1. Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new split?
The music for this split has been recorded back in autumn 2013 so there’s been quite a lot going on since then. We’ve recorded and released our 4th album entitled “I Will Not Serve” this year. Also another split should be released within months, with Ukrainian band Moloch. It includes a b-side track from aforementioned album. We’ve also changed the lineup a bit, Turenn became our new drummer and we’ve started working on some new material together.
2. You have a split album coming out this July, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
The musical sound differs from all of our material. Previous works were focused on funeral doom or black metal style. The music I wrote for this album wasn’t supposed to be released anywhere until G.H. heard it and persuaded me into releasing it on split as Gurthang. Material on the split is more death or even blackened death oriented. It’s more similiar to our latest album, however it has much more industrial touches, and the sound is noisy, harsh and raw.
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
It depends on the time in my life when I wrote those lyrics. Older lyrics were much more depressive and dark. Later they evolved into something more powerful, they’re more personal, deeper yet they’re still quite dark, but in a different way. I was always inspired by works of H. P. Lovecraft, and that’s also type of “doom” that I often include in my lyrics, but I’m giving them more personal view. They’re usually not just about one thing. There’s much more in every single song than it’s possible to hear at one single spin.
4. Originally the band started out as a solo project, what was the decision behind forming a full line up?
When I started the band, it was just a side-project. At that time my main band and main focus was Cosmic Despair, and Gurthang was just something else I did in the meantime. After we recorded debut album and before it’s been released, we decided that Cosmic Despair will disband and that we’re not going to do anything more with it, so I asked Stormalv and Sam to participate in recording sessions for new Gurthang releases, because this “project”, as I wouldn’t call it a band at that time, was getting more and more important to me. I started calling it a band when we were recording our third album, “Excruciato Anima Immortali”, beacuse that was the time that I let everyone arrange their own parts. Before that I was telling everyone what exactly I wanted them to play. After I let everyone do their own in composing area it turned out this was the best possible decision. Everyone does their best to make their parts as good as possible and I just control if it goes in the direction that I want it to go. And so far I didn’t have to ask anyone to rearrange their parts.
5. I know that the bands name came from the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, how does this name fit in with the musical style that you play?
Gurthang was the sword of Turin, it was a witness of its master’s disaster, madness and failure. It was a blade that took away his life. This story reflects into lyrical themes of our band. It’s about insanity, despair, self-destruction and suicide. You can find all those elements in some of our songs.
6. So far the band has yet to do a live show, are there any plans for any shows in the future?
No, there are no plans for that. Maybe someday, but definitely not now. It’s impossible to arrange, as all of us live in different places, we all have our jobs and responsibilities. I can’t expect everyone in the band to leave their lives and do a tour. I’ve had an idea to organize one show in my town, with different people, but I just didn’t feel like it would be Gurthang anymore so I gave it up.
7. You are on a split with ‘Beyond Life’ a band that shares 2 of the same members, how would you sat their musical style differs from the one that is presented with ‘Gurthang’?
Beyond Life performs completely different style of music that Gurhang. While Gurthang is more doom/black oriented, Beyond Life is much more about improvisation, experimenting and emotions coming from the music than the music itself. Keep in mind, that it evolved from dark ambient genre which has its own rules and reasons. Also I am not in charge of Beyond Life, I joined it long time after the band was formed. G.H. joined Gurthang some time later, first as rhythm guitarist, but now he’s in charge of ambient parts we use in our music. Basically saying, in Beyond Life I’m just doing what I’m asked to do. Of course, if you listen carefully you’ll find some similarities in my songwriting, but for me it’s just two different things.
8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black and doom metal?
I’d say we get a great feedback and interest from different places in the world. Definitely much bigger that we’d expect. I remember when I was looking for a label to release our third album and I wrote to some Japanese label. I’m still surprised that they’ve already knew who we were. Although we didn’t have much promotion at that time. Sometimes I get messages or emails from people around the world saying that they bought our CD and they really liked it – and that’s always great to hear. In the beginning I didn’t mean to make Gurthang recognized or famous, and I still don’t care that much about it. We did it for ourselves, but it’s always great to hear that somebody somewhere likes it and wants to hear some more.
9. 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?
Two years ago Stormalv recorded an album with Syrian gothic band Ecliptic Dawn, who’s ran by our first keyboardist. He also had some solo projects I don’t know much about it. Vojfrost keeps running his both projects, atmospheric black Voin Grim, which is also the reason I got to know him and folk Voin. Tureen keeps playing with his band Unbowed and has a couple of more projects going on I think. Me and G.H. have a couple of side projects going on. The biggest one is Beyond Life of course, but there’s also Czarna Rozpacz, about which you should hear some more in the near future. I also perform vocals in Polish black metal band Man o’Moon Faces.
10. Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
We will go more into maybe a bit simplier but definitely deeper and more complex sound, it’s hard to explain. We have a concept and a couple of new songs written, and we will see how it ends up. I really can’t say anything more about it right now.
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?
Biggest impact on our music had Finnish doom metal band Dolorian, which I’m a huge fan of. Of course it would be a crime if I didn’t mention the masters of Thergothon. But apart from that we listen to and get inspired by some music that’s not related to metal, for example Pink Floyd, which I consider as the greatest band of all time, Dead Can Dance or some classical music, like Wagner, Chopin or Beethoven. As for now apart from what I’ve already mentioned, I’m getting more into some Polish post-black and recently I’ve returned to some funeral doom bands that I haven’t listened to for quite a long time.
12. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Support the underground, there are lots of great bands that are still there undiscovered and waiting for their moment. Thanks for the interview!