PETRYCHOR might be hard to pronounce but once you got a grip of the name you’ll remember it forever thanks to the music. Read the unedited thoughts of the artist and then haste to check out the music ©2015 Anders Ekdahl
When I started my project, I know that I wanted to communicate about the effect of industrialization on the earth and the difficulties of trying to build a harmonious life in an urban environment. The name Petrychor came to me quickly because it is one of my favorite scents, the smell of earth after newly fallen rain, a sensation one can experience even in the city and a welcome reminder of the power of nature. Olfactory memory is one of the most persistent forms of memory and so these experiences carry great emotional weight for me, the sort of intensity I hope to express with Petrychor’s music.
Much of my musical inspiration comes from neofolk, krautrock, and ambient music, sounds that I consider to be ritualistic and have a purpose beyond their basic parts. Black metal has long flirted with these concepts as well and I do listen to a number of black and doom bands, but when I make Petrychor’s music I tend to look at how I can express the sorts of things I hear in other genres with the language of black metal. This is how Makrokosmos came to be, an attempt to show the foundational similarities between early krautrock/ambient music and black metal, the DIY spirit, the importance of solo artists and the studio, and that ritual nature.
I tend to use faster tempos for the climax of pieces, but aside from that I treat them equally. Intensity can be gathered at any tempo and the reason I closed Makrokosmos the way I did was in an attempt to create intensity outside of the confines of metal drumming altogether, drawing inspiration from power electronics instead.
Though I love playing live, I have never composed Petrychor’s music with the intention of having it performed live. It would require a great amount of reverse engineering due to the rapid shifts between acoustic and electric instrumentation and all of the auxiliary ambient or classical sounds. I won’t rule out the possibility of starting a different metal project in the future with the intent of performing live, but for now I enjoy the freedom of the studio project, not having to worry about reproducing exactly what I compose on stage.
I do, yes. Dryad was a period of questioning born out of a desire to participate in this DIY culture I enjoyed rather than just sit on the sidelines and listen. Effigies and Epitaphs was an attempt to fully express the “tonal wind” sound I had invented with Dryad and reflected the positive place I was in at the time, new influences on my life and the excitement I felt at building a life with somebody for the first time, somebody who felt similarly about sustainability and the earth. Tomorrow It Will Rain Over Bouville was born out of a period of philosophical study and coincided with the death of certain things in my life, the realization that I needed to forge my future anew. The title comes from Satre’s Nausea, which was very important to me during those months. Finally, Makrokosmos came from a period of isolation but speaks to one of the positive aspects of industrialization and the expansion of technology, the fact that isolated people can share art with each other at vast distances. Those of us who make dark music can use it not in an attempt to bring people down, but to show others that there are like-minded people out there; though they may struggle alone in a physical sense, ideally we can remind ourselves that toil is a unifying experience and something we can overcome with open communication.
It is difficult for me to associate with traditional methods of promotion, partially due to the nature of this project. I have been fortunate to have zealous supporters since Dryad first found its way online; many of them have done the legwork for me, sharing my music with others and showing what it meant to them even if the totality of my intentions is somewhat obfuscate. To all of you who have listened and shared, I thank you kindly.
The only rule I believe in for album art is that it should depict and environment or create an atmosphere congruent with the music; I have a synesthetic way of experiencing the world and value artists who pay attention to the totality of their presentation. A good film does this too, allows you to physically feel all aspects of the environment it is set it, imagine your life in such a place.
America is a sprawling, fractured place without any national cohesion. Our metal scene reflects this; though I do share some motivations in common with artists such as Wolves in the Throne Room, Weakling, Panopticon, and so on, I feel that those are largely foundational. The beautiful thing about those groups and those on Khrysanthoney for example is the way we express these foundational similarities in so many different ways. If I had to name one overarching tendency of American black metal, or perhaps the “Cascadian” scene, it would be a healthy disrespect for tradition and a desire to look forward towards social progress. That breaking with tradition and independent spirit is what black metal was founded on.
It is a beautiful feeling, a positive aspect of globalization and one I cannot take for granted. When people write to me to explain what my music did for them, I am elated and very grateful. Art is a big part of my life and helps me through many great difficulties; I do my best to communicate this and thank people for what they have done for me. To be on the receiving end is a great honor.
I am working on a new Petrychor EP that will be out in the next few months, something that draws from medieval music, folk instrumentation, and even video game soundtracks. Beyond that, I want to look for a new label home and get back into doing physical releases, putting together a vinyl package that feels like a sculptural work.