To make a reference to the international outfit Taubrą, the French-born visionary Maxime André Taccardi “is the Rembrandt of Death.” This self-described “Priest of Terror” is a revered musician and exhibited visual artist. Taccardi’s creative output has earned much acclaim. And while visionaries are rarely adequately understood in their own age, it’s common knowledge that Taccardi quite literally gives his blood to his paintings, which are inextricably linked to his music.
As the mastermind behind a mind-blowing number of exceptional projects: K.F.R, Osculum Serpentis, Griiim, Kyūketsuki, Saturnian Tempel, Djinn, Lamentum, Necröse, De Vermiis Mysteriis, ∇, and Mentïs Morbüm, his works speak for themselves.
First of all, congratulations on your phenomenal releases this year. I loved K.F.R’s Pain/Ter and Osculum Serpentis’ Maleficia. Is there anything that you would like our readers to know about each of these bands and albums?
Thank you very much for your support and the interview. Pain/Ter is my magnum opus in terms of everything, in my opinion. It deals with me as an artist, the relationship I have to the occult, and how both visual and sonic works merge together. From the beginning, K.F.R was a hybrid project meant to bring a soundtrack to my paintings. A lot of people had a hard time understanding it, and, to this day, a lot still do, especially the so-called purists on those “metal forums.” It is more of an experience than me just trying to be catchy and metal. This is the soundtrack of my psyche and an extension of my pictorial world. It does take the shape of some sort of dissonant black metal, but I believe it goes deeper than that sole purpose. On the other hand, Osculum Serpentis is my vision of an old and putrid black metal, like in the days of The Black Legions [a.k.a. Les Légions Noires]. I recorded Maleficia last winter, but I waited a while before putting it out, as I had to record the drums still.
What were the biggest challenges you faced during the creative process for Pain/Ter and also Maleficia?
It went relatively smoothly honestly, almost as if I was guided by something. The cover of Pain/Ter came first, and, from that, visual melodies started to take shape in my head. The lyrics come from my poetry book entitled The Book of Satan — my vision of different subjects using metaphors and so on. This is not just literal. The Book of Satan is entirely handwritten and illustrated with my blood.
You told Black Metal Chronicles that K.F.R’s lyrics are inspired by great thinkers like Schopenhauer, Bataille, Sartre, Baudelaire, and Nietzsche. Do you typically compose your lyrics before the music?
Yes, sometimes it is the case. I do enjoy reading philosophy and essays. I write texts all the time. Every time I have an idea or a few words, I write it down and save it for later. For an album, it can be different — the urge and the music are sometimes so manifest that it drives me to write the lyrics. Sometimes, it is also improvised like in the last and longest track of Pain/Ter.
Of course, Shining’s Niklas Kvarforth provided guest vocals for Pain/Ter’s “The Serpent’s Kiss.” You directed, filmed, and edited an unforgettable music video for that. Could you please tell us about the experience of collaborating with Kvarforth, who, as far as I understand, shares your philosophy of total dedication to art and lone-wolf spirit?
Yes, Niklas and I have a lot in common regarding art and music, total devotion, and absolutely no compromises whatsoever. I actually am both characters in the video. One is the Devil, or at least some sort of spirit, and the other one is the lone and almost dead artist, who is looking for one last reason to pursue his work. The dialogue in the video is in French, but I added subtitles, and I think people who feel art is important in their lives can relate to it. He did the vocals starting in the second part of the song, and there is also an alternative version of the track with only his vocals that will be out next year on a split with Cold Prophet along with another K.F.R track I recorded during Pain/Ter. It will be released by The Sinister Initiative.
Yes, I read about that split that you just mentioned that is planned for spring 2024. As you said, that will include K.F.R, and, yes, Cold Prophet is a wonderful black ambient project. For the unenlightened, I would furthermore like to emphasize that The Sinister Initiative is the label of “The Sinister Three” — Missy Hedning, Niklas Kvarforth, and CP’s Tuomas Tahvanainen. So, is there anything you would like to reveal about this joint effort? Do you feel a special bond with Tuomas because he is a visual artist as well?
I do feel very connected to Cold Prophet not only for the blending and suffocating sonic darkness, but also with the fact he does everything himself, including the art, which he will provide for this split, by the way.
Kyūketsuki is an absolutely incredible and innovative project that’s inspired by Japanese folklore and horror. We’re really looking forward to Kyūketsuki’s forthcoming album, In Hell I Shall Be King. I just heard the excellent newest single, “No Life Is Sacred.” We’re excited that the record will star the Mütiilation legend Meyhnach, who appears on three releases by K.F.R and has also lent his support to Griiim — yet another fantastic project of yours. In your own words, how would you describe In Hell I Shall Be King? If we could rewind a bit, I’m also curious to hear about the black spark that prompted you to found Kyūketsuki.
Thank you very much for the words. I’m actually surprised some people may find this project appealing, as it is a totally selfish enterprise for me. I’ve always been a big fan of old-school Japanese movies like Harakiri, Zatoichi, Lone Wolf and Cub, Three Outlaw Samurai, and also classics like Tokyo Fist and Tetsuo by the mighty Tsukamoto. The project started with an ambient demo, which I don’t really like and progressively became more black metal. The production was not that great up until Seppuku because it was not properly mastered, but I am still proud of the albums Katana and Akuma. The upcoming one, In Hell I Shall Be King, contains two re-recorded tracks from Katana with a much better sound and production, including Meyhnach’s vocals. He really liked the album, and while I provided some vocals for the upcoming album by his project Suicide Circle, I figured I’d ask him for this one. The album is also much more brutal than anything prior with some tracks in the vein of old Beherit with a weird feel like “Supreme Evil,” which I did a video for.
There is also a track about the Nanking Massacre during WWII, and the video, which includes archives of that period of history, cost me my channel and everything I published, hence why I had to redo another one. Another aspect of the project is that I don’t use guitars but bass mostly, except for one or two leads. I haven’t looked for a label yet, but I get mostly overlooked in the scene most of the time.
Hopefully, listeners will wake up. I was very upset to hear that the powerful video that you made for “The Rape of Nanking” resulted in the termination of your YouTube channel, as you just noted. That was completely unjust — again, you showed historical footage that needs to be seen and remembered. Fortunately, you’re back on the platform now. Is there anything that you would like to say about the importance of allowing free artistic expression?
To me, censorship is a death sentence to Art in general, and, like you said, some part of history should not be forgotten. I’ve experienced that plague since I started to show my work. When I was a teacher, the school minister pressured me to stop, intimidation and so on, which led me to quit. I have nothing but disgust for the school system of France — they do not care at all about the students or the teachers and only look for the numbers.
I very much enjoyed your brilliant, latest short film, The Curse of the Vampyre. When did you first embark upon your journey as a filmmaker?
Thanks for the words, truly appreciate it. I do that without any budget but always had this passion. I did my first short film when I was in college, and I also taught video editing in the same university where I was a student during my master’s degree. I intend to do a full movie at some point down the line.
We would love to see that happen! For the sake of readers, we will expand a bit and say that you earned your master’s degree in art and cultural sociology from Paul Verlaine Université in Metz. The subjects that I believe you teach are art, editing, and kickboxing. You are also a sculptor, photographer, and painter. Of course, your paintings have gained much notoriety. Again, they are often done with your blood. You have created magnificent cover art for your own projects as well as a very long list of other groups like Tulus; Sarke; Sarkom; Psychonaut 4; Diabolicum, which featured Kvarforth at the time; and Shining. I’ve heard that your interest in art began when you were very young. Could you please tell me a bit about your evolution as an artist?
That is correct, I was an art teacher for twelve years and also taught kickboxing for six. I only focus on my art these days since I moved to the USA. Art has always been a way for me to cope with life or to express what I could not always with words. I was heavily influenced by people like Scriabin, Kandinsky, and Schoenberg in terms of their approach to synesthesia and their association with music, hence why I like to do everything. I learned on my own, but some people showed me some things regarding guitar like Meyhnach, for example, who could be a great teacher in that matter. Life is too short to be restricted to only one practice, one band, or one passion. It’s good to experiment, always.
For your paintings, you cut your wrists with razor blades and dip the brushes into the wounds, as opposed to using syringes. You’ve discussed the fact that this ritualistic aspect is a way for you to give yourself, life, and mortality to your work. We spoke with artist Vincent Castiglia last year. His lung actually collapsed a couple of times because he drew too much blood. Has there ever been a point when, in the depths of a trance, you perhaps did something that you thought crossed a given line, or is an element of uncertainty an absolute necessity?! — “Wo aber Gefahr ist, wächst das Rettende auch.” ~ Hölderlin
One time, I almost passed out during a painting, which I actually filmed, and you can see that happening in it. It was about a decade ago for the track “There Is No God but Him” from the first K.F.R album, Anti. It was also very warm that day, and doing the painting, filming, and being in front of the camera all at once was literally draining, no pun intended. It was on my old YouTube channel, but since they nuked it, I haven’t uploaded it on the new one. I also like the pain element in (Pain)ting — it gives my pieces more meaning, in my opinion, and I would not do it any other way.
You have completed several stunning books of art, poetry, and essays. You touched upon The Book of Satan, but there is also Beyond Khaos, The Book of Demons, The Book of Shadows, and The Book of Death. I cried when I read the story about the death of your parents from the last-named effort because it was so moving. Are there any passages that you would like to include here?
Thank you, the first one was The Book of Death, and I wanted to pay a tribute to my parents in it. It took me about three years to complete it. They all are handwritten, and the editor published them as is. They can be seen as some sort of art diaries filled with my poetry, essays, and illustrations. They are available from Heavy Music Artwork, but three of them are now sold out.
Getting back to music, you have so many other mind-blowing projects that it’s completely overwhelming: Saturnian Tempel, Djinn, Lamentum, Necröse, De Vermiis Mysteriis, ∇, Mentïs Morbüm, and you front Bubonic Christians. You’re always churning out new content. How have you managed to become so prolific and avoid burnout?
Being the only member for most of these projects makes it easier because every time I have an idea, I can start working on it and see if it’ll become something I’d find interesting or not. My main project will always be K.F.R, but I do enjoy working on Kyūketsuki and lately the new one, Osculum Serpentis. Some of my other projects may stay on hold for a while, that being said.
Although a lot of your music can be described as “black metal,” I would like to refrain from pigeonholing you here. You explained earlier that K.F.R is much more. Of course, all of your projects go deeper. You’ve worked with various styles and blended them in extraordinarily unique ways. I think that anyone who has listened to your music will say that you’ve transcended genres. All the same, I was wondering what made you gravitate toward black metal.
The main reason why I started creating music was to give a soundtrack to my paintings and to create some sort of synesthesia, so even though black metal is the more predominant element, other genres came into the mix like ambient since I’m a big fan of movie soundtracks, and I pretty much like to listen to everything. Griiim, for example, with the album Pope Art, has to be my project with the most diverse influences, ranging from electro to metal, hip hop, ambient, world music, and so on.
Obviously, you’re from France — quite clearly an endless source of artistic inspiration. Has moving to New York affected your creativity?
Most of my ideas come from my dreams, so it does not really matter where I am. I always take the time to write down what I saw in dreams if it is relevant. New York state has some amazing landscapes in terms of nature, and I enjoy doing videos here. Regarding my paintings, most of my clients are from the US, so I feel I’m in the right spot for this.
Is there anything that we didn’t cover that you would like to discuss? Or perhaps you have some plans for the future that you would like to share.
I’m currently working on my sixth book, which will be handwritten like the previous ones and centered on black metal with interviews with close friends and cult members of the scene, my interpretation and essay on the genre, and specific black metal illustrations done with my blood. This project should be published in 2024 if everything goes as planned.
Thank you again for your support and interview, and I invite people to check out my art and different projects.
The post K.F.R’s Maxime Taccardi Discusses His Music & Visual Art appeared first on MetalSucks.