Heathen Harvest: Nearing it's fifth year of existence, Life's Decay is becoming more and more known. The fourth album, Szilentia, is due to be ready, but thanks to the manufacturer the release is being delayed. Lyktwasst, can you shine some light on what happened exactly with the production of this CD?
Well I’ve made an order to a first manufacturer but what I received wasn’t what I ordered. The CD's themselves weren’t printed properly at all. It works but I really only want to sell quality products. So I immediately took contact with another manufacturer to re-make the CD's. I’m actually waiting for those. I hope that they will be like I want them to be. I'm still trying to prove that the first manufacturer worked wrong but it’s not as simple as it seems. I hope to have a good discount at least.
I had the same kind of problem with the second Life’s Decay album: Anleva. What I first received from the manufacturer was well-done CD's but very bad booklet and inlay prints. The ink wasn’t as black as I ordered and the paper wasn’t strong enough. So I’ve made another order to another manufacturer too.
In both cases I lost thousands of euros and few months. I'll be more and more careful in the future even if the mistakes weren't from me. What counts the most for me is the quality of the Life's Decay products.
HH: Why is the new album named Szilentia, and why does it use artwork you created in 2006 instead of artwork you created more recently?
It takes us around one year to make an album and there are 12 tracks made from 2006 to 2007 on this album. There’s also all artworks made this year in the booklet. So I just choose the artwork that was fitting the best for the cover. But when I made the Szilentia artwork, I was already thinking about making it a cover artwork.
HH: You are quite fond of creating clear-cut, powerful and effective black and white images, no greytones at all. What is your inspiration for your artwork, and how do you create it? Do you have models to work from, or is it all out of your head? What is the connection between the Anleva picture and the French Anleva website/community?
I get inspiration from nothing particular and a from bit everything at the same time. I don’t get inspiration from some artists in particular. Before creating an artwork, I first have all in mind. I sometimes get inspiration from some pictures to get the good proportions.
Alea, the feminine vocalist joined me during the Anleva album. At this time she wanted to create a community webzine. There were previous names for this website and she finally took Anleva because it refers to Life’s Decay.
HH: Most of your artwork feature women, but this year you created a heraldic type of image as well. Did you choose the deer and that kind of sword, the rapier, for a particular reason? Do the stand for something, or are they more or less random choices?
I'm trying to make a global concept for Life's Decay, a "Retro-Luxury" universe. I wanted to make a new Life's Decay logo (but it won't replace the old one because the new one is too heavy for a cover for example) since few months already. So when I had everything in mind, I started creating it. Most images of this kind takes lions for example but it sounded too exotic for me. An eagle for example too looked too "already seen" for me. Deer seemed interesting to me graphically and because it has something to do with the cold, the forests, old castle decorations, things like that. I wanted to add a weapon to this logo too. I was first thinking of a rifle but I though this may be too aggressive (as I'm trying to make Life's Decay more and more popular/accessible too) So I though of a sword but I wanted something thin and I guess this kind of sword was the most luxury-like.
I globally wanted something inspired by royalty (so I've made an animal and floral graphics) I wanted something also military and martial so I add few graphics around the Life's Decay cross. I wanted a luxury feeling, that's why I took this kind of sword. I wished something globally "old style". And the must for a Life's Decay artworks is only full white on a black background which is technically harder then having choice of more then one color. And the typography I've choose is the most 1930's style I've found.
So no random choices at all, never!
HH: Life's Decay was created early 2003. What is the reason behind the name 'Life's Decay'? What is this decay of life exactly? Also, what is the story behind your artist name, 'Lyktwasst.'? I imagine it's not your regular name.
: I’ve named this project «Life’s Decay » in early 2003. I didn’t planned to make a popular project at all at this time. The music was made of dark doom/black metal & dark ambient noise. There wasn’t any female voice, mainly death metal grunts. The music was very brutal and dark. So « Life’s Decay » was fitting perfectly in the universe. Now that « Life’s Decay » is mainly made by neo-classical / dark marital industrial / experimental pop music, the name isn’t much more in the actual concept. In 2003 the concept was looking at the life, why people, things, everything decays with the time.
About Lyktwasst, like most of the songs and albums words/names it’s a mix of letter and sonorities to get the best words to hear and look at. My real name wasn't working with our universe at all. We had to build our own identity through Life's Decay and make names that fit with the project.
HH: On to the music now. One can almost call Life's Decay a one man enterprise, if it wasn't for Alea who contributes the lyrics and female vocals since 2005. How did she got involved in Life's Decay, and what is your personal relationship?
At the beginning of the Anleva album, I wanted to change completely the music, stop the death metal grunts to have a feminine vocalist. First I was working with voice samples (the english speaking feminine voice that can be heard sometimes) and then Alea sung on Anleva as a guest. And like things worked well she sung again and again and now we’re a full duo !
HH: How is a new song usually created? Is the music created around the lyrics or viceversa?
First I’m making the drums/percussions, then the music and finally Alea makes the lyrics/voice. I hope that she will play few classical acoustic instruments for the next album too !
HH: The first album, 'Art Decay Extremism', was rather violent and hard in comparison with the two albums that followed. The artwork and bandlogo are also completely different than what Life's Decay produced later on. Was it a search for your style, which formed itself in 'Anleva' en 'Lysselia'? Was it an experiment, to see if the harder and darker style of music would fit you? How much did and does Alea influence the music?
« Life’s Decay » was at the beginning a project that I called « dark experimental doom project » I was mainly influenced by doom metal at this time. For a first album I also wanted to make something powerful, aggressive and even provocative as Life's Decay was completely unknown. Then I had the wish to change everything as I said before. It’s also because I was beginning to listen to new kinds of music and stopped listening to metal music. Music will keep changing from albums to albums. That’s what « experimental » means in our project. And of course when the music changes, I'm also changing the artworks !
We pretty have the same tastes for music with Alea. So I let her free to work with the voice and lyrics. The result works perfectly with the musical universe.
HH: I read that you never have played life with Life's Decay. Would you like to play live with Life's Decay? Even if it means needing people to play the instruments, since you can't play everything by yourself, unless you use a laptop to produce the most.
Indeed, we never played live. Maybe we’ll do that one day but I don’t have that in mind so much. I prefer taking my time on releasing high quality products. And if we play live someday, I think it will be only acoustic with other musicians including a strong visual concept. I don't think we'll ever play live with only a laptop.
HH: The CD's of Life's Decay are being released by your own label, Abstraktsens Productions, and sold at really low prices I might add. Does all the time and work you put into both Life's Decay and Abstraktsens Production pay off? Was creating your own label a matter of choice, or a matter of necessity? Do you intend to release music of other projects through your label?
I’ve decided to create my own label because I wanted to control everything so that all could be perfect to my taste. This way I can make high quality products and sell it for a very low price. In the beginning the albums were sold 5euros each only. Self-producing also means that I earn all money from the sales. Production, promotion & distribution takes us a lot of time, even more then creativity. I hope I could live from our project someday, that’s my main objective. And I won’t release any other project or band on my label, I’ve created Abstraktsens Produktions only in order the release the Life’s Decay products and nothing else.
HH: How is it possible to release your albums at such low prices? Will the first misprint of 'Szilentia' affect the cost of the CD?
I’m releasing the Life’s Decay products to thousands copies so each CD don’t cost a lot itself. The Szilentia manufacturer problem won’t affect the prices but I’ve planned to sell all the Life’s Decay album a little bit more expensive when the Szilentia album will be available.
HH: With 'Szilentia' we started, and with 'Szilentia' we'll end. Do you have any last words for the Heathen Harvest readers before completing the silence?
Of course, first of all I would like to thank you and Heathen Harvest for this interview ! We would also like to thank all readers and people who enjoy and support our project !
I invite everyone to visit our official website at : www.lifesdecay.com
Here you’ll find music via a radio, more artworks and also two videos to download, all made by myself. And more of course !
If you have a myspace account, feel free to add us : www.myspace.com/abstraktsens
Finally here’s our label’s website and online store : www.abstraktsens.com
For any questions or order, contact us directly at : email@example.com
Thanks again for your support !
Have a great day.