With "Through Shaded Woods", the new work of his solo project, Riverside singer Mariusz Duda has managed a big surprise. On the last two Lunatic Soul albums he indulged in strongly electronic sounds, but now he comes up with extremely convincing sounds that evoke thoughts of a medieval forest hike: almost classical folk rock, mixed with elements of Scandinavian folk music and pagan metal borrowings.
Since 2008 Mariusz Duda has been turning his soul inside out with the project Lunatic Soul and dedicating himself to the painfully intense exploration of existential crises. In the eclipsed interview, the charming Pole explains the major themes of the new work and the Lunatic Soul album cycle.
eclipsed: With "Through Shaded Woods" you have made a real musical transformation. What made you take this excursion into folk rock, Mariusz?
Mariusz Duda: I was born in a very small Polish town in the Masurian Lake District, a very wonderful landscape with forests and lakes. Basically, nature has always been very close to me. It wasn't until I was 25 that I moved to a city [Warsaw], where my adventure with Riverside began. Unconsciously, I guess I went back to my childhood. Every Lunatic Soul record has a special color, most recently it was blue and red. This time it was green, and green means forest. For me, that meant going back to my roots, away from electronics, musically as well. I hadn't pursued that style so clearly before.
eclipsed: What specific musical influences from Scandinavian folk, for example, came into play here?
Duda: First of all the trance sound of Dead Can Dance. Then above all Hedningarna, the Swedish-Finnish Pagan-Folkers, who came into being long before Wardruna, and the Nordic-Ritual-Folk-Band Heilung. Peter Gabriel was also a big inspiration with his album "Passion". I wanted my album to sound like it was from another world. On the ambient-like previous records I always had a song with oriental colours, but this time it should be a completely "green" record. (laughs)
eclipsed: There are indeed new colors in your music. Some of it even calls for a medieval dance.
Duda: Oh yes, definitely. Even though I'm considered a progger, I love ritual drums, the shamanic healing moment. Everything should sound more Slavic and Scandinavian. The world music part of Lunatic Soul is much more medieval now. It's never been done that way in progressive rock music before.