Tryst Arcane - Sun Of Other Days
Tryst Arcane represent a beautiful memory, a longing dream, lush stunningly beautiful soundscapes that do not require percussion to build their own unique crescendo. The result is art the creates an evocative emotional response yet it is not without its darkness . The duo of Alexia (vocals) and Julian (keys) are the perfect partnership of haunting keys complimented by ethereal vocals. Nostalgic with a touch of melancholy the result is a sonic experience unlike no other. A Continuing evolution of their dark beauty.
Julian: In 2015, my wife Alexia and I decided to merge our musical backgrounds and form a new duo called Tryst Arcane. We both share a passion for dark and beautiful things, such as mysterious naked trees on a wintery night or the eerie and inviting sound of a sleeping forest.
We both have a background in the metal scene. I am a founding member of Frenzy Mono and Nomad Son, and Alexia was a founding member of Memento Nostri. She has also featured as a guest singer on various metal albums such as Sacro Sanctus, Martyrium, Sahhar, Draugûl and Niket.
Our union in music was a natural process. It all started with a handful of bare, haunting melodies that Alexia had recorded on her mobile phone. I begged her to pass them on to me, and I let these melodies inspire me to create suitable musical passages and convert them into songs. In some cases, I was also inspired by Alexia's moving lyrics.
Eventually, these efforts all came together to form our first release, AUTUMN, which was released in 2019.
The concept behind your new album Sun of Other Days and its Maltese Summer?
Julian: The concept for the album "Sun of Other Days" began with a conversation with our friend Emanuel Portelli. He mentioned some guitar melodies that he had written that didn't fit any of his bands, but he felt that they reminded him of Tryst Arcane's recently released EP, "Autumn."
We were happy to listen to his guitar melodies, and we were both immediately intrigued by their intricate, delicate, and dark sound. Emanuel's melodies inspired Alexia with a Mediterranean yet dark feeling. She developed this feeling into a concept based on a nostalgic summer memory from our childhood in our native country, Malta.
Is it one of the most beautiful places on earth?
Julian: Thank you Sparky, I will take that as a compliment for our mother island Malta :-) Especially in our childhood years (myself being born in 1976), Malta carries a lot of charm, history, sun, and mystery.
Did the isolation of the pandemic allow for such introspection and inspiration?
Julian: The pandemic period was a creative time for us. We were at the writing stage of our album "Sun of Other Days," and I decided to invest time in taking music production courses. After completing the courses, I felt confident enough to test my skills on a single that Tryst Arcane was about to release, "Spiral Meandering." We were both happy with the outcome, so I took on the responsibility of mixing and mastering "Sun of Other Days" (I was already recording all of Tryst Arcane's releases).
Of course, before the production process, I created the song structures for "Sun of Other Days" and created new sounds on my synths to complement the moods we were after. Alexia was in the meantime creating her own magic with the lyrics and melodies for the album and assisting me with the production.
The partnership you have with Emanuel Portelli and how it has become a vital part of Sun of Other Days’?
Julian: As I mentioned before, Emanuel Portelli's guitar melodies were the foundation of this album. Alexia and I built the album around his magic, but it wasn't easy. I had to scratch my head a few times, wondering what instruments and soundscapes would best complement his work.
The beauty that is Lura and its haunting melody. The decision to use your native language? Is it something you will pursue further with topics that are deeply personal?’
Alexia: LURA is the only song on the album "Sun of Other Days" that is sung entirely in Maltese. It serves as an outro to the album, continuing the central narrative of an otherworldly journey stemming from remembrance and longing. Although Maltese is a language spoken by only about 500,000 people, we are open to the possibility of using our native language again in the future. The positive response we have received from all over the world has encouraged us, and we are pleasantly surprised by how LURA has transcended language barriers.
How do you intertwine melodies so? Is it a feeling and natural progression of where your emotions take you?
Julian: As I have hinted earlier, in some instances, I have created soundscapes and moods that are inspired from Alexia’s melodies. Other times, I am guided by Alexia’s lyrics to inspire me to create a new sound on my synths, and that new sound will naturally guide me to create melodies (most probably never happy melodies ;-))
The importance of memory and sometimes the joy that it sometimes brings along with Fil-vojt li ħallejt warajk (The void you left behind?) and sorrow?
Alexia: You're very perceptive, Sparky. We all have memories, and many of our fondest memories can be bittersweet, tinged with loss and nostalgia. For Julian, Emanuel, and me, these coastlines hold cherished memories, and we find joy and comfort in them. The album "Sun of Other Days" revolves around these beautiful memories.
LURA, on the other hand, is a tribute to the memory of those who have passed away. It expresses the deep desire to meet them again by traveling through time and space, like a magical journey with the hope of reliving the moments that are now only stored in our memories. I wrote the lyrics for this song with Luciano Schembri, a good friend who also lost a sibling too soon.
The theme of death is a universal one, and it has been explored in many different ways throughout history. The pain of separation is a universal experience, and so the theme of our album resonates with people all over the world. While our album's theme may bring solace to some, we also encourage listeners to live in the present moment with mindfulness. Rather than just remembering the past and paying homage to those who have passed away, we hope that this song will also encourage people to appreciate their loved ones while they are still alive.
Your lyricism is honest yet subtle. Is music the cathartic, therapeutic process to shed light on the things most important to you?
Alexia: All our emotions and baggage of experiences have been channelled to create music that sincerely comes from deep within our core and it reaches those who need it most. Most of our songs are invariably imbued with a sense of mystical serenity, which on various occasions we were happy to hear that it helped to overcome dark moments of pain or alleviate great sadness. We are honoured by all this positive feedback, and we feel that through the music we create, we’ve found a higher purpose and the motivation to keep creating this magic.
The classical notations with your music and the ability to create dynamics without the use of percussion? Was this a conscious decision or just not needed?
Julian: I and also Alexia come from a classically trained musical background, so this comes naturally for us. To be honest, we never really defined beforehand what Tryst Arcane music should sound like, we just let our natural emotions and experiences do their work, out through our music. Regarding the lack of percussion, it was a combined decision, as we were after something simple, to just be ‘us’ in our music, as minimal as possible.
Is individuality more important than conformity?
Julian: Tying up to my description on the previous question, Tryst Arcane’s music is a naturally born product, it was not specifically engineered / planned beforehand. So, it is definitely not intended to conform in any way, as it is our ‘child’. It resembles both of us, yet it is not exactly us. Hence its individuality.
Is music the deliverance from the normal and the way to allow utter freedom of expression when society does not?
Julian: That is exactly how we feel about Tryst Arcane’s music. It is the channel where we can pour our emotions and expression, total freedom in creation, without being careful to stick to the norm, to stick to a particular style or genre.
Should music remain undefinable? Your music is incredible real yet intangible what should the listener feel when experiencing Tryst Arcane?
Julian: We believe that when writing music, it is important for the artist to feel free to move away from conformity and never lose sight of the real purpose of creating music. The pressure of society confines many artists to be untrue to their core principles and do what gets fast success. Music creation of our likes is not going to be hitting the charts or rave the dancefloors, but it will find a place in the hearts of a niche audience who feel the honesty that is within it and absorb what they need at that moment from it.
What is next for the project?
Julian: New Tryst Arcane work is already taking shape, and let me tell you, we are loving where this is going…
Top 6 albums of all time?
Believe it or not, this is where we come from, and most probably it will leave you with more questions than answers ;-)
Julian: Emerson Lake and Palmer’s - Brain Salad Surgery,
Supertramp’s - Breakfast in America,
Black Sabbath’s - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Alexia: Satyricon’s - Live at the Opera,
Haggard’s -Eppur Si Muove,
Darkher’s - Realms
Credits for TRYST ARCANE’s Sun of Other Days
Composed and arranged by Julian Grech, based on Emanuel Portelli's guitar melodies.
Keys: Julian Grech
Guitar: Emanuel Portelli
Vocals: Alexia Baldacchino
Lyrics: Alexia Baldacchino (MakabrAl) except LURA: Alexia Baldacchino (MakabrAl) & Luciano Schembri
Album Cover Photography by Charlo Pisani
Lura Photography: Alexia Baldacchino (MakabrAl)