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German trio Eremit set their atmospheric Sludge/Doom in a world of their own devising. Luke talks to co-founder, multi-instrumentalist (and soon to be author) Mo Fabian about how the band and concept were born and have evolved.

Interview with Eremit.

Eremit: Pascal Sommer (guitars), Marco Baecker (drums), Moritz Fabian (guitars, vocals).

Greetings Mo. Thanks for taking some time to answer my questions. How is life over in Deutschland right now?

Hey there Luke. I am happy to answer your questions and always humbled by anyone having interest in our band. How life is in Germany right now? First thing that comes to my mind is a word I learned just yesterday: Chrysalism. It describes the warm feeling of being inside when it is storming outside and similar circumstances. I guess this might describes it pretty well. With a raging war in Europe, the dooming climate crisis, this feeling of Chrysalism comes to mind.

You are a band who play Doom Metal in a style that truly grips my attention. Lengthy tracks, sludged out riffs, plenty of atmosphere and a fair amount of droning ambience. Can you tell me how you, as a band, developed your sound? Was this always the plan from the start of Eremit, or has your sound progressed through time?

Everything is progressed through time. Ha, that's a perfect album title right there: "Progressed through time". Could be a Death (Band) album title haha. But to your questions: yes definitely. We as humans, just as our art progresses with time. We did start Eremit with the intention to make slow doom music. Kalle and I had been in Death Metal bands before. I had just moved back to my hometown Osnabrück after studying in Brunswick for a couple of years where I was active in straight edge Hardcore bands as well as a Doom duo called Dragged. Kalle had a jam-project with Marco for roughly a year when I joined them. I initially was looking for a more sludge-ier vibe even. But the vastness and atmosphere just happened and was a perfect addition to what was about to unfold.

You have songs locking in at over twenty minutes, and some even breaching the half hour mark. How do you manage to hold your concentration for songs this size? Can you explain the process of piecing together these epic tracks?

I think for me personally it's not really about concentration. I'd rather say it's about "being" in the song. Walking through it. The riffs, the words, the places and story that is being told in this song, this chapter of our lore. So technically our songs are long, but also live out of repetition. Therefore, one might think it's easy to have a 20+ minute song that basically consist of one riff. You still have to know where you are, and what little change comes next. But overall, our music is utterly organic. We write them organically; we rehearse them organically and also perform them in this way. We don't write our songs in some program at the computer and have such files send to other bandmates. Figuratively speaking I see our songs as weirdly growing mushrooms coming from a much larger body of life invisible to humans below the surface. Compared to, for example, a 3- minute death metal song that is written and created in a program and rehearsed with "click", which would figuratively speaking be a concrete building for me. A planned, analyzed, and architecturally produced art product. Both are absolutely fine as they are. Both have their places. I am just expressing this to showcase how we operate and how strongly I feel that this organic way, is the only way that will ever work for us in this band.

Am I right in thinking that all of your bodies of work to date focus solely on your own mythological realm? Can you tell me about this Realm? How was it created? Does this mean that each album is another chapter in the same story?

Yes to all those questions. Eremit solely exists in its own mythological realm. Each song is a chapter in an ongoing story that is separated in cycles. Right now, we are in the middle of the first cycle which will come to an end with next year's Eremit III.Every cover artwork, every T-Shirt design, every sticker or poster you'll ever see is inherently coming from this story. Eremit IS the story. We as band originate from it. The realm came to life, you guessed it already, .. organically. We did not plan to have a mythologically based band. We did not plan having a 400+ page book accompany our records. It started with me writing lyrics for the very first song (Dry Land). I was inspired by the movie "Water World" from where the term "Dry Land" came to me. I started writing about a sole individuum living on an endless ocean. He was even born on the water. He never had seen solid ground, never saw Dry Land. These were only myths to him. Yet his parents had told him so much about it, and how he "belongs" there originally. So, this ambivalence between living your whole life on this ocean, being utterly interwoven with it, yet still "knowing" you belong somewhere completely different, intrigued me and started this mythological journey for me. After I had started working on the lyrics for Dry Land it just felt wrong to sing about something completely different in the next song. So, one day I showed up at our rehearsal and asked the others if they would be cool with it, if I would write a cohesive story throughout all our first record. They liked the idea. I stuck with it and so every song became a chapter in an ongoing story. I then started to write an actual book beside the band in where I explore the whole story and realm in way more depths than I could ever do in these song lyrics. This world is ever growing and I am planning to have the first cycle being completed as a book alongside our third full length record coming in 2023.

Large parts of your music are instrumental. Within these vast passages of melody, how do you try to convey the continuing story? Do these parts denote a certain aspect of the story? (In my head they could signify a travelling sequence)

The storyline, the world, is represented by all our music. The lyrics are just one part of it. Sticking to Dry Land as a good example here: The song is portraying the vast ocean. The endlessness of waves. A lifetime on sea. The song consists out of one riff that just changes slidely throughout the whole song. The riff goes back and forth just like waves. Endless waves that go below you as you travel this ocean on your own vessel. So yes, when there is a black metal-esk blast beat part, or a long atmospheric part, they do portray our story just as the actual lyrics of a song.

Eremit - 'Bearer of Many Names' (Full album, 2021):

The artwork adorning each of your releases are some of the very best I've seen. Who is the artist responsible for these masterpieces and what kind of direction were they given by the band? How happy with the artwork are you so far?

I am glad you like our artwork so much. We take great care of our visual aspect as it is another important layer of our lore. Yet this is a saddening topic for us right now. Mariusz Lewandowski, a polish painter who did our full-length record covers till this point, pasted away recently. This was a shock for us and we still are deeply saddened by his sudden passing. He was a great human to work with and we are forever honored to have him visualize aspects of our world. Yet he was just about to start painting our third album cover as he passed. We are now forced to look for someone else to end our first album cycle (consisting of three full length records).

From 'Carrier of Weight' through your 'Desert of Ghouls' EP, and onwards to 'Bearer of many Names', how do you feel that your sound, your songwriting skills and your musical craftsmanship have developed and progressed?

That is an interesting question. And one that might be difficult to answer as we are so deeply interwoven with our creation that it is hard for us to take a step back and watch it from afar. For me personally I grew closer to the band, the songs, everything with time. When we started writing songs the story was not existing and came with time. Now that there is a novel sized lore already existing as a fertile ground on which we are building up on, I personally think we have improved in our craftmanship to create music as well as lore. Yet, if you are asking about musical craftmanship in a technical sense, we are not a band driven by craftmanship in the sense of talents of playing our instruments. At least that's how I see it. I wouldn't say I became a better guitarist over the years. That's not what this band is about. I am not interested in such technicalities. I am here for the artistic expression and the philosophy coming with it.

When can we expect the next chapter in the ongoing Eremit saga? Can you divulge any information as to what people can expect next from you?

We hope to be able to release Eremit III, our third full length record, and final record within our first story cycle next year, 2023. We planned to have it out this year which unfortunately didn't work out. I don't think I can truly "divulge" anything here. I love mystery and surprise way too much haha. What I can say is that besides Eremit III, we hope to be able to pull up a proper tour next year. Hopefully bringing us to (European) countries we haven't been to. We are also working on rereleasing records of ours, as vinyl (and also CDs soon) are sold out worldwide. We are actually working hard on having our back catalogue available in physical form for fans and friends old and new.

This year you released a live offering from a 2019 show that performed. Sadly I've never had the chance to experience your live show. Can you tell me what an Eremit stage show entails? Also, any plans to come over to the UK?

Live shows are an important part for us as a band. I guess for the whole doom sludge and drone genre live shows are the way to feel the physicality of the riffs and drones. The physical impact on your body is just an essential part to that. We definitely have been influenced by Sunn O))) when it comes to our live shows. Sunn O))) is the most impactful live band I personally have seen, ever. We do also use a lot of dense fog to create an atmosphere of inescapability to re-focus on the own perception of the music. When you lose the visual sense, it's no longer about us as musicians, all of a sudden it's only you and the music. Yet you're not at home on your coach with perfectly balanced audio and volume, but in a small club with the ground shaking beneath you. We try to produce this inescapability with sound and the usage of fog. We try to produce a dense and intense live experience. And it's the same for us as musicians. We go through these songs, these lands we paint with our music that night. We feel joy, but also pain. Togetherness, and loneliness. Ambivalence in two directions. On stage and off stage. Lastly it comes down to being "Together in this." We are experiencing the show just as everyone else. If anyone feels something, gets something from our performance; something truly unique to him or herself, that's what we would want and could only hope for.

A question I like to ask most bands I interview, what local bands or labels to yourselves are worthy of more attention? Who are you digging from your local area?

There is a lot going on in our area, I think. I see a lot of bands, passionate people putting work and love into the scene and their craft; founding bands, releasing records, putting up shows. A first recommendation would be “Spid Acid”. They are an awesome feminist hardcore punk band. Then there is Minenfeld and Prehistoric War Cult, two gruesome anti-war death metal bands from around here. Also check Kellerassel Records. A diy label run by a friend of mine who also had released a tape of a band I am involved with called θουθ.

That’s all I have for you. Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions. The last words I shall leave to you.

Thank you for your interest in Eremit. We don’t take such for granted. Together in this. Drei Gleichen.

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Visit the Eremit bandpage.

Interviewed on 2022-10-16 by Luke Hayhurst.
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