Blood and Sun: Life is a dangerous thing
|Courtesy of the Artist|
|Blood and Sun|
Our lives are comprised of many different currents, pushing in different directions and eventually weaving together to create the threads that bind our individual experiences together. With his new project Blood and Sun, musician and painter Luke Tromiczak brings this idea to life by creating a collaborative musical endeavor that he is able to bring with himself into all of the spaces he occupies, a product of many contributors and environments that is symbolic of his personal philosophies.
Tomorrow evening, Blood and Sun will celebrate the release of their debut album, White Storms Fall, with a performance at CO Exhibitions accompanying the opening of an exhibition of paintings and sculptures from the Holdfast Collective. The exhibition, Holdfast III: Effigy & Exile, is the third installment of the Minneapolis-based art collective, also led in part by Tromiczak. Gimme Noise met with Tromiczak in the weeks leading up to the show to talk about the new album and to gain some insight into its unique lyrical content.
|Courtesy of the Artist|
"From the onset, Blood and Sun was going to be a project that I was going to be able to take with me wherever, and work with multiple people, which has been amazing," Tromiczak says. He has recently been attending school in New York City, and collaborating with various musicians there. While based in Minneapolis for the summer, the band's line-up will consist of Tromiczak himself on guitar and vocals, Thomas Ashe on violins, Tanner Anderson on hammered dulcimer(Obsequaie, Celestiial), Erik Wivinus on percussion(Thunderbolt Pagoda), and Angela Mcjunkin on cello.
White Storms Fall is an ambitious work. The album is a sweeping journey through dark and light, carried by solemnly chiming strings and swelling percussion. Tromiczak's voice is deep and sorrowful, lifting above the steady drone of what he describes as "heathen folk." The lyrics are heartfelt, complex yet straightforward, drawing upon themes that Tromiczak holds particularly dear. "I don't want to cloak things in irony," he says. "I feel that in order to make music and write songs that people almost want to take a sort of ironic distance from it." When reading through the lyrics, one is given a direct glimpse into the roots from which this work sprang.
The song "Lord of the Spring" stands apart from the rest in that its lyrics were written collaboratively between Tromiczak and Ashe, who is performing with the current incarnation of the band. The two met in 2004 in New Orleans, while Tromiczak was touring with a Minneapolis punk band. They actually met quite randomly in a coffee shop, and realized that they shared many mutual friends in Minneapolis. The two stayed in touch, and Tromiczak was eager to tap Ashe for musical contribution to Blood and Sun. "He was one of the first people that I decided to contact to work with on it, because he plays a real screechy kind of Americana fiddle," Tromiczak says. "Knowing his interests in things like Current 93 and Psychic TV or Death in June...it was a pretty immediate fit."
"Lord of the Spring" does showcase this screechy fiddle quite nicely, accompanied by waves of cymbal crashes and Tromiczak's monotonous intonation. The song is about the dissolution of the materialist world. Tromiczak often draws upon themes of Norse mythology to explain the ideas behind his music. "The sort of Lord of the Spring is almost like a fallen protagonist, like Baldr, where at one point maybe there's a certain harmony being sought between people that the world seems lacking," he says. "Even when trying to make something positive if it, it end of enveloping itself and eating itself in a way." In Norse mythology, Baldr is the god of light and purity.
In the song, Tromiczak sings, "This world so lacking, feast devours guest and host/ Crimson flowers come reaping/ Swelling sorrow past almost/ Fair prince of the spring dismantling his noontide/ Shimmering dust of the crown sifts into the dry ground." He likens this description to the struggle to find one's foothold in this world. "It's a song about making a life of purpose when a lot of currents tend to push you into really compartmentalized functions," he says. When asked how he relates this idea to his own life, he pauses. "I think there's a tendency for hyper specialization of people into work," he says, contemplatively. "At one point we might have a romanticism about the working class and the sort of industrial backbone of the United States, and now there is a move much more towards moving money and information in between people, not even with a sort of material result." He says that he and Ashe have both felt isolated as part of the current pushing against this spectacle of capitalism and consumerism.
Tromiczak's friendship with Ashe is a perfect allegory to the idea of different lives being woven together, as in the Elder Edda, a text of Old Norse poems that he also draws inspiration from for Blood and Sun. He speaks fondly of their connection with one another. "We speak really freely with each other and it's a close friendship," he says. "He's particular. He will only receive phone calls; he doesn't text. He rarely uses the internet. He's kind of old-fashioned in his ways. Even in the bitter winter he will show up at a show on his bicycle with his violin wrapped up in swaddling to make sure that the cold doesn't affect the body of it." He is intrigued by the role that "coincidence," like meeting Ashe in a coffee shop in New Orleans, plays in our lives.