<i>Enshrouded in Eternal Moonlight</i> cover art

Despondent Moon

12/11/20 | J.R.

“An abandoned mansion sits atop a hill. Tasked with finding a place to stay the night, you enter its dilapidated, imposing facade.” Scenarios like this have existed for ages in the world of adventure gaming, and although they may seem simplistic, they invoke a sense of foreboding nonetheless. In a similar way, English solo musician Despondent Moon taps into these long-held fears with his take on raw, keyboard-driven black metal. In a new video—a pastiche of old film clips and Lugosi-era creepy ambiance—Despondent Moon achieves a greater sense of old-school horror and grim, empty castle-like ambiance. Watch the new video for “Enshrouded in Eternal Moonlight” and read an interview with multi-instrumentalist Deorc Weg below.

What, to you, makes Despondent Moon what it is? That is to say, how do you feel your project stands out as a black metal act?

I feel that finding myself arriving at the point of recording black metal via DIY Punk and dungeon synth has given me the ability to look at writing from my own personal perspective. I really hope that some of the raw aggression of punk and hardcore combined with the more serene atmospheres of dungeon synth makes my music interesting to the listener. I’ve always been a fan of music that creates a vivid mental image and I hope that comes across in my sound.

Raw is definitely a word I would associate with Despondent Moon, but not like the other raw black metal bands who are often named alongside your project. Do you feel an affinity for the raw black metal tag to which you are associated?

I feel that, in essence, Despondent Moon is a raw black metal band as I feel firmly rooted in a DIY ethic and self-produced music, as well as the overall sound and imagery of the project. I do take obvious influence from and enjoy classic symphonic black metal but I feel that sometimes the production of a lot of that stuff is slightly more synth heavy and a little cleaner than my sound. I suppose I sit somewhere in the middle of both sub genres.

<i>Enshrouded in Eternal Moonlight</i> inner art

When looking at Despondent Moon from a visual perspective, your aesthetics often fall within the Gothic and early horror film genres. How does this aesthetic fit within the Despondent Moon project's greater ideal?

When I was in my teens, I was absolutely obsessed with horror movies. Well, horror in any form of medium. I spent so much time in my mid-teens playing games like Resident Evil and listening to albums like The Principle of Evil Made Flesh that I feel a part of that old, dusty, Gothic horror atmosphere and aesthetic has stuck with me, and I feel that Despondent Moon is probably the easiest project I’ve ever been involved in to project that sort of imagery. I guess in my head (when creating) I’m just making my own soundtrack to all those games and films that terrified me as a kid.

Your candor is a striking opposite to the oft-mysterious raw black metal artist. Was it ever your intention to obfuscate with Despondent Moon, or did you always plan on having this type of openness about the project?

I wanted to be open from the start. I do enjoy when projects have a more mysterious edge to them, but in all honesty I feel like that is something better left to people who are more able to uphold that mystery than I am. Also, I feel like one of the most beautiful things about black metal and dungeon synth is that it can be more accessible to get into as a new artist. So, I decided I want to appear approachable to anyone who might be looking for advice on how to get into recording their own music and getting it out there. I mean we all started off at some point right?

And you do offer advice, especially through your recent "dungeon synth how to" videos, which you uploaded to the Deorc Weg YouTube page. What inspired you to start this video series?

I noticed there was a Facebook group where people could ask about equipment and things like that but I couldn’t find anything that was a basic “how to record your keyboard on to your computer then record something over the top” walkthrough. Then about a week later, I blew my ankle out skateboarding like an absolute melt so I had a few weeks where I couldn’t really move around too much, so I decided that was probably the best time to get started and film something. I plan on doing more videos covering different kinds of retro keyboards, synths and effects pedals but that’s all still on my “to do” list at the moment.

Any chance of a black metal edition of these videos?

That’s actually a good idea! I’ve recently altered my set up for recording guitars so it could be quite interesting!

You're about to release a new album: Enshrouded in Eternal Moonlight. What can you tell me about it?

I started work on it in September, and recorded every day until I finished it in November. It’s going to be ten tracks, clocking in at just under 40 minutes. Personally, I feel like it’s my strongest work to date. The album's imagery is of the apparition of a vampire Countess and her estate. I guess links could be made to personalities such as Elizabeth Bathory. I have to admit it’s been a lot of fun working on the album/making the video and album art and just sort of getting lost in a haze of gothic imagery. I’m really looking forward to its release!

What plans do you have for this release?

There will be a cassette run that I’ll make up myself, and there will also be a vinyl run by my good friend over at His Wounds Records from Greece. Actually, we’re working on the layout for the vinyl release right now, so hopefully it’ll be going to press pretty soon!

<i>Despondent Moon artist photo

Is there a central theme to this new album?

I guess the main theme is vampirism, but under the umbrella of that main theme I also cover rituals, witchcraft, hauntings, sacrifice, and a few other subjects over the various tracks on the album. I’ve tried to use a slightly more grand and elaborate style to the dungeon synth tracks on this album to try and get them to work as a frame to hold all the imagery together.

What was it like adapting to this grander style?

I feel that it is sort of the natural progression of the project combined with some of the more recent Deorc Weg stuff I’ve released. For my own personal tastes I feel like that fine line between an album having nice production values and just sliding over into that slightly too clean production that can sometimes sound a little sterile is where it’s at! I also feel like it can be the same the other way around though where an album can be a little too lo-fi and defining features can be lost. But I understand that’s totally down to personal preference.

Let's talk about your Deorc Weg project - how do you approach it compared to Despondent Moon, genre notwithstanding?

I guess at the moment with Deorc Weg I’m trying to write stuff that’s slightly more on the “heavier” side of DS. A lot of my tracks on the last couple of albums have been quite drum heavy and I’ve tried to pack as many layers into songs as possible so it has a very claustrophobic sorta of vibe to it. I made this silly name “dirgeviolence” to try and describe the sound. In my head I suppose I’m trying to draw from darker Modern Classical music such as “Gloomy Sunday” composed by Seress and combining it with the off-kilter drum barrage oven heard in genres such as emoviolence or powerviolence. It’s a fun idea to experiment with! I feel like there’s still a little more space for me to move into with these influences. It would be nice to try an album where I shorten the song lengths a little and try and go for that “six minute song content squeezed into a couple of minutes. You know like a grind album or something like that.

Any final thoughts?

I’d just like to thank you and everyone else at The Call for allowing me the opportunity to chat about my music. And also to everyone who has taken the time to read this and check out my stuff! Keep your eyes out for Enshrouded in Eternal Moonlight dropping early 2021!

Follow Despondent Moon/Deorc Weg on Bandcamp.