|Release:||Wearer of numerous Forms|
|Genre:||Death Doom Metal|
|Release Date:||6th of June, 2023|
|Released via||Fucking Kill Records|
|Cover Artwork:||Adam Burke|
|Press Picture:||Niels Verwijk|
To everyone who is halfway into the Death Doom or Doom Metal scene, specifically in Germany, it is most probaby no surprise anymore that Doom heavyweights Eremit announced the release of their third full-length Wearer of numerous Forms that is going to come in the format of a 4×12″ LP while also presenting a first track that supersedes the 60 minutes mark – which caused quite a stir. Since we are intensely interested in the development of Eremit as a band as well as the lore that is the key point when getting into the band, we asked vocalist and guitarist Mo some questions.
In this interview, we focused on the transition from Eremit II (Bearer of many Names) to Eremit III (Wearer of numerous Forms) since a lot has happened in the meantime regarding the change of label, founding a new label and re-releasing previous material.
Another interview will follow that is going to be concerned with the lore of Eremit alone, focusing on the Wearer of numerous Forms as well as specific factors of the narrative before.
Interview with Mo from Eremit
Hello and welcome Mo from Eremit! I’m very glad we meet again so quickly! How are you doing?
Hey there Roman. I am also glad we get a chance to talk again! Our last interview was a really in-depths conversation and I remember it with great joy.
I am doing ok overall. We’re in the last phase of work regarding Eremit 3, our third full-length record which will be released in a few weeks. We’ll also be touring next month which is awesome. I also just this morning took up the work on the third Pamphlet again which is on a whole ‘nother level satisfying, yet hard work.
The last time we spoke, we discussed your second full-length, the “Bearer of many Names” in 2021. With the recording of this release lying even further in the past, how has the release of the album and its content grown on you during those years?
Hm, that’s an interesting retrospective question. Even though the record was released in 2021, one has to keep in mind that we recorded that material back in 2018! That feels like eons ago for me at this point, haha. I am still very satisfied with the minimalistic, spaced-out beginning of “Enshrined in indissoluble Chains and enlightened Darkness”. For me personally that track aged well and has not lost its magic and lore-representing powers he held right from the beginning.
I am not so happy with the design of the cover. It’s too overloaded with the frame elements taking up too much space and attention. Since then, I tried to maintain within the parameters of our overall design approach but tried to have the paintings get more attention; getting them more room to breathe.
Overall, I think Eremit 2 compared to 1 shows an evolution of our sonic craftmanship, yet it is not as consistent as a work on its own. That is due to the two tracks “Beheading the Innumerous” and “City of Râsh-il-nûm” that take place in between Eremit 2, but have been released separately on our “Desert of Ghouls” EP. I think it is crucial to listen to these 5 songs in their mythological correct order, to understand the sonic evolution that is happening. To fully grasp how the storyline is influencing the sonic shape of these tracks.
With the “Blade of the Underground” 3xCD compilation, which we released at the beginning of this year, I tried to have a more consistent listening experienced. So, the three CDs do not reflect our three previous releases as they were, but split the overall 8 tracks up in mythological consistent blocks. I think that is an overall richer and more coherent listening experience.
In the past, you ceased the initiative and played quite some shows. What was it like coming back to presenting your work on stage after the entire lockdown situations?
The first show we played was in our hometown with our friends in Minenfeld in an open air setting. I think open air is somewhat of a mixed bag for us. The density in sound, lack of vision and inescapability that an indoor, club show of ours (in the best case) is creating, is hard to achieve in an open air setting.
Overall, we were super happy with being able to do a small tour in 2021! For many people these shows were the first concert they went to after the hard lock-down months and it was the very first tour for all of us as musician and artists. We’re grateful to have had that opportunity and it remains a wonderful memory for all of us.
What were your personal highlights playing live?
Maybe just to partially contradict my previous answer I’d say the open-air performance at the Stoned from the Underground Festival in 2022 was a highlight for me in the past years. The stage was really big, so that one had quite a view standing on it. Performing “Unmapped Territories of Clans without Names”, while having a view into the natural surroundings of the festival area with wind blowing and the sun shining, had its own quality of fueling my own perception with lore related contents while I was playing. That was an outstanding experience for me personally. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to play there.
After the release of “Bearer of many Names,” you revealed that you parted ways with your original label Transcending Obscurity Records after having released “Carrier of Weight” as well as “Desert of Ghouls” and the “Bearer of many Names” via TOR. What were the reasons for your decision?
For one, the contract we had signed with TOR in 2018 came to an end in that sense, that we had fulfilled the “two record” condition with Eremit 1 and 2 being released via TOR. But not wanting to continue for future releases, in addition to negotiating the ability to have re-presses of previous material done with other partners, is an obvious and strong sign that we wanted to part ways with TOR where it was possible. But TOR is still is holding digital distribution rights to the EP and Eremit 2 for example.
To make it short: We never were fully satisfied with the quality of the physical goods TOR was producing. They did not fit our standards and our understanding of what a at least “decent quality” should be. Seeing the art one is so carefully and passionately producing over years being released and distributed in, from our point of view, poorly fashion was painful and frustrating to us. With Eremit 2 it went so far, that we from our end had to organize a re-print of the Vinyl gatefolds due to the terrible quality of the gatefolds TOR had printed and was already distributing. This in addition with quite a disastrous distribution overall where fans sometimes were waiting 12+ months for their orders and stuff like that, left us with no option but to move away from TOR. As we often said since then, and also while we were with TOR: We are grateful for the opportunity they gave us. They really helped us to get somewhat of a recognition in the underground scene. But it was time to move on and take matters into our own hands to have the art we make being represented in a level of quality that the art itself, and also the fellow pilgrims who are with us, deserve.
Back then in 2021, you mentioned that sonically, Eremit III was finished recording already during the pandemic. When having decided to leave TOR, did you already have contact to possible labels that might take the turn to release this giant?
Yes. We had two or three labels who we either knew personally or that had contacted us, that showed interest in working with us. Yet we didn’t commit to any of those before Eremit 3 was recorded. Once we had the final recordings, we shot high and tried to get the attention of two big labels who we love and would have been absolutely humbled to work with. Neither of those got back to us.
We had nothing but positive experience with Fucking Kill Records since we had already done a vinyl re-press of Eremit 1 with Chris, and I also had done a release of another band of mine with FKR in the past. Chris had always shown interest in releasing new material of Eremit, so we asked him if we would be crazy enough to release a two-hour long record on vinyl in one piece. Without hesitation he said yes and we have worked very hard on making this enormous project become a reality ever since. From a financial and marketing point of view, it would definitely have been better to split Eremit 3 in two pieces, e.g. Form 1 and Form 2. Having two regular double 12” releases; spread apart maybe 5 or 6 months from another. But with Chris/FKR we right from the start went the fully artistic way. Doing what felt right from an artistic perspective. We were and still are amazing by Chris’ passion and trust in us and our art.
After having finished your work with Transcending Obscurity Records, you also decided to re-release your debut full-length “Carrier of Weight” via Fucking Kill Records. Was there a specific reason for this re-release apart from a limited amount of pressings?
Vinyl sold out quickly on all our releases and the demand, people asking for re-presses, was strong right from the beginning. So, we definitely wanted to have past records of ours re-pressed and it was just the logical way to start with Eremit 1. This year we are fully focused on releasing new material but will in the coming years definitely try to have Eremit 2 and the accompanying EP re-pressed on vinyl as well.
You know, being sold out on vinyl, or basically any other product, might look good from the outside as it indicates an active interest in your band and music. Yet from our point of view, it also means that secondary market prices tend to grow ridiculously, while many people simply can’t enjoy your music in the format they love. So, we never artificially kept vinyl pressing numbers low to create somewhat of a fomo-hype, but always tried to find a sweat spot of a financially reasonable and manageable pressing quantities that matches the demand. With Eremit 3 we deliberately tried to have a pressing quantity that won’t sell out within the first few weeks, so that we can actually take vinyl copies with us on tour for some time and to give people who freshly discover us the opportunity to get a vinyl copy as well.
(Different pressings of the re-press of Eremit’s debut full length Carrier of Weight – released via Fucking Kill Records)
How did you build up contact with Chris from Fucking Kill Records?
I knew FKR from just being a music enthusiast with my roots in death metal. FKR has been working with Minenfeld, a band from our hometown for long and I had many FKR releases in my personal collection way before I got to know Chris personally.
Chris then invited us to play at his Black Forest Fest in 2019. That was where the personal connection was established. And then as I said I also had another band of mine being released via FKR even before Eremit and FKR started working together.
After this re-release of “Carrier of Weight,” you also announced that you decided to forge a label of your own that is called “Drei Gleichen”. Having a banner under which you are able to release all of your music together undoubtedly serves as a good explanation for this decision. However, you mentioned that this was not the only reason for starting with your personal label. What were the driving forces that lead you to this decision?
With the slow but steady separation from TOR and the distribution rights to our music slowly getting back to us, we had to find ways how we wanted to distribute them. We also were just sick of the poor quality of the CDs of our TOR releases and had the urge to do proper CD re-presses as well. Chris from FKR ultimately gave the idea of having a compilation release summing up all our previous work, rather than re-press three individual CDs.
The Drei Gleichen term or slogan was with us for some time already and one could find it on posters of ours for example. I found it to be a fitting term to create a home, a house under who’s banner we could self-release our art.
Has this decision to found a label grown “naturally” or was it a specific idea that came up after parting ways with TOR?
It didn’t dawn on us for a long time. It was more born out of the necessity and will to, for one, self re-release records of ours, and two, to not do this as “self-release” with no name or proper frame to it. Drei Gleichen is an overarching realm we crafted that allows us more artistic freedom and autonomy than the Eremit band on its own could give us.
You then decided to have your first releases – the CD re-press encompassing all previous releases in one compilation as well as the vinyl re-press of Carrier of Weight – in co-operation with Fucking Kill Records. I really favored this team up since I’m a fan of the label. Can we assume that this co-operation is going to be maintained in the future?
While we never doubted Chris or the label, the vinyl re-press was some sort of a test run for us; to see how working together with FKR would feel. If the result would match our quality standards and if we would feel save having new material being released in cooperation with FKR. As we know by now, we loved the quality of the FKR vinyl re-press as well as the very warm and trusting communication and operative ways of working with Chris.
We honestly have no fixed plans for the future, as we are in a very unique position: When Eremit 3 will be released, we won’t have anything up our sleeves. We’re not sitting on recorded material beyond Eremit 3. That’s really a new situation, because as you know, we had Eremit 2 recorded when 1 was released. And the same with Eremit 3 being fully recorded when Eremit 2 was released.
You now got to know both ways of releasing your music – via label outsourcing a major share of the task or doing it yourself. Can you give us insights what challenges this decision to co-operatively self-release the album brought to you, which were fulfilled by yourself and which were in the responsibility of Fucking Kill Records?
It is a huge difference, at least from my personal experience. Being able to decide, control, influence every tiny detail, also comes with a huge amount of responsibility as you have to find solutions for every aspect of such a huge release and have to keep control over everything.
The cooperation with FKR is equal in the way, that both parties, Drei Gleichen and FKR, each contribute 50% to the overall needed financial resources while both parties also get 50% of the produced goods. A third very important partner comes into play in the form of Neophon. Neophon is a passionate company realizing high quality record projects. We worked with them on the previously mentioned Eremit 2 gatefold re-presses as well as the first Drei Gleichen 3xCD compilation release. So, it was Chris from FKR, Michael from Neophon and me who searched for practical solutions of the vision I had for the Eremit 3 release. I have worked very closely with Michael as well as Sabrina Smokic our main designer for many many months now and can’t wait to finally hold the result of all this work in my own hands.
What was it like for you to be fully involved in the process of releasing your music?
It was great! The “Blade of the Underground” compilation gave me a first taste of what it’s like to be in full artistic and procedural control of a release. Eremit 3 yet came with a whole ‘nother dimension of challenges as well as artistic opportunities. For me it was a huge learning process and super interesting to see and first-hand experience how, where, and in what form artistic visions and real-world circumstances and options clash and what results comes out of that. I can already without a doubt state, that Eremit 3, the vinyl and CD version that will be released in a few weeks, are the most carefully designed, and passionately crafted Eremit records ever. There hasn’t been a release where I was involved to such a degree. I think the shift away from TOR to Drei Gleichen and FKR allowed me to not only be the art director for our merch, but also be art directing our records in full capacity; and that is just great. That is how it supposed to be.
Do the different colors of the vinyl release represent any states or aspects of the narrative that takes place in the third book?
No. The vinyl colorway was solely aligned with the oil painting of Adam Burke that is the face of the record.
Speaking of taking matters into your own hand – we received the possibility to read the content of the first two full-lengths and the EP with your self-published second pamphlet. I highly enjoy reading the lore while simultaneously listening to the fitting music. That’s why I have to ask – (when) can we assume a narrative format of the Wearer of numerous Forms?
First of all: I am super amazed whenever I met people who actually immersed themselves so deeply into the lore and have read the pamphlet. That’s always special and heartwarming for me!
To your question: That’s hard to tell. The literary ways do flow differently than the sonic ones. I can roughly tell if a song idea we are working on is 20% or 80% finished. But with the story, the book I am writing, it’s a process that is more abstract, one that withdraws itself from my consciousness in a way that I myself, while writing, am getting sucked in events that I haven’t seen coming. It really is an exploration into the unknown, despite me roughly knowing the corner stones of the story and what is to come. As I mentioned in the beginning, just today I took up the work on the third Pamphlet again. It is rewarding to go there, yet this world, the richness it is providing and with which it is filling me, is overwhelming even for me personally. So, I do not dare to name any precise timeframes when the next Pamphlet will be released. I’d wish it would be within the next 12 months, but I honestly can’t tell.
Apart from that, you are currently also planning an upcoming tour that is going to start off with the release show of the Wearer of numerous Forms. How do you proceed when planning to tour – do you have any support?
We’ll be accompanied by Echo Solar Void from Belgium on this tour. An awesome three-piece which we got so see perform live when we both played at the Nekropolis Fest in Munich last year. We’re excited to have them as touring partner with us and being able to see them live again actually.
Yet, the actuall booking of the tour has been a huge pain! Despite working with a booking agency, it was a real stretch and we still try to fill open slots. But we have a decent enough line up of shows ready and hope to see and meet old and new pilgrims alike at these shows. Thinking about people taking their time and spending money to share an evening or night with us, our world, our sonic creation, is humbling, crazy, heartwarming…
As mentioned already, there is a tour that is going to accompany the release of your third full-length. What are your future plans in general after the release of the Wearer of numerous Forms?
A Vacation maybe? Haha, no… we of course have certain plans for the future, yet I have to say that finishing the first cycle of records was and has been a huge milestone for us as a band. I used to say, that I don’t know how long we’ll be doing this, but that I would hope to be at least be able to finish the first cycle that we started. We’re almost there now. So emotionally, I need to enjoy this moment for a bit, look back on what we have accomplished. And then we’ll see where we want to go from here.
Eremit as a band is not existing on its own. It’s not taken for granted so to say. It’s a lot of work and it also depends on the continued willingness of independent individuals to contribute to this artistic endeavor, for it to continue existing.
Are you able to give us a tease or riddle what might be following in the second cycle of the first epos?
I am always up for riddles. I guess, for the most part, the whole story we have been telling so far is one big riddle…
Lets keep it short: On the cover of Eremit 3 we see “Drei Gleichen”… three of the same; yet, at the end of this cycle, we only know one of them.
Thank you very much for taking your time! I hope we’ll continue soon with a second interview that is mainly going to focus on the Wearer of numerous Forms itself!
I am always delighted talking to you and being able to share some procedural as well as mythological insights into the art project Eremit, which was once only a band..