Ghosts & Goblins: an interview with Evergreen

Best experienced in the Ghosts & Goblins PDF zine

 Please introduce and tell us about yourself

Greetings, friend! I am known as Evergreen. My pronouns are they/them. I have many projects spanning the worlds of Dungeon synth, Black metal, drone and ambient. Namely, I am behind: Fogweaver, Hideous Gomphidius, Snowspire, Keys to Oneiria, Wandlimb, Delmak-O, Draconic Regicide, seedspore, among others. Additionally I am the curator of Fableglade records, a cassette label that releases fantasy and foresty music. 

Tell us about the story / world building / themes behind your projects

For this, of course, it depends on the project. Some of which I keep the themes quite overt, and some I do not. I can mention a few here: 

Fogweaver is explicitly based on stories, lore, and themes from the Earthsea books by Ursula K. Le Guin. I spend a fair amount of time thinking about the themes from these books. While it is quite a short fantasy series, especially compared with many contemporary fantasy stories, it is packed with emotions and an atmosphere that I find myself returning to and thinking about often. Thus, Fogweaver is an effort to distill this into musical form. I strongly urge any fan of fantasy to delve into these books. The lore and worldbuilding are as spellbinding as the prose. 

Hideous Gomphidius is a strange one that might be hard to describe. Loosely, I wanted to imagine a world with sinister fungal sorcery—where you may find yourself, if you’re not careful, in caverns full of anthropomorphic mushrooms and poisonous magic at every turn. I have always found something very alluring about fungi. They are fascinatingly strange, sometimes terrifying and sometimes magical and powerful. There is much about Hideous Gomphidius that I leave up for interpretation, for those brave enough to wander the caverns to discover. 

Keys to Oneiria is one that people tend to inquire about often. There is a similar mystery and magic that I leave open with the worldbuilding here. What I can say is that Keys to Oneiria has a complex world that is very personal to me, but the world that unfolds for the listener is arguably more important than the one that I intend. I am not sure how much this makes sense… but Keys to Oneiria is meant to be a portal fantasy—one for the listener to discover. 

Those three are the only ones I will mention in depth, as I’m sure I could drone on about some of the others, but, for many of them, the magic is in the mystery.

Tell us about the art & design associated with your projects

I suppose I could keep this conversation limited, as well, to the latter projects I listed.

To begin, Fogweaver, as I said, is entirely based on Earthsea. The vision there is limited, somewhat, to the themes and world of those books. Yet it also comes down to my interpretation of the books. For me, the Earthsea books are dreamy, hazy, surreal, and somber. There is something within them that feels soft and impressionistic, in a way, when I imagine them. Thus, I have been quite drawn to the art of Sieskja. We have worked together on three albums now (the Immanent Grove split with Erreth-Akbe, Vedurnan, and Labyrinthine). The dreaminess and magic to Sieskja’s work is unmatched and I have often wished that I could have the full Earthsea series illustrated solely by her. 

Instagram      Etsy

For Hideous Gomphidius, I am drawn to works that express a similar feeling of sickly psychedelia. I have worked with the wonderful artist, Droned artworks, for my last three releases with the project. He has this strange mixture of horror and whimsy in his art that feels both psychedelic and sinister, which is something I aim for sonically with Hideous Gomphidius. He is a treasure of an artist, and similar to Sieskja, if you look closely in the world of Dungeon synth you can see his work come up quite often. 

Droned Artworks
Website      Instagram

Lastly, for Keys to Oneiria, I intentionally like to embrace the naive and old school feeling by doing very simple xerox edits of places that conjure specific feelings. Lately, I have really loved the method of making covers and cassette j-cards by cutting and/or ripping paper up and pasting/taping them together as a collage of sorts. There is a nostalgia to this method that goes hand in hand with much of Keys to Oneiria. Aesthetically, I am always drawn to shades of blue for the project—something that I don’t imagine will change with the project as it continues onward. 

I have been drawn quite a bit lately, with many projects of mine to embrace the same sort of naive nostalgia of the simple methods that Keys to Oneiria implements, that sort of vague sense of something magical, as if you have unearthed a treasure almost forgotten, which is something I really love about Dungeon synth. 

What are some of your influences (musical and otherwise)?

My inspirations musically vary all the time. I have many artists to thank and I am honored to exist in a musical community that is a constant wealth of inspiration and support. I can speak about my big musical inspirations of late, however! I am quite influenced and inspired by my dear friend from the project Erreth-Akbe, another Earthsea inspired project. The most recent Erreth-Akbe album, “A Lantern Swathed” is an album I have been returning to often these days. Similarly, I am inspired by my other dear friend Mausoleum Wanderer. They manage to create a world unlike any other through their music and I admire what they do a lot. Another friend who inspires me in countless ways is Myst, the artist behind Coniferous Myst, Serpent’s Isle, Longsword, and countless others. The way he embraces the old school feeling with these very nostalgic xerox looking covers and tape hiss ridden music—I find myself constantly amazed at what he does. And, of course, I have to give a huge thanks to Erang. Erang is an artist nobody should be unfamiliar with. The magic, beauty, and genuine heart within Erang’s music is something I have to thank for immense and constant inspiration. 

And as for constant—or rather general—inspirations, which all of the above fall into as well, I should note that I am immensely inspired by the following: Secret Stairways, one of the most essential Dungeon synth artists. Fauna, a black metal band that absolutely changed my life. I don’t channel much of that inspiration into my Dungeon synth works but it is something I carry with me as a human all the time. Malfet, my dear friend who also changed my life. Malfet brought me deeper into the worlds of Dungeon synth and, more personally, saved my life in ways I cannot begin to explain. 

Outside of musical influences, I am influenced and inspired by so many things. I am very obviously inspired by nature and the world around me. I channel themes of the natural world into most of my works. There is true magic to the natural world, and it is something that manages to inspire me in different ways constantly. I am also very inspired by a lot of different books, usually whatever I am reading at that time. Lately I have been reading the Malazan book of the Fallen books, which have been a source of much inspiration. Occasionally I am inspired by video games, though I don’t often play video games these days—more out of a lack of time than a lack of interest. 

I am always finding new ways to be inspired and when I am not actively working on music, I am usually soaking in inspiration from many sources, either by reading, watching something, or listening to the wonderful music many of my peers create. 

Tell us about your creative space and process

My creative space is more of a mental one I suppose. I get these overwhelming thoughts in my head about a project and I just have to capture that as soon as I can. It often varies based on the time of year, things I am reading at that time, shows I am watching, or just general changes in mood. More often than not, I go into recording with a project in mind. However, sometimes I kind of just sit at my keyboards and synths and just mess around until something feels right. 

How does your sense of place affect the way you express yourself?

Hmm I suppose if we consider “sense of place” to be that sort of mental one that I mentioned, then I would say it affects me greatly. I am very affected by each season, which often impacts my work, and indeed is the inspiration for my label Fableglade Records. The change in the world around me, and perhaps more importantly the emotions that go with those changes, are all consistent in my work. 

What does Dungeon synth (and/or related genres) mean to you?

Dungeon synth, to me, is something that embodies nostalgia and longing, yet is outside of time entirely. It is pure expression. I tend to listen to quite a wide variety of music under the “Dungeon synth” banner, but to me the thing that binds them all together is the sense of fantasy and somber feeling they often give me. It’s a longing for a world that has not existed. Some might say it’s a longing for a time that did exist, but I don’t know that I feel that as much. To me, Dungeon synth is most successful when it can bring the listener to another world. Vague, perhaps, but I like it that way.

How would you describe the Dungeon synth community?

The Dungeon synth community is an incredible community. As somebody who has existed in numerous musical spaces, I can say confidently that Dungeon synth is something special. The connections and friendships I have made with people all over the world never ceases to astound me. I think one of the beautiful things about the community is the many entry points. You meet people who strictly got into Dungeon synth through black metal, people who came in through the ttrpg background, and those who just enjoy the similarities Dungeon synth can have with video game music. There are so many wonderful folks sprinkled throughout the community and the general embrace and acceptance of people is something I personally cherish. 

Tell us about your gaming habits: video games, RPG, tabletop, other? Past & present.

Well, I don’t spend a whole lot of time playing video games these days as I mentioned. But I will say I, of course, love fantasy RPGs. The game Fable was a quite a game changer for me when I was younger and still grappling with the fact that I loved fantasy stuff, despite most people around me thinking it was weird and nerdy. Fable 1 and 2 are fantastic games, though quite archaic by today’s standards. I also love the Elder Scrolls games, of course. Namely Oblivion. The whimsical feeling of adventure that Oblivion gives me is unmatched. It is a game that is both very serious in its themes yet often does not take itself seriously—something I personally find to be lacking in a lot of fantasy games. 

As for tabletop games, I admittedly have never spent much time with them mostly out of a lack of friends to facilitate such activities. I have always wanted to get more into ttrpgs, just never had the time nor community to do so. That being said, my partner and I like to play board games occasionally, for which we have a small collection. I tend to find myself attracted to anything with fantasy themes, especially with a naturey twist. We play Everdell and Root every so often which both are similar thematically—anthropomorphic animals building cities. We also recently acquired Arkham Horror which we have only slightly delved into, but seems quite promising. 

If you could step through a portal to any realm of fantasy, where would it be?

Ah yes, the eternal question! I actually cycle through a couple different answers to this question depending on how I am feeling any given day, so I will give all of those answers here since I am indecisive. 

First and foremost, the obvious answer, Earthsea. Before I even read the Earthsea books, I was encapsulated by the map alone. The idea of a world being just a huge series of archipelagos was absolutely immersive and exciting to me. I have always lived in a landlocked place yet have been very drawn to the sea, especially as a fantasy setting. On top of that, the world of Earthsea has so much to offer. Magic that is based on spoken word, dragons that represent untapped potential of humanity, peaceful and idyllic farming villages, and a school of wizardry (which Ursula came up with long before a certain author). There is a dreamy and somber feeling that is so enticing about this world. 

Secondly, I have to say the world of Avatar the Last Airbender. This world, its magic based on the bending of the elements, and all the fascinating critters and spirits that populate the land, are all just so intriguing to me. Having watched and read all the content I can in this world, I find myself craving more. 

Third, I will have to mention the world of Redwall. It is no secret that I particularly love worlds built around anthropomorphic critters (see: Fableglade Records and the aforementioned board games Everdell and Root). Redwall is so enchanting and epic.

And lastly, I really do need to mention the most obvious answer of all: Middle Earth. Anybody who says they wouldn’t want to be a hobbit in Middle Earth is lying to themselves. There is a sadness to the themes of Lord of the Rings, something that I find to be unmatched in any other story. The core idea, I believe, that magic is actively disappearing from the world is so utterly beautiful and sad. I wish I could live in a world with magic and Ents and Hobbits, even at the cost of a power crazed mage and his overpowered ring. Plus, Lord of the Rings was one of the first worlds I found myself lost in as a burgeoning fantasy nerd youth. 

Fableglade Records
Hideous Gomphidius
Keys to Oneiria
Windkey Tapes

Ghosts & Goblins: an interview with Fen Walker

Best experienced in the Ghosts & Goblins PDF zine

Please introduce and tell us about yourself

Greetings! My stage name is Wayfarer and I am the musician behind the Dungeon synth/Fantasy Ambient project Fen Walker. I am based in Portland, Oregon, but my heart and mind belong in the wild and majestic realm of the funeral isle of Ur. After a long and unsatisfying decade of trying to make myself a place in the robust Portland metal scene, I found myself with a month of paternity leave for the birth of my third child. Having freshly discovered Dungeon synth for the second time, I decided to use the period during my infant son’s constant napping to write the first Fen Walker album “Hail! O’ Barrow Lands.”

In addition to Fen Walker, I record albums for a variety of other projects including Frost Clad, Spectral Manse and Curse Breaker among others.

Tell us about the story / world building / themes behind your project

When I recorded the first album, I did not intend to create any kind of lore. I wanted it to make an album that was a linear story. Listeners followed a character travelling to different locations, meeting characters and encountering threats. I wanted to leave it up to interpretation as to what was going on within the music. Developed characters and an ongoing plot hadn’t occurred to me yet. It wasn’t until the second Fen Walker album, “The Totem Wilds Call Thy Name” that I started to form the story and it wasn’t until the third album “Sojourns in the Realm of the Undermoon,” that I wrote anything down and included the stories on my Bandcamp page. Most of it is still floating around in my mind and hasn’t seen the page yet, but I’d love to write a book someday, but until then, here is the short version:

The first three Fen Walker albums, known as Saga I, follow a woman who is a shepherd of the dead. She travels over the island continent of Ur and guides lost and lonely spirits to burial sites, mounds or tombs where they can live out the next life in peace and comfort. Proper burial and funerary practices are central to the life of the Urish people, who dedicate their lives to building labyrinthine tomb structures and regularly visiting deceased relatives. All of this is important, because without proper burial, spirits live in a hell of loneliness, never able to pass onto the second death and never able to interact with the people they can see and hear all around them.

Eventually, The Wanderess, as she is known, fails in her duty and grave robbers desecrate the sacred Barrow Lands and steal the treasures from the mounds. Though she is able to get the treasure back, in shame, she exiles herself to the mysterious lands of the north.

Saga II follows the woman’s twin daughters Soja and Woja, who are born in a different continent and travel to Ur to bury their mother who has died. They inadvertently lead the imperious forces of the north to the shore of Ur, where they begin to invade the peaceful continent. The sisters then have to decide to defend the ancestral home of their mother and betray their own king, or help invade it and betray their mother.

A large theme in the Fen Walker story has been tradition and conservation versus technology and change, which is something I think a lot about. I don’t believe either are inherently bad, but there must be a balance between the two. In a way its my own bastardization of Michael Moorcock’s Chaos and Law ideas. Aside from this central theme, there is the classic hero’s journey, the evils of colonialism, redemption, and some cosmic horror element throughout. Most importantly I want the fantasy to shine through, because what Fen Walker is really all about is escapism.

Tell us about the art & design associated with your project

I work very closely with the artist Brendan Elliott for the visuals of Fen Walker. He is really the second member of the band and it’s almost like we have a psychic link. At this point, I don’t even need to communicate my needs that much, he knows where the story is going and is able to create exactly the image I want. I think a large part of Fen Walker’s success lies in the art; it’s a portal into the world I have created. Even folks, who don’t like the music, can still appreciate the paintings and still get a glimpse of Ur and the wonders it holds.

Generally, I’ll have two pieces created for each album. A cover piece that illustrates a major scene from the story, and a landscape or map that can illustrate the interior of the physical media, usually a cassette tape. The art itself is acrylic and painted on a variety of canvases and art boards. Brendan has painted for quite a few Dungeon synth acts, including Guild of Lore, Sombre Arcane, Shrouded Gate, Moss Troll among others.

What are some of your influences (musical and otherwise)?

Oh I have many, many influences. Outside of the Dungeon synth sphere of influence I am inspired by legendary German synthesists Tangerine Dream, their album “Phaedra” is a particular favourite of mine as well as many of their soundtracks. The Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis is one of the great synth albums of all time and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve listened to it. “Music Inspired by Lord of the Rings” by Bo Hannson is probably my greatest inspiration for Fen Walker; it is a tragically overlooked gem of 70’s progressive rock and I hear something new every time I listen to it. Hermit like synthesist Jim Kirkwood has also had a huge impact on me and is another recognized musician who has great power. His music helped introduce the Berlin School style into my own music. Master of Dragon and Castles of Sand are two standouts from his massive back catalogue. 

The Dungeon synth sphere of influence is larger. The feeling of being a part of a community that is constantly creating and sharing music is very exhilarating to me and makes me want to continue writing music even more. Projects and albums I discovered early on that inspired Fen Walker: Torchlight (The Long Quest), Vandalorum (Flagellum Dei), Zandar Zan (Thug Life in Tsargol), Old Sorcery (Strange and Eternal), Utred (Forest), The Path Eternal (Search of True Ascendance). These projects and albums were guides and teachers during my first few albums and are all worth checking out.

Projects and albums I listen to for a regular bump of creative inspiration are: Guild of Lore (Stormhaven), Cernunnos Woods (Awaken the Dark Empire), Sombre Arcane (Realmsong), Scrying Glass (Wyrmhole), Voormithadreth (The Quest for Iranon), Arcanist (Poseidonis), Thangorodrim (Taur Nu Fuin)…and on and on the list goes. Non-musical influences: Beowulf (the Seamus Heaney translation), The Lord of the Rings, H.P Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, the Richard Sharpe novels (by Bernard Cornwell) and so on and so forth.

Tell us about your creative space and process

My recoding space is a giant mess! I like it that way. I have books on every surface, things perched precariously, various functional and non-functional lamps, cables and equipment coiled and piled upon the ground. There is a lot of dust. It’s a mess, but its an organized one, and I’m comfortable in the space. My process is to record very detailed segments of a song, fully layered and mixed, and then get writer’s block. What comes before this beautiful arrangement? What comes after? I don’t know. I forget all about the segment until I rediscover it some weeks later and work on it some more. This usually results in the completion of the song. I have about fifteen partially completed tracks waiting for me to rediscover them and complete them. This used to be unintentional and irritating, until I realized that my ears needed this break. Now I’ll record something and put it away purposely for later exhumation. On occasion. I’ll go to my synthesisers and an entire song will pour out in one session. However, I count this as a happy surprise versus an expectation. I recently release an album for a new project called Frost Clad. The album was recorded in this way and I finished the whole process in about a week. Very rare, but nice.

Songwriting wise, listeners will notice that my music is very dense and complex, whereas most Dungeon synth tends to lean toward a more simple approach. There are a few reasons for this: traditional Dungeon synth came out of the Black Metal scene in the early 90’s and tends to follow in a lo-fi production and stripped down songwriting that leans toward atmosphere. Though I enjoy Black Metal, I come at Dungeon synth with a background in traditional heavy metal and bands like Omen, Manilla Road, Iron Maiden and the like. While I try to capture the atmosphere of Dungeon synth, I want to tell an exciting fantasy story too, and for me, that means robust and detailed songs with harmonies you might find in a heavy metal song!

How does your sense of place affect the way you express yourself?

Fog shrouded hills, trees, moss, mushrooms and waterfalls, all these things help me get into the mindset for recording a song. Luckily, I don’t have to go very far to find these things. Oregon is covered in forests. There are countless parks and hiking trails a short drive from my residence. North is the Columbia river gorge which look rights out of a fantasy novel, the cascade range to the east with its towering mountains and the ocean to the west. All these places I can reach in less than two hours. Being amid old growth trees or by the ocean really sparks my creativity. Often, I’ll search for a sound on my synthesiser to capture something I have seen in nature. ‘The Mist Wreathed Shores of Ur Rising,” for example, was me trying to sonically create the rising cliffs and pine forests on a foggy day at the Oregon coast.

What does Dungeon synth (and/or related genres) mean to you?

Initially, I wasn’t ready for Dungeon synth. At the time I was discovering all that metal had to offer and I didn’t want to hear long-form synth songs. I wanted faster and heavier metal. A few years ago, I was fatigued with metal, and music in general. I was tired of playing drums and guitar. I was tired of heavy music and the effort that went into multi-tracking drums and layering guitars and vocals. And then, after all that, releasing the fruits of my labour to zero interest from anyone. Bandcamp published an article on Dungeon synth and after exploring some of the projects, I felt my love of music totally renew. It had a fantasy atmosphere I loved, a black metal aesthetic, foreboding, mystery and a DIY punk attitude. Later, when I started producing Fen Walker songs, I found it was something that I could create with ease and focus on developing emotional and evocative weight rather than fretting about microphone positions on a drum kit.

How would you describe the Dungeon synth community?

The community is one of the great parts of being involved in Dungeon synth. We admire each other’s work, we cheer each other on during live streams, we discuss nerdy stuff, we support each other’s ventures. Sometimes it gets dysfunctional, there are arguments and dramas that occur, but what music scene doesn’t have that?

The scene is largely social media based. There are several Facebook groups where we post music and talk about Dungeon synth. Scrolling through the pages you might see ads from the various labels (Out of Season, Dungeons Deep, Ancient Meadow, Lamp & Dagger, to name a few), people presenting their new music for the first time, occasional debates, and all variety of Dungeony content.

Another large part of the community is the live streams, which are presented on Twitch. Northeast Dungeon Siege (or NEDS) has been organizing these shows and has put in a huge amount of effort in getting everything together. Shane and Josh from Sombre Arcane are the two responsible for starting NEDS, with Tirith recently becoming the third member of the team. NEDS happens once a year with the most recent being a massive three-night streaming event that I was privileged to be a part of. Next year, with Covid on its way out, I’m hoping NEDS will be a live event.

Lastly, you can’t talk about the community and not mention The Dungeon synth Archives on YouTube. The person, or people, behind the DSA are mysterious, I don’t know if anyone know who they are, but they have been posting an album or so a week for years now. When someone is new to the scene and looking for good releases the DSA is usually immediately mentioned. Each album posted gets a large number of views and exposure, this helps lots of people get their projects off the ground. I personally owe a lot to the DSA for regularly supporting Fen Walker over the years.

Tell us about your gaming habits: video games, RPG, tabletop, other? Past & present.

I am an on and off again gamer. I do love them, but with three kids, it’s hard to use up what little free time I have on games rather than music. I was HUGE into games as a kid. I will always have a soft spot of early 90’s shooters, Heretic and Hexen being my favourites, those games had incredible atmosphere, and music that I still listen to today. Heroes of Might and Magic 3 took up an insane amount of my childhood and has one of the greatest soundtracks ever made. Same goes for Diablo II, once I start a game of it, I play it obsessively until it’s completed. I still play these games. I suppose you could call me a retro gamer.

I have a regular Tuesday night Call of Cthulhu session that I run. In addition to the myriad, other tabletop games I play with my wife and friends. The jewel of my game collection is the original edition of Hero Quest that I found recently. I found this classic board game once before as a child in a second hand store for $4. Slowly the pieces were lost and the board damaged. It would probably be accurate to say that Hero Quest was my introduction to the world of fantasy, and I am forever grateful for it and it’s been very nostalgic playing through it again.

If you could step through a portal to any realm of fantasy, where would it be?

I always find this question difficult, because I have a habit of weighing the dangers of whatever fantasy world I would wish to inhabit. They are all full of monsters and my weak modern-day self wouldn’t last long I imagine. I will have to pick Morrowind though. I spent many an hour as a teenager exploring the island of Vvardenfell, it would be pretty cool to explore it in real life. Could I bring a rifle to take care of all those damn Cliff Racers?

Fenwalker Bandcamp

Brendan Elliott Instagram

Northeast Dungeon Siege Facebook

The Dungeon synth Archive YouTube

Ghosts & Goblins: an interview with Erang

Best experienced in the Ghosts & Goblins PDF zine

Please introduce and tell us about yourself

I’m Erang, a french musician of Dungeon synth and Nostalgic Fantasy Music. I’ve been very active and involved in the revival of Dungeon synth with my first album ‘TOME I’ in 2012.

Tell us about the story/world building/themes behind your project

All my music takes place in my world, The Land of the Five Seasons. It’s an old continent eternally floating on an ocean far older, that takes place over several different timelines. Five Seasons are endlessly flowing at the same time in different parts of this ancient Land. All the recurrent characters and places are inspired by events from my real life and people from my past that are forever gone… So it is not fully fantasy, it is always linked to real life so to speak, and that’s an important part of what I try to do. To create bridges between coloured fantasy worlds and our grey, but only ‘real’ life.

Tell us about the art & design associated with your project

I’ve always been a very creative child and drew a lot as a kid. I’m an amateur and not the most talented, but it comes from my heart: I really love to make all of my artworks myself. They really are a part of my world, a very important part. Same goes with the videos I make to go with my music. For instance, you can check what I’ve done for a recorded live performance for the Northeast Dungeon Siege festival: 

What are some of your influences (musical and otherwise)?

That’s always an impossible question. My strongest influences come from my own past and small personal history. Places I have been, forever lost and where I’ll never come back… people, memories from my childhood, from school… Musically it is really too broad to name… I listen to a lot of music in many different styles and have been influenced by music from Brian Eno to Summoning, from Ulver to Aphex Twin, Coil, David Bowie, Bathory, Robert Wyatt, Daft Punk, Dead Can Dance… Really the list is endless and I’ve hidden many, many easter eggs here and there in my music… But I’d like to add that cartoons and movies are a really big part of my inspiration. Being the soundtrack or their overall atmosphere. I’m a really huge fan of David Lynch, for instance, but of course, old fantasy movies from the 80’s are at the core of my world : Willow, The Neverending Story, Conan, Dark Crystal… the John Carpenters movies (I’m a big fan of his work, movies and music) the TV adaptation of Stephen King, etc.

Tell us about your creative space and process

I let things grow and come organically. The only rule, as talked by Stephen King and many others : do it everyday, like a craftsman. I consider myself as craftsman, no more no less. Everyday I work on my « wooden chair » you know. I put my old rudimentary tools on the table and do something with them, even a little bit of sculpting here and there. I accumulate pieces of music, ideas, notes… and at the same time if I’m listening to outside music or watching something that tickles me, a movie, a documentary, reading an interview of a book, I put it on a folder named « Inspirational Map »… and after some time, everything should click together like a happy coincidence. I start to realise that some of these things are linked together and that an album is taking shape, hopefully.

How does your sense of place affect the way you express yourself?

I guess like everybody I’m a product of different cultures. However, my direct environment has no influence on me: everything is in my mind and comes from my inner world. The place I live or what I see outside the window plays no significant role. My “environment” is in my head, windows are turned on the inside: landscapes, feelings, atmosphere, memories… I just close my eyes…

What does Dungeon synth (and/or related genres) mean to you?

Well, I guess it means everything. To me, there is a before and after Dungeon synth. Stumbling into the DS blog in 2011 changed me and my life forever. And to have been a part of the revival is something I’m deeply proud about and honored to have contributed to at my small scale. Of course, as my creative freedom is the thing I cherish the most, I would never consider myself as a « True Old School Dungeon synth » musician… I let my imagination go where it needs to, even if it’s far from Dungeon synth territories sometimes… but it’s not that far and the DS vibe is always there if you look closely…

How would you describe the Dungeon synth community?

I’d like to thank them because they have always been very receptive toward my work and music. I’m not really a « community » person myself because I’m very solitary, but I follow what’s going on and they are often very supportive toward small projects or beginners which is really cool. Of course, like every online community, it’s made of humans, therefore you’ll find all the usual good or bad online behaviours… but along those 10 years I’ve met some really wonderful people and I’m glad to have some chat from time to time with some of them.

Tell us about your gaming habits: video games, RPG, tabletop, other? Past & present

I played some « choose your own adventure books » when I was a child and keep fond memories of it. I also played a bit of tabletop RPG when I was a young teen, mainly with my older brother: Stormbringer, Hawkmoon, MERPG… not often but it really struck me. I also played a lot to HERO QUEST and the DUNE tabletop game with my cousins. What I loved the most was to create my own games though. Drawing and cutting the cards on cardboard, drawing the map, writing the rules, etc. I usually spend days creating the game and we might have played it once or even never haha. But the pleasure was to create and imagine them… Concerning gaming, I played a lot on computers in the end of the 80’s and very early 90’s : Amstrad CPC and then an ATARI STE 1040. Then I had a SNES for Christmas and that’s where I had my best gaming memories : Zelda III, Secret of Mana… those were really great games! I really keep vivid memories of me playing Zelda III on the TV living room: fun fact, I ended up with a German only version of the game. So I played all the game with every character speaking German which added a strange touch to it for me… then I played a bit of Nintendo 64, only Mario 64, Mario Kart and Goldeneyes and after that I completely stopped gaming. Only recently, after 20 years, I’ve played Braid, FEZ and, for a few weeks, Skyrim for the first time ever. I enjoy the atmosphere and the freedom to wander all around in the open world…

If you could step through a portal to any realm of fantasy, where would it be?

Nowhere: as soon as you step in, it will stop being magical and fantasy, to become another reality… The best places to be are those where you’ll never go!

Erang website

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A Journey Into the Land of the Five Seasons

Ghosts & Goblins

6/6/2022 is the 10 year anniversary of the day The Ephemeral Man first discovered Earth-6

To mark the occasion he has produced the first of a new zine and audio mix called Ghosts & Goblins, celebrating games, Dungeon synth and Fantasy. Among other things, the zine contains interviews with Dungeon synth legends Erang, Fen Walker and Evergreen.

Ghosts & Goblins PDF zine

1 Mark Cooksey – Ghosts ‘n Goblins (C64)
2 Erang – Thirteen Priestess Of Kolm Standing Guard
3 Fen Walker – Fare Thee Well Battle Winds
4 Koji Kondo – Super Mario 64: Dire, Dire Docks
5 Hideous Gomphidius – A Destroying Angel’s Horrid Curse
6 Inon Zur, Aubrey Ashburn – Dragon Age: Origins – Lelianna’s Song
7 Elyvilon – Just Stones Beneath the Bridge
8 Waywarden – Of Eons and Oblivions
9 Howard Shore – The Fellowship of the Ring: Bag End
10 Cursebitten – A Great Journey of Great Hardship
11 Koji Kondo – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Lost Woods
12 Hallas – Earl’s Theme
13 Diplodocus – Tanystropheus’ Reign
14 Kelly Bailey – Half-Life: Jungle Drums
15 Gray Friar – Jagged Peaks, the Celestial Citadel
16 Bartizan Chill – Vacuum Visage
17 Russell Shaw – Fable: Oakvale
18 Rainbow – The Temple Of The King
19 Almesbury Abbey – And I Shall Never Make Thee Smile Again
20 Basil Poledouris – Conan the Barbarian: Theology/Civilization (Alternate Version)
21 Warrior Path – Avenger
22 Matt Uelmen – Diablo 11: Tristram (Story Edit)
23 Grim Father – Before the Endless Door
24 Woods Of Sith Cala – Orogene
25 Ithildin – Bilberry
26 Uriah Heep – The Wizard
27 Unsheathed Glory – The Court of the Necromancer