Di recente ho avuto il piacere di fare una lunga chiacchierata (virtuale) con Fiar, bassista/cantante dei catalani Foscor, una delle band che più ha colpito la mia attenzione, negli ultimi mesi. Approfondendo alcuni temi conlui, mi è ora chiaro come questa affinità abbia delle basi concrete, nel suo riprodurre quella stupenda sensazione di “essere parte di un tutto” che la musica, forse ancor più di altre forme d’arte, è in grado di regalare, anche a distanza (di spazio e di tempo). Niente ha o potrebbe avere più importanza, nella vita, IMHO… Enjoy.
First of all I’d like to thank you for taking your time to answer this interview. It’s an honour for me to interview a band I highly admire.
I really appreciate your interest. The honour is mine. It’s always pleasant to share thoughts an impressions about something we love.
Well, let’s start. “Those Horrors Wither” displays quite a change from your previous efforts, both music-wise and lyrics-wise. What impulse and aim are behind this focus shift?
A renewed impulse on creating something as personal as possible. We forced our skills and aim trying to get the difference, not without sense compared with our past works, but breaking the chains that helped to fit our music in a restricted area. After 5 years from our previous album we felt something strong claiming for the highest freedom level we could reach in order to create the most suitable music to ourselves, thing that we understood that should be with a clear distance from black metal, adding all the inspirational inputs from other music we listen.
Looking back to Foscor’s previous releases, how do you compare them to the new one?
Each album answers to an emotional moment in our lives. There is a clear connection in that sense among the albums… improving our skills in song-composition, resources and tools. From the primitiveness of the first album until ‘Groans to the Guilty” there is an aim to break the 90’s black metal background that configured our language. With “Those Horrors Wither” we felt that this growing process needed a reset. We are still offering dark metal, but with a new sense of understanding. It is not only about the different tuning of the chords, nor the reducing of rhythmical tempo, or the increase of clean vocals… it has to do with no limits music, a new way to catch the darkness for the band. This is the main difference with the previous albums, to conceive music in a timeless form, out of styles restrictions.
Your use of your native Catalan language is a strong distinctive trademark. What is your relationship with the heritage of your country and also its present situation?
We began Foscor covering everything with the strong flavour that art nouveau, here called Catalan Modernism, meant. Also the Renaissance period supposed an inspiration in order to set clearly the band targets: reach new limits in a music that began with freedom and no limits as standard. It was something not only related to an imaginary but a never-ending creative behaviour that collects the Catalan heritage along the history. We come from Barcelona, a capital within its own design, architecture, literature and all sort of artistic scenes, so the constant inputs we receive from an always in movement city supposes and supposed a strong inspiring point for us. The use of our mother tongue has to do with the aim of expressing the emotional speech behind the music as loyal as it could be.
Given the fact that I don’t understand Catalan properly, could you explain me the lyric-concept behind “L.amor.t”?
Yes, sure. It is about how love, the need to form part of a collective, family or relationship, stands as ultimate goal in life and involves a loss of identity. In fact, this goal of being part of something, to feel loved or being loved, persecutes us for fear of loss, and death, of walking in absolute solitude the path of life. Not knowing when the end will come, but knowing it will… This is something that turns the individual to the point that needs to be part of something. Love drowns people, makes them weak because of being forced to take care of others or just the relationship with others, and thus relieves the individual himself. Again, the negative side of something, an ancestral fear of loneliness is explained, but we must learn from him, walking alone or accompanied freed from chains…
“Those Horrors Wither” features the appearance of Obsidian Kingdom, Peter Bjärgô and Sathorys Elenorth. Could you tell me something about this collaboration?
We have never denied the fact that all the 90’s dark-ambient scene touched us until the point we all feel these emotional musical landscapes a very important inspiring resource for Foscor’s music. With “Those Horrors Wither” we thought that it could be an unforgettable idea to offer good friends and masters within the dark-ambient or drone language, to participate by adding their own reading to our music. We proposed to create exclusive transitions among some tracks, just haring with them the album and specific track lyric concept, and let them propose how to connect the songs composing and offering their own language. About Obsidian Kingdom, I had the chance to collaborate in their acclaimed album “Mantiis” singing in one song. As they have a side face for the band focused on drone sets, improvising and creating musical experiences, the collaboration came out easily. We shared and lived their recording sessions at Nautilus Studios, were we recorded the album, making the collaboration something even more special. Sathorys Elenorth is a long time friend. I have collaborated several times recording spoke parts in different albums for their band Narsilion. He is a master creating soundtracks, and we feel as present his collaboration closing the cd extra track “Shysteroos”. Peter Bjärgö is a reference within the dark-ambient scene. I had the chance to meet him and his wife during a Sophia’s concert in Barcelona, where I took care of the production tasks. Sathorys Elenorth is also a live member of Arcana since some years ago, so, to get him translating our music into his language… or reinterpreting our emotions… was an opportunity we could not lose. We are satisfied with the result and how these transitional pieces let the listener take a breath of air while our album advances. Make it richer, and fills our inspirational palette.
I’ve particularly appreciated the artwork done by Manuel Tinnemans. A strong and evocative piece of art indeed, that truly represents the somewhat mystic mood of the album. Do you agree?
Absolutely. We started thinking in the new album’s “colour” and mood in a way that the neutral canvas could let the listener get his own point of view and reading. That’s why the “white” was the chosen colour. Anyway, in addition to that, and following the idea that each artist or figure involved in the album could add the own trademark in order of enriching the final proposal, we thought that Manuel Tinnemans could be the right artist to create a deep illustration which could join all the different levels of reading that the album has. It’s all about a global vision on the music and lyrics, also on the work of the details and how it composes the whole thing. We all knew about the chaotic compositions he is able to create at first, but the strong and defined way it turn out as a piece of Art. The fact that he mainly uses the ink in his creations, fit perfectly with the way we worked the music, as an organic theme, mixture of opposites and sensual details working for a coherent and timeless whole. We gave him very few instructions and of course an overview about lyrics, and he composed this outstanding piece of Art. As it happened with “L.amor.t”, “Those horrors…” works from the daily reality to an individual level, a higher spiritual one.
You’re currently in the roster of the indie label Alone Records. Are you satisfied with this dimension, or you’re looking forward to a greater label, with greater means of promotion/distribution?
Alone Records was the very first label showing a blind confidence in this project. We were talking with other international labels, with a good response at first, which never set the next step clear enough, in order to build the final conditions to create a bigger infrastructure. Alone Records is a highly experienced team that works for and from music… Not only with Alone records, but within the Music industry since 15 years ago. How they explained what was behind a logo and a roster of bands, was what convinced us to bet for the project. We are learning more with them, also growing, than during the previous years of our existence. We have closed now the first Iberian promotional period, after finishing the “Splinters Over Iberia tour”, supporting Vallenfyre, and the results are simply brilliant. Now it’s time to work on Europe and the rest of the world. We are all confident that the team composed by Alone Records and our management, Third Eye Society, were the best we could take for this breaking point on Foscor’s career. If we can live bigger things or not, be sure that would be ‘cause this Team works fine. At the moment we just can express gratitude and renewed expectations. This is just the first album of a new Foscor.
Which bands/books and/or movies have helped shape the person that you are today and how they’ve “helped”you, regarding Foscor?
Foscor was created in a moment when I was so receptive to new and old lessons within philosophy, poetry, architecture and art in general, that everything came out as a need. It is obvious that the call to express things with an instrument came years after starting listening to music and different styles… but what the hell changed inside me, to feel the need of creating music by myself? Without doubt, it was the mid 90’s black metal. I felt something special, during my career years, while listening Burzum’s “Filosofem”, Ved Buens Ende’s “Written in Waters”, Katatonia’s “Brave Murder Day“, Emperor’s “In The Nightside Eclipse”, Dissection’s “The Somberlain”, etc… let’s add the transcendental point that only dark-ambient could give (Raison d’Etre, Arcana, Amber Asylum), and the british doom… so, all the past albums I’ve listen, finally got sense. With the passing of time, my view have recovered other bands I listened when I was younger, like The Cure, Depeche Mode and many 80’s bands that actually have become not only a new source of inspiration, but an excuse to focus my ears in a lot of new stuff, reaching a similar level of pleasant satisfaction to my heart to inspire Foscor. As you have asked me for books, movies… I remember to be studying some philosophic aesthetics texts that approached me to the reading of many different authors, from Rilke’s poetry to Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard… the list has not an end. It was a moment of constant learning, and a strong wish of creating, take part of my life out of the common rules and roles you are supposed to be part of. This is the moment I conceived Foscor, and although I taken some distance from the guy I used to be, I think the aim is still the same: write my own path with passion in all the things I may do.
What are your feelings and thoughts when you get to know that your music helps people to forget about their problems, or to go through a tough phase?
This is the most outstanding thing we can get from the fact of being part of a band. Actually, we are all so selfish while we are creating an album. We don’t take care of the listener at first, because we look for the own satisfaction with the wished creation. It is in the last steps when we start thinking how the listener would receive the album, how the track list would work or how they could appreciate or not the aesthetic, lyrical and production issues that we have developed. Everything is thought from the higher expectations, indeed. But damn man, it is something you cannot control, and even more, you don’t have to control, just trying to give your best when you are creating an album or a song. This is why when someone expresses a deep empathy with your music, everything got sense… and the connection that only music can reach, appears. We all want to get the attention from the audience, but more important, to get their understanding and share the big passion and emotion that music hides within. It is a relation beyond a conversation, it works on the level of feelings.
Nowadays there are many web services that helps promoting music, such as Bandcamp, Spotify, Deezer and so on. What are your views concerning this matter?
We are more used to work with Bandcamp as the newest tool compared with what Myspace supposed for the bands… You can sell your product with your rules, so it is a more opened way to share music. I mean, our new album is going to be in Spotify and those kind of platforms, but there’s not the same philosophy behind one or another tool. Bandcamp could be understood as a tool in order to support the DIY method, while Spotify seems to be a place you need to be if you aspire to reach a notable market quote and enter in a massive market, despite of not taking care of your product. At last, both are conceived from a change moment, trying to keep the market as it use to be, and adapting the selling tools to the audience habits. In my opinion all of them have helped to reduce the music value, and increase the short life of the albums. So… I do have very biased thoughts about these tools.
“Those Horrors Wither” is on fourth position in my top ten 2014. What are your favourite albums from the past year?
I’m so proud knowing that our album is included in your Top 10 list…really means a lot. I think the Top 1 would be occupied by Interpol’s “El Pintor”, which has been the album I have listened to more times. Then I could name Pallbearer’s “Fundations of Burden”, Lantlôs’ “Melting Sun”, Electric Wizard’s “Time to Die” or Solstafir’s “Otta”. In other order of heaviness the latest Dead Congregation album “Promulgation Of The Fall” or Teitanblood’s “Death” have given a high dose of darkness, as the latest Behemoth opus “The Satanist”, it has been a great surprise for me, as I didn’t listen to their music since ’96. I listen all sort of music, so it is normal to mention The Mary Onettes latest mini release “Portico”, or Ty Segall’s “Manipulator”, although are out of “metal” territories. All of them bring me very good moments.
Ok Fiar, I’ve stolen enough of your time. Thanks again and big congratulations for the album, it’s a special one, for me.
Thank you so much for giving us such opportunity and show you a small part of our reality to your readers. It has been a pleasant conversation. I’m so glad to know how did you receive our new album, and, considering there is something we have in common… this is a great chance to share more moments together. All the best, and welcome to those horrors…