I managed to get hold of the enigmatic and wonderful Mark Erskine in the midst of his sketching and manifesting his latest pieces of art for ‘Erskine Designs’ for a chat and talk about him as a man as well as an esoteric mystery. But art is not his only passion he is also a very talented musician and has Multiple bands and projects most notably his solo projects Temple Of Demigod‘ and Valeholm. Here is what he had to say to my invasive and friendly interrogation.
When did your ‘musical journey’ start?
I believe it was back in 2012-2013, back then I wasn’t making any music myself, but I was playing in my brother’s band Blood Covenant, which I left due to the change of my beliefs and overall view on the world. I got a lot of experience with them which I am very thankful for, we’re still friends and I respect them. Right after I left Blood Covenant I wanted to create something that belonged to me, so I started the project called Ghoulchapel with my friend Ando, in 2013. And then it all went up the hill from there, with
my other projects like Temple Of Demigod, Valeholm, and some other small projects. In 2017 I joined Ildaruni, so the journey continues!
How did you come into doing Art for bands as a profession?
At first I was just doing it for fun, I was looking at other people’s artworks and telling myself – I Wanna do it too! And I didn’t even notice how it became my main job, I just dipped into this world and let the flow
carry me. I would have never thought I’d be doing artworks for a living, the fact that I’ve worked with so many bands is still unbelievable for me, and I still have a lot to accomplish, a lot to learn.
Gear!? what’s your noise makers of choice and studio set up?
I’m currently using Ibanez Iron Label RGDIX 6 MRW and Solar GC2.6C. As for my home studio I don’t have that much of a gear, just a pair of Presonus Eris E5 studio monitors, Komplete Audio 6 interface and MXL 990 mic. That’s all! 🙂
How has the changing face of the industry affected you through your experience as musician and an artist?
I don’t think it really did; I’d I’m still influenced by the classics! But this doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the modern and new face of the industry, I just like the oldies more! Call me an old fart but that’s the way I am, when it comes to getting inspiration and writing music.
How strong is the Armenian metal scene over the past few decades?
Well, it was pretty strong up until 2015-2016. We had lots of different bands, lots of enthusiastic people, lots of gigs, but today it’s not the same unfortunately, I don’t know what’s the real reason, everyone seems to live their normal life I guess, and only few bands trying to keep the flame alive. I really hope it will become stronger in the upcoming years!
I can’t not mention this so I apologize if it appears insensitive. How did the invasion a by Azerbaijan during a global pandemic affect you while recording multiple albums and continuing your business?
I’ve lost several friends in this war, and it affected every single one of us, war is the most fucked up thing that can happen and I pray for every one of you to never hear a sound of a rocket above your roof. I wish we all could live in peace; the whole world needs union and peace. I continued to record music right after the war ended, because I couldn’t concentrate on other things during those nightmarish times. I was still working on my art though, because bills.
Can you tell me anything new about the upcoming records you have in production for Temple Of Demigod, Valehom and Ildaruni?
All I can say about the upcoming Temple Of Demigod – I’m working on it with all my passion. The story behind this record is about one person who’s stuck in his dreams, jumping from one dream to another, encountering different Lovecraftian deities. I still don’t know when it’s coming out, since It’s still in the writing process. And regarding Valeholm and Ildaruni, both albums coming this year, Ildaruni in March, Valeholm a bit later this year, unfortunately I can’t reveal more so we should wait for the official
statements from the labels! 🙂
Lastly, what are your all-time favourite bands/records and their art? and how they affected you a musician and artist?
I’ll just name a few that impacted my life more than others, some of my all-time favourite bands are Emperor with all their albums, Dissection, also all their albums, Dimmu Borgir up until their 2007’s “In Sorte Diaboli, I still enjoy their newer music but for me their early stuff is where it’s at, I also really love Naglfar, Mgla, Cradle Of Filth, Anorexia Nervosa, all these bands had a great impact on my musical career and have been a huge inspiration for years. And let me mention Dissection’s artworks are some of the best ever, Necrolord is one of my favourite artists and a big inspiration as well!
I also love me some nu-metal and alternative metal, I grew up listening to Korn, SOAD, Limp Bizkit, Dark New Day, Slipknot, so yeah, wouldn’t say my musical taste is limited, I can enjoy anything, if it’s actually good!
By Kieran Scott
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