Cruish-Nir is a gothic/doom metal band from Romania, founded by writer and lyricist Untaru Valentin in 2019, in the nights of Samhain. To get to know Valentin better, we invite you to read the following interview.
Hello! In the music you compose for Cruish-Nir , there are a series of goth or doom influences. We know these also inspired writers and different artists from the past. What author would you say fits the best to your style? Or who would you collaborate with and how do you image this going?
Hello. Thank you for reaching to us. To be honest, I don’t really know who could fit into my writing style. I’d like to think that I have my own style, usually considering that I’m writing goth poetry, with symbolism influence, but I admit the fact that writers such as George Bacovia, Edgar Alan Poe, Lord Byron, or Shakespeare have influenced me over my career as lyricist. But, if there would be a chance to collaborate with someone, over my lyrics, that would be tough, because I never allowed to someone to even try to make an edit over what I write. And this is simply because when it comes down to lyrics, on a verse base, I’m my own critic, cutting my own wings while I write, and rewrite and then write again. Although, I think I’d like to collaborate with Lord Byron. On some level, I believe we’ve got something in common. Taking the subject into the present, there it is someone I’d like to work with, and actually wrote a bit together. As I said before, I never allow someone’s influence in my work yet, there is a strange connection between our writing types. Different in nature, but similar in essence, I dare to say that this young artist, Niki Murray (the magic behind Of Ash and Wind band) has an amazing power in her words, something that I haven’t seen in many years, something that, my friend, I feel that can complete my lyrics sometime.
I’m not going to ask you where the Cruish-Nir name comes from, but if it were to be your child’s name, how do you think the teachers would call him at school? And going even further with this game, who would he date
(laughs) My apologies, I couldn’t stop myself. Hmm, now that you mention this, be aware, do not give me crazy ideas. (laughs) Well, I hope they’ll call him Cruish-Nir. Maybe Nir, because it’s easier to pronounce? We shall see. About dating, if he resembles me, I’m sure he’ll date someone like My Dying Bride, you know, the goth metalhead from his classroom, or maybe Draconian? To be honest, I would see my child even dating Trees of Eternity, and if she breaks his/her/them heart, he/she/them will try to date Nachtmystium, or Virgin Black, you can see where I’m going with this.
How much does the quality matter and what exactly does it mean, in a project practically advancing in an over-saturated scene? What is it way important, the sound or the look or brand?
I shall say that this it can be a sore point for many artists, the scene being over-saturated for quite few years, I think. Today, you have, at your fingertip, hundreds of ways to listen music, or where to listen music, ways that come with thousands and thousands of bands or musical projects. So, in this point, quality it’s the most important. We have, as listeners, so many options, from each style, from each subgenre, stage, and so on. What it means? Well, think about this: let’s say, you want to listen some good quality gothic doom metal today. There you have My Dying Bride for example; you already know they are legends. And you listen to them for few years, you know them, you love them; and here it’s me, Cruish-Nir, new born in the industry, still building a reputation around my name. You want to listen something new, just to refresh your taste, maybe check the news in the doom scene and you find my name there and you check me out. If I cannot provide quality, how can you listen to my songs? So you’ll go back to My Dying Bride. As you said, the scene it is, indeed, over-saturated. In this case, and not only, all that will truly matter, that will make a real difference in your playlist, for me, to get the chance to build a reputation and a fan base, well, there, unfortunately for all those bands who invest so much money in their look, or in a big label, there, the most important it will be the sound, the music quality, because behind the name and look all that remains it is music itself. And yes, I noticed the fact that lately, a good look helps to build a bigger fanbase and so on, but I think we’re both on the same wavelength when I say that bands such as My Dying Bride, Draconian, Candlemass and so on become legends in doom metal scene due to their amazing work and music, not because of some fancy clothing. So, this is my line about this: instead of wasting my resources as a band in a catchy look or brand, I do prefer to invest in better sound gear, and my time in writing again and again until to the point where I know that my sound will be what the scene needs to evolve.
One says that inspiration comes from the connection between artist, nature and the surrounding universe. However, in the moment of creation, the artist tends to detach or retreat in himself. What’s with this inspiration?
I believe that each of us find inspiration in the surrounding universe. And yes, there must be a deep connection between the artist and the way it presents its art. For me, inspiration it’s the moment when, the silence flows in my veins, like a river, and in some points, rains of suffering, mental resurrection and boiling blood are coming together. There is a moment when I feel like the night flips over the sky at zenith, and long, eternal spears, are cutting lines forming words, under your perception’s horizon. Every word that appears under my fingers, it’s like a new cycle of light and darkness. The sun will fall asleep, when the stars die, the sun will rise, when you open your eyes in your dream. It is, indeed, a retreat, but not in… myself. It’s more of a retreat in the totality of the universe itself. You see, there is no flesh, no bone, no god, no evil. There it’s everything but nothing in the same time; detachment of the human body, but not a retreat. More likely a return to our real self.
“the skye melts inside my palms, no ethers,/
i may be heathen, no gods upon my way,/
but lost i m not because you’re here/
where rivers shine with a thousand opals in your eyes..”
I know you are painting as well. How these two passions intertwine? And if they were to be women, do you think they would fight for your soul? How would you calm them down?
I see you’ve done your homework. Well, I have quite a simple answer here tho. You see, I consider poetry as my soul’s language, and painting, my body’s language. And if there were to be women, they would not fight for my soul. Why? Because poetry it is my true love, it is my wife in this existence. And painting, even, I admit, very close to my soul, I could stay a long time without painting, but there’s no day, for the last 16 years, without a verse or two. In other words, what my mouth cannot speak, it writes, and where words are not enough, I use painting as visual for my words. Does it make sense?
It so much does, yeah. You’ve been away from Romania for some time already, yet I feel you are very attached to the native culture. Can this attachment be lost in time? Does the culture we inherit help in any way?
Well, I don’t think the attachment can be lost. We all have different paths in our lives, travelling from a corner to another in this reality dominated by humans. And I do not think it can be lost, because, every time I look back in my past, in my childhood in between the hills of a little but old village, Ciresu, I still remember the smell of the rain over my skin, I still remember the early mornings when I had to wake up and had to dig the vegetable garden, or taking care of the cows or sheep over the hills. How can I forget the smell of the old books from the commune’s library, the games I used to play as a kid, hide-and-seek, catch me if you can, all those things. I left Romania for some time, when I was 18, because I wanted to see the world, and yes, at some point, the culture we inherit helps in a way or another. Take this as example. If you take a young offspring, let’s say of an oak, and move it away from his forest, you take it away from the ones of his kind, would that change this oak into, something else? Into a pine? A cherry tree? No. It will continue to be an oak for the rest of his days. And so are humans, we travel to a new place, we build a house, we have a family, a legacy, but our roots, our roots will be the same.
What other hobbies do you have?
Well, beside music, poetry and painting, that you already know about, I’ve got few passions, that may involve or not, an art. For example, I love to travel, or, as I call it, my expeditions. I check new places, walking, cycling, or hiking, most of the times when I’m not writing or working. I find a deep mental pleasure in testing my resistance over long hiking/cycling expeditions, usually summing up to 50 km/day. Sometimes even more. Beside this, I have my beloved collections: CDs, vinyls, crystals, weird objects, or fossils. Most of these little treasures, I find them in my expeditions, to be honest. I find a great pleasure in travelling to a remote area, with my tools, and digging for hours for fossils, or anything that earth can offer to my curious soul. I think it’s safe to say that I have hundreds of these treasures in my place. Actually, this is what I was doing before I answered to this interview. I found a new place, few miles away from any village, with a small wonderful waterfall. I named it Nikki’s Waterfall, due to the person that was beside me when I found it. And an amazing new fossils spot. I think I’ve spent half a day there, but when I got back, of course, looking like hell, I added around 15 new pieces to my collection, some amazingly preserved devil toenail fossils. It may not be considered art, but it’s somehow our history, and for me, history it is an art itself. Beside this, I love reading, or, learning about ancient cultures.
Lyrics or an excerpt from a book, that you’d loved to have written it by yourself.
Hmm, you got me here. That’s a really good question, and I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible. Let’s say, about lyrics, anything from My Dying Bride, Virgin Black, Edgar Alan Poe, Lord Byron, Shakespeare. For me, the artists behind these, are titans, so I can’t really choose. I’m not the one to such a choice.
Lyrics from a song that Jesus would have chosen while on the cross, just to throw them in front of humanity.
I think I’ve got a similar question when I was younger, at one of my first interviews about my poetry. The answer back then, it is my answer now as well. I won’t choose lyrics, but the entire song. ‘Where is your god’ by Thy Antichrist. I won’t say why, just play the song.
Who, of all historical figures, would blow your mind if wearing a Cruish-Nir t-shirt?
Let’s just say that I’m hard to impress, but, I love the questions of this interview so, maybe Kings Minos.
When a new project comes along, the worlds immediately think about similar bands and the story behind it. Is this a positive thing in any possible way considering that the gesture itself can reveal a lack of originality.
I think there are always people who’ll think about similar bands, or who’ll try to find similarities between a new project and older projects, we’ll known in the scene. At some point, it can be a positive thing. When you think about promoting your band, and I’ve noticed this it’s highly used in some parts of the world when it comes to new projects, many bands decide to choose this trick as a promoting fact, going all the way like: if you like band A, then you should definitely listen to us, Band B. This can be good at some point. We can both agree upon the fact that every band has their influences these days, and each and every artist has been influenced by something at some point. But, the negative part comes when you actually check the band B, and realise that it lacks originality. You see, there’s the problem about being compared with other projects, similar or not with yours. Because when you listen to something new, even if you compare it or now, you’re expecting to hear something new. Not the same music, but played by second hand musician, because you cannot present your work as new, but sound like a cover band… if I think about Cruish-Nir, since we released Quietus, I’ve heard, or it was told me that we remember to them of bands such as My Dying Bride, Theatre of Tragedy, Saturnus. I even heard someone comparing us with Craddle of Filth. (laughs) which it is quite funny if you ask me. For sure, we’ve got our influences as well, after all, Cruish-Nir it’s not the first band who plays gothic doom, and, we hope, not the last one, especially in Romania. But in the same time I say, that we’re nothing like those bands. We are…well, Cruish-Nir. Our sound, lyrics, concept, as far as I know, there’s nothing like this. And we like to keep it this way, after all, if you’re doing your part well, work hard and keep delivering quality in the scene, the same people who found similarities between you and other band, will start to compare other bands with yours. All new bands where in this point, when they were new in the scene. Some of them evolved in the meantime, some of them not.