No editing or rethinking
When RockitBomb’s Carl Byers asked Ryan Lipynski on his opinion about National-Socialism and black metal, he straight away re-questioned ‘what socialism has to do with Lucifer?’. It showed Lipynski’s directness, humour and inherent misanthropic thoughts. About the misanthropy he states that ‘all is real’ and not a yoyo-ing attitude in order to please or show off when he enters public places.
Unearthly Trance’s founding members Ryan Lipynski (vocals and guitars) and Jay Newman (bass) quickly joined forces with sticksman Darren ‘Vril’ Verni after they broke up with Pete McCoil. 2003 debut Season of Seance, Science of Silence, released on Lee Dorrian’s Rise Above, for the first time widely made clear the band’s ‘Metaphysical Funeral Pyre’ (with their own words) or misanthropic slow burning Darkthrone in a vicious sludge surrounding (with ours). Later albums became more melodic, but possess that similar vitriolic layer in a raw and focused killing zone.
A new Unearthly Trance album is in the setting, from which Lipynski says that ‘the atmosphere of [it] is most in touch with life today. Caustic Volatile Chaotic. It captures a bit more personal opinion and speaks in some way to the demolished paradigm.. We are working in the highest gear musically and have fine-tuned our instruments to the highest order. I think it’s hard to tell until the album is recorded but it will be our most ferocious and focused. Rebellious and ravenous.’ The recording-process didn’t begin before a short European tour in September.
Because of the exhausting start of the tour Lipynski aka Killusion wanted to postpone the intended interview. We pasted the questions in our gmailbox and sent them to him. 8 hours later we got them back with the simple words, ‘I answered these as if I was in person.. no editing or rethinking’. The lack of revision that Lipynsky made clear is also typical for the writing process of the New Yorkers, as later becomes clear. His answers are short yet unswerving, but in the same way rather (metal-) cliché. They at times sound as modern life doesn’t exist and society didn’t go through a development, good nor bad. In a modern context spiritual master Aleister Crowley’s thoughts and beliefs sound very exotic and outdated. Lipynsky didn’t update or transform them in addition to the contemporary lifecycle (like we hoped). It’s quite inconsistent if you look at UT’s ache for sound-renewal based on traditions that go as far as Bathory or Black Sabbath.
Not a Christian
Unearthly Trance’s latest album is called The Trident, which points out to the three-piece that is Unearthly Trance.
Yes it does indeed point that out. It is also our third record. The trident also resembles the ‘pitchfork’ of the devil. In many ancient cultures the trident appears. Greek mythology with Poseidon, Shiva etc. It is a three-pronged spear. We are the weapon…
UT’s lyrics are quite nihilistic, individualistic and misanthropic. Are they in the first place esthetical or are they the display of your personal thoughts and beliefs?
They are a reflection of my inner feelings. Unearthly Trance is my outlet for my personal views and emotions. It is all real. Not for any other reason.
In Firebrand on The Trident you sing about pagan instinct.
Well I am against where modern culture has gone. When I speak of pure pagan instinct, I mean the worship of mother earth. IT also can be connected to the meaning of ‘not a Christian’. Most of my lyrics have multi-layers with no finite direct message or meaning. I leave this for the listener to figure out.
Have instincts peeled off through time?
Yes, indeed. Modern society aims to string man / woman of their inherent instincts.
Do you see a reason for that?
Society is meant to control the heard. Individualism and worship of nature is hardly on the agenda for the world leaders. Their goal is enslave. I see modern life in direct contact to pure instinct. We can’t go back to that in this lifetime. Hence the misanthropic views.
Do you also see a crumbling off of perception?
Yes, most humans are completely unaware of their surrounding, history and future. They live in a materialistic bubble fed lies and “information”.
Do you trust your own perception?
Absolutely. ALWAYS trust ones own inner will.
Do you try to get an insight in you own psyche with UT?
I’m not really trying. It just happens.
Will versus society
You have used quotes by Aleister Crowley. How much of an inspiration is he?
Huge. Reading his book re-reopened my third eye that was partially closed for a while.
Crowley’s Sovereignty of Will is both about individual wishes and desires, and a sense of the person’s destiny or greater purpose. Is there a greater purpose in UT?
There is no great purpose except to convey the esoteric site of music while being fairly concealed to the pedestrian listener. Any greater purpose is hidden on purpose. It is one and the same with my personal purposes. Creation is the destiny of all people who are on a quest to open up their brain further than they are told.
Crowley began to write in the first person after his father died (Confessions). Have you been in the centre of a happening that had an enormous impact on your writing?
I personally have witnessed unspeakable things in my family life. I even questioned that my dabbling with black magick may have brought it on. IT taught me to respect ‘the outer’ rather than a hobby. Once you tap into the occult you must use huge responsibility.
Crowley wrote The Book of the Law. Is UT about finding, talking about or dictating the truth?
UT is equivalent to an artist painting a picture about the strife of true Will versus modern society.
When he wrote that book he heard a voice speaking to him. Is there something similar when you write?
Yes. It comes form nowhere. The voices of the abyss have spoken to me on several occasions and I’ve never questioned it. Just accept and proceed. It is a form of automatic writing, from In The Red on and even my writings in Thralldom. Most of my lyrics have been written automatically with minimal revision. Sometimes a full song could be written in 3 minutes. It is one of my most cherished gifts. To trance out and accept the voices of 11.
Have you ever had special events with music? Something that felt transcendental or, and here comes the cliché, unearthly?
Yes! The first time I witnessed Neurosis on the Through Silver in Blood tour. It made me realize the potential of heavy musick in an intelligent and metaphysical manner. They absolutely changed my thinking from that point on.. Many many years later.. here I am.
VERY heavy metal
In art you have the process and the product. What is the most important?
The process is everything. The product is striving to perfect the vision.
Do you listen to your own records / products?
Yes but only in private. There is nothing worse than being somewhere and someone decides to put on my records. I would just sit and pick apart any mistakes or the production.
How is the product evolving when playing live?
The songs live are in its truest form. We stay true to our original compositions but some songs have never been played the same twice. A good example is the song In the Red.
What is the role of the audience in that deformation?
The audience is the battery. IF there is dead energy we could be dead as well. IF the audience is alive and kicking then we ascend to the next level. It’s a process of giving and taking. The people who attend the show are part of the whole experience.
What recent genres or developments in genres have had their effect on UT?
None. We try to stay true to our original idea we had 7 years ago. Trends and genres come and go. We are purely a VERY heavy metal band with psychic tendencies.
What will be the influence of the new album on the band?
We’re expanding upon our ideas and themes. Challenging ourselves go reach out further and explore our own template. The older music was much more miserable. Now we are much more ‘enlightended’.
What made UT to what it is today?
Black Sabbath, Eyehategod, Neurosis, Kiss [not kidding] and many other bands!
Investigators came to the conclusion that subcultures are situations in which younger people react towards the dominant society. When people grow up they leave that subculture behind and assimilate to the prevailing culture. Do you sense that?
I call it the two-year plan. Kids get into a scene and then leave it behind for the normal world. This does not compute to me as this is for life to me. We try to stay outside of all genres and scenes. Isolation is a common thread in all of my musick.
It seems that you have exceeded the age from what the same investigators think it can be called ‘younger people’.
Age is numbers and perhaps when I’m 33 in a few years that will be my golden moment.
What kind of borders do you try to break?
The borders of following the leader of the ‘sheep mentality’. I’d like to think UT is at the very least original in sound and approach. When we started there was a lot of stonerrock and bullshit. People couldn’t understand the slow black metal we were playing back then. Most still don’t. It’s a unique take on metal and we often are not understood or written off because people can’t compare us to another popular band.
Unearthly Trance, Thralldom, Drifting Collision, Villains, The Howling Wind … Are they different presentations of the same thing?
UT is my main focus. Thralldom and The Howling Wind are similar as the latter is a continuation of my personal side project. Very different in approach but similar in themes to UT. Villains is totally different and is nothing more than 80’s metal punk worship. A bit more light hearted and less serious.
How do you know to which band / project a written piece of music belongs? How does that process works?
It’s usually the sound. I can tell immediately where it belongs. Also Villains is in standard tuning to the music I write with them is always obvious as I use a different guitar to play in that band. The Howling Wind and UT are similar but clearly they are on different planes.
Interview (via mail) by Peter, 2008