Dehn Sora (real name Vincent Petitjean) is a French artist and multi-instrumentalist delving into the dark realm, in a paralel dimension full of beastly drama. His very unique signature and atmosphere, both graphic and musical, is capable of conjuring a rich palette of sonic images tightly knitted with the same otherworldly spiritual characteristics associated with the artists and genres of music he chose to work with. Think of a trip from subliminal dark ambient soundscapes to punishing Black Metal.
Dehn’s artwork for a number of respected and well established bands and figures in the underground has catapulted him to the spotlight, as has his output as musician with his projects Treha Sektori and Throane and the well noted involment with sombre entity Deathspell Omega in the 2019 video ‘Ad Arma! Ad Arma!’, taken from 2019’s album ‘The Furnaces of Palingenesia’. Just for reference, here’s a sample of the bands Dehn has worked with in the recent past: Imperial Triumphant, Blut Aus Nord, Amenra, Jarboe, Ulver, Manes, Deathspell Omega...
Lately Dehn has been exploring a more aggressive musical side of his, a reflex of his love for Black Metal, through a project called Throane, which has prompted me to dig deeper into his work and after a few years of exploring I have become a fan of his many manifestations, thus the desire to get in touch.
How was your introduction to music? Does it run in the family? was it in school, a particular friend or concert?
I grew up in a semi musical environment. My father used to listen a lot of music, especially modern jazz musicians. It wasn't 100% present, but I think there was always something in my ears that developed my attraction to it. Since I was a child, I was digging new music by myself, having the possibility to borrow records at my local library. So I was already in constant research.
Can you instantly name one album or song that is connected to a unique moment in your life? do you have many of those?
I'd say Miles Davis “Ascenseur pour l'Échafaud” had a huge impact. (note: recorded in Paris in 1957 the album features the musical cues for the 58’s Louis Malle film Ascenseur pour l'échafaud.)
My father used to listen to Marcus Miller and Miles Davis a lot. But it was mainly the “Tutu” album (wich I disliked). But in his playlist one day, he put this soundtrack, I was blown away and asked him who it was? I was surprised it was Miles Davis... so I borrowed the record immediately. I think I have many of those moments, yes. Many albums and artists who’ve accompanied me. Whether it was to overcome a moment, or taken by surprise by something I wasn't expecting music wise... It felt the same the first time I played Darkthrone for example. This example comes to my mind. I was not ready for being surrounded by that much atmosphere.
Name one artist, living or dead, that influenced your music-making the most.
I'd say Magma had a strong impact, and still has. If I have an idea, I am still checking if Magma hasn't done it already, 30 years ago. It combines so much emotions, and a spirit of shooting at the stars when playing music, that leave the terrestrial plan in making music. The way I conceive art in general was really influenced by this spirit, I'd say. To quit the ground and try to reach an outerworld state.
Which is the one venue or place on earth you'd like to play live? if you’d have complete freedom how would that happen? any guest musicians? any other media involved (art installations, film,...?)
There are so many, it is hard to list. I'd love to play around a volcano during an eruption. Writing this because of what's happening in Iceland right now I think. But playing in nature itself, being humbled by the forces. It has this ceremonial feel, that I am always seeking. I'd invite performers to involve the body as much as we can, I'd invite all my friend musicians. There is a lot coming to my mind, I would need a lifetime to achieve!
What is your favourite instrument of choice or piece of studio equipment? and why?
I'd say guitar is the main source of composition for me. I am a poor technical player, but I love to seek scapes, there are a million ways of playing this instrument. You can summon orchestral strings by playing it with a bow, having the feeling of being accompanied by playing with loops. I am far from feeling I have used it at even 1%!
Any artist or album that really blew you away in 2020?
A lot. GOLD, Insect Ark, Ulcerate, Rope Sect, ...
What are your views on the current state of extreme metal music? what’s your favourite band of the moment?
It's really rich, I am happy to see bands open to experimentation, push the boundaries. It's maybe less extreme music as in Black and Death metal for example, but Wolvennest blows my mind.
And your views on the rise of women in experimental music, mostly electronic... like for instance Pharmakon, Anna Von Hausswolff, Lingua Ignota or Moor Mother...? any favourite you’d like to share?
All the artists you quote are part of artists that blew me lately too. Especially I'd say Anna Von Hausswolf , who made me cry with her live show at Roadburn.
It is, of course, good to see these artists having a lot of support. Being a woman in a largely male environment can't be easy, I can only imagine. But their talent crushes those kinds of preconceived considerations. Livewise, Lingua Ignota is above the scene right now, in my opinion. Haven't seen so much power and involvement in the interpretations in years. A physical danger which is palpable.
What is your opinion on streaming platforms vs the physical record experience? do you buy records?
I will still be attached to physical format. I buy a lot of records, especially on vinyl because of my attraction to artwork as a whole in an album. And I like to immerse in a greater scale. I spend most of my time behind a computer screen working, so taking a bit of distance while listening to a record is another experience I like to have.
How did the Covid-19 pandemic impacted your life personally and how was it in creative terms and output as a musician?
Personally, it burned down personal projects and plans, as many around the world. My daily job was impacted too. But fortunately, in contrary to many, I am still active and less stressed regarding this. In terms of creative output, it didn't change a lot, except for not being able to travel, which is a huge source of inspiration for me, it gives me a lot of frustration mostly, but I feel I need a little break right now. Not because of the situation, but I have been working constantly for few years, and I feel it could be good to get a bit of distance to renew my work.
Interview by email. March 2021.
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