INTERVIEW: HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY.
“Mankind will extinguish itself one day so in the question Nature vs. civilization, Nature will have the final say”.
An interview by Alessandra Gordon and Fabrizio Simile
SICK AND SOUND has the pleasure to present to its readers an exclusive interview our editors Alessandra and Fabrizio had with JJ from HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY post-black metal outfit from Austria.
We are following up with JJ and the band after the track by track review we have drawn in premiere for ARSON, their last masterpiece out on February 16th, 2018 via AOP Records. For our review please check: www.sickandsound.it/harakiri-for-the-sky-arson-la-drammatica-incantevole-bellezza-delloscurita .
- Before exploring your latest album Arson and its hidden meanings, I would love to know more about the influences which have contributed to shape your current style. I find some amazing oneiric scenarios, melancholic atmospheres and ambience belonging to post-metal, some black and some hints of doom. What can you tell us more about the inflows conveying into your sound?
JJ: I mean yeah, I’d describe our style also like this. Post Metal/Rock feels very familiar to us, as it’s one of the music genres we like most and listen to on a daily basis. Me and M.S. have a well nuanced musical taste, the starts with Indie Music and ends up in harsh Demo Black Metal. As we are not very famous for happy sounds we are more into this Black Metal Post Metal thing, there we feel most comfortable.
- Arson is an enchanting record. It’s lead by a strong poetry inspiration. Arpeggios and a cursed piano blended with strings are easing and soothing your most murdering metal. Melodic songwriting is threaded into intricate instrumental sections which are giving the record depth and intense expressivity. This is a masterpiece for Harakiri For The Sky and your best album up-to-date. How do you feel about that?
JJ: In my opinion “Arson” is for sure our best record to date. We gave our best and wrote the best songs we were able to. I’m very proud of it.
- Arson is your fourth record and follow up for III: Trauma dating back to 2016. How has the songwriting changed since then and what new sonorities are now to be found?
JJ: With “Arson” we kind of matured. The music is more conceived and thought-out. Lyrically as musically. In comparison to our first three records “Arson” is for sure the most eclectic one with very different musical influences. Also concerning to the production, we made a big step. Now we sound like we always wanted to and made the best album we were able to at this point of life. But the way we write our music hasn’t changed at all, it’s the same procedure we had since the first album.
- The opening track Fire, Walk With Me. I had the pleasure to notice the title seems somehow linked to a quotation by David Lynch, and referring to one of the most cult following TV series dating back to 90s, Twin Peaks. This track recalled to me the namesake feature-length of Twin Peaks. I was wondering if there is a direct reference to it, and its meaning to you.
JJ: The idea for the title came from Twin Peaks yeah, but it was no inspiration in matter of fact. I like the series, but I chose the title just because of its meaning.
- Spot on closing track Manifesto. I would love to talk more with you about this piece, which stands out of Arson’s metal and melodic frame with some alluring female vocals and a goth atmosphere. What has inspired this collaboration and what’s the songrwriting process behind the song?
JJ: The song is a cover version of the Indie band Graveyard Lovers. Some may know the song from the series Shameless. We recorded this one, because we like to play songs that are not Black Metal in their originally form. Me and M.S. a lot both like Indie music. This is why we came up with this song. And yeah, it shares a melancholic feeling and also the lyrics fit with HFTS.
- Arson is a fascinating title for an album. Is the literal meaning of the word “fire” drawn from some conceptual idea you were inspired with? What can you tell us about the choice leading to such an impactful title?
JJ: To us doing “Arson“ was like a clearance. And as the title already suggests, our intension was to burn everything to the ground, musically as well as lyrically. It’s not until everything is burnt and only ash remains, we can resow new seeds and crop bountiful harvest from a convalesced soil. “Arson” symbolizes all that and more.
- Arson’s artwork is showing an owl on fire. This is a suggestive and shamanic imagine I would say. Once again I found a very subtle and fine artistry referring to Twin Peaks by David Lynch and the owl evocative symbol, which was summoning the Black Lodge spirits and also encapsulated in the magic rhyme “The Owls are not what they seem”. I would love to go deeper into the inspiration for your artwork.
JJ: This is a very good metaphor yeah. The reputation of the owl precedes her. Animals in generally are very aesthetic and yeah, they are also something like a metaphor on our lyrical contents. Nature is something ridged and so is life. So the fighting deer, the dead fox or the tied raven fit into our concept perfectly. And for sure also the owl and her special characteristics that are adjudicated to her such as wisdom and insight. Mankind will extinguish itself one day, so in the question Nature vs. civilization Nature will have the final say.
- I have grown curiosity for track Tomb Omnia and its title, which has been assigned in Latin language. How comes the choice of making use of Latin for this song in particular and crossing the standard use of the English language?
JJ: It was chosen because it sums up the main content of the lyrics. If you have read them, you will understand its meaning.
- I have approached your sound a few years ago. Your style and sound got me stoked. I am interested in exploring the origins of your name. The Japanese reference is combining two different concepts: the Harakiri suicidal theme and the sky image. I found this union to be a top notch expression for post-black metal soundscape. Can we have a wider view of Harakiri For The Sky name?
JJ: The name was my idea. To me this name should describe a special feeling I get while listening to music. It’s like running straight up to a cliff and just jump into the sky. Like in the music video of Sigur Ros’ Glósóli. But it’s also leant on a song by the Norwegian band Snöras. But yeah, for sure it also refers to suicide which is a common theme in our lyrics.
- I had already found in your previous record Aokigahara a Japanese reference in the title. In its darkest and disquieting themes, The Japanese culture seems to perfectly match your essence, and so what’s behind the choice of referring to the socalled “suicide forest”?
JJ: A few years ago me and M.S. found out that we have a strong penchant for strong and single words. Such as Trauma, Arson, Estrangement, Harvest and for sure Aokigahara. We had the cover with the dead fox on the ground first and is this time we saw a report about the Aokigahara forest in Japan. We found this would be a strong name and sums up our lyrical content and music very well. But the relations to Asia, such as Harakiri or Aokigahara are a pure coincidence.
- Can you reveal to our readers on some thrilling your news about incoming projects. How do you see yourself in 5 years time? Are there any new soundscapes would you like to combine and explore?
JJ: I don’t know which influences this band will have in 5 years, because we don’t follow a strict genre line. For sure there will still be influences of Black Metal and Post Rock, but what comes next is still not in the work till date.
- We are following up with Dool and Afraid Of Destiny opening acts on your next live show in Italy on March 10th, 2018. The best of luck for your show. We are following you up and fully support your impressive work!
JJ: I really liked the show of Afraid of Destiny. I’m a huge Fan of Depressive Black Metal and I’m glad that there are still bands in this tradition. Thanks for the CD by the way! And thanks to you for the interview! Stay Gold.
I am very pleased to have collaborated on Harakiri For The Sky’s interview with Senior Editor Fabrizio Simile. To find out more about Fabrizio, sneak peek into his music background and bio at:
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