For several years, we’ve enjoyed releases raining down from the north out of Canadian extreme metal label Deathbound Records. Bands like Woccon, Hands of Despair, By the Patient and Incandescence have all been handed down to us through Deathbound’s capable hands, and that’s a lot to get excited about. We recently got turned on to Ontario blackened sludge fiends Longhouse, who also just became a part of the Deathbound family. Their amorphous approach ignores genre boundaries, weaving together whatever sounds best for any given moment, though they do tend to enjoy slow tempos and fat tones.
Deathbound had the following to say about bringing on Longhouse:
”We are particularly proud to be collaborating with Longhouse in bringing their new album to the masses. Everything about this band is quite unique and the themes explored really stray off the old beaten path. We are certain it won’t take long before audiences agree that they are definitely destined for great things.”
We also asked the band a few questions, which they graciously answered for your reading pleasure. Check out new album II: Vanishing, and read up on a band that fully deserve some ear time.
When did Longhouse first get together and start playing music together?
Marc Casey (guitar): Josh [Cayer, bass/vocals] and I formed Longhouse in February 2013 after our previous band came to an end. Mike [Hache, drums] joined about six months later. Josh and I have been writing music together in one form or another for about 15 years.
Cayer: Mike and I have also been friends for quite a while, and have worked together on a couple projects over the years.
Casey: It seemed like a natural fit for the three of us to start working together when the opportunity presented itself.
How did you come to find your sound?
Casey: Longhouse is the first project that we have really taken seriously. From the outset our intent was to create music that was both melodic and dark, but would also provide Josh with a vehicle to explore his connection to his Indigenous cultural heritage. The sound itself has evolved over the past four years. Our earliest material was perhaps more sludge and thrash oriented, which is evident on our previous record Earth from Water. On Vanishing we wanted to explore and push our sound into a few different directions. “No Name, No Marker” and “The Vigil” are probably the best examples of that.
What do you try to evoke with your music? What sounds good to you, and what do you tend to stay away from?
Casey: There is certainly a clear intent with the concepts and ideas that Josh explores with the lyrics.
Cayer: My approach with lyrics has been to use our music as a way diarize the exploration of my heritage as an Indigenous person – our understandings of, and relationships to everything in the natural universe. With Vanishing there is also a strong focus on trying to bring greater awareness to historic and current impacts to the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canada, specifically the Indian Residential School System, and Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.
Casey: Musically, we draw on a variety of influences. Obviously doom and post-metal are present, but I am also influenced in my writing by darkwave, prog-rock, and proto-metal.
I wouldn’t say there is anything that we specifically try to steer clear of, but as our sound has developed we tend to know when we are writing material what things will work within the context of the band, and won’t.
When writing songs, do you all work together in jam sessions, or are the songs written on a more individual basis?
Casey: I shoulder the bulk of the songwriting responsibilities. In the early stages of the band, we all lived in Ottawa, so rehearsing as a group was the standard songwriting practice. But, about four years ago I relocated to Baltimore, Ontario, which is about 120 km from Toronto. Since then, I tend to write and demo songs and then we rehearse and arrange them as band.
Did you approach the recording process for Vanishing differently than you had on Earth from Water? Were there any new complications that you had to deal with for the new album?
Casey: Vanishing was recorded in a similar manner to Earth from Water. Both records were recorded at Wolf Lake Studios in Quebec. The studio is owned and operated by our friends JP and Mike from the band Loviatar (who recently signed with Prosthetic Records). The studio is sort of isolated in the woods of Quebec and we just locked ourselves away and banged out the record. The key difference this time is that we enlisted Shane and JD (also of the band Loviatar) to contribute guitars/synth and vocals. This really helped up to push the sound in the directions we wanted to explore. There weren’t any major complications. This record was entirely written after my move (about half of Earth from Water was written prior to my move), so it took some time to get the material where it needed to be, and frankly we were not convinced we there by the time we hit the studio.
Cayer: We even went in to the studio with very little knowledge of how the vocals would sound! With Earth from Water we had demoed all the tracks so there was little surprise of how the vocals fit in with the music. For Vanishing, I only had shared a couple of ideas of where vocals would go. I went in hoping for the best. It turns out the guys didn’t totally hate it, and overall, we are very happy with the way the record turned out.
Is Longhouse part of a scene in the Ottawa area, or are you separate from anything like that?
Casey: Ottawa has a really fantastic heavy music scene that has been kind of under the radar for many years. The best known heavy bands from the city are probably Buried Inside and Fuck the Facts, but right now there are a number of great bands like Loviatar, Monobrow, Norilsk and Sunsetter to name a few. We are particularly close with the dudes in Loviatar, Monobrow and Norilsk. They’re all fantastic dudes and great musicians dedicated to what they do.
Cayer: There’s definitely a great sense of community among the doom scene in Ottawa, and we’re really honoured to be a part of it.
How often does Longhouse perform live?
Casey: Longhouse has not been particularly active as a live band to date. We play a handful of times each year, but we are hoping to change that in the near future.
The shows we have done to date have been great and really helped us to grow our sound.
Cayer: Up to this point we’ve only played in Ottawa, at spots like Cafe Dekcuf, Maverick’s, and The Dominion Tavern. On August 19 we are playing House of Targ in support of Anciients as they roll through Ottawa, and we have a couple out-of-town shows in the works. We’ve had the privilege of sharing the stage with Monobrow, Strange Broue, Tunguska Mammoth, Loviatar, Norilsk, Iron Man, Muffler Crunch, Black Tremor, Blizaro, Sacrificed Alliance, and Opium Winter.
Where do you go from here?
Casey: The next steps for the band are pretty standard to be honest. We plan to be more active and play live more shows over the next 18 months. We recently signed with Deathbound Records, which we are very excited about.
Cayer: We’re currently working in a new member and expanding the Longhouse family, which will help us to continue evolving our sound.
Casey: And of course, we have already started writing and demoing material for the next record, which we hope to begin recording sometime next year.
Cayer: Who knows, maybe we’ll even get invited to play at a festival or two in the next couple years. Rock Fest is close by. 70,000 Tons of Metal would be a pretty unique experience too!