A journey to the Inner Self – interview with ’Tithe’

Hello Tithe and a very warm welcome to Dark Folk Nation blog! Love to feature your music here so thanks for making this happen. How are you doing today?

Presently, and for the past year, my existence resembles an isolated opportunity to stare myself blankly in the face in an attempt to really see the Self. I know I’m not alone in this solitude, as these are exceptionally strange times. But the strange days have found us, and optimistically (perhaps the first time the word has been used in any interview I’ve ever given!) this is indeed a rare opportunity. A chance to shed layers of nonsense that we’ve built up for years and years and just be honest for a change.


We would like to know a bit behind the story of ’Tithe’. Who’s behind the project? Where do you come from? How was ’Tithe’ born?


I’ve been involved in music in both extreme and somber forms for several years now. In my younger years, when I was first gripped by this genre that this blog takes its name from, I felt an incredible, though unknown, longing fulfilled. Mysterious imagery, aching beauty, perfect simplicity, and melodies to get lost in. But it was just the beginning of a journey of exploration and introspection that nothing else I had dabbled with could provide. In those early, naïve days I knew I had to participate in this music in some form! So I grabbed my old guitar (that I still compose with) and started hammering out chord progressions and ill-fitting vocal melodies. Obsessed by an unnamable need to connect to something rooted and real, I became enamored with an idea of my heritage, and with the same naïve spirit chose a name from an Anglo Saxon poem I was studying in university. Tithe (or was it tythe? memory is fleeting) was born, but still only resembled a kind of incubation stage. In an attempt to ape my influences, I wrote the name in runes and adopted a Neofolk 101 sound, as I like to call it. I believe I recorded a song or two and another handful of bedroom recorded ideas that are lost to the aether. Of course this didn’t last long, and was probably the result of a failed relationship, but I shelved the project and buried it in time and dust. 

Flash forward some 13 years, now after seeing some winters, the same need to return to a rooted reality is stronger than ever. A more secure sense of who and what finds me much more grounded and focused in many ways, but still unfulfilled. It was time to explore the inner journey once again. The necessary rites were performed, and my guileless vehicle of expression was reborn into a new form with eyes wide open. 


How would you describe your music?

Finally seeing the dawn after a long Dark Night of the Soul? An attempt to make something heartfelt after years of ugliness? Or just my hopeless effort to elicit the same degree of beauty and torture that I first experienced when hearing the Nature and Organisation album? The decision is yours.


What instruments do you use when writing music?


A 20 year old acoustic guitar, fingers blessed with a degree of dexterity, a cheap glockenspiel, an even cheaper melodica, a flute found in an alleyway, and friends.


How about when it comes to songwriting, what inspires you most? What do you want to pass on to your listeners?


A nearly demented and solipsistic mapping of the Tarot upon my life’s journey that somewhat resembles a spiritual belief system. A brush with self-imposed insanity. Extreme despair, incredible elation, and trying to find an existence in the balance point between the two.


Some time ago, you released an EP called ’Wildfires’, how was this release born?


It was a mix of two impacting experiences. The first was a summer spent in clouds of wildfire smoke here in British Columbia. My life had just changed drastically for the better, and it was a strong metaphor for the person who I had just burned to the ground, while finally stepping out of his shadow. The second was a nearly magical experience while performing on stage in Iceland in the middle of summer, hours before midnight, with the sun shining bright. Staring upward, mid-song to receive … something. I’m still not sure what. There was power in that unsetting sun transmitted in that moment unlike anything else. Solar energy? Lucifer’s embrace? The essence of unifying opposites? It’s still something I’m processing and making sense of. 

Are you working on something at the moment?


Always. There is never a sense of finality or satisfaction. I think this is the curse of the musician or (dare I say it) artist. At the moment, I’m planting seeds for my next attempt and exploring some traditional tunes. Thematically, I think things will take a turn or perhaps go even deeper. I’ve reached a point in life where I feel like a great shift is incubating and I greatly want to capture that energy somehow. Where will the strangely sunlit path lead? 

Additionally, I am working on some very exciting collaborations that I cannot wait to see come to fruition. Pay attention – it will be worth it!


Do you play live shows and if yes how big of a role do they have in your music?

Since I unveiled this project mid-pandemic, no, I have not: aside from the Hyggeasy live streams to receptive small audiences. While I was and am grateful that anyone wants to hear what I have to say, it leaves me deeply shaken and unable to function for hours afterwards. So clearly live performances don’t factor in too strongly, as that was never part of the vision. Perhaps it’s incongruent to present such introspective music outwards? Perhaps not?


What is coming next for ’Tithe’?


It’s not for me to say. Inspiration works in funny ways and the winds of creation blow when you least suspect. I just try to stay humble and stay receptive. 


Any wisdoms you’d like to share with the world?


”A spark can glow the brightest when submerged in the deepest darkness. A flicker can act as a furnace in the bitterest cold. Truth lies in its opposite. The value of suffering. But remember: you are just a visitor in the Abyss.”

You’ll find Tithe’s music at:

https://tithefolk.bandcamp.com/releases

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