Carrion’s Hide Tepes guides ReGen on a tour through his own personal hell with his latest album about to be released in a revised edition via Brutal Resonance Records.
An InterView with Hide Tepes of Carrion
By Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)
Founded by the enigmatic Hide Tepes in 2014, Carrion has undergone quite the evolution in a few short years. Incorporating elements of industrialized rock and metal with the noisier sonic density of more experimental sound design and modular synthesis, with just a dash of black majick, the band immerses listeners in an audient void of bleak atmospheres and lyrical nihilism that leaves no room for comfort or escape. With the new lineup consisting of Tepes with fellow noisemaker Sam Dusk and bassist/guitarist Joe Crow of Vanity Kills, the group’s August 2020 release of Testament ov the Exiled solidified this esoteric musical approach to such gruesome degrees that Brutal Resonance Records will be issuing a Revised Edition of the album on January 18, adding remixes, alternate versions, and a new track to expand on the record’s original fury. As 2020 drew to a close, Hide Tepes took some time to speak with ReGen Magazine about the evolution of Carrion to culminate in this new record, with some insights into his creative methods and the strange dark world he has created for his listeners.
Your latest album, Testament ov the Exiled is now being re-released via Brutal Resonance early this year with an additional track and four remixes. First of all, what prompted you to reissue the album so soon after its initial release?
Secondly, was the new track ‘Dogs ov Hell’ written during the same sessions, or after the album was completed? In what ways does the song thematically connect with the original 10-track album? Is there a lyrical/narrative progression that continues in the song?
Were there other tracks – either completed or not – that were considered for the re-release? What was the thought process behind the inclusion of the remixes? Are they just bonuses, or was there a greater story for them to be part of the revised edition?
The new album arrived one year after Iconoclasm; what has been the most difficult part in maintaining this prolific pace?
Tepes: This is truly my life. Ever since I started my very first bands more than 10 years back, I’ve consistently worked to make sure that I can spend as much of my life doing this as possible and as a result, not being forced to take part in what most people refer to as ‘the real world.’ I’ve built my own world – this is my temple and it has very high walls. I intend to stay within those walls as I have no interest in anything beyond their borders.
I’ve often heard from friends how I must be some sort of insane vampire type of being due to my work habits and lack of any kind of sleep. It’s as simple as that I know what I want, I always did, and I never had to wonder about what to do with this life. I know why I’m here, but due to various medical issues, I don’t necessarily know for how long I’m here, so I won’t waste my time.
The side effects of this or what can make it difficult sometimes is, of course, things like my relationships to other people might not always receive the attention they should due to my never ending quest. I can only hope that those very few people I would count as part of my circle will have some understanding towards my sense of urgency. I had an incident a while back in which I wasn’t able to create at all and it drove me insane. I know a lot of artists these days like to say things like that as a way to maybe show their passion, but believe me when I say that if I don’t do this, if I don’t purge it, I will absolutely end up in an asylum… or worse. It’s not a matter of wanting to create; rather it’s a need to create. This isn’t a hobby. This isn’t for fun. This is a fucking war and a survival method.
The band lineup has also changed slightly, with guitarist/bassist XIII – who played on the album – now replaced by Joe Crow. First of all, would you tell us about why this change occurred, what necessitated XIII’s departure and how Crow came to be part of the new lineup?
In what ways does Crow’s style differ from his predecessor, and how do you feel it best complements the sound you’re trying to achieve with Carrion?
Since you are the primary composer, what is the process of writing/recording like, especially where Sam Dusk’s contributions are concerned? Do the two of you create sounds and effects together; how is each band member’s role determined in the creation of a song?
There are many disparate elements at play in Carrion’s music, especially on this album – dark ambient, noise, modular synthesis and sound design, and industrial/metal. Although all of these styles are inherently dark and atmospheric, what do you find to be the most challenging aspect in merging them in a way that creates a cohesive sound?
Tepes: I don’t know if we have a cohesive sound. I’m not sure if they’re still available, but our first few demos were much more electronic and almost EBM sounding. We’ve never been afraid of experimenting and have always lacked any kind of respect for remaining within a genre. That said, I come from the rock/metal scene. I think one of my earliest music memories is of a VHS tape with The Doors. I suppose the challenge of merging them all might come more from the use of modular synthesis, which is quite an experimental and ever evolving instrument. In a digital age when everything is on a grid and edited to perfection, it might not be that easy to allow for the existence of flaws, but this is part of why I write the way I do.
I think more than anything, I try to make sure that whatever I put out there is authentic and holds a sort of purity. If that means making some extremely avant-garde experimental thing, then so be it, so I don’t know if keeping things cohesive is much of a concern to me. I think that might relate to what I mentioned earlier regarding the difference between my writing style and Joe’s.
I’m not sure if this really answers your question, but the fact is that Carrion comes from a place of chaos and attempting to boil that down in a few sentences and essentially limiting what is inherently limitless is nearly an impossible task. I don’t analyze it too much; I let things come and speak as they wish.
You also have your side project, From The Mouth Öv Belial, which is more focused entirely on modular synthesis; with that being just one facet to the sound of Carrion, what determines how a piece will be used in which project?
Live music is in a great deal of turmoil due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Can you tell us how things are in Norway from your perspective, and what possibilities you foresee for live music to survive or evolve in the wake of the current situation?
Are there any plans to perform as Carrion in a livestream or otherwise live format at this time?
What sort of possibilities do you see for Carrion and other bands to use new and online technologies to keep music alive and maintain the excitement of audiences?
Tepes: Considering that we are currently spread across three countries and two continents, I doubt this would happen. I’d rather take this time to get things ready for when we can play onstage again, figure out how to make such a thing happen, etc. I have done some Oslo shows, however, doing improvised modular synth shows as part of various events and I may have a few more coming up shortly.
What’s next for you?
Tepes: As we’ve already established, I don’t have a pause button. I’ve already begun the next Carrion album – I have a title, artwork, and most of the music is nearly finished already. While I probably shouldn’t say too much yet, I can tell you that it won’t be Testament Part 2, just as how that wasn’t Iconoclasm Part 2. It follows some similar themes, and the underlying alchemical ideas that run through both albums will be found on the next one as well. It’ll be 100% modular based, making it the most electronic album since the early demos, but don’t expect some four-on-the-floor aggrotech EBM stuff. It’s fucking dark, it’s heavy, and it’s another leap away from the last one as I seem to do with each release.
Photography provided courtesy of Carrion