It's a pleasure to have you in the Pit of the Damned, you are the first woman I am interviewing. Crown of Asteria is a one woman band, it is unusual, could you let us know much more about this project?
Thank you for the opportunity. The project was meant as a reprieve from the noisy modern world. A refuge for balance in the fast paced, over stimulated society most of us dwell in. A place where I could write of my own experiences in the Michigan wilderness, along with some myths and legends, and Earth based spirituality. Asteria was the Titan goddess of falling stars and perhaps of nighttime divination such as oneiromancy (by dreams) and astrology (by stars). She was the mother of Hekate (Hecate), goddess of witchcraft, by the Titan Perses. This aspect of the project was to include the Feminine/Priestess energy found within the music.
You founded it on 2011, which was the reason of this, and why by yourself? I don't believe that in Michigan you were not able to find other guys for the development of this project. Was your personal need to stay alone in order to explicate your inner feelings?
The reason for doing it by myself, was exactly as you stated. I needed the alone time and to express myself without pressure from others. I'm very much introverted and reserved, and I work best alone. It's also a very personal vision and drive for Crown of Asteria, so it's also not easy to reach out to people. I have found it to be a delicate situation. However, if I find the right people with similar personalities and ambitions I welcome them to join in on the project.
The first demo is dated 2013, then a parade of split albums, EPs, full lenghts and many more. Where do you find such inspiration?
I wrote that between your influences I can mention Agalloch and Panopticon, but in general it is possible to find the Cascadian black metal without forgetting a strong folk vein, ambient influcenses (maybe Burzum?) and also something of Dissection in the epic sound of "Sky-Nail", do you agree with my analysis or is there something more inside your music?
As for inspiration. I find it everywhere, from old spiritual Tomes to a simple walk in the Forest. I try to leave inspiration open to flow, not one thing in particular. The bands you stated are very accurate in my influences, Ulver and Enslaved as well. I very much like traditional folk music and soundtracks too. Of course, there is more to the music as well. It's really my entire life poured out into a very free spirited approach, symbolically and metaphorically. 'Cycles' was written for my Father that passed away for instance. Crown of Asteria has been a salve for many emotional wounds. It has helped me work through learning experiences and growth in my universal understanding. It also has allowed me to take my place as a steward of the Earth, to humbly represent why we must all keep our compassion for the Earth rooted in protecting her.
What about the lyrics? Was I wrong saying that appears that you picked up from the Finnish mythology? Why such interest in that matter? Are your lyrics in some way influenced by the landscape that is surrounding you?
As for Lyrics, I simply attempt to keep whatever I'am writing about authentic by singing in the original language. So you will find Norwegian, Norse, Finnish, Swedish, Gaelic laced throughout the music depending on the themes. The reason for this is because I take great care to keep the original text in tact when orating myths or runic text, personal experiences etc. The interest in ancient text, and of Finland is because I simply have a pull toward those topics. I feel more at home emotionally and spiritually in the eras long gone. Where I live has a very old history and ancestry with the Finnish people, so it's just natural to be interested in the culture. Michigan has large number of Finnish immigrants, that moved mainly to the Upper Peninsula and they brought their beautiful stories with them.
You are responsible for playing all the instruments of your albums, how do you live such situation? Is it difficult to manage everything by yourself? And what do you do in your daily life if you spend most of your time playing music? Just for my curiosity.
I do play all the instruments, however, Crown of Asteria isn't a live band. I don't really write music yet to play live, maybe in the near future there may be a special occasion but it's not one of my main goals at the moment. As for managing everything myself, it is indeed a lot of work. It can be difficult to do everything sometimes, but in general I take so much care in the music that I find it difficult to let others handle it. I do plan at some point to invite another member to the band to delegate responsibilities with.
In my daily life, I work pretty much all the time. When I'am not working, I use the time I have for music and nature. I enjoy reading, gardening, films and my pets.
You are releasing many albums, however you have the time also for a side-project, Iarnvidjur, where, once againg you are by yourself proposing ambient punk and black metal, why this decision? Was not possible to release both the Ep and the full length with the moniker Crown of Asteria? Could you let us know much more about this project?
Iarnvidjur was an experiment. It was meant to be focused more in the vein of traditional black metal, or blackened crust. I wanted something darker, viscous, opulent, and a bit cinematic feeling. I'm still of course developing the sound to what I want it to be. It's an outlet for my inspiration with the romanticism era of painters, poets, authors. The material was too far away from Crown of Asteria's sound (whatever that may be these days) to release it under the name.
Due to the nature of your bands, I assume that it would not be possible to see you on stage, wouldn't be it?
As for playing live, this may be a possibility in the future but not necessarily with these projects. So keep an eye out.
Which are the next steps of your bands, are there other albums ready to be released?
The next steps in the both bands is of course writing new albums. Both bands will have guests appearing and possibly new members. I have a lot of things going on and I'am quite busy to my detriment sometimes haha.
And now my recurrent last question: during my face to face interviews in my radio show, I am used to ask for the desert island list: three books, three records and three movies you cannot live without?
Oh the desert island questions are tough ones. I'll try my best.
1) Les Fleurs du mal - Charles Baudelaire
2) Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner - Samuel Coleridge
3) Secret Teachings of All Ages - Manly P Hall
1) Bram Stoker's Dracula Soundtrack - Wojciech Kilar
2) If I Shall Fall from the Grace of God - The Pogues
3) Rain Dogs - Tom Waits
1) Dracula (1931)
2) Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)
3) Häxan (1922)
Thanks a lot Meghan, it was an interesting chat. I leave you these last lines for the Italian fans.
I want to thank you for the time and interest in my music and projects. I stayed in Italy for the Summer last year and it was an absolute delight. Thank you for your beautiful culture and art. Having fans overseas is an amazing feeling, I'am truly and beyond humbled.
(Francesco Scarci for The Pit of the Damned)