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Agrypnie | Creative process, workflow, and challenges…

Agrypnie rose from the ashes of avant-garde black metal greats Nocte Obducta as a solo side project for Torsten. Since then, he’s released 5 critically heralded albums of melancholic rage, the most recent being 2018’s Grenzgænger. Now, 3 years later Agrypnie returns with new drummer Flo and guitarist Marc, for their most ambitious and varying release yet!

Metal Digest had a chat with Torsten about their creative process, time management, and their upcoming release ‘Metamorphosis.

Welcome to Metal Digest!

What prompted you to start a band? What keeps you going?

At a certain point when I was learning to play guitar, I started to write my own songs. In the beginning, I used a cassette recorder (yes I am that old) in front of my amplifier to record stuff. When I recorded a second guitar, I borrowed a second player, replayed the recorded riffs on the first one, and recorded again my guitar (including the playback from the first recorder). I guess you can imagine the “quality” of these records… and well the riffs at that time had been pretty stuporous.

A few years later when I decided to start Agrypnie things got serious. I started to buy proper equipment, wrote the very first record… and here I am today.

Well, to turn things around… There never has been any real thought about quit doing music. Agrypnie means everything to me. It is the center of my world, my therapy, my self-actualization, the thing I am proud of the most. I guess simply my life keeps me going and I can ́t even imagine being without music.

I think I even will continue doing music in one or another way when I am too old one day for the stage and fed up by traveling around. I am really sure music is leading my life until I am six feet under.

New band members: drummer Flo and guitarist Marc. How did this collab come to life?

I met Flo some years ago on a show with his other Band Theotoxin. Pretty straight at our first chat I was thinking something like “Hey, that guy seems to be pretty cool”. And when I saw his drum skills that night, I was pretty blown away by his talent. I met him during the years on different shows and I had him as a session drummer always in the back of my head.

When Moe decided to quit playing, I called him pretty much straight away and asked him if he wants to join. We entered a few months later the studio to record the drums for “Metamorphosis” and he did an outstanding job. I am really looking forward to starting recording the drums for the following album at the beginning of August.

Marc joined Agrypnie when we did an audition for guitar players in 2018. We had four really great guys that day but Moe and I only accord on Marc for a new guitar player.

Your 6th full-length album ‘Metamorphosis’ will be released on July 30th with AOP Records. How would you describe the new album in a single sentence?

“Metamorphosis” is in total the 9th Agrypnie release and as always I am very satisfied with the result and proud of it! (I just can ́t describe an Agrypnie album with a single sentence, sorry).

Have you been working on that for the past 3 years or you took a break in between?

I did not work all the time on the album, so I had some breaks in between. For me, writing music is not always some sort of continuous process.

Sometimes I don’t touch my guitars for weeks and then I record new material like an maniac during nights and days.

I sometimes think I need some certain vibe to get kissed by the muse without being able to explain this properly or really know when this is happening again. But I am totally in line with this “workflow”, I never ever had any thoughts like “I really need to write a new song, get your ass up now”.

You clearly like to be busy and productive. How do you prioritize among family life, work-life, band work, and creative projects? What are your time-management strategies?

Well, I don ́t have any time-management strategies and I have to admit that I really struggle from time to time 😀 Until the beginning of last year, I was also the guitar player in another band, and getting three bands organized could be a challenge sometimes. Although I only do organization and creative work in Agrypnie, rehearse the songs for two other bands (besides all the work in Agrypnie) is time that needed to be invested.

I have very good contact with my family and I visit them frequently. Same with good and close friends. Though I am not married and I don’t have any children. So from that point of view, I have fewer responsibilities and less time I need to calculate.

Also, I have reduced the work hours at my daytime job to have more time for music, and often all my vacation is reserved for tours, recordings, shows, and so on.

But I don’t complain about a single thing because that ́s the way I want to live I am really happy I am able to live this way of life.

Where do you do your creative work and practice? Studio/home?

I have a very little “home studio corner” in my apartment. During the last two years I invested a lot of money into new gear (new computer, better speakers, new software) and now I am at a point where I am able to produce proper (pre)productions for Agrypnie as well as I am able to continue my work with my soundtrack project “The wreckage of Erebus” and other yet secret projects.

In the past, I was working on my round about 10 years old Apple Mac Mini and this one was totally overstrained with my projects. I struggled a lot and needed to do workarounds to get my shit done with it 😀

Challenges: What do you struggle with most?

Not quite sure if I get that question right… The biggest challenges for me are always those, where strangers are involved. Although I am a pretty social guy, I am not a big fan of people and mankind in general. Being in public in daily life with a lot of people around (for example doing shopping) always stresses me.

But if I face a big challenge in general I always try to break it into smaller pieces. So rather than being in front of a huge mountain, I work my way from section to section.

What advice would you offer to other bands struggling to be more creative and find time for their music?

I guess that ́s pretty easy because it is with everything in your life.

If you need time for a certain thing, take the time for it. If you spend your time for example playing Xbox rather than playing guitar, don’t complain about the lack of time for doing music. Easy as that…

I can ́t give any real advice about being creative though. In my case I just take the guitar, play around, and soon or later there is I riff I really like. I start writing probably a second and even a third guitar on that riff, program a beat on the drums, and so on until a whole song is done.

Is there a particular career moment you’re most proud of?

I can’t pick a particular one but there are many moments I am proud of and very happy about. I started doing music when I was around about 15? years old and I never had any expectations. I wanted to do music and probably release one day a real record, that was actually all I was dreaming about and could imagine. Later when I was doing music with Nocte Obducta and Agrypnie and we already released records, I dreamed about doing once in my life a proper tour.

Looking back to all those years and all the experiences I made, they really exceeded my wildest dreams. I am very thankful and humble for every single moment. I was for example on tour with childhood heroes and some of them I call friends today.

This is actually just fucking crazy and amazing and I guess the 15 years old boy would die straight away by a heart attack if I would tell him about all the future experiences he is going to make 😀

What do you think we could do better or differently in the music industry?

That is actually a topic I don’t think about anymore, I can ́t change things anyway in this direction. But it is pretty obvious that many things are very wrong with nowadays music industry.

Thank you, Torsten for the wonderful interview.

Until we meet again,

Chelf | Metal Digest.

Band/Artist: Agrypnie
Place of Origin: Germany
Album Title: Metamorphosis
Album Release Date: July 30, 2021
Record Label: AOP Records
Genre: Post-Black Metal
For Fans Of: Wolves In The Throne Room, Agalloch, Ulver, Alcest, Solstafir, Fen

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