On the eve of the release of their intriguing noise-rock infused balck metal kaleidoscope INVOCATIONS I, we caught up with Fraxinus in a suitably remote location and discussed the album, their inspiration and this fascinating project.
As you prepare to release your debut composition ‘Invocations I’, can you give us a background to how FRAXINUS came about and where you draw inspiration from?
Fraxinus is a culmination of many interests, noise rock and black metal aside, the most prominent being; the occult, early man, history, religion, psychedelia, modern day and historic cults, mysticism, science fiction and horror film and literature.
The name ‘Fraxinus’ has botanical origins – can you explain how the name fits into the symbolism of this band and this project?
I’ve always felt an affinity towards nature and living near an on old Pagan worship site, which was an ash grove, has definitely had an effect on the way I write, perform and think about music. The name just came to feel right, almost subconsciously.
Tell us about the primordial gods that you allude to as a key inspiration in ‘Invocations I’. What form do they take and where does your intrigue stem from?
I imagine some them as entities given form through human thoughts and emotions, the idea of God creating man in his own image reversed. The majority however, I imagine, would be far too alien to comprehend, made of colours unseen, emitting sounds made of sensations and smells, an affront to all senses, possibly existing only in time, with no corporeal form at all.
‘Invocations I’ is, in your words, semi-improvisational. Can you give an insight into the recording process and the various methods you explored?
Much of ‘Invocations I’ was written and recorded on bass first, with guitars and drums recorded around that, with each part given room to step away from the main proceedings to convey their own message to the listener, be they divine or not. With some small sections being more akin to free-form jazz, regarding the bass and guitars. As well, all of the vocals on ‘II’ and the majority of the vocals on ‘IV’ are fully improvised.
Who do you see as your contemporaries? Maybe not only within the musical sphere?
I would consider anyone that creates art based on the same inspirations as contemporaries.
Shamanistic and ritualistic chanting are a regular feature on this release – do these stem from a personal spirituality or, maybe, lack of?
This idea stems purely from an interest in early man and their own possible rituals in early human languages that are far removed from our own. This along with an idea of attempting to gain the favour of alien gods, meant using a human language didn’t fit, except the end of ‘IV’ in which English is used to ground ‘Invocations I’ in reality.
Would you ever have any plans to take Fraxinus to a live setting and, if that were to happen, what would be your preferred way of achieving this?
There are definitely plans to take it live.
Who do you admire personally within music at the moment?
Here are some bands/artists that have had the most effect on me recently, or during the time of recording; Abduction, Yowie, 65dos, Fred Frith, Evan Parker, Deathspell Omega, Portal, Meshuggah, Trevor Dunn, Qrixkuor, Malthusian, Black Midi, Radiohead, Philip Glass
FRAXINUS - INVOCATIONS I IS AVAILABLE NOW ON LIMITED EDITION TAPE RELEASE. BUY THIS UNIQUE RECORDING HERE.