Astral Ruin - ''I believe that our higher consciousness is connected with all living things''
Elizabeth (all instruments /vocals) ‘’I spent a long time coming up with band names. I had already written three songs for the project plus lyrics by the time I decided upon Astral Ruin. I knew I wanted something that reflected the spiritual undertones of the lyrics. I also knew I wanted something to reflect the dark, cold atmosphere of the album. Hence, Astral Ruin. To me, it is the withering spirit of living in a time that wasn’t meant for you. I don’t belong in this cruel capitalist world, and my spirit yearns.
Your first demo was recorded in extreme circumstances?
‘’Yes. I had just moved to Portland and been kicked out of my apartment. I wrote the songs while sleeping out of my car working a shit job at Amazon pulling 10-hour days. But I was so fucking happy. I was 21, first time out on my own, and first time I had a future. Before living in Portland, I lived-in small-town Alabama. It was hell for me because at the time, I was in the closet (I am trans). It had been my dream to live in Portland since I was 14 and discovered Agalloch lol.
The decision to create raw atmospheric black metal.
‘’Very conscious. I always have an idea of what kind of project I want to start before I begin the song writing process. My goal was to eventually be able to play live. I knew I wanted the songs to have simple, minimalist song structures while taking full advantage of having two guitars, and I wanted the atmosphere to be dark, but not evil.
‘’I think people are afraid of dark energy, but it’s something we must confront in ourselves to become stronger. People who confuse the two have a superficial understanding of what darkness is. I think the biggest difference is that the former can be a constructive, positive force if used right, whereas the latter is well, evil
‘’This path I Lead Astray’’ is a reference to when I was homeless, it was a very humbling and spiritual experience for me. I had to think about how I was going to bathe myself, where do I sleep for the night. I felt like I was pioneering new grounds for myself. I felt very connected to my ancestors. That was the path I led astray.
Are you a product of your surroundings?
‘’I would say I am influenced by my environment, for the better or worse. I think moving to Portland and coming out has broadened my perspective and instilled so much confidence in me and you can hear it in my music. And I wouldn’t describe myself as an activist, but I am an anarcho-communist. My thoughts and beliefs are informed by my own experiences and following my gut. I am not a particularly politically educated person, but I believe in fighting for what’s right.
Abandon Eden is a comparison to the death of mother earth and that of religion? are they connected?
‘’Yes, I believe that our higher consciousness is connected with all living things, and this is why we feel empathy, grieve, etc. The isolationism that comes with capitalism is intentional spiritual warfare. It goes completely against human intuition, and that’s by design.
Your new track Primordial Path is tonally different to your demo material?
‘’The Primordial Path is an ode to my love of nature. It’s a song for the romantics, like myself. I can’t guarantee a more positive direction for the project, but there has to be light for there to be darkness.
‘'My main inspiration for song writing comes from myself and my peers, tbh. I think as an artist, that’s a much more sustainable source of inspiration than trying to imitate someone else’s sound. My own desire to cover new musical territory and master my craft inspires me to create.
The perception of underlying racism in USBM?
‘’Tbh it’s hard to answer because even though I am aware of the rise of fascism in the US, it’s news to me that a lot of USBM bands are NSBM or adjacent. As far as the current state of black metal, I focus only my attention on artists that I know are against NSBM or at least relatively clean. I don’t go looking for shit in the toilet.
‘’That being said, it doesn’t surprise me that the rest of the world has this perception.
Is it just a few idiots looking for attention?
‘’I think it’s safe to say that in black metal, being an idiot has ALWAYS gotten people attention.’’
Is extreme music the only outlet for your expression?
‘’So far. I’m not sure I have any interest writing music outside of extreme metal but who knows what the future waits.
Plans for the future?
My plans are to continue releasing music as unmixed/unmastered tracks. I am trying to put together a live band, but I might have to put that on hold for some time. Eventually I want to release a professionally recorded full length, but that may be after some time.
The greatest 6 albums of all time?
I’ll have to get back to you on this one