If horror stories and bloody melodies come together with sorrowful cries
Interview with Maxime André Taccardi who is a French artist, teacher, and founder of Black Metal bands K.F.R.(black metal) and LAMENTUM(dungeon synth).
His dark art by using his own blood is so captivating by the dreadful feeling when one looks deeply as those anatomic abstractions are gazing back to you with penetrating eyes surrounded by terrorized dreams.
His bloodletting paintings are visuals of the sounds he created via his black metal projects. He has also a collection of foremost black metal musicians' portraits.
“I use the pain as a creative impulse, to feel alive and spread my visions.”
K.F.R albums called “Par Le Sang” and “Ad Manifestationem Diaboli” were released on 11th July 2018. What was the reason to release two different albums of your band K.F.R at the same time? How are the reactions and how do you feel about the releases?
They were recorded at the same time, I just felt they were too different to be released as one album hence why they came out separately. I do think “Ad Manifestationem Diaboli” represents more what K.F.R is about, the other one, “Par le Sang” is more into the nostalgic feel, almost depressive in a way but not like dsbm, more like that depressive vibe you hear in Mutiilation and old Burzum. I have another album called “L'enfer à sa source” which will be released in 2019 via Purity Through Fire. I can say it is by far the best album I ever did, with a better production and songwriting. I directed a video for one of the tracks I just put online:
It is a short film on its own as directing videos is another one of my passions, I like to control and do everything including instruments, art and videos as well.
You have many music projects. Lamentum as dark dungeon synth with choirs, KFR is dark/ambient black metal band that has a primitive black metal sound back 90s. Which is the main one? What are their places in your life?
K.F.R is the main project which represents what my paintings would sound like if put into sonic form. It is also my take on black metal, what I want it to be. Lamentum is synth oriented even though you can hear some guitar here and there. It is a way for me to explore different genres and expressions. I also have another black metal project called Saturnian Tempel which is based on cosmos and topics related to space. Griiim is my power electronic project (a continuation of the K.F.R demo "Death March" which was totally different from the other releases), De Vermiis Mysteriis is a black ambient project I have with a friend and I also worked on something new with O from Obskuritatem.
Lamentum has ritualistic elements, dark, melancholic with dreadful passages. One can delve into music in full veins and having nervous moments especially at the song called “Les Lemantations Du Diable”. What are the ideas behind this music? What are your influences? You recorded the drums with human bones, how did it effect on sound and atmosphere?
Lamentum is my more melodic and accessible stuff in a way, kind of like a score to horror films. I always liked soundtracks and ambient so with Lamentum I let myself go. My main influence is Conrad Schnitzler but I also like Klaus Schulze, Pierre Henry, Philip Glass, Chu Ishikawa etc. I recorded the drums with human bones indeed, I do the same with K.F.R, and it is a way to convey dead spirits in my music, really ritualistic.
K.F.R is coming from kāfir in Arabic meaning "disbeliever. Why did you choose this Arabic name? You know mostly Latin words or German languages are used for moniker but seeing Kafir which is also a Turkish word surprised me.
I do have some Lebanese origins on top of Italian ones and I always was intrigued by the devilish folklore of Islam, the whole Dajjal and Iblis stories are fascinating. It is also a very powerful name for a band as it clearly makes a statement against religion especially in today's world context. Not only Kafir is the word inscribed on Dajjal's forehead, the antichrist but it also, like you say, means disbeliever, primal enemies of that said religion.
K.F.R production is very icy, raw and noisy. Is it a salutation to old times when Mayhem released the first demo type? Why did you choose this production?
I don't think the prod is similar to Pure Fucking Armageddon, far from it, we can't barely hear shit in that demo so I don't see the analogy. Even though it is raw, you can still perceive nuances and instruments throughout K.F.R. The new album scheduled for 2019 is better produced though but still keeping that underground and dark feel that represents K.F.R. I can't stand overproduced metal, just take away the essence, especially in black metal. It has to come from the guts, no artifice, I record in sleep and food depravation, in a state of trance where I can't make a difference between day and night. It is exhausting but that is the only way I can convey what KFR is all about.
Can you talk about the lyrical wise of K.F.R?
Lyrics are focused on the occult but my vision of it, I takes influences from Sartre, Bataille, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Baudelaire etc. I actually wrote a book, mostly with my blood in which my poems are displayed among illustrations. Those poems are used in the K.F.R lyrics. It is some sort of a diary in a way, tales of my journey among the living.
Vordb from Belketre featured on guitars and vocals at the song “Be the Knife” from Ø album of K.F.R. How did you come together for this project?
I already had my good friend Meyhnach on the first album Anti so it was natural for me to ask Vordb to participate to that album. I have a strong bound with the black legions and I share their music aesthetics. We cowrote the song, it was not just a simple featuring but a real collaboration and I am very proud of it.
“I'm more connected to the philosophy of creation through destruction, tabula rasa, erase to create something new.”
Your music is like a black voyage to the eerie universe that spread fear, terror and blood also visually. It is like music of a horror story and suicidal melody with sorrowful cries. What do you wanna say about? How do you relate death, blood and suicide with your music?
I agree with the terror and fear part but I don't deal at all with suicidal stuff, I'm not a fan of that whole dsbm movement which I find childish for the most part, a few bands are worth it but 95 % is just crybabies music.
Blood is for me a way to give life to my paintings, it has nothing to do with anything related to suicidal thoughts. I use the pain as a creative impulse, to feel alive and spread my visions. I'm more connected to the philosophy of creation through destruction, tabula rasa, erase to create something new. The book Fight club is a good example or one of my favorite movies of all Tim, Tokyo Fist by Shinya Tsukamoto.
“I do believe in what Plato said about art being the manifestation of gods through men.”
You also did all your artworks and created art with using your own blood. Could you please tell about this? Why did you choose blood for painting? Is it some form of recreation to your albums with life-giving fluid, blood?
Like I said prior, it is a way to give some of myself to my art, I give life to them so they can be independent of the creator and become their own entities. I do believe in what Plato said about art being the manifestation of gods through men.
You combine your art and music in terms of Gesamtkunstwerk; a German aesthetic term used to describe artwork that synthesizes multiple art forms. Can you tell a bit more about this subject?
Yes, that's the key, I was deeply influenced by that term created by Wagner, total art meeting every senses into one goal. This is what's called synesthesia. I also admire the work of Scriabine who wrote the poem of fire and tried to create an instrument able to convey all senses at once. I could also mention Shoenberg and Kandinsky who tried with their paintings to create partitions of music and by seeing them, people could translate them into music instantly.
So far cover art of Ø album of K.F.R is stunning. Is it your portrait by blood?
Thank you, yes it is a self-portrait, the entity I become while I create under the name of KFR. If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you, like Nietzsche said.
As I see that in your paintings, the heads of the figures are mostly skulls. Is it about dead in head, deathlike thoughts begin in the mind? What do you wanna say about?
I'd see them more as faces without souls, like if all humanity was gone 0 and what's left would be what people don't want to deal with. Death is indeed an important part of my art, the fact I lost my parents early deeply influenced it. It is my catharsis, an urge who helps me to cope with life and its struggles.
|Edgar Alan POE
You painted portraits of horror authors as Poe, Lovecraft, so I see you are into horror literature. Which authors/books influence you?
Yes, I really enjoy those two and also poetry like Baudelaire, Plath, Kafka, Sade, and especially philosophy. For contemporary authors, I liked the Anne Rice books when I was younger and Stephen King as well.
You are doing artwork for other bands as Sarke, Drowning the Light, Diabolicum among them. Which cover art is your favorite so far? How do you work on artwork projects?
My most favorite ones are the ones I did for K.F.R as they represent who I am but I’m satisfied with the cover I did for Diabolicum for example. I do that for a living so when a band approaches me, they generally have the title of the album and a few songs and from that I create something. Sometimes they want something I already did like Sarke or Psychonaut 4.
You are not only doing artwork but you also direct your videos for K.F.R. Especially the video called “Here is no God but Him” is interesting as it shows how you use your blood for your art. Can you tell more about how you shoot your videos and the ideas behind?
Yes, I see my videos as important as the music or the paintings. I generally write some ideas and then think of the camera views, editing, and rhythm as a whole. I want to direct a movie when I get the chance, I have this planned for some years now and I will do that as soon as I can. So far the latest KFR video “L'enfer à sa source” is my best work. It is also a way for me to show that even without any budget, I can create something visually satisfying unlike those big bands with crazy budgets who end up doing shitty and boring videos. With such a budget, I’d make something insane, trust me on that. Some bands approach me to direct videos for them but I prefer to focus on my own ideas, it is more rewarding.
At those videos I see some Islamic references as many black metal bands started to use as well. Do you think if it is related with Islam has more effect on people lately with those wars in Middle East and ISIS terror while Christianity hasn’t got power like in medieval ages?
The very first video I shot for K.F.R in 2012 has some Islamic references, it is kind of the view of somebody who is convinced to be Dajjal himself. I guess Islam became more feared than Christianity with the rise of terrorism after the world trade center. It is also interesting as Muslims are really convinced the devil exists, most of them don't even question it, at least it is the case where I grew up in some northern French ghetto.
Have you thought to do painting by using other peoples’ blood? For example cover art by using blood of a musician or an author to be used in the album or book cover?
Some people asked me and believe it or not, I receive a lot of messages on my fb page from people who want to send me their blood but I only use mine. My art is very personal, like a diary that’s why I only use my own.
How is the French underground black metal gathering Les Legions Noir (Black Legion) including Moevot, Mütiilation, Vlad Tepes nowadays? It was one of the known circles after Black Metal Inner Circle from Norway. Back then there had been treads and mocking activities to mainstream record labels/bands.
I still see Mutiilation as my favorite black metal band to this day, the whole movement was ahead of its time and their work deeply resonates through me. They created a sound that was way noisier than any other black metal band, back then no wonder why a lot of actual bands quote them as their inspiration. Some people say it is shit or they don't know how to play etc. but I call bullshit on that. To me, black has to be dirty and raw, it just adds to the atmosphere. Belketre is still active and released a very solid EP, Meyhnach still creates music through his eponymous project and also Projekt K Oz, I actually did a split with the latter last year.
I mostly listen to older albums but I bought some vinyls this year and it is no surprise for to state the Lost tapes of Mutiilation as one of the best of the year simply because it is amazing to listen to new versions of old tracks. I actually had this for a while since Meyhnach sent them to me when he recorded them but since it came out only this past year, I have to include it in this list. Hekatomb by Funeral Mist was also great, no surprise here, I loved the previous one which I consider being the best but this one is really good too. I bought the Vlad Tepes vinyl box set which is definitely worth it even though I had previous releases. On this box, everything sounds better especially La Morte Lune which has always been my favorite Vlad Tepes, I used my old CD I got like 15 years ago to death. I also got some other stuff like Portals by Candelabrum, the last Clandestine Blaze, the long forgotten Judas Iscariot album which I enjoy a lot even though I had already most of the songs on other releases, but their rendition are different here for the most part. The new Azelisassath, the Gnipahålan "Vånnalösa Urskepnader", the new Profanatica EP and a few others.
Thank you for the interview. Please share your last words…
Thanks for your interest and support, it is appreciated!
“If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you, like Nietzsche said.”
KFR / Ne cherche pas à devenir, rien n'a jamais commencé
Dark Arts of Maxime André Taccardi