After playing in multiple hardcore, metal and noise bands between age 15-30, Richard started gravitating towards film and visual arts. In the past 10 years, he has tried screenwriting, photography, collage art and he directed a couple of music videos and short films. But the one aspect of filmmaking that grabbed him the most was sound design. He became obsessed with sculpting and directing sound, to a point where he started making a “blind movie”, which would have told a story only using sounds, without a single image. This did not work out, but it led to Blue Sunshine, as he felt that merging the idea with his noise-punk roots would make up for an interesting experiment.
It’s been a mostly DIY project as Richard did everything himself from composing, recording and mixing, through the artwork, videos and web designs. However, as he comments on other people involved, “the role of three incredibly talented ladies – and actual siblings – The Sisters of Summerisle, cannot be overstated.”
“A classically trained soprano, an immensely talented jazz singer and an actress, their contribution gave a brand new dimension to Folk Horror and infused it with real drama.” – says Richard.
“Another person I can’t thank enough is Grammy-winning master-engineer Alan Douches (Motörhead, Converge, Oneida…), who understood the sound I was going for and made the recording feel like it would be a raw rehearsal-room demo of an actual noise rock band playing together, instead of one guy tracking instruments one by one.
Track by track commentary:
My songwriting usually starts with a theme then I find a movie that complements it. I play it with muted audio, and start improvising a soundtrack to it. The theme of this song was “parental abuse” and the movie I used as visual inspiration was the striking Icelandic dark fantasy The Juniper Tree from Nietzchka Keene, with Bjork in the lead role. It’s based on one of the darkest fairy tales of the Grimm Brothers. Originally this was a full-length song, but after finishing the rest, I felt the EP has a better flow if I only use the intro and outro sections.
I moved to Canada about 10 years ago, but only learnt to know about its residential school system recently, when unmarked mass-graves of Indigenous children had been discovered on the grounds of these facilities. For over 100 years – up until 1996 -, the government ripped Indigenous families apart and forced the children into these Christian institutions to strip them of their own roots, spirituality and language. All these children suffered physical and mental abuse and thousands of them were murdered in the process.
When I think about the crusades, it’s easy to dismiss the extent of such self-righteous genocide, because it happened 1000 years ago, but knowing that the exact same thing was still happening when I was in highschool leaves no doubt; organized religion is pure evil.
It was the first song I wrote for this project. I always felt that The Wicker Man (1972) is the perfect metaphor for capitalism. If you’ve never seen the movie, stop reading and watch it right away, as I wouldn’t want to spoil an absolute classic… It’s a film about a secluded cult that makes human sacrifices in hopes of better crop. When I hear about delivery workers not having time to park their vehicles safely, as that would cause deductions of an already unliveable wage… there’s no question that we are already sacrificing our own for pennies.
I set up a lyrical challenge for myself upon starting the project: to condense each theme into the least amount of words possible. It went surprisingly easily on the other songs, but it’s been quite hard to constrict my feelings on the patriarchy into one sentence.
I just can’t understand and can’t accept that for thousands of years now, greedy old men are making life and death decisions for people they don’t represent, understand or care about AT ALL. None of the motherfuckers who overturned Roe v Wade did it to protect women or children – they did it because we live in a fucked up, twisted society where an evil, selfish decision like that can grow wealth and power for these control-freak tyrants who are otherwise completely unaffected by their decisions. If you ask me, there is absolutely no difference between this and the witch burnings, where self-righteous sleazebags made a fortune by murdering innocent woman based on lies they fabricated themselves. It makes me want to puke to see that we progressed nowhere since.
For this song, the visual inspiration was provided by the magisterial classic Witchfinder General (1968).