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Kutna Hora Interview; Empty Room
Monday, October 25 2004 @ 10:09 AM PDT
Contributed by: Malahki Thorn

Kutna Hora Interview

Heathen Harvest: Can you begin by telling us about how Kutna Hora originally formed?

Fernando Diéguez: I was finished with a band and I wanted to do a solo project, because I had a lot of new songs. So, I told Gabriel that I was looking for a studio to record a demo and he said to me that it will be great that we both could do something together. He had too some songs that he wanted to do. So we decided to join forces, and that was the beginning.

HH: Please share with us who is currently in the band and what role they play in Kutna Hora?

FD: Kutna Hora is Gabriel Carbone (percussion, keyboards, and voices) and me, Fernando Diéguez (voice, percussion, and guitars). Also as permanent members are Alejandro Pájaro (guitars, percussion, and voices) and Juan Andrés Celasco (keyboards). We use some extra instruments such as violin and flute, but these are not permanent members.


HH: Kutna Hora is often described as an Argentinean dark folk band. How many of the members are native to Argentina ?

FD: All the members are Argentinean.

HH: How large is the dark music scene in Argentina compared to say the United States ?

FD: The Argentinean dark music scene is not so big. There aren't too much "dark" bands. The only dark label is Gabriel's "Twilight Records" with Argentinean bands like Nekrodamus, Chrissalys and Carnalia. I can tell you that K. H. is the only "dark folk" band in Argentina .

Has it been difficult launching your musical career from Argentina ?

FD: Not too much. Gabriel has a radio show (La Misión de los eternos) since a lot of years, and he does parties every month, he is a much known person in this scene, so we just made good use from he!!! (Ha, ha, ha). Apart from that, there's an enormous expectation when a new band appears, so we was a very "lucky" about. But we wish that it would be more bands . . .

HH: How much has the bands nationality and race influenced the music of Kutna Hora?

FD: Oh, there isn't any Argentinean band that has influenced us in any way. There are very successful bands here, but none of they have influence in K.H.

HH: Much of today's neofolk and dark folk music is largely produced over seas in Europe . Was it Kutna Hora's intention to secure a listening audience abroad as well as within Argentina ?

FD: Since the beginning of K.H. we thought that our music will be from the "outside.” But it was naturally, there wasn't any intention, just our music was born in that way, like to use the English language, we just wanted to sing in English because we liked to do in this way. So then we thought that it was a music who could be appreciated in other places, specially in Europe .

HH: Can you please discuss what inspired the debut album by Kutna Hora “Will or Nothing”? And what inspired the title “Will or Nothing”?

FD: The concept of the album was inspired when the title came to me. Will or nothing, when things are really bad, and everything seems to be so black that we thought that there's no exit, and we think that there's no escape. When everything seems to be in the wrong way, the only thing that can save us is THE WILL. If we can use our will to go on in spite of everything. If we don't do anything, there's nothing, our life is nothing. So we got to use our will to go on. Just as simple as it is. This is the general spirit of the ideas in the album.

HH: “Will or Nothing” was limited to 500 original releases. Why did the band choose to release their first album as a limited release?

FD: Just because we thought that this CD was a very special and personal thing, and we don't knew what could be the answer of the people, so we decided to do a short release, and do it very special.

HH: The music of Kutna Hora that is contained on” Will or Nothing ranges widely influence and texture. The album begins with a rather martial opening song titled “Kutna Hora” only to move on to “Hell is a Place on Earth” which is much more folk and dark wave oriented. Was it Kutna Hora's intention to defy musical boundaries?

FD: It was not an intentional thing to do this, it's just the music that we feel, and what we want to do. We knew that some songs sounds different than others, it's true. And we think it's good to do songs with different styles but with the same feeling. There is something very important for us: we don't want to limit our music. So, we'll always do the music that we feel.

HH: Many of the song on “Will or Nothing” are filled with passion and sadness. Though traces of hope remain the album is rather dark. Do these dark undercurrents reflect the artist's lives?

FD: In a way, yes. But you got to know that all these songs was written in the same period of time, and it was a very deep and difficult time. All these songs, in the main, was composed under the same influence, a very special time. Because of that the prevailing current is the dark. But it's great that you had noted some hope, because there is hope in what we want to transmit. We are not "depressed" people or something like that. We just want to reflect with our music what we think about some situations in this life. And I don't think that the artist life have to be a tragic life necessary. In our next album we will do a conclusion about the ideas from the first CD.

HH: Songs like “Why We Cried” and “Love” have a very folk oriented sound. Kutna Hora seems to have achieved a synthesis of modern and traditional music that is truly the hallmark of any successful neofolk band. How did the band go about establishing and finding their sound?

FD: I don't know if I can say that we "found" our sound . . . it's very early with only one album to say that . . . What I think it's that we really knew how we wanted to sound, what instruments we wanted to use. And it was very important to us to be "ourselves" as possible as we can. So we tried to reflect the most exactly what we wanted to express. But I don't think that we had found our definitive sound. We will see . . .

HH: Most of the songs on the album are sung in English. How did the band decide whether to go with their native language or English?

FD: For a start we decided to sing in English, just because it sounds better for us. But who knows . . . maybe soon it will be some Spanish words, or in another language . . .

Many songs on the “Will or Nothing” have a very dark romantic quality. The songs speak to both the heart and soul of the listener stirring universal and archaic feelings. Was it the bands intention to approach the music with such depth?

FD: I think that our music is very emotional, but as I told you before, all became naturally. When I wrote many of these music and words, I was needed to capture all the feelings and thoughts that I had at that moment. It was a REALLY needed for me to do this. So because of that maybe the songs are so deep and dark. It was like an exorcism. But at the same time I think that everyone can take and interpret in different ways. But never was a specific intention . . . it was a real needed . . .

HH: Many neofolk bands have very hard leanings towards Nordic spiritual practices and Nordic mythology. Examples would be the association between bands like Sol Invictus and Death and June
and the reoccurring use of runes and references to various Nordic myths and Gods. Kutna Hora is notably different in this aspect. Can you comment on this difference? Do the members of Kutna attempt to incorporate their spirituality into their music or do you choose a more nondescript approach?

FD: I know what you talking about . . . I know S.I. and D.I.J., and there's no need that I tell you that they are great, I really love their music. But I think that many neofolk bands has fall in a cliché. There are too many ways to show the spirit in the music, I think that I don't need to put any symbol in the booklets because we are a "neofolk band.” Douglas and Tony know very well how to use this kind of things because they are really studious of this culture. But here, in Argentina , we are very far from this . . . we like to know and we think that it's very interesting to learn about some things. Our spirituality goes from another way . . . And I think that our music reflects our spirituality but with another kind of way.

HH: In the song “Everything Have Two Sides” you sing “See where you belong, you belong to yourself.” Can you discuss this song and its lyrics?

FD: This song talks about the duality of all the things. We are born and grow up with a model of things, with imposed religions, everything, even the way we dress, the way we eat, the way we learn, the way we love . . . we got to don't be afraid to our feelings and see inside. The message is something like FORGET ALL THE IMPOSED LEARNINGS AND THINK FOR YOURSELF. Don't lie to yourself, open your heart and your mind, and learn to see the other side of all, because you are free to think and choose what you want to do. You belong to yourself, don't think everything is how they teach you . . . It's a little difficult to me for me to explain a song, I think that everyone can get their own interpretation . . .

How has Kutna Hora been received amongst the growing circle of neofolk bands? Has the band found allies and support abroad?

FD: Oh, yes . . . We had found some very good people, like the guys of In My Rosary, Ataraxia, Blood Axis, Novalis, and bands in other styles like Therion, Clan of Xymox, and many others. And very especially the people from Black Rain, they are really very good friends.

HH: Kutna Hora has played live a number of times and there is an upcoming tour of Europe . Does the band plan to tour in North America at all? Does the tour in Europe signify a strong base of support there?

FD: For the moments, we don't have plans ( and offers ) to play in USA ...

Does Kutna Hora have any plans for further recordings? And would this work remain in the neofolk vein?

FD: We are now recording our 2nd CD. We have a lot of new songs, in the neofolk vein, but a little different from the 1st CD. The songs and the sound in general, are stronger, and there are some changes, but I can't tell you more about. You will listen soon . . .

HH: Can you discuss the band members other musical activities outside Kutna Hora?

FD: Gabriel is the owner of Twilight Records and he was produced the albums from Lamia , Nekrodamus and Carnalia. Alejandro plays bass in other band. Juan is a piano teacher, and he has his project Lamia . And I study percussion, and play in a percussion ensemble. Also I got some "side projects" around, but, time will tell . . .

HH: Assuming that band members also have other jobs does the band desire to become financially sustainable or is it intended to remain as a “project”?

FD: Oh, it would be great to live from music!!!! But from now that's impossible. We all have other jobs and we need to work to keep KH alive, but maybe in the future . . .

Are there other musicians in the neofolk scene that you would like to work with or collaborate with?

FD: A LOT !!! There are too much great musicians, I would like to work with some of my favorites, like IMR, or DIJ, or Ataraxia, or Current 93, I'm dreaming!!!!!!! But it's very probable that KH will do something with Novalis, we hope so.

HH: And lastly would you like to share anything in parting?

FD: Thank you for the interview, and thanks for your interest with KH. You will have to get notices from us very soon, we hope very soon we can finish our new album, and we hope you could enjoy it.


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