The Practical Applications of A Cunning Man


Ged Cartwright is a man who has done a lot since getting into music. From being a part of a number of bands to exploring a solo route, he’s also dived in and out of various genres along the way. Then he was focusing more on the lyrics and melodies, but now as the one man show known as A Cunning Man, he’s focusing on every aspect from start to finish – which can be heard on Practical Applications Of Theurgy. We talked about the new album, metal and more in this exchange…

Kendra: Have you always been a music person?

A Cunning Man: I’ve been singing and writing vocals in bands for around 12 years now. I was never musical at school but discovered my love for it in early adulthood. I think it was Brave New World by Iron Maiden that really switched me on to how amazing music could be. At the end of high school I formed a heavy metal band with like minded friends and it all progressed from there. I’ve since returned to education to work on attaining a music degree.

Kendra: Where did the idea for A Cunning Man come from anyway?

A Cunning Man: The one man band trope is actually quite common within “Extreme Metal” and I wanted a moniker to reflect the fact that it was just me. Cunning folk were the healers and problem solvers of their day, treading a fine line between witch and priest. The lyrics on Practical Applications Of Theurgy explore some Occult topics and so I also wanted the name to convey this.

“Honorius & The Choral Forecast”

Kendra: On a broader scale, how does Scottish Metal differ from metal from the US?

A Cunning Man: Geography means less and less as internet access has become more commonplace. Musicians are able to pick and choose what influences they want to adopt on a global scale.

That being said, The Extreme Metal scene within Scotland and probably the UK as well, is more in line with that of our European neighbours. In particular, Scotland shares some idiosyncrasies with Scandinavia and Iceland. I think a purveying sense of bleakness and exhaustion is a common factor here. It’s probably the drench weather…

Kendra: Back to your sound, your latest release has song titles that sound straight out of Lord of the Rings. Did that series influence you at all?

A Cunning Man: I’m not particularly influenced by Tolkien, although there are certainly some High Fantasy elements involved in the concept. The first word of each song title is actually the name of different Occult texts from the Renaissance Period. I wanted the EP title to sound a bit like a compendium of magical techniques with each chapter addressing the contents of a different Grimoire. I’m considering keeping the naming conventions going for the next release too.

Kendra: If not, where did you draw the inspiration for when it came to this album?

A Cunning Man: The actual texts themselves were an interesting source of inspiration, there’s also more than a little Lovecraft involved. The cover art, which portrays the antagonist of the tale is a good example of that. I didn’t want the spiritualism portrayed to be too “Hollywood” but rather more gritty and dark.

Kendra: Will you be touring sooner than later in support of this release?

A Cunning Man: I haven’t quite worked out the logistics of bringing A Cunning Man to the stage just yet. I have plenty of friends who could fulfill the instrumental roles required though. I may consider the prospect after the next release but for now A Cunning Man is a studio only project.

Kendra: What about the coming months of 2017, anything planned so far?

A Cunning Man: At current I’m very much involved with promoting Practical Applications Of Theurgy. I’ve already started work on the second EP though which can be expected in the early Summer months. The sound is slightly different this time round as I’m discovering what elements I want to change and what I want to keep. Hopefully my compositional skills are also improving, so expect something more complex.

Kendra: Lastly, here at ZO we’re all about the arts. With that I wanted to ask you to either draw or submit a piece of art that you feel best represents your sound?

A Cunning Man: The photo I’m currently using as my header image, which was taken by my good friend Stuart Campbell.

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