Genre: atmospheric black metal
Questions: H., Stick
Hello to Canada! How are you? Winter is slowly fading away here in the middle of European continent but there are still some snowy days and low temperatures… how is the weather in your region at the moment? Which type of weather do you like the most? Some photos on the band’s Facebook seem a little bit like you could be a fan of winter…
I thought and hoped that winter was over but today again I see snow falling. Winter is slowly fading away, but maybe not fast enough, it has been too cold, time for a change. I do like it though; visually it is quite nice and gloomy. I like photography as well as making music, so I try and get some decent shots of the season when I can.
When we mentioned winter… if there’s a season which is somehow connected with black metal music it would be winter for sure, especially with the genre’s most (in)famous form from early 90’s and also with the bands which inspire themselves in this period of time. However, black metal which used to be probably the most orthodox style later evolved into many avantgarde and experimental branches which are often rejected by many musicians who still play the raw form of black metal. To give a small example – I remember that one memeber of Finnish band Bestial Mockery once said in an interview that all black metal should be raw, aggressive and heavily influenced by punk and that no black metal song should be longer than three or four minutes… well, he probably wouldn’t consider Ov Hollowness to be black metal as well. Do you have an opinion on this “fight” between the traditional and alternative forms of black metal? Which of them do you prefer as a listener? Or do you enjoy both of them?
The feeling and mood of winter goes along with some elements or styles of black metal, not always though.
What happens in life and art is growth and change, things do not stay the same and if you are the kind of person who wants them to stay the same you will always be fighting against its’ true nature, and it will lead to problems. The more I come to learn about people and their behaviours; I can see the limitations in their thinking. Some people find comfort in defining things, in this case music. They do not like to accept things that do not fit into a nice little box, their minds can’t handle it. Always note when the word ‘should’ is used, is attention given to an idea or reality. For means of communication we put labels on things to try and define them, but it is only for getting points across. The true essence of anything is what it is, it is not its’ label or name, in this case black metal. People who need to define things or have things to follow are those that can’t think for themselves, they are like religious people, they need to be told what to do since they are unable to come to know things for what they truly are. It really is a lower level of thinking. I enjoy anything, anything that is good, quality.
In addition to the previous question and to the things you listen to – are there any bands you could name as your personal influences? The main reason I’m asking that is because some moments of the title track of your new album “The World Ends” reminds me the Swedish legend Bathory…
The Bathory references come up quite a lot but I have to be honest, I listened to some Bathory but not much, any similarities there are just coincidence. Burzum was an initial influence, not only for the sound but also for this ‘format’ of one man bands, sort of showing what can be done. My background comes from thrash; I think black metal is almost like taking thrash metal and embracing the darker sounds of it and focusing on that. Quite simply though, the bands that have influenced Ov Hollowness are Dark Funeral, Enslaved, ColdWorld, Lunar Aurora, Arckanum, Primordial, Emperor, Drudkh, Wolves in the Throne Room, and much more I suppose. Influence is not a straight forward thing, I mean there is so much in Ov Hollowness that I can’t really trace back to an influence so to speak, but I think that is just the natural part of creating anything.
Ov Hollowness is one-man project, same as your other bands Arkodaemik and Dethdrawn. Why is it so? Do you prefer working alone and making no compromises between yourself and eventual other members? Or you just haven’t find any suitable colleagues so far? Have you ever tried to be a part of a regular band (with more people, playing live and so…)?
I am more interested in making music – song writing. To play music for its’ own sake can be enjoyable but it’s not a priority for me. Of course many who are in bands write on their own as well then work it in to their band. To have a band is to be facilitating a whole different thing than just putting songs together on ones’ own, it takes a different type of commitment, I don’t have time for that, nor the interest to pursue it with the level of commitment required. The only reason I would consider it would be to put on a live show or to record, but there would have to be some interest out there to do so.
The following question just suggests itself – do you think it would be possible to perform with Ov Hollowness live one day? Or do you plan to keep the band as a studio project only? As far as I know, Ov Hollowness have never played live so far, is that right?
No never played live, to do so I would have to learn the songs, haha.
From a recording stand point I would like to use musicians, maybe on the next album. It would be possible to perform live, I think it could be quite an interesting thing to happen, but there are no plans for that right now.
We already mentioned that Ov Hollowness is one-man project led by you which means – logically – that you play all the instruments and perform all the vocals. Which instrument was the first one you started playing on and how long do you play it? And which instrument do you enjoy playing the most?
I am a thrash guitar player at the core, so a riff maker I guess. I am actually quite pleased at how I was able to do the little keyboard work that I did manage to get done. Yeah, guitar for sure, and I don’t consider myself very skilled at it, again more of a song maker than a player.
Well, let’s talk about your new album now. It might seem like “The World Ends” is something like a big change for Ov Hollowness. The previous album was released under a small label Hypnotic Dirge Records which undoubtably has some quite interesting bands in its roster but Code666 is… different league I would say. How did you get in touch with them? Did you send some promos to the labels and they liked it, or they contacted you themselves? Do you think that releasing the album under suchlabel will change the situation around the band somehow?
Both labels have been great so far, different types of music on each for sure. I was contacted by Code666 and so far it has worked out quite well, still soon as it relates to the release of this album, but it’s good to get more exposure in Europe and other areas of the world, it seems my style is more European than North American as well. I am not sure what you mean by change the situation, I suppose the more music that gets out there, the more Ov Hollowness can be heard and that’s a cool thing.
“The World Ends” also has a very interesting cover art. The dead trees on the left and not-so-healthy-looking persons and garbage on the right really corresponds with the album’s title in my opinion. However – what is the meaning of those towers there? I would also like to know who created the artwork because I haven’t managed to find this information anywhere? Did you create it yourself?
I have done all my layout and art work in the past but this time around it was good to not have to worry about it as much. The cover was done by Dehn Sora. It can be difficult to collaborate with an artist to get the vision that suits both but this worked out really well as I liked the art work right away. I like the work he has done in the past as well, it is very unique. It just worked out, the image looks apocalyptic but I don’t think I even said to the artist the title at the beginning of creation. The image is to show a desolate kind of landscape, open to personal interpretations as well, but a thought on the towers could be the significance of something remaining, as in more solid, once many other things fall away and die.
The music on “The World Ends” sounds complex and the songs hold together. I unfortunately haven’t had the opportunity to read lyrics (except of those two songs you put on Ov Hollowness’ Facebook, “Hoarfrost” and “Ov”) but judging according to the music only it might seem like a some sort of conceptual album; also just with the songs’ titles I can imagine they could be somehow connected between each other. So are there any same or at least similar thoughts behind all the songs?
A planned concept, no it was not, but it is a concept in the sense that these are words I wrote within the same year or more and so they reflect where I was at the time so the link between each other just happened on its’ own. I will post more lyrics for those that may be interested. If there is a general overall theme it could just be due to my personal evolution, growth, and learning’s, that being… well it is abstract also, could be interpreted in many ways. A reflection on life and mankind I guess, the world ends isn’t so much the physical world but the world that our minds create. There are always themes tied in with the path from personal suffering to something else, concepts like that. I have learned quite a lot about myself and life in the last few years, I have gained an ability to see existence in a very broad sense and objectify with heavy realism in many things, and these viewpoints come through in the words.
“The World Ends” is more than 75 minutes long. However today’s world is fast and most of the people take music just as a background, nothing more, and they’re not into spending so much time just with one record – or perhaps they just don’t want to do so. Don’t you think it might be a little bit counterproductive when many people just can’t concentrate on so much minutes of music and would enjoy it more with half playing time or so? I guess you’re not a musician who has to play “user friendly” music like people who are dependent on their income from music (I dare to guess you’re not living just from the music – if you are, I’m sorry!) but I still think that almost every musician cares whether people listen to his albums or not…
I certainly do not live off of music, in fact it costs money to do Ov Hollowness, and I could get into that more but perhaps another time. I don’t care about making money from this but it would just be nice to be able to cover recording costs.
Any creative process is affected by how people react to it, well what I mean is yes, I think musicians do care if people listen, and those that don’t, well might not be fully in touch with a certain reality of what they do.
It is a great question you ask. I was actually surprised that the playing time kept coming up. I actually thought it was a good thing to have more material; I was a bit aloof to realizing I may be wrong on that. I have listened to this album, many times actually, I didn’t do that as much in the past, I am quite pleased with all of it, I really enjoy it. If the listener gets it and enjoys it, then the length shouldn’t be an issue. If someone is having a hard time waiting for the songs to end then this just isn’t for you. The last two tracks in some ways are bonus tracks, only because “End in View” was previously released and “Outro” is purely experimental, all the other songs just came to be, unlike many other bands out there, I don’t do ‘filler’ material. So yeah, knock off the last two tracks and you have would could be the main piece of the album. Now the album as a whole, long, yes, tracks themselves, naw there are countless bands out there that do songs this length, Enslaved, Wolves in the Throne Room, Winterfylleth, Agalloch, to name a few, it is the fans of those bands that may be more suited to listening to Ov Hollowness.
We have already mentioned that you have also some another projects. As far as I know there should be a band called Lost Resolve and there’s also a song called “Lost Resolve” on “The World Ends” album. Is there any connection between the project and the song?
It’s all part of my own work, so ideas and themes and riffs even, crossing into each other is going to happen. Perhaps a planned link between the two projects as well, I sometimes wonder if the couple tracks I have done (up to this point) for Lost Resolve should have just been Ov Hollowness songs. Whatever, it is what it is, there is another and maybe one more final Lost Resolve EP/album whatever in me so that might be it.
You recorded only one album for every of your other projects Lost Resolve, Arkodaemik and Dethdrawn so far. Do you have any plans with any of those three bands for the future?
As mentioned, maybe one more Lost Resolve release, somewhere down the road, but it’s going to take much perseverance to get it done, that could be said for all of these projects. With work and family life finding the time and energy can be quite difficult. There might be another Lost Resolve album is because I do have material for it, sitting there waiting. The same with Arkodaemik, it may be closer to being done than the others. That will just be a short album of heavy riff based black metal, material is about 75% complete. Dethdrawn interestingly I don’t have new material, yet it is the one project I feel more committed to making more of, we shall see. These projects really are more personal than Ov Hollowness in that they are more for me, to get out some ideas, self-released or whatever.
I have only one more question for you. I’ve been always wondering – why is it Ov Hollowness and not Of Hollowness? Does that “ov” have any special meaning? Thank you very much for your time and your answers. All the best!
Not really. ‘Ov’ is, like you say, another way of spelling ‘of’, and ‘of’ can be thought of meaning the same as the word ‘from’. That is what it means, it means from… from the hollowness.
Thank you very much for the interview, I appreciate the interest in the project, thanks.