The Answer Lies In The Black Void is a collaboration between Martina Horváth from avant-garde metal project Thy Catafalque and Jason Köhnen from Celestial Season, The Lovecraft Sextet, Bong-Ra, ex-The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, the duo also work together in the transcendental music project Mansur that releases on Denovali Records.
Horváth and Köhnen joined forces through their passion for all things doom, presenting their personal take on the genre with all its beautiful darkness and from all possible angles. Bringing their own mix of atmospheric-laden avant-doom. After their immensely well-received debut album ‘Forlorn’, The Answer Lies In The Black Void has returned with their second album titled ‘Thou Shalt’. Inspired by Carl Jung’s ‘shadow work’ this new album was released on October 13th via Burning World Records. More on The Answer Lies in The Black Void, ‘Thou Shalt,’ and their sound design process, we’ve chatted with Martina.
Hi, and thank you! Now, tell me – what kind of people listen to The Answer Lies in The Black Void? Who are they, what are they thinking, and how do you think they perceive life?
I think every piece of music carries some kind of energy and vibe that will attract people with a similar mindset. I’m aware of the fact that our music is not easy to listen to as it moves on a wide spectrum of emotions and that can be weary sometimes. Many people are avoiding facing their demons and refuse to open long-closed doors and dig deeper. When Jason and I create this music, it comes from our deepest self-work, telling our experiences to others. It’s a gentle reminder to dare to stay true and I hope many will do.
For newcomers to your music, if you had to pick one track that shows people who you are as an artist, which one would it be?
We play quite eclectic music with many shades of the doom genre, so it is hard to pick one. If I really had to choose, I would say In Obsidian Clouds and Ataraxia.
What do you want people to feel primarily when listening to the band? How would your second album, “Thou Shalt” be best served?
This world we live in is very chaotic and we tend to lose ourselves in this mess. I just hope that our music helps people to stay in the present, stop for a moment to silence their minds and connect to themselves again.
Was there any song on the album that was particularly a challenge to write?
Vaporize took the longest to finish. Though I wrote the melody and the lyrics in March 2022, we always had something else to work on and this piece was the last we picked up to finish.
Please tell us a bit more about your album, “Thou Shalt”. What is the message you’re trying to convey with this release?
As I mentioned above, it’s like a journal of our experiences, a journey through self-improvement, ‘Shadow Work’.
Which song is unquestionably your favorite from the album? Why?
I have many favorites. I can really express my pain through ‘In Obsidian Clouds’ and ‘Virgin Fire’, and my anger and disappointment through ‘To Kill The Father’. I can calm down in ‘Ataraxia’ and I can love people again, in ‘Vaporize’.
Take me through your sound design process. Does the conception come first or do the songs evolve naturally – do you have a clear idea of what it will be before you start to make it?
It varies really, and it is always a very exciting process. When we work on the music we both manage to tap into the ‘source’ – we call it. All the music is there outside, every melody already exists and we have the ability to channel it and form it with our magic into something special. We just need to pick the ripe apple from the tree.
What music have you been listening to recently and what excites you for the remainder of the year?
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard was a new discovery for me this year. I also love Vega Trails – Tremors in the Static album, especially in the mornings. I listen to a lot of traditional folk music from many nations. Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Scottish, Irish, Armenian, Turkish- you name it. I also listen to a lot of movie soundtracks. In the metal scene, I undusted my autumn season favorites e. g. Type O Negative – October Rust, Vallenfyre-Splinters, old Opeth albums, the older Katatonia albums, YOB, Neurosis. etc.
What does it mean to play and live in the millennial generation of music artists?
I mind my own business, I create my own universe. If I can express myself and make my own music, it doesn’t matter which generation I’m in. Of course, it is sad how values shifted with time and how the shallow, brainless pop culture, meaningless movies, and empty “music” are keeping people asleep. But I can’t change it by wallowing over it, I can only change it with my actions, to concentrate on what I can do.
What do you borrow from those who came before you, and what do you do to push the genre forward?
I’ve learned humility and dedication from others. To serve music as music serves me. We will keep making music that comes naturally to us. Heavy and fragile.
Thinking about your evolution, what are some developments in you – whether it’s in your music, your performance, your energy, or the way you work – that you’ve seen real change since your first show and first release with Thy Catafalque?
Because of my musical upbringing, I became quite a perfectionist. This is a curse and a gift at the same time. Over the ~28 years of performing I was beating myself up with pessimism and I barely felt success. In the last 8 years, I became more conscious of myself and the world around me. I managed to let this maximalism go a little bit, embrace my imperfections more, and let myself feel successful and appreciate my achievements. Thy Catafalque also helped with this journey, just like my previous and present formations.
You had been taking to the road starting October 22. How do you prepare for your live performances?
Lots of vocal warm-ups, herb tea, plenty of water and healthy food, throat chakra meditation, and sleep, if possible. And a shot of pálinka right before the shows. (smiles)
What other creative outputs do you engage in that we may not suspect?
Well, I love working with different kinds of clays, I was attending a pottery school too, not long ago. I also make decorative items using cement/beton and I like to paint glass. I am planning to open my own business in the near future to sell my little dark, enchanted things.
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