...the Soil Bleeds Black
Exclusive interview for Russian Gothic Page & RockCity Magazine (by Stanislav Ivanoff).
The Soil Bleeds Black was conceived in the year 1992 as a project that focused on the experimental visions of twin brothers, Mark and Michael Riddick. Over years the concepts changed and varied as the brothers searched for an ending sound that could appropriately display their expression and talents. This evolution reached its finality in the year 1994, thus becoming a conclusive concept taking shape in a medieval folkloric fashion. Soon after a finite sound was established, Mark and Mike added Eugenia Houston to their ranks. Eugenia's vocal efforts contributed in the layering of sound and helped to provide a beautiful and more archaic atmosphere for the band. Essentially, The Soil Bleeds Black endeavour to convey an enchanting conglomeration of raw sound, middle age custom, and self expression through ancient allegory, alchemical tract, and their entourage of medieval instruments...culminating in an ancient sound of bold antiquity.
- Hello Michael. As your new album "Alchemie" was recently out we'd better talk mostly about it. But before discussing it, let me ask you a question, which had been disturbing me since I first heard you. Why did you, an American band, decide to devote your creative activity to the medieval Europe theme? What is the source of inspiration for creating such music?
"Your inquiry is well justified, as many are curious why we perform "European" music, though are located in America. I trust that our ultimate reason for delving into middle aged European themes was a result of our studies and wonders about older civilizations and history. Additionally, our fascination with fantasy themes as young children probably played a subtle role in our interest to "re-create" this style of music and sound, not too mention our intrigue with the art of the times. As we began performing this manner of dark age music, it evolved into a very strong medium for us to express ourselves, and thus it has continued taking shape and will do so in the future as well."
- "Alchemie" was released by a cult English dark-folk label World Serpent, which is in fact a natural reflection of your progression. Tell me please about your new album and its conception.
"We are very pleased to be working with David and World Serpent, as he has supported and realized our visions with precise accuracy. We feel very "at home" in league with his organization. Our latest album, "Alchemie", holds a more folk-based content in that we utilized more traditional instruments than synthetic ones on this recording. We sense that this is a great step for us musically, as we have challenged ourselves by learning and experimenting with new instruments and recording techniques. This latest release includes recordings that we have made over the past two years since our third album was completed. Initially, we had an entire different set of songs prepared for our fourth album, but we ended up discarding all of them in lieu of our latest works. We hope people will enjoy them and that their minds will set adrift to ancient times of medieval custom."
- What is the reason of abandoning a primal musical conception of synthesizer samples in favor of the live sounds?
"For the most part, I believe we were growing tired of the synthetic sounds we were creating. In some sense, I think we accomplished as much as we could utilizing that medium...hence, we wanted to branch out into a greater sense of authenticity and depth of conception. We are very satisfied with this adoption of new instrumentation. However, we have not abandoned our synthetic elements entirely, nor do I think we ever shall, as keyboards can play a powerful role in the nature of atmosphere and effect. We delight in the contrast of natural sound vs. imitation (or nature vs. technology...an older dark age relating to a new one)."
- In the song "Lapis Philosophorum" the merited representatives of Swedish label Cold Meat Industry Arcana take part. Tell us about your collaboration.
"Indeed, Peter of Arcana assisted us in a collaboration. We are good comrades with Peter and he has been a supporter of our sounds since our earliest beginnings. We often help each other out with various things. At one point in time we had considered the possibility of making a music project together, but it never occurred, though I think the end result can be found in this track, "Lapis Philosophorum." Peter created the arrangements for the track (under the inspiration of a traditional marching hymn), and we made some edits and some additions to the piece to finalize it. It worked out quite well and we are very appreciative of Peter's cameo on our album."
- Have any of you any side projects?
"We have many other musical projects, yes. In fact, we don't really consider any of our projects as "side projects" since we are inclined to consider all of them with utmost serious attention. Musically, we feel the need to express ourselves in a variety of climates and with a variety of instruments, for a variety of reasons. Below you shall find a listing of our current active projects we are involved in (either together or separately). Most of these have releases, either demonstration tapes or actual CD or LP editions..."
15 Delights of Dionysus (experimental ambient-industrial)
Yamatu (avant-garde okkult metal)
Illyna's Attic (gothic darkwave w/ Profane Grace)
Excrescent (death gore metal)
Equimanthorn (okkult ritual w/ Absu members)
MoonRoot (prog. fantasy rock w/ Proscriptor)
- What are your plans for the nearest future?
"Currently we are making final preparations for some songs that will appear on various "themed" compilation productions. Afterwards we hope to possibly prepare some songs for live presentations, but this is not certain as of yet. In respect to the future, we would be eager to produce our new musics on vinyl...but we'll have to wait and see."
- Thank you for your interview. Good luck!
"Likewise, thank you Stan for this questionaire. We wish the best to you..."
(c) 1999 Russian Gothic Project
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