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

Bandcamp      Instagram      Spotify

A Journey Into the Land of the Five Seasons