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September 16, 2019

Interview Mountains Crave

Hi Mike and Danny from Mountains Crave! Greetings from Sick and Destroy team. What are you up to these days?

Mike – We’ve been very busy the past year writing and recording our debut album, which is set to be released in May. We are all pretty excited to finally get it out there for people to listen to.

Would you please introduce your band to our readers who are not aware of your band and music?

M – Mountains Crave are based in Leeds, UK. First and foremost we play black metal, but we like a lot of music and it bleeds into what we do, whether that works or not we leave to other people! I suppose we take a lot of influence from second wave black metal but also some of the more contemporary bands that look a little further outside the norm for inspiration. We have some progressive leanings but ultimately we like riffs.

Give us a little insight into the formation of the band. When and how did it happen?

M – Rich (drums) and I had both wanted to form a black metal band for a while (I think we we were talking about it back in 2013), and once we started sharing ideas we quickly started gathering people around us with a similar feel, eventually forming a solid lineup. Leeds has an excellent metal scene, and it wasn’t long before we found Danny on vocals. Aside from Danny, we’ve had various lineup changes with bass and second guitar, but having recently recruited Josh and Ol we are really happy with where we are going.

Mountains Crave to release new album ‘As We Were When We Were Not’ on May 13 via Avantgarde Music. Tell us something about it. Walk us through all the tracks lyrics and meaning.

Danny – I could easily go on about this for ages as I did a great deal of research into the lyrics and it’s all stuff that’s really close to my heart. Basically during the writing process I was undergoing what you might term a spiritual awakening and I drew upon the literature which had brought this about as well as my own experiences.

Ynisvitrin is the opener, which Taz and Hel from Undersmile guested on. This is appropriate as it was Hel who first pointed me in a spiritual direction, for which I’m eternally grateful. Ynisvitrin is talked about in Huxley’s ‘Heaven and Hell’ in written format and alluded to in his ’62 MIT lecture, basically in order to demonstrate the visionary qualities of precious stones. He labours the point that many ancient civilisations have incorporated precious stones in their version of the afterlife – ynisvitrin being an ancient Celtic version – the isle of glass, which is also found as glasberg in the Teutonic tradition. I was fascinated to read that this was based on a factual location – Glastonbury Tor which was once surrounded by water and gave off a mirage called Fata Morgana that gave the illusion of an island materialising from beneath the waves. The song follows a dying person crossing the waters to the afterlife.

Istigkeit (We Saw Them Of Old) is about how we have to condition ourselves to see the world as it truly is beyond surface level consciousness, and how by evolving into hunter gatherers we’ve distanced ourselves from pure consciousness. Evolution is always a trade off, it never gives anything up for free, and this is echoed in Buddhist teachings which speak of the defilements of pure consciousness, as well as the writings of Huxley once again and Meister Eckhart who coined the term Istigkeit, or is-ness.

Clear Light Of The Void is about Huxley’s death. He asked his wife Laura to read to him from the Tibetan book of the dead to guide him out of his body and asked her to inject him with LSD. Main influences lyrics wise were accounts of Huxley’s death, the Tibetan book of the dead and some of Terence McKenna’s accounts of DMT trips.

Arise O Magnificent Sun was the first song I wrote on the topic and was my initial reaction to the MIT lecture and all the beautiful imagery it contains, especially quotes from Thomas Traherne’s Centuries of Meditation.

Theophany is the most personal in terms of lyrics and describes an experience I had a few years ago which showed me that whatever religion you follow, everyone is looking for this epiphanic moment. I used to be very anti religious but this experience made me think again. I’ve never been the same since!

How has been the response so far by the listeners? Have you started working on new songs already?

M – The response for the album has been excellent so far, we’ve genuinely been taking aback by early reviews, and people have found differing interpretations of what they like about our music, and what it means to them, which is a fantastic thing to witness. Our priority has been readying new band members for playing live as well as preparing some of the newer songs for our live set. We have slowly begun writing for the follow-up, it’s very much early days but I think we have a good idea of where we are going to go with the next one.

When and where did you play your first gig? How was the experience of going live for the first time?

M – We played in Leeds with Old Corpse Road (Josh, our new guitarist’s old band) in May, 2015. It was a lot of fun, despite me not having played live for over eight years. The rest of the band were much more experienced than me at the time so that definitely helped quell the nerves. I’d definitely missed the experience of playing to people, it’s a great feeling sharing your music live.

If asked to differentiate Mountains Crave from other bands in your country, how would you like to respond to it?

M – There has been some truly fantastic black metal in the past ten years or so from the UK, bands like Wodensthrone, Fen, and Winterfylleth. I certainly think we share similar influences, but at the end of the day we write music that we would want to listen to ourselves, and we draw from other sources that feed into this sort of black metal lineage. The varied makeup of our band permits a lot of experimentation too, with Rich’s history in grind/power violence bands, Danny’s background in death metal in Masochist, and my more progressive and folkier leanings in A Forest Of Stars. Whether consciously or not, I think this has definitely helped define our sound.

Which bands/ artists do you draw your influences from?

M – Personally I am all over the shop, and my answer would probably change by the hour. The obvious ones for me are Agalloch, Wolves In The Throne Room, Drudkh, Enslaved, Ulver, John Carpenter, Pink Floyd, Camel, Nick Cave, Anna Von Hausswolff. I’ll no doubt think of a million more after the fact.

How do you guys manage jobs and gigs? Also how often do you guys gathering altogether just to fun?

M – The eternal struggle! It’s often a hard balancing act juggling work and bands, but we are luckily all relatively flexible when it comes to arranging rehearsal time. I think more often than not, if it’s something you truly need to do, you can find the time. (probably, that sounded like some awfully preachy advice).

Mountains Crave is very promising formation. Talking of your future, 5 years from now, where do you see yourself?

M – Writing and playing gigs to more people. That’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted from music.

Well, that’s it. Thanks a lot for your time. Speak out to all your fans and supporters.

M – Thank you!