By nature, dungeon synth artists tend to be a fairly prolific lot. Yet even by those standards, French project Wyvernsnout is pretty remarkable. A cursory glance at the number of releases on his Bandcamp page would likely give one the impression that he’s been making music as Wyvernsnout for years. An understandable guess, but wrong – try less than a year. And you know what? It’s all pretty damn good, too.
Fresh off the release of his latest full-length Forgotten Stories, which is currently available in a very limited run of 20 CDs on Bandcamp, I had the opportunity to chat with the individual behind the “simple project to clear my mind after difficult moments,” as the Wyvernsnout Facebook page puts it. Check it out below, and give Forgotten Stories a listen while you’re at it.
Indy Metal Vault: Hey, so first off I want to thank you for the interview. I was looking around online to see if you’d done any others, and I wasn’t able to find anything, so I appreciate you being willing to chat with me. I’m a bit surprised, however, that you have the time to do so. I was aware that you’re a prolific artist, but I didn’t realize the scope of it until I tried to put together your discography and saw that you just started releasing music as Wyvernsnout last May. Including the “Finit Hic Deo” single you put out earlier this week, you’ve done 22 releases in a span of about nine months. So here’s my first question – how on earth have you made that much music in so short a time? Did you have a backlog of unreleased music before you started releasing it, or has it all been composed in the last nine months as well?
Wyvernsnout: Hi my friend. Thanks to you for the opportunity to express myself about Wyvernsnout. It is true; it is the first interview I’ve done about this project.
I take the time, when I can, to do music with Wyvernsnout. I do not consider myself as prolific as you think, but I am always impatient. When I create a track, I can wait some days, seeing if inspiration comes for other tracks or not. When I am satisfied with what I have, I put it on Bandcamp with artwork done using my few skills. To be honest, there could be more tracks as I have lot of melodies coming into my head and I don’t always have what I need to write it down (late during the night when I’m sleeping, or when I’m at work).
Everything was composed during the last nine months between other projects I started like Oxalaia (digital/experimental and atmospheric black metal, yeah it is weird), BloodCrown Records (which I had to stop to focus on my personal life and the other projects), and Undead Crowned (digital death/slam metal, three tracks for now but trying to do more in the coming months).
Nine months is just a small bit of the time I’ve spent creating music. I start years ago with a cybergrind project called Fetus Disease, and came to dungeon synth maybe two years ago with Mithril, when I felt in love with black metal and its related subgenres. It was a way to express my feelings and give homage to the things I like (fantasy, medieval, or pagan related universes). I am much honored to be part of this guild of talented artists.
IMV: What’s the origin of the name Wyvernsnout? I know what a wyvern is, but the addition of the snout makes it a bit difficult to interpret. Is there any significance behind the name?
W: Ha ha, it is really simple. I was looking for a good name for the project. I think the name is a big part of the reputation of the project. It has to fit as closely as possible to the style of the project, like the artwork needs to represent what the music is. So I was looking for the name, and came to a random-fantasy-name generator, was clicking to generate names, and Wyvernsnout appeared. It was not obvious to me so I was looking for an accurate translation in French. It can be translated as “The Wyvern’s Mouth.” And you don’t know what the Wyvern Snout can do, ha ha. So finally I choose a name that lit a torch in my heart.
IMV: Because of that degree of inscrutability, Wyvernsnout really is a perfect moniker for the project. In many ways, your music is nearly impossible to pin down – you’ve done lo-fi dungeon synth, ambient records, horror-influenced records, synth covers of black metal songs, cosmic records, medieval records…where does all of this stylistic variation come from? Is it a creative restlessness, or does it stem from somewhere else?
W: The only constant topic is “fantasy,” in any way possible. I think it comes from all the stuff I listen to, I read, and I watch. Sometimes it plants a seed and grows and changes into melodies and tracks. I am actually reading The Witcher, so maybe it will inspire me. I am also watching Vikings, so it could influence something in the future. I like fantasy, horror themes, the occult, a bit of religious stuff (modern or not). As you noticed, I recently upload a track inspired by the horror movie The Nun (not the best in the franchise). I was “touched” by the music, the horror ambient music, and was inspired to create this track. When I started creating music, I tried some ambient, atmospheric, harsh noise, combined with my inspirations, to give this range of styles in my music. Maybe I will be inspired by pop music, and create pop dungeon soon if it has not already been done…
No, I’m joking. Pop is garbage now, haha.
IMV: Forgotten Stories, your latest record, was supposed to come out on March 12. However, you ended up releasing it early, on February 2. Why were you so impatient to get this newest album out into the world?
W: As I said, I’m impatient. And when you’re satisfied with what you create, I believe it is not necessary to come back again and again to the tracks, reworking them, because you can lose what it was that made you like the track. I already reworked the songs done with the Mithril project, because I think it was nice to come back to my first project and try new sounds I discovered with these tracks. But in the case of Forgotten Stories,and Wyvernsnout in a general way, I’m satisfied with every track I’ve done, even if they’re not perfect. It is “art,” ha ha.
IMV: Going back to the topic of variance, Forgotten Stories is easily the most diverse record in your discography, touching on nearly style you’ve explored on previous releases and adding a few new ones besides. While the variety takes a bit of getting used to, I also think it ends up working in the album’s favor since Forgotten Stories clocks in at a generous 65 minutes. The notes on the record’s Bandcamp page mention that it’s “articulated around different stories, characters or places out of my imagination, evolving in different times and different environments.” Does that mean that you were envisioning the album as a sort of ‘short stories in musical form’ collection as you were composing it?
W: It appeared after the writing of the fourth track. I looked at the titles I had given the songs, and was thinking it would be a great way to compose the album. Some tracks were composed before the writing of the story, some were after, and some were composed after the titles were written. The variety of sounds comes from the stories. A track about a vampire should not sound like a track about a lost love, for sure, even if you love the vampire.
IMV: What is your songwriting process like? Based on the quality and sheer volume of your output, I’m guessing you likely have some sort of formal training is composition or music theory?
W: I never learned how to write stuff with a teacher or a professional musician, I learned myself by doing it my way. Sometimes I write riffs on my guitars, sometime a let my fingers dance on my keyboard, and it either comes or not. If it doesn’t give me something, I stop writing and leave it for few days.
IMV: Since you make use of a lot of different sounds and textures on Forgotten Stories, I had this picture in my head of you surrounded by a dozen different pieces of musical gear and a kilometer’s worth of wires like some kind of musical mad scientist while you were recording it. So imagine my surprise when I saw on your Bandcamp that you only used two pieces of gear, one of which was a guitar: a Keystation Mini 32 MIDI keyboard, and an ESP LTD Ex-50. I take that to mean most of those tones and textures are courtesy of VSTs? What are some of your favorite plug-ins?
W: I like the image of me you have. But no, as you noticed I am not surrounded by gear. For sure, VSTs are the blood of the Wyvernsnout sound. I am always looking for new ones. My favorites are the MT PowerDrumsKit, which is really excellent, and the DSK VSTs collection that offers many sounds and textures. And also GuitaRig 4.
IMV: Thus far, not much of Wyvernsnout’s discography has been available in physical format, but I did notice that you have a digipack-CD compilation called First Journey on the way at some point in the ‘first quarter’ of 2019, with some really cool items for the special editions. Is there any chance of any of the longer releases from 2018 will be issued on other formats? Personally, my favorite Wyvernsnout release is HER– I’d love to see that come out on cassette at some point.
W: Actually, the First Journey compilation is on hold, and may never happen. I don’t know if I will continue working on it or release CDs of previous EPs and albums. The Interstellar Monasterytapes are now sold out on my part; I don’t know if Ancient Meadow Records have some left. I did it DIY style, but if I do tapes again, I will do it in a professional way. I like tapes, but I prefer CDs. I don’t know what the future will hold for Wyvernsnout in term of physical releases. I’ll call the dungeon synth labels now. Maybe something will happen, ha ha.
IMV: Speaking of HER, do you see yourself continuing to do those sorts of shorter, themed releases? Or do you think more of your 2019 releases will be along the lines of Forgotten Stories?
W: I don’t know. It comes as it comes, so we will see what happen. I have no plans for composing in the future, but I have ideas. I want to try more acoustic guitars, something “medieval-folk-ish,” and also a piano and violin duo, or only piano. I don’t know if it will be EPs or a full-length with a dedicated topic or not.
IMV: Even though you’re having a track for the Shadowlore Dungeon Synth Compilations revealed there, you’re not making the trek to the US to play Northwest Dungeon Siege. Do you have an interest in playing live at any point, or are you content to keep Wyvernsnout a studio-only project?
W: How do you know I won’t come? No, for sure, it is too far from my country. I would like to see this kind of event in Europe, in France for sure. Wyvernsnout is a studio project. I can’t play live, as I have no knowledge about live gear and organization.
By the way, I really would like to do a video clip for a track, a future one or a past one. I think dungeon synth needs more video clips, even in a DIY style. The video clip gives a final touch to the track. I have ideas for a video clip.
IMV: Aside from the First Journey compilation, what else do you have planned for the next few months? Is there anything new on the horizon for your side project Oxalaia?
W: Oxalaia was an attempt to deliver something different from Wyvernsnout. Oxalaia had some influence on the last Wyvernsnout album, on “Black Citadel” and “The Battle of Nurn Hirnbahel.” The project is not dead; it is simply that I am waiting for the right time to release new songs with Oxalaia. Like everything else, I have ideas for this project, but nothing too clear.
IMV: Thanks again for being willing to answer a few questions. I like to leave the final word to the artists – anything else you want to add?
W: Thank you for your questions and support, my friend. I would like to thank everyone who’s supporting Wyvernsnout in any way possible. Go give a support to Heidnir Webzine (FR), Le Scriptorium (FR), Kalteldur (DK), and Ancient Meadow Records.