Folk/doom metal outfit Empyerium caused quite a stir when they went on hiatus for an indefinite period of time. Last month they released a live DVD which signifies the rebirth of this influential band. ThisIsNotAScene checked in with main man Ulf Theodor Schwadorf to get the latest from the Empyrium camp…
The Into The Pantheon was a landmark moment in the history of the band. How do you look on the whole experience?
It was our first ever show after more than 15 years of band history – so a landmark moment seems to be an appropriate description. It’s great that we choose to record and film this show since everybody now can be a part of this magic moment for Empyrium. There’s a lot of work that was put into the DVD and it feels great to have it released.
Watching In The Pantheon is almost a sacral experience. How do you manage to write and record such soulstirring music?
Thanks for the kind words. I think there’s two points and they are as simple as they are complex.
Point 1 is talent.
Point 2 is honesty.
The line up performing that evening also included Neige (Alcest) and Fursy Teyssier (Les Descrets). How did they become involved?
I have known Neige and Fursy since they recorded back in 2008 their “Ameseours” Album with me in my recording studio (www.studioe.de). Later Neige recorded two Alcest records with me at the same place. They both told me that they are Empyrium fans since the early days and if I’d ever need their help with something they will be there. And so I asked them when the time was right. I am very happy having them in the live line-up – besides being the talented guys they are they are just plain beautiful persons as well.
Over the years Empyrium evolved from a black metal outfit to a more folk(ish) orientated outfit. Where did this craving for musical evolution comes from? Where do you intent to get next with the band?
It was a natural evolution back in the day exploring nature-mysticism deeper and deeper and focusing more and more on bringing the atmospherics of the music to the fore. Our sound in 2010-2013 has evolved again and you can hear that soon when our next album “The Turn Of The Tides” will be released. It’s a progression of our sound but still keeping with the core of what Empyrium is.
Back in 2002 you guys decided that Empyrium would stop as a (recording) unit, yet in 2010 Empyrium was back again. What brought this about?
Many different things contributed to it. The main point though was that we were asked by our record label to record a song for the compilation “For whom the moon a night-song sings” which we agreed on. It was just a try to us if we could do something honest and meaningful with Empyrium in 2010 – 8 years after we split. And what can I say – we were both delighted to feel and hear what we were able to do. That was the turn…
Empyrium has both lyrics in German and English. Which language do you feel most at home it expressing your feelings and emotions and why?
I honestly must say I feel strangely more at home at expressing myself in english. Maybe because I am such a huge fan of writers such as Lord Byron, Poe and also H.P. Lovecraft that kinda taught me the language. But for the “Weiland” Album, German lyrics have been very important to get the atmosphere across.
Nature has always been a very important in Empyrium’s music. What does nature/the great outdoors mean for you as person and musician?
Nature is just a part of us as we are a part of nature. There’s no art without the influence of nature. It is the setting, the surrounding we live in so it has a huge impact on both me as a person and my music. If you could share the view out of my living room right now you’d know how iportant it is to me. I have maybe 30 metres to the forest and live in a very rural, beautiful region in Germany. I have always enjoyed the rural regions alot more than the urban. Don’t have plans to move to a city either. I just enjoy the peace and silence of villages.
Empyrium doesn’t perform that much live. What’s the reason for this?
It’s not so easy to get 8 musicians from different countries that are all involved in other successful bands together for gigs. But we are doing our best in making it happen as often as possible.
Rumor has it that you guys are working on new music and a possible new record. What can we expect?
It’s finished for quite some time already. It will be entitled “The Turn Of The Tides” and should be released spring 2014. It is definitely Empyrium but of course it will show a slightly new approach to the emotions we want to express. Wouldn’t make sense to copy “Weiland” or “Songs of Moors…” in 2012. It just wouldn’t be true to us. But anybody who loves what we did in the past will also love the new album – I am sure.
What is next for Empyrium as far touring and possible other projects go?
Releasing the album first and then time will tell. Empyrium is a pretty timeless project so we are not in a rush at all…