Thy Light- Interview

Black metal band Thy Light enriched the lineup on the first day of Underground for the Masses Festival. Following their astonishing performance, an interview with Paolo Bruno seemed like...
Thy Light at Underground for the Masses
Thy Light at Underground for the Masses Photo credits: Stefan Lupascu

Black metal band Thy Light enriched the lineup on the first day of Underground for the Masses Festival. Following their astonishing performance, an interview with Paolo Bruno seemed like the best way to familiarize the public with their music.

Din Intunerec: Hello, Paolo, thank you for getting on board with the interview. What was the triggering factor for going live back in 2022? And why The Sinister Feast in Austria? Is there a symbolic understanding to your choice maybe, like the date or the place?

Paolo Bruno: I don’t think it was a single factor. It was a conjunction of wanting to express Thy Light’s music in a live environment for people who have a connection to it in someway and wanted to experience that connection through a live show, and the fact that I finally could make it happen the way I wanted, due to being based in “Europe”, having the right people to join me on stage and the right people to help behind the scenes.

Din Intunerec: Tell us a bit more about your passion to Death Metal, Paolo. You also have a death metal project if I am correct? Is that one still active?

Paolo Bruno: I played for 12 years on a band which was a mix of Death and Black Metal, or Swedish Death Metal if you may address it that way. That band has been active since 1993 and I was always a fan of the band until I joined them back in 2005. The band is still active, although only one original member, the drummer, remains in the current line-up. I am passionate about music, especially metal, no matter the sub-genre, as long as the lyrics and the music connect with me in someway.

Din Intunerec: Walk us through the cathartic act of songwriting, please. How do you find your inspiration? Also, what were the bands that marked your teenage years and had the biggest impact on your direction with music.

Paolo Bruno: My writing process for Thy Light specifically is a bit different than it was for other bands I played. Sometimes, something from the inside bothers me… And I do a deep dive inside myself, to immerse myself in those inner shadows and try to bring them to the surface so I can understand and tame them. The tool I use for that is what you know as Thy Light.

The way, I remove their veil so I can see their faces and how to confront them, is by turning them into music. The inspiration comes from Death and the understanding that Death is the supreme force that rules everything and the only thing that connects us. One can notice that Thy Light’s lyrics change in subject throughout the records and the sound as well, but they are all, in someway, pointing to the same direction… Death.

With regards to my inspirations, that would be a huge list, but one of the albums that changed my life was The Graveyard by King Diamond. This remains until today my all times favorite record.

Din Intunerec: Brazil gave the world some amazing early black metal bands. The style that surfaced was dominated by aggression and anger. Thy Light’s music is different, depressive and melancholic. Tell us a bit about your choice in making this sort of music back in the day.

Paolo Bruno: To be fair, Brazilian Black Metal was pretty melancholic at some point and still is through some bands, mainly during the 90s, but unfortunately most of our Brazilian jewels are still unknown for most. The 90s Brazilian Black Metal had a direct influence from the Greek Black Metal scene, where things were a bit more slow paced, with a heavy use of keyboards and melodic guitars which resemble the traditional Heavy Metal in some way.

One album that I always mention as a huge inspiration for that is Jachol Ve Tehila by Amen Corner. You will find some other masterpieces that follow that same style, for example My Visions in the Forest DEMO by Songe D’Enfer, …and Evil Returns by Murder Rape, Nocturne Delirium DEMO by Blazing Corpse, Odes ao Oculto by Hecate, and many others. Those are some of my all time favorite records. Records that I grew up listening to and that showed me the way to the gate of the path that I walk in this very moment.

Din Intunerec: Suici.De.pression is already a classic for every DSBMer, the demo being often in top 5 charts in the genre. What was the artistic meaning behind the music and who wrote the lyrics?

Paolo Bruno: Suici.De.pression is a compilation of songs that I recorded and intended to keep for myself. At first, I had no intention of releasing it or creating Thy Light. I recorded those songs during a very dark time of my life and I did it so I could overcome those dark times.

After having the songs, I showed them to a few close friends only and one of them was Alex, who later wrote the lyrics for the songs. I was never good at expressing myself through speaking or writing (one of the reasons for which I avoid answering to interviews) only through music. Alex and I were facing a similar darkness back then, so I thought he would be the right person to write the lyrics to those songs, and when I saw the lyrics, I got blown away of how well they could fit to the feeling I tried to expose with the music.

Din Intunerec: Your live aesthetics include corpse paint and black medieval robes. How important is the appearance and corpse paint for delivering a good black metal act? Do you consider it a tribute or something you feel it pairs really good with the atmosphere you’re trying to deliver to the audience?

Paolo Bruno: I consider going on stage with Thy Light as a ritual. It is impossible to deliver the same feeling every time we play the songs due to a number of external factors. However, having in mind this is a ritual, it has rules that need to be followed and steps that have a specific order of execution. The corpse paint, the candles (which we unfortunately cannot use in every show due to venue restrictions), the incense, they are all elements that help us detach ourselves from our daily life beings. They activate our subconscious, connecting us to our essence and the current shadows we have inside, so they can become the fuel for that ritual which will happen on stage.

Din Intunerec: You’ve been to Romania before, right? I specifically remember some live appearances with Germ and even Austere’s first ever performance happened in the citadel of Alba Iulia. Dark Bombastic Evening was a special event. Are you excited to being back in Romania, this time in Bucharest?

Paolo Bruno: Yes. All experiences I had in Romania regarding music were special in someway. I was really looking forward as this was going to be the first time of Thy Light in Romania and I already knew how passionate and dedicated Romanians are when it comes to this kind of music. I see lots of similarities with how the “scene” is in Brazil, so it is always nostalgic, in someway, to play in Romania.

Din Intunerec: How is the creative process going on at the moment? Any news regarding a future release?

Paolo Bruno: I have a full album written, we have plans to record the drums in the near future, making this the first record with real drums, but I am not sure of when this album will be finished or released as the vocal recordings will happen only when I feel it is time for it, when I am in the correct mood, connected with my inner darkness the way I always am when Thy Light happens in studio. It may take months, years, it is impossible for me to know.

Din Intunerec: What was the inspiration behind the name.. Thy Light? I know the story, but can you share it with our readers please?

Paolo Bruno: Long story short, I came up with that name while I was still a kid during a visit to my grandfather’s grave on a local cemetery in my hometown. My grandma mentioned that when she was a kid, they used to see some fireballs in the cemetery, fireballs leaving the graves, and they believed it was the soul leaving the body. Years after, the closest scientific explanation I found for this phenomenon was that the “fireball” might be some gases the decomposing body releases. Thy Light makes reference to that “fireball”; thy soul leaving thy physical body when you step into the next chapter.

Din Intunerec: Tell us about your live debut a bit more. How did it feel? On stage, delivering your music and meeting the people who came from all corners of the world to witness. Anything you remember in particular?

Paolo Bruno: It was a unique experience. To be sincere I just remember going on stage and leaving it. All memories of me on stage that night are a bit blurred and faded. I was too deep drowned inside myself to remember what happened on stage, but I can try to bring some bits of memory back by watching the video recordings. It was an honor to meet people that in some way have some connection to Thy Light’s music. This is not the reason why Thy Light exists, however, this consequence of having people that get connected to you, telling how the music is part of their existence in someway, is a privilege which I often doubt I deserve.

Din Intunerec: Lastly, do you have any message for the Romanian audience and the readers of our zine, Din Intunerec?

Paolo Bruno: I would like to thank everyone for their support and for the opportunity of finally bringing our music ritual to Romania. We hope to be back soon!

Din Intunerec: Thank you for your time! We hope to see you soon, back on the stage in Romania!

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