COUNT BEETLE "Scurrying Amidst The Tombstones"

By Dr. Abner Mality

And now for something completely different...

Although Wormwood Chronicles is primarily known as an outlet for extreme volume and hammering riffs, that does not make the whole of our repertoire. If music can touch upon something unearthly or outside the normal experience of the mainstream, it can find a home here. Thus we now bring to you the true outsider music of Count Beetle...

Count Beetle is essentially the creation of Mr. Teddy Horse and can be described as quietly disturbing music from the darkened and rotting corners of a haunted house. The music is often hushed and sounds like it comes from another time and place, manifested by an act of spiritualism. It creates a haunting feeling that will frustrate many but reward dark souls of a patient nature. The latest Count Beetle creation is "Clairaudience", a tripped spookhouse of shadowy tunes and ghostly mutterings, mixed with insect sounds and the crumbling of gravestones.

If you are intrigued by this dark music, check out Count Beetle at the link provided at article's end. And now, straight from the Horse's mouth, as it were, the mysteries of Count Beetle are revealed...

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: First, a little background on Count Beetle. What’s the origin of this enigmatic project and what former and current releases have you done?

TEDDY HORSE: The origin is around the year 1994…growth has been moss like and slow…The only obtainable release thusly is “Clairaudience”, which was finally released after many years, last spring by SinJin records….the music has aged  like unto old wines from vineyards overgrown….it is a long story never told…

WC:  The music of Count Beetle is hushed and subdued…the listener has to work to pick it all up. What caused you to utilize this method of songwriting?

TH: It is a certain vision and call; a spirit that is unto it own….perhaps it is caused by isolation and obscurity or such? Or perhaps it is the stark music of outsiders and the  long shadows, banded and olde- living; alive, if I may be so bold, sir….there is a certain patience in the material on "Clairaudience" that one might find in any good craft like farming or herbalism, or even in the lost art of tying knots…. it is to stare into a dark room with the lights off  and study the shadows all night long, and make a craft out of it; that’s where I found my sound a long time ago.

WC:  I get a very rural feel from the music. Is it true to say Count Beetle is “country music” ?

TH: Indeed, it is closer to say that than other things, yes….it is music  that is elemental, sure, and created in and philosophically involved in  the countryside and under the good old cover of rogue night. Much of the field, wood, and ground is captured in the recordings…one might divest a carpet of frogsongs or crickets, or a crackling electrical storm or green wood fire ensorcelled therein…but it is more oddfolk or stranger when you try and say it’s Ozark country music or folk. It is certainly made with a different spirit, and done in a much darker manner and with more care to such said things. It is the worship of such things; the open countryside, the deep night, the electrical fire and the woods alight with secret things one might never guess…
WC: Do you have a distaste for city life or in fact the whole modern world? Count Beetle seems to be very consciously of another time and place.

TH: Mostly just a distaste for consumerism, corporations and the things that enslave and destroy men and animals and their nature. And I agree with what you say and I compare it to that which was lost and that which has vanished…there is a certain “olde” feeling and a certain magic nostalgia that is also somehow shiny new like a toy and novel….it is like finding an old book in an attic; the choking dusts and the antiquity of it all. It is better by candlelight or night lamp than somewhere in an urban setting where it has no magic and is robbed of its chamber or atmosphere
WC:  There is also a feeling of decay to the music, like part of it is slowly rotting. What part does decay play in your musical scheme?
TH: It is something darkly organic that is captured and atune to in likeness….decay is the sound you hear at times. The beetles that make a temple of your skull or carry off your mind, hollowed like cheeses….it is elemental and therefore noble, these passages.

WC: The latest effort is “Clairaudience”. That word means hearing things from beyond the grave or from another world. How did you come up with that title and how does it relate to the music within.

TH: When I started this call back in 1997 I used to capture many things in the field, much of what I have mentioned before but also meddling with what would have been called by most “evp” type phenomena(Electronic Voice Phenomena: the capturing of otherwise inaudible voices from beyond the grave--Paranomal Doc), and I began to study and become influenced by things in the realm of supernature and during these times things happened and so I found my sound and call, and it just seemed to be the best word to describe the collection then, and also something from science and experience …or some would call it pseudo science. The word to me is my pursuit and capture of these things both real and symbolic, and thus materialized in a compendium of song…the album was allowed to write itself for ten years and better.

WC: The cover of “Clairaudience” features a “haunted house” looking structure. Have you had a fascination with poking around in such places? Is the record itself a kind of musical “haunted house”?
TH: Yes, indeed; I commend you for your observation here. It is the atmosphere that is the metaphoric cover which you unwrap when you are experiencing the album; the secret door or funnel cloud that will open up the meanings. It is a real place I have poked around, as you say, but it is also a place which is gone or has vanished. There is an ominous legend to it about a school teacher burning there, but it is an old school house that some of my kin folk went to in another time. Now it is something phantasmal and has passed, and it is in this sense like the music and  it can serve as a sort of doorway or byway to enter my place where strangers meet.

WC: Do you think communication with the dead is possible?

TH: Without a doubt, and what a notion that is….through many different routes and trap doors; through many different things and mediums…another craft lost and found, to some...

WC: What are some of Count Beetle’s musical influences? It is so unique, it’s hard to tell.

TH: It is hard for me to tell, too…I grew up with normal music that might seem normal or classic like The Doors, Sabbath, Floyd, and Zeppelin, but somewhere something went wrong and I derailed into my own lost, weird twilight realm. I would think there is more influence in things that have nothing to do with music, much like many of the things I have ranted about tonight; literary things,magnetism, electricity, super nature, fairylore and witchcraft….I feel truly the main influence is Count Beetle, however.

WC:  I believe you also take influence from authors of the weird and supernatural. What are some of your favorites in the literary genre?

TH: Perhaps…I am also an author of such literarture….i think I take such an influence from the more elemental are archetypical aspects that are collective to writers like Poe, Machen, Lovecraft, Blackwood, Le Fenu; to the classic notions of what night and evil is or fear and darkness….the decay that is the same colour to us all. In this manner I am merely a daemon editor of my own archives and perceptions…I can also say I feel a kinship to the themes of "Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame , and the golden dusk of childhood magic and nostalgia.
WC:  What future plans do you have for Count Beetle?

TH: Of these, there are many….I work to see the next album, ideally, which should be “Clairvoyance”, is released and recorded properly.The songs are all written and one is finished which was shelved for years and aged, until the time when the lyrics would write themselves and the vocals were captured in a very live manner. It is called “The Operation Cone of Power” and pays some homage to Gerald Gardener and the New Forest coven. It was mixed and  has bass performance from Griff of Arkazum, and formerly of Cathedral. His craft is outsider and was employed on the last album on the song “Faux Squirrels”, and it marks the first time we have worked with a bass guitar. Some of the material you might hear next we have been rehearsing live in sessions for many years now and there is a electric sort of vibration to some of the songs, more so than the last album perhaps. There will also be songs for a burrowing mammal theme I have been working on.The writ is writing itself now with much more material….the work is the labour for now, as all else is secondary…
WC: Playing such strange and unearthly music, how frustrating is it trying to attract listeners?
TH: It is frustrating, as you say, as most people want something that is more of a body high than an intellectual one, I find. It is very hard being the salmon against the stream; the freelance slave and the outsider, but the rewards are unique and esoteric as once most Count Beetle listeners, once found, are lifelong companions and enthusiasts it would seem. These are the select and esoteric few that make us proud.

WC:  Is there any possibility you could play live?

TH: Yes, that would be ideal….The music is meant for that, and for an audience which we have not yet gained and is somewhat phantasmal. We rehearse to ourselves and a  few now for a long time in obscure sessions. The main thing is finding clubs or places we can play….I have many ideas for such shows…”dreams you could never guess!”

WC: Tell me about some of your stories and tales and where we can find them.

TH: Well, I have written some fiction for AutoEroticAsphyxium zine, which is a publication out of New York….The old ones are still up at the Count Beetle page at myspace, which seems dead? Also, one can get them from me if they wish by simply contacting me at…a simple knock and I might answer. Tales are classic horror and weird fiction dealing with said themes….None are officially published besides the zine I mentioned, which is a shame…Eventually I will find a house for them, I am green at things that involve these things so far.

WC:  If you could ask any three people from history to dinner, who would they be?
TH: Good question…At a table set with steaming greens and loafs of cheese and bread and cups with dark ale and wines, amidst a dark, rustic wooden lodge or barn interior in the blue of night- this would be the setting, after a good rain or during and with the ambiance of dark, lantern and fireplace it would be at the summons of these individuals:
Old George Pickinghill, Poe, and Arthur Edward Waite…if he were vacant then probably the fellow known as Aleister Crowley. There would be antler horns for smoking ourselves into corners.

WC: What was the last CD/release you got just because you wanted to check the band out?

TH: Jerry Marchand’s “Crossing at Rainbow bridge”

WC:  What was the last gig or live show you saw because you wanted to see the band?

TH: I think the last show I attended was Danzig….front row.

WC: Any last words for the readers of Wormwood?

TH: Thank you for your time….Support the low fire and candle’s end.