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Death Folk

I want to make music.

However, more than simply "forming another band", I am trying to create a new style. At the moment I call this style "death folk," a name I made up on the analogy of how "death metal" was formed from metal, and is similarly meant to connote a certain extremeness. It's not the best-sounding or most accurate title, but serves the necessary purpose of reference, i.e., it allows me to call it something other than, "that musical style I want to create". Things need names in order to be properly talked about; this is why languages have nouns. My musical project doesn't have a category, and cannot be explained by mere reference to any other band or a particular style. However, I can cite several broad musical influences (not to mention some that aren't musical).

Origins and Influences

What I have in mind is not a spin-off of an existing substyle or reproduction of one of the several previous hybrids of these styles, like Viking metal. My band, when I have one, would constitute a fourth category, distinctive in itself despite integrating some of the achievements of other noteworthy styles. Below I would like to describe more specifically the chief aspects of my artistic vision.


The makeup of the band would be, insofar as possible acoustic (unamplified), and probably have five parts: vocals, guitar, violin, bass, and percussion, without excluding the possibility of experimentation outside of this. In this, I draw primarily from the arsenal of traditional folk instrumentation. My instrumental setup is flexible.

Subject Matter

The subject matter will be primarily though not exclusively personal and "dark" — angry, melancholy, fanciful, anxious, perhaps a bit sadomasochistic, and everything that might be implied. Among the themes of reflection in my poetry are subjects such as depression, violence, existential themes, love (lust; unrequited love; everything else this term covers), intoxication / abuse, personal tragedy in general, and social commentary. I try to use sensorily evocative language and complex metaphor in songs with logical structure. There is similarity here to art-folk in the desire for a personal, reflective manner and imagistic style, but differs in the overwhelming dark tone and is devoid of the collectivist politicizing of all those labor-union type songs. There is similarity to metal in the tone or mood and to a degree the subject matter, but avoids "Satan & gore" stereotypes of extreme bands. While I do discuss violence I want to avoid it being self-indulgent and pornographic, Cannibal Corpse-style. There is a point to all this.

The point being in fact that I write these kind of songs to have a deeper significance. I want to express my feelings, but going beyond that, to adopt that as material for self-analysis: not merely cathartic but philosophical in this respect, because I follow the axiom of "Know thyself," and see art as a method to that end, so I frequently use writing about feelings as a revealer of personal truth. My attitude toward my lyrical purpose has been shaped by the psychological novels I read, and above all by Dostoyevsky's work, such that it is both rational and irrational, using emotion and experience as subjective guides to understanding. Through the active application of art, I feel I'm developing a psychology, a cosmology, a philosophy. Art leads to an internally revealed truth.

For examples of poetry that could be used as song lyrics, please see the gallery of my deviantART page and look for entries marked "Poetry or Prose".

Song Structure

Song structure is an important idea to me, and my main goal in this area is essentially negative: to do away with the arbitrary verse-chorus-verse-chorus pop song format. Trying to always satisfy that convention is like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole (or vice versa), or like Procrustes' bed, the occupants of which were either stretched on the rack or had their legs amputated to fit it. You don't want your good poetry to end up with no legs, do you? I didn't think so. Instead, I want to write more "content-structured" work — where the sections of the music and division of lyrics into stanzas reflect the ideas the song expresses. The ideal is for all parts of the music to fit together; when you divide the piece into its apparent sections on the level of sound, of words, and of idea, then you find your divisions correspond to each other. Different parts of the song's idea are expressed in different stanzas and have different accompanying music. Done this way, a stanza is more like an act in a play, a chapter in a novel, or even a paragraph in one of those essays your professor made you write. In fact, this is the idea behind a lot of classical music, where one work is divided into different movements. While the deviation from pop structure may seem "random" now, I would describe it as organic, as opposed to artificial, and is actually less arbitrary.

I also take my work as a sort of alternative to modern society. For a few more (and better) words on that subject, you can look at my DA journal entry New Verse.

To date, the best available example of what I want to do is probably "Poor Little Girl", so a short look at this would be informative. Here are a couple of notes:

  1. First, notice the diction I use. It seems mostly archaic and is intended to evoke similar imagery; in so doing a connection with the past is established, and a connection with the modern world deemphasized. I also made up two words, "awaren" and "jag". I take pleasure in stretching linguistic boundaries and am not ashamed of it. Particular elements are also geared toward this removed environment: the kidnapper pulls the girl onto a horse instead of into a car, the characters use opium instead of crack, and there are actually woods around these people's houses.
  2. Second, notice there's hardly anything that can be described as a verse or chorus. But it's not an undifferentiated litany of verses. There are divisions in it, and they are meant to be suited to the ideas, in this case they move a narrative forward.
  • Domina Atropia
  • Chemical Salvation
  • Hunter's Song
  • Fire Within
  • Poor Little Girl
  • Die
  • Snow on the Plain
  • The Square Root of My Soul
  • Midnight Rose
  • Broken Toy
  • Requiem for a Song

  • What you can do to help / What I Plan to do Next

    So what can you do? Contact me if you're interested in a project like this. Or if that's not your thing, I'd be grateful if you could refer me to other people who might be interested. Also, I'm interested in any bands you know of that play music in this vein. I'd be glad to receive any assistance or information you can offer. A particular concern for me right now is how I can produce at least crude sound samples to put online so people will have a more concrete idea of what my music should sound like.

    But don't hold back from writing to me because you think you're a musical idiot / you don't know anything. I want to hear from anyone who's interested. So please, let me know about anything you know or can help me with. Write to me!

    Reguándóy domum
    © 2005-2006 by Damátir Ando