The Ember, The Ash: Unreqvited’s 鬼 Talks Embracing the Dark Side
The power of the Internet presents unique conditions for various DIY scenes. On one hand, dissemination is easier than ever, but on the other, the competition has grown. In 2016, an album came out of the atmospheric underground that made waves for its unapologetic willingness to keep the genre propelling forward; certainly, there is no time for stalling on Unreqvited's Disquiet, a tear-jerking trek that appeals to vast emotional depths and towering mountain peaks.
The mind behind it all is 鬼 (with whom we spoke in last year’s DSBM retrospective) -- he has since gone on to release nautical epic Stars Wept to the Sea, starry-eyed dreamscape Mosaic I: l'amour et l'ardeur, and fully ambient rain, all under the Unreqvited name, and all fit for a coffee date with your cat. Also, there was 2017’s split Imperfect, on which 鬼 joins the likes of Violet Cold and Sadness to prove that there are still trails left to blaze.
Throughout all of Unreqvited’s manifestations, 鬼’s roots in post-hardcore ring out in the form of bright, building riff-walls that welcome the dawn of a new day. More of a DSBM artist through his general emotional intensity that escapes the prison of despair, Unreqvited becomes a candle in the depths of darkness. Surely, there needs to be a place to store overwrought feelings in order to arrive at a place of hope, and that’s where The Ember, The Ash comes in. 鬼 has added the new band to his list of rock and metal ventures, and it is arguably the gloomiest yet. While his songwriting still very much mimics the building of a staircase, it is one that aims steadily downward to the pits instead of upwards to the heavens.
Together, Unreqvited and The Ember, The Ash are two halves of the same heart.
To learn more about what is to be expected from The Ember, The Ash, we caught up with the sweet spirit himself.
Can you update us on what you've been up to generally in music, as well as in life?
There’s a lot going on currently in my personal life and in my loved ones’ personal lives that I’m struggling to cope with. I think that’s the primary reason I’ve been writing so much music. I can’t really say I’ve been doing a whole lot of anything else.
Why did this feel like the right time to embark on a new project?
Coping mechanism, mostly. I just had a lot of dark music within me that I didn’t want to attach to Unreqvited. The upcoming Unreqvited album is the darkest one yet, but I don’t want it getting any darker than that. I also wanted to take a different vocal approach with actual lyrical content.
How would you describe the tone of The Ember, The Ash? How does it compare to Unreqvited?
I wanted it to be pretty different from Unreqvited. There aren’t a whole lot of similarities apart from the fact that they’re both heavily atmospheric. Perhaps once the new Unreqvited album is released the similarities will become more apparent. I would describe The Ember, The Ash’s tone as extremely somber and depressive, but lyrically there is typically some relief from that feeling as each track comes to an end.
What inspired the fiery imagery invoked by your name?
I like the idea of fire representing life and ashes representing death. Everything I’ve written lyrically for this project is centered around these two things.
When can we expect a full release from The Ember, The Ash, and what might it entail?
Sometime this year, for sure. I already have a label involved, so we’ll begin planning everything out once it’s finished. It’s conceptual, or at the very least thematic. The lyrical concept of the debut single is something that continues throughout the record. The sound is heavily black metal influenced. You’ll hear lots of things that span from Xasthur to Emperor.
You've released splits with some pretty big names in the underground in the past. Do you think The Ember, The Ash will follow suit?
Possibly, I haven’t really thought that far ahead yet. Right now I’m solely focused on this record. I can’t really think about the future of this project right now since there’s a lot coming up for Unreqvited that’s taking up much of my time.
What do you think is the most exciting aspect of black metal right now?
Innovation. The re-application of the same ethos that founded the genre, which I think was essentially a reaction to metal’s complacency. I think constantly revolutionizing what it can look like and what it can sound like is the most exciting thing about black metal.
What are your hopes moving forward with music, particularly as a solo artist who embraces the new wave of metal?
I hope I can continue to create emotional music that resonates with as many people as possible, I hope I can collaborate with more like-minded artists that are pushing the genre to new heights in imaginative ways, and I hope I can influence a new generation of musicians to pick up an instrument or engage in/tend to a creative exploit.