Audiovisual project expressing love and passion for the Ardennes

Band Interview, Belgium

Mary Vareli: Arduinna was formed in 2008, tell us more about this.

Christophe De Nockere: Arduinna’s first song Dusk was made in 2008 but you could say that Arduinna was already with us when we were in the womb. Ever since I was a child my parents took me many times to the Ardennes. I fell in love with the forests, rivers, hills, the sacred places, the folklore and mythology of this enchanting region. When I started listening to dark ambient, neofolk, neoclassical and soundtracks I felt like expressing my love for the Ardennes in music. I used the influence of many music projects to come up with my own musical language.

You come from this area, right?

Well, to be honest, unfortunately, I don’t live in the Ardennes. I live about two hours driving from that area. I still hope to buy a house there someday and move there with my family. But I still go there as often as I can.

Who was the founder?

I started alone at first, but after three songs I was joined by my best friend Tim and from that moment on Arduinna really got started. We have known each other for over 20 years, we both grew up in the 80s and musically we were quite influenced by soundtracks, electronic & experimental music of the 70s and alternative music of the 80s & 90s. Later on, we became heavy involved in the Dark Ambient/Neofolk/Industrial scene. And so Arduinna was formed in 2008.

So, Christophe De Nockere and Tim Dobbelaere are the core members, are there any session musicians or vocalists?

No, it’s just us. We got in contact with Alessia from Atrium Animae two years ago. She was going to contribute her magnificent vocals to some of our new songs, but shortly after we got in contact Arduinna was put on hold for a while. Unfortunately. I guess it would have been interesting and wonderful to have Alessia’s wonderful voice in our songs.

Where does the name come from?

Arduinna is a direct reference to the Ardennes. She is the Celtic goddess of that area. We like the name and what it stands for. Nature plays a very important part in our lives. To us the land is sacred and  we are deeply concerned about preserving what little is left of it in our country. Landscapes and seasons are almost like actors/actresses, they are the protagonists in our videos and music. There is a strong heathen concept in the way we regard nature. We felt that the name Arduinna covers our music and videos and in one word pays a tribute to our beloved area.

You are characterised as  a Martial Industrial / Ethereal / Neoclassical band. Do you agree with the definition? Which genre describes you best?

I have never understood why some people think of our music as martial and/or industrial.  Sure, we use some heavy “battle-esque” sounding percussion on some of our songs, but I wouldn’t call it martial because of that. When I think of martial I think of LJDLP, Triarii; music projects I don’t feel connected to. And to me, industrial music is early SPK, Throbbing Gristle, Whitehouse and so on. If I have to label our music I’d say we are trying to make soundtracks for unreleased movies. Soundtracks with elements of ambient, dark ambient, neofolk and neoclassical. But of course, everyone is free to label our music to their own liking.

What do you want to express with your music?

We wanted to create an audiovisual project to express our love and passion for the Ardennes but also for literature, art, nature, music, folklore, mythology. With the first songs and videos, we mainly focused on our “heimat” and folklore; which is the area of the Belgian Ardennes with its beautiful forests, rivers, ruins, lakes and it’s fascinating history. But we didn’t feel like limiting ourselves strictly to that subject.

Arduinna is an audiovisual project, tell us more. Who creates the artwork?

I do all the photography. Most of the video images were filmed by me, early on. Later on Tim and I both took our cameras with us, whenever we were travelling together. We edited the videos together.

You also reflect what you wish to express in your videos.

For our home-made videos we used images that we filmed on our travels (Ardennes, Paris, Arizona, Wales, England, Ireland…) and also borrowed some film fragments from directors that we really admire (like Tarkovsky, Christensen and Malle). Before Arduinna we experimented a lot.

Nostalgia and melancholy play an important role in your music. What else inspires you?

Oh, many many things. Other music projects, nature, winter, autumn, time, certain movies, poetry, literature, art in general (paintings, sculptures, architecture, …), our wives, my son, snow, trees,  falling leaves, brooks, rivers, lakes, deer, wolves, starry skies, … I could go on and on. Everywhere I look, see and hear there are things that are inspiring.

What is the role of folklore in your project?

Folklore plays a very important part. Be it subconscious. I feel connected to folklore, the fairy tales, the mythology and legends of the Ardennes. I like to read about the legends and sagas of places I visit. When I walk in Wéris I am fascinated by the tales and folklores about the menhirs and dolmen of that area. When I am walking in a snowy winter forest I like to think about the fairy creatures that dwell in these areas. I don’t believe in them but I believe in their existence in tales and legends.

Your two albums are slightly different; “Wéris” sounds more ambient than “Winter Ruins”. Tell us about this.

Wéris was actually the name we chose for our debut album. But then we didn’t think the name was appropriate so we chose the name “Winter Ruins”. There are some songs on “Wéris” that didn’t make it on “Winter Ruins”. I guess we left out some of the ambient tracks.
So “Wéris” was never officially released though it was reviewed by our dear friend Virginie who works for Les acteurs de l’ombre.

I need you to brainstorm words that describe the idea behind each album:

“Wéris” / 2011: experimenting, dreaming, wandering, forest walks, legends and tales, folklore

“Winter Ruins” /  2013: dreaming further, leaving the forest, mythology, literature, soundscaping,

Your label  Seventh Crow Records seems to support your project. Did you face any difficulties with labels who failed to do so before your collaboration with SCR?

Well, we were first approached by a label from New York, Broken Limbs recordings. They offered us a cd release and they were very nice. Really nice people. But then it took a while and things got on hold. They also had some problems and I understood that it was a little difficult for them to continue given the circumstances. So after a while, we kinda got tired of waiting.

Then we were introduced to Sebastyen D who runs Seventh Crow Records and he offered us a cd release and we gratefully accepted. We like New York but we prefer Paris

You also appear in the compilation Ave Atque Vale, in 2013. Any past collaborations or past projects? I know  two  Arduinna side projects: Die Among Strangers & If Sleep And Death Be Truly One.

Well, those two projects are my solo projects. They were just for fun. I wanted to make some darkwave/goth music and some neofolk music. It was great that three of my songs appeared on two compilation albums. But DAS and ISADBTO are kinda dead now.
Tim is still heavily making music, in totally different genres, and he is doing a great job!
I am sure you will hear from him in the future. Together with two friends of his he founded a new music project called MOat: Moments of absent time. Electronic, ambient, experimental music.

Other musicians that inspire you?

Well concerning Arduinna there was a huge influence of  early Cold Meat Industry music, Wardruna, Dead Can Dance, soundtracks, Eduard Artemiev, early Tangerine Dream, early Mike Oldfield and of course tons of neofolk and dark ambient. Also classical composers like Mahler, Schubert, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, …

Writers and directors that you admire?

Oh many many many people!! Literature: The great Russian classics, the great French classics, the great German classics, the great British classics. I also like Tolkien (the books, not the movies) and I adore books on folklore and mythology. I just love the great tales of our folklore and mythology: the Edda, the Kalevala, the Celtic canon, fairytales and folktales of Ireland, Wales, Bretagne, Scotland, Beowulf.

I have a great love for Hermann Hesse, Dostojevski, Chaim Potok, Jean Giono… To me, the greatest director ever is and always will be Andrei Tarkovsky. Unfortunately, he passed away too soon, but the films he made are just astonishing. No director comes close. Ok, Tarr and Zvjagintsev obviously were influenced by the great Andrei but still, they don’t come close.

A personal favourite film of both of us is Never Cry Wolf (1983) by C. Ballard. That movie is so beautiful and the soundtrack is stunning (Mark Isham). That soundtrack had a huge influence on Arduinna.

What makes it difficult for talented bands to release new albums?

Hmmm, money I guess. Well to be honest: I really admire people like Saor for instance. He releases his own albums, without a label, he built a fan following and just does the things he wants to, without a label interfering. I think nowadays it is much easier to release your music. You can go on Bandcamp, Soundcloud …And there are many underground labels (sometimes small, sometimes big) that are supporting new music projects.
Just do what you like, don’t compromise and have fun to make music, I’d say.

What are your plans, should we expect a new release?

Well, Arduinna is taking a long winter sleep for the moment. Since 2013 actually. It is mostly my fault actually. I have a family now and lately I just have less time to make music. We still have about a dozen unreleased songs and demo ready. So maybe someday we’ll do a comeback. Who knows?  I want to say though that despite us being non-active for all this time people still write us about Arduina, and lots people keep telling us how much they like our songs and videos. I want to say a big thank you to everyone who supported us and keeps supporting us! It is much appreciated!

Thank you very much!

Thank YOU for this opportunity! We really appreciate it!

discogs – Arduinna

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