Photo: Cecilia Bjärgö
Annmari Thim is the person who is behind the ethereal project ‘ANGELIC FOE’ and is also well-known from the collaboration with Arcana.Let’s meet Annmari and her beautiful music.
How did you choose the name of your project?
Originally I intended to call the project “A Touch of Lilith” and as I worked with the first demo for the debut album “Oppressed by the Heavens” one of the tracks actually carried the name “Angelic Foes”. After a while I realized how much I liked the sound of the latter and decided to change the project name as well as the song name. “Angelic Foe” represents a threat disguised with loveliness, just as many female demons and mythic creatures; but it could also just as well mean angel of death or angel of penance.
Tell us about the driving force that leads you to create your personal project "Angelic Foe"
The driving force to create material under the umbrella of “Angelic Foe” is sprung out from inspiration as well as provocation. I have always been fascinated by folklore, sagas and mystique as well as different belief systems. Furthermore, I find it agitating how evil forces in many of these worlds often are represented by beautiful and/or terrifying female creatures. And on top of this I was once actually accused of being a “succubus” myself and that provoked me enough to write about it and to form this project.
Tell us about your collaboration with Arcana and other projects.
My main focus is at present on Angelic Foe and the project has become most precious to me but I do collaborate with other bands and musicians as well, however on a more sporadic level. There are a couple of larger projects in pipeline but I am as of yet not obliged to talk about them as they still are taking form. As for my involvement in Arcana I would say that it is right now on hold, since Peter Bjärgö last year decided to dissolve the lineup back then and return to his origins. Nothing is, however, carved in stone and we will see what the future brings for both of us! My 13 years in Arcana has been a time, which I truly treasure. I still collaborate with Peter for Angelic Foe though, and we even share the same studio space.
What is the mission of your music?
The purpose of my music is first and foremost creative relief! But I also wish to create another world for listeners to lose themselves in for a while. I want to project elements in holy scripts, mysticism and historic events with music and words; I see it as melodic story telling.
Can you tell a bit about your songwriting and recording process? How do you come up with the ideas for the songs?
The song writing process has changed over time but what remains the same from the beginning and until now is that I always start by writing the lyrics. I composed the songs for the first album together with guitarist Cristian Ellingsen and we did it from scratch. After that they were developed further by drummer Mattias Borgh and producer John Tyrell, who made the sound complete. For the second album, which I just finished, I recorded the foundation for most songs alone in my studio only with a drum rhythm as support. In this way I created rough drafts of the songs with the vocal melodies and harmonies for the different parts that I thought the songs should consist of. After that I brought the ideas to musician Samuel Lidström and we composed and produced the music together digitally. The album is now in the hands of Peter Bjärgö for mixing and mastering and I hope to release it during the year.
Can you describe the atmosphere you want to create with your songs?
The soundscape has altered; the first album was mainly acoustic and quite sparse whereas the second album has a rich and dramatic orchestral sound and in the next production, which I am currently working with I am flirting with dimmer and more industrial elements. But generally I want the atmosphere to be dark and epic.
Which areas do the lyrics of your songs refer to?
My lyrics center mostly on creatures and tales from ancient religious texts. They also treat historic events such as the witch prosecution in Europe, etc. and some of it are simply recitations of spells, old or new.
Sweden is full of myths and a lot of artists are interested in fantasy worlds and especially in forces of nature, magic, paganism and mythology. Are you interested in them too?
Forces of nature, magic, paganism and mythology are all elements in the music of Angelic Foe. The Nordic heritage reflects just that and therefore it comes naturally for me as source of inspiration.
Which are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music?
The different music styles that have influenced Angelic Foe in one way or the other are quite a few: classic orchestral music, epic film music, symphonic metal, death metal, dark ambient music, industrial music, ethnic folk music, pagan rock and even some electronic pop.
What kind of feedback have you received about your music and what would you say people think of ethereal music in general?
The first album got pretty good reviews as far as I know and I have received very positive feedback from those listeners, who have approached me with their thoughts. I hope that the listeners will enjoy the upcoming album as well, even though it is more neoclassic than the previous one. I am sure that there are people who dislike my music too but I guess that goes for most bands. I think that the ethereal music scene today has grown, both when it comes to number of bands performing and when it comes to the audience listening. The reasons for it could be many; easy access to music online, availability of fantastic orchestral sounds to use for digital programming, or maybe the scene has simply become more approachable due to all the fantasy oriented video games, TV series and films that are increasing in popularity.
Which are your non-musical interests?
When I am not working with music or writing lyrics I enjoy visiting old ruins and ancient sacred places, spending time in the nature, hanging out with family and friends, watching films, reading books (both for pleasure and inspiration for lyric writing) and playing video games. And I also like other obvious things such as delicious foods and wines.
What about your future plans?
As mentioned earlier I aim to release the new album ”Mother of Abominations” later this year on a label. I am also currently recording an EP together with Peter Bjärgö with a slightly darker and less melodic touch. More information on both these releases will follow. Lastly, I have already started writing new material for yet another full-length album but I am in no hurry to finish it and I have not made my mind up yet when it comes to what kind of soundscape it should carry. No rest for the wicked!