KULL Take Heart and Steel

Maudling brothers have returned with a brand new band, after the long-time pause with from latest Bal-Sagoth full-length. Those who have already followed the path of Bal-Sagoth are quite aware of the idea and existence of such a band and project already for soem years. So, here we are 13 years after the final Bal-Sagoth’s record was released with Kull’s


Hello there! I have to first congratulate you for Kull’s debut offering ”Exile”. I am really glad that you have returned with more offerings!
JONNY: Appreciated, glad to have you on board. This is our first offering as KULL you know!
TARKAN: Seconded! It’s an exciting time for us as the release date gets ever closer and, I hope, to everyone out there who have been itching for more from the Maudling bros.

Please, could you say for the beginning how did you get the idea to form and start Kull as a new project separated this time from Byron Roberts? Was this a natural step since Byron was notso interested to continue the musical journey anymore?
JONNY: You could look at it like that, more so, we were drifting apart with other projects anyway.
TARKAN: Kull kind of solidified out of everyone’s love for both composition as well as playing the older material. Bal-Sagoth is very much its own entity, fueled very much by the conglomeration of Chris & Jonny’s composition style and overall sound and the personality and lyrics of Byron. With a hunger to do more, Kull coalesced and came into being of its own accord and quickly developed into something that we all, I think, see as connected to and yet standing apart from its roots.

How would you like from your own point of view to present Kull’s debut material? Could we say that ”Exile” is the musically speaking the second part of ”The Chthonic Chronicles”?
JONNY: No, because the direction is totally different from a lyrical point of view. It’s like asking the same question to John Williams about Star-Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
TARKAN: Composers have their own musical signatures. To expect a sound totally at odds with the signature sound that the two principal musicians haver previously created would be to delve into absurdity. Personally, I hear a lot of differences between Exile and Cthonic, although that too is natural when you are so familiar with each piece of work. I would describe the compositions and sound of Exile as the natural progression of Chris and Jonny on both their compositional, performance and production journeys.

Sometimes I could even bet that I have heard Byron’s narrations but please could you tell us little more about there? So, was there any Byron’s contribution here and there?
JONNY: No. We use the same technology that we learnt from studio technique. The studio makes it sound the same.

TARKAN: I’m not sure whether to take that as praise or condemnation! As a long-term fan of Bal-Sagoth and working with the aforementioned signature sound of the Maudlings, I was obviously inspired By what I had previously heard. Yet, I do think there is a different feel to Byron’s approach and my own. Byron’s voice is unique and it was never my intention to attempt mimicry. Having said that, if you hear his influence on my delivery at any stage, I would hope that this correctly perceived as an unintentional
homage to one who has had an exceptional impact.

How did you choose the vocalist for Kull’s debut opus ”Exile”? Did you already have in mind that it should sound closer to Byron’s vocals or were you aiming to something different?
JONNY: It was important to continue that idea as the music demanded. Demanding music needs an epic narrative. Tarkan suited this perfectly, knew the band, and had been along side us for alot of the way.

Anyway, the lyrics are different from Bal-Sagoth’s ones, so could you tell us something more about the lyrical ideas for the debut offering?
TARKAN: As I have said elsewhere, many of the stories for Exile were developed from stories that were planned or penned many years ago for a non-musical project I had in mind. However, the album doesn’t follow a single chronological narrative. Rather, I see the songs as a series of snapshots in time. Some of these are analogous to our own history, some are very much not. Some of the lyrics are allegorical whereas others are far less so – I’ll leave it to the listener to interpret that! However, there are common thematic threads as well as narrative elements that tie everything together in a single, broad and all- encompassing continuity.

Why did you took so long to create Kull’s debut album? Does it have to do something with the more complex music or some other more private moments so to say?
JONNY: No, it was just where we all were in life, and other projects.

Why did you choose to have the ship on the cover artwork? Was there something particularity that you would like to present or does the cover goes alongside with the lyrical concept?
JONNY: It totally fitted with the concept and lyrical theme. Also to depart from the usual comic-esq style from Bal-Sagoth, it suited the new approach.
Do you plan to have some live shows with Kull in the near future: I guess it will be indeed great to see you guys somewhere playing…
Yes, we will play live, watch this space for dates.

What’s the next step when it comes to Kull? How will you continue to promote your debut full- length and do you plan to have some more records in the future or was this the only one musical journey?
JONNY: Like the fans, we will see how this grows and see where this takes us. We hope the fans like our debut!
TARKAN: I think we all very much hope that this is but the beginning of a new chapter and, from what I
hear, many others share this with us.

Are there any ideas for the returning of Bal-Sagoth and maybe performer of some show sin the near future since there are lots of true fans who would like to see you at least for one last time at the stage?
JONNY: None planned, but you may find a few Sagoth songs thrown in the live set with KULL for good
measure. Ultimately, that is music I wrote, so, I dont see why not.

I would like to thank you for this great musical journey and I really hope to meet you somewhere if you ever wanted to play live! Good luck!
JONNY: Thanks, hope to meet you too out there, and thanks to everyone for the support!

  • Interview by Marko Miranovic

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