Erin Palmer is no stranger 'round these (pseudo-medieval) parts. You may know her as the sole member of both raw black metal outfit Dread Maw and black metal/black n' roll entity Rage of Devils--or perhaps, if you have a ridiculously acute memory, you may recall a few guest posts here at ye olde Sleeping Village. Or you may know her by benefit of an active community presence over on twitter.
In any case, Erin is great, and we're honored to have had the opportunity to chat about a wide variety of topics, from the upcoming Dread Maw release, to black metal as a genre and a mindset, to maintaining distinctions between multiple projects, to Mortal Kombat, and beyond. We hope you enjoy! Once yer done reading this, I recommend making the trek over to bandcamp and snagging that sweet Libations of Blood preorder.
Enough preemptive chit-chat. Without further ado:
Greetings, dear reader! In lieu of our typical pre-interview banter, I'm just gonna drop a quote from our review of At Hell's Gate, the forthcoming album from today's interviewee:
"Underking--the moniker of the very talented Maxwell Jeffries--plays a stupidly infectious blend of traditional heavy metal, thrash, alternative metal, and NWOBHM, all encased in a decidedly modern sheen. Across the varied breadth of At Hell’s Gate, Jeffries sounds like he’s paying homage to a veritable horde of influences, while simultaneously delivers a fresh-faced take on the side of metal that revels in jubilant hooks, catchy choruses, and enthusiastic groove. Underking arrives at hell’s gate with glee-inducing energy and a penchant for catchy-as-hell songwriting, and if that ain’t enough to wet yer whistle, I can offer nothing but sympathy and condolences."
Big thanks to Max for taking time to chat! After you're down readin,' I highly recommend checking out the pre-order and three available singles. But, without further ado, let's get to the good stuff!
Interview conducted by: The Voiceless Apparition
Some of you may be familiar with the name Blackwater Holylight, but some of you may not. For those uninitiated I will fill you in. Blackwater Holylight are a Heavy Psych/doom metal band from Portland, Oregon. They play a beautiful and melodious, but also heavy and doomy blend of psychedelic rock, shoegaze, dream pop, and doom metal. They are currently signed to the always incomparable Riding Easy Records, and have released two stellar albums so far. Their latest, Veils of Winter, was, in my opinion, one of the best albums of the past 5-10 years: an utter masterpiece. Go check out that album if you haven't already.
I had the absolute privilege of speaking with founder and main songwriter Sunny Faris. We talked metal, the beauty of emotional music, their upcoming 3rd album, and so much more. I hope you all enjoy this interview. Cheers!
Interview conducted by: The Voiceless Apparition
2021 is about to get a whole lot more frozen. There are many new bands in the death metal genre garnering plenty of praise of praise, and rightfully so, but I can't think of another band recieving as much critical praise as Frozen Soul...also rightfully so! Death metal isn't typically known for its frosty and frozen atmosphere and lyrical themes, but that's what Frozen Soul are here to do. Last year these masters of the cold signed with Century Media Records, something I was ecstatic about. It's amazing to see a band get signed to a major label so quickly in their career, having only existed for two years now and only releasing one demo through the ever fantastic Maggot Stomp.
2021 is going to be the year for Frozen Soul to take over the underground extreme metal scene. I was extremely lucky to have been given the opportunity to interview guitarist Michael Munday. We talked signing with Century Media Records, how hardcore influences their songwriting, death metal, and much more. Enjoy!
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
If there's one positive thing I can say about the internet, it is how easy it is to discover new music. In late 2019 I discovered Haunt through theShadow Kingdom Records YouTube page, the video was for the song "Mind Freeze." I was instantly blown away. Immediately afterwards I went to Bandcamp and pre-ordered the CD. The rest is history.
That's why the internet can be beneficial when it comes to music. The fact that you can discover a band, fall in love, and instantly order their merch. We are always discovering new music, but sometimes it's hard to swim through all of the bullshit and find an artist that connects with you. Haunt have become one of those bands for me. I really respect the level of passion, determination, ambition and drive that Trevor William Church possesses--not to mention his exceptional songwriting capabilities. I was lucky enough to conduct an interview with Haunt's mastermind on New Years Eve of 2020 and it is as follows:
As the days grow shorter and year-end-list season approaches, we slumbering scribes are slowing down when it comes to writin' reviews. That said, we've still got some interviews left in the tank.
To that end, Texas' very own Holy Death Trio--a riff-centric outfit purporting to illustrate a certain "Jimi Hendrix played with Black Sabbath" quality--were courteous enough to brave our interrogation chamber. These guys put out a single entitled "Bad Vibrations" a few weeks back, and this Friday will see the release of "Black Wave," yet another bangin' track. If you're in the mood for a hard rockin' good time, look no further than Holy Death Trio. Without further ado:
If ye haven't heard, we slumbering scribes are putting out a compilation album on Oct. 2nd! Sleeping Village Caravan Of Doom (Vol. 1) is an exhibition of like-minded tracks that balance sludgy heft with an earthy stoner atmosphere. These are songs that would feel at home in the midst of a bog or mire, and we’ve brought them together, drenched in murk and algae, for your gloomy enjoyment. Pre-order here for the measly price of $1! That, dear reader, is a bargain.
In anticipation of the (increasingly eminent) release of Sleeping Village Record's inaugural compilation--a swampy collection of 10 previously released underground stoner doom tracks--we highfalutin peasants have invited the featured artists to our murky interrogation chamber for a chat. Number three on our list is Floridian father/son duo DIZYGOTE, who we actually previously interviewed! As such, we're gonna throw down a republication of that chat, with a few extra questions added to the top to keep things fresh and relevant.
DIZYGOTE's fantastic debut, Freedom, Incorporated, came out earlier this year, and you should most definitely give it a listen. If you like what you hear, "Children of Talos"--my personal favorite track from the album--will be making a well-deserved appearance on the Caravan of Doom. Without further ado, though, let's get straight to the talkin'!
Sleeping Village: Firstly, thanks so much for joining our caravan of doom! We're very excited to have you on board for our maiden outing. What can you tell us about the songwriting process for "Children of Talos" specifically?
DIZYGOTE: Thanks so much for having us! We had High on Fire on the brain when we were writing that one. I had written lyrics that invoked Talos, the giant mechanical protector of an island coastline from Greek mythology. The thought was what if Talos self-replicated and took over humanity...kinda like the Terminator? So, we needed some heavy riffs to prop that up. The song is a giant, lumbering automaton bent on crushing humanity.
SV: More generally: congrats on the release of Freedom, Incorporated! Speaking frankly, it's everything I hoped for and more. Has anything about the weeks following release been surprising to you?
D: Wow, thank you! We're happy with it and we hope lots of other people are too. We've been pleasantly surprised by the attention it's gotten. One reviewer called it an album of the year contender, so that's nice to hear. We've read reviews from Russia, Spain, the UK and the US, which we weren't really expecting. To be honest we didn't know what to expect. We felt good about the record before it was released. You just hope that other people feel good about it too and take the time to listen to it and support you, you know?
SV: When we previously spoke, COVID had an obvious impact on your ability to tour. A few months down the road, are there any new or unforeseen challenges that the pandemic has stirred up for you?
D: Well it seems like this thing is going on forever. It's been difficult to stay focused on music sometimes with nowhere to be able to play and no real end to all of this in sight. The real challenge is staying sane and safe. So, like every other band in the world, we wait for the opportunity to get back out and play again...whenever that is. We hope that, if nothing else, when it's time to get back out and play, maybe we'll be able to book some great shows in some news places; meet new people. On the other hand, it is an opportunity to learn new things, so we're learning more about the recording process here at home. That's been helpful and will maybe pay off down the road. I think maybe it's also changing how we approach writing music.
SV: Previously, you had mentioned that Ethan is a fan of Elder. Any thoughts on their new album? It seemed pretty divisive amongst the doom crowd.
D (Ethan): I like it. It has a different sound to it. It revolves around a slightly cleaner guitar tone, synthesizers, and keyboards. It definitely is a trip, just like their other albums. I personally like the opening track and "Embers." The composition of each song is great. The new drummer has a slight jazz element that he brings to each song.
SV: Otherwise, now that we've roughly made it halfway through 2020, what albums are standing out as the best of the year?
D (Ethan): The two albums that stand out to me are Lowrider's Refractions and Elder's Omens. They have different sounds compared to their previous respective records. Refractions has a much more refined and beefier sound than the previous 2000 album Ode to Io, which kind of sounded like Kyuss from Sweden. Omens, however, is a lot more expansive than even Reflections of a Floating World with trippy synthesizers and cleanish guitar tones. I also enjoyed listening to Spiritbox's single "Holy Roller" and Chelsea Grin's single "Bleeding Sun." Now, the wait is on Mastodon and Gojira.
D (Ned): I like the new Red Mesa album. Also diggin' on some of that Twin Wizard.
(The remainder of the interview wasoriginally published March 2020)
Sleeping Village: Describe Dizygote!
Dizygote: We are a father/son guitar and drums duo. I guess we’re a metal band. We like to play really loud!
SV: Sorry to hear the release of your new record had to be put on hold! Prior to its release, what can you tell us about Freedom, Incorporated?
D: Yeah, it’s a bummer but what are you gonna do? I know we aren’t the only ones in that situation. We need to be able to tour to support the record and that’s just not gonna be possible for a while, so we’re gonna do an online release--a mini-EP of two tracks from the record to give everyone a taste. We signed a contract with Farmadelica Sound to release two tracks and the subsequent record once the coast is clear. The record is 8 tracks, almost an hour long. It’s thick and heavy. It’s sludge. It’s doom. It’s punk. It’s thrashy. It’s a little bit proggy. There’s a surprise or two. There’s an overarching theme about social and political injustice. The cover artwork is really cool. We’re really happy with it!
SV: As a followup to the last: can you speak on the significance of the album’s title?
D: Well, our country (USA) has this penchant for exporting freedom by overthrowing governments then propping up puppet governments and ruining their economies by exploiting them economically…and if none of that works, we use our own people to invade them, kill them and take their shit. On top of that, the psychopathic corporate beasts have their tentacles wrapped around all of our necks while they do the most immoral and illegal shit known to mankind…all in the name of “freedom.” Freedom is now a business model for the 1%. At its heart it’s good vs. evil.
SV: How does the reality of operating as father/son duo significantly impact your songwriting process? Walk me through your methodology of creating a new track.
D: There’s a great deal of collaboration. Even though Ethan is only 15, he’s extraordinarily gifted and one of the best musicians I’ve worked with in terms of his talent and his work ethic. Sometimes I’ll have a complete song worked out and we’ll run through it until he gets the structure, then he does his thing. Other times, I’ll have some riffs and we’ll cobble them together and come up with these songs that have multiple parts almost life movements in a symphony, that take these unexpected left turns. Two of the songs on the record Ethan wrote the music for and I helped him tweak some stuff. In all, we share songwriting and arranging 50/50 for the whole record regardless of who did what. Of course, living in the same house, we can rehearse a lot, so that helps us move forward quickly.
SV: For Ethan: Given you are responsible for putting out some remarkably polished music,
especially given your age: what are you most proud of at this stage in your career?
D: I guess that my life-long dream is coming true already. I guess that’s it.
SV: For Ned: Similarly, what is your greatest pride?
D: Well, it’s a pretty amazing feeling to rock so hard with my own son. I’ve been at this for a long time, and this is by far the most fun I’ve had playing music…and I’m happy that Ethan is getting such an early start with some guidance. There are a lot of pitfalls in the biz. Ultimately this is an experience for our whole family.
SV: In your collective estimation, what is it about punk/doom/heavy metal/rock that allows it to be rediscovered and enjoyed by younger generations? Similarly, does heavy metal have an inherently timeless quality?
D: I think so. When I was Ethan’s age in the mid-80’s, I was the prototypical punk rocker. It was all about the sense of community, the energy and the bigger message of “all you bullshit artists are on notice”. I get that same vibe today. Also, ask any sludge or doom band who their major influence is and 99% say “Sabbath” so the music is timeless. Heavy music has expanded obviously, over time but all of the major pillars are still as relevant today as they were in their time. Newer generations are discovering them and putting their own stamp on that kind of music because it speaks to our inner beast. It’s very cathartic music.
SV: In your bio, you mention that Dizygote can sound at times more like a quartet than the duo that it is. Is it your goal to add in more members at some point, or are you content with the sound you’re able to make as-is?
D: We get asked this a lot. We like the duo. There’s an efficiency in a duo. It’s also a challenge artistically. Since we don’t have multiple guitarists or a bassist, etc. I split my signal three ways into two guitar rigs and a bass rig and I have independent control over them all. I love twin guitar harmonies, and I pull that off by sending the root note to one amp and the fifth above to another. Close your eyes and it sounds like two guitarists. That’s the way I did it in the studio as well. Same approach with the bass signal…on or off at will. Live, it hits like a brick wall and that’s one of the things people don’t expect when they first come to see us. Ethan’s drumming is so chaotic and technical and tasteful. It adds another dimension to our sound. He also does backup vocals. So we have a good deal of flexibility in those ways but there are other limitations and that’s where we are forced to be more attentive to the song structure. We can’t write these extensive guitar solos because we don’t have another musician behind us, so we get tricky with song structure and focus on writing songs that don’t need them at all. Guitar solos are cool and all, but the punk rock kid in me says we don’t need ‘em. Ethan is way into prog these days, like Elder and Ocean Collective for example and he’s writing some pretty complex stuff, already thinking about the next record. We’ve talked about how that might play out with just the two of us…in the studio between the two of us, we could track everything ourselves. Ethan is also a pretty damn good guitar player and my first instrument was bass. But we’ve talked about how we’d tackle some of his elaborate ideas live and we think we have it figured out. That’s all part of the fun of being a duo…defying expectations.
SV: Given the generational gap, does the door swing both ways when it comes to introducing each other to new music?
D: Yes, for sure. He seeks out a lot of 70’s era bands. He really likes Thin Lizzy. We have a secret stash of punk songs I wrote that we played out a few times last year. We’d bang out several in a row with no breaks to close our shows. Ethan had to learn how to play punk rock style drums because it was ironically too simple. So, I got him into that kinda thing. Earlier, when he was maybe 9 or 10, I had introduced him to Sleep, High on Fire, the Melvins, Sabbath, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Windhand, Baroness, Kylesa, Mastodon, Weedeater, The Sword, and he’s just taken that and ran with it, studying Brann Dailor’s technique for example. Meanwhile, he’s a metal archaeologist digging up all sorts of bands I didn’t know and saying “dad, you gotta listen to so and so”. Last week he said “Dad. Lysol, by the Melvins.” I just gave him an approving nod and said “I know, son.” He introduced me to Elder, DVNE, a lot of other European bands. He’ll make me listen to Meshuggah and I’ll make him listen to WHORES. (which he dug). I played him some Horseburner because we were getting ready to open for them and he liked it…then he met them and saw them perform and is now a huge fan. He’s into metalcore too. Not my thing, but I can appreciate elements of it.
SV: In your visuals, there seems to be a distinct focus on duality--e.g. two-headed snakes and conjoined twins. Even the band name suggests duality. Is this a reflection of your shared genetics, or is there a larger significance at play?
D: The answer is yes. It’s part of our identity as a duo and as father and son, but also represents the duality of humankind…good vs. evil, the whole red pill/blue pill motif…the choices we make. It’s a lot of what I write about and we represent that musically and on stage. It’s reflected in the cover art of the record too. There are only two of us, but we make a hell of a lot of noise and we defy expectations and, in that regard, it forces people to rethink their own expectations. There’s another side to the coin.
SV: Tell me about your appearance on NPR’s Three Song Stories! How did that go down?
D: I reached out to them and said, “hey, we’re so and so and we think we might be an interesting story for your listeners.” They were all about having us on and couldn’t have been more welcoming. We met them at the studio and they took us right in to the sound booth and we sat down and just talked for over an hour. It went by so fast. It was relaxing and really fun. 10/10 would do it again! When you’re an unknown entity like us you have to be aggressive marketing yourself and to do that well you have to really believe in what you’re doing. 20 years ago, I would have puked at the idea of running a band like a business, but that’s the reality these days. You have to work really hard behind the scenes, so I cast the net far and wide hoping to catch a few fish.
SV: What was it like working with Jack Endino?
D: Jack is cool. He doesn’t suffer fools and he’s amazingly good at what he does. If you check out his webpage, he has what amounts to a manifesto and in there he gives detailed instructions on how to contact him and at the same time kinda says “I’m choosy, so good luck”. I figured we had nothing to lose, so I followed his instructions to the T and he got back with us with a two-word reply: “I’m in!” THEN, I had to figure out how we were going to track the damn thing, lol, which also worked out very nicely. I let Jack do his thing and often deferred to him on technical matters. We did everything via email between us, our producer Howard Wulkan, and Jack. I sent him some initial notes saying we love feedback and in the layers of guitar tracks, he found feedback that was “musical” and brought that out in the mix. After hearing the vocals on a rough mix I sent him, he replied “so, I suppose you’ll want the Ozzy treatment on your vocals?” “Yes, please!” lol.
SV: We’d like to thank you for taking the time! Are there any last thoughts you’d like to leave us with?
D: Thank you! While the world is on lockdown, please spend your hard-earned coronavirus economic stimulus money on our music and merch available via Bandcamp. Follow us on Instagram and their evil twin Facebook (links below!) You can see videos of us of professional AND amateur quality on our YouTube page (there’s another professionally shot live show in the editing room right now). You can learn everything there is to know about us on our homepage. Our press kit lives there too (we’d like to hire a booking agent, hint, hint, wink, wink!) Be kind to one another. Don’t take any wooden nickels. Stop hoarding toilet paper. Eat your veggies. Brush your teeth. Support original music. We are the 99%
Proceeds from this project will be split evenly between the bands and the label, with any of the Sleeping Village’s cut going to fund further compilations (or a possible physical release.) Pre-order here for $1! That, methinks, is a damn good price for an hour and a half of high-quality doom.
(If, dear reader, you are unfamiliar with Adzes, the illustrious Mr. Payne reviewed No One Wants To Speak About here. Once you're done drinking deep of this interview, give it a read! - Ed.)
Written by: Alex, Bringer of Payne
It may seem irresponsible to have so many visitors (read: victims) here at the Sleeping Village this month, but we’re on a roll! Next up for interrogation is Forest Bohrer, the sole creative mind behind Adzes, an atmospheric sludge metal project with a penchant for raging against the capitalism and imperialism that fuels America today; heavy music for a heavy topic, essentially. Fans of Godflesh and ISIS, bands that Bohrer credits as strong influences for the project, will instantly appreciate the dichotomy created between ambient elements and oppressively heavy instrumentation.
As always, a big thanks is in order to Forest for taking the time to sit down with us and to subject himself to our nosey interrogation!
Interview by: Scribe Nathaniel
Our very own Scribe Nathaniel--the Sleeping Village's resident reporter of all things abrasive and chaotic--has stopped by once more with an interview of Thin, also known as Brooklyn, New York's finest mathgrind outfit. Their latest effort, dawn, has dropped today, and let me tell you: it's an absolute banger. As intense and frenetic as you can get without absolutely obliterating your synapses, this beastly combo of spastic mathcore and deathy grind has fueled my morning quite splendidly. These guys are the real deal, and so, without further ado, I'll shut up and hand over the reins:
Hello, I am Scribe Nathaniel from the Sleeping Village. First off, I would like to thank Thin for
taking time out of their day to answer these questions. Lets do this!
Let's start the week (and morning!) off with an interview from Pittsburgh's groovin' hard rock outfit ZOM. It's a rock 'n' roll town with a love for good riffs and great hooks, and ZOM deliver both in spades. I've been crankin' their debut--Nebulos--over the weekend, and can safely say that it is, indeed, worth a listen. With their formula, it's hard to go wrong--particularly when you're packing as much experience as these guys are.
Big thanks to Gero von Dehn for stepping up and knocking our silly questions out of the park. As always, we appreciate endlessly the opportunity to get into the nitty-gritty with bands about what they do and how they do it. Without further ado, read on...and then be sure to give ZOM a well-deserved listen.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.
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