Dordeduh is a new Romanian folk pagan black metal band, that was formed in 2009. Well, that’s one way of seeing it, because Dordeduh is also the new band of Hupogrammos and Sol Faur, after their departure from Negură Bunget. So Dordeduh began as a very mature and tight band, something obvious already since their debut EP. They just released their wonderful debut album “Dar De Duh” via Prophecy Productions and there is no better time to ask Hupogrammos everything about his new band.
- Hails Hupogrammos! First of all, congratulations for your amazing album. Before asking you about Dordeduh, I’d like to ask you about your name. I had this question since I first read you name on early Negură Bunget albums. What does this Greek word mean, and how did you choose it?
Hello everyone! Many thanks for you word of appreciation. Hupogrammos was a name I used in a black metal context to signify an alter-ego, similarly with the names given in shamanic or esoteric initiations. It was a name that had a personal meaning for me and for my development in the “magic and mystic” world and it was a given name was so it not something that I chose myself. It was something that I only humbly accepted. Nowadays the so called “real” world and the spiritual one melted in my life through practice, so now I’m Edmond for everyone.
- What were the reasons that led you and Sol Faur leave Negură Bunget after all these great years? Was it musical differences with other members, or did you feel the need to start something new?
First of all we’d like to discourage any more polemics regarding this subject, because the only result it gets is to generate more gossips and segregation between the listeners. The main reason behind this entire story was that the unity of the band was for a long time already gone. Sol and I were caring for the musical side of the band, which was somehow natural for us to do, and Negru was taking “care” of the business side of the band, which was never a transparent issue and which was the subject of many argues in the band. These are the main topics we would like to share here; the rest of them are personal history, from which Sol and I had tremendously important lessons to learn.
- Can you tell us a few things about the beginning of Dordeduh? When did the idea of this new project start? A few words about the name?
The idea appeared right after we intended to disband Negura Bunget. We knew that we’ll continue our musical endeavor and soon enough after we “woke up” from the bad dream of having to accept that Negura Bunget would still exist, we started to search for new musicians. I tried to encapsulate in our name all that was important for us regarding message that we wanted to spread. I thought that there were two elements that should be part of the name: the human soul and the human spirit. For the soul I focused in searching one of the deepest feelings that humans can dive into and therefore I found “dor”… the feeling of longing for something deep forgotten in the human soul. Then for the spirit it was easier, there was “duh”, the airy substance of every living being. And this is how the name “Dordeduh” was born: “longing for spirit”.
- I know there is a lot of symbolism in your music. Can you give us some details, since all your lyrics are in Romanian? Is there any message or ideology you’d like to share through your music?
This album deals with two aspects: one related to the name of the album and the other one strictly related to the conceptual background. The word “dar” means offer of gift; actually unconditional offering. “Dar de duh” – an unconditional offering from spirit. Black metal ideology which asks for depersonalization, for self dissipation. The idea of pseudonym and corps painting, for example, are part of the ritualistic side of the concept. We took this issue a bit further, beyond the haze and the literal darkness of the back metal realm and we placed it into practice, into a more pragmatic and maybe even a humanistic context. Concepts get worthy only if one starts practicing them. Otherwise it’s only intellectual entertainment. Nowadays everybody is drowned into an egocentric lifestyle and into self importance. The universe and the nature sustain us unconditionally and we pretty much lost our resonance with the reality of this sphere of existence: we are part of a unity and all that we generate, conditionally or unconditionally, willingly or unwillingly, consciously or unconsciously, is affecting us and the environment that is surrounding us and in the end we attract the fruits of what we actually generated. So the title of the album is actually trying to invite people to contemplate on this issue, apart from the musical journey, and to eventually get some constructive inspiration out of it. That’s the best that could happen.
On the other hand, we prepared a rich conceptual for this album side which served as a basic schematics on which we constructed the album. This concept is related to the number seven and is a mixture of esoteric symbolism taken from many esoteric and occult traditions but also from our Romanian traditional culture. As the first day start in every traditional culture with Saturday, the day of Saturn, so is with our album as well. The first song is dedicated to Saturn and all the six songs that follow wear the sign of one planetary influence as it is represented in the classical astrology. Saturday – Saturn, Sunday – the Sun, Monday – the Moon, Tuesday – Mars, Wednesday – Mercury, Thursday – Jupiter, Friday – Venus, and the last song gets back to Saturn, which closes a circle and opens a new one. In general lines this is the conceptual side of the album, but actually we would not like to insist too much on this aspect. The concept helped us gain a certain inner discipline, which was useful in constructing a healthy basis for the album. We advice the audience to not get lost in intellectual conceptualization and to enjoy the album with their hearts and souls and not with their minds.
- How would you describe your music? What are the differences you see with your previous band?
I think I would be too subjective to give a label to our musical style. But anyway, I’m not a big fan of labeling the music. Music is at it is and is should be taken as that. For me personally there’s not too much difference between the two bands. I only continue my musical journey and that’s pretty much it.
- The line-up of Dordeduh has remained the same since the beginning. Tell us a few words about the other band members. You already sound like you were many years together.
- Flavius Misaras, our bass player, is an old acquaintance of us. He is known on the local musical scene for playing with bands that were very different stylistically. We had a short collaboration with him while we still played in Makrothumia and I also asked him to record the bass lines for the acoustic versions of “A-vant in Abis” and “Plecaciunea Mortii” from “Maiestrit”. After that he remained an open option for us and it turned out to be the best option for us. He’s first of all a good friend of us.
- Ovidiu Mihaita used to play with Sol in a black metal band in ’96 but he is actually not a metal drummer as he experimented with a wide range of styles, from jazz to drum’n’bass. In his daily life he is an actor and he founded and conducts a private theater. He also owns one of the most popular pubs in our city, well known for its bohemian style and great atmosphere.
- Sergio Ponti collaborated with us by recording the drums on “Valea Omului” EP and and the percussions on “Dar de Duh”. He also joins us for live shows as often as possible provided his tight schedule is allowing him. I met him in UK while he was playing with Ephel Duath and since then I intended to play with him. He is a professional drum player, he teaches drums and he is certainly the most learned musician in Dordeduh. He’s also known for playing in Beggar’s Farm, the official tribute band of Jethro Tull.
- Gallalin was close to Sol Faur and myself for many years and she was very dedicated in sustaining Negura Bunget, while we still played there. Except some drumming she never played any musical instruments before Dordeduh, but she accepted the challenge of joining us and she worked hard to keep the pace. We appreciate very much her dedication and her efforts for the band.
- There are also many guest musicians, especially in the live shows. Have you thought of expanding the permanent line-up, or are you satisfied as it is?
I would love to expand to a large permanent lineup, but I’m afraid that at the level we are at the moment we can’t really afford such a logistical luxury. It would be a financial effort that we can’t sustain at the moment. But that’s pretty much my dream: to unite under the same name an entire musical community and to drive full power with homogeneity towards the same purpose: humanity.
- Your debut album “Dar De Duh” is just released. Are you satisfied with it now? Has everything gone as planned? What are the first reactions to your debut?
We are satisfied with the overall result even though I’m known as a picky person who never gets satisfied with his work. Of course I could name a couple of compromises we had to do during the process of creation and recording, but this is always a part of the “program”. The reactions were over our expectations. We are overwhelmed by so many positive reactions and it seems that the album receives a very good appreciations.
- What is the composition process? Is there any basic composer in Dordeduh?
We are a band that creates the music on the schematics of conceptual basis. Until now, we always had some material prepared before the concept was finished, but not all the written material was able to fit into the chosen context of the album. The songs are written by Sol and me, we do the basic arrangements and the we present the songs to the rest of the guys, where they come with their own input into the songs. This is how we wrote music so far…
- Can you give us some info about the acoustic traditional instruments you use? They have a unique enchanting sound…
Sure. On this album features the following traditional instruments:
- two types of “tulnic”, two shorter ones of 1.5 meters and one of 2.5 meters. These instruments where used in the past in daily life for communication of different signals between distant hills and mountains. It used to be more of a practical instrument than a musical one. On the other hand, many other cultures used similar instruments in rituals as a purifying tool. The air circulates through the body and creates a circle which uses breathing. The energy is extracted from the earth, it’s conduced through the body, vertically, and is exhaled into the air. This is the basic healing process that these instruments were used for. However, there’s no record of such utilization of tulnics in Romanian tradition.
- two different essences of wood used as “toaca”, a hammered wood. The usage of this tool was not very different in Romanian traditional culture compared with the tulnics. Their main utilization was to transmit different signals between distant places. Similarly, many other traditional cultures were using similar instruments in their rituals to induce the bit among other percussion instruments. Unfortunately in the ancient Romanian traditional culture there’s no concrete reference of ritual usage of this instrument, except latter on in orthodox Christianity where toaca is included in their rituals.
- two different hammered dulcimers, one 3 layers stringed and one 4 layers stringed.
- two types of panpipes, a bass panpipe and a tenor panpipe
- a couple of traditional shepherd flutes, for different scales in the songs and a “caval” which is another type of traditional flute
- mandola, which is commonly known as Irish bouzouki and which is actually a longer scaled mandolin
- many types of percussions, some of them were handmade by us to fit for our requirements.
- Traditional Romanian music has a great importance in your music. When I first learned about Dordeduh I was hoping you will continue in this genre and you won’t leave it behind to try something totally different. Do you use original existing folk pieces, or new personal compositions based on traditional forms? Or both?
You might be surprised, but we never used any traditional musical pieces so far in our music. We actually never used any inspiration from Romanian folkloric music. The only thing we did was to experiment with traditional instruments in an unusual context for them. That’s pretty much it.
- How is Dordeduh on stage? What should your fans expect? How difficult is it to create this mystical atmosphere of your music in a live show?
Live we are a 5 or 6 pieced fully loaded engine which tries to deliver a unique experience. We bring live nearly all the instruments that can be heard on the recording and the songs are specially conceived to make them possible to be performed live. Some of the songs have a slightly different touch regarding the traditional instruments though. We tried to keep things functional logistically at the level that our band is. Hopefully in the future we’ll be able to expand our possibilities to offer a certain development regarding the atmosphere that Dordeduh creates in a live performance. For the moment, things are quite difficult especially regarding the traveling. So far we did not find financially reasonable solutions for a cheap transport for the traditional instruments, which are fragile but some of them also very voluminous. Hopefully the natural development of the band which should occur in time will bring also solutions regarding this problem.
- Are there any gigs or bigger tours arranged? Would you like to give any details?
For the moment the only confirmed concert is in Belgrade / Serbia at 2 December, which will be most probably the only show we’ll still perform this year and then some festivals confirmed for the next year. We prepare another European tour for the spring of the next year but there’s nothing concretely fixed in this regard yet.
- What about the future of Dordeduh? Are there any preparations for a second album, or is it too early?
Yes, actually these days we checked out all the musical material that we have already prepared for the next album and slowly we’ll prepare the concept and some basic structures for the new songs.
- After all this time, what do you think about your decision to leave Negură Bunget? Is the enthusiasm of a new beginning better than the “safety” of a worldwide recognized band (for whose success you worked very hard)?
Well, first of all we are happy that we don’t have anything to do anymore with the guys, (already past and actual members in the “new” Negura Bunget). I’m personally glad that I passed through this experience, learned a lot and especially those parts which I was pretty much weak in the past. It’s good to know that Sol and I managed to turn this filthy story into something constructive in our lives and that we had the strength and determination to continue on our common path together.
- Do you feel accomplished as musician? I mean have you managed to express all your feelings through your music, or do you feel there is still something “bigger” you’d like to achieve?
I prefer to not think in terms of achieving something “bigger” than I had before. I wish only for a natural development in my becoming as a musician. I think it would be pretty much arrogant to say that I’m an accomplished musician. The think that I could say is that I’m actually happy that I was able to materialize my “madness” of playing on certain stages and releasing the albums I did released. I lived the dream of my childhood. That’s a sort of personal accomplishment but nothing as any objective level.
- Are there any other new Romanian bands you would like to recommend?
I can’t recommend anything similar or even vaguely related to what we play. But I enjoy The :Egocentrics, The Thirteenth Sun, Thy Veils, Code Red, Grimegod, Nomega, White Walls…
- Thank you very much for your time and for this brilliant album. I wish you all the best. Last words are yours.
Many thanks for your words of appreciation and support. Best regards to everyone!