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darkher2022 byUClassen02Interview with

Jayn Maiven of Darkher

Singer, guitarist, composer and conceptualist Jayn Maiven, brings her creative skills to full realisation as DARKHER - a musical project that combines elements of Doom, Gothic, Folk, and Metal into something altogether unique, sinister, eerie and deeply, deeply beautiful. ‘The Kingdom Field’ and ‘Realms’ were released to much critical approval and intrigue, and the recent full-length album ‘The Buried Storm’ represents a stunning leap into dark melancholy and chilling, gorgeous atmospherics. We recently caught up with Jayn and asked for a small peek into her world…

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Your recent album ‘The Buried Storm’ is one of those rare things - a suite of music, rather than a collection of individual songs. Did you set out to create this, or did the album grow organically into a whole?
Jayn: I think it was an intention to create an album which would be listened to as a whole experience, but the songs themselves were very individual in the writing process.

RoD: Quite some time elapsed between your debut album ‘Realms’, and ‘The Buried Storm’ - was this your intention, to give yourself this amount of creative breathing space? Or did circumstances get in the way of writing and recording the follow-up?
Jayn: It was due to both factors - I did feel that some time needed to pass, so get some clarity on what the next album would draw from, but also circumstances in life and ill health meant that it took longer to materialise.

RoD: Have you ever recorded or performed under your own name, or have you always preferred the DARKHER moniker? When did this persona first take shape?
Jayn: I had another project previous to DARKHER, which I began in 2012 but it’s within this current project that I have learnt the most and grown from.

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RoD: Our obsession with musical genres often means musicians get unfairly pigeonholed. DARKHER spans everything from Doom and atmospheric Black Metal to Gothic and Dark-Folk, and yet the music seems to exist entirely in a world of its own. If you had to invent a genre for your music, what would it be?
Jayn: I don’t really think of the music in relation to genres, but I recognise that it has elements of a filmic nature, or its emotional landscape or dark folk elements.

RoD: Did you grow up in a musical household? What sounds shaped you as a young person?
Jayn: Yes, my father was a guitarist and both parents encouraged me to play piano and violin. There was always a lot of music in the house.

RoD: Would you say your music has any direct influences - are you inspired by a particular performer or artist for example - or do you find other musicians have a more subtle effect on your creativity?
Jayn: I was very inspired by Kate Bush when I was growing up, something in the magic of her productions and songwriting and artistry seemed to really spark my imagination and take me away from the reality.

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RoD: ‘The Buried Storm’ sounds very much rooted in the elements, and in landscape. Just as some music is grounded by people, politics or urban settings, yours cries out with a wildness and freedom, and also a fearful respect and awe, of vast open spaces - and very much outdoors, in nature. How much of your creativity comes from the natural world, and your immediate environment?
Jayn: I would say that the majority of my creative ideas come from my connection to the natural world and how the landscape mirrors the emotions within. When I create music I see images in my mind, which I have drawn from nature, much like creating a movie soundtrack.

RoD: In August, DARKHER performed a stunning concert in beautiful Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire (UK) in The Hope Baptist Church. Candlelit, and with additional violin and drums on stage, this was an emotional and moving concert in a perfect location. Was there any particular reason for choosing this venue for your performance?
Jayn: The Hope Baptist Church in Hebden Bridge is such a beautiful place to play, over the years it has opened its doors to more live music events and has now become a fully equipped music venue. I have not only played there in the past but also recorded parts for both albums and EP, so it holds a special place in my heart.

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RoD: There were moments, during the show, of absolute intensity, where fear, sadness, joy, elation, communion, a whole host of emotions, felt totally palpable. Do you feel that on stage? Do you sense a connection with the audience, or do you perform more within a place of isolation?
Jayn: Thank you, that’s lovely to hear. I definitely sense a connection with the audience, it’s a very cathartic experience but also very emotional to lay the soul bare and connect with the songs and my fellow musicians on stage.

RoD: You next played live in Germany (Prophecy Festival, in September). I saw you play a number of years ago at WGT in Leipzig - do you find German audiences different to those here in the UK?
Jayn: I find most audiences to be very respectful and on the whole very similar wherever we play.

RoD: Do you see ‘The Buried Storm’ as a full-stop, or as a pause on a journey? Do you anticipate releasing more music in the near future or are your plans more fluid?
Jayn: I would like to create more music; I’m currently gathering some ideas as they come through. In the end I create through a need to make art, to express myself and find meaning, so hopefully more is coming.

RoD: Thank you so much for your time, and all of us at Reflections of Darkness magazine wish you the very best.

Pictures by Kathryn Pogue and U Classen

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