Click Interview with Dead Man’s Hill: ‘I Never Considered My Musical Path As Evolutionary’
Bart Piette set up Dead Man’s Hill in the late 90s. The Belgian artist became a respected and renowned artist to lovers of Dark-Ambient and Ritual music. Music and meditation have been always pretty close. The newest opus “Inner Journeys Through The Living Temples Of Water” -released on Noctivagant, only confirms this connection. The album title clearly reveals what it’s all about; a conceptual work dedicated to the spirits of water. The four tracks were conceived by meditations and shamanic journeys into and through four sacred Springs in Belgium and the UK. It’s an intimate and poignant production, which I can only, but hardly recommend. And this is what Bart Piette has to say about it.
(Picture Credits by Jayfeather / Interview courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: When speaking, 2021 is coming to an end, so what will you keep in mind from this year and more especially from your musical activities and personal development as ‘artist’?
Bart: I’m very grateful for all chances I had this year to participate on compilations and the new full length album of course. But doing sound design and creating new sounds also brought a lot of satisfaction.
Q: You newest album “Inner Journeys Through The Living Temples Of Water” became a particular conceptual opus dedicated to the spirits of water. Tell us a bit more about the concept and the way you transpose it into sounds, songs and an album?
Bart: The idea was born about a decade ago during a particularly profound meditation in the White Spring. When I returned from Glastonbury I started to visit the springs in the neighbourhood even more to connect, to sing, to pray and to gather the garbage that was scattered there. After a while those places brought so much into my head that I needed to express it somehow. Since my best means to express something is through sound, the idea of an album dedicated to those sacred places started to take shape in my head. Due to circumstances (finding the right sounds etc..) it took several years to finish it.
Q: I noticed the album was conceived by meditations and shamanic journeys into and through four sacred Springs in Belgium and the UK. How do we have to visualize this aspect, which I think has been an essential part of the work, but still telling us a bit more about who you are?
Bart: I can only say: close your eyes while listening and let visions and feelings come up spontaneously. It’s the best way to get the most out of it. The sound will do the rest.
Q: Tell us a bit more about the four tracks, which each reveal an own atmosphere and probably each hiding an own story? What have been the highlights in the entire preparation, writing and recording of the album?
Bart: The atmosphere that is in each of the four tracks, comes from my experiences within the four sacred springs. It’s very subjective and the beauty of it is that everyone can experience it and find healing and/or beauty in it in a way that is different and suitable for everyone.
The highlights in the preparation were definitely the visits to those places, experiencing the experience anew through the sound and revisiting those places again to take pictures for the artwork and renewing the connection.
Another highlight is the collaboration with Noctivagant Records, who treated and released this material with utmost care, close to the nature of the sound. I’m very grateful for that.
Q: This new album also reveals a noticeable evolution in sound –especially when compared to earlier works. I experience the album as being your most personal and intimate production, but what does it mean to you? And how do you perceive your own evolution as artist throughout the years?
Bart: To me these are visions and feelings that I tried to translate into sound to the best of my capabilities. The idea of this release was already a decade in my head, as were some of the tracks and sounds. And these 4 places definitely changed things within me, especially those in Belgium which I visited so many times. They cleansed things out of me and replaced it with something else. In that way it’s very personal indeed.
To answer the second part of your question, I never considered my musical path as evolutionary. It’s a main road with crooked paths alongside that pull me in and I cannot resist exploring them. That’s when new sounds start to emerge.
Q: Your work has been often focalized around themes of Nature so I’m wondered how you experience the ongoing pandemic and all its consequences, measures ao? What does it say about the relationship between Mother Earth and human being?
Bart: The pandemic doesn’t make my life more different than it was before. I love to be in and with the Nature… and of course writing a bit more music and spending more time on sound design. If a certain situation compels me to do more of all that, then I have complete peace with that.
Whether we talk about Covid or diseases that come forth from pollution and such, it’s a fact that we unlearned to care for Mother Earth, and we unlearned that she’s a living creature just like we are. I think that the absence of our heart-connection with Her is the foundation of a lot of unhappiness and pain in humanity. Our hearts will heal and transform if we mend our relationship with Her, and then we receive so much more in return!
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