An Interview With Beyond Man

This interview was originally posted on A Hex On Your Head, but I figured it could do with a share here too, as I know some of my wolf pack will appreciate it.

Well, isn’t this fucking something! We got Beyond Man for you. A few weeks ago, I threw an email at Meghan with a link to Beyond Man’s debut album Beyond Man, saying, ‘YOU GOTTA LISTEN TO THIS, IT’S A BEAST!’ She agreed that it was, in fact, a beast, and I screamed at her that I was going to set out on a quest to try and get an interview.

It was a few sweaty-palmed days before we got a response through, but when word came that we could have an interview, it was one of those delicious, clenched fist ‘fucking yes’ moments. Beyond Man is an album for this dark and screwed up age, and right now, it dominates my waking hours. I waxed lyrical about it here if you want to have a gander.

Anyway, we tried our best to get under the skin of this enigmatic, bloodthirsty project, and we hope you relish our attempt. 

– Katie.

Tine Blomsøy/Hylja Photography

Let us begin by taking a ride back in time. When and how did the band get together? What was the objective with the music in the initial years, and why did you part ways after a relatively short time?

Well as I am very bad at remembering years, dates and such I will do my best at answering this correctly. I joined what would morph into Beyond Man around 2005, at that time it was called Vordrinn and had a slightly different line-up. The aim then was the same as it is now: to create Black Metal of the highest order and let whatever it is that speaks through us do so. To shut the doors to the outside world and let creativity flow undisturbed.

Reason why we stopped back in 2008 was simply that other projects and obligations took the focus and time away. We never really parted; we just stopped rehearsing for 12 years.

What motivated the recent reformation, and what’s the intent with Beyond Man’s music these days?

Me and S.(drums) have been talking the latest years that the material we had (and recorded but never released) is too good to not do something with. Then it happened that while I was away for a longer period of time he met up with the other guys for a rehearsal and a talk and the rest is history as they say.

When I got back I agreed to join in for some rehearsals to see how it felt, and it was like we never left the old rehearsal place. And as E. (guitar and main composer) had saved a bunch of ideas from 2008 and had a bunch of new ones there was no reason to not go on with full force. 

So you could simply say that Beyond Man itself motivated the reformation. 

The intent was stated in the first question.

What’s the back-story for the name Beyond Man? 

It came from one of the songs titled «Art beyond man», but I can’t recall the exact reasoning why we choose the name back in 2007/2008 but I am certain it is much of the same feelings we have today: what we do comes from another place and time, beyond the realms of man. Who can pinpoint where any creative flow comes from? It surely isn’t from the spiritless mundane world we live and breath. Therefore this is art Beyond Man.

Your newly released album Beyond Man is a fusion of old and new material yet works masterfully as a cohesive whole. With its doom influences and touches of death, it’s distinctive and harbours infectious, ominous energy. I’m constantly returning to it and more of its intricacies are being unveiled. How would you describe the process of its creation, what helped fuel the band’s creative fire, and what hurdles did you encounter along the way?

Well I would say the older material had a very hard, frustrating and violent process where we lost both members and at times almost ended in fistfights with each other. But this moulded us into what we are today and although that old energy is very much present today too we have learned to work with it more than just start shouting at each other (well…almost), so the newer material was pretty much inspired of just playing the old material and finding that old flame again.

You see the band is an entity in itself. It lives and breathes, it gives and it takes. So in this way this rebirth of the band gave birth to the new material quite naturally as E.(guitar/main composer) had all these old and new ideas locked away in his head.

Only hurdle I would say is that we haven’t had any chance to step on a stage and see how the material works in a live setting. But that time is coming.

Ingvaeon commenting on YouTube said, ‘this album is terrifying, in a very good way.’ Fantasy Machine, also on YouTube commented, it’s a ‘cosmic implosion of black métal alchemy.’ And, We Hope You Die on Metal Archives wrote, ‘Beyond Man present a strong character of their own, utilising different elements and traditions to further their brand of occult metal that is both creepy and aggressive in equal measure.’ How’s the band feeling about the feedback gathered thus far and also, from a personal point of view, what are your feelings towards the album now it’s out in the public realm? 

We are very satisfied with all the feedback. I get the impression that a lot of people has been waiting for this which is funny as no one has known of the bands existence. 

I am very satisfied with everything regarding the album and am now focusing on the next.

With regards to the writing of the album’s lyrics, was there any routine associated with it? Or was it more a ‘scratch it down on the back of a ripped envelope’ when inspiration struck?

This is kind of a complicated topic as we are talking about a timeframe of over 12 years. Some of the lyrics are written back in the day and in a time where the writer was experiencing a lot of lucid dreaming while diving deep into Egyptian mythology. So when we started up again I simply said that if I am gonna sing this and we are gonna keep the old atmosphere and feeling we don’t change a thing. To respect where it all came from. And that worked. The second we started playing and the vocals was to be tried I was straight back in the old space and atmosphere. 

For the newer lyrics we decided to continue on the Egyptian path on this release to get the same feel as the older material. 

Meghan had this to ask: The track The World Encircler has an ambient part to end the song. It struck a chord with me personally; it’s deeply resonant with the overall album but also a bit unexpected. Can you tell me what inspired that piece of music and what sounds are recorded there near the end? 

This is all from the mind of E. He is full of sinister atmosphere which he is able to transform to these marvellous soundscapes. I think the sounds you are referring to is me singing or just things we found in the studio or at home that would add on to the atmosphere.

You joined arms with Finnish label The Sinister Flame to release Beyond Man. How did this partnership arise?  

Well we put it out there that we were in search for a label and he got in touch. Simple as that. I have known of his work both in writing and label for years and had a great respect for him as he seemed serious in what he does and a genuine passion not only for the music but also the deep dark stirring waters that connects the Black with the Metal. 

The artwork for the album is compelling. Was it a challenge deciding what to do for the art? And how did you choose an artist to commission for this most crucial aspect of the album’s production? 

Artwork is always challenging. Especially if you actually want it to connect to the music  and feeling of the material and not just find a cool pic on the internet or hire the best artist and do some striking painting and overflow it with symbolism that means jack shit to you personally.

The whole creative journey is a strange one and in the end I can’t say how everything came about. I always get the feel that it is the material itself that choose the path in the end. I just got the feel that the it should be red and then I got some ideas for the front cover inspired by the lyrics and when we had agreed that we were on the right path I got in touch with our very good friend Izzy ( whom is an extremely talented individual that had made artwork on us and for us many times before and that I know understands what I am in search for. To put everything together and do the the rest of the layout I always go to my brother Tumulash (Fides Inversa/Darvaza etc) as I know he will add on and execute everything to perfection.

Beyond Man’s band photography has been arresting from the get-go. How did the collaboration with the exceptional Tine Blomsøy/Hylja Photography come about? 

She has been a good friend for years. Very talented and professional.

Tine Blomsøy/Hylja Photography

While Covid wreaked havoc on the music industry in many respects, plenty of bands have used the ‘downtime’ to their advantage and created some phenomenal works during the pandemic. How do you feel it affected Beyond Man’s mode of working and creative output? 

I guess it has been to Beyond Man’s advantage as me personally are usually very often on the move and not around, but now I have been forced to stay put. This way we have been able to record the first album, gotten ready for live appearances and are already working on album number two.

The vinyl edition of Beyond Man sold out fast. It’s clear the band place great importance on analog, what with you releasing your demo Neter-khertet on cassette and Beyond Man on vinyl as well as CD. Can you talk about the relationship the band has with analog? Also (and importantly) will there be a second vinyl pressing?

Something will happen to demo at some point I guess. No rush, we are currently too focused on new stuff. Vinyl is king. Just holding it beats anything else. Not much more to say about that. Yes, second pressing is coming. As the wise man from our label said: «Altars of madness was never limited, why should good music be limited»

The Nidrosian Black Metal scene is strong, hugely influential and very much respected. What’s Beyond Man’s experience of being a part of it?

Does a lion wake up and know it’s a lion? For some of us in this band it is the only thing we know and the only experience being part of it is a responsibility of delivering the goods and respects where we come from.

You have your first live show lined up in August at Hellbotn Metalfest in Norway. What can those who turn up expect from your performance?

A very frustrated vocalist that now needs to hold a bass and not a mic stand. We don’t know ourself what to expect. Time will tell.

It’s been a few weeks since you unleashed Beyond Man on the brightest day of the year, but it’s evident many want more of everything from the band. Can you divulge if anything is in the works that we haven’t heard about yet?

I think we covered everything. New material is in the works, live performances is coming and more merch is in the works.

Any final words? 

Don’t step on the grass Sam.

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