Friday, September 21, 2012

Interview with Crow of Lord Lovidicus



Andrew: You just released a new EP, titled "When The Mountain Falls."  Is there anything you can tell us about these new tracks?
Crow: The tracks off the new EP were actually recorded back in the winter of 2011 - 2012. I was originally intending to complete a full album, yet I got sidetracked with my Jotun project. Initially there was a concept to the album; it had a story line and everything about a two headed giant that destroys a village in the mountains and one man escapes where he travels through the nearby forests and finds a sorcerer to aid him. There was more, but that's about as far as the songs go. I decided to finally release it as an EP to signal the return of Lord Lovidicus after a year of inactivity.
Andrew: On the topic of Jotun, though it is not dungeon synth, I imagine a lot of fans of the genre would have an interest in it. I personally find it a bit hard to describe, possibly avant-garde dance music? Could you explain the general concept behind that project?
Crow: I would say the genre of Jotun would be Norse themed electronic/techno music. Although I like the idea of avant-garde because it is pretty innovative. I could see elements of dance music in it, but I didn't really intend them. I'll just say let people decide what the genre is. Anyways, Jotun was more of an escape from the same old Dungeon Synth that I had been writing constantly for almost the past 3 years. I wanted to explore new areas of musical creativity. I think it was a greatly beneficial experience and now, returning to Lord Lovidicus, I believe future releases will be exceptionally improved. Another contributing reason as to why I started up Jotun was because I hadn't incorporated Norse Mythology into my music, and at the time I was listening to a lot of chip tune music, which seems to be a growing techno genre from indie games such as Minecraft (and I play that game addictively). In effect, Jotun has become primarily popular with Minecraft videos on YouTube, especially with my good friend Xisumavoid who did write very nice "Dungeon Synth-esque" music under the name Soulside Eclipse. His project was actually an influence to my early Lord Lovidicus releases, and is definitely worth a listen.
Andrew: Wow, I was not aware of Soulside Eclipse, but giving it a quick listen now, the "Forgotten Conquests" album seems like it's definitely dungeon synth, certainly fitting for the list. The recommendation is much appreciated.
There seems to be a clear nod to RPGs with your project, since "Lord Lovidicus" itself refers to a character from an elder scrolls game.  Would you cite video game music as being a strong influence on your work? 
Crow: Surprisingly, video game music is not a direct influence of Lord Lovidicus. I think on the "Journey to Beleriend" EP there was one song that was directly influenced from Morrowind, but other than that I can only say video game music influences me indirectly. Although, I would say that RPG's in general inspire me, such as the Elder Scrolls series and various 90's and early 2000's games such as Legend of Zelda or Diablo II. However, some of the biggest influences for LL come from books, not video games. The Lord of the Rings series was a huge influence, and I constantly read from the Edda's about Norse Mythology. Musically, the big influences would be Burzum, Summoning, and Mortiis. Especially Mortiis. My friends and I would play Dungeons and Dragons and the background music was always "The Song of a Long and Forgotten Ghost." There is really so much that inspires me, it's hard to put it all into words.
Andrew: What is your usual composition process?  Also what kind of synths do you use?
Crow: When I compose a song I usually have a general idea of the theme beforehand. So I question myself, is this song going to be dark and dungeon like, ambient and ethereal, or adventurous? Once I have a main theme I go straight to recording merely off a whim. This is mainly to get the ideas flowing. I'll record various melodies of synths, then I'll decide which should belong where. I usually like to begin with string synths. It just has a nice generic tone to base everything off of, and from there I branch off each melody with various sounds such as trumpets, timpani drums, tambourines, reed flutes, fiddles, etc. I don't try to limit myself on which sounds to use, although I do discern between which sounds are perfect for LL, and others that most definitely are not. I never name songs before making them, and I think most people can agree that would be an idiotic thing to do, especially if the song just engenders itself before your eyes. After giving it a few listens the name comes, eventually.
Andrew: What kind of keyboard do you use, assuming you're using a physical instrument rather than softsynths?
Crow: I almost always use my Yamaha keyboard (YPT - 220). It has a nice selection of MIDI sounds, I think it's a total of 350. I used to have an old Casio which was used from Windbuchen to Daulu Burz Ishi. When I'm not using my keyboard, I occasionally record acoustic or electric guitar and sometimes use various percussion instruments.
Andrew: What are your thoughts on the naivet√© and simplicity in dungeon synth?  Is it important to remain self-taught, and perhaps even "ignorant" musically (by common, modern standards of course), or can intentional minimalism by a "learned" musician still reach that same primitive charm?  And then which of those two categories would you describe yourself as?  
Crow: I don't even think being musically learned or not has anything to do with it. It is more of a philosophical ideal; the notion of simplicity. Although, you can most definitely tell when one is musically learned or not by the sound of their music. I wouldn't consider unlearned musicians bad. They are actually more interesting to hear because of how abstract their composition styles may tend to be. For example, I have a schizophrenic friend who knows nothing about formal musical composition, yet he writes very complex electronic music with abnormal musical modes and time signatures. I would describe myself along the lines as a learned musician, as I have been playing piano since the age of seven and can recite rather difficult classical pieces. I know a good deal of music theory and can read sheet music, a skill that many modern day musicians seem to neglect, which of course is not necessarily a bad thing. However, even though I have the ability to write complex music with fluctuating arpeggios or 7/4 time signatures, why do I keep it simple? It is because simplicity is the fundamental basis of everything. Why write a novel when you can condense those emotions into a single verse of poetry? Simplicity is bliss and leaves so much room for imagination.
Andrew: Being an artist who has so far released all of your material as online downloads, how do you personally feel about the internet in relation to this genre?  Should we still be championing physical music when possible?
Crow: The internet has always been a large part of my life. I don't think there is a day when I pass up the chance to go on my computer. Without the internet, I do not think LL would've nearly gotten as much recognition as it has now. I believe the internet has a similar effect to many new artists, especially in this genre. Perhaps in the 90's and early 2000's, CD's were the preferred medium of musical listening, however, with the advent of the MP3 player and internet file sharing I can easily see old means of musical devices being phased out. A lot of people still love and cherish CD's, Cassette tapes, Vinyl, etc. Personally, I do not care by which means I hear music, nor the quality. The way I see it, the internet is extremely convenient when it comes to circulating music. That's mainly the reason why there are still no physical releases for LL yet. It's convenient for me and it's convenient for my listeners.
Andrew: What is your relation with modern society?  Do you bear any animosity toward it, or is the escapism of your music solely out of a love for fantasy?
Crow: Concerning my avid use of the internet, I find it extremely hard to relate with our society. I can see this being a problem for many others as well considering the social ineptitude correlating with use of technological devices. Although there are more pressing and ethical reasons as to why I am detached from society. I feel as though society has become soft; too innocent. There are outrageous laws of censorship, piracy is a joke, religious peoples around the world become too easily offended, the list could go on forever, yet I take the nihilistic approach and watch in apathetic contempt. Let their folly reckoning be their demise. I'll standby and observe as the Earth burns asunder. Both the love of fantasy and the escapism of my music are my way of fleeing the everyday trivial problems of man. It is to take me to a time, ancient and long forgotten, where I can be at peace with seas of azure, rolling moors, emerald forests, and dungeons of yore.
Andrew: What mindset do you feel is best for listening to dungeon synth, and particularly your music?  Do you find the atmospheres are the most powerful when focusing upon visualization, just daydreaming with it as background music, or maybe even listening as one goes to sleep?
Crow: Personally, the mindset that suits dungeon synth for me is surrealism, or detachment from reality. My mindset while listening to this genre is one that wants to escape the world for a little while and explore lands of creativity. Visualization and imagery are very powerful for me. There are certain associative thoughts that go along with all my music and music I listen to in general. That is probably why listening to this type of music while going to bed is amazing. It gives the chance for you to close your eyes and let the sounds and melodies take you to mystical realms. It certainly makes good background music as well. I guess it really depends on what you like, but I can definitely say imagery is big for me.
Andrew: Do you have any future plans for Lord Lovidicus?
Crow: At the moment I am working on ideas for the next album. I have not recorded anything yet, and unfortunately production may be slow. The only reason for this is because I am in college at the moment which grants me limited time for recording. On top of this, I have been experiencing technical difficulties. I just bought a new headset and whenever I place the mic near my keyboard's speakers it creates this annoying background static. I have no idea how I would fix that physically, yet I've been trying to locate the frequency produced so I can equalize it out, haha. Once I get past that barrier I'll probably start recording some songs.
Andrew: I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my questions. Do you have any final things you'd like to add?
Crow: I'd like to say thanks for the interview; it has been a real pleasure and a great opportunity for me. Best of luck to your blog and all other dungeon synth artists out there. This genre is a true gem.

The albums of both Lord Lovidicus and Jotun can be downloaded for free here: http://www.youtube.com/user/CrowHavenBM

2 comments:

  1. I was thinking about suggesting a review with Lord Lovidicus when I heard the new EP when it was released... so this was a great surprise! I love the new logo.

    Jotun's first album ended up being one of my most listened to album's over the summer. I will potentially be doing a write up of it on my own blog in the future. You should check it out, Andrew, the reverence you treat the music you love on your blog was certainly an influence on the creation of my own. Perhaps you will like some of the music there as well. http://borealisle.blogspot.com/

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  2. Yeah, I've been really enjoying Jotun as well, very unique and catchy stuff. Your blog seems to cover some really interesting music and is elegantly written so far, so I'll definitely be keeping up with it. Thanks for letting me know.

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