Former purveyors of occult-steeped death metal turned forerunners of the gothic wave that’s swept through the underground, Sweden’s Tribulation are rumoured to be working on the follow-up to the spinetinglingly brilliant The Children Of The Night album, so beloved among Hammer staff it was voted number six in 2015’s Albums Of The Year poll.
Creativity, however, is a restless beast, and guitarist Jonathan Hultén is about to embark on an acoustic solo project with the release of a haunting, folk-tinged debut single, Nightly Sun. Steeped in classicism, heartfelt and spiritually liberating, it’s an autumnal ode and a pilgrimage into realms ‘twixt light and dark, set to a mesmerising video conceived and directed by the man himself - and we have an exclusive preview right here.
Remove yourself from the madding crowd, allow the path to enlightenment to reveal itself, acclimatise to the upper echelons of Nightly Sun below, and scroll further a (third)eye-opening interview with Jonathan Hultén!
Is there a link between the themes explored here and the themes on Tribulation. How would you describe the relationship between the two?
“For me all the forms of music I’ve been involved with have been different sides of the same coin, thematically and conceptually. Actually, in many cases I have written songs as acoustic pieces first and then just later adapted them into a rock or metal context. The form is different, but the core is consistent. The rock version might end up not having much to do with the acoustic version musically, but the lyrics and the message stays the same. Such is the case with for example Winds on Tribulation’s latest album.”
This song seems to touch on stillness, altered states and visions. Was there anything about the actual recording process that you used to help amplify those moods?
“It was recorded in a place with nature just outside the door, and spending time in that environment definitely helped. Especially when the actual recording process sometimes can be a real struggle, it’s good to have the opportunity to get out and sit and stare into the landscape for x amount of time. A meditative song works best with a meditative mind.”
Are there any acoustic artists you’ve found particularly inspiring?
“Oh yes, there is a ton of them! Especially if you count in all singer-songwriters as acoustic, then the list would be endless. Nick Drake’s Pink Moon holds a special place in my book, it’s just so unbelievably good, a real game-changer. There’s Jami Sieber, Anna Ternheim, Anna von Hausswolff, PJ Harvey, Elliot Smith (and so on, I could go on forever). Folk groups and like Kongero, Frifot, Bäsk have been very inspiring, and I just adore medieval and renaissance a capella like Tomás Luis de Victoria. Also, when rock bands do calmer’ songs they sometimes hit the exact right spot, and those gems are like milestones to me, like for example the Oh Me cover by Nirvana or Black Mountain Slide by Led Zeppelin.”
The video is very stark and minimalist but it’s a really journey too. Did you see it has having a narrative, and what effect were you after visually?
“There is a narrative, especially being expressed through the lyrics. The message is visually being communicated too, although in a more abstract way, more metaphorically. You could say that the video is portraying in images how the ’I’ in the lyrics feels while experiencing the course of events conveyed through the words. It is like the internal process visualised. The aim for the video is to put the viewer inside the head of the protagonist, to see what is going on in his mind and imagination while the transformation is taking place (which is what the song is about).”
What further plans do you have for the solo project, and does it feel like the beginning of a journey for you?
“It is indeed a beginning of a journey, a new chapter is waiting to be written. At the same time this aspect of music writing has always been with me, so it is more a matter of launching a ship that has been built on for many years rather than building an entirely new one. Either way, with this song I’m finally setting sail. More music and videos will come next year!”