1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new ep?
Arron: While wanting to focus on writing our debut album with the momentum of the release of the EP, the direction has been more to ensure we can, to our satisfaction, suitably fill a live set without the constant repetition. This has included focus on diversifying some of our content with instrumentals, unplugged and more potential collaborations moving forward.
2.Recently you have released a new ep, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical style that you went for on the recording?
Arron: Drawing elements from Atmospheric Black Metal, Folk, Black/Void-gaze and rock, our sound is inspired by folklore and nature, writing melody and harmony over a wall of noise creating heavy dark ballads.
3.One of your songs also covers Scottish folklore, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topic?
Arron: The band to varying degrees all have history and heritage from the British Isles and many an interest in history, folklore and poetry. We relish the idea of bringing these old stories back to light and creating our own. The song in question, Am Fear Liath Mòr, is based on the folklore of a shadowy grey may who haunts the foggy mountains of Ben MacDhui and the lyrics include an excerpt from “Constancy of an Ideal Object” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Also Hollow Mews includes reference to the Sidhe from Irish mythology and part of the lyrics draw influence from William Butler Yeats. Daniel: In addition to playing black metal, I have a history of playing Scottish pipe band music, as well as Celtic folk music. This is paired with a fascination with the tales and poetry of Scotland in particular and the Celtic lands in general. It was, in fact, the shared appreciation for black metal and Celtic folk influences that drew Arron and I together in what would become the genesis of Auld.
4.What are some of the other lyrical topics and subjects the band has explored so far with the music?
Arron: As mentioned above a lot of our lyrical themes cover folklore, myths, legends, poetry and nature. We have also worked with the Irish and Scottish diaspora and historical battle themes. Daniel: “…of petrichor and I” is a lament from the perspective of a sacrifice. A journey to the high green places that Skye is known for, in order to give one’s life to ensure the rain falls for everyone else. Hollow Mews draws from the feelings of isolation inherent in urban existence, the drive to return to the wild and tumult of the life we led before we became civilised. It draws, as Arron said, from Yeats, and from the Irish myths of the Sidhe that were the most important part of Celtic mysticism prior to and indeed long after the Christianisation of the British Isles. Cianalas, a song not on the EP but a regular part of our live performances, is drawn from a concept of the same name which refers to the inevitable haunting homesickness that befalls any native of the isles of the Hebrides who leaves to explore the world.
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Auld'?
Daniel: “Auld” is the Scots word for “old”. Back before this was anything more than a concept that Arron and I tossed around at practices for the other band we were playing in, the idea was that it would be a group dedicated to recontextualising old ideas. Old melodies, old sounds, played in a way that opened them up to a new audience. Folk instrumentation, which we’ve introduced in the title track of the EP, was always planned to be a central pillar of the Auld sound. As we go forward, we’re going to be introducing more ancient instruments and older tunes, contrasting that melancholy and that sweetness that Gaelic music really showcases with the heavier sounds of black metal. I’d even be interested in introducing some piobaireachd (Highland bagpipe and vocal melodies known for being haunting and meditative) into the Auld sound.
6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the ep cover?
Daniel: The EP cover is centered around a photograph taken by Marcus McAdam, a Scottish photographer who specialises in pictures taken on the Isle of Skye. It’s a picture of a rock formation known as the Quiraing, on the northernmost point of the Isle. As soon as I saw the photograph I felt that it was a perfect visual encapsulation of the atmosphere that Auld was sonically pursuing. The logo was created for us by the genius Vojtěch over at Moonroot art, who also did the amazing heron piece we used for our music video for Hollow Mews. There’s also some pretty exciting art ready for future use that we’re keeping pretty close to our chest for the time being. Arron: I actually took a photo from the exact same spot in Quiraing on the Isle of Skye while I was spending time in Scotland in 2009.
7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Daniel: It’s hard to pick a favourite show. Questfest 2020 was amazing fun, and the guys at Girthsword do an awesome job putting that together every year. Playing at Heathenfest 2019 was also great fun, but it’s hard at this point to go past our very first show, supporting Christ Dismembered and Fatigue. It was this short moment of fruition in which everything just fell into place, and it validated, at least to me, every minute of effort that we had put into writing, arranging, and practicing. Seeing that people actually enjoyed the music we made was intoxicating, which is why we’re all still doing this. This answer may change in a few months depending on how a certain performance we can’t really divulge too much about shapes up. Arron: One of my favourite memories was the community, camaradarie and atmosphere of Heathen Fest 2019 in Moruya. Sharing the stage with Hobbs Angel of Death for what would ultimately be his last show was an absolute honour. Daniel: With regards to how we would describe our stage performance, it’s difficult to talk too much about an experience from inside the performer bubble without sounding a little ridiculous. I can definitely say that we aim for an air reminiscent of the highland mists, the green and the grey of a land at once inhospitable and lived in for millennia. I’m sure the dumb jokes I use to fill in time detract somewhat from that, but old habits die hard.
8.The new ep was released on 'Eschatonic Records', can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
Daniel: Eschatonic Records is run by some of the most supportive people we’ve ever come across, and right from the beginning the entire conversation was what they could do to build a platform to support us. I initially came across them through their work with Black Mountain, and as soon as I went to Jay to talk about Auld, Eschatonic Records immediately began helping us get everything together. Jay helped us through every step of the recording process and has been a huge advocate of our work, and for that I personally am immensely grateful.
9.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of atmospheric black metal?
Daniel: I would say that thus far the worldwide reaction has been greater than I expected. As someone involved in the local scene for years at this point, every time I see someone from Europe or the US listen, like, or comment, it is absolutely humbling. I personally consider it a privilege to be able to share the music we’ve made with anyone from anywhere, so it’s especially amazing to see that come to fruition with people from so far away.
10.What is going on with 'Black Mountain' these days, a band that also shares a couple of the same band members?
Daniel: Josh and I have been the two shared members doing double duty between Auld and Black Mountain, and due to some changes that have taken place in my personal life, I have actually left Black Mountain. So while I can’t speak from an insider’s perspective regarding Black Mountain, I know that Jay from Inhuman Remnants, Unholy Vendetta, and a plethora of other heavy acts has temporarily taken over bass duties until they find a full-time bassist. I can say that I’ve seen their name on the line-up for a gig in the not-too-distant future and that I’m excited to see what Black Mountain sounds like from in front of the barrier.
11.When can we expect a full length and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Arron: There are plans for an upcoming album and I think the story of that will all be driven by where the band is heading musically. If we wanted to pump out a derivative album that all sounded the same that might be a fairly clear and short race. However we all feel passionate about not necessarily pushing ourselves, but exploring what we are capable of and incorporating a diverse range of instruments and capabilities within our bailiwick. So this could mean broader collaboration with other musicians to create a larger sound or bringing it back with some instrumentals closer to the folk/neofolk sphere.
12.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?
Daniel: For me, the influences are vast and diverse. Metal bands include Agalloch, Saor, Cân Bardd, Sadness, and Woods of Desolation/Remete. On the other side, a large proportion of influence for sound and for the way I’ve approached composition for Auld has been driven by Celtic folk music by groups such as The Battlefield Band, Silly Wizard, and The Tannahill Weavers, as well as pipers like Davy Spillane and folk musicians such as Andy Irvine. Arron: Emperor, Moonsorrow, Drudkh, Enslaved, Primordial, Wolcensmen, Alcest, Arkona, Andy Irvine, Daoiri Farrell.
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Daniel: These open-ended questions always kill me! There’s always so much to say. Auld is, without a doubt, the project that I’ve been involved in which I feel the most affection for. I’ve never been more excited about a band. The group of musicians we’ve assembled just clicks musically so well that any reticence I’ve had ingrained into me to bring new ideas or suggest different directions has disappeared. This, coinciding with the fact that, against all odds, people seem to enjoy listening to it, has completely altered my approach to the concept of being in a band. Thank you so much for reviewing the EP and for asking these questions. It’s been great to engage and to talk about it. Arron: From what started out as just two passionate people jamming with a singular purpose just for pure personal pleasure, this has grown into more than we expected and taken on a life of its own. I look forward to nurturing our creation through the years to come.