|Release:||Sorrow Guides Us All|
|Release Date:||29th of October, 2021|
|Released via||Crawling Chaos Records|
|Cover Artwork||Yamintha Ayash|
One year has gone by since Black Metal act Voidhra released Sorrow Guides Us All on Crawling Chaos Records and in the course of Hell Over Kvltfern, an intimate rehearsal room concert in the band’s immediate surroundings in the deep South of Germany, we had the opportunity to talk to Chris and Mike about the album release, the band’s current activities and also about their upcoming plans for 2023.
Interview with Voidhra
Hi guys, nice to finally welcome you here at TMB and thank you for taking the time for this interview to answer a few questions for us and our readers regarding the current activities at the Voidhra Camp.
Thank you for having us, Steven!
First of all, I would like to ask you to take the opportunity to briefly introduce yourselves to our readers who don’t have you on their radar yet.
CHB: We are Voidhra, we are the swarm!
We exist since the beginning of 2020, founded as a one-man project in the beginning, we have grown to a full formation in the meantime.
With Olli G. Witchhammer (OGW) on guitar, Mike Hellbasstard (MHB) on bass, Jonas Stormblast (JSB) on drums and I’m still responsible for second guitar and vocals. We have all been making music for decades and have come together in Voidhra to create guitar-oriented Black Metal.
Let’s turn back time a bit to talk about the release of your first album “Sorrow Guides Us All”. It’s been a good year since the release in October 2021 via Crawling Chaos. How was the response to your debut album?
CHB: How quickly time flies. The response to “Sorrow Guides Us All” was mostly very positive, both from the reviews and from the scene. Except for one outlier who accused us of not being able to play guitar solos because of our young age (laughs).
We are very grateful to be able to create something here that reaches and moves the listeners and who experience our music in this way and understand the intention with which we write it.
Chris, you wrote and recorded “Sorrow Guides Us All” completely on your own. In the meantime, however, you were able to win over other comrades-in-arms and the one-man project Voidhra has developed into a full-fledged band. Explain to us how this idea evolved and how it led to this next step. What made you decide to continue your artistic vision with Voidhra as a collective?
CHB: Energy and momentum is something very important for me in my work. It was therefore only a logical development to create the artistic vision together with someone who shares the same idea about creating music.
Unfortunately, it is not easy to find musicians in our region and at our age who are still willing to invest a lot of time and energy. Many of the people from the past are tied up or have stopped working on music. But I am very happy with the now complete line-up again and together we are stronger than ever before.
The writing process as an individual involves dealing exclusively with one’s own thoughts. By expanding into a full band, an artistic process can emerge that benefits greatly from mutual exchange. To what extent do you see the new band structure as progress in terms of creative possibilities compared to the one-man project?
CHB: I can sit alone in my studio for hours writing guitar riffs, creating structures and recording songs. But that is sometimes very energy-sapping. But when you take these ideas into the rehearsal room, work on the songs together with the amps cranked up, develop the riffs and refine the structures, then a dynamic, a striving or a power develops through the energy of everyone involved. You quickly realise what works well, which ideas are worth developing further or which are discarded.
To use this momentum, to go forward, to create brute tracks and also to want to perform the whole thing live is very important for us in our writing process.
Mike, you are the newest addition to the Voidhra camp. What were the main reasons for your decision to join the guys?
MHB: First of all, I liked the hell out of the music. After the first meeting it was really quickly clear that these are very nice guys. It is a shot in the bull’s eye to be part of the swarm and my decision has only been confirmed so far.
Your live premiere took place in January 2022 at the Bavarian Metal Spring at Lokschuppen Rosenheim with bands like Revel in Flesh and Groza. How was it for you to share the songs with an audience for the first time?
CHB: I think we have mastered the baptism of fire pretty well. Of course it was an overwhelming feeling to perform the songs live for the first time and it was a consistently successful event. The circumstances were a bit turbulent, we parted ways with our former bass player shortly before and the Bavarian Battle Winter was moved to Bavarian Metal Spring due to Corona…but a first and important milestone for us.
It’s a pity that you couldn’t be there.
What challenges did you face in making the songs from “Sorrow Guides Us All” work live? Was it necessary to adapt or rearrange parts of the songs?
CHB: There were actually a few challenges, so some parts on the album are polyphonic, also with more than two guitars. Especially Olli G. Witchhammer is very fit in rearranging.
Also the first rehearsals with vocals and guitar simultaneously were a new situation for me. I think we achieve to convey the spirit and the depth of the album to the audience quite well live.
End of 2022 you organised an intimate rehearsal room concert including an after-show party for friends of the band under the banner Hell over Kvltfern. How did you come up with the idea for this?
MHB: My wish was, since I’m new in the band, to play with the guys in front of an audience before we compete at the Blood Battle for the Baden in Blut Open Air in January. It’s something different than “just” going full throttle in the rehearsal room.
CHB: We also wanted to offer something special: The idea behind it was to invite more than just friends to the rehearsal room. We wanted to stage a real concert, with suitable lighting, fog and just everything that is important for the right live atmosphere. A full-fledged gig on a small scale.
From my point of view, the evening was very successful in all respects, congratulations! Your performance and the presentation of your songs that evening were very convincing and atmospheric. How did you experience this very special evening?
MHB: Yes, it was definitely fun, of course as a musician you notice one or two slip-ups, but that’s exactly why we did the show, to see where we stand and what can still be improved.
You also played a previously unreleased song on this evening, “L’appel du vide”, for which a live video was recorded. The song carries typical Voidhra trademarks, but also leaves room for new nuances in your sound and all in all sounds very organic and dynamic. Tell us a bit more about the creation and the idea behind the song.
CHB: The track is the first one we worked out together and will be a permanent part of our set at the next live shows. It reflects our style well and I think especially the final riff turned out really great.
The new song suggests that you are working on more material. Are there already specific plans for an upcoming release?
CHB: We have several irons in the fire at the moment. We are currently in the songwriting phase for the new album which we will probably finish in the first half of 2023. We plan to enter the studio in summer 2023 to start recording.
Furthermore, a vinyl version of “Sorrow Guides Us All” is expected to be released in May 2023 and we are currently in talks with a tape label for a release.
That sounds very promising and we are very excited to see where the journey will take you in 2023. Thank you very much for the interview and good luck with the upcoming releases! As always, the last words belong to you.
Thanks also to you Steven and to TMB.
There are some interesting things coming in 2023. Be excited about our new releases and we also hope to see you live to bring our mischief upon you.
We are the swarm!