This week we’re spotlighting the Australian dark folk/doom/atmospheric black project Suldusk in Meet The Band. Their full-length debut is Lunar Falls. Vocalist/guitarist Emily Highfield introduces us to her band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Suldusk.
I played in underground metal band and then took a long break from music. After the Bataclan terrorism attack, I was moved to pick up my guitar again. I felt hopeless and angry and didn’t know what to do with the emotion. I started uploading tracks on Soundcloud in 2017 and I got some encouraging responses from that community. I started recruiting live collaborators and played some shows, then decided to do an album as I knew what direction felt right.
I worked with producer Mark Kelson who has a doom metal background. I brought in the tracks and the brief was acoustic core with atmospheric black metal and post rock infusions. I loved the studio process although it took some time. The live shows have been tremendous. It has been an acoustic ensemble so far but we have opened for Anaal Nathrakh, Lindsay Schoolcraft and Zeal and Ardor. It has been a huge learning and fun experience, but I am now taking many months off to work on a bigger show. Fuller atmospheres which bring the sounds of the album to life.
Describe the songwriting process for Lunar Falls.
Usually a guitar progression comes with a feeling. It has to move me. I record a rough demo then work on lyrics and ideas.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
Ah, so many memories! From my fingers aching from callouses on callouses, to laughs and and goosebumps when sounds came together. A few tears of unabashed excruciating joy were also released.
How would you characterize its style/sound?
Neo folk acoustic sounds infused with elements of atmospheric black metal and post rock. A trek through a midnight forest.
What lyrical subjects do you tackle?
The quest for self identity in a misguided world. I do not see good things for humanity. I feel like a betrayed idealist so that is essentially the theme throughout.
Lunar Falls however, despite the direness, also represents a place of acceptance and surrender. Fuck it – live like you have never lived before and let mother nature’s beauty in all her glory, be your guide.
How did you come to sign with Northern Silence Productions?
I sent an EPK out to various labels that I thought might get it, and I got some offers. I decided to go with Torsten and Northern Silence Productions. He has spent a long time curating a certain roster of sounds – especially in atmospheric black metal. Also, he showed real passion and urgency for the project which matched my own! I am so proud to list Heretoir and Unreqvited as my label mates, and many other amazing bands Ghost Bath, Amesoeurs, and Saor got started with NSP.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
That people connect and find some solace in it. I am definitely finding that I am getting lots of message from music lovers around the world and it heartens me that there are others who understand the space I occupy and decide to visit me there.
What has been your most memorable Suldusk live show?
Supporting Anaal Nathrakh. We were described as the calm before the chaos. In so many ways we were the antithesis of what they do. But somehow the lineup worked brilliantly culminating in some crazy stage dives and such. Also Zeal and Ardor. I looked up and saw 400 eyes on me. The biggest crowd I have played to yet.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
I have been playing acoustically with an ensemble (two acoustics, tribal drum and cello). I have started rehearsing with a full band now and be playing my electric a lot more. However, the core of the sound will always be acoustically driven. I have some brilliant musicians around me and its been pure joy so far putting the new show together. There are plans for a US and European tour in 2020.
How did you get started in music?
Singing in a choir set me up with the affliction. Then of course, as a teen and in my twenties heading into the dark side, with metal of all types.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Agalloch, Simon and Garfunkle, Opeth, Black Sabbath, Kate Bush, Janis Joplin, Hole, Evanescence.
What was the first rock/metal concert you attended?
I was lucky enough to see Pantera. I still have hearing loss from that one.
Read any good books lately?
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath, Wild – Cheryl Strayed and Milk and Honey poems by Rupi Kaur. I’m into memoirs.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Psychonaut, Unreqvited, Austere. Enjoying lots of depressive suicidal black metal which will probably influence the next album. Also at the moment Sigur Ros and Alcest – but they are always my go tos.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Yes, I will be making a live recording with my acoustic ensemble soon which will uploaded onto the Suldusk You Tube page. Essentially it will be the first official upload.
(interview published April 13, 2019)
Watch Suldusk – “Aphasia” Video