Pesanta Urfolk Artist Aelter Interview is up !!!


1. Aelter just released your 4th album. Tell us a bit about this  Experimental Post Rock/ Avant Doom / Dark Folk journey. 

Yes this is Aelter's 4th album. There has been a 5 year period between this album and the last. Although the aesthetics and atmospheres are similar to the other albums, the overall approach is very different,.As you mentioned this album takes on more of a dark folk/americana/western/post rock approach. 

2. Aelter have seemed to release each album on new label Hand made Birds, Crucial Blast and Now Pesanta Urfolk. Was this done on purpose or just luck of the Draw? 

The first two albums Dusk/Dawn and Follow You Beloved were initially self released on our private imprint Wolvserpent Records as LP only releases. We have a handful of self released material by different projects. Aelter III was a split release by Eternal Warfare and Hand Made Birds two fantastic labels. Crucial Blast another great label, did an excellent job releasing Aelter I and II as a delux double CD release. There are a lot of killer underground labels working really hard to release interesting music and it has been awesome to be able to work with such dedicated people. Mostly the release decisions have been made on purpose. I have enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with different people. 

3. Does Pesanta Urfolk seem to be long term for Aelter? Pesanta did a really great job with the LP version of Aelter IV: Love Eternal. It turned out beautifully. Both the sound and visual aspect of the LP are excellent. Really nice three color hand-screened covers by Monoroid and gorgeous black/dark red vinyl. I am very happy with it. As of now there have been no discussions with any label in regards to a permanent home for Aelter. 

4. Is there a running theme for Love Eternal? 

Aelter IV explores various themes of the human condition. Such as Challenges we face in our lifetimes and our attempts to heal and overcome the effects they have on our mind/spirit/body and our relationship with society. The struggles that people must go through in order to reach a better place within and without and the misconceptions that are caused by an outside view of problems that cannot be seen. Humanities material and spiritual obsessions and their effects on those who are stuck in a society that relies on their position to function but devalues their humanity and the emotional outcome of seeing oneself through this lens. The hope that anyone can overcome these invisible shackles and the internal struggles that accompany them and find a healthy satisfying life and viewpoint in the midst of odds that have may have been stacked against them from birth. Also, growing up in a conservative rancher run western state. Haha.

5. The new album IV seems to be the most expansive and song based of all of Aelter releases. What was the cause for change in direction? 

I feel like each Aelter release is a bit different but the changes in this album are definitely the most drastic. I currently do not have an interest in making the same record over and over and since this is an underground project there is not really any pressure to sound the same. I have the freedom to explore different ideas and ways of executing these ideas. I have been more inspired by vocalists and lyricists over the last few years and I really wanted to take part in that tradition. I wanted to try and capture in words what I have tried to capture through instrumental music. One of the most interesting parts of the project for me was trying to add groove to a genre/project that doesn't generally explore that side of music. Maintaining the drone/minimalist and country aesthetic without relying on typical styles of execution.

6. Is there a direction your'e looking to head with Aelter or is it more just an organic vibe at the time of recording? 

I think it is a combination at this point. I definitely have a lot of ideas but I know when the writing and recording process starts it is all open to change. The most unfortunate part of the process for me is the limitation of time//money and resources. It takes so much of these things to create a single album that I have to pick and choose what ideas to use in order to make the album cohesive. For example Aelter IV took about 4 years from start to finish. I have been sitting on new ideas for that amount of time. It's just not sustainable for anybody to release multiple albums by this project in a single year and it is not sustainable to create them either. Aelter is an exercise in patience for sure. I do have a few songs from the Aelter IV sessions that I scraped. I might try and record those. 

7. I hear similar Ideals and elements in Wolvserpent and Aelter . How do you differ them into two separate projects? This has presented a challenge at times. More often than not Aelter and now Il'ithil are used as outlets for emotional themes or musical ideas that Wolvserpent is not currently pursuing. Since Wolvserpent is 100% collaborative between Brittany and myself it is not always appropriate to use some of the musical ideas I have in that project. There is an atmosphere that Wolvserpent has and regardless of what we are doing some things just don't fit. 

8. Would you ever want Aelter to be a live project or is studio a better outlet?

 I am currently rehearsing with a band that will perform Aelter IV. This album was specifically written with a live band in mind so bringing it to a live setting has been one of the goals. The other albums had no intention of being performed live. I enjoy studio albums because there are no limitations. Complete freedom of expression. Creating a live album was interesting because of the limitations I faced when considering how it could be executed in a realistic and typical way.  

9. Idaho is a very different state . I was there for few months long days in summer and very other worldly as well. Does that play a role into your sound? 

Absolutely. I consider Aelter to be very regional. Idaho is a very interesting, beautiful and somewhat terrifying and depressing place. A land of extremes. The whole state is essential one big national park. It's amazing. Currently it can be difficult to breath here as the entire state is on fire. We can basically stare straight at the sun because there is so much smoke. It is often times very apocalyptic seeming here. A few summers ago it got so bad that I could not see across my street and there was a brown haze inside my house. For like….two months. Cheatgrass is taking over a lot of the wilderness. So every year it gets worse. Just two weeks ago I was swimming in a crystal clear river in the forest. Clear blue skies and 100 degrees. Pretty soon there will be no sun and the temperature will be below zero. It does often seem very otherworldly. 

10. What interesting music are you listening to these day and any books that have impressed you as of late? 

Lately I have been working my way through all of the cassettes released by a small and extremely killer label called Sol Y Nieve. The quality of packaging, curation of artists, and musical diversity produced by this label is extremely impressive. I haven't been reading much lately. Well, I guess I have been reading instruction books and technical manuals but no one wants to hear about those haha. Some of the books on my to do list are: The Happiness Myth and STAY both by the amazing Jennifer Michael Hecht. The Worm at the Core, a neat sounding read on death psychology. In Defense of Food and pretty much everything else that Michael Pollan has written. Hopefully I can get to these soon.

11. Has Social media helped expose Aelter to the world? Or does PR and Label support still do that better?

 That is a good question and one that everyone in the industry seems to be asking. I don't know the answer. I don't think anyone does. A combination seems to work best but only if everyone is on top of their game. There is still no guarantee that people will like the music you create even if they are exposed to it. If it is a question of who is winning it is certainly not the bands and labels. They have become content providers for these larger platforms and corporations and they feed ourselves back to ourselves for a fee. Of course this is nothing new. Only a new version of the same old story. We all continue to make and release albums anyway. For the love of music, expression and community. 

12. Vinyl seems to be the new way to buy physical media . Has the CD officially died??

I don't think the CD has completely died. People still buy them for sure. LPs are definitely more popular now than in the recent past but they are getting harder and harder to press for underground bands due to a resurgence of popularity by bigger labels/bands. CD/CDRs are still easy to manufacture. Cassettes work really well right now because the upfront cost is cheaper and you can include a download card and still have killer packaging and an analog format. The negative side to cassettes is that they are more expensive to produce per unit than CDRs but seem to have a lower price point. It's not about making money in underground genres, but I do want bands to get some gas and maybe have some dough to repair their gear etc. 

13. What bands out of Boise ID would you say the world needs to hear that we have not yet? 

One of my favorite releases came out about a year ago by a band called Gem State. Dubulihasa and other tales of eating and being eaten. It's a bizarre outsider folk album.There are a lot of good bands here but only a few who play dark music. There is Uzala, excellent heavy as hell Paul Chain/St. Vitus/Sabbath inspired doom metal with some seriously melancholic vocal melodies. A cool new doom/black metal project called QUIT who just released a digital demo via bandcamp. A new band called CRY that I have yet to hear but am very excited about. Same with this band called Slvmm. Brittany from Wolvserpent has been working on some solo chamber music which is most excellent. Brett Netson and Snakes, and Cerberus Rex play some pretty great high energy/phsycedelic/classic rock n roll. Hummingbird of Death plays killer fast core. They recently released a split with a great band called RAID which features ex- Septic Death members.There is a large folk and indie rock scene in Boise. There is a band called Clarke and the Himselves that plays strange dark deconstructed "pop" music. , Darling Rollercoaster has been getting into some pretty weird slow bummer drone material. A Seasonal Disguise plays some great manic Neil Young Inspired music. There seems to be a blossoming indie/psych/pop scene with bands like Ancient Psychic/Sun Blood Stories/Braided Waves/Bjioux. There is a lot of music here for such a small city. Rosalie Sorrels is a really neat folk artist who started releasing albums in the 60s. She has 19 or so full lengths in her discography. Pinto Bennet is another folk/country legend who lives here. I guess he had a lot of success in Europe but never really gained the same recognition here in the states. It's neat to watch him play in Boise to about 75 people and hear him say "Carl Perkins wrote this song for me". I end up seeing a lot of bands because of my job as a sound engineer. 

14.  Are Wolvserpent and Aelter your yin and yang as it almost feels that way?

 If this is a question in regards to how the two projects seem to balance each other out I would say that is an accurate observation. Both Aelter and Il'ithil help maintain the musical balance for me. Each project is a home for different musical expressions. This helps ensure that Wolvserpent can remain 100% collaborative without any unwanted outside influences. 

15. Thank you for the time any closing thoughts here:

Of course. Thank you for the questions. I would like to thank anyone/everyone who supports Aelter, Wolvserpent and Wolvserpent related projects. We really appreciate it. Peace.