|Band:||Turdus Merula / Draugurinn|
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Today I have the pleasure to talk with Disa, Swedish artist known to the metal public for its creatures Turdus Merula and Draugurinn as well as a member of Korpblod and Murmurs.
Welcome to Aristocrazia Webzine, how are you? Your musical site is always in full compositional ferment?
Thank you, I'm just fine. And yes, there is always something creative going on in my life.
I have enjoyed your work first as a component of Korpblod of "Uråldrig Samklang" in 2009 and then slowly I discovered the other realities linked to you, how does the artist Disa born?
I started to play the piano in a very early age and as a teenager I learned how to handle the guitar by playing in a Swedish punk-band (I'm self-taught in other words). From the age of twelve to sixteen I was really active in the rehearsal hall with this band and with the piano and my father's acoustic guitar I had at home, when I wasn't at rehearsal. I guess you could say that it was during these years I kind of lay the foundation of what was going to come. For several reasons I did not have the possibility to play either guitar or as much piano as I had done, the years that followed after 16. I kind of got lost in life in many ways. When I some years later left home and started at the University, the first thing I bought was a keyboard though, and just a year later or so I also bought my first own guitar. I was slowly trying to get back to life during this period, and music was one of my tools to be able to do that. It was during this time Turdus Merula was born, and soon Draugurinn arouse as well. In 2007-2008 I got to know Ulf and we awoke Murmurs and Korpblod together.
In all the projects you're involved in there is still a common point: the nature. How much and in what way you live it?
Nature is pure and free, calm but wild, loud but quiet. I could write a long essay about my relationship to the nature and the forces that dwell within her, but I have already expressed much of it, just as you said, through my music.
The choice of monicker Turdus Merula and Draugurinn comes from what? What is the meaning you attribute them?
I have always enjoyed long walks in the forests in both dusk and dawn, and during spring and summer I have really being caught by the blackbird and it's singing. But the choice of the Latin name for blackbird goes much deeper than that, but in what way is not for everyone's ears. Draugurinn means the ghost in Icelandic and is a reflection of what I was going through during my late teens and as a young adult, and what I now have become. The reason I choose to use an Icelandic name is because my mother comes from Iceland and all the lyrics used in Draugurinn is written in Icelandic, my second mother-tongue.
I got to listen and write about both disks of Turdus Merula and about the last Draugurinn, how these works were born? The approach is very different, how you give life to an idea for a song of both reality and how you give them the form?
"Mentem Recipere" is actually telling the story about what happened and what I did experience some ears ago. The thought of telling that story has been growing in my mind for a long time, but I truly did need to have some perspective before I started to write about it and compose music for it. Last winter (2010-11), when I had some time off from work, I just got in the perfect state of mind and all the songs were written and recorded during an intensive week of creation. It's often like that when I'm writing music; it slowly grows inside, and then it all has to come out at once! "Myrkraverk" is more of a spiritual offspring to the journey I'm telling you about in “Mentem Recipere”. All the music composed to Draugurinn are results of my spiritual work and the progress writing the songs can be quite elongated inside my mind, but when it comes to do the recordings it's often done in a very intensive, short, but effective period of time.
A reality that play raw-black metal with ambient scores, another one that seems born from the mind of Aghast, what were and what are the bands that in the course of your growth as an artist, still in progress, have had an important role in Your personal evolutionary movement?
Well, music over all has, as told before, always played an important role in my life. All my creations are results of my past, my present and my way to the future. I grow through the music and the music grows through me as well. I prefer to express my self or deal with my inner, through different artistic tools, for example through painting, photographing or writing music, rather than talking.
If in the first Turdus Merula, "Herbarium", you treated an aspect of the natural world that was divided between myth, science (medicine) and popular culture in which the adjective folkloric becomes almost natural to pronounce, with "Mentem Recipere" I felt a slight step to approaching the atmosphere of "Mykraverk" of Draugurinn. If I remember correctly the last two named were released six months apart, it is possible that there has been a pleasant trail of influence of reflection of the former over the latter?
Both Turdus Merula and Draugurinn are under constant developing and of course they might influence each other. It's not my aim to connect the bands in any way, but since they are parts of me, it might be impossible to totally separate them. Both "Mentem Recipere" and "Myrkraverk" were written under similar circumstances.
Last year, in addition to "Herbarium", was released another interesting album with issues closely linked to nature: I talk about "I: The Suicide Tree/II: A Rose From The Dead" by Botanist of Otrebor, do you know this artist? Do you think there is a reason that more and more people are turning away from Nineties clichés linked to satanism and feelings such as racial and anti-religious hatred preferring to develop their thinking through issues such as the natural and occult/spiritual ones?
I do not know about this artist no. I think every music-genre does develop through time and both as an artist and as a listener it would be really boring to hear the same thing over and over again. Although, overall I think the spirit still remains in the black metal genre today, and that people just dress their believes in other words and costumes right now. Occultism, spiritualism, nature and so on were a great part of black metal back in the early days as well and I do not agree that it was very anti-religious back then. I would rather say that it was very religious and maybe even more devoted philosophers and musicians behind the music during that time. As always, there are exceptions both back then and now; there’s always individuals in a group.
How did your artistic ties with Ulf born?
We got to know each other through trading music back in 2007 and soon started to talk about playing together. Ulf was singing in different bands, but wanted to focus on his drumming again and since I never have been good in playing drums, we did complement each other very well. We started up Murmurs back in 2008 and during the winter of 2008-2009 Korpblod were born.
With Korpblood and Murmurs you have produced a high quantity of material between discs and demos, adding the ones made available with your solo-project comes out a lot of great music composed in a period ranging from 2009 to 2011, how do you produce new pieces so quickly keeping faith with a high quality standards?
I'm quite restless as a person and I like to have something going on all the time, but I also have very, very high demands on my self and in everything I do and I always want to be proud of what I have done. Therefore I would never release anything if I wasn't fully satisfied. By being a part in both Murmurs and Korpblod as well as I'm active with my own projects, I'm able to have a lot of variety in my creative process and I think that is a very important to keep the quality high.
In each of your pieces I've always felt a little of magic, so to say. Have you got the opportunity to deepen your own research through the use of practices and rituals?
The music it self is often a result of my magical practice and spiritual believes. The rituals and so on do come first in other words.
What is black metal for Disa? And how important is the relationship between music, iconography and texts?
Black metal for me today is exactly what black metal was for me back in 1994-95 when I first got in contact with the music. It has a special impact on me, and makes me feel! Of course I'm much more selective today and I definitely do not like all black metal or all subgenres that now has emerged. For me, much of the essence in black metal is the interlace between lyrical themes, icons and the musical sound it self. Black metal is not just some commercial shit played on the radio, but often (unfortunately not always…) music composed by devoted and good musicians that stands for something and who are not afraid of stand up for that!
Can I ask you about Niðurdrepandi (another band that has you involved with Dimman that, if I remember correctly, should be the drummer of Spazmosity and Cursed 13)? What have you produced? Are you still active?
Me and Dimman (from Cursed 13, Grá, Svitjod etc) started a little experiment back in 2008 where Dimman recorded a song with only drums and ambience, which he then sent to me so that I could apply guitars, vocals, more ambience and so on. We did record about ten songs in a very short time without even have met in real life and decided to make a band out of it. Although, nothing ever got released and both of us were really busy with all our other projects. We have not done any recordings since 2009 I think and I don't think we will do any more recordings either. It was great fun to work in this way and I did learn a lot during this time.
How did you get in contact with the French label Le Crépuscule Du Soir? Are you satisfied of your fruitful collaboration?
The label manager actually did contact me about a year before he started the label. Back then he was interested in and bought my demo ("Paths Of Life", Turdus Merula) but I did not know that he was thinking about starting up a label. When he finally started the label and contacted me again, I did completely trusted him and since then we have had a great collaboration! I have a great confidence in LCDS and I still have them to thank for making my releases possible and for all their beliefs in me!
As you considers the position of women within the world music and metal in particular? In a scene that often prides itself to be far away from the choices imposed by the pop status symbol, don't you think that too many people are relying on the visual factor especially in certain genres?
First of all: I really and truly hope that people get interested in and listen to my music because they like the sound, not because I'm a woman. The visual factor in the music world has always had an important role in all genres I think; the orchestra was always well dressed during the classical concerts even in Mozart's time, Elvis had his scenery, the Beatles had their hair, the boybands back in the 90’s had their sexappeal and Lady Gaga dresses up in a dress maid out of meat… and the black metal scene has their corpspaint, black clothes, long hair etc. Therefore I don’t think you can escape the visual factor, even if you listen to such anti-pop-music as black metal. But when it comes to gender, it would never ever even cross my mind trying to promote me or my music through the fact that I’m a woman. It’s not interesting at all in my mind anyway.
Who is Disa outside the artistic/musical sphere? What are your passions and reference points of daily life?
Well, that's a big question… and I will not give you any comprehensively answer to that. I'm quite laid back as a person and prefer to be by my own. I do not have a great social network and I’m fully satisfied with that. I work fulltime (and more…) at the University Hospital in my hometown and usually spend my evenings running in the forest since I participate in a lot of advanced cross terrain long distance runs (Ultra marathon etc), both in Iceland and in Sweden. Otherwise music, painting and photography as well as nature and my spiritual work is my life.
Your music also has a live dimension, or is closely and deliberately reduced to a personal bedroom approach?
I haven't played live since I was sixteen, but this autumn I will do an appearance with Draugurinn at the Arosian Black Mass in Västerås, Sweden. But I do not know if there will be any more appearances in the future.
What awaits us in the near future? There's something new that bubbles in the Disa's pot?
There is always something bubbling in my pot! When it comes to releases, the new Draugurinn-release, "Móðuharðindin", will soon be out through LCDS. We will also, in a very near future, release the third chapter of our Mother quadrilogy with Murmurs. It's called "Fædd Úr Eldi" and reveres Gullveig and will probably be able to find in both CD and tape-format. We will soon start the writing of the fourth chapter that venerates Hecate. Regarding both Turdus Merula and Draugurinn I will start working on new material this summer. When it comes to Korpblod, we have new material written and recorded since more than a year back, but I have not been able to record the bass yet and Ulf has not recorded the vocals. We will probably finish that release during the spring or early summer as well!
Thank you for your time, we came to the end and then I leave you the word again for a message or a simple greeting to our readers.
Well, thank you for showing your interest in my arts!