Going In Depth With Carrion's Hide Tepes on "Testament Ov The Exiled [Revised Edition]" and Alchemy
Let’s skip the getting to know you stuff (we did that HERE) and get straight into the album. “Testament Ov The Exiled” has a deeper connection to your album “Iconoclasm” than some might expect. What is that, and will you continue that connection into a follow-up album?
Hide: Both "Iconoclasm" and "Testament" has an underlying theme related to alchemical principles. It's just how things happen for me. It's not really something I plan out the same way one might purposefully construct a story for a concept album.
The term Iconoclasm refers to the act of destroying religious and political icons and is historically an act tied to heresy. In alchemy and most spiritual paths you'll find the idea of birth, death and rebirth. That album was written after I performed my own type of iconoclasm; breaking apart my life and starting from scratch so that album could represent a death of sorts. "Testament Ov The Exiled" continues that concept in the sense that once you've torn down all the monuments and temples you erected you're able to rebuild but might find yourself doing so on your own. This extends to the artwork for that album being much lighter, it's to symbolize a sense of purity and clean slate. With the next album I'm sure these themes will continue but I couldn't say in what way as I don't consciously think about it too much. It's more of a semi-spiritual, intuitive thing that I often can't see until much later.
You mainly used modular synths to make your music in contrast to programmed software for “Testament Ov The Exiled”. Are you against using programmed software? Do you feel as if modular synths allow you more freedom to explore?
Hide: I come from the rock and metal scene, that's the music I grew up on and it's what I still listen to. I stumbled onto bands like Einsturzende Neubauten and Nine Inch Nails and fell in love with both the experimental nature of them and overall sound design. I think playing in shitty punk bands during a time where software based music was becoming increasingly popular and essentially taking over gave me a deeper love for the organic element that comes from physically playing an instrument and shaping the sound in ways you can't replicate in a DAW [Digital Audio Workstation]. It's not that I'm necessarily against software; it's more about the complacency. I see a lot of bands who use the same plugins in every song, the same drum patterns, etc. It results in the death of the individual. As far as modular goes it allows me to build a completely custom made instrument which I can use to shape the sound to my liking in ways I wouldn't even be able to do with a fixed-format hardware synth. It also forces me to be more aware of each aspect of the sound as the tiniest twist of a knob or removal / addition of a patch cable could drastically alter it. I'm on a quest for purity, more specifically to express myself in the purest way possible and to me, using porgrammed sounds seems counter productive. My theory is that if I build these sounds up more or less from scratch they will carry a piece of me in them which can't be replicated.
What initally drew me to industrial was the avantgarde and experimental sides of it. I wish to see the return of this on a larger scale as I'm aware of the goings on in the underground parts of the scene. I often wonder how such seemingly limitless music got condensed down to simple four-on-the-floor and repetitive synth lines.
Grab your copy of Carrion's "Testament Ov The Exiled [Revised Edition]" HERE.
Talk to us about the lyrics in your songs. You’ve told me that some of them have double-meanings. Which songs have that? Can you tell us about one or two of them?
Hide: There's a lot even I don't understand when it comes to my lyrics. They often seem to take on a prophetic element. For example, going back to what I said about the two albums alchemical themes, that's just how things came out and I later realized that connection and saw it clearly whereas while writing both of those albums I didn't think of any of that stuff. I've never sat down and thought, "Alright I wanna write about this thing." That's not how this works for me, I just start seeing images in my mind, words appear before me, maybe I have a dream over and over again and that eventually becomes the lyrics. I sometimes say that it's more dictation than writing; imagine someone telling you something and you write down what you hear. That's how my lyrics come to be and it can go long periods of time before I'm able to look at the words and gain some understanding of the message behind them which more often than not isn't just one simple thing.
As far as the double meanings go I tend to use quite a symbolic, almost biblical language. Again, that's not a choice, it's just how it comes to me. A song like 'The Blood Ov Saints' makes direct reference to biblical verses but I'm not necessarily speaking about whatever the events in that part of the bible it's from. A lot of the songs on this album are actually a little more direct and not so shrouded in metaphor. Songs like 'To Eat Crow' and 'Putting Tape Over Martyrs Mouths' might be the most direct lyrics I've written.
When speaking of the band, you call it a cult instead of a band. Is that just for style or is there more to it? Furthermore, talk to us a little bit about the spiritual symbolism in your images and lyrics.
Hide: Both myself and Sam have long had interests in the spiritual sides of life. We've both put these things to the test rather than simply reading about them or using them as a tool to harvest likes on Instagram. When you invite these things into your life it's obvious that it'll affect each part of you and leave it's mark on anything you do. As I mentioned above there's a spiritual element to the creation of the music, I'm merely translating and trying to express certain ideas and first hand experiences.
Tell us about the evolution of Carrion. From your demo days until now, I’ve noticed that Carrion is extremely experimental and combines multiple genres into one. How has the project evolved?
Hide: When I first started this band I had spent a couple years in various punk bands. I simply got tired of the repetitive aspects of it, just about the same time I stumbled onto industrial and I fell in love with the early pioneers. Sure there's Neubauten and that part of the scene but I also gravitated towards the pioneers of electronic music as a whole, people such as Delia Derbyshire who's most known for creating the Doctor Who theme song which she put together by cutting and gluing pieces of tape together. I love that DIY aspect and the highly organic element brought on by affecting sounds or sound making equipment with your physical body. Don Buchla is another big one in that regard, along with Bob Moog; he more or less invented the modular with the difference being that Buchla's creations often lacked a traditional keyboard and was geared towards the more experimental side of things including modules whose sound changes based on how hard you press your finger down or how much of the skin is touching it.
The first demos were much more electronic based, almost EBM styled. That's simply the result of me never having used soft synths before and just learning as I went along. I did a few demos, each of which varied between EBM, ambient and more traditional industrial stylings. Carrion was always meant to be a rock band but as I got into more experimental music I wanted to add some of that as well. I wanted this mixture of the heavy guitars I heard in Morbid Angel and the avantgarde parts of the early industrial scene, put some of the dirt and grit from "The Downward Spiral" or Alien Sex Fiend in there and voilà! I wanted to create this fucked up, deformed spawn of all the different stuff I was listening to.
You’ve told me that you have a chronic need to create. You refuse to stop even when travelling and use field recordings from the times spent in New Orleans and other U.S cities. Is this trait about yourself positive, negative, or a bit of both?
I think it's both. The positive side is that I always have something to do which comes in handy when you live fairly isolated in the middle of the fucking woods. It's always been like this, even when I was thirteen and started my first bands, I remember getting annoyed when the other guys would rather hang out with their girlfriends or go to the movies or whatever the fuck. I always approached this with a sense of somberness, almost a ceremonial approach. The other side of all this is the fact that things must be purged and if that's not an option I'll lose my mind. It's a form of therapy in that sense I suppose; it's both a defense mechanism and a survival method.
I remember living in New Orleans with no instruments or anything, all I had was my phone so I'd go around recording the drunks, the street preachers, the jazz musicians on every corner, construction workers and whatever else I stumbled upon that for whatever reason sounded interesting to me. That was a period of my life where I went a long time without being able to create much and the gathering of those field recordings is what lead to the eventual reawakening of Carrion as it was more or less dead and buried at that point. I'm sure my constant need to create can negatively affect my personal relationships as I tend to enter a trance like state, blissfully unaware of the concept of time and find myself lost in the work only to come out of it to find people wondering why I'm not picking up the phone, responding to messages and such. This is how it is, how it always has been and how it always will be. There is no other way and while I can sympathize with those who may see it as an inconvenience I'm also never gonna let anyone or anything come between me and what needs to be done.
“Testament Ov The Exiled [Revised Edition]” mainly features slower paced tracks. The bonus song ‘Dogs Ov Hell’ ratchets the pace up, however, and sounds heavier. What does this mean for the future of Carrion songs?
Hide: The key element to me is authenticity. I'm not gonna write an album with the intention of appealing to anyone but myself. If that results in a slow paced album then so be it. There's definitely a sense of duality. While I love 80s power ballads for their dramatic and over the top sound I also listen to a lot of punk and black / death metal and I'll write in whichever style best reflects my mood and mental state there and then.
'Dogs Ov Hell' is a song I've come to see more and more as an addendum to the song 'Untill The Reaper Comes'. Both of these songs showcase my metal influences as well as the faster pace but the true connection is in the lyrics.
'Untill The Reaper Comes' is a song born out of frustration, anger and harboring a constant wish to just drop the fuckin bomb and start over from scratch. I think the main difference would be 'Dogs Ov Hell' shows more of an acceptance of how things are and allowing the mouth of Hell to swallow you whole without a fight. As far as future I'm already working on new stuff and while I'd rather not say too much yet I can tell you it' gonna be one-hundred percent modular based. There will still be guitars and if what I've written so far is any indicator it's another leap away from what "Testament" brought.
On the revised edition, we added in a couple of remixers from the likes of Decent News, Dead Agent, and Vanity Kills. Why did you choose these remixers for the album?
Hide: They're all friends of mine whose music I enjoy for different reasons. Decent News I originally got in touch with after we both featured on one of your compilation albums and me and Eddie and have kept in touch ever since. We've done remixes of each others songs a few times and he did some guest vocals on the song 'Putting Tape Over Martyrs Mouths'. Dead Agent is my friend Ed Finkler [Funkatron] who creates really cool, mostly instrumental EBM type stuff I guess. It's not really the type of stuff I listen to but the way Ed does it just has a different aura to it. Vanity Kills is my buddy Joe Crow who recently joined Carrion; we've known each other forever, we definitely have similar ideas and hopes as far as the future of music is concerned.
I could easily hit up friends of mine in bigger bands and have them do the remixes and rely on their names being included to draw in people but I tend to be quite vocal about supporting smaller artists and underground scenes so this is one of the many ways in which I practice what I preach by giving these artists whatever exposure I'm able to give as well as just doing something with the few people I consider my friends.
You made a choice to change out color tone for the Revised Edition of “Testament Ov The Exiled”. The original tone was white while this one is black. Was this just to show the audience this was a different album or was there more to it?
Hide: There's usually a deeper meaning to anything I do relating to Carrion. This goes back to the alchemy idea but also it's me subtly making a point. Within ancient alchemy you have the concept of Nigredo, the blackening. The dying to be reborn.
I feel like there's too much fluff in a lot of modern day spirituality. Rebirth is great but don't forget what comes before that. You need to die first and that's not necessarily always this beautiful and graceful thing that a lot of new age books and online articles may try to tell you. It requires pain, the shedding of blood and sacrifice. It's almost a yin and yang thing with the album art. You have the white standard edition one with the ouroboros on the front so there's that side of it and then you also have the other side that reminds us of the darkness that comes before you reach illumination.
What made you go from playing with punk, death metal, and glam rock bands to creating industrial music?
Hide: Having no respect for any man made idea would be the short answer. I listen to anything from black metal bands like Watain to 70's punk like Dead Boys and 80's rock like W.A.S.P. I won't limit myself in any way whatsoever. More than anything I seek liberation in every sense of the word. That doesn't only apply to music or anything earthly, it goes beyond the material world. I like to experiment and try out things, if I do something that someone somewhere fucking decades ago decided, "Is this that, or the other thing?" Then okay sure call it that but I'm gonna do it regardless of what you call it as long as I enjoy it.
You chose the track ‘Putting Tape Over Martyrs Mouths’ for a music video. The red and black color choice is stark; why that scheme? And Eddie LaFlash of Decent News is featured on the album; why did you want to work with LaFlash for this song?
Hide: Another stage of alchemy and the various symbolism derived from it is why the colours are what they are; you also have the associations of blood which then has further occult associations with iron as well as other things. This is a deep hole and I wish people paid more attention to art these days. Maybe they could find themselves on the same journey I was on while diving into the lyrics of some of my favourite bands which resulted in having a profound effect on me and shape me as a person for better or for worse. I wanted to work with Eddie because I like what he does, I like how he sounds, we have a similar vocal style sometimes which we jokingly refer to as the "Acid Bath Tom Waits Croak" or something like that. I wanted to have him be part of the video too but unfortunately timing didn't allow for that.
You’ve a Kurdish ancestry and therefore “Testament Ov The Exiled [Revised Edition]” is a slight nod to that. Can you explain that a bit more?
Hide: The Kurds is one of the worlds largest ethnic groups without a country of their own. Kurdistan is currently split between Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria. After World War I there was a promise to finally give Kurdish people their well deserved land but of course this was one of many in a long line of broken promises resulting in the Kurds being scattered all around the globe. I listen to a fair amount of the old folk songs whose themes are generally war, liberation and hope. Kurdish culture, music, language and any other forms of it was banned for a very long time resulting in the exile and sometimes execution of anyone who partook in it. Kurdish musicians have had to flee to Europe simply for singing songs in their native tongue.
Most middle eastern folk music has a specific structure to the lyrics as well as the music which sets it apart. The Kurdish folk songs are no exception and I often find myself subconsciously writing in such a style. I'm sure there's some ancestral entity who guides my hand from time to time.
You’re also part of the band MissFit Toys which is in a similar genre. How do you keep your bands sounds different from one another without overlapping?
Hide: As a member of MissFit Toys I get to step back a bit. I'm still very much involved with the creative process but as we're four members who all bring their contributions any overlapping is not an issue. I really like being able to stay in the background a bit. I started out as a bassist and only ended up as a front man by accident. Ironically the exact same could be said about Richie [MissFit Toys vocalist] so we have that in common as well as a more spiritual outlook and approach to life.
It's a bit funny for me to ask this question to you since I already know the plans for 2021, but what can you tell fans of Carrion to tease what's coming?
Hide: We're currently in the process of writing and recording the next album. I'd say you'll hear something sooner rather than later. For now I'll just say that it won't be "Testament Part 2". It`s gonna get real dark, real heavy and maybe even a little weird.
Lastly, I’d like to thank you for your time and wish you the best of luck. I leave the space below free for you to explore anything I may not have mentioned.
Hide: I'd just like to thank all the Carrion supporters, whether you're new or you've been around since the start, we definitely appreciate each and every one of you and of course Brutal Resonance Records. Support small artists, buy their merch, buy their music and when the possibility is there again go to their shows. They need all your support much more than any already well established band.
Feb 08 2021
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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