Erang is a one man artistic and musical entity embroiled in the fantastical world of Dungeon Synth. With a substantial discography spanning over several different genres and too many influences to list, he has crafted and nurtured a vast mythos of characters and environments all within the realm of the mythical landscape known as the "Kingdom of Erang".
In this interview we discuss the various intricacies of his music as well as his inspirations such as; RPGs, movies, literature and art. We also delve into the inherent escapist qualities of fantasy and Dungeon Synth as well as the importance of imagination and the appeal of honest, intimate and unpolished amature creativity.
Evceles: Greetings Erang, and thank you for agreeing to do this interview.
Erang: The pleasure is all mine!
Evceles: What were you doing before starting Erang; and what inspired you to start the project?
Erang: Interesting question as I've recently uploaded a video that partly answers it [LINK] I've always made music and drawings related to my inner Kingdom... until I came across a blog about dungeon synth and discovered the music of Mortiis and Lord Lovidicus... I thought I was alone and then I realized that other people might enjoy this "low-fi" fantasy music too. That's why I decided to share my music with the outside world.
Evceles: Is Erang a person, a place or both?
Evceles: It seems that Erang may embody an entire mythos such as 'Lord Of The Rings' or an RPG. Is this the case?
Erang: Definitely. There are many places (like the Dark Dungeon, the underwater kingdom, the frozen forest, Lobrok, etc.) and characters (such as the drunken tyrant, the stone giant, etc.). I made a map, you can download it here [Link], and I have many background stories. My music is only the tip of the iceberg you know... and I'm currently writing a (short) novel about my own world.
Evceles: What is your affinity with dragons?
Erang: Well, I guess that being a fan of Medieval Fantasy without having a love for dragons would be weird...
Evceles: What are some of your favourite RPGs and why?
Erang: I don't play RPG's anymore because I devoted all my free time to my music. But I have fond memories of playing MERPG, Stormbringer and Hawkmoon... and about video games, I was totally in love with Zelda III a link to the past and Secret of Mana and I still deeply love them. Recently, I've started a campaign of "Descent" the tabletop game, and it's awesome. I have a great time playing it, it reminds me of Hero Quest (that I used to play as a child).
Evceles: Would you say nostalgia plays a big part in Erang?
Erang: Nostalgia is my Kingdom.
Evceles: Your music is very melodic. Do you have a melody in your head before recording, or do you make it up as you go?
Erang: Thanks for noticing; I put a lot of work and great care into my melodies... To me, melody is the most important thing... Concerning your questions, it depends, but most of the time I think the melody comes as I'm working on a song.
Evceles: How does your music come to you?
Erang: Sometimes an atmosphere or a melody comes into my head like a thunder, other times I sit down on my computer and I start to experiment with sounds and instruments until it inspires me. I'm also influenced by external sources such as movies, books and, of course, other music. I try to think about the aspects I like about these other pieces of art and how I could express them within my own music.
Evceles: You can be seen wearing a very distinctive skull mask with corpse paint. What is the significance of the mask?
Erang: This mask is very important to me and it completely symbolizes the "spirit" of Erang. As I often say; the "Man with no Face" is the ghost of the shadows from the past. with that being said, I hope that everyone will derive their own significance from the mask. I also made a song about it, "The Man With No Face", you can check it here: https://erang.bandcamp.com/track/the-man-with-no-face
Evceles: I assume that you use some VST synths and instruments. Do you have a 'go to' VST or some favourites for making music?
Erang: It depends and changes from time to time but I mostly use soundfonts in fact, old ones, haha: most of the things I use to make music are almost vintage, but I often change them to "challenge" me because always using the same "tools" sometimes tends to make you create similar songs.
Evceles: Do you use any analogue synths?
Erang: No, even if I love their sound.
Evceles: There has always been some overlap between dungeon synth and black metal especially in the early days as there are many common themes and influences between the two genres. Do you listen to any black metal; and if so, could you share with us some of the artists you enjoy?
Erang: First I'd like to add something; there are of course influences from black metal, "interludes" in dungeon synth, but dungeon synth is a musical genre on his own and is not a "subgenre" of black metal. Today, dungeon synth is a vast musical genre with lots of roots and lots of branches. Black metal is definitely not the only influence in dungeon synth; if you ask people into black metal if they make dungeon synth when they compose an interlude or an intro, I'm almost sure that the vast majority of them will answer "no". Dungeon synth comes mostly from escapism and fantasy. For instance, I personally consider an RPG (like Dungeons & Dragons) or Tolkien being far more influential in the "substance" of dungeon synth. To answer your question, I really love Summoning. I also like a lot of Burzum and Bathory. I love the album Enthrone Darkness Triumphant by Dimmu Borgir, but not the rest of their discography, except their first album. I like very much some tracks from Windir and Xasthur to. That's most of my favorites I guess.
Evceles: Who are some of your favourite Dungeon Synth artists?
Erang: Lord Lovidicus, Hedge Wizard, Arathgoth, Wintercry,... there are many others and I definitely need to take some time to dig more into Sequestered Keep!