Jan 2021 08

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?

Tepes: We’ve been doing things the D.I.Y. way from day one and I never really saw myself working with any label due to the various stories I’ve heard from friends and acquaintances. However, Brutal Resonance has been a consistent source of support and they seem to understand our ways, so I put my worries aside; one might say the stars aligned as I had already played around with the idea of a special edition release. The remixes were done long before the label got involved; they were supposed to be included with one of the two single releases, but for various reasons, that didn’t come to fruition.
‘Dogs ov Hell’ was written during the twilight hours, a time when I’m rarely awake. I mostly come alive at night. I was just playing around with sound with no particular goal in mind and stumbled upon something I began building onto. Lyrically, the song related most to ‘Untill the Reaper Comes,’ which has another similarity to the bonus track as it’s one of the heavier, more metal influenced tracks on the album. ‘Untill the Reaper Comes’ may be one of the more human songs I’ve written – it’s me purging my anger and a fucking death wish towards all of mankind. ‘Dogs ov Hell’ comes from the same place, so I kind of see the two songs as belonging together. It might not come across like this to anyone else, but I feel like ‘Untill the Reaper Comes’ shows that tiny dying shred of hope, while on ‘Dogs ov Hell’ it’s dead and gone and just accepting it for what it is and letting the mouth of Hell open beneath you and swallow you whole with a sense of triumph and victory.

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?

Tepes: I did originally work on a different song intended to be part of the bonus content. I might use it one day as I liked the direction it was going; it was quite different from anything else we’ve done, but without straying too far. With hindsight, I can see that it was heavily influenced by the Norwegian band Seigmen as far as some of the guitar work and vocals are concerned.
The remixes are all provided by friends of mine. I could easily hire some well known artists in hopes to attract people based on that; however, I tend to be quite vocal about supporting the underground, local scenes, and generally smaller acts, so I reached out to some of my friends who I’ve collaborated with in the past in order to let each of their individual styles color within the lines I drew. Actually, Eddie LaFlash from Decent News who did one of the remixes also provided some guest vocals on the album for the song ‘Putting Tape Over Martyrs Mouths.’ I actually got in touch with him through having a Carrion track featured on a compilation album released by Brutal Resonance where Decent News had a track too, so I suppose it has come full circle in many ways.

 

 

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?

Tepes: It wasn’t an easy decision, I’ll tell you that right away. This was someone who has been involved with Carrion for many years to varying degrees, but the simple fact is that not everyone is cut out for this shit. I need people who bear a similar flame inside as myself. Joe is a bandleader – he’s the only consistent member of Vanity Kills just as my role in this band, so he understands what is required of him. We’ve collaborated a bit here and there through the years and we share a love and a passion for the parts of music and art in general that I think we both feel is a bit lost these days. His approach to writing is different from mine – he says he writes pop songs. I’m not sure I agree, but I see what he means. He once pointed out the lack of structure in Carrion songs where rather than your typical verse-chorus-verse-bridge styling, it’s got a more serpentine way to it, to use his words.
He’s someone who can provide in a variety of areas, but as far as music and creativity is concerned, he’s able to add something that I might not have been able to see myself due to being so close to it. I suppose it’s that ‘Can’t see the forest for the trees’ type of thing. I’m definitely happy with this incarnation of the band and hope to keep it for a long time.

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?

Tepes: There isn’t necessarily a formula. I might be the founder and front man, but I don’t repress or deny anyone else’s suggestion or contribution. Sam has been around for longer than I can remember, but not in any official capacity until fairly recently. He might send me a collection of sounds that I’ll insert into whatever I’m working on or hear something in those sounds that I decide to build onto and create something new based around what could be just a few seconds of audio material.
I don’t direct him or anyone as far as what to do; I always intended for this to be a band as opposed to a one man act with hired guns. We have similar interests, and he seems to have a deeper understanding of the underlying themes and elements that envelopes this group; as a result, he’s able to see, hear, and find things that work for us without my written instruction.
We like to keep things very open. If there’s something I’m for whatever reason unable to do but Sam or Joe might be able to, then they’ll do it. There are no limits in that sense as serving the ego is the furthest thing from our minds. Our only concern is to do what needs to be done regardless of who does what.

 

 

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?

Tepes: FTMÖB is fully improvised. Everything released under that moniker or through my Patreon is all one-take recordings, no overdubs or editing, whereas with Carrion, I may record in a slightly more traditional manner in comparison. Modular synthesis allows for entering quite avant-garde areas and I needed an outlet for that where I don’t have to worry about how to recreate it on the stage and rather let things flow and go wherever it may go. I find this manner of working to be a sort of aural therapy. I might not always be conscious of it, but my emotional and mental state at the time will surely color the sound to some extent. Instrumental music can often express things that are beyond words.
My modular system is my confessional booth. It’s where I purge my joy, anger, depression, and anything else.

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?

Tepes: As I live fairly isolated regardless of what goes on in the world, this isn’t the easiest to answer. I haven’t noticed much of a change and haven’t had to adjust my lifestyle at all really.
I think we’re doing okay – it could be better, of course, and we’ve had a second wave recently, although this was predicted. I think a positive thing to come from all this, however, is that since the live music scene is fairly dead for the time being and streaming has become more and more popular, it has allowed for smaller bands to be seen in ways they may otherwise not be able.
The fact is that if you join any band as a support act, you may have to pay the headliner a hefty amount and not everyone is able to do that. Not everyone lives in cities that have any active scenes at all and these are the artists who I think might benefit the most from the current situation as bizarre as it may sound that anyone benefits from all this. I hope that’s something that can continue in the future even when we’re able to step on the stage again.

 

 

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.
 

 

Carrion
Facebook, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, YouTube
Brutal Resonance/Brutal Resonance Records
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp

 

Photography provided courtesy of Carrion

 

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