Tartaros and The Thrill
Interview with Charmand Grimloch
What is the concept behind The Grand Psychotic Castle and how did you assemble its soundscape?
The album The Grand Psychotic Castle was composed under some enormous feelings of past centuries that came to me. The whole concept expresses a fearful, yet, beautiful, mask of a lost journey. It’s very difficult to mention how it ended the way it did, since there was so many strange things that happened under its composition, but mainly mysticism, occultism and deep reflections of inner resort are, and will always be, the basic levels of my Tartaros project.
What were your influences in terms of aesthetics?
The album is based on an elder fearful time – some might call it a Transylvanian concept – so it’s natural that the image carries an elegant and empiric style.
One of your promotional photos shows you looking at the camera while a ghostly face is present in a painting above you. Does it cast the notion of your hidden nature?
This photo is taken from my suite number 13, the room where I compose all my intense feelings into different kinds of art. Talking about the portrait, or mask, above me, it’s a personal casting of my face emphasised as my spiritual side.
Tartaros’ music and themes rely heavily on occultism. When did you become attracted to the subject and what is it that captivates you most about it?
Ghosts and beasts have always fascinated me. I did experience five, of what I call “breaking of the reality”, before my birth of the 11th year. Also, personal happenings which were quite hard to understand at that age attracted me onto a huge quantity of fears, besides thrilling feelings, which can’t be described in words. Anyway, this is the way I was introduced to occultism and started to seek my path of wisdom.
The beginning of the credits is described as a classical piece, Harvest Symphony No.1 Minor. How much are you influenced by classical music and what are your favourite composers?
Bernard Herman, Hanns Eisler, Franz Liszt and Mussorgsky are some of the composers that interest me. They really appeal to my feelings, but they are not inspiration factors under the name of Tartaros, since this project expresses quite different feelings and concepts. Most of all, I’m inspired by my own secrecy, feelings and happenings. The other influences, from Black Metal bands, might have been taken up unconsciously.
Musically, what would be the biggest difference between The Heritage from the Past demo and The Grand Psychotic Castle? How was it like recording at Grieghallen with Pytten?
First of all, the music on the demo is depressive and sorrowful; it has the underground Black Metal sound and the themes are mixed together in a more beautiful and easy way than in the album. It belongs to the elder primitive Black Metal scene and, in that aspect, the record is quite different, since it’s based on another concept. The feelings I express within The Grand Psychotic Castle are more cryptic, mystical and dark than on the demo. It’s also composed under another working method and appears with a greater sound.
I’m quite satisfied with the Grieghallen production. It was actually recorded within four days, so we really did a hell of an effective work. Pytten’s a good guy to work with too.
Emperor have recruited you for their live setting as a keyboardist. How did this happen and how has the experience been so far? Also, how did you like the London show at the Astoria?
We all work together with professionalism. I’ve been doing the synthesizer parts live for two years now and the cooperation between us has always been going on very well – both musically and socially. I was chosen simply because of my experience in handling the synthesizer. I think Samoth heard some of the classical stuff I made a long time ago and, since they needed a live keyboard player, he just called me and asked for a contribution for their live appearances. Of course we tried out some practicing together before we started a serious cooperation.
The results of the live performances have mainly been good, but I’m not so satisfied with the London gig you asked about. But it’s natural that we aren’t satisfied with all of the concerts and tours we’ve had, as there are many important things that count if a live performance shall be 100% good: the stage, the monitoring, the hall, the sound creators, the audience and our performance; it’s all together painting the wholeness of the live picture. So when talking about the London show last year, I think some of the above mentioned things went a bit wrong.
What is your side-project, The Thrill, about?
The Thrill is a plain classical project – no Metal under that name. It’s a horror project with really describing music that transforms your existence into one of the audience of an old theatrical piece. Dread and beauty are within the pompous composition.
Do you feel inspired in your country’s history and mythology?
Of course Norway has many historical things that interest me, but there are so many things to tell that it would be strange to mention some of them now; it requires lots of time to tell about the country and its mythology. In fact, there are also many things to tell about the town I live in, as it’s the oldest town in Norway.
Tell me about your prospects for both Tartaros, The Thrill, as well as Emperor.
Concerning my project, you will soon hear the new full-length album of Tartaros under the name The Red Jewel. The Thrill will release a full-length album in the summer, or autumn, this year and you will see Emperor around at the No Mercy Festivals in Europe throughout the period of April.
Tartaros and The Thrill