Andrew Markuszewski (Avichi) interviewed

** Originally slated for an early July release, Avichi’s new album, Catharsis Absolute, is now coming this October. If the stars align. Below is a conversation with Avichi mastermind Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski about what separates Catharsis Absolute from its predecessor The Devil’s Fractal. We also explore the spiritual and personal concepts behind it.
What is black metal to you?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: Black metal is chaos evolving.

Do you view Avichi as parallel to what’s happening in black metal or independent of it?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: My view of Avichi is now completely transparent to whatever is currently happening in regards to black metal. I admire black metal and such metal bands for their ferocity and passions, but the basic imagery and re-imaginations of it have obviously run their course nowadays. What I’m trying to do now with Avichi is something perpendicular to everything I know. Really, I’m striving to do as such with everything I do.

What do you think separates solo work from band or collaborative work?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: Solo work is the epitome of the individual.

Is it more about freedom of control or is there something less tangible?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: There’s the freedom of control of course, but that is only a part of it. It can also be an intense experience of self-discovery.

Fundamentally, what separates The Devil’s Fractal from Catharsis Absolute?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: The whole energy of Catharsis Absolute is completely different. The songs are more repetitive and hypnotic. The lyrics are more thought provoking and meditative. Also, Catharsis Absolute is the first real solo record I’ve done. I spent a year teaching myself to read drum notation and play drums through various training videos and books, and it’s the first record where I actually played everything. I basically put myself through a Spartan workout of drumming. The first two Avichi records each had a different drummer.

Do you view Catharsis Absolute as a separate entity from its forebears or part of Avichi’s lineage?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: No matter what, Catharsis Absolute is a part of Avichi’s lineage, and although it’s content has jumped across some great chasm so to speak, its evolution feels very natural to me.

Catharsis Absolute has an intro and an outro. How do these bookends relate to the music between them?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: They’re just some piano pieces I quickly put together in the studio on this ancient Steinway. A more gentle way of starting and finishing the record. I ended up using some piano on every song, so it all ends up feeling tied together.

Is there a song you feel connected to for one reason or another?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: “Voice of Intuition.” I really like the way this song came out. I wrote most of the lyrics for the record while in the studio, and I intentionally came in unprepared in many areas. “Voice of Intuition” really showcases some of the best I know ‘in me’.

What kind of topics are you marrying to the music?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: Transcendence, ego-dissipation, ego-reacknowledgement—the self unsheathed. Every record always has something to do with the name Avichi itself. The first two records were more focused upon the selfish and brutal aspects of the human condition reflected by traditional satanic and dark imagery. This one is more about the inevitable catharsis of such conditions. I’m interpreting some of my own perceptions of the wheel of life. In a way, all the records have a bit of catharsis to them, but that’s part of who I am. I am dark. I am light. I am both unsparing and merciful. My spirituality is feral. Catharsis is just a part of the relative universe.

Is Avichi your main outlet or do you feel creatively split between Avichi and Lord Mantis?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: Creatively, I can enter a studio at any point of time and apply myself to the job at hand whether it’s for Avichi, Lord Mantis, or something else I’m doing. I have no problem maintaining an outlet for both. It does take a good amount of patience from others whom I work with, but I’m also patient with them in return. When I work on Avichi, everything else sort of recedes into the background.

What’s your next move?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: Lord Mantis is going to get some recording dates booked soon for the next record. Meanwhile, I’m going to continue drumming when I return from Poland where I’ve enjoyed being with my kin for the last month. I’m not too excited about leaving. Here is where my heart is. Cheers!

** Avichi’s new album, Catharsis Absolute, is out October 1st on Profound Lore Records. It’s not available for pre-order yet, but check Profound Lore’s Facebook for updates.