Interview: Trepaneringsritualen (dark ambient/ritual)

Trepaneringsritualen (T x R x P) is the dark ambient/ritual project of Thomas Ekelund whose music stirs up primal energy; whose live performances involve ritual and evoke reactions ranging from fear to laughter.  At the core, however, we find a humble man who was kind enough to devote some time to answer a few questions. 

His latest album, Kainskult which we recently reviewed was just released via Tesco Organization.


Can you talk about the general theme behind Kainskult?

Kainskult is principally a celebration of Kain and his Willful transgression against the law of Yaldabaoth. Kain is the archetype of the Heretic and Kainskult are nine hymns to honor him and those who follow in his footsteps.

Where did the blues and “old school spiritual” sound  come from in “Death & Ecstasy?”

Well, from the blues, plain and simple. The work-song reference is intended to symbolize the bondage of Yaldabaoth that shackled both Kain and Able. Both are set free in Kains act of heresy.

What ways do you feel Kainskult differs from your previous works?

From my perspective it really doesn’t differ at all. Each record represents an aspect of the T × R × P working, and they are all of equal importance. Any possible difference are merely on an profane aesthetic level.

Given the nature of your live shows, how do you anticipate presenting the Kainskult material?

I’ve already worked most of the material into the live rituals, and it doesn’t differ at all. The material fits into the context without trouble and people seem to be responding favorably to it.

Speaking of live shows… what is the strangest or most extreme reaction you have had from a fan at a concert?  Also, are there any particular countries where you received controversy regarding the shows?

The list is very, very long covering everything from panic attacks, utter devotion, tears, terror and ravaging anger, even laughter. People are confronted with powers they may not be accustomed to handle, and people deal with these sorts of things in unexpected ways. Someone described a ritual as having her third eye raped, which is possibly my favorite review ever.

I am not aware of any controversies directly linked to T × R × P but I might be wrong, and should I reach a certain level of public awareness I suspect that might change.

Is ritual a part of your creative process of writing? And how might it differ than say a traditional spiritual ritual?

I use a multitude of techniques, including automatic writing, dream interpretation, ecstatic states, and so forth. So in that sense I would say there’s a link to traditional spiritual practices. But I do not conform to any set of dogma, nor am I or will ever be a member of any organization, so in that sense I have turned my back on tradition.

Was it your intention to focus on the rhythmic or ritualistic delivery of the vocals and also to create a sense of multiple participants with the vocal layering?

T × R × P has always been something far greater than me, and it is very much directed by forces I have no control over. I try to not hinder these impulses in any way, so my intent is of very little consequence on a grander scale. The individual projects that need others to be involved, will have others involved, and I am lucky to have brothers and sisters who are willing to participate. It is an honor to have their energies present, and my gratitude towards them all is eternal.

Have you considered plans to release any previously unreleased works or perhaps do a live album or DVD?

There really isn’t much left-over material. There’s a reissue of Septentrional in the works that will contain a previously unheard of song from the same sessions, and I have a handful of ritual recordings that might at some point be made available. There’s already several live recordings released including the split 2LP with Sutekh Hexen, Oberhausen Ritual, and later this year will see the release of a split 2LP with MZ.412 on Annapurna and Old Europa Café. Non of these have managed to fully capture the power of a T × R × P ritual so a live DVD would make sense. It has been discussed in the past, but the right logistical and financial circumstances are yet to materialize. In the meantime I suggest people check out the Boilerroom recording from a few years ago. It’s readily available online.

What plans do you have for the rest of 2017 and then 2018?

There’s a handful of rituals booked for the rest of the year, and I am starting the new year by supporting Batushka and Schammasch for 18 dates across Europa in January. There’s plenty of more live work in 2018, but all too tentative to discuss at the moment. I have begun the slow and arduous process of channeling the next T × R × P album, and I am working on a multitude of collaborative projects as well.

Perhaps the most important question….  Re: Swedish hockey.   Linkopings HC, Frolunda HC, Malmo Redhawks or HV71?  

I have absolutely no interest in sports.


Many many years in the future, a distant relative locates a box in the attic of an old home.  The box is labeled TRP and has a collection of your work and something to play it on.  What is your hope that this person knows about your legacy, simply by listening to your work?

The forces at work in T × R × P are eternal and beyond the bounds of flesh, The blind and spiritually dead will take nothing with them from it, but those who approach it with open eyes and mind, and with the black flame burning in their hearts will experience utter terror and radiant illumination.

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