MISERTUS Interview

From the ever-growing Post-Black Metal / Blackgaze scene, a new project emerges. MISERTUS first album is out now and it captures the feeling of the genre perfectly! “Daydream” has a very dense & dreamlike atmosphere, building that famous “wall of sound”, and in its extremity sounds strangely beautiful. We sat down with Tomas, the man behind the project and had a talk about black metal, atmosphere and the struggles & freedoms of being a one-man band.

– Hello Tomas and welcome to Blessed Altar Zine, nice to have you here!
–  Thank you, it’s a pleasure to take part in this.

Let’s start with the basics, tell us a bit about yourself and your musical journey.
– Like many others my journey started off with bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden etc. – but then very quickly I moved onto death, thrash, black and practically all genres of metal, punk and hardcore. After this my focus shifted towards ambient, post-rock, shoegaze and electronic music of all kinds. I’ve generally been messing around with instruments for a good couple of years now.

– So, how did your project MISERTUS get started?
–  Quite literally a friend of mine asked if I could write a blackgaze song, so I thought it was worth a shot, being quite a big fan of that type of music (whether you agree with the name of the genre or not…). I shared it to a few others and the response was good to say the least, so thought I’d continue writing similar songs while inspiration was fresh.

– The name MISERTUS comes from the latin “miserere”, right? Could you tell us something more about the name and what it means to you?
– Yes, it is in reference to the latin, or more specifically the past tense of the word which translates to “pitied” or “mourned.” I felt this reflected the overall feel of the project in terms of its sound, aesthetic and overall vibe. Being the past tense it’s possible that this state of lamentation has faded away, so because the music plays on the contrast between despair and hope, I thought it was very fitting to use it as a name.

– Is there a primary philosophy that’s behind MISERTUS’ music?
– I would say there is but it’s probably quite hard to put into words, as the titles are quite abstract and more reflective of the overall ‘sound’ than anything else. In a sense I suppose to create a sense of otherworldliness that identically resonates with the ideas, thoughts and feelings of the listener.

– Your first album “Daydream” is out now. How would you describe its sound and themes?
– An album of contradictions – abrasive, ugly & chaotic, yet strangely delicate, calm and poetic…

– Where does the title of the album come from? Would you call yourself a daydreamer?
– I felt that for an album of its type, it evoked a number of dreamlike qualities, and aesthetically worked really well with the bandname, titles, cover art etc. As for myself, sometimes yes, other times no…

– Which is your favourite track of the album and why?
– Probably tied between Waterfalls and Further. Waterfalls was the first song crafted for the project and really just exemplified what the project was all about. Further to me has always been the song that felt the most dreamlike of them all – and I’ve always been fond of music that takes you to these places of ‘the beyond’, so to speak.

– What would you say are the biggest musical inspirations behind the sound of the album?
– Biggest inspirations have to be Violet Cold, Sadness, Harakiri For The Sky, Seirom and Golden Ashes.
Immortal’s early releases as well for the more ‘traditional’ inspirations, not to forget Saor, Paysage d’Hiver, Alrakis, and Midnight Odyssey.

– Any other inspirations for your music that you want to share?
– In general, shoegaze bands like Westkust, Deafcult, The Depreciation Guild, Airs, Constants and many more. Electronic such as Gas, The Sight Below, Paradox, Front 242, Neon Indian. Other post-metal type bands like Jesu, Deftones and Vexes.

MISERTUS is all you. Does being a one-man project make the music easier to write? Would you say that it makes the music be more personal in the end?
– I felt that whilst writing, I was channelling within myself rather than making the material for any sort of target or purpose… so in a sense it inadvertently made it easier and more personal as a result.

– What are the challenges of being a one man-project and of releasing music independently?
– Having to make the time to sit down and focus on creating a song is a lot more time consuming than meeting up with a few of your friends and jamming it out. Luckily releasing music independently has become a lot easier in recent years, although it can still be a bit of a challenge getting your music heard by others – especially when touring isn’t an option.

– The first tag on your bandcamp page is “atmospheric black metal”. What does atmosphere mean to you?
– Ethereal transcendence that stimulates the mind and spirit more than anything else.

– Talking about atmosphere, the first thing that caught my attention when it comes to “Daydream” was the moody cover art. What does artwork mean to you and how did you end up choosing the cover art?
– I think artwork is pretty important when establishing a mood, although personally I don’t find it the be all end all for the enjoyment of every release.
The cover art was crafted to represent an idea of unreal and abnormal that exists concurrently with an otherwise real and natural scene.

– Black Metal as a genre can be ugly sometimes. Would you agree that the challenge of the genre lays in finding beauty buried in the ugliness?
– Part of the appeal of black metal and its subgenres to me is the idea of searching for melodies and harmony within abrasiveness and extremities. To me it’s not exactly a challenge, I personally believe beauty can be found through any medium of expression – no matter how disgusting it may seem at first glance or listen.

– What are in your opinion aspects of Black Metal that it can transport better than any other genre of music?
– Unlike more traditional metal-genres, I feel black metal in all of its forms is a lot more subtle in its craftsmanship. I’ve always enjoyed its approach to minimalism and how it’s more ‘sensory’, rather than bludgeoning you into oblivion. Not to say that I don’t appreciate that either…

– Thanks for all your answers, is there anything else you want to tell our readers?
– Thanks to all for the support so far, it means a lot to me to see people listening, enjoying and sharing MISERTUS all over the world, and if you haven’t listened yet – check it out, you know where to go!

– Thanks for taking the time to talk with us! Good luck with “Daydream” and the future of MISERTUS. I am looking forward to hearing more from this project!
– Thank you for getting in touch! There will definitely be more of MISERTUS to come in the near future!

Interview by the trve Medvson

If you’re interested in a more in-depth look at “Daydream”, I also wrote a review for the album that is also out now on the BAZ website. You can check it out here.

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