Interview with Daniel J. vocals and all instruments of Void Ritual done by Patrick
1. Hails Daniel when did you first get the idea to form Void Ritual? And how did you choose the name Void Ritual as the name of the band?
Hails! When you’re just one person making music, it’s really just as simple as deciding on a style and going with it. In Void Ritual’s case, I had begun writing songs in a certain style and decided it needed a name. Void Ritual works because a lot of people, myself included think of playing music as a cathartic experience. These songs are a way for me to purge some of the malignant shit in my life. Whether that just be emotional or based on actual things that happen out in the world at large.
2. Heretical Wisdom is the bands newest full length how long did it take to write the music for this release?
I started writing the album just after completing my part of the split with Barshasketh. I just kinda kept going that winter. I had an album completed in 2015 and a label set to put the album out. I ended up re-recording and re-writing the album in the meantime, however when it came time to release the album, the label needed to go on a hiatus. So I used that as an opportunity to re-re-record the album, and included some newer songs as well.
To be honest, I’ll be glad when the album’s out because this has been such a long process that at this point I’m ready to move on to newer projects and/or newer Void Ritual material. I’m excited about the album being released and still love each of these songs, but I’ve dwelled on them for long enough now.
3. Where do you draw inspiration for the lyrics and what are some subjects you wrote about on Heretical Wisdom ?
On previous releases I’ve written about suffering and horrific events from history. With Heretical Wisdom, I took a bit more care and wrote about subjects that are a bit more personal, blending those topics with fantasy for the sake of bringing those topics into a black metal context. “The Flood” is about existential crises, but it reads like it’s about a sentient earth drowning us because we deserve it. “Breathing Ice” is about the emotions of sorrow and isolation, but talks about it as if it were abandonment in cold winter mountains. Dead in Blackest Night is a revenge fantasy against a fictional stand-in for all of the racists pieces of shit there are in the world. It’s all over the place, really.
4.Besides the new release are any of the bands previous releases still available to purchase? Besides physical releases is their any other merchandise available if yes what is available and where can the readers buy it?
Both the Holodomor and the split are sold out, physically, but they’re both available on Bandcamp, digitally. Spirits of the Black Past is an “odds n’ ends” compilation that was only released on Bandcamp.
Currently, there isn’t any merch, so no shirts or anything like that, though if someone wants to produce them, I’m open to the idea.
5. Daniel, you are the sole member of the band did you plan to work alone or would you like to find new musicians to join the band?
I’d always planned on Void Ritual being a solo thing. Between my family, my job, and everything else, being in an actual touring band would be a strain on my family, and it wouldn’t be fair to them. Would I be open to doing a live show as part of a fest or something? Maybe, but I also don’t think anyone else would find learning my songs worth it for them. What would they get out of the experience? Especially for a project with such a limited audience to begin with.
For recording material? I’m not saying it will never happen, but I’ve gotten very used to just doing everything on my own. I’m not sure how well I’d work with others at this point.
6. If you could work with any musicians past or present who are some you would like to work with?
In a world where I’m financially stable enough to make something like that happen, working with Fenriz or Frost on drums would be incredible. The problem there is that Fenriz finds my style of black metal pretty boring at this point. He’d much rather play something in a traditional heavy metal or early death metal kind of style. He talks about this sort of thing in interviews or on album commentaries quite a bit.
I have no idea what Frost likes or doesn’t, but I do know that is very underrated for his creativity. Everyone knows about how fast he is, but listen to the unique style in his fills on Nemesis Divina or Rebel Extravaganza. The guy’s incredibly gifted in that respect. As I’m thinking about it, Caryn Havlik of Mortals is interesting for a lot of the same reasons, and I’ve already met her and she was wonderful to talk to. There are others too, but you get the idea.
7. What does black metal mean to you?
I fluctuate on this a bit. In some ways, it means the world to me. I’ve dedicated a massive amount of my time, effort, and money to it for 20 years now. At the same time, it’s just a subgenre of music. You always see musicians putting forward the idea that music can change the world, but that seems awfully self-important and self-serving. Then again, I’ve only got middling talent anyway, so maybe I’m just mocking that notion because I’m not talented enough to have that kind of impact on people.
Now, if you’re asking about what defines black metal to me, I would say the actual music is what counts there. Everyone’s got their own boundaries for what they will or won’t accept, lyrically.
8. Daniel, you take care of the vocals. When did you first start screaming? Do you do anything special to keep your throat and voice healthy?
Right out of the womb, really (kidding). But in bands, I started at around 15. I had no idea what I was doing so I just yelled, and it wasn’t any good. Over time I kind of figured out how to do it without ruining my throat. I don’t do anything special health-wise, but since it’s just for recording purposes, there are usually long periods of rest between each time I do it.
9. Who are some of your favorite vocalists?
I think Henri from God Dethroned is probably the vocalist I took the most influence from, especially how he sounded in the mid to late 90s. There was a lot of raw humanity that came through in his vocals, particularly in that era. Dead, for similar reasons, though he’s not a direct influence on what I did on Heretical Wisdom.
10. Besides the vocals, you also handle the guitars. When did you start playing the guitar? Are you self-taught, or did you take lessons when first starting out?
A bit of both. I got a few lessons to start, just showing me basic chords so I could learn simple songs. After that, I had to figure everything else out on my own. I didn’t even know how to palm mute until I had already been playing for a couple of years. It was a really slow process.
11. Who are some of your influences and favorite guitarists? Besides the guitars are there any other instruments you play? Are there any instruments you would like to learn to play one day?
Songwriting-wise, this album is pretty heavily influence my Satyr’s work on Nemesis Divina, as well as Aismal and Haavard’s work on Ulver’s Nattens Madrigal. As far as other instruments, I do play bass as well, and I dabble a bit with keyboards, though I’m still a relative novice with them. I’d like to learn a bowed instrument at some point, either Violin or Cello, but I have no idea how or when that ever might happen.
12. Besides working in Void Ritual, do you currently have any other projects or bands you play in? If yes, please tell the readers a little about them?
I have a fair number of things going on outside of Void Ritual. I’ve got Dead Wretch, which is more of a punk/rock influenced project. I’m finishing up a release for that in the near future. I also have a project called Vereiteln that will be recording soon with Adam from Rêx Mündi, which will be a raw, traditional black metal project.
13. Thank you Daniel for taking the time to fill this interview out do you have any final comments for the readers?
Thank you for taking the time to check this out, and make sure to pick up the album through either Throats Productions for the CD, or through Tridroid Records for the cassette! Both are limited quantity releases, so don’t hold out for too long.