Carach Angren I think that if there is a soul, it is unknowable.""
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
Carach Angren have been creating sonic masterpieces since 2008. "Seregor" (vocals, guitars) and "Ardek" (keyboards, orchestration, backing vocals) have not only used multiple genres to create their sound but also languages to drive their concept themed albums.Carach Angren are a band that defy traditional Symphonic/Black metal descriptors, from their original hauntings of Lammendam in 2008 through to their latest juggernaut Franckensteina Strataemontanus, the band is unafraid to explore difficult themes that separates them from their peers and create not only pieces of music but whole bodies of cinematic work .
Ardek-‘’Personally I feel it is a nice challenge and I always want to create something meaningful. I also like to learn during the development of a new cd and these themes give us a great way to study and investigate things that interest us. For example for this record I took a couple of months to just read books and visit places connected to the topic, just to study and get inspired. That’s a great thing to do in my opinion. So in essence, it’s just an expression of who we are and what we want to do. I also like to “just” make music but I do that for myself or other projects but with Carach we like to undertake these huge amounts of work in order to create something completely new. ‘’
Frackenstenia Strataemontanus is another concept album. Do you find central themes easier to write than individual tracks?
‘’Yes definitely. Writing concept albums has become part of the identity of our band but initially I remember we started it because it gives you a direction to work towards. Instead of original songs we have an overall theme that glues everything together from music to lyrics and art. That being said, it’s not an easy thing at all. It’s an incredible amount of work, especially to fit everything together. You can’t for example just change the order of the songs on the album because that would mess up the story. Every time it’s like a puzzle we carefully put into place. You can’t really force that process either. It takes time and eventually we always get there.’’
The choice of Johann Conrad Dippel as subject matter?
‘’We wanted to do something with Frankenstein but were well aware that there already are countless references in pop culture. We didn’t want to “just” release an album about the original story because that would be uninteresting to us but also to the fans I guess. If we were going to do it I wanted to have an original angle. Then one night in 2017 I had a strange dream. I was sort of flying through a house that had classical ornaments throughout it. I heard strange dissonant piano tones and there was water flowing over the floor. Then suddenly I was pulled towards a painting that was standing in the middle of the room. The painting showed the image of an old man looking angry. Then I woke up. I wrote down what I dreamt and even made a little drawing and basically forgot about it. Then a couple of months later I was researching Frankenstein after reading the original novel by Mary Shelley. Then I found this theory that she might have gotten her inspiration from Dippel. I found a drawing of Dippel and it looked exactly like the man I saw in my dream haha. That’s where I got personally motivated. Who knows? Maybe his ghost reached out to us. “Make an album about me, make me immortal!” haha.
Anyway, I felt it could be fascinating to make the album about him or at least connected to him in several ways. To me it was like the story behind the story. ‘’
Do you think soul transference is possible? And to create Dippel's oil?
‘’Personally I think that if there is a soul, it is unknowable. It is not a thing “no - thing”. So the idea to transfer something from point A to point B is a material process applied to something that I think is beyond the material or knowable realm. We could even bring quantum physics into play here but maybe that reaches too far. I think the idea of the existence of a soul and wanting to transfer it is interesting and marks the time Dippel was living in. He was basically between the world of alchemy on one side and evolving rational science on the other side. So in his endeavours you encounter the combination of both worlds basically. In this day and age we would laugh about the idea, yet we talk about brain transplantation as a possibility. From quantum physics that idea could be declared useless as well. So all these inventions and experiments are in themselves a symptom of culture. I was recently reading some fascinating material by Meister Eckhart who was a monk from the late Dark Ages. He refers mostly in his works to God but you can replace god with “universe” or “super intelligence” whichever you prefer. The way he thinks and writes is beyond anything I’ve read so far. imagine, this is 800 years ago. It’s not for everyone and you have sort of look beyond the religious language but it points to that realm that is ultimately “unknowable” but maybe we encounter it?
Does a concept influence the music or is it the other way around?
''It’s like an eclectic process. Sometimes we already have pieces of music that fit with the concept we come to think of but I think 80% is created with the concept in mind. It doesn’t have to be the full detailed story but more like a feeling or a mood. For example, when I read the original novel I wrote “Sewn for Solitude”. As that was the overall feeling I got from reading the book; sadness. So usually the whole thing develops step by step.''
How do you choose a subject matter? You are well versed in literature?
''It can be an idea that Seregor or I have. Usually it’s something we have encountered in a book or film. Seregor is the movie watcher and I tend to read more books. We always have to have a strong feeling connected to the theme else we won’t do it. Because writing these albums is a lot of work, the theme needs to be something that pulls us constantly. If that is not the case, the work is useless. ''
Do you hope it inspire s people to read about your subject matter?
''Well I hope that people get excited about it and yes if they like then there is the possibility to read about the topics, watch movies and basically dive deeply into it. Just the way we did in the creation of the album. I think that art should always somehow inspire you. Not do to the same thing but at least speak to your imagination. Maybe someone gets a great idea after hearing our album, that would be cool. But in essence this is music that you can also just enjoy without looking into it more deeply. ''
A you comfortable with being labelled horror metal? Your subject matter is often quite serious and informative?
Sure, I think it is the best overall tag out there. At the end of the day it’s just a sign post. I hope that if people know us, they forget about any genres or tags and just “know” the band.
Your use of multiple languages is for sonic use? Or part of the story process?
''It’s both I guess. This story dictated the use of the German language and since Seregor speaks it rather fluently it was a no brainer. Sonically it creates something really special like for example in the song “Der Vampir von Nürnberg”. We try to not overdo it. There is a balance for all these things. That’s why sometimes we don’t feel like doing it at all. It’s more a feeling, an instinct during the creative process. ''
The symphonic metal component add a epic visual feel. Almost a painting not just an album?
''Thank you. That’s great to hear. I hope a lot of people experience that. I always feel and try to indeed create a movie in people’s head trough the musical parts. It’s important to grab your attention. Especially when you want people to listen through the whole album. That’s for example why we started this album (like previous albums) with a rather innocent but grandiose piece including narration. It sets the tone for darker things to come. ''
Performance art rather than just music?
In a way yes, because artwork, live shows, they all contribute to the experience. However, in essence it is still mostly about Music.
There are no limits to your music from Black metal to German industrial. Is there any style that is off limits?
Probably haha. I don’t even know how some of the stuff is called that is out there right now. I don’t even know if it’s music haha. Maybe that is performance art or I’m getting old.
Anyway, we probably stick to the more metal and darker stuff to begin with:)
Is it a conscious effort to make every release unique or organic?
''Yes, we don’t want to repeat ourselves but also not throw away things that make up our sonic identity. It’s a delicate balance and the more albums we put out the more creative you have to be. I sometimes read comments from fans on the internet and it’s fascinating to see how some people think we just repeated ourselves and others feel we have gone to far. I think as long as we have those extremes we are good haha. ''
How do you feel the band has grown since 2008?
''Incredibly on all levels. If I look at my own development. I have grown incredibly as a composer. The development never ends, that’s one of the most important things to always keep in mind. We also have grown immensely as a live band. We just got more experience by playing hundreds of shows and organically created a very energetic performance. ''
Carach Angren has a devoted following are you flattered by all the love you get with fan pages etc.?
''Yes, we never take it for granted and it’s really something special. It’s a privilege to be able to do this and offer this music and art to the world and get all the nice response back!''
How would you describe Carach Angren to the initiated? After they recover that is?
''A band that creates sonic and visual horror stories in your mind that will never let you go.''
What draws you to extreme music?
''The freedom of creativity. Also there is an iminent “reality” to extreme music. I always get this sense of “being at home” when I listen to it. Because it offers so many musical things I like and can’t find in other music. ''
Your favourite Carach Angren composition of all time?
''That’s so difficult to chose. I think I would go for “The Ghost of Raynham Hall” because it marks the beginning of everything that has come after. ''
Your inspiration? Books? Films? Art?
''I love Lars von Trier movies (Antichrist, Breaking the Waves). I also like to read spiritual and philosophical books. I read most books by Friedrich Nietzsche. Right now I’m dissecting works by Mr. Eckhart. Art I tend to be drawn to Van Gogh. ''
Your top 6 albums of all time?
It constantly changes!!!