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[INTERVIEW] D, frontman of the Australian Depressive Black Metal band Woods Of Desolation

Since almost a decade now, Black Metal diversified itself, revealing several new genres, like Depressive Black Metal, which is defined by a whole other level of melodic experimentation through feelings. In this genre, as a fan, it's hard to avoid the Australian solo project Woods Of Desolation, who has nowdays a great reputation, and an always growing one. The frontman D., along with guests such as Vlad from Drudkh, released his new effort dubbed "As The Stars" on February 14th, 2014, which confirms that Woods Of Desolation is a major act in Depressive Black Metal. Interview with D, the man of few words pulling the strings of Woods Of Desolation since the beginning. 


Scholomance : You created Woods Of Desolation as a means of a much deeper personal expression, and to unburden yourself through music. What kind of feelings, ideas you intended to express through your music, what kind of burdens did you want to get rid of ?  

D : The unburdening of this creative urge I’ve had for a long time. This was something that had to be done personally as playing in bands was just not suited to my thoughts regarding song writing - and music in general.

S : Given that you want to express feelings throughout your music, what is the evolution present behind the concepts of your albums ? What ideas matured in your mind to gave birth to different albums ? 
D : There has never been a conscious over-arching goal for each album, Woods of Desolation is simply about letting things occur and evolve naturally. The only album that I could say has had a slight conceptual aim (lyrically) was “As The Stars”.
S : Your guitar playing is particular, the melodies easily recognizable, everyone who listened to Woods Of Desolation can say "Hey it's D. playing", the lead parts are kind of a contrast between darkness and hope. Have you specific musical influences too, or the melodies are just picturing what you feel while composing ? 
D : It’s just whatever comes naturally to me. I have never had any musical theory or practical lessons, so I can say it’s all just my natural playing/writing ability - for better or for worse.
S : Woods of Desolation is your personal project, so why choosing guests over the album ? Is it necessary to release the album, or do you just want to add some other feelings to your releases, through each guest way of expressing himself through music ?
D : Guests are included simply because I do not think my vocal and drumming ability is good enough. I’m sure I could do it if I really wanted and needed to, but I feel it would result in a release of diminished quality. I much rather prefer to just focus on guitar; this will always be my primary instrument.
 S : Now let's focus in the latest release "As The Stars", what is the meaning of the artwork, everyone can have his say concerning what it depicts, but what did you want to convey with it ? And why choose Lucas Ruggieri to do it ? 

D : I wanted to move away from the usual – and perhaps predictable album imagery that has been used previously in WoD – and try something different. Thankfully, Northern Silence knew of Lucas Ruggieri’s work and organised for him to create the album artwork from a rough concept I had. I wanted the artwork to reflect the general theme behind the album as well as the ambiguity behind the album title “As The Stars”. I personally think Lucas did a great job.

S : The album is out three years after "Torn Beyond Reason", is it just a matter of time, or did you want to really let yourself time to rework your ideas, compositions, and allow yourself time to really think about them before releasing them ?

D : I will of course always take my time with releases and not simply put out music for the sake of it. I guess in this 3 year period a lot of music was written for WoD and other projects that never eventuated, so it was just a matter of waiting until the inspiration took hold and the drive arose to complete and record the selected material for “As The Stars”.

S : You made an interesting choice concerning the album lyrics, you chose not to unveil the lyrics. Can you explain this choice ? 

D : That is correct. I wanted to encourage the listener to a deeper, more thoughtful, listening experience. It is one thing to simply sit there mindlessly following along with the lyrics, yet another entirely too consciously try and discern some form of individual meaning from the album.
S : You gave a hint about the lyrics, you said it was focused on the separation of body and soul. I've an original question to ask about that, in what the immortality of soul, the separation in body and soul inspired your album ? Did you ever experiment a phenomenon of that type, like out-of-body experience, happened to artists like Neige from Alcest for example. 
D : The album was inspired by my personal thoughts on the subject. What I have experienced of “paranormal” things has been unusual perhaps, but has not been entirely convincing and could be explained logically. I can’t say I have had any direct out of body experience, though I believe there are theories already present in the scientific literature that purport to explain the out-of-body sensation, the “white light” sensation and the like and it is simply due to neurobiological issues, for example; problems with the communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, affected serotonin levels which give the feeling of “floating”, myelination problems which cause problems with thought insertion -  so basically one actually provokes the experience but loses the ability to know they’re creating it. However, that said, I do try and remain open to all theories and ideas on the subject.
 S : Is it going to be also a source of inspiration for your next releases to come ?
D : Perhaps. I can’t say for certain yet as there are no set plans for a next release, but I do find the subject very interesting and want to continue exploring my own thoughts through lyrics, music and the like.
 S : What do you expect from listeners to feel after listening to "As The Stars", to imagine about the concept of the album ?

D : I don’t expect anything as such; it’d just be a successful “experiment” if they had felt something, some change, some form of experience of having listened to the album.

 S : You had in the past the project "Grey Waters", do you have other projects musically new band, featurings, splits) or in other forms of art maybe ? 
D : I am always working on and developing other material outside of WoD (and even music in general), but whether or not I ever decide to finish it or do anything with it remains to be seen at the moment.
S : Do you have a tour in mind to promote "As The Stars" ? Your music is well-known overseas, your fanbase is spread all around the world. If you want to do a tour, which places would you like to tour in, and with which line-up ?
D : No tour or shows in mind at the moment. If a tour ever happens one day Europe and North America would be my main preferences.
 S : Are you happy yet about what happened with Woods Of Desolation, the feedback you received about the band, did you expect after the first demos, to be a reference in the genre ? For how much time would you like to keep on going with WoD ? 
D : I’m not really in contact with many people or bands, so I’ve never really noticed whether or not WoD is a reference in the genre, if so then that’s great – but I’d be glad if there was even just one person that wanted to listen to my work.
I do not know how much longer I will keep going with WoD (and music in general), I suppose as long as there remains inspiration and it doesn’t become a chore or boring in any way, otherwise I will not hesitate to end the band and move on.
S : To conclude this interview, do you have something to say to your fans, and to the french audience maybe ? Or any personal thing you want to add to finish ? 
D : Thank you for the interview and interest in Woods of Desolation, and thank you to the French supporters out there! Those interested in keeping up to date with my work, or checking out my releases can do so via the facebook or the bandcamp. 

Interviewer : Kevin 


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