April 12, 2024

Click Interview with Simon Heath from Atrium Carceri


Simon Heath

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Simon Heath
Simon Heath

There’s that much to say about Simon Heath. The Swedish artist and label-owner (Cryo Chamber) has been involved with numerous music projects and has collaborated with multiple other artists. Atrium Carceri probably remains his most famous and renowned project which he set up in 2003. Twenty years later, by the end of 2023, he released the new album “Forgotten Gods”. I consider the work as one of the best Atrium Carceri-albums in history; mixing Dark-Ambient and Cinematic influences together with a Ritual input. I asked a few questions to Simon about this absolute masterpiece. (Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)

Q: “Forgotten Gods” was released by the end of 2023 which means twenty years after Atrium Carceri’s official debut-album “Cellblock”. Can you draw up the balance sheet of this incredible sonic voyage?

Simon: It’s been a while since I produced “Cellblock”; that album serves as a good introduction into the project and was conceptually a bit more to-the-point with its framing. “Forgotten Gods” is so far down the Atrium Carceri rabbit hole that I purposely needed to anchor it to my very first albums both in the themes and in the production style. Hopefully that will be recognizable to a few fans

Q: How much of the ‘young’ Simon Heath do you still recognize in “Forgotten Gods” and how did you see the evolution of the project when it comes to concepts, writing, sound production, recording techniques etc?

Simon: I think conceptually things have drifted a bit away from traditional physical horror and more into cosmic- and philosophical terror, which is to be expected as we move beyond our world and into the real one, truth is terrifying.

Q: “Forgotten Gods” took me by surprise. I got the impression you ‘reinvented’ Atrium Carceri although the sound remains familiar to ‘earlier’ productions and influences. How do you perceive this album and how did it saw the daylight?

Simon: I very much wanted a different more distorted and more cult-like atmosphere on this one to represent the heavy feeling of exploring deep underneath the cities. To feel the weight of the earth and hear the reverberations of ancient stone temples and abandoned sewage halls.

Q: What inspired you in the concept of the album which takes the listener away in a mysterious and ritual exploration of the underworld beneath our cities?

Simon: It’s very much a continuation of previous albums but ties in a bit more conceptual with “Metropolis” and “Cellblock” than to “Codex”.

Q: How did you transpose the ideas of the concept into sounds and songs? What have been the different stages you’d to go through to achieve “Forgotten Gods”? 

Simon: Those that know me know that I produce a lot, but also delete a lot. I sometimes have a subtractive approach to production. On this album I deleted at least half of the tracks that were meant for it, and then started working my way up to the finishing point again. Some of those tracks weren’t bad necessarily, but they didn’t fit into the sound or concepts I was exploring and some of them interrupted the flow from track to track.

Generally this is an approach I like to use, to not emotionally get attached to my own material because it can cloud my judgment of what works or does not. It’s an easy trap to fall into if you put 50 hours into a track, to delete it and feel like you sat there 50 hours in the studio for nothing, but at the end of the day it wasn’t for nothing because deleting that track made for a better album. 

Q: You clearly like working and composing together with other artists -which in a way also became a trademark of Cryo Chamber. Why are these collaborations that precious and important to you? And is there any specific artist you would like to work with?

Simon: I do love collaborating with people, it’s a good time to geek out with like-minded people and also a good learning experience to be able to share techniques and learn from other artists. Well I always love to work with Pär Boström of Kammarheit/Cities Last Broadcast/Aindulmedir/Trollslottet as we have a very good balance where my more sterile- and technical- and his chaotic- and artistic production styles work to bring us out of our comfort zone and create something  neither of us would be able to pull off solo.

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Inferno Sound Diaries
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