Sinister Stench printed zine - issue II
Raw War printed zine - issue III~Third & Final Beast
Unknown month MMXV
Desiderio Oscuro MDLXII printed zine
Unknown month MMXIII
Brimstone printed zine - issue I
Zero Tolerance magazine - issue forty
Heathen Harvest web interview
conducted in MMIX
All content copyright © Ancient Trail Recordings MMV - MMXVII
ONE: Hello Verst. When and why was Instinct formed? What is your purpose and your meaning?
Greetings Sinister Stench, it is an honour to be a part of your zine. Let us begin... Instinct was basically formed out of a project, which will remain nameless, not out of shame as I am very proud of the material written and recorded between 2002 - 2004, but because of too many personal details attached - a fault of mine and the insistence of shits who edit Metal Archives with no regard for an individual's privacy.
Musically there were similarities, as well as the lyrical concepts carried forward. The previous project was also partly a result of my state of mind at that time which was very negative, towards myself and those close to me. I needed a change; to start new after ridding myself of shit circumstances and people and so Instinct was formed in my mind early 2005. The name had been with me for some time too. Like the previous project, I needed to do everything myself, even if that meant some compromise. It was always too personal to allow others in creatively, besides two guests (The One & Oristalla of Diversis) in later years. I needed to create the kind of black metal I wanted to hear, not to emulate others. Instinct needed to move me on many different levels, it had to act as a spiritual (not religious but entirely nature based) and emotional channel as much as anything else. A cathartic ritual which has been with me for nearly ten years. My answer to question six should give some insight into the meaning of the name Instinct and why it was chosen.
TWO: You describe your music as nature worship. Explain this more in depth; what is it about nature you worship? I’ve also heard in the earlier days you labelled Instinct as Pagan Black Metal. Why not anymore? Has Instinct evolved very much over the years? Are you ideals the same as they were at the beginning?
Nature worship comes through my respect and understanding of nature itself; it is the embracing of all that is tangible, all that can be interacted with on a physical, mental and emotional level - no bullshit religion could ever present me with such an incredible and real thing to behold. The chaos, brutality and beauty of nature is continuously enthralling, to sit and watch a sunset on a clear evening as the stars begin to reveal themselves through the glorious colours of the atmosphere, to walk through the valleys and woodland that surround my home, to smell the early morning dew, to feel the cold night mist upon my skin, to be familiar with the wildlife, to witness wild birth, to gather the bones of death and to revel in the isolation, away from other human shits and the urban squalor of towns and cities. There is simplicity in just being in it, appreciating it; something which is lost to modern man as he endlessly seeks out transcendental belief systems and male paedophile 'gods' while believing he somehow deserves more than any other mammal. Absolute cunts, I fucking despise the state of mankind. All of this is intrinsic and endlessly inspirational to Instinct. Regarding the 'pagan black metal' label; at that time, nearly ten years ago I was struggling to describe my music in one short line, to be used as a point of reference as of course, Instinct was just releasing it's first demo and while I felt reasonably comfortable with the description within that early inlay and promotional material it soon became apparent that it did not encompass all that Instinct was quickly becoming, ideologically and thematically speaking. I have failed to develop a suitable short 'label' since.
This excerpt from a previous interview will explain things further, editing or rearranging the answer seemed pointless as I explained it perfectly:
-'I have come to completely disregard the word ‘pagan’. It is meaningless to me personally when its origins are considered. I am not an incompetent Roman soldier nor do I live in a roundhouse. I cannot associate myself with any of those connotations and popular misconceptions attached to the word either. As stated above, no single word or indeed, group of words can define and encompass all that I am and in turn, all that Instinct is.
I have absolutely no interest in ‘paganism’, ‘Wicca’ etc as a modern, communal spiritualist movement. I do not need to interact with any other human in a spiritual manner, or to achieve ‘enlightenment’ through communal ceremonies with meaningless new age chants and dancing. The humanist aspect is far too much to take. Once again men have created rules and hierarchal structures; self – appointed ‘druids’ surrounded by drugged up liberals hanging on their every word while claiming to ‘feel the vibrations’ as they piss and vomit against our ancestor’s megaliths. I speak as a disgusted witness, this is not conjecture. Myself and nature, in solitude, occasionally with my Wife and very close friends who obviously hold similar opinions and beliefs; that is all I need. The ‘Pagan community’ can go and fuck itself.'-
I'm not sure if Instinct has evolved much to be honest. Perhaps it has become more refined with the atmosphere, density and production being more considered in later years. When I create new music I never consider what I have done previously beyond trying not to use the same riffs or structures! I'd say the lyrical concepts and inspirations have remained the same and my hateful attitude towards mankind has not once waned this last decade.
THREE: You use the Algiz and Yr runes a lot in the inlays of your releases. Why do you use these runes? Do they have more of a meaning to you than simply ‘life’ and ‘death’?
The use of the Yr and Algiz runes symbolize the cyclical nature of life and death as well as health, disease and chance. They are also symbolic of the return to the soil; no transcendence, no delusional self importance or deified saviour. They are the mark of reality when combined for me personally. The sun cross incorporated into the Instinct logo is also representative of these things. As a side note, I do not use runes for divination purposes. I do not believe in that new age bullshit. This is mostly a symptom of modern liberalist thinking, while still attempting to seek a 'magic' answer, much like any fucking religion while being blind to the tangible aspects of nature which I outlined in my answer to question two. The Elusive Energy is the life force, it is the dark matter, it is the reason I sit here and convey my opinions. Once that energy within me shifts and returns to the earth, this body will decompose in the cold ground like every other living creature. We are not above earth's nature, nor the universe, I remember this well every day and so I am also driven to do what I do rather than sit in front of a television getting fat and wasting my life and mind like most others. I am aware that I have shifted away from the original answer, but then all of these things are connected to me.
FOUR: Also in the inlays of your releases, there a pictures of animal bones and skeletons. Why are these significant to your releases, and how did you get hold of them in the first place?
The animal bones and skulls you see photographed in the various inlays are representative of my isolated surroundings, they are the enduring matter remaining after decomposition and thus, a reminder of all I have previously stated in this interview. All the bones used are gathered up in my locality. There is so much wildlife here and the natural course of hunting and feeding leaves behind many gifts for me. I also find the visual aspect enthralling and broad in possibility in conveying atmosphere, themes and attitude. I have all of these bones and skulls plus many others placed around my recording studio to remove the sterility of being inside surrounded by wires and technology.
FIVE: It seems you value the physical format a lot. With each release having detailed booklets, and some releases being released on multiple formats. I even noticed the MP3’s you upload onto your Soundcloud page are only up for a small amount of time. Why do you feel physical formats are important? Do you think people who don’t collect records and just download everything are missing a vital part of the release?
I do believe that the physical format is important in completing the experience of the listener; to have both the audio and physical elements to interact with as one should reflect the other, regardless of genre. I started buying music in 1989 and so this way of experiencing music was all I knew until the internet became accessible to me in 2002. 95% of the music I have bought since that time has been in physical format too. Regarding Instinct, every release has been created with a physical/visual element in mind and for the listener to become as familiar with the artwork/inlays as they are the music is very important to me. Of course, this last year I have embraced digital media and created the Instinct Bandcamp page, through which every release can be downloaded in a lossless digital format with complete inlay images, so I am not opposed to this modern way of experiencing music providing it is through official channels which ensure audio quality with a visual recreation of the original artwork layouts as I do. I think it is a good idea for artists/bands/labels to release both physical and digital formats as it is ridiculous to live in the past and expect others to hold the same attitude as far as the purchasing of music is concerned. However, the real problem is that there are many out there who do not give a shit about the physical, visual side of music - those who are obsessed with filling their hard drives with thousands of shit quality mp3s without considering buying CDs, cassettes and vinyl need to drop dead. They don't support the underground or me regardless of how many Instinct tracks they have downloaded from those repugnant blog sites. Although it should be clear, given my chosen genre and un-Terrorizer magazine friendly opinions, I will state in finishing that none of this is about making money, it is about my music being experienced in the correct way.
SIX: On the subject of physical releases, why do you mark some of your releases in your own blood?
Blood, the life force, once drained or stilled there is nothing but for our bodies to return to the soil. It unites us with all other mammals, we are fragile, we are not 'God's children'. Blood symbolizes this equal plane of existence, nothing is above nature. Religion and government has removed man from his true origin, torn from natural states of being through reliance upon instinct as well as logic and abstract thought. Its as if nature itself is an abhorrence, the enemy of man's monotheistic bullshit, child raping, pitiful hook-nosed male deities. The spilling of my blood is also the reminder to myself of what I am; an animal. Within modern society it is easy to forget the fundamental basis of what we are; everything is designed to distance us from ourselves, our instincts, our passions, our lusts, our very natural tendencies. Religion and 'law' continually condemns, actually outright denies man's proclivity for violence regardless of the context. We all have our breaking points and varying levels of tolerance; entirely at odds with this 'accept everyone and keep your fucking mouth shut' multicultural society which has spread throughout the western world over the last few decades. I digress slightly.
Animalism, vulgarity and blood-letting are also connected for me personally. It is also compulsive and I refer you to the 'Compulsion and Contrast' images I included on the download version of The Cold Return (via Instinct Bandcamp page). It is absolute satisfaction in the physical release of blood, this is part of what I am so revel in it from time to time. Fuck social and mental conventions, I have to adhere to that bullshit enough through earning money. I ritualize and document certain behaviours when that compulsion to be animalistic and base floods my mind. In those moments it is only myself, alone in the woods, on top of a hill, isolated or stood over a stack of Instinct cassettes with blood dripping down my hands as I revel in the sensation, smell, release and cathartic completion. All of this is about remaining rooted to the self, to exist physically and mentally on a different level to most others.
I hope this provides the insight and reasoning than you were seeking regarding my need to mark certain releases with my blood.
SEVEN: You can hear in your music that there is a lot of passion, emotions and feelings put into them. What sort of mood do you need to be in to write music for Instinct? How long does it take to write an Instinct song, and to put a whole release together?
Thanks, this acknowledgement is appreciated!. I put everything I have emotionally and physically into the writing and recording process and I do think that is evident in the completed recordings, no more so than on The Black Wound title track which lyrically, conceptually and vocally was largely motivated by grief, depression, rage, my inner abyss and alcohol abuse having lost a close friend to a slow, agonized illness during the writing process. I don't need to be in a particular state of mind to create the musical element of Instinct, though of course inspiration continuously comes from the sources I have detailed already. However, I will note that those sources of inspiration have more of an impact on the concepts, lyrics, vocals and atmosphere than on the music itself. More often than not my mind is full of ideas for riffs, lead lines, melodies, drum rhythms and arrangements and this can actually be a fucking burden in the nocturnal hours as I suffer from insomnia which is usually related to these ideas exploding in my mind while I have no way of controlling them due to my obsessive nature. For this reason I always have a hand held recording device to hand. Many of these ideas are unsuitable for Instinct too and so I consider other projects but time does not allow me to develop and finalize them. There is one project aside from Instinct that I am focussing on though. The time between an initial idea for Instinct and completion of a composition/release varies greatly depending on what is occurring in my personal life at that time. I began writing The Black Wound in 2009 and it was not released until August 2012 due to the reasons described above. In contrast, the 2008 self-titled album took about one year to write, record and release. After the 2006 CD was released I decided that I would spend as much time as possible on the artwork and layouts of subsequent releases.
EIGHT: What is your opinion on the following:
I think I have summed up my opinion of religion already! However, I will say that Islam should not be underestimated as a destructive force (as Judeo-Christianity was previously) and it is absolutely disgusting that our society and the government/EU/media which controls it condemns any and all who speak out against Muslim fundamentalism within Europe. I'm not a humanitarian but I do not condone their 'Allah' given right to rape and abuse children and women. To me this is not how any dignified man should behave. Islam's less vile characteristics are highlighted, taught and respected in European schools while strong women from European history for example, such as Boudicca or more recently those who fronted the suffragettes movement are completely shunned by the modern educational system. This, among other things of course, including the previously mentioned religious/cultural detachment from nature itself also suggests to me that Europe is systematically being pushed towards total collapse (in every aspect) through outside influence. ZOG? NWO? I cannot completely discount such notions given the fucking state of oppressed opinion/thought and enforced multiculturalism which goes against human nature and small scale 'tribal' communal living. Having said that, I can only hope nature deals with us accordingly because ultimately, we are all just fucking parasites in need of eradication at this point in our short history. I'm really just predicting the coming decades rather than the distant non-future of modern man. I have also repeated one or two significant points made elsewhere in the interview.
NINE: What do you think of the UK scene? What would you say are the pros and cons about it? Who are your favourite bands and labels?
Would you ever read such an intelligent, realistic, considered and insightful interview with the likes of Eastern Front, Abgott or Primitive Graven Image? No, because those 'play with anyone, to anyone' bands have absolutely nothing to say. They represent a side of UK black metal that I find utterly distasteful, mediocre and shallow. There is an underground and it does not belong in some fucking London venue on a cross-genre line up created to give popular extreme metal fans a hard-on. Most of the UK artists I respect and listen to are on their own solitary path with music, attitudes and ideologies considered repulsive by normal metallers. Here are some (active and inactive) I hold in high regard - White Medal, Swine, Darkness, Oubliette, Diversis, Basilisk, Obscure Lupine Quietus, AnXpm, Myrrdin, Ghast, Nhor, Pale Mist, Eternity of Darkness, Antinomian, Emit, Singultus and Vostok. My favourite UK labels? Legion Blotan of course, Aesthetic Death, and the legendary Todestrieb.
TEN: What is next for Instinct? Instinct will 10 years old next year (2015). Do you have anything special planned for it? Also, will Instinct ever play live?
As I have stated, 2015 will see the release of the Obscure Lupine Quietus/Instinct split which we have written exclusive tracks for. It is likely to be co-released through Legion Blotan and Ancient Trail on 12" vinyl. I have been working on another project named Harrowing Slumber and will continue to do so until the first release is complete. This will be a departure from black metal and conceptually different to Instinct. However, it will remain dark and ominous. There are no plans to mark ten years of Instinct. not unless a good label contacts me with a view to release a box set or something, which I highly doubt considering the financial cost! There will never be any live performances, my music is far too personal and isolationist. The context would be entirely wrong.
Thanks for your time. Last words are yours…
Many thanks for giving me the space to provide you with detailed answers and for supporting Instinct. Hail Glomor, Sinister Stench and Pale Mist!
Verst, Wiltshire, England. Winter Solstice, 2014th year of the Gregorian Shitchrist calendar.
1 - Hails Verst! Thanks for being in Desiderio Oscuro. Let's start with the questions. Your recent record has been a full length called "The Black Wound". As the creator of this record, what do you think about this new album? What would you say offers "The Black Wound" when compared with your previous recordings? It seems to me a album with more dark atmosphere, which is important if we consider that all your recordings have a great atmosphere.
First of all, thank you for acknowledging that atmosphere within Instinct. I believe the dark atmosphere you speak of is within all I do, but yes perhaps it is more apparant on The Black Wound because of the slow, dirgeful nature of the music as well as the murkier production. The Black Wound is certainly not as ‘accessable’ as previous releases in that the music demands a higher degree of patience and understanding from the listener. It is also my most troubled release as it has been with me for several years, through some serious life bullshit – death, grief, spiritual profoundness (not religious), long distance relocation among other things; the impact of which has had a deep effect on the outcome of The Black Wound.
I am very pleased and satisfied with the release both musically and visually – Oristalla of Diversis is responsible for the magnificent illustrated borders within the pages of the CD booklet. The visual art has come together to truely reflect the lyrical themes and inspirations.
2 - "The Black Wound" is a title that makes me think of many things. You've said in other interviews that you're Instinct, Instinct is a reflection of everything that inspires you. The question is, "The Black Wound" speaks of your personal wound, a mortal wound to nature? What and who caused this wound?
That is correct – Instinct is a direct reflection of all that I am and in which I believe. As for The Black Wound itself, it relates to the wound within me – on a spiritual level; the ongoing need to understand to a degree, The Elusive Energy which unites Her and the universe, it is the depressive, negative part of my personality, it is also the wound within the fabric of all that is natural – made by modern man. There are also other meanings which I’ll not go into. I beleive you also answered the question yourself actually, and I respect your insight.
3 - There are people who play in simple Rock bands and even in extreme Metal bands, their songs are aggressive, happy, sad, etc, etc, but most of the time these songs are soulless, transmit nothing. For you, is it easy or difficult to convey everything that inspires you? Can you say that Instinct is your "other sense"?
I’m not sure if I could say Instinct is my other sense, though it is a natural part of me, but I do know exactly what you mean. I am in total agreement. I cannot realy tolerate music now which doesn’t go beyond the music itself. I require other elements such as atmosphere, organic production, individualism and a lack of inhibition from the artist both creatively and performance wise.
I have to say, I have never had a problem with conveying the things which inspire me, all of which are non – musical too so perhaps that helps. My understanding of atmosphere and feeling is strong too and so I believe I have never created a ‘sterile’ or ‘souless’ piece of music either.
4 - You said that Instinct is the most authentic expression of yourself that you have created so far, why did you choose to play Black Metal? With this style of music, do you reach a higher and deeper level of spiritual freedom?
Only some black metal connects with me beyond the musical, and it is that which really set me off years ago on this path. It has aided me in a spiritual and escapist way - a soundtrack to my direct connection to Nature. Either experiencing the silence or sounds of the land in solitude or using black metal to feel, shall I say, more primal. Heart of the Ages is one such album that to me, reflects Nature, the wildness and the calls of beasts in the night. This art transcends music, when done well. I believe I do it well too and so the music of Instinct is also my soundtrack to that connection – usually under moonlight, far away from people, roads, man – made sound (besides the music in question when it is required).
5 - Instinct's music is really personal, I think that to feel the right way, has to be heard in absolute solitude and darkness. Do you think an introvert and lonely person, is more likely to enjoy your music and thanks to her, that person may open his mind (inwardly) to a new world, creating a physical and mental special connection with nature?
Again, your insight and understanding of Instinct is greatly appreciated, thanks. I do believe Instinct speaks to those who are more introverted; who crave solitude, who perhaps despise most other human shits as I do, rather than numbskull, urban fucks who play black metal at house parties etc. I have to state the context in which my music should be experienced in each release inlay; that is very important to me.
6 - Nature is a basic component in Instinct, from the sensations experienced listening to your music until the name "Instinct". Nature can be cruel, wild, dark, unforgiving, beautiful, etc, do you think that man refuses to see some of the realities of nature and why? Too fears?
Oh yes of course man refuses to see almost everything that occures around him in this world, and the universe actually. Why acknowledge and accept the physical elements, the soil, wáter, that which is tangible, which we are at the mercy of, when we can have false deities and religion to deny Nature and uphold our false sense of significance? We are incredible at self – deception and denial. Fears yes – the fear of death, to simply return to Her, to decompose, to be absorbed, sustaining life, within the cycle. The natural way of things which we see and feel every fucking day, denied and replaced with dreams of celestial transcendance so that we may live forever alongside our chosen gods. I could go on but I’ll have to end this one here.
7 - Verst, Have you any hope in human being? What went wrong, our "evolution" or the human being is an error by himself? If possible a return to a primitive, primitive at all levels, do you think life would be more pleasant?
I have no hope in humanity. The human animal no longer has a place in the world. We have become the betrayers and rapists of the earth. We are now obsolete within, and detrimental to the balance and cycle of all that is. Nature will remove us eventually. I believe perhaps man’s ability to create language alongside this deep rooted sense of arrogance and self – importance – that we are above all other life; something upheld by modern religion and society as a whole, are the reasons we have gone against the natural way. Are we an anomaly? I cannot say but I do think our evolutionary path has something to do with it too. However, I do not believe humans were meant to fuck the earth. As I said, Nature will remove us, because we are parasites. I guess if only a few thousand humans survived that age of eradication then life could eventually become ‘pleasant’ in that they’d have to regress back to a more natural, primal state of existence as you mention. It would take generations to remove the desperation and nostalgia for the lost technologies and comforts of the old age of man, depending how mankind was removed of course.
8 - To return to the field of music. From your first Demo, "Albion", has edited a lot of releases, always in limited editions, do you like to limit access to your music? Why? I agree with your decision, do not you think that the underground should be a place of artistic purity? Should not be the listener who comes to the music and not the other way around? Some bands do advertising campaigns with their stuff very abusive, saturating, pure and filthy capitalist consumerism, do not you think?
You and I agree on many things! Yes the underground should be discovered rather than exposed through undignified advertising saturation as you state above. Artisitc purity is not something which can be controlled and so of course we have thousands of cunts who are clueless, making it very hard for followers to discover music of worth. Going back to promotion – there are levels of taste and dignity for sure. I perosnally hate promoting Instinct as I find it utterly tedious and dull and so I only advertise on a few fórums and within the printed pages of a handful of zines. I do not engage in lengthy promotional forum conversation online either. You will not see Instinct adverts and fórum threads all over the internet and I like it that way. Desperation; those who crave attention for their shitty demo, with empty words like ‘cult’, ‘darkness’, ‘goat’, ‘orthodox’ etc are everywhere and I wish death upon them all, they are no better than any other human fuck slithering along the surface of earth.
The limitation of my releases is really down to the fact that only a small amount of people will want to experience Instinct in the correct manner. There is no point pressing thousands of expensive CDs only to still have half of them in my possession a decade later. Again, this is also down to the lack of promotion and awareness of Instinct. I never wanted to be well known, even within an underground context. I do well enough to satisfy my ego.
9 - As some of your demos are quite limited, as it is consumed quickly, but luckily you have reprinted some of them in a new compilation tape, "A Returning Energy" through Schattenkult Prouktionen from Germany. What do you like to collect some of your stuff every so often? Are the tapes your favorite format? Their sound, presentation and price are something really underground, represents an honest way of dealing with the art, what is your opinion about this?
I am very proud of the material on ‘A Returning Energy’ and so was glad to have it re-released as a compilation with new artwork. I’d have liked there to be more than 100 copies though but I’d not argue with label decision as I have a good understanding with Schattenkult and they fully funded the release. As you know I have released several cassettes over the years and I do have a love for them as I grew up with cassette and vinyl. I also like the possibilities for their presentation as you mention. I must say though, I lost many good tapes when I was young to shitty walkmans etc, chewed up or broken tape! – quite delicate. I do appreciate the practical, durable side of CD for those reasons. It seems there will always be a damand for cassettes within the underground, despite this age of downloads and hard drive mp3 collections.
10 - All the hatred, contempt, misanthropy that follows your music, do you think that is innate in you or what you have acquired by your own experiences, by what you see around you? I mean, misanthropy, is a natural response to the imposition of the moral laws of the modern world?
I’d say I am a misanthrope, though one who has to also exist within the modern world and so I do not live in a cave and I do have to interact with people to some extent, though I am really in control of just how much interaction I have with others. Relocating to an isolated area of Wiltshire has also made my life easier in that respect too. I had to pass through London the other week to visit a few old friends in Hertfordshire. I had forgotten just how much of a negative effect that cunting city has on me. A multi – cultural cesspool which stinks of unwashed humans, shit and pollution – like all cities of course. I’m glad to be over 100 miles away from it now.
My surroundings here are beautiful, wide open and peaceful. I can walk for hours and not see a single person, nor hear any cars or planes – fucking perfection. An environment suitable for someone who requires that distance from human activity.
No I wasn’t always this way. I once thought I gave a shit about people, youthful naivity. My personal experiences in the years that followed changed that. I fully embrace who I am these days, this is me until I die and I’m glad for it.
11 - What do you think of Satanism? A superior Philosophy, high thinking, as some say? I think most Satanists are cowards, people who pretend to be rebels, showing a face of evil, yet are playing by the same rules of their "enemies". Tell us your opinion, please.
I agree with what you say about Satanism actually. They are basically Christians with a rebelious streek. False god worship from the opposite end of the Judeo – Christian spectrum. I have never seen the need to declare yourself as such in relation to ‘choosing your own path’ and self – will. These are behavioural traits which should be natural to all animals and have absolutely nothing to do with religion. Sure, I listen to some of the early 90’s ‘satanic’ black metal, but we both know there was no serious philosophy: it was about aestherics and image.
12 - In your records, in your lyrics, in your music, are details that show an attachment, respect and admiration for your own culture, your land, do you think today is prohibited to defend your own roots? If people do not know where they come from, not knowing who they are, do you think they are doomed? People seem happy with their materialistic world, foul, rotten, cowardly, no real objectives, they act like cowards, but sponsor a third world children to pretend to be good citizens, what is your opinion?
Once again you have basically answered this question in the way in which I would. False humanitarianism is something which disgusts me, as you say, people pretending to be good citizens, always in denial of their selfishness, always told by the state and religious leaders that human life should be protected above all else and so we should support the sciences which search for ways to increase of life spans – to go against Nature, to fuck the natural balance. Deny your animalistic side, deny instinct, deny that you are even an animal! And yet, we are all ultimately selfish. I believe the natural way is to care for the few around you: family and friends. Beyond that, we are incapable. I don’t give a shit about the black child starving in Africa and one soon - forgotten financial donation isn’t going to stop the plight of millions on the other side of the earth. Third world debt, dictatorship curruption and our government’s unwillingness to cast it aside has more to do with it too, though of course, the state influenced ‘humanitarian’ media do not deal with such issues. Filthy hypocritical shits.
The cultural admiration you speak of, yes there is a part of that within Instinct, though it cannot be defined in any solid way as it relates more to an age from which there are no records, no real understanding, though it is a pan – European culture dating back 3 – 5000 years I relate to, that which left behind monuments and circles of Stone, barrows, earthworks and a clear connection to the earth and Nature. This admiration also extends to the natural geography and features of the land, or at least the land which has not been decimated by industry and housing.
In modern English culture at least, there is no widespread acknowledgement of this part of our heritage, even amongst the racists, who seem to identify more with a ‘white Christian Britain’ way of thinking. No, the UK educational system is far more interested in covering everything else besides national/European heritage and history. I don’t want to get political, but I too have to live under this government which protects immigrants and rich cunts.
13 - Speaking of your land, do you follow with interest the issues of other bands? Currently there are good Black Metal bands in your land, for example I like Myrrdin, White Medal, A Forest Of Stars, Auldfued, etc. with good labels as Legion Blotan, etc.. What are your favorites? Do you collaborate on a "common activity" or reject these shit called "scene"?
I despise any form of scene mentality, especially within black metal, and the UK. There are a handful of live bands I respect here such as Virophage and A Forest of Stars, the rest need to fucking split up or drop dead. I follow with great interest and respect those who tread their own paths within the underground: mostly individuals who like me, have no desire to be a part of a ‘black metal community’. These artists are the ones who define their own sound and style, and they include White Medal, Myrrdin, Desolate Winds, Basilisk, Nhor and Diversis.
14 - I would like to ask you about your other projects, Ancient Trail Recordings, your own label. So far you've only edited material of Instinct and Spheric Obscurium , would you rather manage yourself, your own issues? Would you like to work with other bands? I've seen some of your issues are covered in blood, what does that mean for you?
My spilt blood upon Instinct releases allows me to connect further with where I come from; what I am a part of, albeit insignificantly. There is also something quite powerful in smearing my warm blood over specific creations; completion and release, the feel of it, the smell, the visual aspect, all invigorating to me and integral to that finalization, before they leave my hands forever.
As for ATR, well I am not in a financial position to release other artists at this stage, or at least not to the level of quality we’d both require and so I focus just on Instinct for now as I always know I’ll have enough money to release something of quality, both musically and visually.
15 - Spheric Obscurium is your project of Ambient music. I have heard nothing, what can you say about this project? Do you have a different concept that Instinct? (Not just about musical style).
Spheric Obscurium was a short – lived though highly satisfying project which was based upon layered soundscapes and atmospheric peices with a strong, ominous drone element. Conceptually, it was entirely different to Instinct and was inspired by metaphysical theories, ecological collapse, black holes, time and extraterrestrial life. Elements of S.O. live on in Instinct, especially on The Black Wound.
16 - Before ending the interview will make you a quick quiz, tell me your first thought when reading these words, names, etc..
* England. – fucked, civil war, rivers of blood…
* Forests. – beauty and escapism.
* Capitalism. – environmental rape.
* Democracy. – farcical and hypocritcal.
* Fun. – nothing worng with it, only here one time, constant misery is useless to me.
* Death. – natural.
* Family – mostly rejected.
* Future. – hopefully without humanity.
* Chaos. – nature.
* Alcohol. – vital.
* English Royal Family. – hung up by necks and genitals, skinned and gutted.
* Racism. – selective humanism is worthless to me, though it is good to ridicule those who are different.
* Equality. – an illusion.
* Backward. – regression through Nature – to a new dawn shining with purity…
* Evolution – undeniable.
17 - Thanks for answering my questions. When will there be an upcoming issue of Instinct? I read something about a split with White Medal, what would you say? Greetings and add whatever you want.
White Medal / Instinct Split 7” vinyl coming out April/May 2013 through Legion Blotan Records! One track each, both written exclusively. Thank you for your patience in me getting this interview back to you and for your support and understanding of Instinct.
1. OLD & NEW
You have two releases coming up - old material re-released on pro-cassette and a new 2 track opus coming out soon, entitled 'The Black Wound'....
A Returning Energy cassette, limited to 100 copies through Schattenkult Produktionen (Germany) Pro printed inlay/dubbed cassette. A reissue of 'Demo One' alongside material also recorded back in 2005 - 'Calls From Blood' ~ originally included on 'Demo Two' in 2007. 'Abandoned' ~ previously only available to a handful of close associates.
The Black Wound CD, limited to 300 copies through Ancient Trail Recordings, full length album, two of the three tracks unreleased until now.
a] We have heard The Black Wound, it was a long listen at over an hour... Can you briefly outline both tracks? Will this be different from previous material-will it represent Instinct in a way that we have not already seen?
The first track ‘Thunor Hrycg’was inspired by an area of rural Hertfordshire steeped in ancient history, through which I often walk at night. Upon this land round barrows and earth work features still remain dating from the iron – age through to the Roman occupation era. Quite a magical place under the light of the moon; silence occasionally broken by the voices of hidden creatures. Musically epic, layered, dense, melancholic, atmospheric (obviously) and only monotonous to misunderstanding minds and ears. As with most Instinct compositions, there is much at work beneath the surface, to be revealed gradually through repeated listening.
The title track ‘The Black Wound’ is something else entirely. Amongst several other important themes, inspired by and dedicated to Nature worship, a truly profound and terrifying experience with apparition/energy manifestation by daylight, The Elusive Energy, the return to Her and the black abyssic wound within myself. The same musical/compositional descriptions above apply to The Black Wound though with more variations in structure, rhythm and dynamics. However, this refers only to the central piece of the 35 minute composition. Patience, solitude and a degree of understanding from the listener will be required. It will be unlike any other Instinct release. I don’t believe there will be a middle ground for opinion; it will either be understood or not and those who do not understand will likely hate it. I could not care less for praise or popularity anyway; therefore only 300 copies will be pressed. Truly an album to be experienced in isolation and fallen into by few, not to be taken as mere entertainment by many.
A central track will serve as a short respite...
The Black Wound will also be the first release to feature Oristalla of Diversis whose input has been integral to the completion of the album.
b] How long have you been writing the two tracks, because, apart from Chamber Dark (a stand-alone track on the split 7" with UK band Myrrdin,) it has been some time since you released anything?
Both of the tracks have been around in several different forms since 2009 and only now are they both complete and presented audibly in the way in which I intended. To say The Black Wound has been something of a emotional burden would be an understatement. A long, drawn out cathartic process. As I mentioned previously, Oristalla has helped complete the album by writing and recording all bass guitar, which added another dimension due to her own unique style and creating an important element of the visual artwork through detailed hand – drawn illustration; a skill I do not possess myself. As proud as I am of this new full – length release, I am very eager to release it and move on; it will be liberating for me personally in many ways.
c] When can we expect these releases? [NB zine out in May]
‘A Returning Energy’ and ‘The Black Wound’ will both be released In June/July 2012.
Initial copies can be purchased here: ancienttrailvoidancedistro.bigcartel.com. Other stockists will follow.
2. MUSIC & TIME
a] Over time, the Instinct sound has become thicker and more densely layered, and slower; and yet at the same time you’ve achieved more clarity - what is happening here?
It was always my intention to expand the sound of Instinct through layering. Actually, the track ‘Abandoned’which pre – dates the first demo, had a dense, layered sound more in line with the material recorded for the self – titled album from 2008. Layering opens up more possibilities for subtlety; those sections which are not necessarily clear initially, buried deep until the mind focuses on them, usually unintentionally. I have been told that sections have suddenly appeared from seemingly nowhere by those who thought they were fully familiar with a particular track. As I said above, there is much at work beneath the surface. Layering also enhances atmosphere which is integral. Instinct is reaching the end of its ‘slow’ era.
The progression of clarity has been achieved through experience with recording, mixing and all that goes with it. Instinct will always remain ultimately raw though.
b] Do you employ any unusual or interesting recording techniques? Field recording?
I use basic equipment, which isn’t always reliable. However, I refuse to use anything that is considered ‘industry standard’. This equipment will always ensure a clear but raw, organic production; ‘professional’ production is the antithesis of black metal in my opinion. No Pro – Tools bullshit here. With all this in mind, I have to keep the recording process as simple as possible, so no interesting techniques to speak of I’m afraid.
I will take this opportunity to point out that I have always used acoustic drums, amplified guitars and pedals – no programming or digital amp simulation. I need to feel the guitars as well as hear them. I also utilize feedback from both six string and bass guitars; falling into an almost hypnotic state as vibration and sound pass through my body during the recording.
In preparation for vocal recording, I have to get into a suitable frame of mind, to open myself up, allowing the primal voice to rise from within; the apex of which has been reached on ‘The Black Wound’ title track – a departure from the familiar vocal style, necessary to convey the desperation, frustration, spirituality, hatred and rage surrounding that particular composition and related lyrics. I can’t go into any more detail.
Field recording is something I have used for the first time on The Black Wound; capturing the calls and barks of those animals within the darker, isolated areas of Thunor Hrycg. Methods used to create soundscapes, as first heard on the The Cold Return demo will remain unexplained.
c] The acoustic guitar parts have become an intrinsic, organic part of the Instinct sound. Do you do this for contrast with the distorted guitar? [if not, any reason?]
Will you continue to use acoustic guitar?
Indeed, for contrast and atmosphere. I will continue to use acoustic guitar within suitable compositions. It was an intrinsic element between 2007 – 8, but at present, not so much; only appearing occasionally on the forthcoming album.
In the old days, you bought an LP, you sat and listened to it and looked at the sleeve, lyrics, pictures, thanks list... the packaging and presentation was part of the record you had bought. It was also one of the most reliable methods of gleaning official information about the band....
a] To what degree is the packaging part of the Instinct ‘experience‘? How much time and thought goes into layout, photography, design?
The presentation and packaging of any Instinct release is very important to me, in that it must reflect the music within and convey the lyrical themes to a degree. The artwork for the first two releases could have been better, but I am comfortable with it. I have spent more time with each subsequent release; with the help of illustrators when needed. I take great pride in my photography and layouts. I am a perfectionist and attention to detail is very important. You will never find a typographical error in an Instinct inlay. I am most proud of the artwork for the forthcoming releases.
b] Is this an overlooked element now - downloads are allowing this visual/informative feature of a release to be bypassed; in what way is the 'audience' missing out by not owning or seeing the complete package, especially with regards Instinct? Many people will maintain that ‘its the music that counts’ - do you agree?
Being the age I am, with my experiences, I simply cannot understand how anyone, especially followers of the metal genre, can be content with downloading albums and storing them on a computer. I have found most Instinct releases online for download. It does seriously piss me off but what can I do? However, I also know that there are quite a lot of followers who want the complete package; those who understand that a limited black ink/acetate inlay covered in blood, wrapped around a cassette is a far greater thing to possess than some shitty low quality mp3 file.
rune q -
why did you choose to use runes and what do they signify, if anything, beyond what they say? it must have been challenging finding the 'correct' runes....
what is the meaning of the symbol 'y' that appears in many forms on your releases?
The Anglo –Saxon/Friesian runes are used as a way of acknowledging the ancient past; beyond the last two thousand years, when man knew his place. There is no deeper meaning actually. I am not interested in runic divination or new age ritualism involving futharks. This does lead me onto the use of the Algiz rune though, which while I am aware of its divination properties, is not used in a deep sense either. The meanings have been simplified within the context of Instinct and literally symbolize life, death and the perpetual cycle in which we exist. The sun crosses further symbolize the cycle, seasons and the source to which we all return. Referring back to the runic letters, yes I spent a lot of time researching the meanings, origins and futhark variations.
As with any solo project, you have complete control over every aspect, from the music writing to the promo and distro. In which ways is this limiting and/or liberating?
Would you sign to a label?
There are no negative aspects to being alone in what I do with Instinct. It is far too important and personal to me to have to consider other musicians’ involvement besides Oristalla as mentioned before. She understands what I do to a greater degree than anyone else and so I had complete faith in her ability to compose and record the bass guitars for the album. ‘I’ of The One provided additional vocals to great effect on the self – titled album, JM has provided his studio for drum recording and mastering. Nobody else will ever be involved.
Instinct is for myself first and foremost; it cannot be separated from who I am as it is a direct channelling and reflection of all that I believe in and live for. It is spiritual, emotional and physical catharsis and a means of holding onto my crumbling sanity. The integrity in what I do cannot be compromised or diluted by other egos battling for creative space, regardless of how good they may be. I am skilled enough with composition and performance to fulfil my vision.
As for promotion and distribution (via Ancient Trail Recordings), I have enough contacts within the international underground to ensure low – level distribution and that is all that Instinct requires. I am under no illusions regarding awareness and interest in what I do; if several hundred followers seek out my releases to experience them in the appropriate manner then that is enough. Promotion, especially via forums is tedious to say the least and I’d not expect anyone else willingly wanting to do that on my behalf, so again I am to do this alone which takes patience and alcohol.
Most labels can just fuck off as far as I am concerned. I have worked with SJP, Heidenwut Productions and most recently Legion Blotan who have all been very reliable, professional and supportive. I will likely work with Legion Blotan again in the future for what I hope will be a 7” White Medal / Instinct release. We WILL get some form of split out there one day!
For now I will release Instinct material through ATR (besides the forthcoming cassette through SKP) as I have no desire to seek new labels; too many shits with empty promises and no capital to fund pressings, unless it is raised through ‘pre – order’ which I fucking hate. The Black Wound will be ready to order when I physically have the 300 copies in my possession.
5. THINGS WRITTEN, THINGS UNWRITTEN
You use intriguing track titles. I assume they have all been well considered and are imbued with meaning. Would you care you explain two from the 2008 CD -
a] Elemental Purification? And why did you split this track from the other parts?
The title itself refers to the cleansing of the natural elements air, water and earth. The purification through an inevitable climate change on a global scale (another Ice Age for example); removing all that is detrimental to Her. Lyrically, themes were broader and related back to Purification 1 – 5 from 2005. Elemental Purification represented the closure of those themes but was recorded in 2007, hence the separation.
b] Misanthropy Until Regression Through Nature - is this a personal manifesto/statement, a broader comment or a judgement/prediction?
This title really is a personal statement and a prediction; a simplified outline of my attitude towards humanity, until my own demise. Living within the build up to major climate change as mentioned above, through to the cleansing of Mother Earth. And thus, A New Dawn Shining With Purity. Lyrical themes also dealt with spiritual introversion, physical isolation and the ever present psychological abyss within.
c] Apart from a couple of entries on metal archives, there are no lyrics anywhere, why? Is the possible misinterpretation of them more than you care to suffer?
There will never be any full lyrics included in my inlays because of misinterpretation as you guessed correctly. My lyrics are as important to me as the music, and like the music I create; the words are for me before anyone else. The artwork for The Black Wound will contain images and lines of text relating directly to the lyrical themes within.
d] 'Verst is Instinct' ’Instinct is Verst’ is written in almost all your inlays. Is this pride?
Not really. Perhaps in the past I just wanted as few words as possible in those inlays. Nowadays I credit myself in detail; now that is pride.
6. PIGEON HOLES
No one likes to be labelled, but at times labels are necessary as a descriptive tool, in media such as this zine for example. So, is the 'tag' you give yourself important :
a] Early Instinct is described in your inlays as 'Pagan Black Metal', but this has evolved into 'European Spiritualist Black Metal' - is the underlying intent of Instinct difficult to describe? What prompted this change?
The underlying intent, those things which inspire and drive Instinct are many and varied, yet all relate (back) to the primary source - Nature; from the silent, isolated appreciation and experience of a richly coloured Autumnal forest floor, to my absolute hatred of modern man, patriarchal monotheism, industrialization and the resultant earth rape and forced distancing from Nature, to the internal understanding of The Elusive Energy; that which flows through all matter and remains unified through Her and the universe.
With the above considered, yes it is difficult to describe Instinct in one ‘tag’ and in all honesty, at this time I don’t believe that ‘European Spiritualist black metal’ comes close to encompassing all that relates to me as a person and my art. At the time (2009) I wanted a descriptive term that was relative not only to my personal spiritual beliefs, views and music, but also to my genetic ancestry as I have always been fascinated with the long - dead ancient European relationship with Nature. I feel I belong to this particular part of the world in an earthly sense. How unfortunate it is that it has to be shared with millions of disgusting human shits. However, my imminent relocation to the isolated rural beauty of Blackmore Vale will distance me from most of this scum and their filthy pollution. This semi –rural area of Hertfordshire is becoming increasingly intolerable; the stinking, multi – cultural cesspool of London continues to spread outwards... I digress; hard not to given that many of my answers interrelate.
So, ‘Pagan black metal’ was not particularly well considered back in 2005 as I just wanted to get the first demo out to distros as fast as possible, and so at this point the definitive‘tag’ eludes me.
b] 'Pagan' is a word with many connotations - does it actually relate to Instinct at all? What are your thoughts on paganism [within BM or as an 'alternative' faith/religion]?
I have come to completely disregard the word ‘pagan’. It is meaningless to me personally when its origins are considered. I am not an incompetent Roman soldier nor do I live in a roundhouse. I cannot associate myself with any of those connotations and popular misconceptions attached to the word either. As stated above, no single word or indeed, group of words can define and encompass all that I am and in turn, all that Instinct is.
I have absolutely no interest in‘paganism’, ‘Wicca’ etc as a modern, communal spiritualist movement. I do not need to interact with any other human in a spiritual manner, or to achieve ‘enlightenment’ through communal ceremonies with meaningless new age chants and dancing. The humanist aspect is far too much to take. Once again men have created rules and hierarchal structures; self – appointed ‘druids’ surrounded by drugged up liberals hanging on their every word while claiming to ‘feel the vibrations’ as they piss and vomit against our ancestor’s megaliths. I speak as a disgusted witness, this is not conjecture. Myself and Nature, in solitude, occasionally with my partner and very close friends who obviously hold similar opinions and beliefs; that is all I need. The ‘Pagan community’ can go and fuck itself.
7. BLOOD, BONES and NATURE
The spirit of Instinct appears to be one of Nature worship, or Nature appreciation. I take it this is not related to any form of paganism
a] How do you view the human animal and its present place in the world, and in what ways do these views relate directly back to your music?
An answer that requires some relative digression and expansion while outlining some of the reasons for my disgust at modern man, several of which will have been described already elsewhere in this interview. I can only give a brief overview due to time and space.
To begin, the human animal no longer has a place in the world. We have become the betrayers and rapists of the earth. We are now obsolete within, and detrimental to the balance and cycle of all that is; a parasite in need of removal, and we will be.
Our fundamental flaw is the rejection of Nature; our interaction, respect, understanding on an instinctual level and reliance, all forcibly removed in the name of modern patriarchal religion –Nature, and consequently women became the enemies of Judeo – Christianity; the givers of life and the great mother of all were contradictory and threatening to the new male – god/creator belief system, and so had to be crushed and subordinated through blind doctrine and violence. The systematic removal of all heathen/ancient cultures intrinsically tied to Nature and the land occurred too of course.
The last 2000 years have led us to this point, in which we ‘exist’ deluded in our ‘faiths’ and belief that we are superior to all other life. Our blind arrogance, ignorance and fear of the unknown combined, allowing us to live as self – appointed guardians. Man’s 2000 year stand against Nature; slowly poisoned through human conquest and industrialization. Women are still demonized, condemned as temptresses, leading men away from the ‘path of righteousness’, as evil doers, heretics, witches and whores, yet most are blind to their oppression through conditioning. For this reason, while I obviously understand, I cannot support the women’s rights movement; there are as many deluded, shallow, idiotic, spiritually void (in a‘natural’ sense as I’d describe it) women as there are men. The only difference being that women have been manipulated into believing they should be defined by many of these vile characteristics while existing as pieces of meat to be fucked and beaten. This can also be seen very clearly in Islam; another man – made abomination.
I believe there is no hope for change through the actions of women and others, removing hundreds of years of assimilation, conditioning and tradition cannot be achieved (those who are faithless, atheist etc still fall in line as they have not known anything else since birth), and so the only change will occur through Nature. I absolutely believe virtually all of humanity will be eradicated before any ‘positive’ change can come about; the reconnection with Nature, not through will but necessity.
All I describe here relates back to Nature and our total indifference towards the destruction of our environment through our own actions. This leads onto our place within the environment and our exploitation of non – human animals and the natural resources; considered to be our ‘god given right’, thus being at the core of society, upheld by church, state, economics and greed – the same ‘moral’, social structures which keep humans passive and distracted.
This exploitative, victimizing, murdering aspect of humanity/society sickens me above all else and is so fucking far removed from the natural way in which our distant ancestors lived and co –existed with the land and its other inhabitants. Hunting with real purpose and respect is virtually impossible in this age. Instead, what we have is the disgusting meat industry which feeds and sustains through demand, the vast overpopulation of human shit; ‘lives’ deemed worthy of saving and protecting through the agony and death of millions of non – human animals every year. This accepted cruelty also extends deep into the heart of modern culture through traditional ‘sport’ and vivisection, again as a means of sustaining more human life through medical research as well as cosmetic testing to ensure ‘beauty’ through heavily marketed sprays, facial make- up, aftershaves, and creams which we now believe are an essential application in order to look and smell fuckable to the opposite sex. The shallow, beauty and celebrity obsessed media industry (television included) upholds this belief, as it is financially backed by the largest cosmetics companies via advertising.
Lastly, we are the followers and supporters of our own hypocrisy, on a personal level and through the system in which we exist. A hypocrisy rarely ever confronted because of the consequences; the embracing of reality, on one level at least, acknowledging the specific flaw of false humanitarianism - the systematic killing of humans to achieve economic control over foreign territories, under the guise of ‘national security’ by those who also preach monotheistic morality based on the belief that human life should be sustained, regardless of the environmental implications.
When the modern religions are based on celestial transcendence through death, all responsibility for our planet is removed. How fucking convenient, and thus, the most powerful nation in the world operates under a national pledge containing the line ‘one nation under god’, the latter two words having only been added around sixty years ago. This is just one obvious example of church and state existing as one power.
Alongside this warped hypocrisy perpetuated by the system is our own personal false humanitarianism, convincing ourselves; albeit for short periods of time, until we are distracted by television, bills, fashion etc, that we really care about those third world children’s plight in Africa, or the tsunami victims of Japan. We fool ourselves into believing that giving money to charities and unscrupulous organizations will remove the suffering of humans elsewhere in the world. I say let them suffer and perish. I care only for the very few I have let into my personal life. I embrace my detachment and acknowledgement of what I am; a selfish human animal capable of caring only for a handful of people.
Most recently I was disgusted at the huge surge of ‘concern’ and ‘support’ over this Kony 2012 bullshit. Millions of people suddenly giving a fuck about black children thousands of miles away through one video made up of footage dating back to 2002, while the organization responsible for the campaign continues to make huge profits from payments wrongly termed as donations. And now a couple of months later, most of these ‘humanitarians’ supporting the ‘cause’ have lost interest, retreating back to their comfortable lives concerned with soap operas and computer games. And these pieces of shit would condemn me for my opinions. They are too conditioned to realize their hypocrisy. This pattern of behaviour has been occurring for decades, we will never change ourselves to affect things globally, nor will the system allow us to. I will say again in finishing, there is no hope for mankind. She will restore the balance. It saddens me to know that most other life will end too. If only AIDS was more widespread...
This knowledge and insight is the foundation of my hatred. This depth of understanding is necessary to me. All I have outlined above relates back to my/our relationship with Nature, therefore it will always directly or indirectly relate back to Instinct. The next major composition will stylistically reflect the hatred within, moving away from the direct inspiration of Nature and the bleak melancholic dirges created these last few years.
B] Blood and bones have featured strongly from the beginnings of Instinct, literally becoming part of the inlay. How then are these body parts and liquids relevant to Instinct?
The use of animal bones (ALL have died of natural causes, collected from where they fell and perished within the countryside) and my own blood are significant to Instinct (as a pure extension of my personal beliefs) in that they signify all we are beyond our understanding of mental and physical ‘being’; carbon - based matter charged with energy, existing as long as Nature wills it. This relates back to the notion that humans exist above all other life and our fear of death has led to this falsity through religion of course; the need to believe that there is something beyond physical death. As I said before; the result of blind (modern) religious assimilation is the forced separation of man and Nature; my spilt blood allows me to connect further with where I come from; what I am a part of, albeit insignificantly. There is also something quite powerful in smearing my warm blood over specific creations; completion and release, the feel of it, the smell, the visual aspect, all invigorating to me. My eyes and flesh are open, though the deeper spiritual understandings of my place and the aforementioned Elusive Energy have yet to be fully understood.
Bone endures, after tissue and liquid nourish, the cycle continues. We are nothing ultimately and I respect that greatly. Bones are symbolic of this to me.
I of course find the visual aspect (photography wise) enthralling and broad in possibility in conveying atmosphere, themes and attitude.
8. RANDOM QUESTION [pick one or both - or none]
a] What noteworthy bands from the UK would you recommend?
Present: White Medal, Diversis, Nhor, Myrrdin, Vostok, Desolate Winds, Subvertio Deus, Obscure Lupine Quietus and the reactivated Archaicus. Past: Swine, Darkness, Hoarstone, Basilisk, AnXpm, Ghoul and Eternity of Darkness.
b] Your favourite piece of black metal history?
Personally, the night A Blaze in the Northern Sky finally connected with me deeply; everything fell into place and an obsession began.
Thanks for contributing to Brimstone. Last word...?
Thank you for your support and understanding of Instinct. I commend you for creating the unique Brimstone.
Instinct are one of black metal’s best-kept secrets. Since 2005, solitary mainman Verst has doggedly pursued his muse, releasing demos, splits, and an album in closely guarded numbers. But this is not an empty gesture toward being ‘cult’ or what-have-you: simply, the Instinct headspace is a staunchly strictured one, there for those who wish to wander and for them only. That’s not to take anything away from the universality of that headspace; in fact, its half-molasses-thick/half-cosmic movement and gapingly vast atmosphere jointly open up myriad corridors to the hinterlands of the imagination. And really, isn’t that one of the central aims (musically, at least) of BM – to literally leave? Time for Verst to enter, then, and guide Nathan T. Birk…
An edited, non-q&a, version of this interview was published in Zero Tolerance Magazine issue 040. Back issues are available to buy here. Do the right thing and support the printed word.
First off, what is your definition of ‘black metal’?
I define black metal as an artform that is deeply spiritual, personal, intelligent, dark, atmospheric, organic and truly reflective of the individuals creating it. All of these characteristics are present within Instinct, and so, on a personal level, I am entirely satisfied that my work falls under the category of black metal as I interpret it, which I should say is from an individualistic nature-worship viewpoint. With this, there should always be a strong ideological angle, and the image should be reflective of this, be it Satanic, NS, pagan etc. I get something from this music regardless of the artists’ beliefs, but of course, I listen mainly to those artists who are inspired by nature – that is a broad area based on the physical, mental, spiritual, ancestral etc – as I can connect with this directly in relation to my own convictions.
However, I should state that it is mainly the obscure, isolated artists who get my full attention and respect, not those bullshit ’Viking/pagan metal’ bands who sing about drinking and swords. Fuck all of those worthless shits – they are so far removed from my understanding and respect of ancestry, nature and solitary spirituality. That trend will soon die out and all the shallow followers will hang up their plastic drinking horns and move onto the next ‘big thing’
I do believe the late ‘80s/early ‘90s Scandinavian bands defined the black metal sound regardless of their somewhat naïve (due to age) ideologies. This original sound and way of playing has been built upon and expanded since, obviously, but to deviate too far is to remove oneself from the genre stylistically. I believe there is still enough room for experimentation and originality within this. The ’fuck you’-defiant, arrogant punk attitude, as well as the sound to a degree, is also present in black metal – a point of debate for those who hate ‘80s punk, I‘m sure – and you and I know the originators were influenced by the likes of Discharge and The Exploited as much as the metal bands of the time. I am a long time follower of this genre also, so it is a very natural thing to embrace and use within the sound of Instinct – ‘Elemental Purification’ is a fine example of this. Ironic, though, given the suburban/city roots of punk and hardcore, let alone the mainly ultra-liberal / humanist lyrical content which, as I have aged, have come to utterly despise. Listen to ‘To Whom It May Concern’, ’This Is Not Enough’ or ‘The Right To Reply’ by Conflict, set aside the vocals, and tell me those tracks could not be any number of black metal bands, sonically speaking.
What are the positives and negatives of being a one-man black metal band? In 2011, do you think the phrase ‘one-man black metal band’ carries a certain stigma?
I cannot think of any negative aspects of being alone in what I do. I answer to nobody but myself, and I would certainly not work with labels who demanded change in any way. If I fuck up, that’s my own doing. Instinct is far too important to me to have to consider other people’s opinions, be they label owners, musicians or followers. Instinct is for myself, and it cannot be separated from who I am as an individual; my personal beliefs and convictions are intrinsic to my life and music in equal measure. I have literally one close friend whose studio I use to record drums. Everything else is recorded myself, and that is how it will always be. As I said in an interview last year – create in solitude, listen in solitude. I have no idea about this stigma attached to one-man projects nowadays nor do I particularly care. I have always used a Pearl Export drum-kit and will continue to do so. I think this instrument is a factor in separating the serious artists from the teenagers trying to record quietly in their bedrooms with shitty drum-machines/programmes while the parents are watching their brain-rotting soap operas downstairs. With this said, there are a handful of individual artists I respect a lot who use drum-machines, but in a way that actually complements the overall sound they have created. This is rare; don’t bother trying it as you will likely fail. Either way, you create this art seriously and wholeheartedly or not at all. Instinct has never had criticism for being a one-man project, because I know exactly what I am doing and I do it with total conviction. Arrogant, yes – I do not care.
How important is atmosphere in Instinct?
Atmosphere is an integral part of the Instinct sound and has been since early/mid 2005. I achieve this in several ways – dense layering of guitar tracks, discordance, incidental notes/sounds, vocal nuances and an awareness of emotional impact through rhythm and tempo. These methods combined with the natural way in which I compose music, as well as recording/production technique, create this atmosphere in Instinct, which, to me personally can be described and felt in the following ways – cold, vast, miserable, dark, epic, beautiful, and mournful. These descriptive words also relate to the musically and spiritually inspiring natural landscape in which I surround myself.
I’ve always felt this certain fog around Instinct, so perhaps this atmosphere is intangible? ‘Invisible’, even?
As I answered previously, personally, the atmosphere of Instinct is very real, easily descriptive and uniquely reflective of that which inspires me. Obviously, from an outsider’s perspective, all I have just said may be meaningless or, perhaps like yourself, you can sense this atmosphere or ‘fog’ somehow within the music but are not able to fully grasp it in the way I do, as I use and experience Instinct as an extension of my personality – a representation of my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual relationship with nature, from the simplistic, spatial bliss of wandering upon the ancient barrows of Thundridge under moonlight to the experience of daylight apparitional manifestation, which, while initially terrifying, strengthened many of my beliefs and theories relating to a unified energy through all things existing within nature’s realm. This is not ‘new age’ humanist bullshit, either – this is far fucking darker…. In ending this subject, I am the only one who will ever truly understand the significance and meaning of Instinct beyond the musical; thus, outside perceptions, while interesting to me, are generally not very agreeable. I accept this, of course; otherwise, I would never have publicised my art. I hope my words give you and others some further insight.
And such ties into the Instinct moniker, then…?
Instinct, in relation to the title of my art, is the lost natural state of man, the animalistic, instinctual drive and acceptance of all that is, balanced with intelligence and respect, crushed by the true enemies of nature – monotheism, industrialisation, materialism and greed. It is my acceptance of all I have explained previously; it is my primal side; and finally, it relates to the way in which I compose music. Yes, the Instinct moniker is very relative and appropriate to the music, to all that I am, believe in and despise. I have known this from its inception, and no other name was ever considered. And let’s be honest – it is a fucking unique name to have within the black metal genre.
Back to the central point, I guess I feel Instinct’s atmosphere as ‘grey’ rather than purely black, despite being BM. Maybe it’s also down to the almost-methodical slog your music moves to, and in that sense I hear (alongside other more down-tempo, comparably foggy BM) strong links to The Cure, in particularly their Faith album (and song, for that matter), which ironically enough has all-grey cover art.
Again, this is down to your own interpretation of Instinct’s sound, which is interesting. I think the more down-tempo compositions are both a conscious and instinctual way of exuding melancholy and atmosphere – not necessarily depressive, perhaps more thoughtful; remembrance – lost ways, but also all that I described relating to atmosphere earlier, too. I find it far more natural to connect and be absorbed by a slow tempo on an emotional level; one-dimensional blasting will never be a part of what I do. Direct musical influence, in a compositional sense, is never in mind when I compose and record. Most inspiration comes from nature and solitary spirituality and all I feel, experience and believe in relation. I have never been a fan of the Cure, but there are a couple of late ‘80s/early ‘90s non-metal bands I listen to whose ethereal, atmospheric qualities may have a subconscious impact on the overall sound of Instinct. The use of clean guitar lines merged with the distorted guitars may bring to mind such bands as the Cure, but really, that’s the listener’s interpretation. I read a review of my 2006 album somewhere in which the writer was adamant I was heavily influenced by Neurosis and that I had synth-lines running throughout the entire album. Yeah, right – fuck off.
It would seem you’re becoming increasingly ambitious these days, between a whole single-track MCD at a half-hour and the split LP with White Medal being one track that’s nearly 20 minutes, but you’ve had exceptionally long songs since the very beginning. Is this a deliberate aesthetic choice? Or simply the ‘dialect’ in which you speak your language?
Lengthy compositions have always come naturally to me and always made sense within the non-musical context of what I do – a journey, if you will, through the internal (mind and spirit) and external (nature, physical movement) and so the music needs to aid such a journey. Instinct, of course, exists for myself first and foremost – black metal which I want to hear in conjuring feeling and emotion on that spiritual level for my benefit before all else. Context is everything – becoming lost in these lengthy compositions while walking for miles under the light of the moon or simply sitting in darkness in my home with reflection and deep thought. Either way, solitary listening with headphones is the only way to experience Instinct, and the music is created for this purpose; hence, all of those subtle characteristics and nuances within the music which also draw the listener in, to hold interest and ensure repeated listens, reveal different things each time. The music has to unfold gradually yet also remain cyclical, structured and cohesive.
The new split 7″, however, exhibits your more triumphant side compared to the increasingly ethereal works just mentioned. Is this a side you’ll explore more? What compelled it?
Indeed, the split 7” track, ‘Chamber Dark’, is a departure, because I always had that severe constraint on the duration and so had to write the music accordingly, but also because the drums were recorded before any of the guitar parts were written. Triumphant, yes…well, that is down to the tempo and rhythm, which was intentionally ‘upbeat’, so to speak. Compulsion – music-wise, it just wrote itself; it sounded fucking good and suitably atmospheric. Lyrically, it is based on one night of isolated deep thought within a 5000-year-old burial chamber in Wiltshire. I think my level of understanding of all within me was far greater upon leaving that place, and that is coincidentally reflected in the overall feel of ‘Chamber Dark’. No, this will not be explored any further. A good song, but far too conventional, though that works within the context of a split 7”. It sounds nothing like Myrrdin’s track on the other side, which is just total, raw brutality with a black pagan heart.
Speaking of the ‘triumphant’, the subject of UKBM, particularly the ‘heritage’ scene that’s so hot recently: your honest thoughts on this development? Where, if at all, does Instinct fit into the modern UKBM paradigm?
Black metal should not be about common causes or unity, and I despise ‘scene’ mentality. This extends to UKBM, too, and as a ‘scene’ is populated by shallow morons for the most part, so I have always kept my distance. I very rarely attend gigs, and I maintain some contact with the bands and artists whose music I personally enjoy and connect with. I have no interest in speaking with or supporting any others. Nature-, heritage-, and spiritually-inspired UK artists such as the aforementioned Myrrdin and White Medal, as well as Diversis, Vostok and Hoarstone, I hold in high regard, as well as some of the older artists who were perhaps more occult-orientated like Darkness, Anaxagazaroth, Basilisk and Ichneutic. Like myself, none of these artists exist within the live performance scene and are/were vehemently individualistic. This is how black metal should be within the UK, in my opinion – isolated artists walking their own paths, with total disregard for convention and absolute belief in what they do. Instinct, too, will continue in this way. With this, my internalised, solitary spiritualism and general unwillingness to connect with most people on a direct level is a world away from those increasingly popular ‘heritage’ bands who are performing live. That is all.
NOTE - SOME PERSONAL OPINIONS HAVE CHANGED SLIGHTLY SINCE THIS INTERVIEW WAS CONDUCTED. LATER INTERVIEWS ALSO DISPLAY AN INCREASED DISGUST TOWARDS THE TERM 'PAGAN' AND MODERN MAN IN GENERAL. I WAS ALSO LIVING IN HERTFORDSHIRE AT THIS TIME - INTOLERANCE CARVED IN STONE - VERST, MARCH MMXVII.
Instinct is the black metal solo project of musician Verst, who’s based in Hertfordshire, in the southeast of England. The first Instinct release was a limited-edition demo tape, Albion, which appeared in 2005. The tracks from Albion were reissued, along with a new track, ‘Nocturnal Invocation’, on Instinct’s first CD, an untitled album released through Canadian label SJP on 2006, with the album receiving plaudits for its strange, hypnotic atmosphere and grim black metal ferocity. A second demo tape followed in 2007, and 2008 saw the release of the second Instinct album, simply entitled Instinct, on English label Heidenwut Productions.
Heathen Harvest: Let’s start by talking about the new album, Instinct, which seems to have a fuller and more polished sound than the first album. Are you pleased with how Instinct turned out, and were you disappointed with the first album? I liked the first album fine myself, but it’s very raw compared with the second.
Let’s start by talking about the new album, Instinct, which seems to have a fuller and more polished sound than the first album. Are you pleased with how Instinct turned out, and were you disappointed with the first album? I like the first album fine myself, but it’s very raw compared with the second.
I spent so much time on the production of the new album; the mixing, EQs, effects, frequency merging, therefore I would never have released an album I was unhappy with. Because of my patience this time around, I achieved the sound that was exactly in my mind. I am still very proud of the first album, it represents a moment in time musically and mentally. It helped clarify many things for me on a personal level, opening a spiritual path that I am still exploring now. This aided in the direction of Instinct musically speaking also.
After I reviewed your second album for Judas Kiss webzine, you informed me that there are in fact no keyboards used on the album, even though I'd thought I could detect keyboards on the first track, ‘Misanthropy Until Regression Through Nature’, and another reviewer had mentioned keyboards being used on the final track, ‘Elemental Purification (Part 6 - Conclusion)’. How did you achieve this effect? Can you tell us something more about the songwriting, recording and production processes for Instinct? Do you record and produce everything at home, or do you use a studio?
The misconception of keyboards being used is down to frequencies merging within the layers of guitar. It is that simple to be honest, though very deliberate. Creating the ambience of the guitars is an important factor. Taking them beyond their fundamental sound and tone is now an essential part of Instinct’s sound. I would rather not go into detail about the process of writing and recording. It can be meticulous and draining, especially with the last album; the original version of which was abandoned and will remain unreleased.
Drums are always recorded at a close ally’s studio while everything else is recorded and mixed at my home studio.
You’ve announced that there will be another Instinct release this year, described on our MySpace blog as ‘desolate soundscape/ambience for solitary ritualism’. Are there any more details about this work available yet? Is there a working title for it? Is this going to be a more ambient work than previous Instinct releases? Will this one involve keyboards, or more mysterious guitar processes?
That is correct, there will be another release in June 2009. This is still in production and will be a departure from the normal guitar/drum/vocal set up of Instinct. ‘Soundscape’ is probably more accurate a description than ‘ambient’ actually; the focus is based on atmosphere rather than any musical structure. I will use any instrument and source necessary to achieve the desired outcome. This will be more personal than any other Instinct release in that it serves purely as an aid to me and ritual practices undertaken in solitary conditions. Strictly limited to sixty cassettes and there will be no re – release on CD as I have done before.
I do not think many people will ‘get it’ so to speak but that is not my concern. However, there will be some interesting packaging with white cassettes and of course each inlay will be hand – numbered and blood – marked. There is nothing more to say on this matter now.
This new work will be released through Ancient Trail Recordings – is this your own label? I can’t find any references to Ancient Trail aside from ones relating to previous Instinct releases.
A.T.R. is my own label and exists purely for cassette releases under Instinct. A run of shirts were also produced in 2006 with the A.T.R. and Instinct logos printed on them and these sold out within two months or so. Anyone reading this interested in printing some more make contact.
The new release is going to be a limited-edition cassette, like your two previous demos. What are your reasons for continuing to release material in cassette format rather than on CD-R – is it just nostalgia for the old tape-trading scene? Cassettes seem to still be quite popular within the underground black metal scene, but I've never really understood why this is.
I like the sound and hiss of a cassette and yes nostalgia is a part of it too. I have many cassettes from my youth when metal was new to me and as a format I think it is important to keep alive, even just within the black metal underground. The time and effort spent dubbing cassettes to me is a sign of further dedication (I always do them all myself at home) whereas a CD-R can be created on a computer within minutes; to me this is bullshit.
What else does the future hold for Instinct? Are there any plans for live performances by Instinct, or will it remain a studio project? Are there any split releases or collaborations in the offing?
As far as releases go, the next cassette as discussed, and then maybe a split release though I will not name the other band at this stage as it may not happen. The main focus will be in on the next full – length album, which I predict will be out sometime in 2010.[NOTE - THIS FULL - LENGTH ALBUM DID NOT EMERGE UNTIL AUGUST MMXII AND WAS TITLED 'THE BLACK WOUND'] Instinct will not perform live; it is highly personal and is crafted for solitary listening conditions.
I’m interested in knowing about your relationship to the idea of Englishness. You include the word ‘Albion’ in your band logo, the runic characters you use are from the Anglo-Saxon futhorc, and the cover of the first Instinct album features a photo of a very English-looking landscape of broad-leafed deciduous trees, in contrast to the coniferous forest imagery which is so common on Scandinavian and Eastern European black metal releases. The press release from the first album also describes your music as ‘inspired by the small amount of unchanged land across Southern Albion, reflecting sadness and consideration for ruined landscape, tradition and ritual practice lost in this bastardised “nation”.’ Could you say something about your conception of Englishness – is it based primarily on Anglo-Saxon roots? And how important is the English landscape as a source of inspiration for your work? Do you spend a lot of time out in the countryside? Do you live in a rural setting?
Thank you for recognising that the ‘Albion’ runes are of Anglo – Saxon origin. I research such things thoroughly, so to the best of my knowledge they are accurate. This is very important to me. ‘Englishness’ is a very broad concept in a modern context. To me, the last 2000 years are certainly not what I think of when I consider the essence of this country and its history, so to answer your question, reach back 3000 – 5000 years and this is where the spiritual heart of England is.
England, or the UK for that matter is vast and great in its heritage and landscape and travelling to certain places is a source of inspiration. For example during Solstice periods I will travel to ancient sites such as Avebury and Kennet to wonder the stones or sit within the burial chamber in solitude. Walking through these sites in pitch black darkness in freezing conditions does strange things to the mind while allowing a connection to be achieved. More often than not, the bad weather will keep most sane people and hippie scum away.
There are also ancient round barrows not thirty minutes walk from where I live so these are often visited at night. Many ideas for melodies have come to me from these times while an overwhelming sense of sadness I experience is clearly reflected on the last album.
So yes, the landscape of our country is of great importance to me spiritually and musically.
The inspiration it provides cannot be underestimated. I live in a small town surrounded by countryside and woodland so it is easy to escape the urban cesspool regardless of time of day or weather.
England, and Great Britain more generally, has not been very fertile territory for the production of black metal, despite the genre arguably originating here with Venom – certainly, the term ‘black metal’ itself derives from Venom’s 1982 album of that name. Why do you think this is? Are you optimistic about the future of English black metal? Are there other English bands whose work you admire?
I am not really sure though you make a good point. I do not have much interest in most other English bands, nor do I attend many gigs, perhaps one or two each year. I do not like ‘scene’ mentality and what it represents; this is not what black metal is about in my opinion. As for Venom, I think they are shit. I believe the first band with the attitude and music was Bathory.
There are a few very good bands in this country though and I will name several who I listen to on a regular basis: basilisk,The One, Hoarstone, Darkness, Oubliette and White Medal.
When you first formed Instinct, did you have any specific inspirations or precedents in mind? It seems to me that Instinct’s sound derives at least as much from Eastern European sources such as Graveland, Nokturnal Mortum and Drudkh as from the Norwegian black metal scene, especially in your use of acoustic guitar melodies – would you agree with this?
Remember that the first Instinct release was an improvised demo, therefore the sound, tone, structure etc was undefined at that point it time. The lyrical, spiritual and visual aspects however, were firmly in place already. Since then, I have thought long and hard about what exactly Instinct represents to me in terms of music and spiritualism. From this, the style in which I play, the sound and the atmosphere have been created as a direct refection of my mind and spirituality. Of the bands you mention, Drudkh are the only ones I am familiar with and it is fair to say that their music has had a limited impact on my writing. I have only two Graveland albums and these do not move me enough to the point of inspiration. When I write my music I generally have a clear mind while inspiration for melodies, riffs, lyrics etc come from non – musical sources; nature and the cerebral.
You have used the term ‘Pagan Black Metal’ to describe your work – what does the word ‘pagan’ mean to you? If you are a pagan, what does that involve? Do you have any involvement in the contemporary pagan scene, or when you talk about paganism, are you referring to the pre-Christian past?
I consider myself a ‘pagan’, for want of a better description, though you have to understand there is no communal aspect to my belief. It is solitary spiritualism linked to the earth. The land and myself, that is all there is when I am walking in the night making that connection. Everything is an energy, I do not believe there is a higher plain after death; we are all tied to the earth. Transfer of energy is what death represents to me. Perhaps yet another solitary journey within Nature’s realm. This energy is as versatile as the elements; we have no control; we will all succumb to Nature’s will. No God of man will be there at the end. This is my opinion. I do not give a shit if any one disagrees. This belief is an intrinsic part of Instinct, and therefore Instinct is not simply music to me; it is my life.
Ritualism is something I undertake in solitude in a very personal manner; nobody needs to know about this. There is a line of text inside the new album tray inlay, which while open to interpretation, gives a clue as to what is involved on some occasions.
Do you feel there’s a contradiction between your professed misanthropy and love of solitude and the pagan aspects of Instinct, given that traditional paganism has always been strongly rooted in tribal and communitarian values? Is your music first and foremost a despairing lament for a lost pagan past, or does it offer any more positive message for the present?
As I outlined in the previous question, my personal pagan beliefs may differ greatly from others in my rejection of the traditional communal values. This rejection comes from life experience, which in turn led to my misanthropic view of the world. Modern culture, life does not allow for connection to the past, by which I mean our pre - Christian history. We do not know of our ancestral legacy, our bloodlines, and our roots. Society ensures that we are too busy and consumed with material gain and stress to even consider what I would call ‘Natural spiritualism’; the instinctual desire to connect with our land, to be absorbed by Nature. We are all guilty of it, myself included, and there lies another of my greatest lyrical inspirations; the lure of modernity and its sickening pitfalls. Achieving the balance is an ongoing struggle and most people simply give in or are utterly ignorant of any alternative mentality.
Why the fuck would I ever want to interact with these people? I can only hope Nature will cleanse herself once and for all. European man is too far-gone to change himself so intervention is needed. Indeed, much despair comes from the hopelessness of Europe and its 2000-year spiritual subjugation. This is certainly reflected as I mentioned earlier about the sadness I experience when walking upon the ancient sites of our ancestors. Again though, Nature’s intervention – our forced regression is the only way to reawaken what lies dormant within. The title of the track on the new album literally spells out how I feel.
I live quite a solitary life and I find much comfort in being alone. More people should try it, they might actually fucking start to think about things.
So in my opinion, because my personal belief is such a solitary one, I see no contradiction between being a misanthrope and a ‘pagan’ in this modern world.
Anything else you want to add?
Instinct is not a form of entertainment. It is an aid for spiritual connection through solitude. ‘Misanthropy Until Regression Through Nature… To A New Dawn Shining With Purity’
Thanks to Simon and Heathen Harvest for the interview and support.
Verst – February 2009
How is it in the Wiltshire today?
Is the photo from "Further into the Arms of Nature" from Wiltshire also?
Hail Raw War and thank you for your support and inclusion of Instinct! Wiltshire is wet, misty and cold today; suitable for drum recording as I have been doing. Isolated and absolutely un-urban. Magnificent. Indeed the cover photo for the Further into the Arms of Nature split 7” with White Medal was taken by myself at the high end of another valley close to my home. The track is a tribute to my surroundings; the wildlife and its sounds, the downs, the woodland, the wind that howls through the valleys, the mists, the currents of warm and cold air which signal the descent into my home valley, the open space, the smell of nature and the many local neolithic sites.
2.I was a bit late to the "party" and discovered Instinct
recently when i found your Band camp page and listened to
the "The Black Wound" album, it got tally transfixed and
enjoyed it a great deal! Also what does the song titel "Thunor Hycgh "
I am extremely proud of The Black Wound and glad that you are transfixed by it! I went through a lot of personal shit throughout the duration of the recording and was utterly relieved upon its completion and release. It was absolute catharsis and purifying as I dealt with grief, alienation from those around me, the fucking abyss within, the Elusive Energy as well as my ongoing hatred of modernity. All of this was reflected clearly in the vocals of the title track. The album as a whole also symbolizes the severing of a past period of my life. Thunor Hycgh is the old English name of Thundridge, an area in Hertfordshire in which I used to live before relocating to Wiltshire in 2012. It is an area steeped in ancient history with round barrows and earthworks on which I’d wonder on many nights contemplating and drawing inspiration. A secluded place, away from human shits, pollution, noise and roads.
3.As this is the third full album what would you say is
different and/or similar towards the past albums? Around 8 years
from the first one & around 6 years from the second. Much happens & change
in once life under that duration so my guess your music has as well?
Actually, I do not give much thought to the evolution or direction of Instinct in a musical sense and so it is only with hindsight that I can draw comparisons to previous works. I do know that there was a deliberate shift in direction between Demo One and the track Nocturnal Invocation which was included on the first CD release in 2006. I wanted to experiment with layering and acoustic guitars; to create depth and atmosphere, both of which have been integral to Instinct since. Conceptually and lyrically not much has changed in nearly 10 years; my disgust of modern man and society has not waned at all. In fact, the older I get the more hateful I become and this of course pushes me forward.
I guess it is for others to make the comparisons between my releases as I simply do what feels right and instinctual when inspiration comes to write and record new material.
4.What stuff do you generally use under recordings?
A Pearl drum kit, Paiste and Zildjian cymbols, Mapex pedals, Boss and Digitech effects pedals, B.C. Rich and Fender guitars, Fender amplifiers, a range of microphones and a solid computer based recording set up within a converted out building outside my home.
5.In your description "about" Instinct you use these words for
description "Nature worship. The Elusive Energy.
Spiritual introspection & bloodletting.
Anti - humanitarianism. Isolation. The Black Wound. The abyss within. "
Perfect (of course) words for painting the world of Instinct, besides
obvious things like Nature worship to go a bit deeper within the means
for you for blooletting, is it the meditative trans inducing states
that you gain deeper knowlage from or only through pain?
Indeed nature worship and isolation are as intrinsic to Instinct as the anti-humanitarian, hateful aspects and to a lesser extent the depressive, selfish abyss within which was a large part of The Black Wound. I’ll explain the bloodletting...
Blood, the life force, once drained there is nothing but for our bodies to return to the soil. It unites us with all other mammals, we are fragile, we are not 'God's children'. Blood symbolizes the equal plane of existence, nothing is above nature. Religion and government has removed man from his true origin, torn from natural states of being with reliance upon instinct as well as logical thought. Its as if nature itself is an abhorrence, the enemy of man's monotheistic bullshit, child raping, pitiful hook-nosed male deities. The spilling of my blood is the reminder to myself of what I am; an animal. Within modern society it is easy to forget the fundamental basis of what we are; everything is designed to distance us from ourselves, our instincts, our passions, our lusts, our very natural tendencies. Religion and 'law' continually condemns, actually outright denies man's proclivity for impulsive, violent action regardless of the context.
Animalism, vulgarity and blood-letting are connected for me personally. It is also compulsive which resulted in the 'Compulsion and Contrast' images of my blood and urine upon fresh snow included with the download versión of The Cold Return via Bandcamp. This compulsive action was absolute satisfaction in the physical release of blood and urine, this is part of what I am so I revel in it from time to time. Fuck social and mental conventions, I have to adhere to that bullshit enough through earning money. I need to counteract the social interaction with absolute cunts I have to endure away from home. I'm not a wealthy man, I cannot simply vanish from society and live 'off the grid' by buying up land or a small island and so I cathartically ritualize and document certain actions when that compulsion to be animalistic floods the mind and obsesses me. In those moments it is only myself, alone in the woods, on top of a hill, isolated. The visual contrast of this moment displayed in the images I mention - purely a fascination with the aesthetics; the richly yellow urine and warm blood melting into fresh white snow. I think it looks beautiful, and had to be captured visually. All of this is about remaining rooted to the self, to exist physically and mentally on a different level to most others. These acts including that of smearing my own blood upon certain Instinct releases are not only related to Instinct directly but are really symptomatic of my personality too. I don't give a fuck if I'm understood or not. To me it is no different to the dog that finds pleasure in rolling in shit; a reaction against all who exist in the notion that they are not animals at all. I trust this answer gives the insight you require.
6.From your introspective journeys would
you say you feel more complete as a human or the opposite? Some lose
their mind staring down the abyss...
It has to be about balance, despite the weight and effect on the mind and body. I have never been some poser cunt who pretends to live in a cave or a forest populated by wolves. As I said earlier, I have to earn money (many miles away from where I live) and be a part of the pathetic fucking system but I do not allow this to destroy my passion, integrity, personality and creativity. I have nothing in common with 99% of the filth I come into contact with who have been wrecked by life and exist only for shitty computer games and television. I have worked hard to achieve this lifestyle; it is very expensive to live away from towns and cities but the isolation and freedom I enjoy in this valley is so fucking fulfilling and that is what keeps me from going over the psychological edge. I have fallen into the abyss and I came back during the completion of The Black Wound. I now exist on a far more stable plane than ever before.
7.Are you yourself behind the bands logo and artworks?
I have created all of the artwork, logos and photographs for Instinct besides the illustrated cover and borders for The Black Wound inlays which were drawn by Stephen Wilson and Oristalla of the band Diversis.
NOTE - RELEASE PLANS STATED BELOW CHANGED DRASTICALLY OVER THE ENSUING YEAR - VERST, MARCH MMXVII.
8.What can you say about the coming 12" split?
Myself, Obscure Lupine Quietus and Legion Blotan Records hope to release this split 12” in 2015. Each of us have recorded exclusive lengthy tracks and we are fucking proud of them. Patience is now required!
9.Whats your plans for next year?
As stated above, the split with the mighty Obscure Lupine Quietus should be released and I will be putting together material for the final Instinct album which may be ready for 2016. In the meantime I will be working on another project named Harrowing Slumber; a departure both musically and conceptually which will probably see a cassette release in 2015 via Ancient Trail Recordings.
10.Thanks for your time and answers!
Best of luck with all!
Many thanks Raw War Zine for the interview.
Verst, Instinct. Wiltshire, England.
Ghost Kommand printed zine - issue VII
Unknown month MMXV
Hails Verst! Be hell-come to the pages of Ghost Kommand! Please give us some lines about Instinct birth & the journey so far…
Hail Ghost Kommand! It is an honor to be included in your magazine. Instinct first formed in my mind in early 2005, leading to the recording of 'Demo One' in August of that year. This was released the following month as 120 cassettes, each smeared with my own blood - a ritual of completion still maintained to this day on select releases. Since then there have been 10 releases including cassettes, CDs and vinyl. The last decade has seen nothing but total obsession and dedication to my blackened art. Of this I am extremely proud and will be until I return to the earth.
Using my imagination & looking at your logo it comes to my mind some Moonblood aura… I wonder if you are even found of that Germanic cult band?
Only recently has this similarity occured to me and I can tell you it is entirely coincidental. The inclusion of the sun crosses within the Instinct logo are representative of birth, death, chance and the cycles of the seasons. Like the Algiz and Yr runes used in some of my visual art, the crosses are also symbolic of man's bind to nature, it's inherent chaos and the earth, they are anti-transcendental, a rejection of man's abhorrant monotheistic religions fixated on child rape, ignorance and Jewish pity. How fucking pathetic modern man is. I digress. I am actually not interested in the music of Moonblood either, I have tried but it is not to my taste.
Would be the musical art, in this case Black Metal a way of purification of thy human soul on a very personal manner? What are your favourite topics when writing/composing a new song? Do you transform your personal experiences on a musical/lyrical detailed release…?
Absolutely, black metal should be and Instinct certainly is a way in which to cleanse and purify all that is within. My art is cathartic on many levels and allows me to stand proud above most other human shits I come into contact with via work etc. Creativity and abstact thought are evolutionary gifts that should be embraced, not forced out of a person's conciousness by the fucking system that seeks to crush the individual spirit. I see too many people who are pathetic empty shells, they live for television, computer games, fast food and nothing else. They have been beaten into mental and physical submission by government, media and economics. Fuck them. Instinct takes me to a higher level. It gives me focus, pride and satisfaction mentally, spiritually (in a nature based sense) emotionally and physically to an extent. Yes I am quite arrogant but after 10 years of creating this music I believe I have a right to be.
Most of my lyrics deal with nature worship, physical isolation (I live in a very small village amongst the valleys and downs of Southern Wiltshire many miles away from towns and cities), introversion, the embracing of instinctual behaviour alongside logic and abstraction and my enduring hatred of modern man as outlined above. Everything I create as Instinct is a reflection of my own self. There is no pseudo-ideology or falsity.
Tell me more about your own inspiration... Which themes do you praise most to use on your lyrics??? If one may ask, how would be described your own personality?
I believe I have already answered the first part of this question above. My personality? Obsessive, selfish and giving (to the handful of people in my personal life) in equal measure, isolationist, critical, difficult, partly impulsive and compulsive.
I think the last release was back in 2013 with the spilt 7” EP with White Medal… Can we wait something new soon?
Indeed, some time has passed since the last release of new material. I am currently recording vocals for an otherwise finished new lengthy composition which I hope will become one side of a split release with Obscure Lupine Quietus, also from the UK. I have already started to record drum tracks for what will be the next full-length Instinct release though this will not be complete until sometime in 2017/18. Perhaps a two track cassette or 7" will come before.
Hmm do you any idea about the Metal scene in Portugal, if you care nowadays about any kind of scene? By the way feel free to speak about your own scene…
Hoth are excellent, introduced to me by The One some years back when he gave me a copy of the 'Rites of the Black Goddess' CD. Celtic Dance of course have been active for years and are still going strong! Also, mid era Corpus Christii I think is good. To be honest I don't know of many other artists from Portugal. I have no insight into the black metal scene in your country but then I can say the same for most other countries too. I concern myself more with the quality and integrity of the music than the country of origin. The UK has some incredible bands/artists at the moment. Again, I'm not sure about a scene existing, besides the group of popular live performance bands which I have no interest in. To me these bands do not represent black metal from the UK and others looking from the outside in should be paying attention to the likes of White Medal, Myrrdin, Ghast, Diversis, Nhor, Vostok, Antinomian, Pale Mist and Obscure Lupine Quietus instead. The past should also be acknowledged with Basilisk, Darkness, Emit, Swine, Eternity of Darkness, Archaicus and Hoarstone in mind.
What’s your perspective concerning the new wave of Pagan/Black Metal/NSBM? Are you fond of it, or are you more conservative on the old way… In another point you have also the new wave of depressive BM, like "cut yourself & worship this or that…" Eheheh What do you think of both distinct directions?
I listen to quite a lot of new bands and individual artists regardless of ideology. As long as the music is well executed with conviction then I am open to hearing it. I do listen to more nature/pagan/ancient pan-European inspired bands than any others though as of course I can relate to them on an ideological/inspirational level given the parallels with Instinct and they tend to have a sound and atmosphere that appeals to me greatly. I always seem to go back to early Drudkh, Hate Forest, Walknut, Heart of the Ages and Filosofem though!
Most 'suicidal depressive black metal' is absolute shit in my opinion. It just sounds like teenagers moaning and crying to me and the music is often very thin and weak; too many clean guitar sounds and incompetent performances. No pride, no strength, no outward hate. It seems to be a popular sub-genre on Youtube. Fucking pathetic.
How far do you think that extreme propaganda it’s necessary by any mean in BM? By the way how goes the free speech in Uk nowadays?
NS ideology is quite an understandable point to reach given the current social climate in which we are living (In Europe at least) and so I do not condemn it although I cannot fully agree with it either; hamanity is too far gone to bring about any kind of largescale, stable change through actions of normal people rather than government. As much as I despise the direction of modern society I'd not want to live under a dictatorship in which individual thought and will is crushed while the state is almost deified either. My point is that there is a place for extreme thought and ideology within black metal though I may not personally agree with it entirely. Afterall, this genre should never be about mainstream acceptance - though that would be detrimental to those pushing an agenda for social change would it not?. Regarding satanism, is that considered extreme anymore? Perhaps to a handful of American bible fuckers. An anti-Islam position within black metal makes sense to me, as we see Europe callapsing into its multicultural cesspool. In the end, I do not believe any music created alongside political/social/religious ideology can alter the minds of the masses. That wanker John Lennon sang of peace and tolerance decades ago and was known to millions; he got shot dead and society has become even more chaotic, divided and war torn!
Free speech within the UK died years ago. A simple Twitter (for the record I have never used this shitty 'social' site!) post which may read 'I fucking hate Muslims' can now lead to arrest and prosecution. Last year a man in Scotland was given a prison sentence for throwing a few pieces of bacon at a mosque. This situation is extremely fucked up. Recently I have also noticed the word 'racist' being used entirely out of context when indivuduals have condemned Islam, which is a fucking religion made up of moronic humans of several different races, including whites. If I say I hate catholicism should I be labelled a racist too? Of course not. This is liberal media manipulation further pushing fear and guilt onto those with differing opinions. We have no statute protecting our right to speak our own minds, especially in public. Did true democracy and personal liberty ever exist within the UK? If it ever did, it certainly fucking doesn't now.
Turning again to a more personal way & views…. What’s the most painful to you, the physical or psychological pain?
I have had my share of both and I'd say the pain is equal. Have you ever had your right eyeball punctured causing the lens inside to fall out of place? I have. That is fucking pain I can tell you! I have experienced the slow, painful undignifed death of someone close to me and that crushing psychological pain is not something I ever want to experience again either.
What do you think about the following phase: the only thing we can do nowadays is to stand on our feet in a world in ruins…?
I can agree with it on a personal level. I am entirely at odds with the society in which we live and so I have taken steps to distance myself from it as much as possible. I am constantly aware of the fragility of all that we take for granted. I know there will never be peace and stablility and yet I can also enjoy my life and not cower under the weight of this reality. I refuse to be miserable and full of stress. Humour is very important too and to converse and laugh with my Wife on a daily basis is essential. The system wants us to be crushed psychologically, to keep us passive, stressed, fat and distracted. Fuck that.
How do you see the world in a couple of years? Would a 3rd world war exterminate all life or even the planet? What’s your own view on an upcoming religious war?
Well we have to live in an enforced, highly volatile multicultural society which is upheld by our governments, the EU and media as our rights to even speak out against Islam, overpopulation, failing economies etc are being torn from us systematically. It goes against human nature and is fucking absurd. They call this 'progression' but the reality is that people are most secure and content when living within small communites of those of the same race and/or culture. I'd call myself a realist while the liberals scream 'racist!'. No good can come from this modern way of living and I do believe this could eventually lead to a religious/race war. The anti-European/Western Muslim extremists have already declaired war as we know very well and the masses, bound by law and apathy sit and wait until the next attack. Another soldier to have his head hacked off in London? Another Frenchman to have his face blown apart for drawing a fucking cartoon? These attacks will have to become more widespread and frequent before people snap out of their media induced slumber and fight back. Sides would have to be taken and without doubt, race and religion would determine such decisions because as I said above, people naturally gravitate towards their own kind. My biggest question is why are our governments allowing society to slowly fall apart? Is it a way of gradually implementing a new world order? Perhaps the growing possibility of a third world war between Europe, Russia, China and America is part of this process too? I have no doubt that a modern global war would involve nuclear weaponry as a last resort and we know the implications of that.
Ultimately I do not have any hope for the distant future of mankind. Nature will remove us eventually, as it should. We are pathetic and lost, we are far too many in number and conflict will always be at the centre of our existance, regardless of what social changes may occur in the coming years and decades. However, my answers relate to the present and we will all have to deal with it in one way or another. To be aware of these possible situations, to see through the veil of bullshit, to be sceptical and guarded and to live away from large population areas is to be at an advantage, regardless of how small that may be.
Well I guess that’s all for now! Please let your instinctive last words be yours!
Many thanks for the time spent on this interview & may your instinct be always present in the future to come!
I have said all I need to say other than thank you again for this interview and for your support of Instinct.
Verst, Wiltshire, England. 2015th year of the Gregorian Shitchrist calendar.