Let me introduce a new guest of this blog, the Dutch black metal band Wilds Forlorn represented by Yuri Theuns, who describes his solo project (which started in 2008) as follows: Originally, the intention was for the music to contain only piano works, but the project eventually took a different turn. It is sort of a vessel for me to express myself. Music, in this way, helps me to convey what words alone are not sufficient to express. I have decided for myself that I do not want to make any money with my music, which is why I have always distributed it for free online and intend give away every last cent I make from any CD sales.
Welcome Yuri! Let’s start from a very distinctive feature of your project. You’ve declared that “I have decided for myself that I do not want to make any money with my music”. Can you explain the reason of this unusual choice?
Well, first of all, thank you for taking an interest in Wilds Forlorn. As for the question, the thing is, I have everything I need to do the recordings and have them sound more or less the way I intend them to, so I don’t have to pay for studio time and I don’t do gigs, so I don’t have any costs in that department either. Given that, I could only profit from any sales, but I don’t really want more money. That’s why I figured I could just donate all the money I earn from any sales to charities such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). I have more than I need as it is—a warm house, an abundance of food readily available, all these electric devices I only need because I participate in this consumerist society; and society constantly encourages people to believe they need more things. I’ve always had this funny feeling that there was something strange about this and as I grew up, that feeling sort of turned into a severe loathing, knowing full well that I myself participate in it. Sorry for the long winded answer, by the way, but this feeling is pretty much at the basis of Wilds Forlorn. It’s where a lot of my (self-)loathing, frustration, anger, hatred, despair and newfound obsession with asceticism came from.
In addition, you’ve chosen to take a different path from the majority of the metal bands around: your band profile is no longer active on any social network and all the news related to your project are available only on a single blog. Did you want to stand out above most average? Don’t you fear you’re going to lose part of your audience?
This may sound strange, but to be honest, I’ve never really given that much thought. I still have to get used to the idea that some people actually appreciate what I do. When I started with this project, it was just a means to express some feelings and melodies I had in my mind and I never intended or even expected anyone to even remotely care apart from some good friends. The funny thing is that even back then, when I honestly thought no one really cared about my shit, I already had a MySpace page up and maintained the blog on it. I guess that was just vanity at the time; or a cry for attention, looking for someone to hear what I had to say but no one I knew personally really cared about.
How does your current label Obscure Abhorrence productions deal with the choices you’ve made?
Surprisingly well, actually! I think it’s a pretty commendable thing of Andreas (the owner of the label) to be so cooperative with all of it. I should note, though, that I never signed any contract or anything. OAP simply released the EP and agreed to release the new album as well. I understand that when I am giving away music for free on the internet, that does take away some incentive for a label to invest money in producing CDs, although downloading probably isn’t really harmful to the underground black metal scene. I still buy CDs, many of which I never would have even known about if it wasn’t for blogs offering them to the world. I did propose to record two bonus tracks for the We, the Damned CD release, to give some incentive for investing money in it. One track is an unfinished track that simply didn’t make it onto the regular version because I couldn’t verbalize how I felt about it and I felt it shouldn’t be an instrumental track; the other will probably be a partially rewritten re-recording of an older track.
Will they be available sooner or later also online or it’s just a special content reserved for the fans who’ll buy the CD?
The bonus tracks will only end up on the CD.
You’ve just released your fourth production, We, the Damned. Do you think it’s a good representation of your thoughts and ideas?
Well, back when I wrote An Ode, that was a good representation of my thoughts and ideas. Since then, my misanthropy has been replaced by sort of a lament for the state of existence in its entirety. I don’t really hate people anymore. Pointing fingers is as pointless as it is inaccurate. Some things have always stuck, though. The title track on An Ode was about world-weariness, which has been recurring element in every release so far. We, the Damned is very centered on what it means to exist and what an existential crisis can do to you, more so than any of the previous works. I guess it’s the first album where nature and wilderness don’t really play a big role in the music, although I still have that longing to break away from this society and retreat into the wilds, stronger than ever.
We, the Damned has been published two years after Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes EP. Why have you waited that long? Was it a free or forced choice?
It just took me that long to write and record the material. I’ve put more work in this last album than I’ve ever done before, because I noticed that there are people who actually appreciate the music and I felt that maybe it would be worth it to put the extra effort into it. Also, my head has been a complete mess for about two years now, so that wasn’t helpful either.
How does a Wilds Forlorn track come to life? What inspires you?
That’s a difficult question.. It usually starts with a melody in my head, or sometimes a full composition. I often record myself humming the main melodies and themes I hear in my head and from thereon try to recreate it with synths, piano and guitar. From that point on, I usually just hear how the music should progress till the end of the piece and flesh it all out with accompanying melodies and stuff. A lot of ideas usually pop up as I go along. Before a song is finished, I always just know what it is about, even before I have any lyrics. Every song has a different “colour”. I guess most of my inspiration comes from my general outlook on life. As for musical inspiration, I’ve been asked whether Agalloch are a big inspiration to me. They are, but not really as directly as, for example, Ludovico Einaudi, Walknut, Altar of Plagues and Arvo Pärt.
According to you, will Wilds Forlorn ever play live?
No. To have the music sound even remotely the way I intend it to, it would take six or seven people to play some parts and just one for other parts. Also, the thought of playing shows on a regular basis just doesn’t appeal to me.
Which are your future projects?
There’s a faint possibility of a future split release with 1774, a dark ambient/neoclassical project, and a three-way split with Omninihilist and Evagatio Mentis (both of which have next to no internet presence yet, because they’re more or less just getting started and haven’t released anything).
Apart from that, I’ve been involved with several other projects, such as Morna, a thrashy, melodic metal band that has been put on hold for some time now, Ascese, a droning, minimalist black metal project that pretty much exists only in my head as of yet, and lastly, a yet-to-be-named atmospheric/doom metal band.
Our interview is now coming to its end. I wish you all the best for your career and future releases. Do you want to add something more?
Thank you for your time. Sorry for blathering on so much. Brevity isn’t one of my strong points. The Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes CD release is now available at Obscure Abhorrence Production’s webshop and will soon be available from me as well, once I have the money to buy stamps and such to actually be able to send out the CDs. All the proceeds will go to the IUCN.
Wilds Forlorn, We, the Damned (2012)
After two years of radio silence, the Dutch black metal Wilds Forlorn is back with its fourth full-length, We, the Damned.
Yuri Theuns, Wilds Forlorn’s unique member and talented multi-instrumentalist, easily incorporates a variety of different elements into his music, making it more compelling and precious. In fact, despite most of its tracks are longer than 7 minutes, We, the Damned is very enjoyable and fascinating album, in which it’s immediately clear we’re not simply dealing with black metal. Mr. Theuns has the great ability to create tracks which fluently switch from elegant synths (Traces) and slow piano intro (or a whole modern classical sounding song, like Path of Sorrows) to some more aggressive passages, in which Yuri’s powerful vocals stand out, well supported by the guitar, surprisingly not so persistent as expected for being a black metal album. A single listen to the title-track We, the Damned, eventually ending with some unexpected clean vocals, can make the listener perfectly understand what this one man band is all about.
An exceptional release confirming Yuri’s talent to create something more than just ‘black metal’. I recommend it.
Reviewed by Akaah
2. Path of Sorrows
3. Renouncing the World
4. We, the Damned