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Hiemal Interview (Ambient/Black Metal: Christchurch, New Zealand)

hiemal-logoChristchurch is a pretty good name for a Black Metal act to come from. Check our first New Zealand band interview, the one-man experimental black metal act, HIEMAL.

Please, describe the music and aesthetics of Hiemal.

The music of Hiemal is mid to slow paced and has quite a focus on melodic riffs and synths. A lot of the early stuff I recorded feels quite cold, harsh and ugly which was partially on purpose but also because I had never mixed music before. The newest songs I have recorded feel a lot warmer in texture but retain a feeling of loneliness and tranquility. Most songs don’t contain any vocals.

HIEMAL1CYou never mention your name on the credits or anywhere else. Why did you chose the anonymity?

I never uploaded music to the internet to become personally famous or anything like that. I started uploading stuff to put it out there for anyone who cared or was interested in it and it alone. Who I am and what I do is not important to the music.

How the landscapes of New Zealand had influenced your music?

The landscapes here are both harsh and stunning to behold which I think is quite comparable to Ambient Black Metal. Some of the songs I have made directly relate to experiences I have had in the country which stick with me to this day. An example of this is a time I went camping on a beach in Banks Peninsula and awakening in the night to some of the loudest winds I have ever heard. The bay was being pelted by winds and I could not sleep. So I got up and went for a walk down the beach and into the near by forest. The full moon illuminated the path as I wandered around. Coming out of the forest again onto the beach looking towards the mouth of the bay the clouds had cleared and the moon nestled the hills. I try to write music that invokes the same feeling on me as that night.

Still speaking of New Zealand, you’re the first one I talk from this country and I don’t know very much about the scene over there. Is there a lot of black metal related music being made in NZ? What would you recommend for us?

There isn’t much black metal around here as far as I know. There is not really a scene here in Christchurch but up in Auckland there is a bit of a Blackened Death Metal scene with bands such as Witchrist, Diocletian and Heresiarch. Ulcerate which I’m a really big fan of come from Auckland too.

How did you got approached to release the split with Sleeping Corpse?

I got a email from the guy behind Sleeping Corpse around mid way through last year and said he liked my music and was interested in doing a split with me. At that stage Hiemal had been dormant for about a year and a half as I had other matters to take care of. So even before I agreed to doing it I had to make sure I had some material to use for it. About a month later I got in contact with him and everything went from there.

Hiemal photoListening to this EP, in the middle of all the harshness of the guitars, I can hear a nice sense of melody, that almost reminded me of post rock bands. Are you influenced by that as well?

There is no inspiration from post rock which can be pretty hard to believe, it just seemed to turn out that way. I think the only post rock band I know is God Speed You! Black Emperor.

Are you in other bands as well? Which ones and why the decision to make Hiemal a one-man band thing?

I guess Hiemal is a solo project for a few reasons. When I started writing music for it back in 2010 I didn’t have enough time to write and practice music with other people, I was caught up studying. When I was writing and recording it was quite late at night too. In the end I think Hiemal being a solo project feels right, it fits with the feeling of the music. All the other projects I’m working on are all solo projects for a different reason. I don’t know many people here who are musicians and like black metal. I’d would really like to write and record with some other people but it seems the hardest part is finding those people.

I have a few other projects one of them is quite new and the other older. I try to split up my projects stylistically so they don’t bleed into each other too much. Throat of Fire is my newest project which I started writing music for last year. It’s inspired by old Black Metal bands like Zyclon-B or Niden Div. 187 where the music is furious and melodic. Another project is Nocturnal Evil which is inspired by Beherit and Ride for Revenge.

What’s the plans for 2015? Will we be seeing more stuff coming from New Zealand?

I’m currently working on a split with my other project Throat of Fire which I should hopefully finish up soon. That is the only plan right now. If I write and record enough music or some other bands / labels approach me to do something there might be something else.

Thanks for the interview, now you have your word.


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