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"Following on from the most recent AGoD release, 'Between My Dead', alongside a number of collaborations, splits and - of course - several solo releases, it seemed an ideal moment to find out a little more about the man behind so many different ventures."

Interview with Abysmal Growls Of Despair.
"We get to hear a lot of releases featuring Hangsvart's distinctively cavernous vocals, first encountered in what is still the most prolific of his many projects: Abysmal Growls Of Despair. Following on from the most recent of those, 'Between My Dead', alongside a number of collaborations (such as Arrant Saudade), splits (such as with The Cold View) and - of course - several solo releases, it seemed an ideal moment to find out a little more about the man behind so many different ventures."

Today's interviewee: Aimeric, aka Hangsvart Growls.

(1) Greetings, Aimeric, and thanks for agreeing to be interviewed for Doom-Metal.com. Could we start with a formal introduction to our readers: who are you and where are you from?

I was born in 1991 and live now in the south of France.

I started to play music and write texts in 2007, after I was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

(2) We sometimes joke about you being the busiest man in Doom today, but that could well be true! How many different active bands and projects do you have at the moment?

Yes maybe, I'm involved in 6 one-man bands, 2 international bands as a growl singer, and 4 bands in my town (just two are really active, but the two others are not dead).

(3) And how do you keep them separate from each other? Do they each have a distinct purpose and genre - such as Catacombed for Drone works, Low Cave Sounds for Ambient/Field, Plagueprayer for horror Funeral Doom?

Exactly, each are different genres, and often have a different purpose.
AGoD is (ambient?) funeral doom.
Plagueprayer, as you said, Horror Funeral Doom, with the purpose of portraying witchery, middle age times, and with black screams added to the deep growls.
Caelum Natus Ex Mortuus is dark ambient.
Low Cave Sounds is drone ambient with only my dronebox for an instrument. Sometimes with growled voices.
Catacombed is drone doom, inspired by Sunn O))) and Earth, …
Ursus Horribilis is a mix between brutal death and doom. Other bands are with real people:
Ancient Lament is with my friend Borgion, it's funeral doom about ancient aliens coming to earth.
Arrant Saudade is with my mates Riccardo and Juan from Aphonic Threnody. It's more standard funeral doom, with lyrics sometimes about love, something I avoid in my other projects.

(4) Where does Abysmal Growls of Despair fit in? As the longest-running, it's skipped about quite a lot over different genres and directions already. Will it continue to do that in future?

I can't really answer 'cause I create what it comes to my mind. I have a new album done about Sumerian gods, quite different from the other albums again.

(5) We quite often see you on the forum, as well, offering all sorts of services as guest vocalist, lyricist, instrumentalist, or for mixing and mastering. How many other projects have you been involved with through these channels?

Thanks to doom-metal.com forum I've met Riccardo about Arrant Saudade.

But for the moment it's all.

(6) So, do you ever have time to do anything else except music?!

It's the opposite. Due to my sickness I can't work or do studies. And I'm not a social man. I'm alone the most of time. So must of my time is about music, writing, reading.

(7) In a more serious vein, what sort of musical background do you have? Were you formally trained in either theory or practice?

Since 2007 I've searched for a kind of music which can fit with my mind, I've found Funeral Doom and Drone. Before, I was not involved in music nor listened to any kind of music especially.

But I also listen to lots of neo folk, medieval, some blues or jazz, and other genres of metal as Death and Black. Ho and lots of Dark Ambient of course.

(8) Which different instruments do you play or use? Are there any particular favourite instruments or musical hardware that you already own? Any that you aspire to?

I've started with bass then guitar. But I don't really play anymore. I sometimes create music, but I don't know from other bands.

I've tried cello but I was in studies at this time and had to choose what to do. Now I play a Mongolian cello, and ancient flute from Tuva and West Mongolia.

I sing in overtone in different techniques, I don't know the English terms. In fact, two different techniques to do overtone, diphonic and harmonic, in high (as a flute) and bass tones (throat singing). My main growl is from Harmonic technique.

I use classical grunt too. And some extreme throat singing to do awful screams in high tones.

I want now to work essentially as a singer and lyricist.

And I'm a sound engineer too, using softwares and midi keyboard.

(9) Do you have any plans to expand either your personal musical repertoire or the scope of your bands? They're mostly within the dark and slow Ambient/Drone/Funeral area at the moment, sometimes more towards raw old-school Death Metal: could you consider producing something radically different?

No for the moment. As I live in darkness, my music will show this.

I've created some growl-reading album in french.

And one of my town bands is death metal.

(10) You told me once that you can actually see visions, at times, which are completely 'real' at the time and, to an extent, controllable. Are these always horrific in nature? How do you manage or deal with them?

I suffer from schizophrenia and have lots of Hallucinations. Since two years ago, I can control them sometimes and make them appear. But it's always horrific. As a second world of dead creatures, ghouls, gargoyle, dead babies, huge monsters, (when outside) strange clouds …

I have a medical treatement but the hallucinations are still there.

I have other symptoms too, but it's too complex to talk about that in english, depersonalization, derealization, autistic withdrawal.

And of course a huge depression.

(11) And how do you then go about transcribing those experiences into musical form?

I try to recreate the ambience I feel in these moments. It's why my music is atmospheric.

(12) Do you have inspirations for composition from other sources as well? Any other music or art, nature or philosophy that strongly influence you?

Yes I'm influenced by the middle ages, ancient times, witchery, demons, sumerian times, nature. I'm influenced by H.P. Lovecraft and S. Beckett.

(13) You've only been releasing albums for a comparatively short time, with AGoD's debut in 2013, but quickly acquired deals with several different Russian labels - Satanath, Frozen Light, GS Productions. There are plenty of French labels dealing in doom: how come you ended up talking to Russian distributors? And how has it been, working with them?

I've tried first with Le Crépuscule Du Soir, but the man behind that disappeared and never came back, no news from them.

And I love Russian doom bands, there are greats labels over there, so I decided to deal with Russians. And I'm really happy with them.

(14) A lot of your work has obviously been solo, but you've also been a full member of bands like Ancient Lament and Arrant Saudade. How different is it, working as part of a group, compared to being in sole command? Do you prefer one to the other?

I love both. I think I will more work as a singer now, and let my solo band aside, or create less alone. I have a new album ready for AGoD, which will be available around August. And two other ready for Plagueprayer. So I must wait for my labels before creating more. Only my dark ambient and drone haven't really labels, and some EP or album could be available.

Arrant Saudade - 'The Peace Of Solitude':

(15) Whether solo or with others, what do you consider to be the defining qualities of Doom, and how do you try to best express them in your contributions and/or music?

Doom is very wide. I'm in extreme doom. And for me it must have a deep voice, and a great atmosphere. Technical parts are not very important. For the feelings we have in listening are most important. And I think the same for every kind of music. I like the ambience and not the good technical elements of a huge endless solo.

But many elements can be added, other kind of voices and lots of instruments or sounds. Doom must be slow, overwhelming, bass tunes.

For me doom is not a genre which can talk about politics.

(16) Are there any projects where you feel you've accomplished this the best? What's the band and release you're happiest with so far?

I hope not, and I hope the next releases will be as good as the others. I'm really happy about Arrant Saudade, and the last AGoD album (Between My Dead). I'm also really happy about Ancient Lament, I find my mate really as uncommon as his music. And I can't wait for the next records (soon).

(17) What sort of feedback have you had from sources like the press or fans? Do you feel you get fair support, coverage and reviews, in general? Is there any that stands out as either particularly good or bad?

I've got only good feedback and I'm really glad with that. Great support from listeners. And lots of reviews and interviews in two years. I'm not a good commercial man, but lots of things happen on their own.

I've got only one really bad review.

(18) Do you have any ambition to perform live, either with one of the bands you're involved with, or by getting session musicians to back up one of your solo projects?

I would like to do live yes, but not from my solo project.

Why not Arrant Saudade one day? Or with my town's band Scorched Earth (death metal) where I'm singer, we think to go live this year.

And why not other projects, as one with two French mates, we have nothing finished, but we are working on dark ambient songs. We are in different cities, and we have each our own solo band. One will do the music, the other do the witch, and I will do the demon.

(19) Any other plans in the pipeline now? I'm sure you must have a few things intended for the next little while!

Yes, I have two albums with Plagueprayer which wait to be published. One with AGoD, and I've had a suggestion from one label to make a double album for my discography of AGoD, unreleased tracks and old albums.

With one mate we will do some cover of classical songs, lyrical singing and growl singing, but I don't know if we will publish the results.

(20) And is there a long-term vision behind your work? Do you have an idea where you want to be with these various projects - or others - a few years further down the line?

No. As in my life. I can't bear to be alive, but I will stay here until the ones who help me pass away.

(21) To close, I hope we've given you the chance to present a good picture of your work and involvement with the underground scene, but if there is anything you'd like to add, the last words are yours.

I do music 'cause I need it. I have no ambition to please everyone. I just create ambience I feel in my life. I'm not a good musician.

(-) Then allow me to thank you again for your time and the opportunity to talk with you. It has been a pleasure, and I'm sure we'll be hearing more from you soon!

Thanks to you for the request, I'm glad you find my work interesting enough for interview.

Click HERE to discuss this interview on the doom-metal forum.

Visit the Abysmal Growls Of Despair bandpage.

Interviewed on 2016-02-01 by Mike Liassides.
Rotten Copper
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