One of the last interviews of this issue is the mysterious FUNEREAL PRESENCE. The band is currently quite at the zenith of sunlight (or more precisely of the moonlight!) thanks to the brand new "Achaitus" CD. It is already considered by many ones to be one of the hottest candidates for the album of the year, which I naturally agree with. FUNEREAL PRESENCE are so unique and special in Black Metal that it's hard to find similar bands. Their inspiration in music can be predicted with certainty, but the presentation and overall strange rendering of their Black Metal is magic. Founded as a side project by Bestial Devotion, drummer and vocalist of Negative Plane band, he did very well to create this project. What else can be written about them, the band comes from New York, originally from Florida, but Black Metal is a genre that can be done properly in any zone, a territory if the creator is hard on fire in a Black Art. And Bestial Devotion sure is, so let's do it ...
Could you first say something about your band name? Why just FUNEREAL PRESENCE and what does this term mean to you? Is it deeply relevant to music and the overall concept? I would also like to ask for the logo, we know two ones. Are you their author?
For me itís an all-encompassing metaphor for a kind of dreadful intuition, the feeling that something is approaching. Iíve felt this a lot in the course of my life, so I found it quite fitting and honest. Iím also a fan of Gothic novels and their exuberant prose and I had come across this term in possibly Melmoth The Wanderer but I canít recall exactly.
No, Timo Ketola is responsible for all the hand-written letterings as the album credits state. There is no set logo at this point really.
Your music is quite quickly recognizable, suggesting it contains the original and the uncommon spirit of the composer, the special types of guitar harmonies but also vocals are what makes FUNEREAL PRESENCE something extraordinary. Does the originality have a solid place in your writing process or you don't even think of it and just let yourself be led by your own flow and intuition?
I donít consider this when writing, I just try to express accurately what my vision is at the time. I always have a clear picture and idea what I want the next album/release to be stylistically, atmospherically and thematically. I get very fixated on these ideas, visions, whatever you want to call it, and every note you hear played is calibrated for that and serves a purpose.
"The Archer Takes Aim" debut has been out for 5 years. What is your relationship to this work today? Some musicians don't want to listen to their recordings at all. Has anything changed what you don't like on "The Archer Takes Aim," or you can absolutely swear on this material?
I think itís fucking killer and I still listen to it, that is mainly what I made it for. Thereís always problems you notice later after youíre kind ofÖout of your recording trance, but I have no real complaints about neither ďThe ArcherÖĒ nor the first mLP. Especially the mLP has a really cruel sound.
The new "Achatius" is still fairly fresh. How would you compare the writing process to debut? Do you notice your own shift on musical and arranging side? Would you say "Achatius" is a more complex, or rather opposite, easier material? Tracks are as long as always, and for FUNEREAL PRESENCE is not typical repeating one theme as with other Black Metal bands. How does a typical FP track originate?
I donít think it differs greatly in terms of song writing and so on from the previous material at all. Some of the riffs are possibly more complex because I was so determined to push the lost Tormentor Anno Domini riffing style even more on this album. More hellish and unhinged was the idea maybe now that I think back.
What is the main focus of the lyrics on "Achatius"? Is it a mix of different concepts, or you was inspired by any particular thing that draws all over the stuff like a red thread?
A medieval story of the end and damnation. The lyrics speak for themselves and I donít like to try to retrace my steps, listeners can read them as they listen and understand.
Everyone has some experience with sleep, nightmares, insomnia, premonitions in dreams, or sleep paralysis. Someone very minimal, but others have dreams that are as their second world, for someone even more important than real world. Do you think dreams and dreaming can be as important as the waking state? Do you take inspiration from your dreams to create? Do you write down dreams to create a system in them?
I definitely take inspiration from dreams, including of course day dreams, but I donít put vast importance on them ultimately. I do not write down dreams, I just let the mood or mental images inspire me if the mood strikes me.
Do you let yourself be inspired in the music by special dark places where, for example, could have became some historical events, where they came to bloodshed, where could be some strange supernatural things, or you go through old monasteries, cemeteries, ossuaries? Where did you find yourself in the most special place and have you ever been in a place where you have clearly felt a negative energy?
Yes, certainly. Everything I do is greatly inspired by the area I grew up in and around and many specific places I visit to this day. The photo in the booklet of Achatius for example is a very important place for that which is why I included it specifically.
The ugliest, most negative energy that a place carried for me was an abandoned mental hospital complex we explored. It weighed on me in a way I never expected and the sense of dread hung around for quite some time.
Can you say some of FUNEREAL PRESENCE track was created in special circumstances, or did something strange became at writing? Do you notice various connections that surround you and pay them some special effect?
The heaviest atmosphere and sense of purpose I felt so far was during the recording of the Achatius vocal tracks. I just really was able to feel the words in a way I hadnít experienced recording anything before. It felt special and will always be a special memory for me. Also an aspect why I consider it the most fully realized Funereal Presence recording.
How do you perceive the level of death from your point of view? Is it something you absolutely displace from your life and you live only by presence? Or are you thinking over sense of life and the impact of death on an individual? Do you think or believe death is another type of dwelling? Which definition, philosophy, or knowledge of post-mortem life is the closest to you from a religious and mystical point of view?
Iím unsure to be very honest. Iíve experienced some things in the past few years that lead me to pretty grim assumptions but I would be writing pretentious drivel if I were to attempt to put my thoughts on the subject into one paragraph like this. On a subconscious level, Iím a very superstitious person and the conviction with which the lyrics and music are recited and presented comes from somewhere but I choose not to pry.
Do you perceive your music for FUNEREAL PRESENCE as metaphysical? Could you write something more about it?
Maybe in an abstract sense. I consider it pure artistic expression and to me that is expressing something bigger than yourself, something that just comes through you, so that might be a yes?
You come from Germany, but you currently live in the USA. When did you move from Europe and why did you choose just USA? Do you think you are more musically influenced by the European-style Metal?
Thatís a long story and personal. Iím heavily influenced by, and respect, many others just the same but probably European bands the most as they speak to my cultural background directly and there is something to be said about that feeling.
Bestial Devotion 17.4.2019 Mortuary
Messenger of Devil