(Comrade Aleks brings us another interview, this time with Simon O. of the Argentinian funeral doom band Fungoid Stream.)
So what do we have here today? Another Italian doom outfit? Wrong answer! Fungoid Stream is a funeral doom duo from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Joseph C. and Simon O. are dedicated researchers of Howard Phillip Lovecraft nightmares and each of their three albums are based on his writings. Also it’s known that Simon O. has his solo project Qhwertt – an experimental funeral thing with a conception built around Clark Ashton Smith stories.
Indeed, the third Fungoid Stream work Prehuman Shapes was released a year ago (once more with the help of Furias Records), but something scratching and whispering in my dreams has made me think about Fungoid Stream more often than I’d like to. It seems that Simon O. was waiting for my answers because he answered even faster than I could expect. It is strange… Well, probably just a coincidence… Anyway, I need to thank Eduardo of Furias Records for organizing this interview.
Hail Simon! How are you? What’s Fungoid Stream’s current status?
Hi, thank you very much for this interview.
Fungoid Stream is about to start composing the fourth album – as Joseph told me. You know, most of the composition part is made by Joseph C.
The first album Celaenus Fragments was released in 2004, the second one Oceanus in 2010, and the next one Prehuman Shapes in 2014. It seems that you always prefer not to hurry doing your records and to work slowly, using all the time you need. Don’t you feel the thrill of chasing new tunes and the need to record new music more often?
Well, Joseph and I have side projects. In my case (Simon O.), I started years ago with Qhwertt (also funeral doom, but way different than Fungoid Stream), with two full-lengths released and a third one almost ready.
Joseph has Dormantgod, an atmospheric dark ambient project, with a full-length released. I know he was also working on the second CD for Dormantgod (ready and recorded) and with a new project called Raumsog with a tetralogy (4-CD piece) inspired in the Cordwainer Smith universe and works. This 4-CD work is ready and recorded, and he is working on a fifth piece for this still unpublished project.
So, I can speak for both of us, we’ve really got that thrill of chasing new tunes, but spread in several directions. You must also take into account that we both have our own families, and many hours are also happily devoted to our loved ones. And to work for a living, don’t forget to mention that. It’s real life.
But next one, for sure, is the fourth CD of Fungoid Stream.
Simon, you’ve said that Joseph writes most of Fungoid Stream’s music. Why don’t you take part in this process, as you have the experience of songwriting with Qhwertt?
In fact, Fungoid Stream was Joseph’s initiative. Even more, he asked me to join the project once the first CD (Celaenus Fragments) was already composed and the music recorded. He needed a vocalist, and then I gladly joined Fungoid Stream. One of the reasons that I started working on Qhwertt was the enthusiasm that I got participating in Fungoid Stream. And, with the following Fungoid Stream CDs, I’ve also started working along with Joseph in the track composition, at least in its final stages.
Fungoid Stream – Prehuman Shapes
Simon, do you have plans to continue further with the Qhwertt project? Or is He Who Has Known The Garden the one and only record?
Qhwert has two CDs released up to now: Cloudland in 2006 and He Who Has Known The Gardens, in 2012. I’ve already composed and recorded the music of the third full-length; all that remains is the stage of vocals recording. The CD is going to be called Sympathetic Horror (6 tracks, 45 minutes).
Oh, well… I’ve missed Cloudland… The second album of Qhwertt was written under the huge influence of Clark Ashton Smith. What is the lyrical concept on the third album?
Clark Ashton Smith belonged to the “Lovecraft Circle”, but he was mainly a poet. I’ve used again his poetry for adding to the third album the required weird strokes to the already (in my opinion) twisted funeral doom of Qhwertt.
Qhwertt has shown us a more experimental form of funeral doom. Do you follow the same direction on this new record?
I like to think that. It’s someway different than the previous ones, but always keeping that “twisted” funeral sound.
On Fungoid Stream’s last album Prehuman Shapes you continued researches of H.P. Lovecraft’s myths. Do you suppose that sometime you’ll switch your imagination to another topic?
We find the Lovecraft topic endless. As I wrote above, our imagination switches to diverse topics through our side projects. But, of course, you never know…
Which aspects of these myths attract you?
This was our first point in common with Joseph, even before discovering our coincidence about funeral doom. Everything in HPL work is monolithic, colossal, and immense. The scope of the HPL universe is not limited to space and time. Its totality is unknowable. That’s fascinating.
Can you name your favorite Lovecraft story?
That’s a hard question. But I think “The Whisperer In Darkness”, “The Shadow Out of Time”, and “At the Mountains of Madness” are three of the most revealing stories, regarding the HPL myths.
Qhwertt – Epitaph For The Earth
And can you tell a story of one of songs from Prehuman Shapes?
All the lyrics of Fungoid Stream are taken from Lovecraft’s work. In the first two albums, they were strictly taken from poems, but in Prehuman Shapes, we used also some parts of their stories. The lyrics of the song “Holocaust of Ecstasy and Freedom” are taken and adapted from a paragraph of “The Call of Cthulhu”, where the “immensely aged mestizo named Castro” tells Inspector Legrasse how to know that the time of the Great Ones has come. Sadly, Lovecraft –through the voice of the “mestizo”– prophetically described a scenario very similar to that in which all we live today.
And what aspects of funeral doom do you see as the most suitable ones to reflect Lovecraft myths?
The reason is that funeral doom is also monolithic, colossal, and immense. Its dense sound allows you to create huge and slow structures, as huge and slow as the HPL entities.
It seems that Fungoid Stream goes further from its funeral doom roots into spaces of experiments on Prehuman Shapes, as you now use more samples and electronic effects in your music. What kind of result did you want to achieve using such tools?
It was a natural move to start using sound FX and samples. These kinds of tools give you the possibility of building a scenario around the track attached to the lyrics.
How do you combine the horror and sometimes brutal themes, as in the lyrics of “Holocaust of Ecstasy and Freedom”, with these atmospheric, often calm and melancholic elements of your music?
Well, it’s hard to say how it takes its final shape. It’s inherent to the creative process. But, definitively, it is the context of the track that shows if it works fine or not. We liked the result after the correction process, and the result was that kind of combination.
Do you see space for other instruments in Fungoid Stream? For example, the violin?
I think no instrument is previously discarded, but some instruments are strongly attached to specific moods. I repeat, most of the composition is made by Joseph, but he gave me a place in the final strokes and arrangements. And we think, as I’ve said above, that context will define the appearance of each instrument.
Fungoid Stream – Night Gaunts
Argentina isn’t well known with its metal and extreme metal scene. Why do you think that is? Why don’t you have as many heavy bands as in other countries?
Perhaps it’s a matter of worldwide diffusion, because there are a lot of metal bands in Argentina. But, we must admit, we are not in close contact to the local metal scene. We’ve never played live, we are not meant to do it (you never know, but now it’s like that), so we have no chance of getting in contact with other bands.
You’re from Buenos Aires — how does this place influence you and how does it reflect in your music?
Fungoid Stream is just like HPL. We are not comfortable in light, open places, we don’t like crowds. I think living in BA would be for us like living in any other big city like ours. Anyway, we can say that achieving a release of a professional funeral doom CD in Argentina is really hard, expensive, and it depends almost entirely on reaching other countries, where funeral doom listeners are easier to find. That’s why we are so grateful to Furias Records.
Well, that’s all, thanks again for giving us this space for expressing ourselves.
Thanks for the interview Simon! I wish you and Joseph all the best on your way down the Fungoid Stream! A few more words for our readers?
Just a big “thanks” for being interested in our music. We appreciate that.