Wednesday, January 23, 2013
1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
Well we are about to do a few more shows here in Australia, and otherwise I am just kind of in pre-production at the moment for what will be the next album eventually. This latest album has been out a little while here in Australia, it is only just seeing release in U.S. It is the first we have actually had all 4 members of the ‘live’ unit appear on an album. Earlier I had just handled all the playing myself and later shown to the other guys how to play etc. I am still writing the stuff, but Joe has stepped up in his role as producer and started to get a bit more involved beyond just the technical side... also he is actually playing guitar on this latest one. And Kai is playing bass and was more involved in the actual stylistics of the bass parts. So despite it basically being my song-writing the band has certainly evolved over the years.
2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album and how it differs from previous releases?
Well I spent a very long time with the ideas on this before even really getting to work on production, and same again at each turn of the road during the production process, so it was well considered like this at every step, taking some time, separating myself from it, then coming back to it and evaluating. I am very pleased as I have been with all of our albums so far, with the flow of songs. The sequence, the structures belong in this sequence. I see the songs in their own right, but I also see them as they relate to one another within the scheme of the album, and how the album sits within the scheme of the other albums. “Place of No Pity” is certainly our epic effort. I personally consider this album to be completing a circle back to our first release. I always wanted to rework a couple of our earliest songs and I felt it was a good time to do that because some of the newer material was very thematically linked to some of the oldest stuff. So I guess you can look at the dates and see the first four albums as linear progression; but I think really I see it more as our first cycle. All of that said and each of the albums has a different kind of character, reflected by differing approaches happening through each production.
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the new release explores?
They are kind of multi-layered sets of meanings. To a point I speak about attacking rationality, and attacking myself. The idea of Death is of great importance, Death as an advisor, not an enemy. Death informing our decisions, Death is our challenger. Death gives us courage, puts us in the moment, and creates a heightened awareness. When consciousness moves, the self crumbles or dissolves. This is the Place of No Pity. With ruthlessness the self-image cannot be sustained, this results in a greater range of perception. Ruthlessness is a premise of sorcery. Ruthlessness is the opposite of self-pity. Ruthlessness is the opposite of self-importance. We try to present a warriors view, which is sometimes a sorcerer’s view. It is just a personal expression of ideas that I may find resonate with me. We are attacking self-image, attacking the position of rationality, weakening the position of ‘common-sense’; and asserting the power of the will. Lyrically it is filtering important things for me, it is dealing with issues in my personal life but done mostly with metaphors, which are mostly just echoes of philosophy or poetry, and other things that I may read, or hear, and that resonate with me; this can in turn make ideas slightly more tangible for others to comprehend, and at the same time actually make the structures that bit more surreal. I am always thinking about the lyrics being perceived from multiple viewpoints. It is definitely a death themed album. It is about life and death I guess, consciousness. I like for others to find their own more direct meanings, as I have my meanings within my personal sphere, which I am unlikely to share more than this. This is a reason for the art for me, I guess dealing with my thoughts and feelings, cryptically discussing things in my personal life; but the lyrics can be taken less personally also, in a different context. I try to write multi-dimensionally, because I know that many viewpoints will interpret this, as they will.
4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
I wanted a one-word band name I remember. Not sure exactly why this word emerged. It just seemed right. It described the more personal view, and the more collective view of the world, from the standpoint of where this band is at. It can be a quite broad idea conceptually.
5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
There are many. First show, first interstate shows, SATYRICON tour, CELTIC FROST, IMMORTAL tour, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM, the shows with ABSU and PORTAL, GOATWHORE and IMPIETY.
6. Do you have any touring plans for the future?
We don’t exactly have any solid plans right now. We have a lot of interest internationally. We will probably play quite a bit through 2013 I feel.
7. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of darker metal?
Well from the very beginning we have had interest from all around the world, it is pleasing for sure that there has been a lot of positive reactions to our stuff.
8. What is going on with the other musical projects these days?
Well Ruins is my only real musical concern I guess. I have done a stack of different stuff over the years but for some time now Ruins is the only thing I really write for or work for or whatever. Dave likes to be busy and push his abilities as a drummer in different directions, by playing with a lot of different bands. They are all cool bands in totally different ways I suppose, so he gets to really enjoy diversity in his work.
9. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
Our next stuff which I have started to demo is much more stripped back and simple at the moment, much shorter, more minimalistic, kind of just sharp and angular ideas at the moment. This is probably a reaction to the last work, I do like to try and do different things, so I am not surprised after the epic long structures and format of this last album, then probably the next one will be contrary to this.
10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Well I grew up in the 80s and I guess like many people of my kind of age group it all kind of started with metallica and slayer; and then digging a bit deeper to find more extreme expression like Sodom and Kreator; celtic frost and bathory. I guess I was just into rebellious and extreme sounding stuff, because I got into a lot of punk and hard core and other stuff along the way too. So I discovered the grind and death metal that finally kind of reached us around early 90’s. The whole time I was into pretty diverse stuff, into Misfits/Samhain/Danzig , Killing Joke, Sepultura. Also looking back to what came before me pretty much my earliest influence was finding the heaviest stuff from my parent’s collection like ac/dc black Sabbath, led zeppelin, things like that. I was just into a heap of stuff, but I guess getting right into Dark Throne and Burzum and mayhem early to mid 90’s had a major effect. So I guess we did have a reasonably clear vision of what it was we were going to try and pull together pretty early in the piece at least theoretically. The style developed itself slowly over years and it’s still happening now. We took it pretty slow at first... I guess you could say we were inspired by the way certain black metal bands were able to operate as individuals and duos in writing recording and production, I guess given the timing and situation we were most inspired by bands like dark throne, immortal, and satyricon, knowing that a band could operate that way. We were just much more interested in writing music and producing albums. Playing live was a bit of an afterthought really, once we realized we had a set of songs together. To be honest I just make what I want to listen to really. Ideas kind of filter themselves, so I am just doing what I am into doing, making the music I want to hear. Then I get really motivated when Dave likes some of that and same again if Joe is into it, it helps me get things done. The music is just what I want to hear, and that is drawing from very diverse tastes and experiences; yes the Norwegian scene of early to mid-90’s was huge impact on me as a kid at the time, I was definitely inspired as a youngster with a guitar by bands like mayhem, burzum, immortal, dark throne and satyricon, thorns. I also instantly liked the unique character of one-man stuff like isengard and ildjarn, but among so much other stuff too. Honestly all kinds of things. To be honest we were joking the whole time we made this album that we were making our ‘...And Justice For All’, this was a hugely important album for us when we were really young kids, and subsequently it still is, actually. There are many bands current from all over Europe, and all around the world for that matter that I am into. But I don’t really keep up with stuff that much. I basically have a few friends who know different areas of my musical tastes pretty well. They recommend me things from time to time, but I really don’t keep up with that much. I am mostly into just rockin all my old classics haha! This is not some attempt to appear ultra underground or old-school or isolationist or anything like that. This is not an image I am trying to cultivate; this is just how I am here, that is just how it is. Bands of note from more recent times would be Craft/Shining, Leviathan/Lurker of Chalice, actually I don’t even know where to start and finish with all this so I will leave it at that.
11. Does Occultism play any role in your music?
Well you can take what you will from the lyrics and my explanation of them I suppose, butregarding religion, I was raised with no spirituality. My family never attended any kind of church. I am not Christened, none of it. But of course this is Christian society, and the West is at war with Islam so I guess I am at best a secular Christian haha! As a result of the spiritual void I suppose I was always open for some stimulation in that area, so I think I learned quite a lot as a younger person about a variety of religious ideas and different cultures. I guess strict Christians feel I was dealing with the devil already. In some ways we are a kind of apocalyptic band, I feel we embody the necessity of the destruction, and oneness with it, a detachment from it, whilst embracing it... so it is aggressive and violent and dark, and primal. But inspiring and uplifting in its way. So this obviously can represent struggle or triumph for those who want it to symbolize that... they will just try to see it through the eyes of the survival of their cause. I enjoy the presentation of the seductive Satan. Spiritually speaking you can say we are a nature worshipping band, but our view of this is obscure, and like I said ‘apocalyptic’, my view of nature and time, it is probably just my own appropriation of some Shamanic, or Taoist ideas in essence. This band is my church I guess? It is my way of dealing with my spiritual side; the ‘other’, the ‘dreaming’, the ‘psyche’.
12. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
I guess the band deals with my other interests through the themes we discuss.
13. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Thanks for the support!