Interview with A.K. of Decline Of The I
The French Decline Of The I, a project led by A.K. – a musician known from a vast number of cognoscible underground metal acts such asVorkreist, Merrimack, Neo Inferno 262, Malhkebre, Diapsiquir, Eros Necrospique etc. The debut album is a bold conjunction of quality Post Black Metal influences: the band describes itself as a mix betweenBurzum, Neurosis and Code.
HMA: Wanted to commence by asking, why “The Decline of the I”? What symbolism and meaning does the name conceal?
Decline of the I: There are a lot of significations behind this name. Some are very personnal. If you translate it to French, it’s the anagram of something very close to me. It’s also the name of a song from the last album of Love Lies Bleeding, my previews solo project. We live in a world that comes to an end. An early end. And it’s obvious that the vision of what the self is, is one of the reason of our end. Unable to feel any real empathy, we are just preoccupied by who we can get more and more pleasure, faster and faster. It’s just fucking sad… So here is one signification of this decline of the I.
But, in another perspective, it can be seen more optimistic. One of the few soteriological issues would be to accept a solubility of the self to espace from individuality. I’m not talking about hippy things, like connecting with the love of Earth or shit like that. Just to feel the link to a greater energy, to Life, as Nietzsche describes it. What go through us, all this wave we have to accept. Amor fati, in other words…
HMA: Can you tell us the meaning behind “From the body which withers to the body which withdraws and turns abstract…”?
Decline of the I: It’s a kind of paraphrase to describe in a way what is the decline of the I. The absence of indivuadility, to become pure essence. Just a vague idea.
HMA: I believe that your latest album is the first part of a trilogy; can you reveal us what are the subject matters and how this trinity is formed? What does it signify?
Decline of the I: It’s about Henri Laborit’s theory. He’s a great biologist who made lot of important discovers.
I wanted to work from his research on responses to aggressions. Put a rat in a cage. A beep warns that the cage will be electrified. There is a space, in the cage, where there is no electric shock. After a while, the rat understands, and as soon as he hears the signal, he runs toward the safe place. We measure his health : no pb, he’s fine. So, here is the firt reaction to an aggression: escaping.
2nd experience: the same as the previews one, but there is no safe place. So the rat can’t escape and has to received the electric shocks. His health decreased after a while, he’s about to die… 2nd reaction : inhibition of action.
3rd experience: same as the 2nd one, but we put a 2nd rat in the cage. When the cage is electrified, the 2 rats fight against each other. It changes nothing to the amount of chock they receive. Just like in the 2nd experience. But, very interesting : after a while, their health is still good ! 3rd reaction : violence.
It really show that what kills the rat in the 2nd experience is not the electric shock but the impossibility of doing anything : he can’ act. And in the 3rd experience, even if the action of the 2 rats are useless, they don’t return their energy against themselves, because they act. The worst thing in life is to be in inhibition of action, to be stuck.
And we are, at a lot of degrees, inhibited in our everyday life : society, morale, religion, family etc. All these structures can be our electrified cage, with no escape, except madness… or art.
HMA: The cover for “Inihibition” is sensual and fleshy, would you agree that the music also transmit these emotions?
Decline of the I: It’s exactly that. I just knew that I wanted black and white, a picture more than a drawing, and something very visceral. It’s a good representation of what “trapped in oneself “means. We really see and feel the boundaries of the body, like if the model wanted to escape from this prison. But as it’s impossible by the outside, she tries by the inside. You can also find, in the artwork, a poster made of parts of bodies that are assembled in a way you don’t recognize them. “A body without organs” would have said Deleuze.
HMA: What creative process did you follow or what was the inspiration?
Decline of the I: I was inspired a lot by Laborit’s work but also by was I was living at that time. It wasn’t a very pleasant moment, so I guess I needed to create that kind of music. I wanted something that fit with this state of mind of depression, neurasthenia. It wasn’t a way to go deeper, but the opposite : it helped me a lot, it was a cure. Cioran allways said that he would have killed himself if he didn’t have written his books. It’s a way of getting rid of what crawls inside and kill us, slowly. Composing is an act of surviving.
HMA: The mastermind behind the photography?
Decline of the I: It’s Miss October from Abrakadabra. They have another approach of the metal artwork as they work outside this aera. They are also responsible for the last Vorkreist’s sigil and layout.
HMA: Also on “Inihibition” we feel electronic textures, how this rather unusual composition found its way?
Decline of the I: Maybe it’s unusual for the listener but it’s quite natural for me. I compose electronic stuff sinces years. For exemple on Neo Inferno 262 or in Diapsiquir. I don’t have a plan, definied, when I start a track. I just know what are the tools I have, then I use them when I feel it right. For Decline of the I, I’m not into traditions or “usual protocol for an evil black metal song” haha. So, if it’s trip-hop that comes naturally for me, so be it. As long as it fits, I’ve no boundaries.
HMA: The album intro is deeply intriguing, can you share its meaning?
Decline of the I: The samples are taken from the movie “Le feul follet” by Louis Malle. It’s about suicide. It’s about a guy who try to find a reason to live by visiting all his old friend. Each one has a reason to live (art, family, parties…), but none of these convinces him, so he shoots himself. It’s also a a reference to Love Lies Bleeding, as the last album has some samples from the same movie.
HMA: Any plans to take the recordon the road?
Decline of the I: Not sure yet if I’ll do gigs with DOTI. But if it’s happens, it won’t be regular shows for sure. Maybe some projections, yes, and maybe other things more linked with the flesh, like dancers maybe…
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