With two releases under his belt, a self-titled LP and an EP titled All Hallow's Eve, both released in 2018 by Dunkelheit Productions, Fiendish Imp's creepy, catchy tunes take listeners on a unique and dark synth journey to the mysterious world of Lo-Fi Dungeon Synth.
The minimal and haunting music somewhere out of the depths of the UK tells stories of ancient superstition, fearful ignorance and wily wickedness.
We were fortunate enough to share a few questions with the man behind the music regarding his inspirations, writing process and even some of his favorite horror films.
What serves as the inspiration behind Fiendish Imp?
"Fiendish Imp takes inspiration from all things spooky! In terms of themes I read a lot of English history and folklore, particularly surrounding witchcraft and the plague era which feeds into the ‘aesthetic’ of the project. Halloween and Samhain festivities also feed heavily into the inspiration. In terms of sounds I draw heavily upon 80’s horror music as inspiration such as the John Carpenter soundtracks and Goblin. I also owe a lot to the band Acid Witch and Slasher Dave, they were huge inspirations when the first LP was recorded and continue to be."
On Bandcamp, your genre is listed as "Lo-Fi Dungeon Synth," can you describe this sound for those unfamiliar with your music?
"Lo-fi dungeon synth is an attempt to recapture the sounds of '90’s era' dungeon synth artists such as Lamentation and Eternal fear. This includes leaving some artifacts in the music, using analogue equipment and providing warmth by running the music through a cassette post recording. Although the recordings are not crystal clear this all helps build up a fog of creepy, home brewed synth tunes."
What equipment do you use to create your music?
"This album was created using a somewhat broken 2nd hand Yamaha PSS-380. This is a particularly strange synth as it features dual voices and a FM synthesiser on the body of a plastic toy keyboard. The keys on my frequently get stuck, as do the switches on the FM section, which means it often produces some unexpected results in recording! I also tend to run it through a reverb pedal to add some depth to the sounds."
Do you have any particular rituals or practices when it comes to your song writing process?
"I find myself writing music surround by things that inspire me and draw upon those during the writing process; the quote ‘wouldst thou like to live deliciously’ from the film The VVitch was prominent on my wall during recording. With headphones on I let myself be taken with where my musings are going. Once I have a riff I like I tend to loop and build upon it until there is a fully fleshed out song."
What are some landmark albums you'd recommend to those just getting into dungeon synth?
There are a couple of albums that drew me into dungeon synth: the first, as with many, is Old Tower’s Rise of the Spector. The harrowing, lush atmosphere on this album is immense. You can feel the wind blowing through the empty windows of a long abandoned castle and is a must listen for anyone. Depressive Silence's II is another album I cannot help but get draw into and frequently have playing as a source of inspiration. Finally the Lamentation single ‘Whisper’s from Carmilla’s Tomb’ is utterly enchanting and I would recommend anyone to give it a listen."
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume you love horror films. If so, what are some of your all-time favorites?
"You hunch is correct, I’m a huge fan of horror films! Haxan from the 1920’s is an absolute must watch for any Fiendish fans, this movie is a never ending source of creepy atmosphere which I draw upon heavily when writing music. I’m a huge fan of the Giallo genre; Dario Argento’s Tenebrae is a great example of the genre and is very creepy. If I had to choose one horror film everyone has to see it would be Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Gunnar Hansen continues to haunt my nightmares to this day, the film is an utterly uncomfortable watch and that make it all the better."
Have you ever considered scoring a horror film and what are some of your best-loved classic horror soundtracks?
"I would love to do a film soundtrack score and it is something I am definitely working towards! Maybe when time permits I will sit down and create something for a silent film like Nosferatu and see how that goes…"
What's on the horizon for Fiendish Imp in 2020 and beyond?
"Some preliminary work has started on Fiendish Imp II and I’m excited to get under way with it! I’m currently working on a black metal release under the name Volkihar, themed around the vampire clan from the Elder Scrolls series, which is nearing completion and a second album for my side project Blood Lord.
The spooky atmospheres are showing no sign of slowing and I’m looking forward to donning the Imp’s mask once more!"