LIFE IS A DENSE FOREST
MOSCOW'S DUNWICH DEFY SIMPLE CATEGORIZATION. THEIR MUSIC IS A THRILLING MIXTURE OF BLACK METAL, DOOM METAL, PROG METAL, DARKWAVE AND POST PUNK. ACCORDING TO THEIR BANDCAMP PAGE THEY VIEW IT AS “AN ATTEMPT TO DIVE INTO THE BOTTOMLESS OCEAN OF YOUR EMOTIONS. AN UNEXPECTED CALL IN THE DESERT OF YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS. WALK THROUGH THE DARK FOREST OF YOUR MIND. OUR GOAL IS TO MAKE YOU LOOK INTO THE ABYSS OF YOUR THOUGHTS…”. MOREOVER, THE RUSSIAN THREE-PIECE HAS JUST RELEASED ITS PROMISING DEBUT ALBUM 'TAIL-TIED HEARTS' VIA CALIGARI RECORDS, WHICH WAS REASON ENOUGH FOR US TO HAVE A CHAT WITH FRONT WOMAN MARGARITA DUNWICH. WE ASKED HER ABOUT THE INTRIGUING ARTWORK, THE OUTLANDISH VIDEO FOR 'SOLITUDE' AND THE PRODUCTION OF HER VERY OWN CIDER(!).
How and where did the band come together and what has the process been leading up to your debut album?
MARGARITA: Anton, Mikhail and I are pretty old friends. Anton has always had an interest in making music, he played in different bands on various instruments. But it didn’t seem to suit him completely. And then, having gathered quite spontaneously, we decided to try to make our music – music at the intersection of our attitudes. And so, in the Spring of 2018, we recorded drums. This was the beginning.
Where does the DUNWICH name come from?
MARGARITA: DUNWICH has been my creative pseudonym for quite a few years now. In turn, I borrowed it from the stories of my favorite writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft. But besides this, Dunwich is also a real city in Suffolk County, in England, with which, as well as with its fictional follower, more than one dark legend is associated. Where, if not in this place, to settle our songs?
You just released ‘Tail-Tied Hearts’. How did you come up with the title and what does it talk about?
MARGARITA: We thought about the title for a long time, and for a long time we could not decide what the central theme of the album should be. ‘Tail-Tied Hearts’ – The image of a certain predetermination, forced, predetermined proximity. It’s about how the closeness and connection given by fate fetters people and brings them pain. It is about the fact that people are burdened by relationships, burdened by their social and personal roles. And how fate, by binding people, makes them share a common experience. Something like Stephen King‘s Ka-Tet, where people are tied up against their will. You can also look at the other side – as a palette of emotions and feelings that possess a person, breaking his or her heart. As well as sadness, longing, love, anticipation and gloomy fun – at the same time overwhelm the soul. Just like the scattered songs on the album, while listening, weave into the big picture. Just like the instruments in the ensemble give rise to the overall sound. In any case, the title of the album is an attempt to name a certain personal, existential feeling. And this feeling is difficult to explain.
Does ‘Tail-Tied Hearts’ have a central theme?
MARGARITA: Each song on the album has a rather independent character and the album as a whole is not conceptual. Therefore, there is no central theme. The whole album is a connection of images, each of which conveys its own feeling and mood.
How would you describe your music? Which artists inspire you, at home and abroad?
MARGARITA: This is a look at the emotions that a person can experience in his or her life, the delight of the beauty of nature, a difficult fate, predetermined or not, a tender longing for youth, lost in the mirror of an ugly reality, the fear of not knowing what awaits us, and a gothic transcription of musical cinema that brings to mind the soundtrack of an indie film at the crossroads of the deepest horror and the most sublime poetry. Some of the lyrics were inspired by the writers Arthur Machen and Howard Lovecraft, as well as the music of Watain, Tribulation and Ultha.
Your music and videos appear to integrate a certain black metal atmosphere. Would you agree with this description and what appeals to you about it?
MARGARITA: Black metal is a very important part of my life. So, of course, this influence on our music and visuals is very noticeable. This is very strong, beautiful and uncompromising music in its original form. It is endlessly inspiring and gives birth to many dark and beautiful images. I am glad that at least a small part of this power is in our music.
The cover artwork of ‘Tail-Tied Hearts’ is very cool. What’s the concept behind the design and who is the artist?
MARGARITA: Thank you! The cover, like all the art for the album, was drawn by Anton’s wife. By the way, the idea (concept) was to draw a picture for each song on the album. Thus, each song has its own illustration. These artworks can be seen in the CD booklet. The Rat King on the cover (as well as the Serpentine Wedding on the back of the disc) symbolize the same forced unity, plexus against the will, which was mentioned earlier. A union that gives birth to something more than the sum of its parts.
‘Through The Dense Woods’ has a pretty chilling imagery. What inspired it?
MARGARITA: Human fears are the basis of this song, as well as the video. Primitive, the main ones, those that are present in each of us. Fear of death, fear of the unknown. Life is a dense forest through which we make our way, and behind every tree there can be a real embodiment of this fear.
‘Wooden Heart’ is based on a piece of Suffolk folklore. What’s the story here and how did you come across it?
MARGARITA: I came across this legend a long time ago when I was studying the work of Lovecraft. I wondered if a city with this name exists in reality. I found an article about it. It said that this place is full of legends and myths, one of which is ‘The Dark Heart Of Dunwich’. The legend tells of a girl from Dunwich who fell in love, but her lover left her and swam into the sea. Out of desperation, she cut out her heart and threw it into the sea. According to the legend, her soul still wanders along the seashore, and her heart turned into a piece of wood, eaten by the waves, which brings grief to anyone who touches it. Later, when we started recording the album, Anton came across the same legend and we decided to translate it into a song.
‘Solitude’ starts quietly and gradually builds in intensity – it reminds me of Trees Of Eternity in that respect. What’s the idea behind it and how did you experience the video shoot? Oh, and what’s a camel spider?
MARGARITA: Loneliness is just an example of a mood song, where it was important for us to convey an emotional state. Feeling lonely is something that many of us have experienced or are experiencing. Emptiness, joylessness of days and nights without a soul mate nearby, a feeling of uselessness – that’s what this song is about. And, of course, the desert landscape fits perfectly. That harsh, alien, deserted landscape, where the video was filmed, emphasized our idea very well. Everywhere grew bright red plants that looked like corals, the water shimmered in many shades, and underneath it was pitch black clay. All this splendor was surrounded by endless fields of wormwood, on each branch of which were more than a dozen snails. Real snail fields! This place is located in the south of Russia, along the shores of the Azov Sea. Our guitarist/keyboardist Anton is from there and for him these are almost native places. The camel spider – aka solpuga – is a rather creepy creature. A hefty spider that goes hunting at night. It is not poisonous, but it is very capable of injecting an infection with a bite. They are found in arid areas and run quite fast. By the way, in the steppe where we filmed the video, they seem to be found too.
Cider making is a pretty original side interest. What’s the story behind your cider ‘Worm Apple’?
MARGARITA: I have a country house, and on its territory, there is a large apple orchard. There are a lot of apples during the season, and at some point, I decided to try and make cider. It took quite a long time, but everything worked out, and it dispersed among friends with a bang. The name arose by itself, as a natural phenomenon in living nature, and since I am its creator, it stuck under my pseudonym.