At Hellfest 2019, we met Ardek, keyboardist and composer of the Dutch horror black metal band Carach Angren. We were able to share a few words with him about the current tour, the last album and the future of the band.

Let us begin with a short presentation of yourself. Who are you and what is your job in Carach Angren?

Well, I am Ardek from Carach Angren and we call ourselves “horror” metal from the Netherlands. Originally, we come from black metal.

We use a lot of orchestral keyboards and synthesizers. We tell stories: ghost stories and horror stories throughout our albums.

I compose most of the music so that’s my job and I play the keyboards live.

You have just said that you are a horror metal band. What’s the concept behind that? In what ways is it different from a black metal band ?

Well when we started out, a lot of black metal bands were only doing like satanic themes or antichristian themes or maybe folklore and stuff. And I remember when we had our first demo, I thought it would be cool to have one story because it’s easy to make lyrics and music, so it was just an idea we had. And it worked out so great, that we kept doing and we became better at it.

It sort of grew with us. In every release we try different things, different languages and a lot of people seem to like it so that is something that is now our core image.

What are your main inspiration sources? It can be painters, literature or even other musicians.

It changes because I read a lot of books: philosophy, psychology, it can be anything spiritual. So, I can be influenced by that. It can be movies although horror movies these days are not so good as I thought or maybe it’s because I grow a little bit older. We are also inspired by what we are thinking about. So, we have a lot of talks like “oh this would be crazy” “this would be creepy”.

When we write our music, we try out new things like right now we are writing new album and Dennis is coming over to me a lot and we try things with his voice and ideas and … So, it’s like a process that we don’t try to force, it’s something more intuitive. And over the years I have tried to let go more of that because sometimes I sit down at the piano like I’m going to make a song and then I sit eight hours, and nothing happens. Then I walk away, and I find a riff. So, the more you let it go the more the creative may flow.

In something I read prior to this interview, the band was compared to a sort of Vincent van Gogh van the black metal. What do you think about that ?

Well, that’s a cool compliment.

Do you agree or would you rather compare the band to another figure ?

It’s hard for me to say because you have to compare an artist that is visual with another artist. We are very visual, so it works. Our albums do not necessarily correlate one on one with what we do on stage.

Right now, we do this almost performance art piece with a doll we have. And I’ve seen people commenting on losing their mind a lot. Well, for us it’s something really cool to experiment with like cutting the doll’s neck. But every night Dennis is asking the audience like “Do you want me to do it ?” and they all scream “Yeah!”. So, there is more thinking behind that than people may see. Dennis is like the puppet of the audience and he has his puppet.

I would agree that we can be compared to a painter but a more abstract one because we are always changing.

How is the metal scene in the Netherlands? Are there any interesting venues or bands to discover ?

To be honest, I have no idea because I’m really not active in the scene at all. I only play in the band. When we started there were a lot of black metal bands similar to us. When I was younger there was a lot of competition and a lot of gigs, but everything disappeared, all these bands are gone. That’s really strange to me because I don’t know why that happened and now, I’ve seen some new bands coming up but I’m not in touch with them.

Also, because we are a strange band, we are very extravagant, I think a lot of the core black metal bands that are true, they don’t like us to be in that circle. So, there is a gap between us, and we don’t claim to be a true Scandinavian black metal band. We are more like an American band because we have shocking and horror.

So, yeah, I have no idea, but we really have a couple of nice venues where we play regularly and it’s really cool.

What are your plans for the rest of 2019 and what do you hope for 2020 ?

Well we’re going to finish this tour and it’s a very long one. It’s like seven weeks for our first time European outline tour. That has been really great so far because almost no band tour clubs in the summer. So that’s really like a challenge for us, but we are doing really great. A lot of people come up to the shows. We are writing the new album and we want to finish it. So, for next year we don’t have hopes but we’re going to release it for sure and it’s going to be amazing. It’s going to be a couple of new interesting things so I’m really excited about.

How did people react to “Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten” compared to “This Is No Fairytale” for example ?

Well “This Is No Fairytale” was a very dark and complex album and we got some fans that like it and some fans that liked more the storytelling that we did before. So, you see that the audience changes a bit. And it’s the same with our stage presence because some people don’t like it but what we’ve generally seen that the audience has grown a lot and also record sales have gone up super much also with “Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten”. We have been a band that has been going steady for the last 15 years with every album. So, everyone’s happy.

Is there still that something that you dream to accomplish with the band ?

Bigger and bigger and more and more. I mean to play here at Hellfest was a dream years ago and now that’s happening. The headline tour we’re doing is only going bigger. To play a stadium would be awesome or the moon or something.

I leave you the last word of this interview.

Well we really love Belgium because it’s close *laughs* and because our last album is actually in the charts in Belgium. So that was really cool. We play in Belgium next week (30/06/2019). So, we are really excited to be back on.

Want to know more about Carach Angren ?