Over the last four years, they’ve wound up at the heart of the underground with two albums of graceful, lovestruck black metal. Keft Arafthe project of Ukrainian multi-instrumentalist Dmitry Marchenko, resurfaced this year with a new record deal, a new home and an ever-larger platform for planning his next move.
Dmitry about the personal impact of moving from place to place, his ambition to tap into the mass appeal of black metal, and the new collaborations produced under extraordinary circumstances that come to fruition sooner than expected. talked.
– Luke Jackson
Are you currently based in Berlin?
Yes, we are currently based in Berlin. I moved here a few months ago and lived in Vienna before that.Previous That I used to live in Poland – moved a lot this year. It affects my productivity, not necessarily in a good way. I needed it, but since I could not stay in Poland after leaving Ukraine, I had to find another country. It takes a lot of time and energy because each move requires a lot of paperwork.
You’ve only been to Berlin for a short time, but what impressions has Berlin made so far on you as a city with an incredible artistic heritage?
Hmm, this might be a bit controversial. I used to live in Vienna, a very cold city. I’m a calm person myself, and although I’m a musician, I don’t really like to party or go to live shows. So far, I’m taking it every day: one day I feel like it’s a great city with lots of opportunities and lots of interesting people to meet, other days it’s just too loud and I have to look for it. I feel that there is. I want to shut myself up in my room quietly and not go anywhere. This is what I feel so far, and it’s generally pretty good.
Sacred Bones is an interesting label choice to partner with. Their roster is very diverse, why did you choose to work with them rather than the more typical metal imprints?
From the very beginning of this project, Këkht Aräkh, I have always tried to promote musical diversity while maintaining a core black metal vibe. We wanted to go beyond just the metal community. My taste in music is not limited to metal. I’m a huge hip hop fan and a huge rock fan as well. To be honest, metal isn’t necessarily the most frequently featured music on my playlists. The sound of your project can reach more people. I’m looking forward to collaborating with artists outside of the confined metal space and outside of metal. This is basically why we chose Sacred Bones.
Will working with the label give me access to these artists?
Well, the Sacred Bones team helped me a lot with how the project worked, which made everything a little easier and allowed me to focus more on the music. So far, they’ve helped me out with merch and reissues.
You said you started a band and created a version of black metal that you wanted to hear but didn’t necessarily get out there. Do you feel like you’ve made the music already, or is it a mission in progress?
yeah you got it right. The idea was to create black metal that I wanted to listen to, black metal for myself. To be honest, I can’t say that I’ve reached my first goal yet. It’s still in development and there are still things I want to add to the project. pale swordsman It was a big step towards an idea I had in mind, but I’ve faced a lot of limitations in terms of production and recording, so I don’t think I’ve gotten there yet. , with more tools to use. And I think we’re still moving towards the idea that first came to mind.
So far, Këkht Aräkh has two extremes: black metal components and ballads. Ballads can be a vehicle for emotions that people don’t normally associate with black metal. What emotions are you interested in that you haven’t yet explored?
Well, I try to honor the emotional element of black metal. Because, of course, black metal had a lot of emotion in its first form.But still, when you hear David Bowie For example, recording allows you to feel the ideas and content of his music. Artists like him think a lot about lyrics and concepts, and that’s where the emotions come from. This is what I try to explore within black metal, and in doing so, make black metal more accessible to people who are generally unfamiliar with the genre or uninterested in metal. I’m trying I can’t say for sure which emotion I’m aiming for specifically, but I’d like to find out through the concept.
So when does writing start?
Yes exactly. It also depends on how you feel in a particular time frame. When he wrote the second album after writing the first album, it was a completely different me. It was another experience, another feeling. And I think I’m still learning and gaining experience.
I was asked a lot about the accompanying photos pale swordsmanbut (first demo) through the branches of eternity Includes a newly drawn jacket and a lyric card. You have posted illustrations on SNS in the past, but did you draw them yourself?
Yes, I made them myself.At the time, I was obsessed with bands. Paysage D’hiver, and at the time he used pencil drawings for the cover art. He decided to do it himself because he wanted to express himself through painting. But yeah they were made by me.
the keyboard pale swordsmanhow did you become interested in that instrument?
keyboard playing? Well, I won’t go into too much detail. But yeah, I played the key. No samples or anything like that.
Why was the key perfect for Këkht Aräkh?
I wanted to make a kind of calm black metal. And I didn’t want to use the sweeping riffs you hear in blackgaze. I wanted the riff to stay in the second wave, but still needed an element to soften the sound. I got a lot of inspiration from the early (Danish label) Posh Isolation artists, so I used the key. They use a lot of old warm analog synths that add softness and warmth to the music. I’ve just started experimenting with different types of keys and have found a particular key that works for me.
You’ve talked today and in the past about making music that makes people feel familiar, welcoming, and hopeful. Especially in extreme music and black metal, what are the next steps you need to take to make that happen?
I think some people have trouble with black metal sound design because it can be very loud or over-made and heavy. That’s why I’m trying to make something with an indie vibe. I think aggression is what drives people away from music. Of course, I try to maintain a certain level of aggression so that black metal fans don’t find it hard to accept, but the overall sound is more like that of other people who like to feel the music is on their side. It’s for in music.
It’s a truly laudable goal, and it must be fun to explore.
is. And you know, it’s all about the minutiae. for example, dark throne from Hunger in Transylvaniamake it sound like Behemoth, becomes super heavy and aggressive. But when you push your sound design towards lighter weight, it starts to sound different. There are just so many small details that can make a big difference if you pay attention to them. Even heavy, aggressive riffs can be wrapped with sound design, making them sound warm and familiar.
A reissue of the first two Këkht Aräkh albums was released on December 2nd. What is the intention of recurrence?
My Bandcamp was completely empty for so long that people started reselling albums at crazy prices, so basically I wanted people to be able to actually buy them. Again, I just want to keep things simple. I want to make things better for my audience, people who love music. Therefore, we have done our best to improve the quality of the artifacts so that reissues are easily available.
Are you ready for your next record in 2023?
I haven’t talked much about my plans so far, so I’d like to talk about this. I was supposed to be working on album 3 this year, but unfortunately my living circumstances prevent me from working on such a ‘long lens’ and I don’t have enough headroom. Think of a concept and develop it. Of course, I want to take my time and make the best possible. I’m not in a hurry, but since it’s been a while, I still have the desire to release something new.
That’s why I started looking into collaborating with other artists, and currently have several collaborations planned. I’m working with a friend now. Murtova Vodo, which is also a project from Ukraine. Këkht Aräkh fans may have heard of this act as I post about them a lot. Because we are both in a difficult situation. Mrtva Vod is clearly in a worse situation than I am. He is currently on the front lines in Ukraine. Take his guitar and laptop with him. He wrote and sent me riffs and I’m trying to put them together into a song. Because I am not sure if they will be done. However, the collaboration with Mrtva Vod is set to release early next year. We do our best to deliver as soon as possible.
Regarding the third album, it depends on my living environment, but I will do my best to be able to do it next year. Do you have room in your head to focus on your new job? I don’t want to go out of my way to put it out, but I want to make it high quality and interesting.
pale swordsman Released on April 10, 2021 by Livor Mortis / Sacred Bones (Bandcamp).