úterý 12. května 2020

Home » » A few questions - interview with old school death metal band - AZATH.

A few questions - interview with old school death metal band - AZATH.

A few questions - interview with old school death metal band - AZATH.

Answered Brandon, thank you!

Recenze/review - AZATH - Through A Warren Of Shadow (2020):

Ave, can you introduce your band to our readers? – When was it founded and what style of music do you play etc.? 

Hello Jakub, thank you for asking us to do this short interview! Responding is Brandon, the rhythm guitarist of the band and the main songwriter. 

Azath was founded in 2018 in an attempt to write the fastest possible death metal in a world that we saw as increasingly devoid of ultra-velocity death. There’s grindcore still, sure, and fast black metal, but not as much blistering music in the vein we wanted to listen to, so we set out to make it ourselves! It started as a collaboration between Andrew Lee, our lead guitarist, and myself. I wrote three songs, Andrew rewrote one of them, and then we recorded the whole demo with a drum machine as I worked on writing the album; the purpose of this demo was to put ourselves out there and get labels familiar with the band. 

Around when all of the instruments had been recorded but before I could do vocals, which was our original plan, I remembered that my friend Derek had done a Bolt Thrower cover with his main band, Begrime Exemious. I asked how he felt about doing lower vocals since Begrime mainly sticks with a mid-pitch snarl, and the result of that conversation was him joining Azath on vocals! 

Later on Derek would also switch to bass and we picked up Pierce as a session drummer (and later a full member of the band) to perform on the album, and here we are now with our first album, Through a Warren of Shadow, out on Pulverised Records. 

Where and under what conditions were you recording the new album? Who was in charge of sound, production and mastering? 

Almost all of it was done DIY. Derek and Andrew have access to quality recording equipment and experience using it, and both of them are also capable audio engineers. We paid for studio time with Charlie Koryn for the recording of Pierce’s drums and paid our friend Adam Gambel for reamping and recording Dan Butler’s guest vocal slot, and then Derek mixed the album with input from the rest of us. Dan Lowndes mastered it. 

For the most part, it was a fairly relaxed recording experience because the DIY nature meant that we didn’t have to deal with limited studio time or a limited budget. The only issue we really ran into was that the original session drummer we hired to record drums for the album bailed on us and stopped responding to our messages, running off with half of our session budget and months of our time. On the plus side that experience led to us meeting Pierce, who is a far better drummer. 

How many copies were released and which medium was used for this new edition (CD, digital, vinyl, cassette)? 

The album was released on all formats by Pulverised Records on CD and vinyl, Nameless Grave Records (my label) on cassette, and by ourselves digitally. There were 1000 CDs pressed, 500 vinyl records, and 100 tapes. 

Who is the author of the lyrics and how were they created and about what do the lyrics deal with? 

I wrote all of the lyrics, and they are all focused on Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen, an epic fantasy series that rapidly became my favorite of all time once I started reading it. I wrote them as I read the books, mostly, and focused on the topics that were the most striking to me within Erikson’s universe. There’s tales of brutality, hopelessness, and loss, alongside triumph- though I mostly keep my lyrics on the darker side, to fit our style of music! 

Who created the logo of the band, and who took care of the graphics and the website? What about you and social networks? Do you consider these things important? 

All of Azath’s artwork, including the logo, is from the mind of master artist Mark Riddick. The only thing that he was not responsible for was the artwork on the first demo. It was a real pleasure working with Mark, and he was very easy to work with, and very kind to us. The layout of the album itself was handled by Derek, and I set up our bandcamp page. 

We do have social media accounts, but I am not the best at managing them, and don’t really understand promotion from social media pages as well as I should. It’s a hard balance between feeling like I’m wasting time trying to learn things that I feel like shouldn’t matter and trying to make sure we’re hitting people that’ll like our music, if only they hear it. 

I am not sure how important social media is or online promotion from the band itself after release (obviously a proper promotional cycle is important!), but I place a large amount of value on aesthetic. Music of course comes first, but a good album cover, cool band picture, and presenting yourself consistently in a way that matches your music and makes you look good are all key parts of attracting fans and increase the power of the music by association, on some level. To use an example made by a good friend some years ago, when you look at the most famous Katharsis band picture, what comes to mind- a killer black metal band, or some joke? Would people take them as seriously if they had the same music but the aesthetic of a party thrash band? 

At the end of the day the focus is on the music, and lyrics and artwork and how we present ourselves all come later, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t take that other aspect seriously as well.

Which label did you choose for releasing your album and why this label? Are you satisfied by how your label represents you and takés care about you? 

We are fortunate enough to be paired with Pulverised Records from Singapore for this album, and hopefully future albums. We chose them because they’ve worked with many of our favorite bands- Desultory, Interment, Under the Church, Funebrarum, and many others- and because they made us a very good offer when they decided to do the album. We are certainly satisfied with our treatment with them and as I said we will be happy to work with them for as long as they want to work with us. Pulverised is large enough, stable enough, and treats us well enough that there’s not really anywhere to go from here while staying in the underground. 

Which bands do you idolise and where do you get your inspiration? 

Without speaking for the other members of the band, I was most influenced while writing the Azath material by bands such as Incantation, Running Wild, Autopsy, Savage Grace, Molested, and Morbid Angel. Though I did not take any direct influence from their music, I was also inspired by how fast and vicious some of the earlier Ritual Necromancy material is, the creative and catchy rhythms that Kaamos used, and by the complex layering and polyphonic lines that Dead Congregation use to such great effect. Outside of stuff that directly influences Azath, I am a massive fan of Mercyful Fate, Varathron, Trouble, Cartilage (the Finnish one), Septic Flesh, and many other bands. I would say that most of my listening as a fan is split between heavy metal and death metal, with a high emphasis on older, classic bands. 

My inspiration when I songwrite mostly comes from my deep appreciation for metal itself, and for wanting to actualize certain sounds in the world. I am at my best when I let genres fall to the wayside and just think of what I want to accomplish when I sit down to write riffs; with Azath, that was an inspiration for creating fast as hell death metal with a focus on weaving in subtle (and sometimes less than subtle) melody. My main songwriting clutch while working on Through a Warren of Shadow was to just think of whatever Rolf from Running Wild would do when I got stuck, and it carried me through fairly well.

Did you send your record to some Labels - which are the labels? How was the response? 

We really only asked Pulverised to do it, as I recall. The demo had just come out and we got a startling response from across the board- we got something like seven offers the day that the demo came out, which is just insane and was totally unexpected. I was already in contact with Pulverised from trading CDs with them with my other death metal band, Draghkar, and reached out to ask Roy if they wanted the full length. He said yes, and that was it. 

How many gigs have you played? Which type of gigs do you prefer, whether it's (clubs or festivals) and which of your performances would you consider as the best? 

Azath has not had a chance yet to play live, unfortunately. We had plans to tour on the album with one of the best bands in American death metal but it was all crushed by the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, as were the plans of so many others. Hopefully we can reschedule and do it next year. 

What about your plans for the future? What do you want to achieve with the band? 

We have a split coming next year with a band that we’re big admirers of, and I am very excited for that. Past the split I want our next album to make this one look like shit, and I want to tour with cool bands and play festivals. 

How and where can your fans contact you? Can you provide some contact information? 

Fans can reach us at our email, or via our Facebook page or instagram! It’s all readily available online for anyone that looks. We’re easy to talk to and we don’t bite, fans are welcome to reach out whenever they like and for whatever reason! 

Thanx for the interview. 

Cheers, thanks for reaching out to us to do it! In old school fashion, I will leave a playlist of music I have been listening to today: 

Taipan - Taipan / Breakout 7” 

Stormtrooper - Armies of the Night 

Stormwitch - Walpurgis Night 

Lantern - II: Morphosis 

Obliteration - Black Death Horizon

Recenze/review - AZATH - Through A Warren Of Shadow (2020):

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