November 22, 2017

Paradox Obscur talks dark-wave, their process, and the current state of culture

The interview:

Paradox Obscur promo photo

The blue sea and endless sun of the Mediterranean throw a blinding gratification over the landscapes and all souls. On the eastern side you may find the island of Rhodes, so beautiful, historic, and famous for the fully restored Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights, a medieval gothic Castello (castle) filled with grey beauty, legends and so imposing in its thrills.

From that acclaimed Greek wonder comes Paradox Obscur, a well acknowledged duo–in Europe mostly–that enhances their minimal-electro (five releases so far, infused with the genuine darkness of the eastern Aegean). We met them in the dark of night and wanted to hear from them why Sorrows of the Moon and the deepest solitude clinging to the shades of a different hum, sung by Kriistal Ann, can shiver the spine to blood-red tears. And how Toxic Razor disguises his musical notes through electronic paraphernalia and accesories like Access Virus, Roland JD, Korg Volca Keys, and other summoning instruments of earth and wind. Paradox Obscur‘s music is for dancing, dreaming, and enjoying one of the most talented and commanding bands in the whole dark-wave scene. Pour some absinthe into your glasses and press play: Here’s Paradox Obscur.

Hello, Paradox Obscur! You recently published the official video of A Different Hum following the Twilight video a couple of months ago, both directed and filmed by Pavel Vishnevsky. Both are excellent footage of your impressive synthetic music, and I’d like to start the interview by asking what led you to work with that specific filmmaker?

Hello! Sure, Pavel is a talented young photographer–we first met his work in Supernova 1006 when he took up some videos for them the same period they released their ‘Talons’ album for Werkstatt Recordings. We are open to displaying works by other artists when they touch our sensitive artistic strings, and as we worship his artistic look, we have commissioned him to direct the songs from our new album. It is obvious that in our time the image is a powerful means of showing our work to the outside as well as YouTube–a public relations space that can expand the audience that follows us.

 

So, Paradox Obscur was founded in 2014 by Toxic Razor and Kriistal Ann, and I read on your BandCamp account that it is a collaboration (a band) in order to step into a more minimal direction than your previous projects. In what musings were you involved before you decided to form Paradox Obscur? What are the elements you kept from the past and which are the new ones?

The first project was called Resistance Of Independent Music. Only by the title one understands that there things had a more complicated texture as we experiment with the sound in combination with various forms of arts that co-operated in a musical consort. All these elements have been preserved in our present works. Perhaps the musical direction has become more visible to the public as it retains more specific standards that are more clearly interchanged with our mood, between the synth-wave and dark art.

 

Paradox Obscur promo art

The 2014 self-titled first LP–which took a quite minimal approach with less grandiose arrangements–geared up 2015’s Anacrusis LP where I hear the band’s “blue note” vibe you keep until this year’s Artifact. I consider these two records in a similar sequence of musical events and arrangements, but it’s more important to tell us your view on the band’s progress…what pushed you into that more dark-wave glade?

The progress of the band is something that does not concern us, at least in its semantic significance. It is a subjective view that is displaced towards the audience. What is of direct concern to us is to uphold our truth as purely as we can. In addition, the purpose of a purely artistic creation is nothing more than carrying a burden of emotion. The desire of the transmitter to channel the receiver to its own charge. The dark-wave is something that we serve in all of our works, as the term “dark” contains many interpretations, in which one deepens [and] could lose the meaning. What we can safely say is that we are not lovers of the commercial kind…if that gives you an answer.


“The lack of culture has also contributed to this. The need for people to choke their boredom, to deal with something that will bring them, even temporarily, to a distinct position..”


…and which path do you follow when composing a song? I mean are you both getting involved in music and lyrics or is more like one writes the music and the other the lyrics?

The process of creation is shared, we are both there for all, with full participation in the musical & lyrical part …

The Greek obscured breeze seems to guide your titles and lyrics sometimes The Aτραπός (pathway) EP was all in the Greek language, Anacrusis means “recoil,” and in Kriistal Ann’s solo LPs we find songs like Fortune of Medea and the ecstatic Antigone sung in the prototype Greek ancient language. I couldn’t help but ask why?

It is obvious that a creator best expresses himself in his natural environment, taking on the details of the place and the culture in which he has grown up. It would be silly to try to resist what composes us as entities. The magic of art is precisely this thing, someone to channel his own personal, empirical, and geopolitical brushes into his works.

…and what really inspire your lyrics?

Everything that moves and breathes: Subconscious thoughts, flying birds, beautiful nights, tragic moments, inanimate objects, the pain and the hope, music and silence, ugliness and love, books and the poets ..

 

Back to music: I ask almost every band in this specific genre a simple question: Minimal-electro darkened music never vanished but for many years was a little inactive, and in the last decade we see the glorious renaissance of it by so many people who don’t actually copy-paste their favorite bands like a retro imitation, actually pushing it forward to new sonic and musical fields. Why, in your opinion, are we witnessing such a flourishing dark-wave generation?

Your question was quite lenient with the intention not to offend. But the truth is tougher and it does not make sense to hide behind our finger. In today’s times there is no one who does not remind anyone else. So many bands, imitations of old pioneer bands. Do you want the evolution of technology? The bullying of information that creates the need for consumption of digestible material and overdue product? The lack of culture has also contributed to this. The need for people to choke their boredom, to deal with something that will bring them, even temporarily, to a distinct position. Undoubtedly, there are exceptions, but they are so overwhelmed by over-information that they have little chance of being distinguished. This is where the artist’s struggle begins, where he will confront the true passion that comes from within and will lead to purge all the greed that society creates. To dive loudly into his need for expression of his own inner truth, this will help him distinguish himself.

And synthesizers rule! Can you give us please few names or songs you are currently sticked to?

Kriistal Ann:

-Bohren & Der Club Of Gore

-Tigran Hamasyan

-Unkle

-Kat Frankie

Toxic Razor:

-Ulver

-The Van Dammage

-Possession

What other kinds of music are you both fond of apart from the dedicated dark genres?

Toxic Razor: Black Metal & Synth-wave

Kriistal Ann: Contemporary jazz , doom post rock, alternative, classic, etc

Last, give us the news of the band, any live performances, any new music?

For the moment we have focused on our new release and some side-projects, as we prepare for a tour in the second half of 2018

Paradox Obscur thank you very much for you time, please add anything you like!

Thank you Mike for the interview and to all the people that supports us !

 

Keep Up With Paradox Obscure

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About Mike D 32 Articles
Hey people I'm Mike D from Athens GR (43). I'm a sound engineer, radio producer, and certainly a music "freak." I couldn't be anything else, you see: I grew up in a musical home (my father was a composer), and wanted to be a rock-star but wasn't patient enough to study music. Instead, I studied the technical stuff and went really "nuts" when I started writing articles about the bands and artists I love. It all started back in 2002 in a printed magazine (Sound Maker - RIP) and I still do it because I really like sharing my libraries, discotheque, info, connections, knowledge, and all. I'm involved in all "waves" music (new wave/darkwave/post-punk/shoegaze), punk, industrial, EBM, alternative rock, indie, electronic, avant-garde/ experimental/ freestyle...but on the other hand I can easily throw a classical CD in the player, or a jazzy tune, or...ok you get it: Music! I'd like to read your comments on my writing because you know how it goes, and you all know the glorious song by Placebo,"Without You I'm Nothing"...Thanx and enjoy Freedom and Music, Loud!
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