Holding the Key to Trhä’s Mysterious Kingdom (Interview)
The otherworld has long been a fascination for many and in the realm of music that attraction is unlocked and held within secret kingdoms and languages known only to the creators, personal to them and used to make sense of the reality they find themselves in daily or to navigate the magical domains they conjure through sound. Trhä is a key to pass through to the unknown and the architect of this world is the extraordinarily named Thét Älëf, detna hacëntara Trha Nönvéhhklëth, Jôdhrhä dës Khatës, Dlhâvênkléth fëhlätharan ôdlhënamsaran Ebnan, who uses their music to move through nostalgia and bittersweet memories, anger and difficulty as well as finding hope in the darkness.
While Trhä prefer to keep their location hidden and Thét Älëf’s identity a mystery, they did grant us an interview in which their magical dimension is discussed and their language and its creation is explained. Trhä’s music falls within the walls of black metal and includes nods to spiritual guidance and enchanted journeys on its path of discovery, however, the light is often contrasted by darkness as Thét Älëf’s voice shifts through screams and howls to create balance between soft serenity and dense despair.
Your music often feels spiritual, I’m not sure if religious is the right word, but there is a sense of… reverence for that world in the musical motifs that appear–bells, organs, choral passages, for example on endlhëtonëg. Is that something that you experienced in your life? If so, how has that impacted you?
endlhëtonëg is a magical place in a distant world, and the song “endlhëtonëg” is literally the hymn venerating the potent indescribable magic of the land. The choral passage was added for this obvious reason. The bells were somewhat of an accident, since I was recording “endlhëturhën” and discovered this sound on my synth, though the use of this sound makes complete sense within the context of the rest of the album.
Is this distant world something that you feel connected to in a spiritual sense or in a more physical way? What does the magical aspect mean to you?
This connection is spiritual, and also in the sense that I am the creator. This world comes from me. The magical aspect means everything. In everything I do I aspire to touch and bathe in the purest most sense of magic.
In relation to the spiritual world spoken about above, does Inagape refer to the concept of unconditional love for god and his reciprocated feeling for mankind or is it more a general feeling of awe and respect? How would you describe it?
Inagape is about a deeply personal moment and connection and intense emotional overcoming in my life. It has nothing to do with anything else.
Do you feel a sense of nostalgia, or wistfulness, with Trhä's music? It often seems as though it’s calling back to bittersweet memories or moments of the past, those that bring both joy and pain. There are moments in tálcunnana dëhajma tun dejl bënatsë abcul’han dlhenisë ëlh inagat, jahadlhë adrhasha dauzglën nu dlhevusao ibajngra nava líeshtamhan ëf novejhan conetsë danëctsë kin, ëf tu dlhicadëtrhënna bë ablhundrhaba judjenan alhëtangrasë shidandlhamësë inkom that carry both extreme happiness and dark despair - is that something you’re aware of when writing?
Much of what I do in general is very nostalgic. Oftentimes with trhä I’m alluding to juvenescent magic, even on the songs that don't sound particularly whimsical or childlike. I am in love with purity and I refer to this perfection in many things that I do. “tálcunnana..” is about a very, very specific thing and I tried my best to capture it, so I was very aware of what sounds I wanted to use to capture this magic. While I don't believe I could ever truly capture these images perfectly, I think the sound came very close. There is a very present youthfulness in the theme of the latest trhä release as well.
You seem to have created an entire language to use in Trhä. What drove the decision to create the language and are there any languages that you pulled inspiration from?
I have had a deep interest in creating languages since I was a kid, and when I was 16 I started creating my first real language. I am 24 now and that original language, although very evolved from the beginning, is still used in the word “trhä” and my artist name “Thét Älëf, detna hacëntara Trha Nönvéhhklëth, Jôdhrhä dës Khatës, Dlhâvênkléth fëhlätharan ôdlhënamsaran Ebnan”. Very early versions of this language are quite different and seem a lot more like its obvious influence which was German (language I was studying at the time), but over the years becoming overflowing my obsessed with languages it has become more complete and unique.
In 2018 I started creating an entire new language because this original one was absurdly complex and impractical and I wanted to create something that I could genuinely speak with fluidity, and this new language is what would eventually become what it is now, and what (most) trhä songs are written in. My intention with this language has also always been to make it as unique as I could, so it truly doesn't draw much influence from any other languages, but rather my own intuition. This language (called hadlhaj) is deeply rooted in my own person and emotions. I can say it is almost entirely a pure creation directly from me, although the true lore is that it is spoken in a distant world (as well as other languages, including the one I started in 2013). There are many languages too, and many eras of languages (for example “ëpfêrhäth” is written in “middle” ryãvûln) but my main focus is always hadlhaj and it is the most complete of any of my languages.
Does the hadlhaj language then have its own rules for grammar and structure? This is a fascinating topic, in and of itself–would you ever offer translations or insight into how the language is constructed?
Yes. Some people think that it might be a cipher or that I'm just making up replacement words for English syntax or some other language, or that it's even just gibberish. None of these are true. The language has its own unique and complete grammar and a constantly growing vocabulary. I have always been genuinely fascinated by languages and grammar so I definitely pay attention to all the minute details in the language to the fullest extent. I would love to offer a chance for people to learn the language or at least understand what some of the songs mean. I could translate anything, it would just be a matter of inventing words I don't have yet in the vocabulary.
As ëpfërhäth is written in a language you term - “middle” ryãvûln - can you expand on that a bit more? Are there variations of this language and how do you decide which Trhä song fits which language?
In the same way any language evolved and changes over many generations, so do mine. In the same way “middle English” is basically just English from medieval times, “middle ryãvûln” is ryãvûln from far back enough that it's not “old” ryãvûln but not quite new or early modern. All of these languages exist in the distant world I mentioned earlier.
Do you write in any other languages for your other projects?
Sometimes, there have been entire songs and albums in a language of mine or sometimes I will borrow words from “hadlhaj” for example because I like them more or they are better descriptors for what I'm trying to convey.
You seem to be quite prolific with several releases in a short space of time - how does the creative process work for you? Do you feel moved by outside forces during that process?
My writing process has always been just make songs and don't think hard about it. In reality I just make things up as I go along. As far as the music goes at least, even if I know that there's a true theme I want to capture it's still easy for me to do so without being tedious. Thematically, it's just my imagination spinning ideas, or the meticulous connection between themes in a grander theme which is this magical world I talk about in some trhä material.
The enigmatic approach works extremely well for Trhä, but are you involved in other projects and if so, why do you feel you need to remain behind the pseudonym of Thét Älëf for this band?
I have many projects but trhä is very removed from them all. The intention with trhä has always been to remain distant and unrecognizable in the “real” world, because this music and words come from somewhere else.
What does Trhä mean to you? Both the name and the concept?
“trhä” means key, the key to true perfect magic, true fantastic desires and pleasures, and this distant magic place.
If Trhä is the key to unlocking this magical place, do you find that it helps you to unlock something different within yourself?
As well as being the key to this place, it is also the key to in general, pure magic. Within me or exterior. trhä and the music allows me to capture and distill this magic so I can hold it in my hands.
Follow Trhä on Bandcamp.
Trhä records and tapes are available from Ixiol Productions, Labyrinth Tower, and Babylon Doom Cult Records.