Carline Van Roos: Music, Vocals, Instruments (guitar, bass, synth, drum programming) and lyrics is the talented evocative creator of Forest of Ember Skies, an atmospheric project that crosses as many boundaries as it does genres. It is unique to her other projects (Lethian Dreams, Aythis and Electra Lore etc ), full of rich vital soundscapes that are heavy, passionate and organic creations. After three singles a debut EP ''Alexithymia'' is set for imminent release.
‘’The project wasn't really planned and came naturally in the end of 2022, I wanted to ally some anger I felt at that particular moment and the need of being in nature to calm me. I was only actually jamming to relieve some stress. Music is my biggest therapy, I guess that is why I find myself composing in more music styles to be able to cover different emotions. I am thankful to be able to express myself this way.
It is very different from your other projects. Was it a conscious decision to create something unique?
‘’I think you can find elements of Forest Of Ember Skies in my other projects obviously, it is very atmospheric, and nature related. But still, I see it as being unique in itself. My state of mind is different when I compose for Forest of Ember Skies than in Lethian Dreams, Aythis or Remembrance. Forest of Ember Skies allows me to be more focused on the faster guitar and drums part while having a sound search that I love doing with my pedal board. That is why it sounds a bit shoegazey too, I use a lot of delay/reverb and can really clear my head doing this.
‘’Another reason is that I listen to a lot of atmospheric black metal/blackgaze, so it makes me want to compose it too. I like to have a place for each music creation, otherwise it becomes chaotic. I find it so frustrating to write a piece of music and then think oh damn, this is too constantly fast/blackey for Lethian Dreams and it doesn't fit in Aythis either, it's too uplifting for Remembrance, so where should it go...
The melancholy yet uplifting parts if your music? Is it important to have all the emotions of the human condition?
‘’Yes, you can't deeply relate to melancholy if you haven't had uplifting moments, that is why contrast is needed. Music is the best emotion vehicle, and you can only feel all those emotional ranges if you let music be your guide and surrender to it.
Your three singles are unique yet connected. Is there an overall concept in mind or just creative inspiration?
‘’I often need to imagine a place in nature when I write music and I always imagine a Forest with an Ember Sky above me when I compose for this project. I purposely use the same or similar effects between the songs to keep it smooth and harmonious.
The tangible atmosphere of Stay here With Me. Is it a unique love song?
‘’Thanks, I am really happy about the atmosphere too. I used it as well in the first song/intro of the EP. Alexithymia is an ambient version of Stay here with me.
‘’It is not really a love song, but I don't mind if it is felt this way. This world needs definitely more love and more music anyway.
‘’Actually, I started playing something on keyboard and got directly the melodies in my head and it felt so relieving, I guess I needed to release an emotion on that particular moment because I remember it was really intense, I had an adrenaline rush too. So, I thought I'd keep trying to translate that feeling and thought, but I turned it about a place or state that you want to stay forever in (which was happening at that very moment for me). Maybe an invitation to stay in this imaginary place/state with me, with whomever feels like joining.
Your new track Compass. A new favourite. It is very strong yet multi-dimensional.
‘’It's a song about being disappointed in humanity. In the world as it is now. We could be so much more, and we are reduced to being so superficial and dull, we humans. That why you can hear "are we lost" as the main lyric. Sometimes I feel there is not much to hold on to and the world could actually be a nice place to live in but most of the time it isn't.
‘’Thank you. I think this is a rather dark song if you compare it to Winter's Leaf and Stay Here with me. I think it actually is my favourite from these 3. The atmosphere is very dense, somehow threatening, like the sky is gonna fall on your head.
The importance of combining beauty within the melancholy?
‘’Melancholy, nostalgia are deep and beautiful feelings. To my eyes you can't have melancholy without beauty. They are indissociable.
Will there be an album?
‘’Yes! I needed a little time to answer your interview, (I apologize for it), but things have been moving a little bit. I am releasing the first EP as a solo project in one month. It is called Alexithymia, and it regroups the three singles, one new song and an alternative/instrumental version. A total of 37 minutes of music.
‘’I say " as a solo project" because a few weeks ago I announced that Jurre Timmer (Thurnin, I, Forlorn) will join me in Forest of Ember Skies on voice and acoustic guitar. It will be followed by our debut album.
What do you think about when you are creating? A thought, feeling, colours?
‘’I mostly improvise, feel, and let myself guide. I know that I will keep the song or part when I start hearing melodies, when landscapes and colours (indeed) start to appear. It feels like a meditative space. It is very strange thing with colours, colour tone variations often guide me to some other melodies and progressions. It is often my way of knowing if a part of a song fits with the next one.
As a solo project, does it allow you more freedom creatively and the time to perfect your vision?
‘’I do like working on my own. I have difficulties composing with others apart from a very few that I know share the same visions. Forest of Ember Skies is not a solo project anymore, Jurre Timmer will join me for our debut album on acoustic guitar, harsh vocals. We are a little bit busy with our other projects at the very moment, but we already got a glimpse of working together and I am confident we will make an excellent and interesting debut album.
It is a different kind if heavy to your other music...
‘’Yes, Forest of Ember Skies is heavier. I think some emotions heal better when the music is heavier.
Do you find it the only way to express yourself or do create in other mediums?
''I like making videos, I like photography, editing photos, but it is not the same for me as writing music. Music is special, sacred, the best therapy.
''Yes, the first EP, Alexithymia, will be out in a few weeks. Afterwards, Jurre and I will be working on our debut album and hope to release it in 2024. We will see more precisely then, but it would be nice to do some live shows too.
Top 6 albums if all time?
''Uh, that is such a difficult question. Especially as I haven't really kept myself updated as much as I would have wanted to. So, I'm sure I missed on a lot and have serious catch up to do. I can only answer what comes to my mind now. I am sure when this interview is sent, I will think of a more essential one I forgot to add.
Katatonia - Brave Murder Day
Rapture - Futile
Elend - Les Ténèbres du Dehors
Jeff Buckley - Grace
Alcest - Écailles de lune
Empyrium - Songs of Moors and Misty Fields