A Conversation with Dis Pater of Midnight Odyssey

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Midnight Odyssey is a one man musical entity out Australia, I can best describe the music as epic, sprawling, pensive and spiritual sounding. I was so interested  in the immersive music of Midnight Odyssey that I wanted to interview the man behind the project Dis Pater. He more than graciously answered a series of questions about what made him conceive this timeless and memorable aural journey to the stars . I learned a lot about his creative process and the symbolism behind the music. I hope after you read this interview you will take a chance and listen to his latest endeavor “Silhouette of Stars” which is a compilation of unreleased tracks from different  Midnight Odyssey eras.

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Photo by Ales Gillies and Francesco Gemelli

Could you tell us about the origin stories of Midnight Odyssey and Death Comes Crawling?

“Midnight Odyssey was a concept I had started back around 1999, when I began writing ‘black metal’ music, although it was only on an acoustic guitar. Soon I had saved up to buy an electric guitar and keyboard and soon was able to make rough recordings. I even experimented with a bit of synth music around 2003 but it was quite crude. I spent many years just writing stuff for my own amusement until I thought I might try and put something out to the public in 2007. That’s really when Midnight Odyssey truly began.”

From prior interviews I have read you came up with the moniker of Dis Pater as a symbol of the Roman god of Death. Why is the concept and symbolism of Death so important to the creation of Midnight Odyssey/Death Comes Crawling?

“For me death is the one certainty in life. It is one of a few things that we all have in common, it spans generations, eons, species, even things that by definition don’t live can still die. It is something that relates to everyone, most of us have experienced it, a lot of us fear it.”

As I listen to your projects I get such a sense of vastness, I am reminded of Big Sky Country in the US as I hear your music. Geographically does Australia hold a major influence in your creativity?

“I think the many different forms of geography in Australia, even close to where I live, does play a big part in my writing. I guess in my mind when I write about a forest I’m probably thinking about European forests, but it is the Australian rainforest that would be physically influencing what I write and relate to. But in many ways, things like caves, mountains, waterfalls, even just the sky itself are all contributing factors to me, so again, it’s all from my viewpoint here in Australia.”

There is so much symbolism of space, time, and mortality throughout all your music. Why are these ideas metaphorically significant to your creative process?

“I think these are the key factors of existence. I don’t like to write music that is tied to a time specific moment, so there are no reference to things like phones, tvs, movies, cars, guns, etc. It’s something that doesn’t change even as technology changes. Space and time will affect us and have affected us since the beginning, and will continue to affect us right up until the end. The past for me is the most important, because humanity never really changes, everything we need to know has already happened in one way or another.”

Being a one man band I think there is a lot of freedom found in this format, have you ever thought of adding others to help you develop your vision/themes (specifically in Midnight Odyssey)?

“No I’ve never really considered it for my metal projects. Guest musicians sure, but to turn it into a band is something I’m only considering with Death Comes Crawling. For me Midnight Odyssey would probably ruined if it were on a stage. I don’t think of it as music where people head bang or fist pump the air, where stage lights flash and people applause or banter. It’s really not what Midnight Odyssey is about, it’s as far removed from humanity as it possibly can be.”

You mentioned you were looking into band mates for Death Comes Crawling is there a thought of doing this band live?

“Quite possibly yes. It wouldn’t take much in terms of other people at all, but for me the real issue is time, as I’m very busy with personal and work life. It’s something that I would want to focus on 100%, not kind of stumble my way into it. I think too the style of music is far more worthy of a live setting than anything else I’ve done.”

While hearing your albums there is a huge dark wave vibe going on with the vocals and music of Midnight Odyssey in some moments (even in The Crevices Below) which in turn made you create Death Comes Crawling, what do you like most about dark wave music and why is this style so significant in your albums?

“Well I almost simultaneously got into that music at the same time as metal. For me the two went hand in hand, they were darker in tone, they were about more meaningful things, like death, more emotional and just generally weren’t popular forms of music. It was never about being a guitar god for me, it was creating something through sound that represented what I was feeling, engaging the darker more sinister thoughts within me and finding an avenue to bring those thoughts out. These concepts aren’t unique to metal by any means, and dark wave and other styles like classical music create just the same unique experiences.”

What are some bands/musicians you have been listening to lately? And do you recommend any other dark wave acts that our readers should look into?

“I’ve been listening a lot to the Ancient Records releases, and also the recent Mare and One Tail, One Head. For dark wave, well, I think the best of the most recent bands have been Drab Majesty!”

Also researching prior interviews I noticed you are heavily influenced by Dead Can Dance, I can see their influence in your music what about them stands out most to you? And are there any other acts that have the same significance in your creative process?

“Dead Can Dance embody something that is otherworldly. It is hypnotic, it is mystical and it transports you as the listener into another age. They use ancient instruments as well as new, and Lisa Gerrard’s voice to me is the epitome of beauty and danger. Similarly, Arcana are another that followed that path of sound and who have influenced just as much, particularly for their more dark medieval sound and are perhaps my favourite of all the other neoclassical bands that came out during the 90s and after. But a lot of the old Cold Meat Industry stuff like Ildfrost, Mortiis, and Raison d’être are up there as well.”

 

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What are your thoughts and feelings of the current metal scene? I have noticed more and more creative bands come through on the regular. Do you think the scene is in a good place right now?

“I think the metal scene is healthy, but there are just too many bands. I think maybe it is a little too mainstream, well at least black metal is creeping into popular society more and more. It’s become appealing to casual audiences and I think that is where a lot of problems will happen. But otherwise, I don’t think metal has anything to be worried about. The only thing is over the next ten years when a lot of the older bands will have gone, either through members dying or just breaking up because they are too old, there has to be bands to come in and fill the void.”

Specifically how has the metal scene been in Australia? Has your projects been getting a lot of support locally?

“The metal scene is okay. I don’t have a lot to do with it.  There is some support in Australia for me, but I think my bigger audiences are in Europe and the States. It’s quite diverse, in the fact that I can go to three gigs and see mostly three different crowds of people who I haven’t seen before. But I’m not really into keeping up appearances as such. There are those that I like and though we may not see each other often, we remain supportive of each other’s works and outputs.”

Have you ever got a chance to visit the United States? Are there any specific states or areas you would like to experience to help you develop your ideas and themes of your projects?

“I’ve never visited the United States and to be honest, I think the only place I would travel to specifically to develop any ideas as such would be the volcanoes in Hawaii, as that is something we don’t have in Australia. Everything else would be purely holiday.”

Are you currently working on any new material for Midnight Odyssey or Death Comes Crawling?

“I am working on quite a few things related to Midnight Odyssey at the moment, but it is too early to go into detail about that. I haven’t really got anything else started for Death Comes Crawling just yet, as the bonus track on the CD that is soon to be released was the last thing I had worked on.”

What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of your music?

“Well I read a lot of ancient and medieval history books, and latin and greek literature and poetry. It  feeds the lyrical and conceptual side of Midnight Odyssey quite well. Most of my spare time is taken up with music and collecting really.”

And finally do you have any parting words for our readers and how would best describe your music to someone who may not be familiar with your work?

“Thank you for taking the time to read this interview, and I hope you can make the time to listen to some of my output. I’d suggest headphones, at night, alone, looking up towards the stars and planets.”

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Bandcamp: https://i-voidhangerrecords.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/midnightodyssey/

Official Page: https://midnightodysseyofficial.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dis_pater_official/

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