Hi there. Congratulations to your great new album. Please describe the reactions to the CD so far.
They've been overwhelmingly positive thus far, it's been rather flattering actually. You just try to write, record and release the best songs and the best album you can, but really you're so closely involved with the material that it's hard to be objective about it sometimes. So when you read the reviews and reactions to the music, it really validates what you're doing.
Some of our readers may never have heard about you. Please give us a short briefing in the band's biography.
Well, we formed in August of 2007. Clay and I were jamming in my garage, working on some songs I had written, and we got offered some big shows opening for The Sword, Black Cobra, Jucifer, and Roadsaw right away. We recorded a demo, and it took off from there. Jelle and Electric Earth got on board, we released the debut 7" in the spring of 2008, we got Gein on board playing bass after our first bassist wasn't working out. We worked first on a split 7" that hopefully will come out this year, and then went right into tracking the album, which was officially released this July. Right now we're finishing a split EP with Old One that will be released this October, featuring two new songs from us, and one from them.
Back to the new CD. My favourite is "The Cauldron Born". Can you tell us something about this song and it's history?
Yeah, this song was actually the last one written for the album, besides the songs "Macedonia" which appears on the vinyl version of the album, so it really shows one of the directions the band is moving in as far as the newer songs we're writing is concerned. It showcases a lot of our classic metal influences, but still brings the doom at the end. Lyrically, it's inspired by Welsh mythology.
And what about "Wintermute"?
That was actually one of the first songs I had written, Clay and I had worked on it a bit and had an arrangement, but it was actually the last song we worked on for the album, because the arrangement was so complicated. The song itself is about a semi-human, semi-divine being that inspired by a computer program, feels incomplete and goes looking for its lost second half.
Which one is YOUR favorite song from the album and why?
I would say "Cauldron Born", I really like all that the song accomplishes musically in under eight minutes. There are a lot of different ideas all mashed together, but it works. Same with "Wintermute", those are my two favourites.
How and why did you choose the album cover? Is there a further meaning behind it?
We had a local artist, Mike Warble from Connecticut, design the cover art for us. He'd heard of us and contacted us, saying that if we ever needed any art done, to drop him a line. We checked out his art, and were really into it, so we did end up asking him to do the cover art. Any meaning behind the cover art would be what inspiration he drew from hearing the music, we gave him an advance copy to listen to while drawing it.
Are there some lyrics that are special to you? Tell us something about them.
I guess the lyrics to Twilight Grave, because Clay actually wrote most of that song, and I'm not all that used to putting vocal melodies and lyrics to songs I haven't written the guitar for. I thought the story line came out pretty cool, a guy dabbling in black magic who learns a lesson from it, kind of like where it all started, with the song "Black Sabbath", except this story is a bit bleaker since the guy gets more into it and ends up being put to death.
Where do you get your inspirations from?
Musically, stuff like High On Fire, Electric Wizard, Sleep, The Gates of Slumber, as well as older music such as Black Sabbath, The Obsessed, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Pentagram, Sir Lord Baltimore, just too many to name. A lot of psych and prog actually, like Pink Floyd The 13th Floor Elevators, and The Soft Machine. All of us also have an unhealthy obsession with punk and hardcore, although you might not hear that as much in the music, it's more the attitude, especially live. Lyrically, from a lot of mythology, fantasy, and science fiction and an overactive imagination.
How would you describe your own music?
Well, I'd say it's a mixture of classic metal, doom, psychedelic, and progressive rock, all stirred together until it's ready to explode.
What was your aim when you started making musik? And how far is the way to reach this aim?
When I first started making music, it was the early 90's. I wanted to be like Metallica, making killer albums with a two guitar line up, and a lot of cool arrangements. Since then, I've embraced the one guitar approach, you can still do a lot of cool synchronized guitar on tape thanks to overdubs, I mean, look at Led Zeppelin. It's hard to do live, but some of the songs we work on, once the guitars get complicated, it's kind of just decided "this is a studio only song." You're not going to hear us doing "Wintermute" or "Caravan" live anytime soon. So, I kind of moved away from that initial aim of the two guitar dynamic thing. As for arrangements, I think we came up with some cool ones, but there's a lot of room for more on our next album, which we'll start work on fairly soon. Hopefully our next album will be really killer, I always wanted to be in one of those bands that just records a string of consistent albums.
Please name some lately released CDs that you like to listen to at home.
I listen to the Elder disk a lot, Nachtmystium's latest album and EP, Black Math Horsemen, Ancestors, the latest High On Fire and Unearthly Trance albums, I don't know, lots of stuff.
Is Massachusetts a good place to live as a Metal musician?
I guess it's as good a place as any. We're in Western Mass, which isn't exactly known for cutting edge metal. I mean, Shadows Fall is from here, but so is Stained. Back in the 80's and 90's, it was a great place for indie guitar rock, like Dinosaur Jr, The Pixies, and Sebadoh, but we kind of live in a bubble now where the music scene is ten years behind the rest of the world. Luckily, we're close to Boston, New York City, Providence, and upstate New York state, so we have easy access to cities that have thriving underground scenes.
How important is it for you to play live on stage?
It's really important, that's where it all comes together and we really breath life into the songs. Although we don't play them all that differently, it's obviously a much different vibe than the studio. We go for sheer power, and maybe we lose some of subtleties of the recorded music, but in the long run, it's a worthwhile trade off. Also, when we do longer sets, we've started "jamming" and improvising a bit, and that's something you're not going to hear on record, at least for the time being. Maybe if we get good enough at it and more locked into what each of us is thinking...
Please describe your audience!
We've got some loyal fans who come out to our shows, and we appreciate each and every one of them. Without them, we really couldn't do what we do. In our home town, we get more of a rock crowd, there aren't a lot of metal heads in Northampton Mass, everyone is too "cool" for that. In Boston, it's a real mixed crowd, which is cool, but in Worcester Mass, the real metalheads come out in swarms, and that always makes for a good time.
And what about further Live activities?
We're going to be playing the Stoner Hand of Doom festival in September. That's the last one ever, and it's not only an honour to be playing it, but also to be playing besides incredible bands like Solace, Earthride, Place of Skulls, Internal Void, The Gates of Slumber, oh man, so many great bands.
Is there a question left that you would like to answer? And what is the answer?
There are a lot of questions I'd like answered, like who killed Jimmy Hoffa, and where his body actually buried? I don't really have the answers though.
We are looking forward seeing you in Germany. Best whishes to you all. Any finishing words?
Thanks for the interview, and for your support, it's greatly appreciated by us all...