Eyre Transmissions XVII – Interview With Dungeon Synth Trailblazer, Erang

If you’ve been a fan of Dungeon Synth for longer than two minutes, then you should be familiar with the name Erang and all of the glory that has been brought to the genre by way of an extended catalog of influential albums. With a successful foray into the many folds of synth music, there is no doubt that Erang is a progenitor of a unique style of Medieval summonings. Voyaging beyond the confines of Dungeon Synth, Erang is heralded for creating many exclusive endeavors that bridge the gap between Dungeon Synth, Synthwave and Black Metal – just to name a few. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the release of ‘Tome I’, the artist behind this crowning craft has allowed me to borrow some of his time to discuss his music, achievements and emotional declarations behind all things Erang.

1. Thank you very much for taking the time for this interview and congratulations on 10 majestic years of Dungeon Synth ventures. Take us back to 2012 and tell us at what point Dungeon Synth became a creative focus.

Thanks for your words, glad to be there. Well, to tell you when DS became a creative focus we need to go back a bit further, in 2011, when I stumbled upon the Dungeon Synth blog. Prior to that I discovered some Ambient tracks from Black Metal project in the documentary « Until the Light Takes Us ». I fell immediatly in love with that sound. It was like if I found what I was looking for and I immediately stopped it to check online if I found similar stuffs. That’s how I ended up on the DS blog and the work of Lord Lovidicus… and it all clicked together: there was no turning back after that. Dungeon Synth til I die.

2. The Dungeon Synth genre didn’t flourish back then as it does today, so what were some of the processes for which you promoted your craft?

“Didn’t flourish” is a light word, as it was pretty desert in 2011 and 2012. I’m not sure the word “promote” fit well because of that. There was no facebook group, no board, no youtube channel, so I just posted in some Ambient or Metal group, or in the forum of Encyclopedia Metallum. There might still be some old posts from me from 2012… it was mostly on forums : RPG forums or Fantasy forums.

3. Erang truly transcends the Dungeon Synth genre by composing in other realms of synth music. Has this always been a vision for this project?

The only vision behind Erang is to stay true to my Imagination and inner feelings, no matter the musical genre. Of course Dungeon Synth is at the core of it because of the involvement I had in the revival of the genre back then. But I’ll never be afraid to mix it with many other influences or thematic if I feel it in my guts. Like with my prior album PRISONNIER DU RÊVE : I knew the theme was too french and too obscure for a broader audience but, at that time, I needed to do it because it had a really personal resonnance toward my past and childhood.

4. Who are some of your greatest influences for creating this kind of music.

That is absolutely impossible to say because it changes on each album and even on each track… It is always a very large mix of so many things. And lots of them are not musical but come from movies, books, cartoons… that and, of course, my own personal history and things from my past…

5. Did you have a musical career prior to forming Erang back in 2011/2012?

I don’t (and never will) consider what I’m doing as a “career”. I make music because I have to, I need to, it’s like the air I breathe. Without it I would be dead and empty, I have no choice. 

I’ve been making music since I was 14, I guess, but just for myself. My first real musical connection with the outside world was with my first Erang album, Tome I, in 2012.

6. Let’s talk about ‘Tome I’ (2012). Was there an overall concept for this album? To me the music flows just like a storyline or script for a movie.

The concept was simple : I told myself to stop trying to make art or something modern or innovative or I don’t know what… I told myself : make music like you used to draw when you were a little child. Without thinking about the outside world, just alone in your bedroom, lying on the ground with papers and markers. Without thinking about technics or what is right or wrong… Just make something straight from you heart. I thought about movies or books that were important for me as a Kid and named the songs after that… And after that first album, I understood who I was for the first time and things have never been the same since then.

https://erang.bandcamp.com/album/tome-i

7. That album has truly stood the test of time, as those songs still sound really fresh. What made the songs on that album so resilient in a genre that has sprouted in a vast way in the past few years.

Thanks ! Well, that’s hard for me to say… I guess the most well placed to say it (if it’s true) are the people who enjoy it.

8. ‘Tome II’ as also released in 2012 but there is a noticeable growth in song compositions. What influenced this growth spurt in such a short amount of time?

From my point of view, the first 4 albums are really linked together and from the same vein, hence the « Tomes » names. So I wouldnt say there are a real difference in compositions or sounds from my point of view. It was really me toying with the Dungeon Synth basics… They really are a whole together. Things started to change with the album just after these : « Another World, Another Time ». That’s why I named it like the first track of « Tome I ». Because it was a rebirth for me. If you noticed, that’s why the 4 albums just after the fourth first Tomes, are all named after a track from the respective previous Tomes.

https://erang.bandcamp.com/album/tome-ii

9. One of my favorite albums by Erang is ‘Within The Land Of My Imagination I Am The Only God’ (2014). This album was so full of Medieval substance that in my opinion, it’s a true structure of the Dungeon Synth genre. In your opinion, what makes this album so audibly different?

I guess this one is an important one in my discography. I think that, mainly, it was different in scope : 17 tracks was a big thing to put out for me back then. And the title of the album is also an important and strong statement for me. When I knew it was named like this, I remember thinking that I really had to put out something worth this title. I hope I didn’t failed. Because that sentence ‘Within The Land Of My Imagination I Am The Only God’ is really something at the ground of my personality and the world of Erang.

https://erang.bandcamp.com/album/within-the-land-of-my-imagination-i-am-the-only-god

10. On 2016’s ‘Anti Future’, you ventured into the synthwave/darkwave and the results were a highly addictive album. What was the mindset behind its creative concept? Do you plan to produce anymore albums of this nature?

Well I already produce SONGS of SCARS which was the direct inheritor of ANTI FUTURE. I really wanted to make something in that vein for a long time. Being a child from the late 80’s, the synth sounds from that era were really a cradle for me. In advertising, in TV shows, etc. it was full of synth everywhere because back then that sound sounded « new » and was also way cheaper to produce rather than a full orchestra (mainly for TV or B movies). I was also a huge fan of John Carpenter and, if you listen closely to this album, it is not synthwave like the ones you find the most (which is more « outrun » in the vein of the movie « Drive » you know) my two albums are really more in the vein of horror b movies or science fiction movies from back then, Stephen King’s TV adaptations.

https://erang.bandcamp.com/album/anti-future

So as I said, I was really into that sound for a long time and what achieved to give me the impulse of doing it was the first album of new material from John Carpenter : Lost Tales. I loved this album and decided to give it a shot myself.

11. Now let’s fast forward to 2020’s ‘Imagination Never Fails’. Again, this was a multi-genre masterpiece that flows like a soundtrack or a large-scale production. What was it like to create this magnum opus? How do you pull off these tracks in a live setting?

Thanks again for such compliment, I’m humbled. Concerning live, I’ll never play live. Or maybe if I do it one day it would be under very specific circumstances which I still can’t figure now. Because it could kill a part of the mystery that is, to me, the most important thing. I once read a reply from Summoning in that same vein… so, no live setting. And concerning the creation of this album it was a pure bliss. More than one time you struggle while creating an album. You’re full of doubt, hesitation, etc. but not this time. Mainly because it was my ‘comeback’ after pretty much 2 years of silence. So I was really inspired and, when I announced it I had such an incredible and overwhelming feedback from the community that it get my heart pumping to deliver it.

12. Recently you release 5 amazing EP’s. All have different sounds and a variety of focuses. How did this endeavor come about and how did you come up with the entity known as The Land of 5 Seasons?

The creation of the Land of the Five Seasons was an organic process if I could say so… it slowly came together albums after albums and when I drew the map of it. For this specific set of 5 EP’s I really wanted to make something different because of the 10 years anniversary. But on the other hand, as it was a marking point anniversary, I also wanted to make something as an ode to the genre you know? That’s how I ended up with that concept of mixing my own Land of the Five Seasons with 5 different (and even more) flavors of Dungeon Synth : from old school to ambient, from cinematic to new age, with also the black metal influences, etc.

13. What are some of your favorite Erang albums and why?

That’s truly impossible for me to say. Each album is a snapshot from a moment of my life and means something really strong and personal to me.

14. What is your opinion on the current state of Dungeon Synth and the sub-genres that have spawned from it over the past few years.

I find it very alive, diverse and full of creativity. So many great things to discover and navigate through. Very inspiring !

15. Who are some of the modern Dungeon Synth artists that you admire on a creative level?

There are too many to names… I will start with some french acts if you don’t mind : Silu de Mordomoire, Elixir, Arathgoth, Arsule, Weress or Descort… Also some already famous names but there are well known for a reason : Fogweaver, Hole Dweller, all the works by Adam Matlock… Recently I’ve been amazed by ‘A Lantern Swathed’ by Erreth-Akbe : a great piece of art. Also I really enjoyed ‘Arda’s Herbarium Vol. 1’ by Ithildin, very diverse and charming… Really, people just have to browse through bandcamp to discover hidden treasures.

16. What are your musical plans for the remainder of 2022?

Many things and surprises will come in 2022. Some great physical releases with awesome labels but also few unexpected things here and there… you’ll see !

17. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer a few questions. Do you have any final words for those that may be reading this interview?

Thanks to you for the interview! I just want to say that without Erang, I wouldn’t be there… life wouldn’t have the same meaning to me… and if the Kingdom of Erang is there, it is also because of all the people who follow and support this fragile weird and obscure music since ten years now… Thanks to all of them for what they are doing, it means more than they imagine.

Enter the Land of the Five Seasons below:

Bandcamp: https://erang.bandcamp.com/

Main Website: https://www.erang-dungeon-synth.com/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/084f5VMGkCRs4mV96QhJUM

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kingdom_of_erang

A Journey Into the Land of the Five Seasons: https://youtu.be/TIqRMzKEx2g

Sun Addicted Family Ascend The Elements Of Atmosphere And Experimentation On Powerhouse Avant-garde Debut, ‘Solar Dreams’

I love the element of surprise, especially when it comes to music. However, due to the fact that I’m such a big fan of so many styles, I’m rarely caught off guard when multi-genre’s clash to form an experimental project that’s worth listening to. On occasion though, there have been encounters that weren’t meant to be and are better left alone and unheard of. However, there are times when everything just clicks and the songwriting is beyond captivating and the emotional charge cannot be matched. A project like this that has recently caught my attention is Sun Addicted Family. Auspiciously blending genres such as black metal, shoe-gaze, ambient, post-metal, and space rock, Sun Addicted Family seamlessly ties all of these together with masterful songwriting and with such strong emotion, you’ll find yourself listening to their debut album, ‘Solar Dreams’ over and over again.

The audacious album opener, “Solar”, fuses in haunting ambient keys, drum pads and strumming guitars right from the start. Distant clean vocals can be heard for a few bars before a powerful guitar riff forces its way in the mix. The synth arrangements have a strong shoe-gaze feel in this track, as it blissfully adds a nice layer of ambience throughout the whole song. At around the four and a half minute mark, the speed picks back up, with some black metal screams and wonderful melodic riffs. “Signals” is a slower, looming track with exquisitely layered keys that match the melody of the distorted guitar riffs rather well. The inaudible, harsh vocals are like an additional instrument in this track, and sound great in the spots they are added. The main riff is mesmerizing and you will find yourself drifting off into otherworldly places. The last minute of this song is one of my favorite moments on the album. “Orbit” is a ten minute instrumental track that showcases the atmospheric side of Sun Addicted Family. Leaning heavily on ambient tones and elongated drones, it is full of melodic and impassioned moments that will draw you in from the opening sound and will fill you with copious amounts of emotional feelings. At around the seven minute mark, when the clean keyboard notes begin to play, you will again be whisked away, as this section is so beautiful to listen to. “Levitate” begins with a soft, clean guitar riff, complimented with a drum pad sound. Soon, a grandiose keyboard arrangement fills the atmosphere, providing a majority of the melody. We are also graced with more clean vocals that have a distant & dreamy sound. At about the halfway mark, the atmospheric keyboards fade away, leaving a basic guitar and keyboard sound. However, this is just a preamble to more black metal style vocals and post-metal rhythms as they pummel their way into the song. The final song on the album, “Luna” begins with great atmospheric keyboard tones and then a full on post-metal onslaught begins. The harsh vocals have a very eerie & distant feeling to them, especially when combined with the melodic styling of the music. At about the four minute mark, the music temporarily calms to a relaxing guitar riff and a memorable drum beat before picking up for one final sonic assault.

‘Solar Dreams’ is a fantastic debut album by Sun Addicted Family and it’s apparent right from the beginning, they aren’t afraid to take chances, nor are they holding anything back. No genre seems to be off limits and no form of music is safe, as it all can be manipulated and fused into an experimental and super emotional track that only Sun Addicted Family can produce. This has turned out to be one of my favorite albums to listen to so far this year and I highly recommend this for anyone that loves ambient music and metal and who also has an open mind. Please show your support for this exceptional artist and download ‘Solar Dreams’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://sunaddictedfamily.bandcamp.com

Moon And Azure Shadow Instill The Sounds Of Dungeon & Medieval Synth On Masterful Black Metal Overture.

Synthesized orchestrations have been infused with black metal for decades now, creating a sub-genre of technical and theatrical metal known as symphonic black metal. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that with the exception of a few bands, this sub-genre hasn’t really been my thing. However, after a renewed interest in dungeon synth and winter synth, I’ve come to appreciate the genre more than ever. That brings me to Moon And Azure Shadow, a one-man Black Metal project that mightily imbues the dungeon, winter, and medieval synth style into his unique brand of gothic infused black metal. The result is an incredible album of epic song lengths and robust symphonic pleasure known as ‘Age Of Darkness And Frost’. Consisting of three lengthy tracks that contain a hefty dose of black metal with a wide variety of other sounds, and four tracks of classical synth-style compositions, ‘Age Of Darkness And Frost’ is a surprisingly exceptional album that is sure to make a few “Top 10” list for 2019.

The breathtaking album opener, “Across Dark Landscapes” makes it grand entrance with an enormous symphonic auditory effect. There are so many imposing sounds on this track, it almost as if it could be used for an expeditious sequence in a movie. The cinematic quality is incredible and hearing this, I imagine a group of nomadic travelers, traversing a snowy mountain summit in search of a new place to secure as their home. As the climax of the music winds down, a beautiful piano melody can be heard, taking us to the end of this triumphant song. The next track – and first long track on the album – is the title track, “Age Of Darkness And Frost”. At almost nine minutes long, this wondrous endeavor features elements of medieval synth, gothic sounds, and very impressive symphonic black metal. Starting with another cinematic opening, it soon embraces the sound of a slow-tempo gothic anthem. The black metal-style vocals kick in and take this track to new heights. After a short melodic interlude, heavier & faster black metal rhythms take center stage and even include a section of blast beats over a canorous guitar and keyboard riff. The following track, “Black Winged Gates Of Destiny Descend” is another short respite between longer tracks but it’s no filler by any means. Theatrically, this song is monstrous and contains some chilling keyboard tones that are equally catchy. “Abyssic Lunar Tower” is the longest track on the album at seventeen and a half minutes long. The opening keyboard riff is like an addictive dirge that has a considerable sound and is soon joined by a sequenced drum beat that really sounds incredible. After a few minutes, an acoustic guitar plays a simple riff before an early-era Emperor-style Black metal riff unloads in the audial senses and makes this track even more pummeling. The riff at the six minute and twenty second mark is one of the best I’ve heard in many years and is one of the most brutal sounds on the album. At around the eleven minute mark, the song winds down to an eerie winter synth sound with a thunderstorm soundscape augmenting the ambient space in the background. A slower black metal riff soon takes over and plays out to the end of this majestic track. Next is “Through The Channelling Of Souls”, and with its medieval synth sound, provides a powerful statement with regards to the elements of nature and the darkness that conceives it. At almost eleven minutes long, “Unholy Vanquishing” begins with a ceremonious keyboard track, as if a group of warriors are preparing for a long battle in the icy cold north. Soon after, a gothic-like Black metal riff takes over and has a wonderful – but sorrowful – sound, like early Hecate Enthroned songs. This track also features some mighty voice narrations, adding yet another great element to this album. The last couple of minutes of this song is a great mix of slow-tempo black metal and dungeon synth and the vocals once again shine throughout. The final track, “Passage Through Time And Cold” features an excellent piano arrangement with some symphonic keys to add additional layers. The tone throughout this track is very melancholic and ghostly and is the perfect way to end such an amazing album. The last couple of minutes turns into an ambient soundscape with a scene of a snowy ridge and a traveler making his way to a nearby destination.

Listening to ‘Age Of Darkness And Frost’ has turned out to be such a pleasurable experience. Within a few months, I’ve gone from never hearing of Moon And Azure Shadow to including this album on my Top 10 metal albums of 2019. Even though this is a black metal album, there is enough medieval and dungeon/winter synth elements on it to be featured on The Dungeon In Deep Space site. Beside, there is a high possibility that if you’re even reading this, you’re a fan of both genres anyway. That being said, I highly recommend checking out ‘Age Of Darkness And Frost’ by clicking on the link below.

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Links:

https://moonandazureshadow.bandcamp.com/album/age-of-darkness-and-frost