Interview with Kib Sreng
Interview conducted by Mjölnir
Date online: October 3, 2020
Brulvahnatu have been creating their unique brand of bizarre Black Metal since 2007, and the quality of their material is only matched by its scarcity. Equally scarce is any information regarding the project, so I invited sole member Kib Sreng to discuss his music, inspirations, and his experiences surrounding them.
First and foremost, the most important question in this interview: how do you pronounce Brulvahnatu, and what does the term actually mean?
Kib: There is no single correct pronunciation as it's not a word, just a bunch of letters I put together. I had no idea at the time, but I learned later that the method I used to create this name is a practice in chaos magic called word sigils.
What inspired you to begin the project in the first place?
Your demos were often released only months apart, and that trend continued for some time with your full-length albums. What would you say drove you to this productivity, and what slowed it down in the end?
Kib: The demos were made quickly because I was able to write a song and record it in a day, so I could usually finish a demo in two or three weeks. As time went on, I challenged myself with material that was harder to play and that required a lot of rehearsing. On the first few albums, I would rehearse each instrument for about two weeks. On the last couple albums, I rehearsed each instrument for two or three months.
Most of your output consists of demos, yet some of those have enough material to be considered a full-length release. What led you to labeling them as demos, and what separates them from a full-length?
Kib: The demos are very spontaneous and raw. On the albums I put more care into their sound to achieve a grander vision.
Outside of Brulvahnatu, you have worked with bands like Antediluvian and Noxius Nex. What impact, if any, did your work in those projects have on Brulvahnatu's musical direction?
Kib: Playing in Begrime Exemious and Antediluvian got me more into Death Metal. Carrion Spirit, Noxius Nex and A.M.S.G. made me a better guitar player, and playing drums for TSALAL has been a step up for my drumming. The responsibility of playing guitars or drums consistently in a band is something I hadn't experienced, and it is much more difficult than playing solo in the studio.
What would you say is the driving ethos behind the project?
Kib: Darkness (suffering) & Light (death).
I understand that you do the artwork for your albums and have even held at least one gallery event for your work. Where do you get inspiration for your artwork? Is it generally well received by people unfamiliar with your music?
Kib: My art is inspired by my music and my music is inspired by my art. I have done several shows at galleries and they were well received. I stopped showing my work years ago because I don't like to show my art unattached to the albums, the two must always go hand in hand.
Are you formally trained in music and visual media, or entirely self-taught?
Kib: No formal training, no.
Tell me a little about the band's performance at Covenant Festival III in 2017 and your thoughts about the experience. If I understand correctly, it's the only live performance Brulvahnatu has ever given.
Kib: That was the first show but hopefully there will be more. Originally, we had a different lineup and I was playing guitar/vocals but that didn't work out so I switched to drums/vocals as we were without a drummer. D.N.E. from TSALAL played lead guitar for that gig and Sadowulf and Depravore of Goathammer were on rhythm guitar and bass. We rehearsed several months for that gig and it took many road trips to make it work as Goathammer is established in Saskatoon several hours away. It was arduous but I would say definitely worth it and I'd like to do it again.
I noticed that the disc cover for Uterine Acid Swishes appeared to contain the lyrics for at least two of the songs on that disc. Why did you choose to include them there?
Kib: It's a mix of all the songs from the album. I didn't want the lyrics to be read along with and fully understood, it's more of a subconscious crime.
The booklet for Last Living Dream states that the album is based in part on a novel you were writing. Whatever became of it?
Kib: Before I got involved in either art or music I was into writing and wrote a lot of fiction, mostly fantasy or magical realism. The problem was I was very young and it became an issue of progressing too quickly and then always rejecting my previous work. When you are writing lengthy works of fiction that can be a real problem. Eventually I realized I preferred music and art to writing and just moved on.
Compared to the rest of your work that I've heard, Sick Creature Nightmare is a stark departure from previous efforts, appearing to be more influenced by Doom and blues than before. What led to this change in direction?
Kib: I had no interest in Doom or Blues at the time, actually I really disliked anything like that. I was listening to a lot of Branikald, Xibalba, Avzhia, Nuit Noire (early demos), Blut Aus Nord, stuff like that. The only non-metal influence I would say is Shostakovich.
According to a Facebook post from Death Hymns, Sick Creature Nightmare is the last release from Brulvahnatu. Is that to say the project is disbanded, and if so, why?
Kib: The last release from Brulvahnatu is a different album, Shining Nagas Territory, which is still yet to be released. This will be the last recording from Brulvahnatu but I would not say the project is disbanded as I would like to play live again as soon as possible.
I can find evidence that there was a Bandcamp page for Brulvahnatu at some point, but that no longer appears to be the case. What happened to it?
Kib: I took down the Bandcamp as a part of closing down my label, Eternal Obscurity Records. The last release from the label was the Sick Creature Nightmare CD in 2019. From that point on Death Hymns has been managing my releases and they will be releasing Shining Nagas Territory in 2021. I don't like managing a label myself and would rather focus on making more music.
What are your future plans in music?
Kib: TSALAL just put out a couple of demos and a split with Tetragrammacide this year and we are currently very busy working on more material. We have so many tracks written that it's hard to keep them straight and we rehearse nearly every day! My other project Black Abyss (we put out our first demo this year) is also working on a follow up to that which should be done before the year is over. I also have a new solo project called Prison Hell and that demo will be released on War Vellum within the coming months.
Thank you for your time. Do you have anything to say to our readers?
Kib: Thanks for reading and I hope it was enjoyable! Stay tuned to Death Hymns for the release of Shining Nagas Territory in 2021, and War Vellum for the Prison Hell demo and more from TSALAL and Black Abyss coming soon.
|Other information about Brulvahnatu on this site|
|Review: Uterine Acid Swishes|
|Review: Sick Creature Nightmare|
|Review: Last Living Dream|
|Review: Menstrual Extraction Ceremony|
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