THE LOCAL PIT STOP ZINE
INTERVIEW BY MS.CHAOS, NOVEMBER 2011
Its been a little more than a year since my buddy Marc and I talked. Seeing him grow into this master musician is incredible, today I would like to talk with Marc and find out whats been going on in the world of Ambient Music! With two releases out and one on the way, lets see what my friend has been up to!
Hello Marc, Thank you for sitting here with Ms. Chaos today, How are you doing?
Hi there! I am fine, Thank You!
How are you dealing with the freezing weather up there in Norway?
Not as good as I had hoped. You’d think I would be used to Norwegian winters by now but apparently not. The temperature dropped below freezing a few days back and I immediately became sick. I will survive (hehe).
Tell us about your success and how your fan base is growing at a huge rate? How do you feel?
Well, it has been steady really. The debut album sold at a steady rate and has now sold out. I wouldn’t say I have a huge fan base to be honest but then with this type of ambient music things do tend to be on a small scale. I do however have a number of people worldwide whome have been very supportive on every level and are to my surprise loyal. That means more to me than having thousands of people who you can’t rely on. If that makes any sense?? I really am appreciative of the support I have received.
I want to know about Quartier 23. What kinds of things does Quartier23 offer to the public and other musicians?
Well, Quartier23 is a German label which is run by a fine young man called Marco. It is home to several bright young stars, Melankolia, Akoustik Timbre Frekuency, Tamerlan, Immundus to name a few.The label itself focuses on music that is different and unique… special. Alot of this has been in the Ambient field of things. I highly recommend checking out the releases, past and present if you can. What the label offers to the public first and foremost is great music, that has nice top quality packaging and for a nice price. For whatever else is on offer you would have to go to the official website.
Ethereal Forest and Gil-Galad are two other projects you have. How are they different than your “Hoyland Project”? We mentioned earlier that we wanted to talk about these other two bands, what are your goals for each band and how do they fit in with your schedule with the new releases from Hoyland?
Well, Ethereal Forest is waaay different to Hoyland in the fact that it isn’t even the same musical style. Ethereal Forest is a Black Metal band that I do. Gil-Galad as you know from our earlier conversation is a collaboration between Melankolia’s Mike O’Brien and myself. In some ways there are similarities with Gil-Galad and Hoyland, for obvious reasons, yet on the other hand different, because of Mike’s influence. It works well. My goal for these two projects at this time is to finish the albums that we are making. The Ethereal Forest album has been sat idle for just over a year now, primarily because we don’t have the finances to finish it. It’s really close though. Gil-Galad has taken a bit of a back seat of late primarily because Mike and myself have been concentration on our music for Melankolia and Hoyland. But we will be returning to the work that needs to be done for the first Gil-Galad album and finishing what we began.
Lets talk about the first album which was released and sold out called “Dance of the Twilight Stars”. What kind of success did you have with the album?
The response from that album has been great, almost overwhelming for me when I hear people talk about what it means to them. I tell you, from my original idea of making the CDs myself in a small limited number, that album has surpassed everything I expected it to. It really put my name on the map in a number of peoples lives, to me that is the success I wished to achieve. I haven’t heard that album in a while.
Your second release called “Dreams Within A Dream” was released a few weeks ago! Has this e.p. inspired you more than the first release? How has this e.p. changed you? You seem a little more relaxed on this release, so easy flowing steady stream of ambient music. Can you tell my readers what inspired you and why this release seems to be possibly your favorite?
Dreams Within a Dream, I guess the title speaks for itself somewhat (hehe). The inspiration for this release is primarily how I was feeling and what I was experiencing at the time. I started to make the songs around autumn time of 2011. It’s my favorite part of the year, the colours and everything like that. I find it very awe inspiring. Also another inspiration was actual dreams. I see dreams as a kind of journey, a mind journey, maybe even some kind of astral projection in a spiritual sense. The I started asking myself “What is reality??”, “Are we living in reality or are we part of something else’s dream??” Hard to explain what I mean. I’m not asking my listeners to take these things literally, they can interpret the tracks as they want, but that is what inspired me to make these songs. Just questioning life and what is real.. or unreal. I couldn’t say if this release is my favorite so far. It is different in the production value to “Dance of the Twilight Stars” But the same effort went into both releases. They are just different in some way and yet similar in others. Some of the song ideas that you hear on “Dreams Within a Dream” have been around as long as the first album, little fragments that got left behind. It is currently available for listening and download through the official Hoyland bandcamp page.
I am listening to “Dreams within a Dream”. It doesn’t sound so dark but it is quite lovely. Tell us some more history behind it?
Well, as I mentioned earlier “Dreams withing a Dream” went into production in the Autumn of 2011. At this time I had been overseeing the last remaining things to be done on the second Hoyland album. The production values have raised alot since “Dance of the Twilight Stars”. That album was put together with any equipment I could lay my hands on at the time. I ungraded Mirkwood Studios with lots of new software and things after that album was completed and released in 2010. The summer of that same year we started work on the Gil-Galad stuff and the sounds was immediately noticeably better. The winter of 2010 I started work on the second Hoyland album, which at the time had no title or any sense of direction. Towards the completion of this album I started to think I needed to break the silence that had happened with Hoyland, albeit I had a few compilation appearances. So I began with the e.p. The feeling of the e.p. is (excuse the pun) dreamy. I intended it to be this way. I think it still has some dark elements to it, maybe at deeper levels. The darkest track on the whole thing I think is Cthulhu Rising, which is a little demo and taste to what is coming with the second album “Upon the Mountain Vastlands”. That being said I have never seen the music of Hoyland as being blacker than black darkness. I want it to embrace many different emotions and different topics and themes. Well, as I mentioned earlier “Dreams withing a Dream” went into production in the Autumn of 2011. At this time I had been overseeing the last remaining things to be done on the second Hoyland album. (Note – The version of Dreams spoken about here has since been deemed a demo version by Marc)
Can you tell us whats next in the future? as far as new albums or your new projects concern?
Well, the next thing as far as Hoyland is concerned is the release of the second album which is titled “Upon the Mountain Vastlands”. I am really proud of this album and I feel it is a natural progression from its predecessor “Dance of the Twilight Stars”. It is now into it’s mastering stage which is being handled by Priapus23 of Akoustik Timbre Frekuency at Sombre Soniks Studios in England. I am currently negotiating a release date with Quartier23 but it looks set for an early 2012 release, maybe January. We will have to wait and see what happens.I have already started planning for the next 2 Hoyland albums. They will be concept albums. That is all I can tell you at this moment. With Ethereal Forest we need to go back into the studio in Oslo and record all vocals. All the music is finished. Once that album is set to be released we will look at the live situation and proceed accordingly. The situation with Gil-Galad will be at the moment an “as and when we have the time to progress we will” situation. We don’t want to rush the material for this as it has to be right and capture what we feel is the Tolkien feeling to the best of our abilities. We have to be happy with the final results. I also have some other things in the pipeline… Another project. But I don’t feel I should reveal those details just yet. Early days!! I will reveal the details of these other things in good time.(hehe)
Whats your motivation or influences you have had in the making of the upcoming Hoyland album Upon the Mountain Vastlands?
As always regarding the making of the Hoyland material there are many influences. Nature, life, cinema and literature being the usual suspects. Sometimes other pieces of music will inspire me, or parts of music. I am always eager to create new music and I always have a handful of ideas at hand. Unless I get writers block which can occur from time to time. But that passes quickly for me. There are alot of natural influences on this album. I think that is quite normal when you live in a country like Norway. There is some really beautiful scenery here. The forests are vast and there are of course the mountains. I guess upgrading the studio gave me a big kick to start writing fresh Hoyland material also. I can’t wait for people to hear the results.
You have had alot to say today and I thank you for sitting her with Ms. Chaos of Heathen Productions and The Local Pit Stop, I look forward to more interviews with you as your music grows into this beautiful withering flower. Will you keep in touch? Let us know all we can about your love for Ambient music!
I just want to thank you for having me again, such a pleasure to talk to you as always. Until next time, goodbye…
METAL SOUND ZINE
INTERVIEW BY MARKO MIRANOVIC, SEPTEMBER 2012
HOYLAND is the latest brainchild of Marc Hoyland. Before he has started with his solo project marc was involved various bands and projects. Some of them were more successful, some less. But, yet it seems that this artist has found himself in his solo project Hoyland which music is based, more or less, on ambient sound. His music is very close to old records of Mr.Mortiis and to some more ambient works of Varg (Burzum). Those lovers out there of fantasy based music should definitely check out this band and interview.
Hi Marc! Hope everything is going well out there in Norway. Has the spring arrived already :)?
Hi there, everything is fine here. It is getting warmer and yes spring seems to have arrived.
Well, I would like to congratulate you for your new album; ”Upon the Mountain Vastlands” is one of the best materials in ambient music since Mortiis has released his final opus ”Stargate”! You did a really brilliant job!
Thank you so much for the kind words. They mean a lot to me. I must admit I am very pleased With the album.
Please, could you say something about your solo project Hoyland and present your band to our readers? So far you’ve released two full-lengths.
Hoyland is an ethereal, ambient, neo-classical entity. It is something I decided to do around 2006 , originaly as a side Project to other stuff I was doing. I spent some time writing and re-writing the first album “Dance of the Twilight Stars” over a space of 2 years. This album was released on the German label Quartier23 in January of 2010. This was the point where I decided it wasn’t just a side project and started to put alot of my energies into Hoyland. I released an e.p. at the end of 2011 called “Dreams Within a Dream” which at the moment is a digital release only and of course the second album came out in January of 2012.
Also, please could you present your new album ”Upon the Mountain Vastlands” to our readers? Obvious it’s one ambient and dark piece of work, but with such a relaxing atmosphere.
Upon the Mountain Vastlands is something I started to work on shortly after the release of the first album in 2010. Like the first album it is made up of 9 tracks and the subject of each song varies, yet all is still rooted in Paganism and things from literature and art that inspire me and are close to my heart.
With this album I started to walk deeper down the road of Neo-classical music yet retaining some ethereal ambient stylings of the first release. I also started using some electronic elements, more so than I used on Dance of the Twilight Stars. This was inspired by movie soundtracks such a Tangerine Dream’s score for the Legend movie and things like that. Mainly to add a different dimension to the sound I was working with. The album writing and recording took just under 2 years to complete. All the mastering and post production was handled by a Priapus23 (Akoustik Timbre Frekuency) at Sombre Soniks Studios in England.
Aside of the new record you have thus far published one more record some time ago, the debut album. It seems that your debut opus is more minimalistic if we want to compare it with the new record. So, please give us also some details about it.
Dance of the Twilight Stars is indeed more minimal compared to Upon the Mountain Vastlands. It was the first album and I had next to no experience as to what I was doing apart from an old project I had with a friend called Ilmarin. The album was created with very poor equipment as I had nothing else at the time. I had to use whatever I could get my hands on. The recording was done strictly late at night and over a space of 2 years. I saw many full moons while making this album, which did inspire me alot with certain songs.
I sense in your music some obvious influences from old Mortiis, but yet there are some influences coming from Burzum as well and some other ambient bands, too. Any comment about this?
First era Mortiis is a big influence on me and is the reason I even concidered doing this in the first place. Burzum is defiantly an influence on me also, as is Wongraven, Clannad and Dead Can Dance. I have alot of things that influence my music such as other music, art, places, memories, ect..
Through which label you have released your album and have you already got any interest from some bigger labels which are specialized in ambient music?
I release my music through a German label called Quartier23. To be honest I have a good relationship with Marco the manager at Quartier23 and have been treat well so haven’t thought about going anywhere else. The only exeption is a split album Hoyland is involved with that will feature Hoyland alongside two other great ambient projects Melankolia and Tamerlan. This will be released through another German label called Naturmacht Productions which is also based in Germany. I also play in another project with a friend of mine called Dagon from a U.K. band called Frostwork and who I work with in another Black Metal band called Heathen Deity. We call this project Thornland and is a Dark Ritualistic Folk project. For this we may seek a bigger label if the interest is there. The same goes for another project I am in with my friend Mike O’Brien from Melankolia. This is a Tolkien based project called Gil-Galad.
Is there any chance that your second issue ”Upon the Mountain Vastlands” could be released one day in vinyl version? It will be very nice to have it also in this format as well.
To have a vinyl release is an absolute dream of mine. I would adore a vinyl release. To me that seems more real. Immortalised. Time will only tell what will happen regarding the releases but I do see a big return to vinyl happening.
What can you tell us now about your previous bands that you were involved in? You were very active during the 90s in few bands, so please could you present them and their history?
The very first band I was ever in was a Goth band called 13 Candles. I joined this band in the early months on 1995 playing keyboards and guitars and later just guitars. We later became a gott/metal hybrid. This is the most prolific band I have been with, being on Cacophomous Records and playing shows with the likes of Rozz Williams/Christian Death, Cradle of Filth, Hecate Enthroned, The Damned and bands like that. We even played with Mortiis during his era 1 stage.
In the late 90s I started playing with a Black Metal band called Heathen Deity, this is a band I hold close to my heart. Around 2002/2003 I formed a band with Heathen Deity’s drummer Sathan. We call this band Ethereal Forest and is also Black Metal. All these bands are U.K. based bands but Ethereal Forest is now based in Norway being as we both live there.
I have played in a band here in Norway which was formed by a friend called Thomas Aamodt and myself. We called this band Wither and made one demo. This band broke up but we are considering putting it back together again in the near future. There have been other bands going on during all this time but not alot worth talking about.
Well, I would like to thank you for this interview and I wish you all the best!
Thank you for having me, it has been a pleasure!!
INTERVIEW BY JAMES, OCTOBER 2012
Hoyland is an ethereal ambient, neo-classical, experimental dark journey into the mind of Marc Azrael Hoyland. The project was originally formed in 2006. At the time Marc was performing in Black Metal bands Ethereal Forest and Heathen Deity, and goth rock bands 13 Candles and The Realm. Hoyland was a new outlet for Marc to explore different, bleaker territory. I recently had the chance to chat with Marc about his music.
Hello Marc, thank you for taking the time to answer some of my questions. I thoroughly enjoyed “Upon the Mountain Vastlands” – a truly amazing dark ambient/neo-classical release.
Hello there! Thank you for the kindest words, it means alot to me to hear that.
You have been involved in several different projects over the years including the black metal projects Ethereal Forest and Heathen Deity as well as the goth rock bands, 13 Candles and The Realm. Can you briefly describe your role in these projects?
Well my musical journey began when I was asked to join the goth band 13 Candles supplying keyboards and guitar. I played these instruments on the first album. Later With technology and a line up change I was shifted to just guitar and became involved in composition of songs.
Heathen Deity is a Black Metal band my good friend Dagon formed. We together developed a certain styling and created all the songs together. I played guitar in this band.
Ethereal Forest is a Black Metal band I founded With the Heathen Deity drummer Sathan. I took the role of vocalist and guitarist of this band, though on the recordings, except for drums I play all the instruments involved. We are currently recording the debut album for this band.
The Realm is a goth rock band that was formed by Louis Holloway (13 Candles) and Rob Webley (W.O.R.M.). I joined this band and played whatever they wanted me too. For most of the live performances I would take the bass guitar, other times I would be on second guitar. It all depended on the circumstances. On the recordings I would supply both instruments, as well as backing vocals.
What inspired you to begin creating dark ambient/neo-classical music?
I just love music. I had a project with a friend called Kev Thacker. We named this project Ilmarin and this was the name for an imaginary world he created for story telling and role-playing. We created music as a kind of soundtrack and I tell you, this is where I really cut my teeth and it prepared me for what I would do years later regarding Hoyland.
Hoyland really began in a flurry of frustration. The time spent in bands, waiting for people, cash problems and all those things made me set up something on my own. Something I could do without the pressure of all the things you experience with a band, without other people involved and so on.
Who are some of the artists and musicians that have inspired or influenced you to create the kind of music you create?
Mortiis, ambient era Burzum and Wongraven were the music that really set my mind into actually doing something of this nature. But there are so many others that influence me, Clannad being a big one in terms of the spiritual, ethereal folk-like sound that I have in certain creations. Enya, Dead Can Dance, certain movie soundtrack composers such as Rick Wilkins, especially his work on the soundtrack for the 1980 movie called The Changeling, Joseph LoDuca, John Morris. The list can go on and on.
One artist that really pushes me to be better is my good friend Mike O’Brien who is the man behind a project from the States called Melankolia. I think what he does with his music is brilliance. That really inspires me and makes me want to be better in what I do. Another artist I really admire and am completely musically obsessed with is Priapus23 of Akoustik Timbre Frequency. I think ATF deserves a lot more credit than it gets. Priapus23’s music and sounds are totally unique and really are a work of greatness. Timur from the project Tamerlan is another one. Really really great music that I have not heard the likes of before.
Outside of music, where do you draw inspiration and influence from?
Outside of music I draw influence from life experience, nature and the things that are around me. Literature plays a big part also in the things that inspire me, movies and cinema also play a big part. I am what I call an eclectic pagan and this is something also that also inspires me to make some of the music.
When you are not creating and producing music, what kind of things might we find you doing? I’m talking hobbies and interests here.
I have a huge obsession with American Football. This is the only sport I like and has been with me since I was a small boy. I have been playing the sport on a team here in Norway for the last 4-5 years. I am also the father to two gorgeous, brilliant boys and can be found playing with them on the park.
As I mentioned before I have a great fondness for literature and cinema also. I also write poetry and limericks from time to time, although I havn’t done this in a few years. Maybe one day I will get back to writing some stuff.
What is your musical background? Do you have any kind of musical theory or traditional music training? Or are you a self taught artist?
I am absolutely 100% self taught. Every instrument I play I taught myself. I have always said that I am a jack of all trades and master of non!! (hehe) I picked up a little music theory while at school in my youth so I am capable a reading a little. Regarding instruments and instrument theory I just did and learnt what I felt was necessary to be able to start writing songs. Then over time as I spent more time with the instruments things got better and I made a gradual progression with them. I am learning new things all the time.
What kind of music and bands might we find if we were to peak at your personal music library? Are there any current bands or artists that you think deserve to be mentioned above others?
I do have a wide range and an eclectic taste in music but my collection is dominated by mostly rock and metal. That being said I do have classical music and obviously ambient music in my library also. Movie soundtracks, blues, new-age, electronic music. I like some folk music also. Anything I really like I will make an effort to obtain. I’m also a strong believer in physical copies also as opposed to downloads and such things.
Can you take me through the song writing process for a Hoyland song? Is it something that you plan out in advance or is it more of a sporadic kind of a thing?
Regarding my material everything planned out right from the start. Sometimes a song idea will develop from either a bass line or maybe a melody I have in mind. Once I have one idea I run with it and sketch out the song as I go and see where it takes me. I always try to have at least 3 or 4 ideas for different sections within a song depending on how the length the song will be. After the sketching I then start to flesh it out, adding different sounds, counter melodies if needed to go with melodies that I come up with, adding harmony parts and things like that.
After all that I break the song down again and go through everything with a spy glass so to speak, just to make sure certain parts are working dynamically, this is very important I feel. To get the flow of my songs right is everything. If something isn’t working quite how I imagined it to be I will do some rewriting and keep going until I am satisfied with the part. It usually takes me one month to complete a song for Hoyland to the point where I am completely satisfied and comfortable. After that I go to the mixing stages, ect.
Take us through the production of the “Upon the Mountain Vastlands” album. Is there anything you tried to do differently this time around? Is there anything you wanted to improve upon from the first couple albums?
Well, like the first album “Dance of the Twilight Stars”, “Upon the Mountain Vastlands” took just under two years from start to finish. I had absolutely nothing equipment wise when I was making the first album. I used whatever I could lay my hands on at the time. This time however I had invested in some good music making programmes and had more instruments at hand.
I think the only thing I really wanted to be different this time round was the production and overall quality of the recording to be better. I had done a lot more layering on “Upon the Mountain Vastlands” and it wasn’t quite so minimal as the first album was. The neo-classical side started to show more on “Upon the Mountain Vastlands” I feel also, even though I have also used some 80s retro synth sounds and had electronic elements. Everything was deliberate and calculated. It was also a great help and god send having Priapus23 (Akousik Timbre frequency) and Sombre Soniks Studios in my corner to help with mixing and do all the mastering this time round.
Can you tell me about your current label situation? I know you your last album was released under Quartier23 but do you currently have a label for future releases?
I am currently looking for a suitable home for Hoyland. I have spoken to a label about releasing something but I want to keep those cards close to my chest until something is more clear regarding what will happen. A split album with Tamerlan, Melancholia and Hoyland was released earlier in 2012 on the German label Naturmacht Productions, but this label already has a full roster so that is a no go situation regarding further releases.
I do understand the reasons why Quartier23 became a distro label instead of being a fully fledged label but I can’t help feel sad about it. It was home for a little while. Marco who runs the label did so much for Hoyland and the other artists on that label. It felt like family to me. I wish him all the best for the future and support him with whatever he decides to do.
Do you think it’s harder for ambient/neo-classical musicians to get the proper recognition and respect they deserve? Is it harder for these kinds of projects to find a label?
I think it is very hard indeed for these artists to get any recognition at all. The scene, especially from a dark ambient point of view is flooded with projects. Everyone is trying to get a piece of the pie. The worst part is most of the good projects are buried under a lot of terrible excuses and poor attempts at this art. I think this reflects onto the labels also, they get bombarded by all that stuff and that makes it hard for the good ones to get noticed as these labels start to ignore pretty much everyone.
What would you define as “success” for the Hoyland project and your music in general?
If I can reach just one person and move them on an emotional level then I feel I have done my job and it has all been worthwhile. To me that is success. I don’t care about money or anything materialistic, although that would be nice. Those things are not so important to me. Commercially the biggest success I have been a part of would be 13 Candles, being as we was on a reputable sized label and was able to play as support to some world class bands and had a pretty good reputation.
What does the future hold for Hoyland?
At the moment I am currently working on the third Hoyland album. I dare say at this time the album will be ready by the end of 2013. This album will be slightly different as I have decided to add other musical elements that isn’t solely based on keys and synths. It will also be a concept album this time round unlike the previous albums and will also be rooted further withing the neo-classical style.
In the immediate future I hope to release the “Dreams Within a Dream e.p.” on CD with some bonus tracks. Like I mentioned earlier I have spoken to a label and will know more about this in a couple of months time.
2012 has been a fairly quiet year regarding Hoyland, apart from the album release I have not released any new songs at all. I am hoping 2013 will be a more productive year in the eyes of my audience, maybe get involved with a few compilation albums like I have in the past and things like that. Only time will tell what happens.
Is there anything else you’d like to share or plug at this time?
I would just like to say if you are eager to hear Hoyland check out the Hoyland Soundcloud page at http://soundcloud.com/hoyland or the reverbnation page at http://www.reverbnation.com/hoyland666. If you like what you hear please don’t hesitate and feel free to pick up a copy of “Upon the Mountain Vastlands” from the Quartier23 store at http://www.quartier23.com/ as well as other great releases. To pick up a copy of the Melankolia, Tamerlan, Hoyland split album “The Trinity of Painted Symphonies” you can do so at the Natumacht productions official website here http://naturmacht.com/shop/catalog/index.php. Any kind of support is really appreciated.
Well that’s it! I want to thank you again for the opportunity for this interview. I hope it helps spread the word about you and your music.
Thank you so much for having me, it has been an honor and a pleasure!!