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  • Writer's pictureHakan Öztunalı

In Search of Sanity w/ Xasthur's Scott Conner and Stanislav Krawczyk

To begin with, whoever views this interview, I ask you to leave your hyperreality for once to engage with the only reality, the pain oneself. You may return to your comfort zone afterwards. The interview dedicated to the two revered figure, who is Scott Conner and Stanislav Krawczyk.

Xasthur Inevitably Dark Album Cover
(Courtesy of Stanislav Krawczyk & Xasthur)

Scott Conner aka Malefic
(Courtesy of Xasthur)

Xasthur is the solo music project created by American artist Scott Conner in 1995. (Known as Malefic) Scott's music is seminal and fixated to experience music in diverse atmospheres. It wouldn't be fair to place Xasthur in one specific genre - meaning, experimental, dark-ambient, black metal, neofolk and bluegrass are merely few of those genres he performs.

Scott Conner has been partially misunderstood and serviced to the media falsely. Boringly a cliche to twisting a subject and tease an artist. Anyhow, if you would like to figure out Scott's background, you may easily check out his page, music and couple of genuine interviews published on internet. You can find the recently released June 23, 2023 album, ''Inevitably Dark'' over here by visiting Xasthur's Bandcamp page. (Album cover made by Stanislav Krawczyk)

Further, picture an artist who struggles with lifelong pain and diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Stanislav Krawczyk, alias, Stan, born with the disease has no remedy to shake it off. Despite the barriers of the disease, Stan is sanguine. He found a doorway to reduce the effects of the inevitable pain. Currently he depicts his pain and fury on a paper in full blast.

I do not need to describe Stan above and beyond. He is far resilient than me.

Stanislav Krawzcyk's art
(Courtesy of Stanislav Krawczyk & Xasthur)

To begin with, I would like to offer my thanks to both of you. Tell me about the brotherhood that formed a bond amongst you.

Stan: For me, dark art, like black metal, is an opportunity to destroy walls and not fit into the artistic framework, an endless search, to put it simply, any artist is looking for a reflection of himself in art, it doesn’t matter if it’s music or drawing, I have always been associated with Xasthur music and my dark art, I think subconsciously Scott also saw his music in my drawings. Nocturnal Poisoning album was the turning point for my Sketches of Pain.

On the edge of the abyss in pitch darkness, I peer into the void, it is difficult to find glimpses of light, but I think that it is in a similar nature, I think that creation is inherent in us, and despite the monstrous destructiveness of human nature, I do not look for extensive forms and take a sober look at things, it seems to me that something that we are doing this is an attempt to find balance in the chaos of human existence.

Scott: I think that I learned when meeting Stan that we are on the same page with art and drawing. I learned that from him. That we both have a similar work ethic that's just IN us to do or we're compelled to do no matter what. As if it was all we know and all we have.

I remember thinking to myself while we were sitting and talking outdoors, 'Stan hasn't made a drawing in at least a few hours, I wonder if he's noticed that". A few minutes later he told something like "we are drawing and writing music inside our minds all the time even when we can't or while we are doing something else'. I said "we're doing it right now". I don't think the drawings and the music ever stops for us and neither does the quest to find something more or darker than we did before within it. I've never met anyone else who has been 'prolific' in anything before, so that in itself is something I understand. We feel it's our purpose in life and death to DO what we do, even if we have a preoccupation, obsession or stop at nothing approach with it.

Many of his drawings, you've felt it, you've been there before or have waken up from it or to it before. His work makes me think of darkness, dying and death more than black metal does. Music, drawing and painting is something you see in your head, something you write and hear in your mind, that's what makes it real. It doesn't take a vacation or go away. I think living is boring, usually TV is boring and people are boring, but in doing what we do, we don't get bored.

I would like to throw a theory about death; Eventually, we will pass away, one day. I am not obsessed with the notion of death nor absence. I do not understand why people perceive a drawback to confront with death just for once. The theory is simple and clear. We try to efface the traces of death with a spoonful lie. Death is transmuted, replaced with greed and duplicity. The reason is simple yet brutal. We tend to destroy anything if evokes death. It is basically everywhere in every alley and every corner. No one can stand vulnerability and weakness any more. My question is, you certainly have a diverse perspective than others. You do not destroy, but give a natural content with your art and music. Why don’t you destroy like the others but restore?

Scott: Death might be something to look forward to. Or life feels like death and life feels like the process of dying or everything makes us one step closer to it. Drawing and creating music feels like that, another world, which seems like death to the ones living in the one you know of. I'm not saying it's a fact though. Death is a release and creativity is, was or was supposed to be the same, an expression or feeling of death as we know it, so far.

‘’You do not choose pain, pain chooses you.’’ The fathomless quote belongs to Stan. In a life span, do you believe it’s likely to liberate pain from despair?

Stan: These words, these quotes were inspired by thoughts about the frightening and unknown power of this feeling, that there is pain in general, this was my consideration as I see it and live with this darkness inside, I believe in the infinity of darkness and that sooner or later it will swallow you.

(Courtesy of Stanislav Krawczyk & Xasthur)

Stanislav artwork
(Courtesy of Stanislav Krawczyk & Xasthur)

Stanislav artwork
(Courtesy of Stanislav Krawczyk & Xasthur)

You might think that absurd, but I don’t think you are focused to become happier. Happiness is not an indicator for you to live fullest. You are already beyond of the awareness. Definitely searching for something else that carves your mind and soul. Depending to the experience, did you find out what it is?

Stan: There is no happiness in the hell of endless grief - it seems so written on a wooden casement of an old Dutch painting from the times of the northern Renaissance, when life would be from flood to flood and a series of catastrophes like war or famine, a very accurate definition of our time and, now when you look at the problems of mankind in volume, you understand that a person lives a very short period without any cataclysms, sometimes it seems that happiness itself is nothing more than a form of complete insanity.

Scott: I've learned to seek it but on a very realistic level. What makes other people happy, I don't know what that is, but it usually doesn't make me happy and neither do people. I've realized that having the basics in life, like somewhere to live, food, music, quiet is what it's going to take, just money to live. That's probably not enough for most people.

When you've had a lot less than that, those things can make you happier than they used to. Things like friends, lovers, people, family aren't realistic in the pursuit of happiness. I don't expect those things and I've learned not to. It takes less than that and it takes yourself. I don't think anyone can do it for me.

Scott Conner sketched by Stanislav
(Courtesy of Stanislav Krawczyk & Xasthur)

Stanislav artwork sketches of pain
(Courtesy of Stanislav Krawczyk & Xasthur)

You’ve been asked several times about negativity, misanthropy and so forth. But, from my aspect, I am curious about what type of society and features would you demand to live in tranquility and engage with mankind?

Scott: As I've gotten older, I've realized that I never grew up wanting to be "misanthropic", but so many people have done their part and gone out of their way to make me that way, same goes for negativity. I'd really like another choice but I feel I've been given no other. I'm not negative and 'hateful' because I want to be or because I'm supposed to be, I'd rather not be.

Tranquility and living among people - I think it's a very big world and depending on where you are, unfortunately people can make it a small world. But it varies state to state, country to country. There's better people and then worse people depending on where you go and what you discover. I'd be fine living and dying in New Hampshire for example. I really do know of worse places to live.

Stan: There is no universal cure for severe forms of disease, it was sarcasm about your question, about society and my personal experience. I will say that I will feel much more comfortable where there are no people at all, however it should be noted the fact that the artist and art is a paradoxical thing and is built for the sake of contradictions.

I think and this is the basic law that art without exposure and publicity dies, in other words, if my paintings are not seen in the gallery or let's say Scott stops making music, then there is no art at all, it dies in a vacuum, this is my opinion at the beginning of my journey with me was the only criterion I should be exhibited, I should be published and I should be able to sell my work, otherwise the mind of an artist is closed from prying eyes to put it simply everyone is interested in dark art but only a few truly love it seems I answered.

What is evil?

Stan: Evil, living viscous sticky creature endless living in the abyss of human consciousness and devouring from within his soul and all living things inside, I believe in 100% mystical form of this.

Scott: I write about it all the time, it's gotten more evil without the black metal, go figure,

especially 2022-2023.

Dear Scott and Stan, it was a pleasure for me to have you on my realm. Any final words you would like to say?

Stan: Be dark and if the pain and grief or sorrow is in your life, try to use it in art, then just leave it inside yourself.

Scott: Really listen, hear, think about, see and imagine what you're getting and not getting from art or music today, if I could leave you with some bad advice. Quality over quantity. Thanks to you and Stan for having me do this interview.


Stan and Xasthur
(Courtesy of Stanislav Krawczyk & Xasthur)

Stanislav Krawczyk's official Instagram page: @standarkart

Stanislav Krawczyk's official web-page: standarkart - Sketches of Pain Hardcover

Xasthur's official Instagram page: xasthur_official1

Scott Conner
(Courtesy of Stanislav Krawczyk & Xasthur)


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