Today we have a conversation with Simon who is an author of experimental drone / funeral project Qhwertt from Argentina, you may heard his brutal growl in more famous funeral doom project Fungoid Stream. But Fungoid Stream released their last album "Oceanus" in 2010 as Qhwertt has brand new full-length "He Who Has Known The Gardens" due to collaboration with Furias Records. What is it? About which gardens we must know? Let me answer with verses from poem "Zothique" of Clark Ashton Smith:
"He who has known the gardens of Zothique
Were bleed the fruits torn by the simorgh's beak,
Savors no fruit of greener hemispheres:
In arbors uttermost,
In sunset cycles of the sombering years,
He sips an amaranth wine".
Hail Simon! You run two projects at the same time: funeral doom project Fungoid Stream and experimental drone project Qhwertt, the last one released the full-length album "He Who Has Known the Gardens" in 2012 via Furias Records. So let us start with it - how long ago was Qhwertt born? Few words about it's creation and advantages are all we need.
On 2004, Joseph C. called me to join Fungoid Stream as a vocalist. Once the first album of Fungoid Stream was released, I started thinking about creating my own project. I've chosen funeral doom, but I wanted a more monolithic, bleak sound. Then Qhwertt was born by 2005.
First release of Qhwertt was "Cloudland" (2006), how can you describe this album comparing it with your last work?
Perhaps "Cloudland" has more dronic touches (Qhwertt would be under the "funeral drone doom" genre). I remember I wanted to do it even "droner", but I could not avoid the melodies, and after composition and final correction, I was more than happy with the result.
You waited for almost 6 years before the time had come to finally produce "He Who Has Known the Gardens", how much time did it take to compose and record this stuff?
Certainly, it didn't take all that time. There was a number of situations that delayed the releasing. Anyway, the real duration of the composition and recording process is unpredictable. I remember that the first album took less than a month to be composed, corrected and recorded. "He Who Has Know The Gardens" took more time: there was an initial stage of experimentation before composing started.
For me the first strong impression of Qhwertt's last album was from the album's art-work, then I was amazed with it's whole conception which is based on the works of Clark Ashton Smith. Please tell us how you did come to these elements of your project?
I am an enthusiastic reader of Clark Ashton Smith, one of the Lovecraft's correspondents,. With a similar level of horror, but with a essencially different style, Smith was an excellent narrator, and a poet as well. Besides, he was a painter and a sculptor. For the booklet artwork, I added several illustrations of the german naturalist Ernst Haeckel, taken from Kunstformen der Natur.
I've read some poems of mister Clark and I wonder why did you choose to reflect these pictures in such mystic yet quiet extreme way? Why do you think that it was a good idea to embody these images in sounds of such experimental drone music as you play.
My opinion is that horror (in the vein of Smith and Lovecraft) can hardly go out of tune with funeral doom. Of course, this could be wrong to some listeners, but I think it works great.
Oh, man, sorry - forget to ask you how did you find this name for the band? Does it mean anything?
This is a silly story. I wanted a minimalistic name, and I chose the letters of a keyboard "qwert". But after that, it seemed too minimalistic to me, so I decided to decorate it with some additional letters, trying to sound like the odd names of the Smith's characters in his short stories.
And let us return to "He Who Has Known the Gardens", some songs are reach with very interesting and atmospheric elements besides standard drone stuff - for example "Chant to Sirius" has bloody cool keyboard's arrangements with kind of vibe from old space rock and "Epitaph For the Earth" has middle tempo electronic beat. How did you figure out the way to combine these methods with droning sound of Qhwertt?
I could invent some plausible reasons, but the answer is: I've just tried it and it worked fine. I did know at the very moment of writing those songs that some sounds were not intrinsecally funeral drone but, as a funeral doom listener, I thought that many other funeral doom listeners would enjoy that mix of sounds.
Can you name the leading mood and subjects of "He Who Has Known the Gardens" album?
Every track was called as a Smith's poem. These poems explore the typical subjects in the Smith work, such as mythical lands, heavenly planets, terrifying stars, odd creatures, the forgotten past, the unpredictable future, mixtured with a bit grotesque atmosphere. I like to think that every track of "He Who Has Known the Gardens" is tuned with these subjects.
Well, regarding Fungoid Stream (latest album was released on 2010), I know Joseph C. is about to start composing a new album. Fungoid Stream is his creation, I'm glad to help with vocals and some composition brushstrokes. I must say that worldwide comments about Fungoid Stream work were always very encouraging.
What kind of responses did you get after release of Fungoid Stream last full-length "Oceanus"?
It was great. We receive very good reviews from several websites, and specially great review on doom-metal.com. Apart from that, "Oceanus" was nominated as the best 2010 extreme doom metal album at metalstorm.net. Local scene attention was limited but, again, the few comments received had only good words and wishes.
Songs of Fungoid Strean are based on works of Lovecraft, there're still a damned lot of his followers into metal scene. What can you say about such bands… Which visions of his works are most interesting for you?
As a member of Fungoid Stream, I can say that one of the common interests with Joseph C. is, undoubtly, the H. P. Lovecraft work. But, it's a real thing that the important part of an album is the music, not the lyrics. Of course, lyrics are a valuable companion and tool for creating atmospheres. What I mean is: many bands use Lovecraft myths, stories and poems, but I think all of them have a different vision of his work.
For Fungoid Stream part, what we like in Lovecraft literature is the cosmical level of horror. He surpasses the boundaries of our known universe, transporting the reader to an outer, no-human space.
I guess that you expect such a question so I wouldn't like to disappoint you - how does it feel to be an underground musician in Argentina? We know that internet helps to break through cultural isolation but it seems that's you're happy there on your own…
It's a fact that we have no contact with the local scene, not as Fungoid Stream or my project Qhwertt. We don't perform gigs or concerts and we won't. In my case, I don't know if that could change in the future. But I can say that Fungoid Stream never will play live: Joseph hates stages and crowded places. I think he is just like Lovecraft himself in that aspect. We were lucky to have found Furias Records. Furias had patience and support with our projects (Joseph has his own ambient project too, called Dormantgod) and we have only grateful words to them. Internet has became incredibly helpful in that way. This interview is a perfect example. We were asked to answer (as Fungoid Stream) to only one interview six years ago from a local fanzine. On the other hand, we received many from diverse places outside our country.
Simon, I didn't seen your photos and even this interview is done only via Eduardo from Furias Records (hi, Eduardo!), are you so close personally?
No, not at all. When we started Fungoid Stream, we agreed to use some kind of "avatar" images instead of our real faces. We are not going to perform live, never, so we chose that. Later, once Qhwertt appeared, I chose the same way: using interesting images or compositions. I hope that will not bother you. We are sending some images soon. You can mail me to email@example.com.
Or can you say what your occupation besides Qhwertt and Fungoid Stream is?
Well, I'd like to say that I'm a musician, but perhaps it's too much. My job is related to information technology, and that was the way I knew Joseph, as we became friends later.
I would like to end our interview with your words about future plans for Qhwertt, and I would like to thank you for your time, Simon! Best regards man and thanks for this interview!
First of all, thanks to you for giving me this space, I appreciated you have chosen my project for an interview. About Qhwertt: in the short term, I'm helping Joseph C with starting the third Fungoid Stream's album, although I think he barely needs me. After that, I'm sure I will start composing the Qhwertt's third CD.
Best wishes and thanks again.
Interview By Aleks Evdokimov
Qhwertt | Orion Music
Orion Music Furias.Com