Last year we featured a German drone/doom project called The Cold View, who had, at that point, recorded a five-song suite called Weeping Winter that could successfully leech all heat-potential from a newborn star and leave behind only frozen dust and brittle ash. Luckily for anyone still able to feel positive emotion after listening to Weeping Winter, The Cold View's mastermind didn't stop there. He has since recorded a bonus track for WW's physical release through Russian label GS Productions, as well as a new album called Wires of Woe, Ways of Waste through the Endless Winter record label. Beyond getting double the W's (quadruple-u?), you'll hear over an hour of new depressing darkness in the form of four new tracks (named, unsurprisingly, "Wires" and "Woe" and "Ways" and "Waste").
We caught up with A.A.S. again for an update on his project and his impressions of the new album. Develop your own impressions with a full stream from the Cold View Bandcamp site, and be sure to check out the Cold View official website. Maybe your loneliness won't feel so lonely.
The last album was winter-themed, and songs were actually written around the winter months. Last time we spoke you mentioned that you had another concept in mind for the follow up: is this the concept you developed into Wires of Woe, Ways of Waste?
Everything that I create with The Cold View, from music to artwork and to lyrics, is in some way interconnected. It is all part of a concept that is proceeding from record to record. This concept should get clearer with the second album Wires of Woe, Ways of Waste. But maybe it will not get comprehensible until the release of the third album - at least I hope it will come to a third album.
I do not want to reveal too much of the underlying concept. I do not want to make a huge affectation out of it and I want to leave it to the listener, if he or she wants to make some thoughts about my creations.
But for those interested I would like to give some hints. Just look at the album titles, the song titles, how stylistic devices get used, repeated, altered, enhanced and progressed. Or look at the themes and the point of view in the lyrics. This all should make some sense by considering the band name, that derives from a concept how to see the things in the world. This concept was popular in the intellectual avant-garde of the early 20th century for a short time and was fundamentally inspired by Nietzsche. The first album was written from an ego perspective dealing with the cold season and personal emotions connected with it. The second album takes a more neutral view and is dealing with the "coldness" in the modern world and society.
Musically the concept changed from using much more sequencer and synthesizer as on the debut album Weeping Winter to using much more guitars on the second album Wires of Woe, Ways of Waste. Many layers of guitars got arranged one upon the other. I made extensive use of acoustic guitar, that was recorded clean and re-amped afterwards. Many drones are based upon field recordings that got excessively manipulated. I did a lot of experimental sound creation. So I played synths through guitar amps or used guitar recordings for sequencers, to name just two examples.
Did you approach the writing or recording process for the new songs any differently than on Weeping Winter?
Of course I got more experience over the time so I could optimize the work-flow of the recording process. I also bought some better equipment and switched from 16Bit/44,1hz to a more professional 24Bit/88,2kHz recording quality. So there were some changes from the technical side.
The creative process in contrast did not change that much. I am always developing ideas in my mind and use them when I am writing some base compositions. The main creative work still happens while actively working on a song. The most experimental sounds and compositional refinements also get created while working on the song. The advantage of this approach is maximum freedom, spontaneity and also a higher involvement while recording. The disadvantage is that the outcome is not projectable in every case. I at least reject as many recordings as I retain.
As I said before, the compositions of the debut were mostly based on synths and sequencers. On the second album the compositions were mostly aligned to the guitars. Of course this had an impact on the process of composing and creating. Also the songs got much longer than on the debut. On both albums the song structures are far away from usual pop compositions and did change from record to record. Even though I intentionally wanted to create longer songs, the compositions on Wires of Woe, Ways of Waste needed a longer runtime to breathe and proceed.
Did the album turn out the way you first imagined it?
I am very happy with the result of the new album. Nevertheless there is always much room for improvement, from recording to composition to musical skills. And of course there is a gap between intention and result. The trick is to be aware of this mismatch of imagination and realization. I creatively use these shortcomings to create something that maybe gets different from what was intended, but in the end is satisfying and fitting well.
Your doom sound is much sparser than most other albums in that style. Why do you think this is?
I do not really know if everybody would agree that my doom sound is "sparser" than of others. In fact, I do think that my sound is different from other Funeral Doom albums. My songs are less melodic and rhythmically less varied. The reason for this is that my music is very influenced by Drone. That's why I actually think that I do not create music in a tight sense. I do judge myself as creative with sound. I am utilizing many effects and I am using the interferences of different track layers to shape sounds. So also the riffs are even more far away from the clearness of other records. To sum it up, my creations are strongly focused onto sound. Everyone who feels up to listen close enough will find many details. Good headphones or good speakers are mandatory.
How did you get hooked up with Endless Winter for this release?
As I did for the first album, I again wrote to a couple of smaller labels which are dedicated to Doom, Drone or Extreme Metal in general. I did not get a label for the first album, so I was very happy to have two labels interested into the second album. Endless Winter and GS Productions from Russia were interested and both left a good impression. The persons behind the labels do know each other and in the end we agreed that Endless Winter would do the second album and GS Productions the re-release of the debut including one bonus track. The guys are great people who are doing what they love and helped me to put my records into great physical releases. I have the impression that Russia is a country with a higher interest in Doom Metal and Funeral Doom than somewhere else. But also in Russia the Doom genre still is just a niche of Metal and extreme music, of course.
Are there any specific personal reasons you chose to explore "the loss of identity in the modern world, about the alienation which is born out of a technocratic material civilization" on the new album, or is this just a theme that happens to fit your music well?
Indeed I think that this theme fits to the music very well. And I think it is a theme that many people out there are familiar with. Personally it is something where I am concerned. The most people seem to be affected by it even more, independently if they know it or not. The theme also is part of the underlying concept of The Cold View. The first album is about the self, tortured by personal struggles and lost in nature. The second album deals with the isolated individual human existence, completely absorbed by consumption, technology and left in separation of nature. Even though my thoughts are not new, they may be not too common for the lyrics in Funeral Doom. This album and its perspective are the logical progression if you consider the concept of The Cold View.