Hermit Haunter

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Listen, do we really need another interview with Glen Benton ranting about how much he hates Christians as well as his ex-wife? Or Trey Azagthoth calling out fans that don’t like his music as fake fans? Well, how about a (first) interview with an independent, local (at least to me) artist who has released 5 albums in 2011 alone? A young man I decided to meet up with while on a business trip in his neck of the woods and interview him after hearing a number of his albums and being impressed by them. That man is Adam Kalmbach, the lone spirit behind Jute Gyte. And when I met Adam I was a little shocked when you consider the nasty and abrasive nature of albums like Old Ways, Verstiegenheit and his latest effort, Impermanance. Well, spoken, intelligent, unassuming and critically knowledgeable about music, I should be glad the racket he produces is so vitriolic as this Jekyll and Hyde effect would be a terrible thing if it manifested itself outside of his music. A one man black metal act that has Burzum, Leviathan and Xasthur level potential that you all should get to know… please meet Adan Kalmbach AKA Jute Gyte.

First off, tell me a little about yourself and how you got into metal and how you got to where you are now writing and recording 5 albums in 1 year.

Oh man, well I’ve lived here in Missouri my whole life. I think I first got into metal when I heard the Mortal Kombat soundtrack when I was in 4th grade. It had songs from Type O Negative, Napalm Death and Fear Factory on it. When I heard the vocals on the Napalm Death track (“Twist the Knife (Slowly)”) I was just into metal from that point on.

So at what point did you decide you actually wanted to create this form of music?

Oh I think I was about 18 or 19. Old Ways was actually my first recording, even though it was just released a couple of years ago. I’m actually 26 now so you can see. There was a significant delay in actually getting these albums released from when they were actually recorded, that’s why I have so many releases.

That’s actually a great segue! Lets talk about that, you’ve got to be one of the most prolific musicians out there. 5 CDs this year alone and 13 total since 2006… that’s just crazy! What’s the cause of this production? Do you have a vast back catalog of written music or are you continually writing?

A little of both. I’ve got a large back log of material and obviously since I’ve been recording since I was 18 without releasing it the back log is pretty big. I also write a lot. I have a part time job, so I have a lot of time to write and I’d go crazy otherwise.

Of your 13 CDs, it’s split between the abrasive black metal and more ambient, electronic atmospheric stuff that’s completely different. What’s your logic for releasing them under the same moniker? Have you given any thought to releasing the atmospheric stuff under a different name?

I guess I look at it like Perez, a composer who would compose some orchestral work but he would also compose a solo piece.  It’s all the same personality coming through in the music. The only changes would only really be idiomatic or stylistic — it’s still the same mind creating it. It’s just different ways to express the same musical personality. Unless I had a really specific purpose for a project, I can’t see releasing anything under another name.

So what exactly does Jute Gyte mean?

Let me think about this for a second [pause] It really doesn’t mean anything. With electronic music and metal, there are all these bizarre , unusual titles and names, and I think if I had chosen something more black metal, I would have been more limited in my style. I kind of made it up. It leaves me very free to pursue any sound I want without being limited.

You also run and own the label Jute Gyte CDs are released on, Jeshimoth Entertainment, right?

Yes, me and a friend of mine run Jeshimoth… very ineptly I might add. It’s m0stly for Jute Gyte. There are a couple of other bizarre things that my friend does.

Tell me a little more about your influences. Obviously being a one man black metal act there’s going to be some Leviathan and Xasthur references, right?

I’ve heard a little of Leviathan and Xasthur. But the  black metal I listen to or mean the most to me are the first two Burzum albums, the first HavohejJudas Iscariot, Inquisition… stuff like that. I don’t really know a whole lot about the USBM scene outside of Xasthur and Leviathan. I’ve seen some reference to Krallice in some reviews but I’ve never really listened to them.

I don’t really hear Krallice in your music, I think you are much harsher. But on each album, you seem to shift a little in style and sound. Old Ways was super harsh and abrasive, Verstiegenheit was a more organic, Ulver-sounding record and on the new one, Impermanance, you seem to inject a little groove and dare I say actual, simple riffs into the the mix of all the above. And that’s not even including all your atmospheric electronic stuff like Young Eagle.

Well, the thing with Old Ways, I think it’s an interesting sound, but I think it limits what you can write. You can lose clarity so quickly within all the layers of noise and distortion. I felt if I continued with that sound I’d be backed into a creative corner. With Young Eagle,  it sounds really buried. It’s not my intention to change sound for every album,  I’m  just trying to find the ideal expression of the kind of black metal I like. I don’t try to innovate or change or try to innovate for the sake of innovation. I just try to make music I like.

When can we expect another album? Later on tonight? Have you released an album while you were sitting here? 

[laughing] Oh probably not a black metal CD until next year, though I may try and release something electronic by the end of the year.

I assume you do everything in-house and DIY-style. including the recording. A basement I imagine?

Right, it’s all in-house. Though I don’t have a basement, it’s just a dedicated room/space with instruments, computer and mic set up

I’ve always been curious about the process of songwriting for a one man band. Especially when it comes down to these 11 minute type songs. Is it a riff, then everything built around that? Or a beat or lyrical theme and the riffs built around that?

A lot of it happens after recording. I’ll simply record several riffs. Then it all gets overdubbed and arranged in the studio with a structure lines and software. Coming from electronic music, I like being able to move things around and play with the music after it’s recorded. I never really have a set structure fully developed when I’m recording. It all gets put back together afterwards.

What about the lyrics? Do they come before or after the music? A lot like your music, they seem all over the place.

Lyrics are the hardest part of the process for me. They take forever to write. I’ll have some written before I record and some after. Its odd, I really don’t care a whole lot about the lyrics in other peoples’ music. I really don’t read them. But in my own music, I feel like I should put some effort into them and make them high quality. I try to write lyrics that don’t hide behind typical black metal tropes and standards. With Impermanence, I was really trying to deal with issues like mortality… death of loved ones. Just trying to come into terms with unpleasant things in life.

So it sounds like the music and lyrics are certainly a bit of a release for you?

Yup. They are a headache to write, but when I’m performing them, they are definitely a release.

So I image that makes for some awkward moment with roommates, neighbors and such?

[laughs] Ha! Actually, when I was recording vocals earlier this year, a postal worker came by and heard me recording and I guess thought I was being murdered or something, because the police showed up at my door. I had to show them the mic and instruments to convince them there was nothing going on.

So, I’m going to ask the questions I’ve been dying to ask since I got your first CD for review: Why the heck do you puts your CDs in those DVD cases instead on regular CD cases? Those things are a pain to store in normal CD racks and shelves. Are DVD cases cheaper or something? 

[laughs] Well, I would be very happy if I could dispense with cases and just release things digitally. I hate messing with proof copies and packaging. Honestly, I like having a little more room for the artwork as some of them wrap around the DVD case. And actually the DVD cases are more expensive, even though it’s marginal. It was definitely an aesthetic decision I made.

Do you have any ambitions of spreading your creative and musical wings into another genre, say a doom side project or something?

I have some more doomy stuff recorded, and little more noise/electronic stuff. It will still all be all under the Jute Gyte moniker if I do release it.

So, like everyone in the scene now, I assume you’ve heard the new Liturgy record as well as the now infamous manifest that Hunter Hunt Hendrix did. Any thoughts?

The music itself — I can take it or leave it. It doesn’t do much more me, what little I’ve heard of it. I actually don’t listen to much black metal.

Why is that? As black metal musician wouldn’t you want to expose yourself to the style more? Whether to compare yourself or at least stay on on current trends?

Well, I try to not just limit my self to black metal. I like Deathspell Omega, but I like lots of other music, especially bands like Grief. As far as black metal, I keep coming back to older Burzum. I like Forgotten Woods I guess. I actually like a lot of old school, simple death metal. I love Bolt Thrower, Asphyx, Jungle Rot… that kind of stuff. I even like some of the brutal pig squeal death metal like Cephalotripsy.

That’s surprising, considering the music you play. Can we expect a slam death metal record from Jute Gyte?

I can’t do the death metal vocals! On the new record I have a couple of songs with death metal vocals, but I’m just not very good at it. I wish I could growl like Karl Willets, I love that authoritative deep growl. I loved Barney Greenway’s vocals on Napalms Death‘s stuff Fear Emptiness Despair. Oh, and I like Martin Van Drunen a lot too.

How in the heck are you not signed to a label like Moribund? They seem to be a perfect fit. Are you not really trying to be on a label?

I guess I’m not really trying, in today’s day and age, it’s not really necessary to be on a label. Especially with music going in a much more digital direction. I’m happy with  where I’m at now.



  1. Commented by: VK

    Did not know about the artist at all, definitely interesting. Will check out.

  2. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    5 albums in 1 year sounds like a recipe for crap. No thanks.

  3. Commented by: Dimaension X

    I say Kudos to him for releasing 5 albums so quickly. I’ve been listening to samples from his albums, and I like what I’m hearing. I released 7 albums in 2009 (well, I was laid off, so I had a LOT of time on my hands), and volume does not always equal crap.

    There are so many of us “bedroom one-man bands” out there now – some ARE crap, but some (like Jute Gyte) are very talented and are capable of creating some interesting and artistic music. Thanks for interviewing him and introducing us to his music.

  4. Commented by: E. Thomas

    @BWP the 3 (metal) albums Ive heard are excellent (Old Ways, Verstiegenheit and Impermanence) I highly recommend all 3- very good black metal.

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