Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Interview: Tamás Kátai/Thy Catafalque

Hungarian born and now living in Scotland, composer, musician Tamás Kátai of Gire and Avant-garde Black metal band Thy Catafalque recently released a new album under his own name, the second in eleven years has been available to answer the questions we asked him. He's been a great to us and got us a lot of himself as an artist and a human being. We also were lucky enough to learn a bit about Thy Catafalque's future.

Hi from Québec City, Canada! Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions that we have for you at Le Mot du Melomaniaque.

Tamás, your recent release of Slower Structures  is relatively lesser known when compared to your main project Thy Catafalque that is now on Season of Mist one of Metal’s most renowned labels. Can you introduce the album Slower Structures for those who haven’t heard about it yet?

Hey Michael! I already released an album under my name in 2005, re-released two times since then but yes, it is much less known than Thy Catafalque. Slower Structures however is not the second part of Erika Szobája. This album was mainly inspired by the city of Edinburgh in Scotland, my home for the last eight years. It’s a sort of minimalist, experimental chamber music.

What is the idea behind Slower Structures’ concept and what is your vision of this particular musical project?

The album is focusing on different spaces and moods of the city. There is a certain curve, a course - it starts in the morning (''Music for Breakfast'') and throughout the day (''Tea in the Museum'', ''A Midday Storm in Marchmont'') it settles in the evening ("La Galerie Soir"). All is set within the city. For me it’s like a well-spent day in Edinburgh. Simple, pure and free.

Can you talk about your influences and how they inspired you for Slower Structures?

My first real instrument was a synthesizer and even though many years later I purchased an electric guitar I am still drawn to the keyboards. Lately I have been inspired by minimalist composers and serialism, Arvo Part, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Steve Reich. Erik Satie, too.

As with Thy Catafalque you’ve managed to make your own kind of Black Metal, can you tell us what is the writing process for this album (Slower Structures)?

This material was pure fun to compose and record. I never thought of songs, only moods and images during the process and the compositions were born unbelievably easily and I consider this album my most freewheeling one. Most of them are only one or two tunes on the piano. I didn’t use drums deliberately throughout the whole record with the exception of some distant swing-like rhythm in "Tea in the Museum". They would have ruined this light, somewhat classy and snobbish atmosphere.

So far, how has been the response for Slower Structures?

Well, only 100 copies have been made and as far as I know the label still has some in their store. I don’t really have an image on the reaction yet but the sheer fact is that this music might be totally indifferent even for those who like Thy Catafalque or Gire anyway. I am absolutely happy with it, much more happy than I was with the latest Thy Catafalque for example.

Being on the Thy Catafalque bandwagon since Rengeteg, I can honestly say that I am a fan of your music and I love the fact that you leave long parts of just instruments and let the music do the talking. Is it a deliberate choice to minimize the vocals in your music?

Well, the whole thing roots in the sad situation that I can’t sing, haha. Everything would be different the other way.

With Thy Catafalque getting great reception and your project under your name getting a new record out, do you live entirely of your music or you have to be working a day job?

Oh no. I have three daytime jobs. Music means just some occasional extra cash, I spend much-much more time with it than the income it gives. But the thing is I am independent and free in making music, doing whatever I want to and this is a pretty lucky situation. I feel fine about my circumstances.

While reading to do this interview I discovered that you are a melomaniac; listening to music from Handel to Miles Davis with a stop for Slayer. Slower Structures fills which desire to create music that Thy Catafalque doesn’t already does?

I can play whatever I want in Thy Catafalque, that’s the point of it. However for this album it seemed to be more logical to release it under my own name just like I did with Erika Szobája 11 years earlier. It’s so different to TC and somewhat similar in its approach to Erika. Moreover the new Thy Catafalque will also be released this year and  on the top of it another completely different project is going to be out very soon so I needed to decide where goes what. I can’t do everything under the TC moniker and Season Of Mist wouldn’t release three albums a year anyway. It would be stupid most probably.

Thank you again for being so kind for taking the time to answer to those questions, any final words?

Thanks very much for your questions and interest, Michael. I wish you all the best in the future.

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