Akerius is a solo dungeon synth project by Aker Aeon which is quite traditional and medieval inspired. I’m very happy to have gotten his perspective on the craft and further develop my understanding of this intensely niche but wonderful genre.
How, where and when did Akerius form?
Akerius is a solo dark medieval dungeon synth project from Réunion Island, where I live. It started in 2019 with the release of The Darkened Passage Through The Black Fortress, a tribute to the medieval past of the French region where I was born.
Akerius comes from the name ‘Aker’, which appears in two different myths (found in both Egyptian and Southern French history). It is also a reference to my alias Aker Aeon, to which I added an antique medieval ‘touch’ with the ‘-ius’ for sonority.
You have two releases debuting in 2019, Into The Vortex and The Darkened Passage Through the Black Fortress, were these made side by side? Tell me a bit about your creative process as a solo project.
I’m a guitarist, and my first release Into The Vortex is a ‘compilation’ of the different pieces of music I wrote on my electric and acoustic guitars, arranged in chronological order. I wanted to gather them on one album to finalize the process. This album reflects my passion for the kind of metal and atmospheric music I’ve been listening to for years, but something was missing…
That’s how I got the idea of writing a more dungeon synth-oriented album. I felt I could create a darker medieval atmosphere through a ‘concept’ I had in mind. Those new elements resonated so much with me that it was the beginning of a new creative process..
Into The Vortex which was more progressive metal and this time around with The Darkened Passage Through The Black Fortress you’ve switched straight into traditional medieval dungeon synth. What inspired that shift in music for you?
That was a time when I was listening a lot to my Summoning vinyls and old albums from Mortiis, but also black metal bands from Norway. Then I wondered what was going on with the DS community in France and I discovered a project called Gargoylium. I really liked the music and this strengthened my belief that I should begin the writing process for The Darkened Passage Through The Black Fortress.
The Darkened Passage has a tape release through Akashic Envoy Records, but you also have even more content coming up this year?
First, I want to thank Clayton from AER (tape label) for choosing my album on Bandcamp and giving me this great opportunity to share my album with the DS community. And best of all, a track from my upcoming album Lux Tenebras will figure on the upcoming Akashic Envoy Records compilation which is an honour for me!
AER has released a tape of my first album, something unexpected for me. Lots of things are happening, and I’m indeed very glad and excited about it!
The dungeon synth tape community is very supportive, why is cassette such an important platform to the genre?
Yes, the supportive aspect in this community is very important. There are a lot of cool people sharing interesting information about the genre and also the music they are writing, and this results in a very rewarding process.
To me, the cassette is ancient and makes us ride on a wave of nostalgia, like a reminder of the past. The analogic sound of the tape creates a special atmosphere, and all those aspects fit well to the genre. It’s got that ‘old and precious’ something you cannot feel from the digital format.
That’s why I also appreciate listening to old vinyl. I find them much more attractive than CDs. Tapes have a lifespan, and unlike digital music, there is decay and death. It’s like a living thing, and that appeals to me
The thing that got me into DS was the covers. Many use a lot of architecture and isolated landscapes; the castle ones are my personal favourite. What is it about the synth sound that inspires this kind of medieval theme and art? They seem like two contrasting ideas separate but work so well together.
Yes, covers are a very important aspect of DS! The medieval aspect of the covers (old paintings or drawings from artists of the past) are very attractive, but you can also find some ‘modern’ original illustrations that are mind blowing! The sounds that are used for the genre can also come from antique synthesizers (some artists are using old keyboard sounds that are more oriented to the ‘old school dungeon synth’ style) or from more modern recording equipment with better quality sounds, leading to a better quality for mastering. Personally, I think I’m between the old and the modern approach of this genre of music. That’s what helped shaped my style with some guitar parts (acoustic and sometimes electric) to my compositions.
Now that you’re about to have three albums out this year, what’s your plans for the future of the project? Exploring different ideas yet again or are you wanting to flesh out dungeon synth a bit more before moving on?
This year was a very ‘hyperactive’ period for me, and at the same time a very productive one – that’s for sure! When you are passionate and the right inspiration is there, everything can move very quickly! And it’s of course easier when you know people that are supportive. It encourages you.
I am now more focused on promoting and sharing my music. My new release Lux Tenebras (a concept about the war on the heretics in the south of France) is my priority. I hope it will attract the curiosity of the DS listeners, both French and foreigners alike.
Of course, above all I aim to continue delivering dark medieval dungeon synth music, but I will continue to blend different ideas to amplify a more individual approach to DS.
I want to thank everyone who took time to listen to my music, and the people who bought it or simply shared it! Thank you, CarcassBomb for this interview. It’s the first I’ve done about Akerius, and I wish you the best!
Big hails from Réunion Island!
It’s great to hear from the voice behind another prolific solo project. I never get tired of seeing people being passionate. Thanks for reading and make sure to check out Esoteric Tapes, Noob Heavy’s tape community with previous interviews and Carcassbomb’s personal collection. There’s also a succinct introduction to DS there for anyone who may need it. – CarcassBomb