Northern Exposure: Sanktuary Interviewed

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Thursday, June 27th, 2013

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Sanktuary originally hail from Whitehorse, the capital city of Canada’s Yukon Territory. Look it up on a map and you’ll see why, for that fact alone, we wanted to track them down for a chinwag. To say that the Yukon is a little out of the way is like saying it probably gets a little cold up there come winter time. As a lifelong city slicker, yours truly is always curious when a band comes out of an unexpected woodwork a million miles away. The band is now based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which is still pretty out of the way when one thinks of accessibility and touring routing, and have a new album out entitled Something Fierce, which they describe as “heavy metal for heavy metallers” and a track of which you can check out below. Bassist Cole Hume answers a few questions.

First things first (and most boring): can you give the history of Sanktuary in however many words you might need, or less?
We are Sanktuary. We hail from the land of the midnight sun. We like homemade liquor and we play homemade heavy metal. We’re four scoundrels that live fast, play fast and cum fast. There’s much to say, but nothing that confining to paper does justice so we will leave the mystery at that.

You’re originally from the Yukon. I’m very curious about the metal scene and infrastructure in the Yukon. Can you give us a detailed history of metal up in the Yukon? What other bands exist up there? How did you guys find each other? Are you all from Whitehorse originally? Blah, blah, blah…
We are all from Whitehorse. Born and raised. On the playground is where we spent most of our days. Until we found liquor and women. Then it was bootleggers and whore houses. Growing up we idolized and local band called Nemesis. They were the shit and they knew it. We knew it too. Local shows were absolutely nuts. We were young, dumb and moderately full of off-the-shelf cough syrup. It was fuckin’ great. There were a few bands on the scene and they ruled your ass. Don’t know what it was like down in the city, but up on the tundra, shit was flyin’.

How does metal get reacted to in the Yukon? Toronto’s Burning Love is going to play the Yukon on their present North American tour, but have many other bands toured up that far?
The Yukon loves all music. A few years back we had Bison BC and multiple trips from 3 Inches of Blood. It was fuckin’ awesome. Shows weren’t half bad either! Haha. The tough part is getting up there. Pretty much 10,000 miles from anywhere and gas is $5.00 per litre. So if you’re not making Led Zeppelin-sized guarantees, it’s hard to swallow those bills. But if you can, and if you can swing it, I can guarantee you will have one hell of a time.

Why did you decide to move to Halifax instead of a more centralised location like Toronto or Montreal? Or even a relatively closer one like Vancouver, Edmonton or Calgary?
We were thinking Toronto. Shit opened up in Nova Scotia, family farm, next to rent free. Being from a place where we don’t give half a shit, we said “what the hell!?” A farm? Maybe we can grow some heavy metal. Maybe, just maybe we can grow something real. Everything’s still close. Close for us anyways. Toronto – 20 hours in the skank tank? We couldn’t even get to butt fuck nowhere in 20 hours from Whitehorse. That’s an accomplishment. That’s movin’ on up in the world.

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Tell us about Something Fierce. How long did it take to write? What were you looking to achieve with it? What was the recording process like?
We spent a lot of time writing. We were shipped back up to Whitehorse to record. It took a while, but we ended up with a product that we were satisfied with and that’s what’s important. We recorded in a half-built studio that I was framing for the owner who we are both good friends with and also recorded our first two demos with. We think it sounds great. Excited to hear what the public has to say.

What did you learn on your previous recordings that you applied or avoided with Something Fierce?
Take your time. Don’t settle for anything else than the closest to perfection you can achieve. It’s not easy but when the goin’ gets tough, you gotta stick in there and just punch ‘em out.

How much touring have you done since moving to Nova Scotia? Did you tour much when you were based in the Yukon? Have you been back north as Sanktuary since moving?
We did a few tours out of the territory and, no lie, it was tough. It’s been much easier since we’ve been out east and we’ve tried to take advantage of that as much as possible. We did a single send-off show after recording before we toured back to Halifax and it was great. We had [guitarist] Glen [Edmond] back in the line-up on guitar after a few years of being absent and it really felt like we were a whole band again.

What’s next for the band now that the album is starting to make the rounds?
First and foremost is the release: July 2 on Spread the Metal Records. We’ll be supporting late August/early September with a tour through eastern Canada and also playing both STM festivals in Halifax and Toronto. Other than that, we’re just always looking at the next thing. Maybe branching out across borders? That would rule. Lots of work, but those of you who know us, know we are never afraid to put our nuts to the grindstone.

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Decibrity Playlist: Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) (Part 2)

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, June 27th, 2013

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To continue our celebration of the recent release of Construct, we asked Dark Tranquillity vocalist Mikael Stanne–that’s him in front–to a pick a non-DT record that related in some way to each of his band’s ten full-length records (plus one hand-picked EP). Last week, Mikael’s entries took us from 1992′s A Moonclad Reflection EP up through and including 1999′s Projector, showing where his head was at musically, something that he was really into at the time or that represents the period for him. Now, starting with 2000′s Haven, we present the second half of his picks, which we’ve compiled into one comprehensive Spotify playlist.

Haven (2000) :: Depeche Mode’s Violator
With a new lineup and a permanent keyboardist, we were ready to embrace our love for electronic music and focus on songwriting in a different way. In the ’80s, when in our city there was a constant battle between the kids into metal and the kids into synth, I always found myself somewhere in between. I could go out and buy a Depeche Mode album at the same time that I picked up Bathory or the latest Helloween. For me, as long as it was not on the radio, it was all good.

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Damage Done (2002) :: Slipknot’s Iowa
I caught up rather late with this band, but once this album came out, my love for extreme music was somewhat reinvigorated. This was a fresh take on what I grew up listening to, and I felt there was great love for the death metal genre within this “new” metal record. This inspired me to increase the intensity, vocally, on Damage Done. I wanted to capture what it felt like standing on stage close to the audience, screaming right at them.

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Character (2005) :: Rush’s Counterparts
Rush is my favorite band, and Neil Peart’s lyrics are the first thing that come to mind when I talk about inspiration for our songs. This album came out of nowhere for me, and it showed off a new heavy side of the band that they have maintained up until now. Truly amazing songwriting, effortless musicianship and straightforward quirky, intellectual and thought-provoking lyrics. THE go to band for inspiration.

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Fiction (2007) :: Vader’s Black To The Blind
Vader has been with us since day one. I remember hearing their second demo Morbid Reich in late 1990, and I was blown away. This was all that was great about bands like Kreator and Sodom, in an even more extreme form. There was something so primal and infectious about their songs that caught me completely off-guard. And their music still inspires us. Not because they are a band who reinvents themselves, but rather distills and perfects their sound with each release. Black to the Blind is an instant party hit with us too. An album that makes beer evaporate!

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We Are The Void (2010) :: Enslaved’s Vertebrae
When we look for extreme bands among our favorites, Enslaved comes up a lot. The intense feeling of the black metal roots in their sound, and their favor for progressive sounds and melancholy melodies have inspired us in many ways. I can hear so many of my all time favorite bands within their songs.

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Construct (2013) :: Opeth’s Deliverance
Opeth go way back with us as well. Saw them the first time in the early ’90s when they were something of a black metal band. But I always got this willingness to be different from them, even in the early years. I love the unpredictable nature of their sound, and their total disregard for what is considered popular or “in” at the moment. And more than their music, I think that attitude has reinforced our belief that we can do anything, as long as it’s heartfelt and true.

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*Order a copy of Construct here.

**We update one Spotify playlist for each new Decibrity entry, so feel free to subscribe to that here. Past entries include:

Mouth Of The Architect
Howl
Kings Destroy
Zozobra
Call of the Void
Saint Vitus Bar
Coliseum
Woe
Anciients
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
Intronaut
BATILLUS
Inter Arma
Helen Money
Misery Index
Ancient VVisdom
Holy Grail
Rotten Sound
Ancestors (Part 1) (Part 2)
Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Early Graves
All That Remains
Bison B.C.
A Life Once Lost
Fight Amp
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Grave
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Dawnbringer
Ufomammut
Shadows Fall
Horseback
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Torche
“Best of” Meshuggah
Astra
Pallbearer
Barren Earth
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)

Strength Beyond Strength: The Midyear Report

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: diary, featured On: Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

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In January, we introduced readers to Jason Statts. The response to his story was overwhelming and generated quite the buzz in the world of the extremely extreme. We decided to check in with Jason a half-year later to see how he was doing, and if sharing his story changed anything. He was happy to oblige, and we’re happy to publish a follow to Strength Beyond Strength: The Jason Statts Story. June 28th is the fifth anniversary of the shooting that left Statts confined to a wheelchair. We’re happy to report that he’s better than ever. –jmn

Getting shot was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. That statement probably sounds harsh, but it is close to the truth. So many positive things have come from the shooting, as well as my long recovery. Things that I never would’ve thought possible; opportunities to make a difference, opportunities for me to better myself in almost every way, new friendships, and even a second chance at love.

My first story for Decibel, Strength Beyond Strength: The Jason Statts Story, turned out to be a gift (thanks, Decibel). I’ve received so much from it since its initial publication. Many people commented on the actual Deciblog entry, all positively. Many of the same people found me on Facebook and/or Twitter and have since become friends. It is difficult to believe that it was six months ago.

So much has happened in that span of time. I’ve gone from a guy with an unnoticed blog to a guy who writes for four well-respected sites/webzines: About.com Heavy Metal (US), Echoes and Dust (UK), CVLT Nation (US), and LOUD! Magazine (Portugal). I have done 35 to 40 album reviews so far, a couple of interviews, and some in-depth coverage of records that had a major impact on my life. I’ve started my own company for illustration, design, publishing, and music called Black Abyssal. Together with two new (but now very close) friends, I started a webzine devoted solely to underground metal called Violent Resonance (the site is under construction as I write this; it will be a great thing once it is up and running).

Last but definitely not least, John Baizley of Baroness asked me to do a collaborative art project that may or may not eventually become a t-shirt design. Nuts. Things have kind of blown up around me since the story was published. Life seems to be moving very fast, not that I’m complaining. It all seems to be headed in the right direction; the universe is unfolding as it should.

In fact, it seems to be going the way it should have gone 15 years ago. I’m doing more of what I want to do, and having a blast. I finally know what it is like to “do what you love.” It’s a great feeling. Once again, and quite literally, music has saved my life. As far as I’m concerned, things couldn’t get much better.

I also met an amazing girl. She sees past the chair. She read my story, was touched, and wrote me one of the sweetest, most endearing, most genuine letters I have ever read. I was completely blown away by what this person had to say to me; this total stranger. The strange part is that I never would have even known she existed had I not been shot and paralyzed. Out of six billion people, I met her. How insane is that? We have so much in common that I fear that we are the same person; split somehow over time and space. We are completely compatible on every level. She likes me for who I am, and vice versa. That, in itself, is an amazing feeling. She is brilliant. She is beautiful. She is far away, but that can be remedied.

A lot of people have written me about my situation. Most everyone has been extremely supportive and I appreciate every single person who has taken the time to offer me some sort of hope and/or happiness. This message went straight into my heart and has been there ever since.

All in all, the past six months have been an amazing experience. Doors have opened. Friendships and businesses have been built. I have a new relationship with the music I love, and the beginnings of a relationship with a new girl. Time has flown. If things keep moving at their current rate, I expect the next six months will go by just as quickly. Again, I’m not complaining. I am enjoying every busy second.

Thanks to everyone for giving me a chance to prove myself over the past few months. Appreciation doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the thanks I’d like to give. Thanks to all the Decibel readers as well. None of this would’ve been possible without all your support and kind words. If you’re ever in Savannah, give me a shout.

Connect with Jason Statts on Facebook
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Sharon Ehman (Toxic Vision) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

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** Sharon Ehman is a Toronto, Canada-based clothing designer and sole proprietor of Toxic Vision, a unique label creating one-of-a-kind designs. New collections, based off her interest in and love for metal as well as the supernatural, are available every month at the Toxic Vision website. Ehman’s work has been seen on members of Watain, Turisas, Dimmu Borgir, Dave Ellefson, Behemoth, and more.

When did you start to take an interest in garments and garment making?
Sharon Ehman: It has always been this way—I grew up in a very creative environment. There isn’t really a defining moment when this all came to be, I have always loved to get my hands dirty even as a small child. There was no ‘what should I do with my life?’ It was just natural instinctive progression – the path was always very clear to me, the hunger was always there. It just so happens that construction of garments is the medium I have chosen to focus on…

Do you have formal training?
Sharon Ehman: I am completely self-taught. I have always believed that there is no right and wrong way of creating, it is whatever way works best for you. To be honest, I can’t imagine this beast existing in the way that it does had I gone to school, or had I been taught by someone else. To any artist who develops their skill-set on their own – it seems to be more pure, more distinguished, it is something that is instinctive—it cannot be taught, it comes from within. There is a certain strength in doing things in a more primal matter, and you develop a very strong sense of being in the process.

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What were the early days like? I’m sure a lot of trial and error, figuring out your, uh, vision.
Sharon Ehman: Sure, of course. Everything is a learning process, and I am still learning new techniques and skills every day. I have looked back on some of my older designs and I am surprised that they are still holding together, but it is quite empowering to see how far along things have come. There is a starting point for everything, and I would encourage everyone to explore whatever it is they desire to do. You don’t need a blueprint, you just need a spark. If you keep that flame burning, soon you will have an inferno on your hands…

At what point did it go from hobby to profession?
Sharon Ehman: Thinking of this as a hobby would be presuming that at one point, Toxic Vision was a side project and other things were focused on and this was never the case. This has always been my path. I started Toxic Vision when I was seventeen years old and it has always been all-in or nothing. When you don’t have a backup plan, you fight that much harder. It becomes who you are, not what you do.

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Where did the name Toxic Vision come from?
Sharon Ehman: There is no massive story behind the name ‘Toxic Vision’ At 17-years old, after some time of thinking about what words should come together to represent what I wanted to do… This is what was decided.

And you’re able to live off of your work, at this point?
Sharon Ehman: Yes, I have been completely self-sustaining and self-sufficient since day one, and every dime earned and invested has been from my own hand. Toxic Vision has always been a singular entity and always will be. However, let’s get one thing clear. Toxic Vision is not FOR profit. Yes, I make a profit but that is quite irrelevant to the bigger picture. To me, there is a much more important reason to all of this madness. This is the biggest middle finger I can give to the world we live in, and the life we are expected to lead. We are taught to follow the herd, we are told to take the most simplistic route through life. Every stadium has thousands of spectator seats and only a few engage in battle. This is my war and this is the fortress I have built.

Are your pieces or collections meant to be worn? I’m curious about function over form here.
Sharon Ehman: Absolutely. With everything I create, I approach it with function in mind. Through careful material selection and a good cut—everything is actually quite comfortable and practical. The ultimate challenge is creating stage gear because there are always many different elements to take in to consideration. For example, finding the right materials that will dry quickly in between stage shows, and can take a beating night after night on stage. Sometimes it is tricky but definitely achievable. Personally, I dislike anything that I wear to feel restricting or uncomfortable, so this carries through to all my designs.

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And the pieces you sell are sized to your specifications not, say, a customer’s. I’m talking more general public than musicians who commission work.
Sharon Ehman: For the most part—yes. Since Toxic Vision is formatted into a very fast-paced environment, it only makes sense to do things this way. On occasion I create collections offering all sizes, and as mentioned above- most everything I make has some amount of stretch—which allows for various sizes and body shapes to be able to wear my designs.

Is there a tipping point between your art and commerce?
Sharon Ehman: No. I have had many offers by larger companies to do large scale collections and other various cash-grab projects, all of which I have refused. I am well aware that I could just cash in my chips but money and fame are not what I am looking to achieve. I would rather take my dagger and thrust it into the earth, carving out a gash so deep that anyone who dare come near the edge will certainly fall in…

Speaking of commerce, a lot of your designs include album art or t-shirt art. Do you work with officially licensed merchandise or are you re-drawing things?
Sharon Ehman: All album art/band logos are officially licensed merchandise, purchased directly from the artist whenever possible. The band artwork/logos that I use are all bands that I listen to personally, and in many ways- these bands play a very large part in the inspiration process of Toxic Vision. Through doing this, I am able to use Toxic Vision as a platform to expose people to good music. I know it is just a small drop in the sea, but it pleases me to know that I am turning people on to the music that means so much to me – and in turn, I am hoping that it will inspire them just as it has for me. It brings a huge smile to my face when I receive letters from Toxic Vision supporters who are excited about a band they have discovered through my designs—and now they bought the band’s CD and went out to their shows and told all their friends. As they say, you just have to plant one small seed.

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Tell me how you got into making garments for musicians.
Sharon Ehman: I am not really sure there is a ‘how’. It just happened that way. My work is very inspired by the music I listen to, so it only seemed inevitable for it to end up on stage. My work is pretty obtrusive, an element very prevalent in rock ‘n’ roll—making it a good fit for the musicians who I am involved with.

Do musicians tell you specifics? What they want, look, feel, etc.?
Sharon Ehman: Every interaction is different, some projects have been more collaborative than others, but I will usually only choose to work with people who trust and respect my work as an artist – allowing for creative freedom. I am not simply a seamstress for hire – I feel nothing inspiring or exciting about just re-creating someone’s design or idea and will not take on that kind of project. I have had some very powerful interactions with some of the musicians I have worked with. Some visions just match up, not much really needs to be said or discussed..the creativity just flows freely and this often leads to the best result in the end.

What was the most rewarding musician-based project?
Sharon Ehman: Ah. This question is quite personal to me—possibly even too personal to fully shed light on.. there are some very powerful creative forces—that if joined together in a certain way, it can become very explosive and wreak some very terrible havoc on the rest of the world… take heed as this story unfolds.

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(Toxic Vision design for Erik Danielsson/Watain)

I understand you’re fairly selective on which musicians you work with. Why is that?
Sharon Ehman: My work is incredibly personal to me, and the careful selection of musicians I choose to work with rests on a feeling that another torch along my path will be lit. I have to feel something, I have to be able to close my eyes and feel that explosive energy needed to manifest something that did not previously exist—something that will elevate and define, for both parties involved…

You also do collections. Tell me about your latest collection and the inspiration behind it.
Sharon Ehman: As I write this, I am halfway through a fifteen day journey for Toxic Vision – an idea that has been brewing for quite some time. I have spent many months collecting shirts from each of Iron Maiden’s studio albums and I have been sewing one design a day—chronologically starting with their self-titled release and ending with The Final Frontier. While sewing each design, that particular album is played on repeat until the design is finished. Each day I photograph the piece and invite people to share their stories , memories and favorite songs attached to that particular album via Facebook. So far, the response has been overwhelming—over a thousand stories have been told and I have read each and every one, every morning before starting on the design for the day. At the end I will choose one person who has shared their Iron Maiden story and they will get to keep one of the designs and the rest of the collection will be released to the public on the same day. I have received emails from people who are following along the journey by also playing the same album throughout the day, and have been starting up discussions with their friends about Iron Maiden, revisiting old favorite tunes and digging deeper into the discography and finding something new. It has become quite a powerful project and a very inspiring journey, it is amazing to see such a bond that can be created from this band!

Your inspiration. Where does it come from?
Sharon Ehman: By now, it is pretty clear that the music I listen to plays a very important role in the inspiration process for Toxic Vision. But it is in a much more abstract way that you might think. The music I listen to pushes me into a creative trance, it makes the dull world around me become quite colorful. There are a handful of albums from various artists that are very defining to what I do. It is hard to fully explain so we will just leave it at that. There are also a lot of natural elements around all of us that I draw inspiration from and always a fascination with history, lore, ancient cultures and morbid curiosities.

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(Turisas in Toxic Vision)

You’re also fairly dedicated to your craft. How many hours in a week do you spend on Toxic Vision?
Sharon Ehman: The lines separating ‘work’ from whatever people do otherwise were erased a long time ago. Toxic Vision is not my job, I haven’t worked a day since I was 17 and there is no ‘off’ button. This is who I am. This beast never sleeps, it even haunts my dreams. I have to do this, sitting still in nothingness drives me crazy. I refuse to live a life to simply just exist.

Do you do mock-ups or drawings first or do you just go head-first into your work?
Sharon Ehman: My creative process is very fluid and primal. On occasion I will have very vivid dreams that get translated into my designs but for the most part—no sketching, no mock-ups. Drawing inspiration from the music that fills the room and abstract textures and natural elements talked about in previous questions, I just simply lay a pile of raw materials on the floor and let my scissors and mind run free. No patterns, no guides, no rules, no boundaries.

Death is a prominent feature in your work. What is fascinating about death and why do you choose to use it as a central theme?
Sharon Ehman: There is no escaping death, it is the absence of everything that we come to know on this earth, the ultimate void. It is a very focused part of a lot of cultures and allows you to explore and question the realms beyond.

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Has your style changed over the years? Curious of you’ve ever looked back on older pieces or collections.
Sharon Ehman: Certainly. I think that for any artist, there is always progression…nothing ever stays the same. There is always new territory to conquer and as your skill set becomes more developed and defined, so will your work. Inspiration is limitless, it wouldn’t make sense to put on a pair of blinders and never explore.

How often do new collections come out?
I usually release a new collection every two weeks, but this past year has brought about a lot of traveling and adventure, so sometimes this stretches to three to four weeks in between.

Your Facebook page is extremely active. Is the page more about marketing and brand awareness? I ask because you seem quite shy, but you’re also the model for the pieces and collections.
Sharon Ehman: Facebook is a great platform to display my work since the reach is rather widespread. I assume this shyness you mention, is from meeting me in person? [Yes, precisely---CD] I’ve never really thought of myself in this way, but it is true that I like to stay out of the spotlight for the most part. We live in a world where people are obsessed with the ‘individual’ and focus so much on this aspect that it completely overshadows the purpose of doing this sort of thing in the first place. Artistry is lost by this terrible obsession our society has with ‘celebrity’. My work is so incredibly important to me and I always want that to take the spotlight. Actually I would prefer to step away from that spotlight personally, what I have created is the true reflection of myself anyhow. It really is the double-edged sword because I model all of the designs myself, but there are many reasons for this. As I have mentioned before, every aspect of Toxic Vision is by my own hand, so it feels a bit odd or misrepresented when someone else wears these things initially. Perhaps it is because I have such a deep connection with the things that I make, it loses a bit of the magic if it were to be displayed on someone who doesn’t share those same feelings or the same vision. In remaining a bit ‘anonymous’ as I do when displaying my work (by means of cutting off my head in photos, etc.), it leads to Toxic Vision being represented by a mysterious figure. It agitates and confuses some, and lures others in.

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Where do you hope to see Toxic Vision in, say, 5 years?
Sharon Ehman: Can these things really be planned out? I don’t hope for anything. Hope is a desire for something to happen, hope means that you are letting other things control your path. There is something very terrible and dark and unstoppable that has latched on here. I am assembling an army and I will lead them into battle. This torch has been lit, and it is impossible to snuff it out.

** Visit Toxic Vision’s homepage by clicking HERE.

** Visit and LIKE Toxic Vision on Facebook by clicking HERE.

The Locrian Lowdown: Annihilation Edition

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, lists On: Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

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The new Locrian record Return to Annihilation is out today and — perhaps predictably — it’s fucking awesome and epic and enthralling and, yeah, maybe a little nutty. Go hear for yourself here, buy it here, and check out the band’s exclusive track-by-track listening guide below.

1. Eternal Return

We wanted to start out the record with something that was different and unexpected from what people might think they’d hear when they drop the needle or push play on the new record. We had this idea from listening to King Crimson’s album In the Wake of Poseidon that has those shorter pieces titled “Peace.” We wanted to challenge certain expectations and try and make something that was shorter and more melodic. Also thinking about The Cure’s Disintegration how it has a brief chiming intro before it just falls into this heavy opener. We knew it was the first track because of its melody, and brevity — plus it introduces the main themes of the record and acts as more of a literary forward for the entire record; which is that of humanity vanishing and the earth transforming itself into this inhospitable place. As for the song structure, we wanted to challenge ourselves by writing a song that was under four minutes but still capturing our sound and style of our song writing. It’s really different from anything else that we’ve done in the past — a statement that we’re evolving as musicians, as people, and as a group.

2. A Visitation from the Wrath of Heaven

This piece really takes the mood to another place; from the highs of “Eternal Return” the low end comes in, just a nice throb. In the narrative of the record we wanted there to have some stability established that then gets broken at the end. Steven did this really interesting thing with his snare, where he stacked a hi-hat cymbal and a small broken splash cymbal on his snare head and struck those, creating a kind of distorted synth drum effect, along with the tribalistic or industrial feel of the rhythm it really accentuate the overall feel, then it explodes into the end, which really is like the beginning of the cataclysm, with an ominous choir and all. There is a story being told here, and for the first two-thirds of the track it’s the calm before the storm, then everything changes and gets turned upside down.

It should be noted that this track would best be experienced through earphones. We did some strange random panning of the guitar on it and it gives the track a really strange unbalanced feel to it.

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EXCLUSIVE ALBUM PREMIERE AND TRACK-BY-TRACK PREVIEW: MUMAKIL “Flies Will Starve”

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, June 24th, 2013

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New week; new grind, folks. . . And this one’s a doozy, all the way from Switzerland and four years in the making. Courtesy of the good people at Relapse, we’ve got an exclusive premiere stream of Flies Will Starve from Mumakil.

It is kind of ironic for a band who made their name with hyper-intense “blastcore” grind that their follow-up to the savage Behold the Failure should have taken its sweet time. But taking four years? That’s like 21 years in grind-time, especially when you factor in Mumakil’s throw-and-go/DIY ethos. Well, there is no getting around the fact that lineup changes, touring and life all get in the way. No matter, in that time the world has been souring apace, creating the optimum conditions in which to birth an album like Flies Will Starve.

Most of you reading this should be familiar with the Mumakil canon already; you should know what you’re in for (24 tracks, all juiced by the familiar cocktail of panic and fury, all clocking in at 35 minutes and change), but here is guitarist Jéjé with a track-by-track run-through of what went down:

DEATH FROM BELOW
Okay! Track one has to punch you straight in the face, gravity-blasts do the job just well . . . Sounds like a machine gun, war on drones raging right now.

DAWN OF SLUGS
One of the oldest songs we wrote for this album, another optimistic view of our society. We realized we wrote too many lyrics for this song, so the end of the lyrics got crippled and replaced by “get the fuck off and die”. Haha! I love the idea that every frustration can be expressed by fuck off.

WAR THERAPIST
Kinda death-metallish intro, [the] groove changes a bit from the rest of the album. It’s talking about “democracy” and its consequences on other’s lives in other countries.

FUCKTARDS PARADE
The last song we wrote before recording. We just used an old riff for the central part, sounds a bit to me like thrash metal on speed. Talking about chemico-pharma corporations; these promising us a cleansed future.

BUILT OF LIES
A song with a kind of groove in the central part. I really like to play this on stage, people generally fly on this; the best way to share your beers with those carrying you for free.

SHIT REMINDERS
One of my favorite songs on this album. Played fast, it’s totally crushing, and we play it now way faster than on the record… [It] talks about fucks. They know who they are.

DESIGNED TO FAIL
The most Death Metal song on the album, fewer blastbeats at the beginning allows you maybe to breathe, and to bang your head slower. But, still, gravity blasts in the end makes it more spicy.

GET EXORCISED
Sounds a bit punkish. This song was supposed to be slower when we wrote it, but as always, faster is better. Lyrics about Geneva’s (Calvingrad’s) well-trained Protestants’ self confidence.

FRESH MEAT FOR THE GRINDER
Wow! A song with THREE different parts! what an effort…Love the “Yaaaaaarrrgggh” in the middle part. Lyrics [are] about butterflies breeding.

REPUDIATE
In my opinion, gravity blasts always work. This one sounds pretty brutal because of them. We had to record this one many times, due to power cuts in the building making us lose time…

ARMY OF FREAKS
I’m really into crawling riffs, lot of notes, everything played in chromatic scales; Like the central riff in there. Nice talk about the pig hidden in everyone here.

HAILING REGRESSION
This is one of the songs we already played on stage on tour with the Elton John addicts in Afgrund.
Seems like hard work. No tone of us has time to grab a beer during this one; that’s a major handicap.

COCKROACHES
Was initially named as a working title, “Francis Kuntz for President”, who is a major political figure in Groland, a small country near Switzerland. Contact him at groland.com

WRONG TURN
One of the only odd blastbeats on the album at the beginning of the song, and yeah, this one was once named “Mollusk” (why?).

LET THE WORLD BURN
Another weirdo rock ‘n’ roll” riff in the middle, blastbeats everywhere else; I love it that way.

PISS OFF (PART 2)
The “part 2″ is funny, as if we already pissed you off once. In fact we did! The part one was “Black Sheep” from Behold the Failure, in which we, as always, insulted people for free . . . And there’s a Big Lebowski quote hidden in this one!

WASTE BY DEFINITION
Seb, our former drummer (who played the drums in Flies will Starve), is a huge fan of Municipal waste, that was his way to tell them he wanted to join the band. Haha!

UNFAIR FOR WHOM?
The “A” riff reminds me a bit of Sayyadina, and I love Sayyadina. Should be a nice n’happy song.
No, in fact it’s an insult note (once again). But deep in our hearts, we’re not evil people. Keep it easy, Mom!

BRING THEM TO RUIN
At the beginning, this one was supposed to be called “Bring them to Rome” and talk about olive oil and sunshine, but someone of us came out at the rehearsal with a really fucked up mood, so we decided to play grindcore and change it to “Bring them to Ruin”

BEGGING FOR THE OBVIOUS
Did you hear that? there’s no guitar for about nine seconds in this one! Now you can hear the sweet sound of bass caressing you behind the ears. In this one, Thomas, our soprano experimentalist, explains you why you shouldn’t have listened to daddy.

REDLINE
Initially named “Porkchops”, the lyrics suit now quite well that working title. Yeah, the second odd riff of the album!

BLIND DISCIPLES
I like this first riff, quite a strange riff in fact, and one of the few backing vocals session on this album. We really have to try on stage with Benj screaming his guts out. We will, [it's] more brutal.

BETRAYER
Did you notice? The last three songs on this album begin with a B. That must be a sign.

BEHIND THE MASK
WOW! More than three riffs in a song! Huge performance, and a kinda rock ‘n’ roll plan in the middle of the song, finishing the album headbanging naked on the table while your whole neighbourhood is sending you the cops!

Umm, indeed. Right, without further ado . . . Ach, you know what to do: Affix the gum shield, press play and let the blasts take control.

**PRE-ORDER Flies Will Starve HERE.
**Mumakil on Facebook

Orphaned Land “All is One” Track-by-Track

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Monday, June 24th, 2013

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Orphaned Land doesn’t have it easy. As the ambassadors of metal in the Levant and its nearest neighbors, the Israel-based outfit are trying to bridge an incredible cultural, linguistic, religious, and think gap. Through five studio albums, the most recent of which is All is One, they’ve tried to represent both sides of the struggle between Jews and Arabs. Have they succeeded? In some ways, yes. They’re still here after 19 years, and they’re probably more visible—from a non-metal viewpoint—than ever before. That new album, All is One, speaks more to the populace—like on the ballad “Brother”—probably transcends anything in Orphaned Land’s impressive discography, and that includes debut stunner Sahara.

So, check out the track-by-track video (the audio link is HERE if you hate Youtube) and get ready for All is One, in stores and online June 25th.

Oh, here’s a little snippet from frontman Kobi Farhi about All is One: “We felt that we’ve done very complex albums in the past, we’ve proven that we know how to be the most complex band in the world if we want. But this time we had the feeling that, coming from a very complex region, it’s time to make an album that would be fun to do and fun for the fans to hear. A lot of the songs are very sad and tragic, but it’s a little easier to digest the messages in the lyrics. We wanted to make an album that’s easy for any metal fan to understand the lyrics from the very first listen.”

** Orphaned Land’s All is One is out June 25th on Century Media Records. It’s available HERE in various formats and bundles. Or, you can go HERE to find salvation. But you’ll need a diving tank unless you have gills, which is doubtful.

Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack: Lithuania’s AUTISM

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, June 21st, 2013

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 Because every day another band records another song. Because 83% of those songs are unlistenable and you can’t be bothered to sift through the dreck. Because metal is about not giving a shit and waking your own personal storm. Because music is universal, expression is boundless, and even indie labels (whatever that means these days) don’t know everything, Decibel brings you Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack.

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 Long before extreme metal bent my ear, that ear heard the guitar ‘n’ synth wonder that was the Top Gun theme song. Steve Stevens dished up some leftover Van Halen solos with an extra helping of melted cheese, and I ate it up like so much cheesy Van Halen knock-off leftovers. At that moment, I wished for music where the guitars could define the emotional heart of an entire album without making room for a human voice peddling preordained prefrontal content. At that moment, I probably would have embraced the Kenny G equivalent of guitar music. When I finally found out that such instrumental music existed, I plowed through Dysrhythmia and Red Sparowes, and more locally Tone and Trephine, looking for the spiritual highs I was sure that lead guitars could provide.

I think Autism might have been the band I was looking for. The shimmery, torrential post-metal v. spoken word performance strikes an uncanny balance between meaty, anchoring narrative and amorphous, imaginative free-flight. Guitars take the lead role in the development of the music’s voice and the readings from Lovecraft augment the supernatural unease provided by the instruments. The album is a wide-eyed journey – not black, death, or thrash enough for some of you, but surely some are open to the light and shade offered by Autism.

Decibel caught up with the mind behind the project, and he graciously answered every invasive question. While you get caught up in The Crawling Chaos, read up on where the project came from and where its mastermind hopes to be headed.

 What got you started playing this kind of music? How did you decide when you had a cohesive album of material to record?

Since the age of 11 I was very into heavy metal music – all the traditional power, black, death metal stuff, but I was getting bored from all the same sounds that I was hearing. And approximately five years ago I rediscovered progressive metal / rock which led me to my experimental music journey. I was digging it all – 60s psychedelic rock bands, experimental jazz, later all the post metal and post rock stuff. At that time I’ve already had some musical projects and played in a local Lithuanian band, but as you know if the musical poison contaminates you – there is no limits for creativity. And that’s how AUTISM was born, a project under which title I could create and record music that I am very interested at the moment.

The Crawling Chaos, debut full AUTISM album came very naturally. I had some obscure ideas about a spoken vocal album, which came to me long time ago, when I heard THE DOORS “An American Prayer” and ENABLERS “End note” albums. I really loved how the combination of music and spoken vocal sounds, so that idea somehow turned into making a soundtrack for a H.P. LOVECRAFT’S “The Crawling Chaos” novel. I had some tracks already written before I decided to try the “soundtrack for a book” idea, but after few tries, it fit very well. So I decided to stick with it and just go with the flow. After a few weeks of trials and errors I finished the album, which I am really proud of. Each track for me has a perfect atmosphere and emphasizes the tension of the actual book.

To what extent do you think your surroundings in Lithuania play a role in the way you make music?

To be honest I have never received any inspiration from my surroundings. Maybe that’s because of the fact that I don’t really pay attention to what is going around me, or maybe I simply don’t really believe in the idea of nature’s influence in creativity. I still remember how black metal was heavily influenced by forests, mountains and stuff, which is a really cute story and the visual impact is quite nice, but I don’t buy it anymore. The only thing that comes to my mind while being somewhere in the Lithuanian forest – is to get the hell out of here, because mosquitoes will eat me alive hehe. The only surrounding that influences my creation process is my “room studio” where I record music. But it would not make any difference for me if I would be in Holland, South Africa or Lithuania.

What’s with the band name? Autism is kind of a hot button these days…

Hehe, I get asked this question quite a lot, and I received some quite negative comments about the title I’ve chosen. Anyhow, I’ve named this project because of pure fascination, excitement and admiration of autistic people. Since I saw Rain Man I was very fascinated by the human mind, and what little we know about it. People like Kim Peek, Derek Paravicini, Stephen Wiltshire or Daniel Tammet are only few of all the autistic people with incredible “powers”. And yes, I know that for the majority of people autism is a very scary and unpleasant disorder to talk or think about. But I find it quite inspirational, because I somehow feel, that each autist has something extraordinary and magical going on their mind that we cannot understand. To me , it somehow relates to the real life people with superpowers, which comes from the fantasy stories, movies or comics, although I know it sounds a bit strange.

 Is there any music, or non-music beyond the Lovecraft writing, that inspires the songs that rose out of you for The Crawling Chaos?

Since I discovered 60s psychedelic / progressive rock, I really enjoyed that strange, psychedelic atmosphere happening the music which was created because of drugs. And I did find the same feeling in The Crawling Chaos. It somehow fit my vision of what mood I want my album to have. Also, the mystical aura surrounding H.P. LOVECRAFT was always very tempting.

How intense was the recording process? Were you focused on getting certain movements perfect or was the recording itself an exploration?

As you say, it was more or less an exploration. The whole album came out very naturally and was recorded in quite a short period of time. Of course, there were some moments of frustration and lack of musical ideas, but a good rest was I all needed to get back on track. Yeah, I was trying to polish some parts to have the right atmosphere, but by polish I mean finding the right harmonies and moods, but not trying to perfect every note. That’s not how I record, if there is a little mistake – I leave it. I am kinda bored of all those perfect Pro Tools records, that sound like robots. So for me, these mistakes adds some human elements.

Is it true that Autism is a solo project? How do you write/record the material? In what order do you put the parts together?

Yes, AUTISM is a solo, or a studio project. There is nothing special about my recording sessions. I just sit by my laptop, where I have all the software, I take my guitars and start jamming. Some ideas are worth keeping, some are just pure rubbish. If I’m in good mood I can write and record a track in one day. Sometimes it takes a week or even more to finish a track. It also depends on how much free time I have to sit and play. As most of my music is more or less an improvisation, so it takes some time deciding which part to keep and which to throw away.

Is there any of your own catharsis/closure associated with the completion of this record?

I think I’ve accomplished my main goal with AUTISM when I’ve finished this album. It was to show myself that I can create that kind of music, and create it well. And I was very pleased that it got such positive reactions all over the “post” community in different places of the globe. Even doing this interview is a big thing for me, as it shows that the music I created is getting some attention, which means I did a decent job.

What other musical/artistic endeavors would you like to explore?

I would really love to create a soundtrack for a movie. And it would not matter, if it had to be somehow related to AUTISM project, as long as I had all the musical freedom. I really love how sounds and visualisations makes such a huge impact when combined together. Making a soundtrack for a whole movie would probably be my musical catharsis. And I really hope that this my dream will someday come true.

Check out the AUTISM Bandcamp site at http://autism.bandcamp.com/.

Tales From the Metalnomicon: Dean Swinford

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, lists On: Friday, June 21st, 2013

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Welcome to Tales From the Metalnomicon, a twice-monthly column delving into the surprisingly vast world of heavy metal-tinged/inspired literature and metalhead authors…

Dean Swinford is very likely the first and almost certainly the last author in the history of Western literature to pen an epigraph comprised of equal parts Shakespeare (“Is not lead a metal heavy, dull and slow?”) and Cathedral (“Angels have no pity/Their wings have turned to stone”), and the fact that he chooses to do so explains quite a bit about his very fine novel, Death Metal Epic (Book One: The Inverted Katabasis), a smart, funny tome following the (mis)adventures of an early nineties Florida death metal band called Valhalla that morphs into an experimental “mash-up of Thergothon and Dead Can Dance” after its debut album Thrones of Satanic Domination fails to catch fire.

Thankfully, when it comes to extreme music Swinford is knowledgable sophisticate, not a preening, condescending shock value tourist — which is to say, rest assured, if it existed, Death Metal Epic would carry the Metal Militia Seal of Approval.

“I wanted to write about Florida death metal in the early nineties because of its personal significance and I suppose out of a sense of nostalgia,” Swinford tells Decibel. “I’m from Miami and grew up listening to all of the bands that I mention in the book. As much as the book is about metal, it is also about the experience of growing up and looking back on the places you have lived. I have enough distance that I can look on that period more clearly; it’s far enough away, though, that writing about places where I used to live, like Miami and Gent, allows me to re-experience them.”

The Metalnomicon recently invited Swinford to discuss the aural inspirations and accompaniments to his death metal fantasy…

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The first part starts with a quote from Death’s “Symbolic.” That album is a little bit further into the nineties than the action of the book, but it’s something I listened to a lot while writing. I picked it for the book, though, because it seems like that song is talking about the same kind of period in life that I’m writing about — those late teen/early twenties years where things are changing so much, but they’re also not changing fast enough. Or you feel like you’ll never get to the place you really want to be. That’s kind of where David is at the beginning of the book. He is barely into his twenties, but he wonders if the best times have already passed him by.

Posthumous, Post-Mortem, Post-Metal: An Interview with Sleeping in Gethsemane

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, uncategorized On: Thursday, June 20th, 2013

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I first experienced Fargo, ND’s Sleeping in Gethsmane while on tour with KEN Mode. The scene was a show in the band’s hometown and I remember expressing my enjoyment of their set to guitarist Brandon LaPlante, describing them as “one of the few instrumental math rock bands out there with some balls.” Brandon must have agreed to a point as he very willingly allowed us to crash at his place that night and even took myself and KM drummer Shane Matthewson on a donut run at some ungodly hour later that night. I kept in touch with Brandon, got him to contribute an awesome story to the book I wrote with Graf Orlock’s Justin Smith (Do You Have Anything to Declare? Copies available here) and made random attempts to keep track of what SiG were up to over the year or two since we’d met. As it stands, the band disbanded after recording their third full-length, When the Landscape is Quiet Again last year. Brandon, having put too much of himself into what ended up being the band’s final work, is making it his duty to promote the album and get it out there as best he can in lieu of shows, touring and all that regular promo stuff. So, I figured I’d help a brother out with my Thursday posting spot. Check SiG out; they combined honesty and organics with mathematical swaths of sound and did it because they loved it. Until they collectively stopped loving it.

So, what’s the status of Sleeping as a band? Are you looking for new members and to go on? Or is When the Landscape is Quiet Again your last hurrah? I noticed you’re selling a shitload of gear on your Facebook page. What am I as a bystander supposed to assume from this?
When the Landscape is Quiet Again is the final chapter of Sleeping in Gethsemane. It was never our intention to make it so, but life happens and it doesn’t always allow for every member of the band to keep the band as the most important pursuit in their life. I was the member who was still pushing 100% when it all started to dissipate so I was overcome with every sort of negative emotion imaginable. It had been eight years and it was still just as satisfying to me as it was the first time we played a show. Playing music is the only thing that has ever been a fully satisfying pursuit to me. Losing the band that I’d put my entire being into for eight years wasn’t just emotionally strenuous, it stripped away all of the progress I had made within the music industry. Now I get to start at square one again and that is unrelentingly frustrating. I was originally trying to sell all of my amps, pedals and a few guitars that I no longer use to try and help me pay for this record. Now, I am only selling my Taylor acoustic so that I can keep all of my amps. The logic from this decision was that when I started a new project that I could just get new gear that gave me the sound I was looking for, but after a few months of not playing music I realized how attached I’d become to the tone I’d developed over the years playing in Sleeping in Gethsemane.

What’s the story behind the two other dudes quitting? Was this a long time coming and something you saw coming or a shock?
It was a complete and utter shock to me. I was devastated, later only to find out that a lot of our mutual friends saw it coming from miles away. That was really hard for me to find out, because I feel as though if I would’ve been more aware that I could’ve somehow kept it going. [Drummer] Shane [Heilman] has his reasons for quitting, but I cannot for the life of me speak for him. Because I took this all so damn hard I wouldn’t be able to illustrate it in a way that honors his reasoning. It would just come out sounding negative towards him and I can’t have that because I understand where he was coming from. I just don’t have the capacity to comprehend feeling that way since SiG has been my baby ever since the beginning. [Bassist] Brandon [Schiwal]‘s reasons for leaving are more obvious. I don’t feel as though I can speak for him either, but I think I can put it in a way that he would appreciate. Brandon is the only one of us who is married; he and his wife had just moved to a new city, bought a house, got new jobs and are now expecting their first child. I don’t think he planned on quitting until Shane told us that he had to quit, but when he did all of the things going on in his life kind of made the decision for him. He was also staying true to the pact that we’d made long ago that SiG would only ever be comprised of us three.

What are Shane and Brandon doing these days?
My previous answer pretty much sums up what Brandon is up to. He did just graduate college though, can’t forget that. Shane is living the same life he was before Sleeping in Gethsemane ended. He and our really good friend Troy who came on multiple tours with us and recorded with us at GodCity (on a song that ultimately didn’t end up making it on this record) started a surf rock band called Super Cruiser. Other than that he is really into motorcycles and is working on getting his dream job as a motorcycle mechanic.

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You did record with Kurt Ballou, so obviously you had goals and aspirations for this record, originally anyway. What was the mindset going into this album before the shit hit the fan? What were you looking to do differently? Do you feel you achieved what you set out to do?
This was “THE” record for Sleeping in Gethsemane and still is, just in a different way now. I was pushing as hard as possible this go around. The other guys laughed at me when I said Ballou was the engineer I wanted to work with, as if it was out of our reach. I’ve never even considered there being any obstacle that we couldn’t overcome. Their reaction was unforgettable when I told them that I contacted him and it only took him a few hours to respond with a resounding yes. They also didn’t think that Aaron Horkey would ever jump on board to do the artwork for the record, but he was more than stoked to do it. Since we aren’t active he has pushed back our art until he can get to it, but when he’s done I will be releasing this record on vinyl. I also had a full world tour planned to support this record. I was planning on putting much more time and energy into marketing this record in every imaginable way. Now, I am just hoping to get it out there in every way I can so people can hear and enjoy it. It might take me a little longer now that I have to concentrate on starting something new, but I will definitely keep promoting this record. It is the body of music that defines us as a band, as people and as artists in the way that every musician always dreams about. I am proud of this record like none other, but I know for a fact that I will always wish that we could’ve written multiple more.

What was the song writing process like for the new record? How long did it take? Did you alter the way you usually wrote as a band in any way?
This was a whole new monster. After we released Burrows we had a very defined sound. So, when writing When the Landscape is Quiet Again we were much more critical. We were always very critical musicians but with this album we had more of a sense of direction. This made writing a very long, drawn out process. We wrote this album over a period of three or four years. There is hardly anything that we started with at the beginning that ended up on the record. When we finally started to dial into our musical mojo, we pretty much wrote the entire album in a few months. When we locked in our dates at GodCity, we had a little less then five months to finish the record and in that time we wrote half of the album and tightened the rest of it up.

Tell me about the process of going to and recording at GodCity. How did it compare to other studio experiences? Was there anything Kurt mentioned that he was doing differently in working with you guys seeing as you’re a little bit outside the sphere of what he’s become known for?
Recording with Kurt was a dream come true. We had to adjust and readjust our summer tour many times to make it work with Kurt’s schedule. It was worth every last bit of stress with booking though! We were all imagining something way more out of this world than it actually was. His studio is very quaint, nothing more than he needs which I was very impressed with. He is the master of his craft! One thing that we were all blown away by is how absolutely broad the spectrum of his knowledge really is. He just has the most incredibly complete understanding of every aspect of recording, playing and instrument upkeep. It was a huge learning experience; we’ve always thought we were above and beyond when it came to preparedness as a band, but that notion was destroyed working with Kurt. One thing about recording us that was different than recording with other bands is our determination to use two bass rigs. We know how we sound live and our main goal with recording with Kurt is to finally have a record that can live up to our live show. He was adamant that using two bass rigs makes the bass tone muddy and gross. We were kind of terrified to question his authority on recording knowledge, but we insisted and it turned out to be worth it. Seeing as how we are an instrumental three-piece, there was less going on to disrupt the final tone of the instruments. The bass tone on this record speaks for itself!

What’s the story behind the album’s title?
We’ve always put a lot of thought into our album and song titles. Seeing as how we don’t generally have any lyrics, we’ve found that using concepts that we were all very involved with as our titles a good way to help create a general mood for our music. When the Landscape is Quiet Again was a dual meaning title, I think now it has even more. During the main stint of us writing this album, North Dakota had become the newest oil boom area in the country. With all of the devastation that the oil industry wreaks on our earth we were all very unhappy about this new development. Back in the 70′s, North Dakota’s governor Art Link delivered a speech titled “When the Landscape is Quiet Again” during the first real threat of an energy crisis in an attempt to implore the people of North Dakota to not allow the devastation of our state’s land through the process of developing industry. The speech was a unanimous success & for at least a small time our land was safe. Though the speech was our title’s inspiration, we took it more as a simple way to illustrate a view of post apocalyptic life on earth. Our species is on a warpath on our planet and it won’t be a sustainable way of life much longer. When the Landscape is Quiet Again is posing a question. Will we bring ourselves into utter extinction or will a small amount of us survive to become a more sustainable part of this ecosystem called Earth?

Assuming SiG is kaput, what do you feel have been some of the bigger lessons you’ve learned from being in the band?
That’s one hell of a loaded question my friend! Here’s my best go at answering this honestly. I would say that the two biggest lessons learned from my involvement with Sleeping in Gethsemane are this: 1) No matter what the rest of this world tries to sell you, there is no way that the life of being a wage slave complacent with just being a cyclical consumer will ever be fulfilling. No matter what you have to give up in current cultural conveniences, a life of following your dreams and putting every last bit of yourself into pursuing your truest passions is the only life that I will ever be satisfied by. 2) In every walk of life, the things that we are most concentrated on will inevitably come to an end. We can either let this paralyze us into completely giving up or we can grieve and then pick up where we left off and learn from the mistakes we made in our previous endeavours. The idea of just giving in and not having to put the incredible amount of effort needed to succeed into anything new sounds quite alluring when you first deal with a huge loss. Then again, if we follow this path we lose track of the kind of life which is truly fulfilling. There is no pleasure without pain; no success without failure. Duality is a heartless bitch, but one that we all have to appease in this life.

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What are you hoping to do with this album? Just get it out there for anyone who wants to check it out?
My initial dream for this record was to tour it to death! I wanted to tour every last inch of this Earth promoting this record. Now, I really just want the people who loved SiG to be able to enjoy it and for many, many more people to discover it and fall in love with it just like I do every time I hear it. I also have an obligation to the music itself to make it into the best physical representation that I can. So, when Aaron Horkey finishes the art for it I will be printing a very special limited edition vinyl pressing to honour the album, to give the people who love our music something tangible to own and for my own piece of mind. I couldn’t live with the idea of When the Landscape is Quiet Again never being fully finished.

I noticed on your webpage that you asked fans to fire off their favourite SiG memories. What’s your favourite SiG memory?
There are so damn many! I mean, being in a touring band that has written and released three full-length records is, in my mind, more intense of a relationship than marriage. I mean come on; replace your spouse with two dudes that you have to compromise on your most passionate creative pursuit and live with them in close quarters for months on end with personal hygiene being almost non-existent and then tell me I’m wrong. With that being said and not lessoning the importance of any specific experience we went through, I’d have to say that our European tour as a whole is my favourite memory of Sleeping in Gethsemane. That month was such a huge eye opener for all of us. It was everything I’d ever dreamed life would be like. I got to tour Europe playing music that I wrote and genuinely love alongside one of my all-time favourite bands (Aussitot Mort). How could life get any sweeter than that? That is the standard I will hold all of my future endeavours to from now on.

What’s next for you musically and/or artistically?
Lots! As of right now I have been writing a lot of music on all sorts of different instruments in all sorts of different styles. I have three or four musical projects that I really want to pursue ranging from really Heavy Dark Doom Folk, to super Progressive Jazz and the one that I am most driven towards currently, Contemporary Classical Composition. I plan on starting bands for the first two projects and pursuing them fully. I want to really delve into the piano, violin and cello to fully compose my own records that might be comparable to Nils Frahm, Olafur Arnalds or Les Fragments de la Nuit. I’ll probably finally finish my solo album as a singer-songwriter soon here too. As a visual artist, I plan on finally giving myself a chance by taking my experience touring and promoting my music and developing my art in the same way. After I graduated with my BA in classical figure drawing, I completely put drawing on the back burner to pursue music. Seven years later I’ve got the itch to create visually again. I think that spending all of that time away from my art was a very good thing because now I can come at it with the same skill but from a perspective of a far more knowledgeable man. Taking what I’ve learned from one endeavour and utilizing it towards my current pursuits! LIFE!!!

Check ‘em out:

SiG on bandcamp
SiG’s fucking facebook