Schrei aus Stein (2016)

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Band Schrei aus Stein
Country United States of America
Genre Black Metal, Ambient
Release date 2016/05/15


Please introduce yourself and your band. Where are you from and what kind of music do you play?

Schrei aus Stein is a black metal entity from Utah in the USA.

Can you lay out the history of the band a bit?
Schrei aus Stein began in 2009 in Colorado and had our first release Talus with Starlight Temple Society. The second album Tsisnaasjini’ was released by Crucialblast’s Crucialbliss imprint. The last three releases, the cassingle Philosophie (2013), Cervin (2014), and the new one Wanderwege have all been self-released. Schrei aus Stein also did a 3-way split with Deafest and Starless Night a couple of years ago.

Could you write a bit about your band name, its translation and the reasons why you picked it?
When I conceived it, I was doing a lot of trail running and basic mountaineering, and when I saw the Herzog film Schrei aus Stein (great bergfilm!) it all seemed to fit my idea for the music.

Wanderwege – wandering paths in German – would be your latest release and it appears that you have shifted the focus of the music a bit. Has it to do with the topic at hand or is this drift in direction more fundamental?
The title came after the collection had been completed. I had named a couple of the tracks after some of my favorite local mountain trails in the area so it seemed like something that could work to unify the collection. I suppose it is a slight shift because rather than trying to deal with a specific imposing and mythic mountain I focused on the local Wasatch foothills that I actually spend a good bit of time exploring. And maybe the fact that paths are human creations within the wilderness is reflected in the slightly different musical tone...didn’t really have that specifically in mind at the time but I think there might be something to it now that you got me thinking about it...

Why a German title again? No reference to mountains this time?
The German conceit has maybe become a bit of a shtick I suppose. I like the connection to the German-language nature poetry of the 19th century as well.

Should the listener have the feeling to be on such a path while this person listens to your album? How would you describe the scenery?
One of my friends described this album as feeling more “verdant” than the previous ones, and I would tend to agree that that’s the sort of scenery I would imagine. It’s one for below treeline, heh. Less “frost,” more “forest.”

What are the core essences of your music? Why did you play this particular type of music? How does it reflect the concept behind the band?
I suppose there’s this underlying ideal of the sublime, in the 19th century Romantic sense, running through Schrei aus Stein and black metal in general. The feeling of being confronted with one’s own meaninglessness, etc. I want to try and capture that in some fashion.

This latest release appears to have a different perspective on black metal and comes over as another type of heavy than could be found on previous ones. There is less of the dreamy desolation that has some share in the musical conception on earlier outputs. Is there a different way in which you have approached this album?
I purposefully went for greater clarity and definition this time as a bit of a challenge to myself to clean up my playing technique and treat the project more like a “band” in which the listener could follow the different parts. I’ve been recording pretty droned-out and opaque music of various types for about 17 years now and love the freedom that affords, but here I wanted to write things that I could imagine an actual ensemble of musicians performing. Setting up a kind of boundary is inspirational I think.

I suppose that from a practical standpoint I was also using a different recording setup (Ableton 9) that was a little bit more user-friendly, especially in terms of creating more dynamic and “human” drum parts. My recording computer went on the fritz pretty shortly after I finished this collection though, so the next record will sound different yet again. Maybe I’ll do it on a cassette four-track or something.

How would you respond to the comment that at least part of your music is more accessible than on previous outputs?
I wouldn’t argue with that...I suppose it comes with the territory of more clarity, etc.

How does the long track The Blue Gate” fit into the concept into the structure of the album? It is a necessary counterpoint?
I do feel like it balanced the shorter tracks out makes it feel like the album has a “B side” even though it’s a digital release. That song was actually completed first and sat around for months before I determined to round out the collection with the other songs.

What would be the role of noise and ambient in your way of crafting music. Why do these facets have a role in your compositions?
Schrei aus Stein initially grew out of my time composing ambient and electronic music with Encomiast, so it’s been a pretty big part of it and I don’t envision ever leaving that part of it aside. In this release the electronic elements have maybe been separated out more than they were before, since my idea was to try and write like a “band.” I think I like those noise and ambient elements because they challenge the metal side of things by destabilizing the tonality and meter. It results in this lovely tension between chaos and order. Even though I do very different music, I am inspired a lot by John Zorn’s projects like Painkiller in which there’s total improvisational noise and freejazz madness happening over fairly “normal” drum and bass parts. I try to inject some of that aleatoric element into Schrei aus Stein even as a one-man project.

What do your lyrics deal with? How have they evolved over time?
Most of it tends to be based on classic 19th century nature poetry, but other natural and cosmic kinds of ideas make their way in. I spend time collecting phrases and fragments but in the moment of recording a lot of it is kind of accidental and off-the-cuff. I don’t really like recording vocals that much so I try to just get it overwith quickly!

The sample in “Ein Gleiches”, what would the source of it? Even though I am a native German speaker , I have some difficulties in grasping the words, because of the distortions of the voice.
It’s a recitation of the poem Ein Gleiches, or Wanderer’s Nightsong II by Johann Wolfgang Goethe:

Above all summits
it is calm.
In all the tree-tops
you feel
scarcely a breath;
The birds in the forest are silent,
just wait, soon
you will rest as well.

I’ve really loved its sentiment for a long time...It’s so peaceful, but the final line manages to be both comforting and a little ominous. I couldn't imagine a way to make it into a black metal lyric without feeling foolish about it so I decided instead to embed it in an otherwise instrumental track.

The cover is interesting and is quite atmospheric. Has the arrangement of twigs/branches been created by you or did you happen to stumble over it by chance?
I can’t claim credit for its construction. I first saw it about 9 months ago off of one of my usual idea who created it or who has been maintaining it. The trail beyond it is pretty fun and twisty though; a nice little diversion from the main arteries through the area. I found one other sort of temporary structure in the same area a couple of years ago but it was way off the main trails. I don’t get the sense that there’s any sort of spiritual practice behind them though; just seems like kids camping out or trying to play Blair Witch.

What would be the reasons for picking this font in order to write the band name? Why don't you use a logo like other bands would generally tend to do?
I actually do have a “grim” Schrei aus Stein logo, but I don’t really like it that much anymore. I think part of it is not wanting to feel like I have to adhere to a particular visual code just because of the musical style. The particular font I used here looked delightfully weird and sort of Lovecraftian to me so I decided to just use it. Funny story, I found out after the fact that the font I chose is actually from the Elder Scrolls video game I did a quick little redesign using the same “Germanic” font I have on the bandcamp page. I guess that’s one advantage of a digital release! I figured the last thing I needed were people quizzing me about a video game I have never played, or assuming that Schrei aus Stein was “gamer metal” in any sense. I suppose this is what comes with getting older...the world contains ever more things that I have no experience with. The original cover still comes with the digital package though.

Currently your latest release is only available as a digital download. Is there any chance to see a physical release any time soon?
I don’t currently have any intention to do a physical release of it, although I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to the idea. Wanderwege was originally going to be a cassette release on a small US label, but after an enthusiastic first exchange I got no responses when I sent them the finished collection. After waiting a few months and getting no responses I decided to just go ahead and put it out into the world and be done with it for now.

I’ve actually been getting interested in making music that is deliberately difficult to access. I love the idea of an album that is available only on a seriously obsolete format. Not something elitist like the single-copy Wu-Tang record or hipstery like wax cylinders or 8-tracks...but instead something more recent, uncool, and ephemeral like MiniDisc, DAT, or a ZIP drive. Actually, ZIP drives might just be perfect. “How bad do you want to hear the new Schrei aus Stein record? Do you still have a computer with a ZIP drive? No? Hit the pawn shop sucker!”

Would you mind writing a bit about your other projects a bit? What would be their current and future state?
I’ve got a fair bit of other things going in addition to Schrei aus Stein. The most active is Burn Your World, a sort of sludge/crust/black metal band in which I play bass. We perform in Salt Lake City fairly regularly, and I hope we manage to record something new soon, especially since our music has been getting more ambitious. Other than that, there’s Curseworship, a noisy doomish band that is basically 3 of the 4 members of Burn Your World. We’ve been in the process of making something new for a looong time now... My ambient and noise project Encomiast is honestly pretty dormant (the ambient bits of Schrei aus Stein scratch that itch) although I am in the process of making some older albums available online. Beyond those I recently did a one-off EP of Haujobb-ish industrial music with the singer of Burn Your World under the name Hollow Bones...just for shits and giggles.

How can someone get in touch with you and where can someone find your music? is the best place. There’s a Facebook as well. I recently put a whole bunch of the Schrei aus Stein and Encomiast back catalogues on all the regular digital distro and streaming sites as well. Sort of goes against my idea of making music that is hard to access though...

What would be the future plans for Schrei aus Stein?
I'm hoping to work on something new this summer. I have to get a new recording setup sorted though and see if I can

Closing comments if you like
Thanks as always for the support! Until next time.