Interview with ASENATH BLAKE


09 Dec

Welcome to the FILTHY DOGS OF METAL Webzine.

Tell us a few things about ASENATH BLAKE (Members, Starting Year etc).
Asenath Blake is my name. Out of pure egotism, I therefore decided to use it to sign my music because I'm a one-woman band. I play seven different instruments and I record, mix and master my music myself. I live in a remote countryside in Wales, in a cottage that old locals say is haunted by fairies, which I suspect more and more to be true.

You have recently released your EP ''Voorish Songs''. What is the feedback from your audience as well as from the press?
Voorish Songs is my debut self-produced EP, that's why its release is still quite confidential. Some reviewers have however noticed and acclaimed it. It must be said that I had threatened them with a curse if they didn't pay attention to my music, which is an argument! I especially liked the strange facts and disturbing coincidences that followed. FlightOfIcarus from Metal Trenches notably guessed that I was playing hammered dulcimer when I hadn't mentioned it anywhere. Before I released my Voorish Songs, I had also used an illustration of Tin Can Forest as a banner on SoundCloud. What was my surprise when they told me they enjoyed my EP! The chances of them finding my music were infinitesimal.

Label or DIY and why?
For the moment DIY because I couldn't see myself soliciting labels when I hadn't released anything yet. It offers a lot of freedom but it's also more complicated. That said, I don't make it a principle, I'm open to proposals.

Do you prefer Vinyl, Tape, CD or Digital Format and why is that?
I love music, regardless of the medium. Personally, I listen to vinyls, CDs and digital. Each format has its advantages and inconveniences. For the moment, my Voorish Songs only exist in the latter form due to economic constraints, but I would be pleased to be able to touch them because I’m a quite a sensualist.

Which are your main influences (Favourite Artists / Bands etc.)
My influences are not necessarily in the musical field although bands like Lingua Ignota, Alcest or Electric Wizard fascinate me. I draw them mainly from occult and fantastic literature. My Voorish Songs refer in particular to Arthur Machen's short story called The White People. I also like graphic arts, Jheronimus Bosch, Johann Heinrich Füssli, Leonora Carrington. Other influences come into play such as substances, dreams, fantasies, anything that enriches a work in the same way as culture.

Which things, do you think, a Band should sacrifice in order to succeed?
Have you ever sacrificed anything in your life for a better future of your Band?
The notion of sacrifice is problematic because it casts a dramatic shadow over the creative process. Perhaps it would be more interesting to link it to potlatch. There is however a cursed part to devote to it: spending time, money, energy, but also something else, something vital within us that art seems to be made of and must be nourished to become. I’m ready to offer it this libation, in fact I’ve already begun.

Describe your ideal live show as a performance Band. Have you already experienced that?
Due to my agoraphobic tendencies and social phobia, I don't think I’m able to give such a show to my audience. I prefer to remain cloistered in my home studio, screaming my weird glossolalia alone. Having said that, my opinion on the matter is that a concert should be like a ritual, a kind of collective trance as practiced by Coil for example. However, you must make sure that the musicians are not its idols but its vessels, its catalysts.

Which attributes, do you think, that a new Black Metal Band should have in order to gain identity and be unique?
I think it should first question its real colour. It's like witchcraft after all, there is no black or white magic, just an energy that can find different purposes. It depends on the intention of the practitioner, on his ethics. Maybe black metal should also refine its palette, there are so many nuances in what sometimes seems to us to be a monochrome: jet, bistre, ebony.

Do you believe that Bandcamp and other Digital Platforms help the new Black Metal Bands? Which, do you think, is the ideal way for a Band to promote its work?
For now, Bandcamp is one of the best way to face the challenges of music in the digital age. Before, the artists earned barely 15% on the selling price of a record. Now, that's what the platform takes. It also makes it easy to self-produce without depending on labels. Some people have discovered my music thanks to the #witch tag: such a way of browsing opens new perspectives. I like the idea that an album's themes can count as much as its musical style. There is a kind of rhizomic architecture in there, we should not hesitate to enrich the metadata.

Tell us a few things about the New Underground Metal Scene in Wales, UK (Bands, Fanzines, Webzines, Metal Clubs etc.)
Due to the disorders mentioned above, I never go to clubs or concert halls but there are some interesting local groups. Despite its name, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard is something serious for example. I know that before the pandemic, things were going on in Cardiff and Swansea but I go there as little as possible, urban areas oppress me. I prefer to discover new bands on the internet, without borders.

Do you know anything about the Hellenic Metal Scene?
I have to admit my almost total ignorance on the matter. Apart from Hail Spirit Noir, which is really good, no name comes to mind but I'm interested to find out. The Hellenic band that I listen to the most is undoubtedly Daemonia Nymphe. I’m particularly fond of neofolk which, like black metal, is fraught with ambiguity and esotericism. Even though she is American, the music of Diamanda Galás interests me as well. It is with her eponymous album that I heard the Greek language for the first time.

What are your future plans?
I intend to release next year a new EP, maybe an album, on the life and work of Austin Osman Spare. He was a fabulous artist and magician with whom I share a certain sensitivity. From a musical point of view, it will be in the continuity of my Voorish Songs but will allow me to explore new themes. If it's self-produced, I would like to release it at a key date, Walpurgis or Samhain for example. It will probably be called Zoëtic Songs.

Thank you very much for your time & Keep up the good work! The closure is yours.
To thank you for granting me this space of expression, here is a sigil for the growth of your filthy metal hounds. Regards !
Asenath Blake.

By Steve the Filthy Dog.

ASENATH BLAKE CONTACT:

https://asenathblake.bandcamp.com/releases

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