Miff Morris had the pleasure of interviewing London based Experimental, Tibetan Doomcore duo Blackmoon1348, David Kerry & Lovebeads Thokmaye. They both devoted their time to giving me an in-depth interview for Louder Than War highlighting their album making process for their current new album ‘Sidpa Bardo’, their creative influences, speaking about what they have learned from travelling Nepal and their spiritual beliefs. Not to mention their most recent record pressing & forthcoming album launch party and all that entails, as well their most recent signing to New York label Hexx 9 records, plus plans and hopes of their future months ahead!. Most certainly an insightful in depth interview into a wildly intriguing experimental band.
DK – David Kerry
LT- Lovebeads Thokmay
Miff – First and foremost, felicitations on the release of your new album ‘Sidpa Bardo’ released May of this year on New York label, Hexx 9 Records. Can you give us some creative insight into the construction of the album? from inspiring influences, to the experimental aspect of compiling the sounds, to your cover art work and production?
DK- Thanks Miff. The album has been recorded over a period of 2 years. From the early development of the band to what we are now. Songs like “Fog” and “Galaxia” are very early recordings that I was not 100% to put on the album but they add a difference to the dynamics from the other songs. I record at home in a studio I gradually built up myself. It’s pretty basic, ProTools 8.5, TL Audio 5013 EQ and a Lexicon MPX100 but does the job Sonically, I’ve always loved traditional instruments and the drone created from spiritual music, however I’m an atheist myself. After traveling around Nepal and hearing, long horns and monks chanting in the mountains, I really wanted to bring this sound within the ideology of the band, and politically, Tibet being the second most repressed country in the world savaged by the Chines invasion of 1959, Chairman Mao is guilty of mass genocide, destroying thousands of years of history, a civilisation built around piece, annihilated by greed. .. here is a direct link to ‘Sidpa Bardo’ on the following : https://hexx9records.bandcamp.com/album/sidpa-bardo
Miff – What experiences, books or films has helped stir and nourish your complete fascination with Tibetan tradition, spiritualism and overall culture?
LT: The first time I really heard of Tibet was through the Tibetan Freedom Concerts in ’96. Their culture and spiritual philosophies completely fascinated me, and their plight saddened me greatly. A lot of inspiration can be taken from Tibet. They have suffered a great injustice, and continued to be oppressed by the Chinese government, and on a daily basis subjected to vile atrocities. However, since China is such a super power, we don’t really hear about any of this, due to very tight censorship within the media. As Tibetans are a peaceful, non-violent race, they do not fight back, and sadly self-immolation has been a common way of them taking out and expressing the mental torture they have to live with because of China’s desire to strategically wipe out their sacred culture and way of life. Music is an important tool, and without wanting to sound too political, there are very important messages and issues we can convey through it, which society in general should be thinking about and questioning. We have a role as human beings to help our brothers and sisters, especially those under immense oppression. We can’t just sit around and watch, thinking this is not our problem, and with our music we hope to bring these issues to light, and share Tibet’s mystical culture.
Miff – Through your musical expression you demonstrate a heavy influence of spiritualism and ritualistic arts. Do you carry any of those elements into your everyday life through practice?
LT: I myself believe it God, and pray on a daily basis, mostly for the well being of myself and others. The very existence of death,serves as a reminder that there is so much we can’t control or don’t understand about our existence. As our life on this Earth is temporary, I believe the answers to our existence lie in a spiritual realm. Just looking at the night sky, you get a glimpse of so many different worlds that actually exist out there, independent from our planet. So my fascination with nature and the spiritual world is mostly an appreciation and quest to understand life and existence.
Miff – Being an experimental band means that you can shape shift and forge expressive sounds to each and every idea that flourishes within you, however in understanding this, is there still an expectation to stay within a certain realm while under the Blackmoon1348 name? or would your fan-base accept expansive development and growth out-with the industrial- hip-hop of Doomcore tag?
LT: My approach to music or any art I create is first and foremost to do something that excites me. Although we have created a genre that we feel is quite unique to ourselves, we will certainly not stick to a winning formula if it ever gets boring or does not excite us anymore. I don’t see any point in doing something that has already been done, unless you derive great enjoyment from it. Of course, you can’t separate yourself from influence, as what we see and feel around us rubs off on us subconsciously. However, we try our best to follow the drifting clouds on mountain peaks.
Miff – From when you first formed in 2013, how best would you describe the development of your sound to present day? What does experimental mean to you?
DK- Back then, I had no idea how BlackMoon1348 would turn out, I was experimenting with soundscapes and generally making 20/ 30 min long tracks that we’re pretty unlistenable, then I recorded the song Obsession, the first 4 mins is an insert of a 10 min soundscape I wrote, chopped it up and added heavy 90’s style hip-hop drums with a Bass vi, was really happy & excited at what I had created so continued from there. I don’t really use the term “experimental” Unless you are following a formula then pretty much all aspects of life are an experimentation.
Miff – March of this year you announced that you had been freshly singed to New York , dark ambient electronica label Hexx 9 Records. Can you give us some insight into the label and how that connection came about for you?
DK- Was really exciting, A goal I set was to release a record this year and was looking for a suitable label, Jami whom does some artwork for Hexx 9 contacted me saying that Andraaj (Hexx 9) had been spinning some of our tracks on WFKU Hexx 9 session recently and interested in the band. I contacted Andraaj and the deal was set. Very happy to be working alongside other great artists on Hexx 9
Miff – Sidpa Bardo’ has currently been pressed to wax! Congratulations on your first pressing, how does it feel to have your very first record under your belt? and will there be a limited edition run of this pressing?
DK- I love vinyl! Feels so great to have BlackMoon1348 cut to record. We have self-printed the vinyl and only 250 copies, Hexx 9 cut the album on CD and Digitally, would cost way too much money shipping 80Kg of vinyl over to the UK anyhow so more sensible to print it ourselves. The vinyl is different from the digital and CD release, all the tracks swirl together and blended with sound recordings of yaks & donkey herds I recorded deep in the Himalayas. Just have to sell them now..
Miff – You proudly announced the 16th of September as being your record launch party in London’s ‘New River Studios’, can you give us some insight into the venue and the bands who shall be supporting you at the launch ?
DK- It’s going to be a great show! Really looking forward to it. New River Studios is a fantastic new (ish) place opened up in an old furniture warehouse in north London. They have an amazing sound system and a great sound engineer! We sometimes struggle in venues as we rely heavily upon the PA, not all London venues are cut out for electronic, sub harmonic Tibetan DoomCore..
We’re starting the night with a screening of a short Tibetan documentary about the Chinese invasion, genocide and how this effects Tibetans daily lifes.
The First band is a Skullthrone- Heavy as hell, post GrindCore/ Black Metal band, really amazing live!
Casual Nun- Are an amazing surrealist, multicultural doom esque band, purveyors of sonic mayhem and integrity.
Headlining the night is the wonderful Death Pedals- Loud, in your face band! Really lovely guys who have been around the London scene for a while now and never disappoint.
Event link on the following : https://www.facebook.com/events/272220646479889/
Miff – From my individual perspective you have created a mesmeric vast depth to your sound, drawing an all-consuming raw atmosphere which holds entrancing qualities. In what way would you best describe the stimulation and information in which you wish to carry to your listeners, through your live show performances and studio productions.?
DK- For our live shows, we try to re-create the image of walking into a Buddhist temple buried deep within the mountains. The sweet smell of incense, deep ethereal monk’s chants and haunting long horns- filling the room with thick smoke and deep red lights. This takes us back to the Himalaya and the deep meditative state of consciousness.
Miff – You have just recently returned from playing a three day festival called ‘Red Sun Festival ‘
In Wales. What were the main highlights to your festival experience?, and were there any bands you caught there that made an impression?
DK- Red Sun was great fun! Met some really lovely people and had a great time.. Was cool because we played alongside Death Pedals and Casual Nun! Thanks to rich Collins at Cosmic Carnage for supporting BlackMoon1348. So many good bands we’re part of the festival and we hope to play it again next year.
Miff – Oliver Ho, the man behind post punk/industrial project ‘Broken English Club’ has launched his own new record label ‘Death & Leisure’, in spring of this year. You announced that he has plans to release some Blackmoon1348 material, can you give us some insight into your connection with Oliver, the label and a possible release?
DK- I’ve known Oli for a long time now, I met him through my old band Matanuki (Dub/ post rock band) He’s a really lovely dude! Totally down to earth and an encyclopaedia of music! He’s been a major part of the UK electronic music scene for a very long time and his new project “Broken English Club” is amazing. Not sure if we will release through Death & Leisure, hope we do! But, really cool to have the support of Oli
Miff – Working as a duo I imagine that you work in unison and feed off each others ideas when working instrumentally but is it the same for penning lyrics? As individuals how do you best create as a unit?
LT: David writes the music and lyrics in BlackMoon1348. I come up with the aesthetics, sonically and visually. I have also directed some BlackMoon1348 videos. I am in another band, Tinderdust, with David, wherein I write the music, so I think it works well this way as in BlackMoon1348, David has the final say to how the music will be, although I do give him some great suggestions!
Miff -. Are there any music producers, artists you would aspire to work with in the future?
DK- Fro me, Godspeed You! Black emperor, they are on the most important bands to me. Thurston Moore, would be cool to make with him also..
Miff – Are there any plans to tour Europe with your music? What parts of Europe have been most responsive to your creative projections?
DK- Yes, would love to! I need to learn to drive first though, then we can pile all our gear in the back of a van and tour around Europe. Maybe take a few friends bands with us. Or I could simply look for a European wide booking agent, anyone interested?