Vvilderness interview (03/2023)
|Conducted by:||RaduP (e-mail)|
It has been a while since I've been keeping up with Vvilderness, even before actually first reviewing them, seeing the project as quite exemplary of the unsigned Bandcamp post-black metal scene that was prevalent in the 2010s.This year I had the chance to check back on the project reviewing their latest, which did prompt me to try and catch up with the man behind the project as well. Artist and musician vvildr was kind enough to answer my questions.
Radu: What’s something that you consciously changed from each Vvilderness album to the next that you feel may not have been noticed by listeners and reviewers?
Vvildr: On the contrary: reviewers usually notice more than I intended. That’s a good thing. A good work of art can evoke thoughts and interpretations that even the author didn’t think of, and I am glad when it happens.
I think the main change from album to album is that I try to make music that sounds more organic. On the first two releases there were a lot of synth sounds and virtual instruments. Those were reduced and replaced later with actual folk instruments. Not because I wanted to make some sort of folk metal, I just find these instruments more appropriate to create a natural and honest atmosphere. Some people seem to like the synth-packed sound better, but that’s ok. I still have plans with synths, just not for Vvilderness.
Radu: You mentioned there was no conceptual story on Path, but merely on one of the songs. Can you go into a bit more detail into the conceptual narratives you have used in your albums’ lyrics?
Vvildr: In general, there is always a simple topic to organize my thoughts when writing lyrics for an album. On Path, this idea was that change is the only thing that is certain, we can never know where our path leads us. So we are searching for something that is constant and permanent. That’s usually something that we’re carrying in ourselves and build existence on it – our history, our ancestors and identity, our bond with the wilderness, beliefs about impersonated forces of nature.
As Above, So Below was about the confirmed human belief that there’s more to this world than it seems. Dark Waters was about our connection with water, as all aspects of existence depend on it, no matter if in form of snow, rain or blood. Devour The Sun had a clear concept about the cosmic life cycle of the sun and the solar system, but that’s rather the exception. These guidelines make it easier for me to write lyrics, but they’re not carved in stone. I don’t think lyrics always must have a deeper meaning or answer big questions. If it provokes thoughts, if it fits well with the atmosphere of the song or album, then it’s good enough.
Radu: Your Bandcamp page mentions that you also play on some self-built instruments. Could you go into some detail as to what those are and how they work?
Vvildr: I always was stunned how complex and sophisticated a hurdy gurdy is. When covid started, I had a lot of time at hand and I found this DIY project that was made of laser-cut plywood and 3D printed parts, you could just download the plans and manufacture the parts locally. I’m building my second gurdy since then. Also there was a nyckelharpa (Swedish keyed fiddle) model available so I built that too. The latest instrument I finished was a tagelharpa (a 3 or 4-string bowed lyre from Sweden and Finland), that one was entirely my own design, based on photos and videos. I put pickups into them for recording. You can hear all these instruments on ‘Path’, or the hurdy gurdy on As Above, So Below.
Radu: Why the double ‘v’s?
Vvildr: It’s search engine friendlier than Wilderness with a W, and easy to memorize. There’s no big thought behind it.
Radu: I noticed that the Vvilderness project started around the same time that you stopped your Release The Long Ships one. Do you see one as the continuation of the other or is there a chance that we might see a Release The Long Ships album in the future?
Vvildr: I didn’t really stop it. It’s just that Vvilderness became bigger and turned out I can’t properly hold up with two projects at the same time. Probably this is it for Release The Long Ships, but it was never ended officially. I got very far from that project by now, I don’t think that I even could recreate its sound, even if I wanted to. It was something I was proud of, the peak of my abilities at the time, but after all these years it doesn’t sound very good to me.
Radu: You’re listed as an ex-member on Realm Of Wolves’ page on the Metal Archives. Is that accurate?
Vvildr: Yes that’s right. We made an EP and an album, it was great fun. But as I said, I am not really able to focus on two projects at the same time so I chose Vvilderness. My friend István is the main songwriter, RoW is basically his project. So there’s no big change regarding quality and sound, it will be probably even better. As far as I know, they almost finished their second album by now. I’m quite excited about it. Based on the few songs I already heard, it will be awesome. RoW was on hold for a while, not because of me leaving, it’s just that István launched another project recently, The Betrayed Kingdom that is a great homage to early Paradise Lost. He’s always having something unexpected up his sleeve.
Radu: Outside of nature and mythology, is there any book series or RPG game or something of the sort that you feel has made you feel like you want to create something to capture that vibe?
Vvildr: Books or RPGs, probably not. If I wanted to capture a vibe of a book, I think it would be something by Carl Sagan or Stephen Hawking. As for different media, back in the ‘90s there was something about In Flames’ first few albums, Lunar Strain, Subterranean and The Jester Race that stuck in my mind for a long time, a dark folky cosmic atmosphere that they ditched later. However this was a vibe I wanted to recreate. I don’t think I managed it but I guess it helped me to find a distinct sound.
Radu: You’ve done all the artworks for the music you’ve been part of, as well as for others. Tell us a bit about what goes in the process of creating an artwork, both from a creative and a technical point of view.
Vvildr: I draw once in a blue moon, with pencils first, thinking about every little detail for hours, googling similar photos or drawings for anatomy and movement references. When it looks good enough I draw over with ink (sometimes I just skip this part). Then I scan it and add some colors digitally.
Radu: You have quite a lot of artworks and drawings on your Pinterest profile. What else have you used your art for other than album artworks?
Vvildr: I used to be a draughtsman in archeology. It would be the ideal workplace for me, but these days documentation got easier than ever with all the digital gadgets, they don’t really need drawings anymore. Besides that I illustrated a children’s book once.
Radu: Hungary is pretty famous among the larger metal public mostly for Thy Catafalque and for Attila Csihar. What’s something else from Hungary that you feel should receive more attention?
Vvildr: I would have said Thy Catafalque even if you hadn’t mention it. It’s something else and in my opinion they’re on par with the greatest metal bands. There are many bands just from my closest neighborhood that I appreciate, like Witcher, Age Of Agony or Sear Bliss. From further away Ahriman and Frost come to mind at the moment.
Radu: I read in an interview that you were actually born in Transylvania. As someone who is also sort of from Transylvania, what are some of your favorite places from it that you’ve visited?
Vvildr: Of course I adore the usual tourist attractions, Gyilkos Lake (Lacu Rosu), Békás Pass (Cheile Bizacului), St Anna Lake etc. But for me personally my grandfather’s village Kálnok (Calnic) is the place. It’s not a spectacle, just a rural area where you can meet bears if you’re unlucky enough. Not too far from there you can find Óriáspince Plateau with an ancient bale fire place, from where you can see the Carpathian mountains up to Bucsecs (Bucegi) and the whole Háromszék basin (in part Covasna County nowadays), my motherland.
||Posted on 22.03.2023 by|
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