Interview With Artach (Sruthán) (Guitar, Bass)

Greetings from Metalheads Forever Magazine, I’m Keith Clement the editorial head, how are you guys doing?

Doing well, thanks! Love the name of your magazine, because we are indeed metalheads forever! Anyone who “grows out of it” was never metal, to begin with!!

On June 25, 2021, you have scheduled to release your second album “Sworn To Avenge” can you tell me a bit about the songwriting and production behind this album?

The songwriting is always ongoing. It’s the reason I play guitar, to constantly come up with riffs and ideas. So the songs on Sworn to Avenge represent what we felt were the best ones that we came up with after the release of our first album, Chronicles of a Black Winter, and the present day. It clocks in at 65 mins, so we used a lot, but there were 2-3 that we didn’t use. We produced the album ourselves. The way we work is to typically hammer out a song at a time. After it’s draft-written we get together and jam out the ideas to determine the tempo and feel etc. Then we record it straight away while it’s raw and fresh. The drummer/vocalist, Fíochmhar, is the band’s producer and has the home studio where most of the songs are recorded and mixed. He records and mixes. I record my guitar tracks at home. For this album, we sought out the help of a professional for album mastering. We went with Fredrik Folkare (Necrophobic, Heartwind, Unleashed, Unanimated, etc.) at Chrome Studios. I love Necrophobic and the albums he’s worked on have sounded fantastic, so I knew his touch would improve the sound and I was right.

Can you tell me the concept set behind the album and the artwork of the cover?

The artwork was selected after the songs were penned. When I saw the piece by Jerome Comentale, it really represented some of the themes of the lyrics. Like “Winter’s End”…let the old ones sleep….etc..And the cloaked figure on the cover aesthetically is not far removed from our cloaked images from promo photos and video. So it was perfect. Not to mention it looks amazing!

The album in full is amazing black metal, with elements of chorus, great riffs and diversity a great addition to modern-day black metal, how as a band do you feel about the outcome?

Wow, thanks for the compliment! I’ve been playing and listening to metal for a long time and I wanted to write something that was clearly black metal but wasn’t just all blast beats – even tho they are a required element for me – and wasn’t monotone and boring. I wanted to capture elements of the origins of black metal with bands like Venom and Celtic Frost, but to incorporate influences from the 90’s to modern-day black metal bands that I love. Elements of blasting, aggression, melody, thrashy bits, doom, raw punk feel to maintain some kind of unhinged and unpolished honesty, etc…I think it’s a mishmash of a lot of those things. I think we’ve succeeded and made something that is not a carbon copy of any one band. But of course, that’s up to the listeners to determine.

Into The Frozen Woodland, is said to be based on the movie Into The Wild, a movie and book love by millions around the world, it teaches how the world is so shitty and how he wanted to get into the wilderness, although the character in the movie had a sad end to the story, but how was it in the song that you created, what is the storyline?

It’s not a re-telling of the book or movie, but it was the inspiration. Many of us outsiders who dislike many things about society find simplicity in nature. As such we can understand the main character’s desires to leave the corrupt world behind. And as you know, in the case of the story, he was unprepared and foolish. So while we can understand his motives, we also point out that it was a foolhardy thing to undertake. As well, being in a place with no electricity would suck because acoustic guitars are boring and it’s the electric buzzsaw, which rules! But sometimes one can put themselves into that mind when in nature alone and wandering into the frozen woodlands.

Talking about Endless Tundra, a 21 minutes song, no band does this long these days, its simply amazing to walk through the music and get mesmerized, thanks for that and how did you decide to make a long song, tell me your thought process behind the making?

You’re welcome! I tried to make it interesting and meander off into different thematic moments and return to the main themes while introducing new bits and pieces that fit. It took a couple of weeks to put together and I had to write out the structure as it was complicated. Fíochmhar is the one who proposed the idea. He said something like “we should have a long 20min epic song for the album because no one really does much of that”. He loves Opeth, and they have a lot of long songs. But when I wrote it, I didn’t have Opeth in mind at all. I just kept writing and adding more and more until I thought, this must be 20mins lol. Turned out it was just over 21mins.

Can you tell me how it all started for you?

I’ve been listening to a lot more black metal in recent years and had it in my head that it would be cool to show that side of my influences in a band sometime. When I heard Fíochmhar say something similar some time in 2019 I said to him, let’s try it out and write some music. We got together and in our first session we wrote and recorded the song “Eternal Black Winter”. It came easy and it kept going.

Being from the Foggiest, snowiest, dark weather land of Canada’s Newfoundland, how has life been for you, do you guys enjoy, did the weather influenced to bring the concepts of Dark Black metal in to your soul?

The weather here can be pretty grim for 6-8 months of the year. It’s often dreary and doomy weather so of course it impacts you in many ways and comes out in our lyrics. In many ways it’s imperceptible as this is where we live, who we are, so of course, the wilderness and weather is something that we love.

The World is going through changes, through devastation, man’s plundering effects on the planet, causing it to degrade, Climate change is happening as we all know, its time we all have to join hands to save the planet before its too late, what would be your thoughts to bring something as your lyrical focus is also on this, what would you like to say through your songs, and to the world on the situation?

Tuiteam an Duine” has a lot of statements about this, and from the previous album “When the Forest Ends” also does. Mankind’s greed and ignorance knows no end. There is hope, but there is also pessimism as sometimes I often feel we get what we deserve. We see the problems, we know what has to be done, but we push it down the road assuming it doesn’t matter because money is all that matters to some. As the great George Carlin once said, “the planet isn’t going anywhere, we are!” So we’re not preaching environmentalists, we’re just drawing attention to the sad state of the world and of how little humanity has really progressed.

What would be the plans for the band in the coming days?

We have a second lyric video that will be out by the time this interview is live. It’s for “She Gathers Leaves”. Then on the day of the album’s release, we will have a music video as well. We are hoping to get the word out and promote the album but we’re not standing still. We already have new songs we’re working on. As creativity and creating new music never ends.

How has the journey on music so far been for you both?

The journey for me has been one that has been a part of my life since I seriously got into music. From the moment I heard the power of the riff, I wanted to create my own. My motto has been “create don’t copy” – always write your own music, for yourself, even if no one listens to it or likes it, we do it because we must. Artach’s journey is still relatively new. We are onto our second album, but there is more to come. Life is short, so we must push forward and continue creating and hope that some like what we do.

Finally any message for the fans?

As mentioned, we are a new band, so we don’t yet have a big fan base. But for those who have joined the Artach horde, and for those new and just checking us out, we’d just like to say thanks for taking the time to listen to our insanity! The journey is just beginning.

Lastly, thanks to you Metalheads Forever for the great questions and chance to share our music and thoughts with your readers. | | YouTube | | Amazon | Spotify