Deposed King, a Hungarian progressive/electronic rock band, embarked on their musical journey in 2017 when Daniel Kriffel and Dominique Király joined forces. What initially started as the creation of demo songs recorded on guitars, notably the captivating “Caves,” evolved into something much grander.
In 2021, the duo committed to crafting a concept album, resulting in “One Man’s Grief.” The record unfolds the narrative of a man awakening in a forest and embarking on an infinite journey, grappling with profound questions and emotions. Symbolizing the journey from light to darkness and silence to silence, the album intentionally lacks a direct conclusion, inviting listeners to interpret its depths. Blending genres fearlessly, the band merges progressive rock, post-rock, electronic, classical, folk, metal, and jazz influences, drawing inspiration from artists like Steven Wilson, Mariusz Duda (Riverside), Kiasmos, Ólafur Arnalds, and Opeth.
Recorded in their home studio, the album’s creation reflects a commitment to avoiding templates and embracing experimentation. While Daniel took on the bulk of writing, arranging, and performing, Dominique contributed guitar parts and lyrics, joined by Bálint Gyömrey on “Fading Shadows.” Featuring guest performances, such as Frigyes Sámuel Rácz‘s guitar solo and Alexandra Saróka‘s kalimba, the album was mixed and mastered by the band, seeing its release on January 12, 2023. As the echoes of “One Man’s Grief” reverberate, Deposed King has already set the stage for their next musical chapter, signaling the beginning of preparations for their upcoming album.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your musical journey. How did you get started in the world of progressive rock?
I started playing the piano at the age of 6, and it accompanied me throughout my primary school years. I was never very good at reading music and music theory, but I started writing my own music relatively early and played concert pieces from memory rather than from sheet music. Even at that time, I was much more captivated by melody and emotion than virtuosity, and my own early compositions reflect this. Later, my parents gave me a guitar, bass guitar and drums, which I learned during the following years.
To be honest the world of progressive music is quite new to me, considering that 10 years ago I wasn’t listening to this genre at all. And then in 2013, out of nowhere, I heard Steven Wilson’s song The raven that refused to sing and from then on my attitude to music and my listening habits changed completely.
Let’s dive into the featured track on the compilation. Can you share the inspiration or story behind “Path of Forlorn”?
While writing this song, I listened to a lot of Lunatic Soul – Through Shaded Woods album. I was so enchanted by the ancient power that resides in it, that I wanted to write a song of my own in that vein. There were two things I thought about a lot while writing the album, whether to include it. One was the jazz change at the end of “Path of Forlorn” and the other was the growl at the end of the record. Now I can say I’m glad they are on the record in the end.
Walk us through your creative process. How do you typically approach writing and composing music? What was your creative process like for your debut album “One Man’s Grief”?
If I have a good idea in my head I immediately grab the guitar or sit at the piano and record it on my phone’s recorder app. The most exhilarating feeling when I’m at that stage of songwriting is that ideas come one after the other and it all comes together. I usually start most songs with a guitar or piano recording and then play a basic drum track – I mastered the finger drum technique on an old Yamaha synth as a kid – so that’s how the drums are played on the final record. This is followed by the vocals and vocal harmonies – probably my favourite part of recording a song – and I usually play the soul of the song – the bass – after that. The final step is the synths and mixing different sound textures. I’ve also written a lot of music for randomly selected videos, which requires a different approach to writing music, as there are constraints to get the music and the image in sync. This is a great exercise to get new creative influences.
Who or what are your major influences in progressive rock? How do they impact your own musical style?
Here I can mention two perennial favourites, Steven Wilson and Mariusz Duda. I love almost everything from them, whether it’s a solo album or a band release. Also, the album Les Cinq Saisons by the band Harmonium has had the biggest impact on me recently, and after the first listen it was one of my top 10 albums. I think you can hear the influence of the artists listed above on “One Man’s Grief.”
What challenges have you faced as an artist in the scene, and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge is to find inspiration and motivation to write music when you have the time. As none of us make a living from making music, it can be time consuming.
How do you see the scene evolving, and what role do you believe your music plays in that evolution?
There are both pros and cons in the way the world listens to music today. Of course, it’s a great feeling when you discover new music that you instantly love that your playlist just threw out. However, streaming makes music a little less valuable because everyone has access to it, everyone can upload whatever they want.
Share with us some of the most memorable moments in your musical journey so far.
I think the moment we finished our first song with “Caves.” We listened to it on as many devices as we had and decided it sounded good on everything, we wrote it, we finished a song and it felt great. Or when the album was uploaded to the In the Woods youtube channel and we read the comments and felt that people liked what they were listening to.
Do you have a personal favorite among your own compositions? If so, which one and why?
I think sirens of the sun – ceasing to exist (I’ll take it as a song) is my favourite. The latter, despite being the longest song on the album, was born the fastest. I think all the moods that the album wants to represent are present in the song. If I had to pick another one I would have to say “Endless Hours,” where the transition into the unknown and the return to calm is one of my most loved parts of the album. And also the use of the mellotron, which I would like to bring to the fore more on the second album…
Can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects or collaborations you’re working on?
We want to start recording the second album as soon as possible. We have a lot of ideas that we have recorded and we have to choose what we want to put on the record, because we are thinking about a concept album again. The intro and one other song from the album are almost complete, we want to release songs as singles in the near future, which you can listen to later on the album.
What does it mean to you to be a part of our compilation? How has the experience been for you?
We are very grateful to be part of this. We are honoured that you thought of us, loved the record and now we can be here. It’s a great initiative to make it even easier for progressive music listeners to discover more unknown, up-and-coming bands.
Is there a message you’d like to convey to your fans who will be discovering your music through this compilation?
If you like conceptual albums with a strong emphasis on atmosphere and emotional music, we can highly recommend this album. We’ve tried to mix all the genres we like (progressive rock, post-rock, ambient, classical, folk and even a little jazz and metal) so that we don’t repeat anyone, but try to find our own voice.
If you could collaborate with any artist, living or not, who would it be?
I could name four people in the first round. Steven Wilson, Mariusz Duda, Ólafur Arnalds and Hans Zimmer. I’d say Wilson by default but I understand he’s a perfectionist and not the easiest person to work with, so if I had to say someone I’d say Duda. We are very close in our way of thinking, you can extremely feel the creative force in everything he does and not to mention he doesn’t live that far away.
If you had to pick one instrument (besides your primary one) to master, what would it be?
I really love the sound of Cello.
What’s your all-time favorite progressive rock album, and why? One album that you always return to.
Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase. An incredible emotional rollercoaster. An incredibly powerful concept. Wonderful instrumentation and beautiful mixing. An unforgettable journey from beginning to end. Before I listened to the genre, John Frusciante‘s The Empyrean was my favourite album, and it’s still in my top 5 to this day.
Are there non-musical influences that find their way into your music? (e.g., literature, art, science)
I love films. Apart from the story, the cinematography and the music are all very important elements of my favourites and I often listen to their soundtracks. To name a few, Gladiator, Lord of the Rings, Atonement, El secreto de sus ojos, La la land.
Any final thoughts or reflections you’d like to share with our audience?
I hope music can still be an art that you actually listen to and not just something playing in the background. There are few things as good as listening to a record in a dark room and being part of the adventure and being there in the present.
Where can our audience find more about you and your music?