Interview with Mikael
Interview conducted by Cluedo
Date online: September 2, 2005
Almost twenty years on and he is still going strong. He is Mikael, the mastermind behind TEARSTAINED and one of the most underrated musicians in Metal. Read on as he talks about suicide, solo projects and a screwed-up Slovak in the following interview. DEPRESSIVE BLACK CULT!
I gather that you have been involved with Metal for well over a decade. What vision do you/did you have for your various bands and projects?
Actually each band had a different vision, but a similar theme. I wanted it morbid, dark, interesting and original. My first band was in 1988 called Morbid Ecstasy. I played guitar and wrote the songs. After 6 months we split up and I joined a few other bands to jam with. Then 1990-1992 I formed Astaroth. We had occult themes, symbols onstage. The music was black-death with thrash overtones of Kreator. Then from 1992-1995 I was in Buried Beneath playing guitar. My vision for that band was to create a brutally atmospheric black death. That wasn't too well accomplished when working with people who think Deicide and Broken Hope were the be-all and end-all of extreme metal. It was really difficult to find other musicians who were really into Bathory, Mercyful Fate, Pestilence, Necrovore, and the obscure stuff I was into. Night Conquers Day formed in 1995 and that was the first band that sounded like what I wanted to be doing. We wrote long epic songs full of atmosphere and grimness. By then I had begun my solo-projects. Into The Sunless Meridian started in early 1994 as a way to do my own thing unrestricted by dealing with other musicians inspired by different bands and visions than I. ITSM basically brought out all the sounds and styles I wanted to incorporate into my musical direction. ITSM was my experimenting ground. In NCD I influenced a lot of the music and themes since by then I was doing vocals and writing all the lyrics. NCD had a philosophical approach to the lyrics and themes, exploring rebellion, individuality and personal views on the world as well as philosophically dissecting christianity for the repulsive blight it is. With the death of NCD, I focused solely on Tearstained, which for the first 3 albums was enravelled in the Suicide Trilogy. That was my realistic approach to the subject of suicidal thoughts, melancholy, pessimism and misanthropy. When I am working on a new album, I sort of have a vision in my mind of what the theme of the album is going to be. It's not so much a concept-album or a story as it is a theme. I think I envision things this way because of the profound influence King Diamond's approach has had on me. Although he writes stories, I create themes. It's difficult to explain how it all comes together....it's just like a vision of sorts that I make into a reality.
All of your bands have rather unusual names. Would you care to comment on your choice of band names?
Well for about 8 years I worked a night shift job. That meant I went to work at 10pm at night and worked until 8am. I went to sleep in the morning and woke up late afternoon or evening. That's how I lived. Night Conquers Day had dual meanings. It was an allusion to being a night person, and it also used the cycle of night and day as a sort of struggle between light and darkness, and darkness wins....night conquers day. Even the logo had the sun and moon in it, along with a rune which symbolized winter, which is the season when the nights are longer than the days. I slept all day....that was what I knew. Into The Sunless Meridian alluded to the same thing. The Sunless Meridian was the half of the earth in darkness because as it orbits around the sun and rotates itself, one half the earth is dark. I liked everything that related to darkness as I find darkness much more appealing than sunlight. I'm not a sun person. Tearstained was created with the idea of only doing 3 albums, the Suicide Trilogy. The name referred to a Tearstained coffin, the wasted tears of those weeping for a lost one staining the coffin. It also referred to rainfall, like tears staining the earth. I like dual meanings in the names I suppose. But Tearstained is continuing with a 4th and 5th album, and although those new albums won't be about suicide, I cannot change the bandname to suit every new concept. Now that I think of it, I believe I have coined the name of every band I have played in. Morbid Ecstasy, Astaroth, Buried Beneath, Into The Sunless Meridian, Night Conquers Day and Tearstained. Astaroth is a demon name, and in that band we used the seal of astaroth in our logo and on stage. Buried Beneath had several meanings as you could put the band name into a sentence to mean several things. It meant that which was buried beneath your consciousness as well as that which was buried beneath the ground. In BB we had a Septigram in our logo that was the symbol for our band. I was always very much into seals, grams, and occult symbols. I also drew most of the logos and artworks for all these old bands i was in. I did the demos all by hand at the copier store.
What are your major sources of inspiration? What songwriting techniques do you employ? How far do you feel you have progressed as a songwriter?
My major sources of inspiration come from 2 things: music and emotions. I have been listening to and thriving on extreme metal since I was about 13 or 14. I first got into Mercyful Fate, Venom and Bathory in 1984. By 1985 I was buying records every week and accumulating a huge vinyl collection (which today is around 1000). Celtic Frost, Running Wild, Possessed, Slayer, Sacrifice, Candlemass, Iron Angel, Kreator, etc etc. In 1988 I started tapetrading and started finding the real underground stuff like Goatlord, Sepultura, Necrodeath, Necrovore, Morbid Angel, etc etc. Then around 1989 CD's came onto the market, and I started buying CD's (which now number about 2000). So I listen to a LOT of music. I still have my heart in 80's stuff, but the '90s and the '00's still produce killer extreme metal that has progressed and morphed into many styles and sounds. And in the last 6 or 7 years I have gotten heavily into a lot of 70's stuff too, the obscure old Scorpions stuff, Judas Priest, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, etc. My emotions also inspire me. Anger, revenge, hatred, life views, misanthropy, philosophy, books, movies, day-to-day thoughts. I sometimes just get a creative spurt and riffs appear in my head and I record them. Sometimes I get a feel for a song in my head and I know what I want the song to feel like. I sometimes pen lyrics first and write music to it after, and sometimes I write the music first and then write lyrics to fit the song. I have written songs in every conceivable way....bass lines done first, drums written first (yes, I write songs on drums too...I get an idea for a kind of beat and feel I want, then write riffs that fit these drum patterns). I am mainly a guitarist, as that is what I started with in 1986. I started playing drums in 1989. And since 1994 I have been playing bass and keyboards, and toying with vocals seriously since 1995. As I learned more instruments and have recorded entire albums by myself, I have definitely evolved as a song writer, but I don't think I have ever strayed too far from my original intentions. I still listen to all my old works. I try to build upon them, improve them, expand them. I also purposely don't overpractice. I will sometimes not touch a guitar for about 2 or 3 months. I think it keeps me stunted at the phase I am at and I think I like it that way. Many bands "progress" into a less enjoyable and more egocentric style. I don't want to ever fall into that trap.
There has been an explosion of "suicide" BM in recent times. Stylistically, I feel TEARSTAINED stands apart from them by staying true to Metal's roots. How do you feel about other "suicide" BM bands? Does it bother you if TEARSTAINED is lumped in with the rest of these bands? Why or why not?
The Tearstained Suicide Trilogy idea came together in 1997. By the time the debut CD came out in 1999, the "suicide" bands you speak of were coming out too. I like them and I definitely do not mind being lumped into that category. I think I take a more realistic approach to it, but each band approaches it a different way. To be realistic to the extreme, the ultimate suicide BM band would have members who are dead. Y'know, did an album and then killed themselves. Suicide is the theme of the first 3 albums, but the music is different from modern BM in that I have that Bathory and Mercyful Fate sound in there as well. But I like these other suicide bands like Bethlehem, Shining, Craft, and others whose themes are suicidal and self-destruction. Some of their cold grim music in itself is bleak and suicidal. I love it. But I think Tearstained stands out amongst them.
Your vocal style is the most recognizable aspect of TEARSTAINED. What possessed you to combine lizard shrieks with falsetto screams? Also, tell us a bit about the story behind Bat Horde.
Well the very first Tearstained song I did was "Tearstained Nightsky" in 1995 and I thought "what would Bathory have sounded like had Quorthon been the vocalist". I also recognized that I could do that King Diamondesque falsetto luckily. I don't know how, but I can hit those notes like he does. My Mercyful Fate and King Diamond coversongs have won praise for that. But then when it came time to record an album, I wanted some variety. One of my favorite vocalists is Storm from Master's Hammer and his performance on the "Ritual" CD 1991. And Quorthon, too, on the first 5 Bathory albums. So I mixed the styles, along with the point-of-tears style voice I use too. I seem to have several different voices, but when all combined together I think it creates my style. I think you can tell a Tearstained album by the vocals alone. With each album I have broadened my vocal styles. I look back to the 80's for inspiration. In the 80's, you could tell a band right away by their vocalist. Destruction had Schmier...you just knew his voice. No one sounded like him. Same with Slayer, or Iron Angel or Hallow's Eve or Metal Church or Artillery or Exodus. Identity stood out. Now I LOVE black metal, but sometimes if you listen to one band and then another, the vocalists are really interchangeable. There are exceptions, but a lot of BM or DM vocalists really are interchangeable and don't stand out. I DJ'ed a radio show of extreme metal for 15 years, and listeners often couldn't tell Marduk from Dark Funeral from Enthroned. They are killer bands, but the vocalists are difficult to tell apart. I wanted to stand out. I wanted to be able to have a grim voice, but also break into a falsetto scream, or a battle roar, or a clenched teeth grunt. Getting to Bat Horde. The song title came first on that one. I first heard Bathory on the radio, a local show that was on here back in '84/ '85. I loved the songs I had heard and taped them off the radio. Now at that same time I remembered seeing this album on the racks. If you recall "The Return.." album by Bathory, the cover had the logo, and the back had just a poem which included the song titles in the prose (an idea I copied for the debut Tearstained CD). Now in 1985 I was still new to buying albums, and I had a hard time reading the name Bathory on the album cover. I thought it said Bathord. I thought the Y was a D. So I thought it was some band called Bat Hord. It was a full year before I came to learn that that alphabet had Y's that resembled D's. When I realized this was the Bathory album I'd been wanting to buy, I bought it immediately. But it always made me laugh to think I thought the band was called Bathord. So I wrote a song called "Bat Horde". And the song is about bats, night creatures, who simply want to be left alone in the woods and caves. It related to how I felt...I just wanted to be left alone by people.
If it is not too personal a question to ask, why do you have suicidal leanings? Are there any specific incidents that led you to this state?
I have never actually attempted suicide, just thought about it a lot. I suppose it was part contemplation, part philosophical, and part just being fed up with living. But I think it is a natural thing to think about in today's world as everything seems to be just shit and lies and the same bullshit that has been repeated over and over in history. I am in the belief that with great wisdom comes great despair. When you are of a higher intelligence than the great masses of average people, it drains you. Nietzsche expressed this in some of his writings. There were no specific incidents. There were certain times when the thoughts dominated my ponderings more often, times when my life seemed at a stand still. But I am still alive and obviously answering this interview, so I didn't actually "do it". But I talk very openly in my lyrics about thoughts, feelings (or lack thereof) and contemplations of suicide. I have had 2 friends and a cousin commit suicide. I did not cry for their losses but instead rejoiced in their freedom from what the rest of us must still suffer through. When all is said and done, everyone is going to die eventually. In a hundred years barely any of us will be remembered. We are but specks in the sands of time. We mean nothing but to ourselves while we live.
The Suicide Trilogy is now over. The title of your pending release on BARBARIAN WRATH suggests a movement towards homicide. Does this hold true? Why have you left your suicidal inclinations behind? Does this signify a change in your musical direction as well?
The Suicide Trilogy has come to a close. I haven't left the inclinations behind, I have simply exhausted the subject for now and I have other themes I wanted to explore and exorcize from my imagination. I concluded the Suicide Trilogy just as I wanted to and it's time to move onto the next topic. The 4th Tearstained album, which is already completed, is entitled "Homicidal Tendencies". I thought it interesting to go from the subject of killing oneself to killing others. This 4th album delves into murder, anger, revenge, hostile aggression and homicide. This album came out of the contempt I have experienced in my life...people that have fucked me over, lied to me, used me to advance themselves, etc. This album is all about AGGRESSION. Every aggressive aspect that was in Tearstained is now manifested fully in this new album. I think it is different in musical direction on this album mainly because of the content and theme. There are hardly any falsetto vocals, except for maybe 2 screams. The rest of the vocals are grim aggressive and harsh. There are the "lizard shrieks" you mentioned earlier, but also a lot of german inspired vocals....sort of a gritty teeth clenched voice. It's also a much darker and twisted album riff wise. Possessed and Necrovore were heavily listened to as were Destruction and Bathory. I think this album will appeal to a more black metal audience as well as those who love the killer black thrash of the 1980's. This new album encompasses everything aggressive. It will not disappoint fans of Tearstained. In fact one song is so controversial we had to change the song title and probably cannot print the lyrics in the booklet. I'd hate to see the label get into legal trouble...apparently Germany has strict censorship that's even worse than the USA. With the 5th Tearstained album I am working on, there will be a new theme and much more Mercyful Fate and Nasty Savage inspired songwriting.
Have you considered getting some session members and playing a live gig or two with TEARSTAINED? Why or why not?
It's been asked, but where would I play? There is NO metal scene here in Rochester, New York. NONE. It's totally dead. I can't find musicians into this same type of stuff here. If I lived in Europe, I could probably do it. But I live here, so I am rather fucked on that regard. If I ever did put together a line-up, I would have to do just vocals....and that means I need 2 guitarists, a bassist, a drummer and maybe a keyboard player. And they'd have to be into Bathory and Fate, Emperor and Darkthrone. It's just not worth all the trouble. If someone had like a tour offer, if Tearstained was getting some recognition and people wanted it....then I'd consider it. But right now Tearstained is a small cult and shall remain that way. And playing anywhere in the USA would seem like a waste to me as I do not think most Americans really get black metal. They just don't really understand it....it's more like an amusing thing to listen to from time to time. They're not really INTO it.
Over at the BARBARIAN WRATH message board, the user Dodens Grav came up with a rather interesting observation, stating that "TEARSTAINED is more like a streamlined version of what NIGHT CONQUERS DAY" was. Do you agree with this assessment? Is this the result of having minimal outside intereference?
I would agree with that. Tearstained is all just me, no other influences. NCD was a band, with others contributing. You could strip my elements out of NCD and it would be Tearstained. I was using some falsetto in NCD, expanding my vocal ideas more. But Tearstained is all me so everything is basically steamrolled into it. In NCD I was a little more restrained with getting too experimental because I was working with 3 other guys in the band and we had to agree on stuff. But they always seemed to like what I did with the vocals. We wrote some great songs together, and NCD was the ONLY band I was ever in that felt fully "right". For the second NCD album we were a fully functioning unit. We had a 3rd album written entirely....had we been able to record it, I believe it would have been a milestone in USBM. It was a themed album about the philosophical dissection of the roots of christianity and its spread west. Topics covered were gnosticism, agnosticism, the Edict Of Tolerance, Bishop Ireneus, the Conversion of Constantine in the 300's and then the Roman Empire making christianity the official state religion. I even traced it up into the middle ages, and a song about the Cathars and the massacre at Montsegur in 1244. I must say that Tim (bassist in NCD) also influenced me some too. He was the bassist, but he started playing guitar when NCD formed and contributed riffs and entire songs. He would come up with unusual ways of strumming riffs that I would then have to learn to play the songs the way he wanted them. This expanded my way of construicting riffs because Tim did have an unusual way of playing..
I read in an interview that you had conducted in the past that you were planning to record for TEARSTAINED a two part concept album about your dreams, something, if I am not mistaken, was evident in NIGHT CONQUERS DAY's debut. Will this still materialize? What made you want to write music about your dreams? What dark thoughts, symbols and images manifest themselves during your sleep?
This is true. In fact, that was what I planned on the 4th album being....but then I suddenly changed track and did the "Homicidal Tendencies" album because I was feeling that album much more at the moment than I was the dream album. The idea does begin with NCD. There is a song on the 2nd NCD album called "Dream Sleep Sorcery". Tim wrote the music, and I wrote the lyrics. They discussed some common dream themes I had. Throughout the 1990's I kept rather accurate dream journals to be able to study my dreams for patterns, meanings, etc. I have several hundred dreams written down shortly after I woke up. I thought this would be a great concept for an album. No one's ever done anything like it before. So the 5th album, which I am writing at the moment, will be "Nightmare Visions, part I". All the lyrics are either about a specific vivid dream I recorded, or about a recurring theme that is in my dreams. I don't know what they all mean yet, I'm just putting the visions out there for interpretation and entertainment. Some of the lyrics are straight from my dream journals, others are about the themes that recur. For instance, I have one song called "The Old House On The Mountainside". This is about my grandmother's house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was an old house on the side of a mountain. For some reason, nearly half of my dreams take place there. The dreams aren't the same, but I am always aware that I am in that house. There's also a song called"The Coffin Dream" which is about a specific dream I had about the house I grew up in......in the dream I am digging in the basement and I unearth a coffin and inside it is a doll of a little girl. It's a strange dream. Another song is about the oldest dream I can recall having, it's called "The Porceline Doll Dream" and in that dream I am terrorized by a creepy porcelain doll on the roof of a neighbor's house peering in the windows from above and taunting me. The music for this album will encompass alot of variety as each song explores a different dream or dream theme. I find the subconscious dream state to be very fascinating. And this 5th album will bring back more falsetto, more Mercyful Fate feeling, even some Nasty Savage inspired songs. (anyone out there remember Nasty Savage? KILLER BAND!)
One thing I can add about my dreams....only ONCE did I have a dream in which I vividly recalled hearing a song being played, and as I woke up the song was playing in my head. The song? "Don't Fear The Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult. I guess I was telling myself that I am not afraid to die.
The chapter on NIGHT CONQUERS DAY closed on a sour note. Would you care to share with our readers what happened with HAMMERHEART and your band mates?
Basically, Hammerheart didn't pay us for our 2nd album, which left us broke. We lost our rehearsal space. Then they suddenly dropped us, after saying we'd do a 3rd album with them. It really pissed me off how they made promises, then just dropped us, didn't pay us and left us in the dust. I believe our album helped finance their switch to a more death metal and retro-thrash roster. (Of course now Hammerheart changed their name to Karmageddon Music and are embroiled in the leeching of money from Chuck Schuldiner by releasing the "Zero Tolerance" CD against the Schuldiner family's wishes, just to make a profit off Chuck's death. Assholes.) Back to NCD.....and then Tim quit the band. We split up eventually (in 2000-20001), especially after adding a new member (Tom) who turned out to be smoking crack....and the asshole sold off my amp and Gregg's drum set for money to buy his crack. Tim got totally out of metal for like 3 years, but he's back to writing some stuff again....but he's getting married, has a nice house with his fiancee, has a good steady job. He always hated playing live, and even quit the night before we were to open for Mayhem. I was so pissed at him for a while, but we are friends now. Gregg, our drummer, has vanished. I haven't seen him in like 4 years. He's not playing drums anymore....I don't know what he's doing. I hope he's still listening to Razor!!! I got him into alot of 80's thrash stuff. He was, in addition to being our drummer, a session live drummer for the band Averse Sefira while they were relocated here in Rochester for a few years in 1998-99. We shared a rehearsal room with those Texans. They're still around playing their twisted BM! Justin (guitar) is still around. I talk to him once in awhile. He's also working a full time job, and he's a lot more into progressive metal now like Opeth. He records his own stuff on his computer. I'm afraid to say that NCD is definitly dead. I might one day record that 3rd album we wrote, but I'd do it all myself if it happens. I still hate to see all those great songs never see the light of day ever. We had a KILLER 3rd album written. Thanks Hammerheart!!!! Fuckers! There is one really good live soundboard tape of a show we played with Ancient from 1998...I'd love to have a label release it with our demo'95 as bonus. So far no label has expressed any interest in it. Well one or two did, but nothing ever came of it as they weren't really labels yet.
INTO THE SUNLESS MERIDIAN and SHADOWCASTER remain dormant. Is this because you have been focusing your attention on TEARSTAINED? When will you restart work on these two bands?
Yes pretty much. Shadowcaster was a non-metal solo-project I did from 1993 - 1999. I did 2 promos in 1994 that were well-distributed on the tape-trading circuit. It's all ambient/atmospheric music created on keyboards with varying vocals of whispers, screams, narratives or BM-voice. A debut CD came out in 1996, and then 2 CD's in 1999. It never got much notice, and I basically lost interest in it in 1999. Plus when I split with an ex-girlfriend in 2000, she took the really nice old analog keyboard I was going to use for the new stuff. So it became pointless to go backwards and use the other lame keyboard I had. After the 3rd CD I think I had done about all I could do with Shadowcaster as I am not an accomplished keyboard player. So it has remained dormant since. ITSM is another story. I will eventually record the 2nd album that I wrote. It is a concept album, but an actual story that I wrote, which is a first for me....writing a story-themed album. It's loosely based on the same kind of concept as the movie "Road Warrior" and also took heavy inspiration from the debut Carnivore album in 1985. Musically it's all VERY old-school. Sort of like a black-thrash meets Voivod. But after the debut CD, the record label went under, and I never found another label interested. As Tearstained got signed, I focused on that and so ITSM still lies dormant. Also, for ITSM I like the drums to be rawer, and with my studio and the way I record the drums, I get the sound you hear on the Tearstained albums, and I don't think it would fit with ITSM's style. So I'm not sure when I'll record the 2nd ITSM album. Some day.......
You seem to have had pretty bad luck with labels and getting your various bands' material out so far, what with the problems with HAMMERHEART and a "Slovakian assfuck" as you so eloquently put it. How has your relationship with BARBARIAN WRATH been?
Barbarian Wrath is incredible. He basically resurrected Tearstained and has given me the ability to record these last 2 albums. I get 110% support from him and they get my 110% support back. Too bad he's a small label, but in a way I like being on a small underground label. Maybe one of these days Century Media or Nuclear Blast will license and repress the Suicide Trilogy and promote it to a wider audience, but for now I am quite content. I just hope he stays in business and we can put out a few more Tearstained albums. I've definitely had my share of problems over the years with labels. I had no problems with Near Dark (who put out ITSM) or Wild Rags (who put out last 2 Shadowcaster CD's). The Slovakian assfuck was a guy that was supposed to put out a Buried Beneath 7"ep, he kept all the artwork and master DAT and never did anything....the assfuck! I did JUST 2 weeks ago see the cassette version of the Buried Beneath CD (from 1998) as printed by a Romanian label. It's the first casette-MC version of my CD releases I've ever seen, although they edited the songs and changed the layout...it still looks great.
I couldn't help but notice that you have a link to THE PAGAN FRONT on your TEARSTAINED website. Is there a reason for this? What are your thoughts on National Socialism? What are the major components of your worldview?
My attention to that came through bands actually. There's a strong NSBM movement in Europe, and the pagan front is sort of at the forefront of it. The Ukraine, Poland and Germany seem to be teeming with NSBM, and some of these bands are spectacular like Nokturnal Mortum, Hate Forest, Drudkh, Graveland, etc. I love their style of black metal mixed with folk and tribal drumming. Nokturnal Mortum is perhaps the best of them all. I have grown up here in the USA, and I do not see democracy as the answer to the world's problems, but a part of the problem. I have been recently delving into politics, which for years I never paid much attention to. Studying my own ancestry and heritage in Europe has flowered this interest even more. I read about some of the socialist countries....countries that seem to have better life because of the way their governments function. In Europe I believe there is more freedom. Here in the USA pilgrimism is everywhere, christians whining about this and that....nudity on TV is censored....just christian bullshit permeates into society as "the norm". There are so many stupid inane ignorant people in our country that it's sickening. The typical "american" is such a joke. Holland seems to actually understand what freedom is to a degree. Although I am not one for communism, I think some elements of it could work. At least the communists tried to eradicate the churches. But national socialism is also much more relevant in today's times. In a democracy a majority rules, but when you have a country full of idiots and lying leaders who profess their love of god in every other speech...it's sickening. In a communist regime, it's not bad to be a PART of the regime. It all depends where you stand on the philosophical ladder. Each faction has its own views, so I can't say I am exactly this or that. I just know that I am not very "american" in my political views at all. And it's probably better I don't delve too much into my political viewpoints as I think in today's climate it could get me into trouble with weakminded ignorant people who outnumber the intelligent elite. And I am SICK TO DEATH of hearing religious references in politics. They do not mix well AT ALL. Fuck the church and god and all that christian bullshit. Same goes for the muslims and all their Allah bullshit. It is time for the great PAGAN, pre/anti-christian, pre/anti-muslim cultures to once again flourish and stamp out this 2000 year old blight on the face of mankind that is "god".
That is all. Thanks for sharing your time with us. Keep churning out great music! If you have any "Final Thoughts", the floor is yours…
In September 2005 the re-issue of the debut TEARSTAINED CD "Monumental In Its Sorrow" will come out on Barbarian Wrath (it has 2 brand new bonus tracks recorded especially for the re-issue), and the first 100 orders come with a free sew-on logo patch. Now the entire Suicide Trilogy is available through BW so you can order all 3 albums in their 666-pack deal. Check their website and the Basar (their distro) for prices and all that. Then in early 2005 the 4th CD "Homicidal Tendencies" will come out and the coverart is being done by Kris Verwimp (he also did the logo and will be updating the pictures inside the letters). Kris also did both NCD album covers and the NCD logo, as well as the Tearstained logo itself.
I'll just list the relevant websites for your readers, as well as my contact info. In my website you can see what I have, personally, for sale.
Thanks for the great interview, and hopefully I covered all your questions thoroughly.
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