1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the solo project?
My music is inspired by classic black metal from the late 80's and early 90's, as well as horror movie scores. I try to emulate the feeling and atmosphere as some of the classic albums of that era. The project separates itself from any of my past projects by staying true to the genre. I have total control of the direction of the material, so it's easy to not let outside influences adulterate the final outcome. I feel like this is the type of music I was destined to create.
2.Recently you have released a demo, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical style that you went for on the recording?
Like I mentioned in the first question, I was aiming to recreate that early black metal sound. Some of the songs I had been working on for a number of years. I came up with the main riff to "Nightmare Castle" right after releasing Oktober Myst during the Acryptylyse days back in '08 or '09. It was one of those running tremolo picking riffs utilized iconically by Burzum, Emperor, and Darkthrone. I loved it so much I quickly had an outline for it and based the name off of an old Barbara Steele movie. I inserted a bass solo and called it a wrap. The lyrics were the hard part. "Ritual Hunt" is much newer. I knew I wanted to write a song about a tribe of cannibals, loosely inspired by movies like Cannibal Holocaust and Green Inferno, so I knew I wanted to have a strong toms theme throughout the song. I made the drumline into a notable riff before the rest of the music comes in with a grooving rhythm. Only after I added the keyboards did I get the feeling of being on a ship and getting rocked about on the high seas. And that's how I came up with the idea to have pirates play the victim role. I put in black metal elements to create tension and cause waves of anxiety for the listener until it comes crashing down. The last song on the demo, "Screams of the Oskorei" was based off a riff and the following chord progression I came up with many years ago when I was fresh out of high school. I was listening to a lot of Emperor's "Nightside" and I think that inspired the riff in some way. I was writing for Acryptylyse back then, so I focused on writing music that invoked fear from the listener. As for the chord progression, I remember listening to Dimmu Borgir's Stormblast re-recording and one of my favorite songs on it had a similar chord progression, but it just didn't go anywhere, so I wanted to give the progression a better and more notable ending. I wrote and recorded a full song featuring the riff and chord progression, but I lost it after one of my computers crashed. I never forgot the riff and chord progression, but everything else was scrapped, so I had to rewrite new parts for that song. I'm happy I did, because I love the way it came out. When I added keyboards, I knew I wanted that dark ethereal feeling that's iconic throughout "In the Nightside Eclipse." During the slower part, I knew I wanted spoken words, but not in the way Emperor typically does it, as it's usually not very audible. But I love the way Maniac does spoken word, and so I tried something similar.
3.A lot of your lyrics cover horror and dark fantasy themes, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in these topics?
I was actually born on Halloween, so I quickly developed a natural affinity to the macabre. When I was younger, I would listen to tapes of horror sound effects, like the ones people would play for trick-or-treaters and I would relish in the unnerving atmosphere. I have a passion to scare people or at least make them feel uncomfortable in my presence. I love watching horror movies, reading horror stories, and going to haunted attractions. Horror was the main focus of Acryptylyse, some of these songs, plus the ones on the upcoming album were written with that intent.
A lot of modern horror stories come from folklore and that's where the dark fantasy comes in - stuff about elves and wraiths and the like. These things are more representative of the evils that dwell in nature. In olden times nature was seen as an enemy of society, and in some parts of my songs I bring the listener back to those times with tranquil, yet unsettling music..
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Lord Of Horns'?
I always like the title of 'lord.' To me it represents someone who is prominent and powerful, assertive and assured. Someone who can command and compel others at his will.
The 'horns' part represents some of the fiercest beasts in the wild. I think of it as natural mysticism, like Beastmaster, but more sinister.
An even deeper meaning, for me personally, I have always felt a strong connection to Thor, who is oftentimes represented by goats. In homage of Thor and my pseudonym, I have adorned the head of my bass with goat horns.
5.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the demo cover?
The artwork comes from photographs that were taken with assistance from my audio engineer and my son. I wanted imagery that conveyed the themes of the songs on the demo. The castle is a photograph of a tapestry I was gifted as a child. I dressed my son up as a nightmarish elf draining the life force out of me while I slept. These 2 images represented "Nightmare Castle." For "Ritual Hunt" I dressed up as a savage hunter and I had my engineer play a fallen pirate. I had a hard time coming up with an idea for an image for "Screams of the Oskorei" that didn't involve a bunch of beautiful women riding on horses and a giant CGI budget. I ended up settling on the ritual scene during the slower part of the song. I inserted a bunch of props alluding to Odin, like a spear and 2 ravens, which aren't very noticeable in the finished product. I also had my engineer paint runes on my back that spell Odin.
As this is a demo for my upcoming album, "The Forest at Dusk," I wanted a green overlay and I used the same fonts I used for that cover.
6.With this project you record everything by yourself, are you interested in working with other musicians or do you prefer to work solo?
I've worked in many bands over the years. None of them have gotten very far. Either I'm letting other people handle the business side or I'm steering the way, but others are dragging their feet. Musicians are fickle and very flakey. If you wait for the right people to join your band you will never get anything done. I've accomplished more in a month or two with Lord of Horns than I ever had with all my previous projects. So, as far as my solo project goes, I'm not anticipating anyone joining unless I see that they are seriously dedicated.
Of course, this doesn't mean I won't be moonlighting for other bands. In fact, right now I'm rehearsing with Dark Moon Spirit, a goth-rock band from New Jersey. Also, there's some talks about me rejoining Succumbed, an alternative/ industrial rock band, lead by my engineer. That's up in the air, but still a possibility.
7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
I haven't received any interest, yet. My logic is with the advent of the internet and products like CDBaby and Distrokid to get your music on all the music platforms that matter, there's no use for being on a label. Most indie labels try to make money off their bands rather than promoting the bands they represent. It's totally backwards, just like in the live scene, promoters aren't promoting shows, they just put on the shows and make the bands sell tickets.
I would only want to be on a label if they got me premium bookings and promoted them heavily - like billboard and social media ads running a month before my shows in targeted geographical areas. I honestly don't ever see that happening, so I'm not planning on signing to a label.
8.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal?
One a worldwide level, I have yet to see. I think it's too early to tell, but from the feedback I have gotten from people involved in the scene for decades, I think anyone who enjoys the classic era of Black Metal will also like my music. Hopefully, the modern metalheads will, as well.
9.Do you also have any experience playing in other bands or musical projects?
Yes, as I've stated before, I've led Acryptylyse and Dark Reverence. I was in the death/black metal band Exinfernum while they were still based in New Jersey. I played in Succumbed and probably will again. And I'm playing in Dark Moon Spirit. Like every other musician, I have been in numerous other projects that have all fallen flat, but those are the most prominent names I have been attached to.
10.Currently you are working on your first full length, what can we expect musically once it is released?
More of what you heard on "Few Ever Survive the Night..." I have a few songs that are heavily influenced by Darkthrone - one of which I didn't use any keyboards to make it more gritty. There's another song more aligned with black and roll, like I from Immortal and Satyricon's later material, but I combine it with influences from Dark Medieval Times. It's a great mix of thrash and black metal, and a hell of fun to perform!
The album intro is really cool, it starts out with a light fantasy chord progression and slowly becomes ominous and then you're hit with blastbeats to reassure you that you are listening to Black Metal!
The whole album takes you on a journey of sorts, with each song you encounter characters who dwell in the forest. Some magickal, some supernatural, while others are just the common man committed to evil deeds. With so much wickedness that hides in the forest, few ever survive the night...
11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are listening to nowadays?
I'm honestly not listening to anything now-a-days. Unfortunately, covid has overly-politicized so many people, including myself. I don't like reading general posts and memes about the on-going stories, so I try to keep up with things through independent media and youtube lawyers breaking down legal facts and processes to get a better grasp of the world we are currently living in. This doesn't leave a lot of time for me to listen to music, especially when I'm busy practicing. But, if I were to listen to music, I would be listening to 80's thrash and 90's black metal mainly. I know what I like, so I don't see a reason to stray. Occasionally, I'll listen to goth, classic rock, or blues; but I know where my home is musically.
As far as influences on my music, mainly bands like Burzum, Emperor, Darkthrone, Satyricon, and Dissection. Every now and then I'll throw in some groovy rhythm like early Mayhem, as in Ritual Hunt. Overall, blues and classic rock helped shape my childhood and adolescence, so I tend to write songs with those formulas in mind. Sometimes I'll add a bluesy part for dynamics, but I do it in a very unconventional way that disguises it and it's not recognizable as traditional blues.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
I would like to thank you for your time listening to and reviewing my demo and for conducting this interview. It's good to see the genre and its advocates have held steadfast throughout the years. Look out for "The Forest at Dusk" coming out later in the summer! Anyone who wants to download the demo, stay updated, or just generally support me, check out lordofhorns.bandcamp.com or search for me on iTunes, Amazon Music, or Spotify. Stay Grim!!!