time we wanted to bring a so-called "first take"-feeling to the record as you know it from many 1980s and 1990s records. So, the focus was on finding the most genuine riff and the truest moment that can be played out of an impulse. That was quite difficult for me as the producer of this album, because Jegger tends to play extremely complex, crazy and fast riffs. It is similar with Neru who mostly only plays riffs that are perfect. So, to convince these two that precision is not everything, but that feeling is also important, this was the biggest challenge.
Another aspect is that this time Jegger and I shared the vocals. We decided that impulsiveness and experimenting with sounds must be the most important thing. For the synths we used a lot of analog sounds from the 70s, 80s and 90s. This all influenced the production which should sound cool, clear and rough like a 1980s Industrial, First Wave Black Metal or Oldschool Death Metal recording. I think we succeeded, but you must be a sound freak to understand what this new album is all about.
3.From 2010 to 2019 there was no music being released, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time span?
Deimon: During this time, we worked mainly on Eps. We recorded our first EP "Armada Khaeotica" in the first half of the 2010s. Then the Ep "Lethe" followed around 2015/16. From 2017 on, we started the recordings for "A Blackcrowned Majesty". What followed next was a rapid succession: First we released the Eps as a compilation album entitled "Nyx" (2019), then came our experimental drone recording "Crypt of Perennial Whispers" in the beginning of 2020 and now our next step is to release “Blackcrowned Majesty” at the end of May (29.05.2020).
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music and also how would you describe your progress as songwriters over the years?
Every album and every recording have a different theme which is the focus of attention. So far, we have worked on philosophical, psychological, ancient oriental/historical, nihilistic, mystical, ironic and literary themes.
If you look at our development as lyricists or storytellers, I must admit that we have developed enormously as a band. Even though we have always been very independent as a band, we now act completely autonomously when it comes to creating ideas and texts. And we are very much guided by what inspires us ourselves.
As songwriters, we have evolved to the extent that we are always looking for something new, if it fits the style of the band. We don't let any genre set the boundaries for us. The band is partly genre itself.
For the new album, as mentioned earlier, we have developed a Grim Dark Fantasy story, which was worked out during talks between 2014 and 2018. At the centre of this album is the final part of a saga about the return of a legendary ruler, born out of pure blackness and disaster, which will only be presented in more detail soon.
You might have to imagine it that way:
150 lunar cycles ago, Ar’ath, that’s the name of the "Blackcrowned Majesty", according to the calendar of the lands of Yrlyion, whose center is the old rock city of Ka'ath, had covered an entire continent with fire and war until Ka'a himself, the all-brightening sky disk, fell from the firmament and broke the previously devastated continent completely. Ar’ath herself, the destroyer crowned by pure blackness, had been smashed into a thousand pieces and since then crawled to the north of the shattered continent Ma'haxul to unite with her followers and complete her work of destruction on this and all other worlds. Only a few had survived first this chaos and only slowly these beings, who had once inhabited the old continent, started to make a new home for themselves in Ma'haxul. Ka'ath, the City of Light, protected by the rocky garb of Mount Nepha'ul, was the only one to survive the all-destroying campaign of Ar’ath and her followers, and since that time, they have been preparing for the return of the Broken and Black-Crowned.
So, the album "A Blackcrowned Majesty" deals specifically with Ar’ath's return to Ma'haxul. It describes in a musical way how she flows to the north after her destruction and is crowned once again by her faithful. Rauthra, the dark hero and protagonist of this story, travels from the north to the interior of the country to join her. From up close, he witnessed the resurrection of Arath. Torn apart, disgusted and enthusiastic at the same time, he attends her return in the cathedral that had been carved out of the bones of the old continent in her honour, while Arath - now once again crowned - takes the final oath of allegiance from her followers, the hordes of the endless nightshade.
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Tristwood'?
We are Tyroleans or Highland-Austrians, which means that we live on the slopes of mountains and have a close relationship with the dark side of the mountainous and forested landscape in the Alps. The fact that our sound is so electronic, lightning fast and elusive also suits us, because especially in the mountains there are many places that are simply inaccessible. And that's how we see ourselves: Tristwood's sound and the song structures resemble the mountain flanks, ledges and exposed mountain ranges of our homeland: they are challenging, sometimes overchallenging and, depending on the degree of difficulty, can be fathomed or climbed by quite a few.
6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
The cover was painted by Ani van Sunjorck, a talented all-round artist. The cover is the starting point of the story. It shows, if you want to interpret it that way, Rauthra, the title hero of our Grim Dark Fantasy story, on his way into the unknown. He himself is a mythical being, whose outer form is clearly recognizable on the cover. What is particularly interesting, however, is the way in which he is portrayed, which is clearly recognizable due to the use of certain painting and drawing techniques. Perhaps, it is a combination of fantastically realistic and expressionistic elements that is so attractive on this cover. The picture itself was created in the context of an art session in the Alps.
7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and how would you describe your stage performance?
Deimon: I know that for some reason many journalists believe that we are a touring band. But the fact is that we never toured, and we never will. It's just not in our interest, even though there are quite a few people who would be very interested in a Tristwood show.
8.Currently you are unsigned but have worked with a label in the past, are you open to working with another label again in the future?
Deimon: This topic is discussed quite often among us. We have quite a big back catalogue and I think that this circumstance could be interesting for labels for sure. For us, the following basic rule applies: If the label owner and the label agenda is okay, then we are open for a cooperation. But a cooperation with a political record company is out of the question for us. The focus of our work is music, experimenting with sounds and art itself.
9.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of industrial, black and death metal?
Our listeners are scattered all over the world, that's true. We are a reserved band, and between releases we tend to withdraw to compose songs. So, when we release albums, the surprise or the joy of our fans is usually pretty big. The reactions to the new album are good again. This is also connected with the fact that our listeners like it that we always try something new and are guided by our enthusiasm for metal music. But we must wait and see how the album is received in general. For some journalists, this new album is also heavy, too experimental and in musical terms too radical. Others understand our approach to create something new. And it's the same with listeners who come into contact with Tristwood’s wall of sound for the first time: Some people are completely confused because they're totally overwhelmed by our music. Others are enthusiastic because the music sounds refreshing and inspiring to them.
In general, however, our listeners tend not to prefer one genre. That's probably why they like Tristwood.
10.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?
Deimon: At the moment, only JD, our bass player, is active in two post black metal formations. One is the Austrian band Thine, who recently released the EP “I: Vergänglichkeit”. From my point of view, it's a masterpiece. And is he still playing with our brothers from Eschaton, the band that released incredible albums and Eps in the last 10 years. It's a mystery that this formation has not yet been signed by a metal label. But just see for yourself. These are the links to the band camp pages of the groups: https://thineofficial.bandcamp.com/
11.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Deimon: The band will always change a little bit, in which direction that will be, you can never tell with us. Our next EP takes up some doom elements again. The last time we did that was about 15 years ago on our EP "Svarta_Daudi". Also, the sound has developed again. That is the exciting thing about our band. We have the courage to experiment and to penetrate sound-wise at places from which others rather leave their fingers for commercial reasons. But we can promise one thing: We will continue the fantastic saga we started with "Blackcrowned Majesty" on future recordings.
12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and what are you listening to nowadays?
Deimon: We have been influenced musically by quite different bands. But bands we can all be enthusiastic about and that shine through Tristwood again and again are Kraftwerk, Red Harvest, Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, Emperor, Nocturnus, Killing Joke, Morbid Angel, Skinny Puppy, Napalm Death, Gadget, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost and of course Bathory. Personally, I am a huge fan of old school death metal releases on vinyl. I started collecting tapes from real underground greats in the 1980s and I have done so until today. But at this point I would like to get rid of one more thing: The 1980s and 1990s were a time when extreme metal still had real artistic potential. By this I mean that many bands tried to create something new. This is not the case nowadays. Most bands are content to imitate other bands in their style and take over the musical identity of an already existing formation, because they hope for success. I would like to see more courage, even if it could mean getting bad reviews in magazines.
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
First, we would like to thank you for this interview. It is always good to be able to answer interesting questions. For those readers who like experimental, real, pure, lightning-fast sound in the intersection of Blackened Grindcore, Hardcore and Post Punk, Industrial Black Metal and Death Metal with buzzsaw guitar tone, I recommend checking out our new album "Blackcrowned Majesty". You have the possibility to order a CD (first edition is limited to 50 pieces) via our Facebook page. You can also get a digital copy via Bandcamp.
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