We’re over a week removed from Halloween and the pumpkins have either started to rot or are completely smashed, but hey at least the candy is on sale although that’s mostly because Christmas decorations have already begun to line store shelves and homes alike. Thankfully, for some Halloween is not just a date on a calendar but more a state of mind or even a complete way of life. Last week, during our Halloween Special, we highlighted a number of appropriately themed compilations but there was one act among them all in particular that we feel deserves a closer look due to the fact that they also released a compilation of their own around the same time that went unmentioned. We’re speaking of that cybernetic hell spawn himself, Hexenkraft.
Featured on Rue Morgue‘s It Came From Rue Morgue compilation, which is still available as of this writing despite the fact that their Bandcamp says it’s only available until Halloween (so get on it if you haven’t already!), Hexenkraft delivered a wonderfully haunting track that creeps and crawls from out of the abyss with his patented sound. Taking industrial metal synths as if they were filtered through a mid-to-late 90s PC Sound Blaster, Hexenkraft has been ripping and tearing his way through the synthwave scene since his self-titled debut EP hit Bandcamp just over a year ago, but he’s been honing his kraft for even longer.
“I got my start at the age of thirteen when I received my dad’s guitar because I was curious about it after having seen it sit in his closet for many years” Hexenkraft recalled, “once it was passed on to me the rest was history. I was heavily into metal (still am) when I started and played that kind of music for about four years before I got my first keyboard and that is when I started taking music much more seriously. I started writing orchestral music, electronica of all genres, and experimenting with sounds as much as I could. Hexenkraft is sort of a culmination of my years of experience and I am always excited to see where it goes next.”
Hexenkraft is fueled and inspired by a number of things, ranging from metal music (having done a remix of Slayer‘s “Reign in Blood”) to video games (with a remix of music from Unreal, the 1998 first person shooter) and horror movies (of which we will get into soon). “I am inspired by so many things. The world we live in is vast and the experiences and forms that shape our lives are innumerable” Hexenkraft mused before elaborting further, “to be more direct, I am very much influenced by the dark arts of any medium; for example Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, the Hellraiser series, gothic and macabre paintings like those by Goya and Zdzislaw Beksinski and so forth. As far as the music I currently listen to, I could literally spend an entire month talking about that but some of my mainstay favorites are mostly in metal. Lost Horizon has been one of my favorite bands for over a decade and, even though their aesthetic is much more “light” than Hexenkraft, the driving ideology behind the band’s music is deeply ingrained into everything that I do in life.”
“There’s just so much good art out there” Hexenkraft continued when asked further on how his influences have shaped his music, “and while I appreciate almost everything in some way or another I tend to gravitate very closely towards a specific niche. 90s PC games and just 90s gaming in general is what I grew up on; I can’t tell you how many hours of my life were spent on those classics. Some of the most formative years in my artistic development were guided by those games. Same with horror films! How can you listen to Harry Manfredini‘s scores to Friday the 13th, or John Carpenter‘s numerous synth classics, and not be enthralled by their dark majesty? For whatever reason, being a lens through which the world can experience nightmarish hellscapes is my calling.” Hexenkraft has certainly heeded that call in his latest album, the aforementioned Halloween compilation entitled Tones of Terror: Volume I, which according to the Bandcamp page is “a collection of arrangements, covers and original tracks inspired by legendary horror film scores.”
“I chose the themes in Tones of Terror: Volume I to represent a wide variety of styles and textures while simultaneously wanting to have a lot of legendary classics that would be widely recognized” Hexenkraft explained, “and I think I succeeded in that regard.” Indeed, the album isn’t simply filled with note-for-note recreations of iconic themes, instead carrying with them that already enforced feeling of inspiration. There is always something to be said for that added personal touch which only a person who truly respects and admires the source material can supply. It’s not so much performing karaoke, but rather more like a duet.
When asked about the possibility of playing live performances, and if he’s played live before, Hexenkraft stated that “I have performed live before in a couple of my old bands, but not yet under the Hexenkraft name. Anything is possible in the future and I would be ecstatic to have the opportunity to perform the music I’ve been making.” As for what’s next in general, Hexenkraft proclaimed that “the next steps I’ll be taking are: releasing my first set of merch, putting out a brand new single from the debut album that I’m working on, and finally putting together my own website. I have a lot more than that in the works, but those are my immediate goals. I am hoping to get that debut full length album finished and released in 2018.”
BONUS ROUND: What’s on your perfect pizza and inside your ideal burrito?
“I’m partial to having my pizzas topped and my burritos stuff with the anguished lamentations of the damned souls inhabiting my abyssal domain” Hexenkraft joked, “but, other than that, I like a classic pepperoni and mushoom pizza with carnitas in my burritos all day long!”