pondělí 6. dubna 2020

Home » » Interview - TEMPLE OF VOID - It should sound effortless to the listener.

Interview - TEMPLE OF VOID - It should sound effortless to the listener.

Interview with death doom metal band from USA - TEMPLE OF VOID.

Answered Don, Alex, Mike, thank you!

Questions prepared and translated Petra, thank you!

Recenze/review - TEMPLE OF VOID - The World That Was (2020):

Hello guys! How are you doing in this strange time? Are you also in self-quarantine, spending most of the day home? What is the situation in your district? Do you have a possibility to meet in the rehearsal room? 

DON: We are definitely in a strange time right now. Our entire state is under a stay-at-home order; no gatherings of any kind, no unnecessary travel, with the exception of going to work(if you’re still working) or going to the grocery store which ultimately means no rehearsals for the time being; I fill up my days now working on music in my home studio, cooking, and getting outside when I can.

Let’s talk about more positive things. Your new record “The World That Was” has been released only a few days back. Tell me about the first feelings after recording, mixing, mastering, when you first time heard your resulting material. Were your expectations fulfilled? What about the first reviews? Are they positive? 

ALEX: Listening to your album for the first time once it’s all done is a very different experience for each one of us. It’s hard to “be done” sometimes. There’s always something you could tweak. But at a certain point you just have to close the hatch and move on. We put a lot of effort into recording our albums and this was no exception. It takes us a while because we collaborate with people for synths and we do the mixing remotely. So there’s a lot of emails and dropboxes back and forth. I got to hear it a million times all through the mixing process so there isn’t really a “grand reveal” when it’s all done for me. It’s just a matter of new tweaks being added each time. 

I think we all knew from day one that our tones were more dialed-in on this album and that it was going to sound the best. The real illuminating moment is when you hear all the synths dropped in and mixed at the right level. It just adds such an incredible level of depth. That really brought a smile to my face. And it’s really resonating with our fans. The reviews have been fucking ridiculously positive. It’s overwhelming. People hold Lords of Death in really high esteem but it seems like the consensus is that we topped it with The World that Was. 

I really like it. It took time to get deeper into the record, it is not an album "for the first listening", but after a while, I started to love it. The most I like the closing track. It includes so many feelings, great atmosphere and such old hard rock vibes in one part. Which track is your favorite? 

ALEX: That’s a hard question. It’s either your favorite or Leave the Light Behind. I think it’s your favorite. The song is in three movements and it’s like playing a full album in 10 minutes. The emotions and the journey. It’s just really rewarding to play. It was a labor to write, though! But the more you put into shit, the more you get out. 

MIKE: I don’t know if I really have a favorite. They all represent something important to me lyrically. They all have their own strong points. The album was written and arranged with the intention of flowing together cohesively, so each song is kind of integral to each other.

At first, I was very surprised by hearing synth parts in your music. I didn’t notice such elements at your previous record(s). What was the main impulse to include such features in your music? They evoke some space/sci-fi images in my head, especially in the song “Leave the Light Behind”. Who is responsible for the synth parts? 

ALEX: We’ve actually had synths on all the albums. We just got more out of them on this one. Go back and listen for them and you’ll see what I’m talking about. We’ve just never wanted them to be the star of the show. It’s all about sound-design and atmosphere. The fact that you didn’t even remember we had them is cool. It’s meant to be textural. My friend, Omar Jon Ajluni has played on all three albums. And we added another friend of mine, Meredith Davidson, to the new album. Plus, I did one track (Leave the Light Behind). The biggest difference on this record is that they’re on five of the six tracks, and we made an effort to bring them up in the mix a bit more than previously. I think we really nailed the balance. Any more and it would have been too much.

In the mentioned track you also used the clean melodic vocals. Are you planning to implement them in more abundance at the future albums? I think some orthodox fans wouldn’t like it… But that song is quite melodic and really catchy, by the way. 

DON: Mike did some clean vocals on Graven Desires from the previous album Lords of Death. On that track they had more of a traditional heavy metal feel to them; this time around the approach was a little bit different. I don’t see Temple of Void ever going with all clean vocals, but they might make another appearance down the road if a song calls for them. 

MIKE: The use of clean vocals is tricky. I’ve been very selective in using them up until this point. To be honest, I actually prefer clean singing, but ToV in essence is a death doom band, so I really only utilize them when I feel they truly add something to the song. I put them at the end of the Graven Desires because it felt right. They fit thematically, I could make up a strong melodic line, and I felt it would shake things up and make a good talking point. I wanted something surprising that could potentially open a door to new vocal possibilities without bludgeoning the listener with a whole new direction. I’ve read in a few interviews people actually wanted more singing on this album, and I both expected that and considered it, but I consciously chose to limit them to only Leave the Light Behind because all the songs were a lot more melodic and carried so much outside influence this time around. I felt my normal vocals were what was needed to keep it still firmly rooted in death Metal overall, so I was very selective.

Similar to your previous album, the new record includes one purely guitar/percussion interlude played by Mike. It is becoming a special sign of your albums. What is its importance on the album and how do you choose the right place for an instrumental song on the record? 

DON: I think specifically for this album, the placement of “A Single Obolus” serves as a bridge to the second half of the album; there’s a difference in the shades and mood of the songs before it and the ones that come after it and close out the album. 

MIKE: Since I’ve always considered myself a guitarist, I’m still kind of accepting my position as a frontman because while we have been a band for a while now, ToV is very selective about playing shows. I really enjoy playing acoustic just as much as I do playing heavy music with the electric, so it’s been my way to contribute something musical to the band without stepping on Don and Alex’s creative process. 

Concerning the cover art, for a previous record, you collaborated with famous artist Paolo Girardi. Now you picked another great artist for new album cover art – Adam Burke. I have to admit I love his style. Which his work impressed you so much you decided for him? How was going this collaboration?

DON: The cover art that Adam did for Tchornobog’s self titled album blew me away and his artwork for The World That Was exceeded all expectations. His attention to detail is remarkable; he did such a great job bringing our ideas to life on this one.

Do you have your rehearsal room, where you meet time-to-time, rehearse, have a beer and create new music? Or you follow modern approach to write music everyone separately at home and send it to others? How does the writing process of TEMPLE OF VOID look? 

DON: We get together regularly to rehearse, though that’s on hold for the time being given the current state of things. The song ideas usually begin with some riffs from Alex or myself; from there we work on everything together as a band. We try different ideas, tempos, placements, etc and see what works and what doesn’t. 

Do you perceive yourself more than doom metal band with death influences or reversely? It is important for you to maintain the balance between the death and doom metal elements, or you simply write music as you feel it at a specific moment? 

ALEX: I’m going to actually say, “both,” and I’ll explain… We’re a death/doom band and as long as we have death and doom in our sound then we’re Temple of Void. So one album may swing more death with doom, and another album may swing more doom with death. And that’s fine. Some songs are far more death oriented and some far more doom. That’s part of our approach...mixing it up. At the end of the day we write music that we want to write. As long as there’s death and doom on our albums then we can bring in whatever other elements we think are necessary or that are currently inspiring us. There’s some heavy metal, some grunge, some shoegaze, all kinds of shit on this record, but it’s always tempered with a backbone of death metal and doom metal. And hopefully it’s masterfully crafted so it’s never jarring and it always feels like it was meant to be there. It should sound effortless to the listener.

Recently I watched the documentary “Slave to the Grind” where the legendary REPULSION band was talking about how their born town Flint with huge automotive industry influenced their sound, haha. You are from Detroit, another “motor” city. Do you see also some impact of this in your music? 

ALEX: I think Detroit influences our work ethic more than our sound. There’s a saying here, “Detroit Hustles Harder,” and I think that’s very apt. Detroit’s historical adversity breeds innovation and perseverance. I think you can feel that spirit in Temple of Void. 

MIKE: We’re a Midwest state and part of the industrialized rust belt. Most of us out here came from blue-collar families working for the automotive industry. We’re not a logistically easy place to play on tour, so we get passed over for a lot of shows. Those kind of elements breed a do-it-yourself attitude, and that’s where some of the best and most novel ideas are born. 

What about the metal scene in Detroit or its vicinity? I think that most people in Europe mark the bands from USA without the specification of the state or city. Yes, the most famous scenes are in Florida (Tampa) or California (San Francisco). Has also Michigan its own metal history? 

MIKE: Michigan has always historically been a huge musical powerhouse for the very reasons mentioned in the last question. There’s a lot of novel thinking which lead to some really substantial musical movements. Metal is no exception. Repulsion helped pioneer extreme metal. The Jackson/Lansing area bred some of the first USBM bands during a time when the world barely knew what Black Metal was. There’s always a strong core of underground bands around here who really work hard to keep the flame alive and really don’t care about pandering or compromising their visions for the sake of recognition, which makes for some truly unique and exceptional music.

I know that this question is not relevant in these days, but what about concerts? Do you have ambitions to go and organize a European tour in the future? Which bands would you like to take with you on tour and which tracks from the new record would you include in the setlist? 

ALEX: We talk with European bands about touring. We’re trying to make it happen. I don’t really want to get anyone’s hopes up but we’re friends with Solothus, Hooded Menace, Sadistik Forest, and Revel in Flesh. And we’d be really excited to play with any of them. We’ll see what we can do! 

MIKE: Europe will happen if we can get all the stars to align. I’d like to do some gigs with Solothus, Revel in Flesh, and Ferum. 

Alright, thanks a lot for taking the time to answer these questions and congratulations to your new record. I hope this interview wasn’t very exhausting. I hope, I will see your show somewhere near soon! Any closing words? 

ALEX: I hope next time we speak it’s face-to-face in Europe at a fest or a show. The beer is on us. Stay safe in these crazy times. 

Alex & Temple of Void


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