“A return to where we started with the benefit of everything we’ve learned”

Earlier this month I caught up with the atmospheric black metal band SOJOURNER to talk about their latest release, the mini EP Perennial. The EP is eclectic in both mood and style and really captures the spirit of the bands previous discography.

Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. How’s it going?

Emilio: Thanks for reaching out! Everything is going as good as it could be considering the situation right now.

Mike: Good thanks! We appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. 

Your latest single Perennial blew my mind a little bit, it seems to straddle both Alcest style shoegaze, feel significantly progressive and have a raw harshness to it that is more typical of atmospheric black metal. Were there any specific influences in making this or was it more of a natural product of your overall varied sound?

Mike: I think this is just the natural progression of what we’ve been doing this whole time, it’s like a return to where we started with the benefit of everything we’ve learned since then. There were no real specific influences going into this one, I just didn’t want to let down the fans who have been with us since the start, that’s always my driving mindset these days, just pleasing the people that have been so kind to us over the years.

The single feels like an epilogue, of 2016’s Empires of Ash with the themes of decay and loss. Was this intentional?

Emilio: From a lyrical perspective I definitely did see it as a part 2 of that album. I have a huge interest in nature so it was easy for me to revisit that and bring out this epilogue. I even reference an epilogue on “Relics…” so you used the perfect word!

Mike: Musically it can be seen as an epilogue to the start of the band too, the closing of one era with the birth of a new era, in a sense.

The first half to the single’s B side Relics of the Natural Realm has a really beautiful soft sound. But more than that it contains some wonderful lyrics like “Remnants of a once-reigning species reduced to nothingness. The memory of them fading ever so quickly Frail remains shattered into a thousand pieces”. It feels applicable to much of modern life. Is there a story behind this?

Emilio: It refers to humanity and how we’re capable of so many amazing things and yet we lack the brain to co-exist with nature on a sustainable level. Relics is basically taking place once we’re already gone. Extinct due to not seeing the damage we were causing and we reached the point of no return. That in the grand scheme of things we are nothing more than a blip in time. 

And finally, what else can we expect from you guys? How busy have you been in lockdown?

Emilio: This EP was an offering to the fans to introduce our new members but also put out some new music so everyone has something extra to tide you over until we can go out on the road again! Other than that we all still work for a living and have our personal lives so the usual routine has kept us busy as well.

Mike: Yeah we’ve been working slowly on some new material, but it’s always good to have a bit of a break between albums, so we’re slowly but surely making progress. I’ve been back in NZ but I’m still working in Sweden remotely for now, just waiting for my visa to come through, because my partner Heike and I are just waiting for that so we can move back.

Thanks to Sojourner for taking the time to be interviewed. Perennial is out now on Napalm Records.

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