Hello ladies and gents, winter is finally here and what better way to celebrate its arrival than blasting some top notch black metal? “Howling North” is an atmospheric/post black metal band hailing from the cold plains of Russia. I contacted the band’s mastermind and sole member, Artem Dmitriev, and had an interesting chat about his take on black metal, his project and his brand new release titled “Immersion”. Don’t forget to check out the links at the end of the article. Enjoy!
D.P: Let’s start with an introduction to your project. Could you tell us a few things about the history of “Howling North”?
A.D.: “Howling North” was founded in 2009 in Syktyvkar, when I was sixteen years old. This city is located in the north of Russia. Therefore, the title has the word “North”. About “Howling” I can say that it conveys the mystery, mood and atmosphere. Initially, the project consisted of five people. We played in a rehearsal room and wrote a couple of songs in the style of Pagan Black. After some time we broke up, and later I decided to continue the project as a one-man band.
D.P: Which are your main musical influences?
A.D.: I was influenced by bands like Amon Amarth, Swallow the Sun, Marduk, Behemoth, Cannibal Corpse etc. But the strongest influence on me were the guys fromInsomnium. Their melodic, dark and brooding doom still excites me. “Across The Dark” is my favorite album.
D.P: There are a lot of atmospheric black metal projects around nowdays, a lot of them based in Russia. What are your thoughts on the state of this particular scene?
A.D.: I think today Atmospheric Black Metal scene is on the rise and this is very logical. With the help of ABM, musicians can convey many feelings. Because ABM has no clear boundaries, the possibilities are very broad. As for Russia, there is a growing popularity too. Russia is a big country, with very beautiful and diverse nature. Sea, mountains, steppe, taiga…also Russia is a Northern country with harsh, long winters. Atmospheric Black Metal is the best way to describe these beauties.
D.P: About a week ago you released your second full-legth album titled “Immersion”. Would you like to tell us a few things about it?
A.D.: As you may have noticed, “Immersion” consists of instrumental tracks. I wanted the listeners to be able to immerse themselves more deeply. So that they can see things that I tried to portray through music, or see their own experience. While working on the album, I tried to improve the sound. I’m sure it happened. Given that I don’t have professional equipment for recording and sound processing. I record everything at my house. The album contains the track “Mandariinid” which is the soundtrack to the film “Мандарины” (“Tangerines” in English). The movie’s soundtrack was written by Niaz Diasamidze. The film is about the uneasy relationship between enemies in war. The melody is very sad and beautiful and passes through the film. I decided to do a cover in my style, because I felt that the mood of this music fits my project. I suggest you watch this movie for sure.
D.P: Judging from the title there seems to be a deeper, philosophical side to the album’s music. Could you elaborate on that?
A.D.: Yes, you are right. Through my music I try to convey the philosophical side of things. I pay great attention to nature. I take my inspiration from there. The music contains emotions and some experiences in my life, good and bad. I like to bring the atmosphere of the Northern culture in my music. Scandinavian mythology impresses me. In practice, I am trying to find musical notes for my mental waves, impressions and feelings.
D.P: Is the absense of vocals an artistic decision or you just haven’t found the right man/woman for the job yet?
A.D.: Yes, it’s an artistic decision. “Howling North” is a mostly instrumental project. I have the opportunity to record vocals, of course, but I see this project as instrumental music only.
D.P: You produce your music in a totally D.I.Y. way. What drove you to that choice?
A.D.: I’ve certainly played in bands. It’s cool and fun. But when I am solo, I can better convey my own emotions. I like to be independent, to do what I want and how I want it. When I do everything by myself, I learn and gain experience. Some self-education. And I like it.
D.P: What does the future hold for “Howling North”? Any more releases planned?
A.D.: “Howling North” will live and develop. There will be new releases , but I won’t give the exact timing. All the news can be traced to my pages in social networks.