Jan 2024 13

Now signed to Metropolis and with a new album garnering considerable acclaim, ReGen digs into Kadri Sammel’s creative impulses behind Bedless Bones.
 

 

An InterView with Kadri Sammel of Bedless Bones

By Stitch Mayo (StitchM)

In the broad realm of darkwave and industrial, Kadri Sammel, the creative force behind Bedless Bones, emerges as a dynamic figure. Originating from Tallinn, Estonia, Sammel draws upon a rich and varied artistic background, crafting immersive, genre-defying music that effortlessly blends diverse elements and influences, resulting in a mesmerizing sonic experience. The journey began in 2019 with the impactful Sublime Malaise debut followed by the stellar 2021 release, Bending the Iron Bough. Now, having unveiled her third opus, Mire of Mercury, ReGen catches up with Sammel to delve into the intricate creative process behind this latest project.

 

First of all, how are you doing and how has your 2023 been? And how is your winter so far?

Sammel: I’m doing quite alright, thank you. This has been a year of release for me, in many senses of the word. I’ve released thoughts and patterns I was holding onto, and of course, released a new album as Bedless Bones (and reissued my debut album), and released a new album with my other band Forgotten Sunrise. We were pretty much snowed in here when it was only November, so it’ll likely be a long winter.

Can you share more about your journey in developing Bedless Bones as a solo project? How do you feel your background and artistic explorations photography influence your musical style?

Sammel: I don’t consider Bedless Bones to be ‘photographer music’ or something like that, but everything I inherently am and have been doing plays a part. Things I’ve learned and valued as a photographer also guide me in music, such as following my intuition and feelings and building a certain atmosphere.

 

 

The project blends a lot of the darker genres, from various industrial sounds, elements of darkwave, and everything noir. What’s your approach in the process of combining these diverse elements? From a production standpoint, do you have a favorite studio instrument, like a favored synth?

Sammel: I first create, and the pieces just fall together. Whenever I feel I need a level of depth to express, I tend to navigate towards more ambient, ritualistic sounds, and when I feel things get too soft or saccharine, I like to bring in an unexpected industrial element. Mostly, I just do whatever I feel like. I mostly use a DAW and software synths, but also samples and occasionally, I play and record an instrument too. I try not to get too attached to any specific synth to avoid falling into the comfort of repetition, but if I’m really stuck, I have Zebra2 and Massive that can always help me out.

Mire of Mercury is a vast and immersive album. It seems to become more arcane and ethereal in sound and theme towards the end as it progresses – there’s quite a palpable sense of being in touch with myth throughout. The title carries a certain intrigue too. Were there any particular stories that you found inspiration in for the album?

Sammel: The album was intentionally crafted to reveal itself, layer after layer, and make every chapter of the story relevant, leading into something new. It is meant to be like a myth you seem to remember from somewhere, but can’t exactly pinpoint where. I can actually imagine Mire of Mercury being expanded into a collection of short stories even. It’s an intriguing place indeed. It isn’t based on existing lore, though, except for ‘Tantalus.’

There’s some incredibly rich and intricate vocal styles and harmonies throughout the album and some brilliant complementary production techniques – ‘Tongue and Rhythm’ and ‘Tantalus’ spring to mind in particular. Can you delve into your approach to vocals?

Sammel: I’ve always been very drawn to layering vocals for Bedless. I often try to sing one harmony significantly higher than the lead voice, and one lower, sometimes even an octave up or down. I usually leave my natural tone as it is, and don’t change the pitch of the notes, sticking to minor corrections only. I dislike the overly modulated autotune sound, but occasionally, I have one down-tuned voice in the mix, which is sometimes mistaken for a male singer. That’s what’s going on in ‘Tantalus’ as well. The second half of the song sounds like I’m singing in another language, but I’ve just used samples of my vocal lines and created new melodies from them. ‘Tongue and Rhythm’ was initially supposed to feature a guest vocalist, whom I admire a lot, but unfortunately, she was eventually unable to do it, and so I sang all the parts myself, but having constructed the song beforehand with her in mind helped me to expand the approach for sure.

 

 

How do the songs from Mire of Mercury translate to a live performance setting? Are there any specific tracks that take on a new dimension when performed live? Any favorites to perform?

Sammel: The songs have been very easy to bring to the stage, possibly because the song structures are more logical and simple than on a lot of my previous tracks. ‘Dead Woman,’ ‘Litha,’ and ‘Solar Animus’ have all been very enjoyable to play live.

Do you have a favorite lyric or verse from the album that holds particular significance to you? If so, what inspired the writing of that specific piece?

Sammel: ‘Deal with chaos / deal with order’ – this makes me think of Kenneth Anger, whose films are endlessly inspiring. He passed this year. We have a sample of him talking about conquering chaos on Forgotten Sunrise’s song ‘Elukas,’ which is very dear to me. And on ‘Solar Animus’ – ‘You’re everything / But now I don’t want it.’ It’s a carefree and mischievous line that helps me to ward off whatever I’m sick of at the moment.

Can you name some artists or genres that have had a significant impact on shaping the musical direction of Bedless Bones? Any surprising ones that people may not expect, or even guilty pleasures?

Sammel: The underlying influences are always there in one way or the other as no art comes from a vacuum, but I try not to emulate someone else’s specific sound or essence when I create. I don’t feel like namedropping or pulling out any genre names these days; it’s being done for me in a sufficient amount.

 

 

Could you share with us five albums that have profoundly influenced and contributed to your musical journey?

Sammel: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Let Love In. Wovenhand – Mosaic. Enya – The Celts. Duke Ellington – Echoes of Harlem. Lingua Ignota – All Bitches Die.

How does Mire of Mercury fit into the broader trajectory of Bedless Bones, and do you have any plans or hints about future albums or projects?

Sammel: I’m very eager to write a new album. I’ve been holding myself back a bit to concentrate on other art forms, but I have a lot of ideas for the next step in music. Expect the unexpected.

 

Bedless Bones
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Metropolis Records
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Photography by Anders Melts – provided courtesy of Bedless Bones

 

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