Hi there. Congratulations to your great new album. Please describe the reactions to the CD so far.
I think overall it has been good. I have noticed an initial “love it or hate it” reaction, which is fine. However, I think with time it is an album that will grow on those who are currently sceptical. Many people are so used to our first two albums that, especially after 4 years, it is sometimes difficult to accept a new album no matter how it sounds.
Some of our readers may never have heard about you. Please give us a short briefing in the band's biography. (what AGALLOCH does it mean?)!
We started in 1996, released a few albums and Eps, and now here we are. Nothing too interesting. “Agalloch” is a type of wood that is burned for it’s unique wood smoke.
How is it possible to create such a great deep and dark sound in the big “fast food” & very conservative (no tits on TV) World like the US?:- ) I mean, the deep forest music-style came from countries like for example “Transylvania” or Norway?!
Isn’t Norway also an extremely conservative country? Just because we are Americans, doesn’t mean we personally fit within the narrow-minded stereotypes that many Europeans seem to harbour. Besides, I have travelled to Europe and nothing I saw over there was any more inspirational than the Pacific Northwest forests and landscape that I call home. In fact, I would say the scenery here and the rather depressing times we live in as Americans (political, economical) lend more inspiration to me than a Transylvanian forest probably would.
How would you describe your own music?
“Progressive Dark Metal”
What are your musical influences in your opinion?
Everything from mid-nineties Black/death metal, to neo-folk, to indie rock and coldwave stuff, to industrial/noise music, to modern classical composers, and so on. We have quite eclectic tastes and I think it shows up in our compositions.
What are the differences between “Pale Folklore”, "The mantle" and "Ashes…” in your opinion? (I mean, Ashes… is more deeper, doom and have a lot of modern Black Metal inside!)
Thinking about each of the albums, I would say “Pale Folklore” is a more traditional atmospheric black/death metal record, “The Mantle” is a neo-folk influenced black/doom record, and “Ashes Against The Grain” is a post-rock/ progressive black/doom type of record. Even though I am starting to hate being labelled “post rock”…
What are the reasons for these differences?
We don’t really think about our previous albums when creating a new one. So naturally each album will be quite different from each other. There will always be different influences, a different mentality, and a different aesthetical approach with every album we create. I feel that is simply natural and necessary for the evolution of our sound.
What is the message of your record and the lyrics? Is there any message? Your music-style create a world of and to thinking!
Our message on this album is that mankind is a useless creature and that we will all fade away like ashes in the wind. There is nothing special about mankind and all of our religions, philosophies, dreams, hopes, and everything is totally meaningless in space and time.
Are there some lyrics that are special to you? Tell us something about them.
Since I write all of the lyrics, I cannot really say that there are any that mean more to me. They are all special to me in one way or another.
Where do you get your inspirations from?
Like I said above, we have many sources of inspiration. Everything from the smell of woodsmoke on a crisp November morning to a bleak Dagur Kari film. Sometimes I find inspiration while camping in the woods or while drunk and depressed in my house or simply after listening to an awesome record.
How and why did you choose the album cover? Is there a further meaning behind it?
I wanted an image of a falling bird. Veleda Thorsson took the photograph on the booklet and A. Tolonen drew the charred bird that appears on the slipcase. With the rather nihilistic, hopeless and apocalyptic theme of this album, I wanted an image which complimented that kind of despair.
What about the recording process of your new album? Any stories or curiosities to report?
It was difficult, tedious, and very annoying. Thinking about it actually kind of pisses me off.
Please name some lately released CDs that you like to listen to at home.
Lately released? Hmmm… Drudkh “Blood In Our Wells”, Katatonia “The Great Cold Distance”, Dissection “Reinkaos”, Sigur Ros “Takk”, Current 93 “Black Ships Ate The Sky”, DornenReich “Hexenwind”, etc.
We'd like to know something about the underground in your hometown. Are you still in touch? And if so: Where do you hang out? Are there some yet unknown bands that you like?
We live very different lives and most of us don’t have time to keep up with the local scene. Honestly the only bands I like from this area are Waldteufel and Wolves In The Throne Room. There used to be a band from Port Townsend, WA called Corvus Corax who were amazing!
As for hangouts, I tend to spend a lot of time at the local art house cinema checking out foreign and indie films. There are also some great English pubs and German, Lebanese, Greek, and Thai restaurants that I enjoy. Portland has some phenomenal beer shops where I can find many, many imported beers from all over the world. One of my favourites is a Polish brew called “Black Boss Porter”. It’s brilliant with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the pint.
What about the US-Doom/Dark/Black/Melancholic Metal Scene in general? Do you know some bands, and if so, is there friendship, rivalry or more or less nothing special?
We are friends with Novembers Doom, Ludicra, While Heaven Wept, and a few others. Two other high-quality US bands are Daylight Dies and Noltem. I don’t know of any rivalries, as we tend to stay away from such stupidity. If bands want to hate us then I hope they hate us with every fibre of their being! I hope they lose sleep over the fact that we exist…
Please tell us something about further Live activities. (my big hope!!!)
We will be playing a local gig with Katatonia, Moonspell, and Daylight Dies and then, two weeks after that, we will be going on a brief European tour with Novembers Doom, Thurisaz, and Saturnus. This will happen in November. I am quite looking forward to all of it.
We are looking forward seeing you in Germany. Best whishes to you all. Any (standard) last words?
Thank you for the interview. I’ll see you in Germany. Cheers!