METAL PULP AND PAPER: Hello Karyn. So glad to be catching up with you. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us here at Metal Pulp And Paper. We appreciate it. Before we get started, how are you doing?
KARYN CRISIS: I’m well thank you, and thanks for your time.
MPAP: Recently you teamed up with Luciano Lamanna to form Serpents and released an album in June of this year titled Scongiuri, and then your other group, Gospel Of The Witches, has a new release called Covenant coming out October 31st. It sounds like you’ve been busy as of lately. Now tell us about this electronic and voice duo Serpents project if you will, and what we can expect when listening to it for the first time?
KARYN: The Serpents project is an experimental one whose songs are perhaps more soundtrack-like in that there are some repeating vocal parts that are meant to create rhythms in partnership with the electronic musical passages. They journey into the void and tell stories with sounds and emotion. I use my voice as an instrument in Serpents, charging those sounds with concepts and emotion. On the musical side, Luciano uses Eurorack modular synthesizers, which look like mad scientist boxes with knobs and cables patched in a dizzying array. He creates his own sounds and patterns this way, it’s really incredible. It’s really 'something from nothing'. There are no keys, no banks of sound, he creates it all from energetic 'scratch'.
MPAP:Scongiuri was released via Blood Rock Records. What are some of the songs found on it like, "Heart Of Darkness," "Ombelicale," and "Rattle The Waters" about?
KARYN: These songs are like an initiation, you go into the darkness and receive what’s waiting for you there. The songs refer to feminine deities, and also very earthly acts of magic… not glamorous and modern, but raw, hands-in-the-dirt works done in urgency, of traveling through the soil like a serpent, of grief and other watery emotions.
MPAP:Serpents is a journey into mysterious, strange, and uncomfortable places. Continue more with that? What does that mean, what message are you trying to get across?
KARYN: There’s no 'message' here. The songs have meanings, but what they mean to me is probably different than what they mean to Luciano and to everyone else who listens. That’s the beauty of music that is getting lost in this 'entertain me right now' culture; that music can take you to places in your mind, in your emotions, in your imagination if you surrender or at least open to the process of listening. Maybe the listener will intuitively feel what I was imagining or creating, maybe they will feel Luciano’s concepts, but maybe a listener will find something else, and all of those are great options. I’d prefer listeners to do just that rather than having to digest what the songs mean to me. Perhaps the 'uncomfortableness' that can be experienced is the need for a listener to have everything spelled out for them. What does this song mean? What are the words? Why aren’t there more words? This music is mysterious, and whether you like it or not probably will have something to do with your ability to navigate the unknown or your need to have everything sound familiar and neatly contained into an explanation.
MPAP: Scongiuri is a series of words said as a magic spell or charm. Do you need to have some understanding of witchcraft, sorcery, or spiritualistic things to better understand the music on Scongiuri?
KARYN: No. Songs are made of vibrations. Those vibrations will confront, heal, inspire, amuse, repulse… the understanding of music occurs during the 'listening to' the music. That interaction that takes place between your mind, your thoughts, your emotions and the collection of vibrations that are the 'songs' is a type of alchemy, a transformation.
MPAP: Where is the perfect setting to listen to Scongiuri? Tell us where the best place is to open our minds and experience Scongiuri would be?
KARYN: I think music has the power to take you where you need to go. There are no rules, and you don’t need anyone to tell you how to listen to music. There’s freedom in that.
MPAP: Going back to listening to Scongiuri for the first time for a moment, now what will your Crisis and Gospel Of The Witches fans think of it?
KARYN: I think you’d need to ask them! I’ve learned through my many years that people drawn to my art and music are from such a diverse span of lifestyles and beliefs and I like that surprise. Luciano comes from an electronic place of expression, which is different from the guitars and drums world of GOTW… that being said, Luciano and I listen to all types of music, Luciano especially who has an enormous collection of vinyls… and I would imagine GOTW listeners listen to a variety of music also.
MPAP: Let’s go back to the beginning of Serpents, how did you and Luciano Lamanna cross paths? How did the whole project come together?
KARYN: Scongiuri is the beginnings of this musical project instigated by Luciano Lamanna. It was his idea for us to create some songs together, and he reached out to me me during one of my annual stays in Italy researching rural magic and curing traditions. He invited me to his studio where he’d already been working on some songs. Scongiuri is the result of those intense studio sessions. These weren’t dry, organized recording sessions: there was an alchemy taking place. There were time-pressure conditions, lack of sleep, my fear of improvisation, and a certain loss of orientation (on my part) that comes from traveling extensively. This pushed me to just let go of being overly cerebral: there was no time to plan really. I had to be present in the moment and let my surroundings dissolve and journey into the electronics where there was only me, my emotions, and a desire to express and release through textures. Luciano’s a master of his sound craft, and it felt like the songs he presented me with were truly written with my sensibilities in mind.
MPAP: Tell us about the artwork to the cover of Scongiuri? Describe it to us, and what it means to you?
KARYN: I painted it in oil paints, and it’s a reference to the concept of the body as a vessel, which involves of course, the mysteries revealed as one journeys into the darkness of 'self'.
MPAP: On behalf of myself and Metal Pulp And Paper, I’d like to thank you, Karyn, for doing this interview. We look forward to what you do with Serpents along with Gospel Of The Witches to finish 2019 and beyond. Any last words for all your fans out there?
KARYN: Thank you for listening.
Karyn Crisis~ Serpents/ October 9th, 2019/ Interview #159