A: Not a whole lot has been going on since the release of "The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood." We've played a few shows, though we haven't toured in support of the album whatsoever. I spent some time canoeing the Allagash River in the north woods of Maine, and as I type this Ray and I are visiting our friends Austin and Bekah Lunn in Norway. We're spending a few weeks here in Norway, then moving on to Sweden for a week and stopping in Iceland for a week on our return journey. A much needed break from our daily routines back home.
2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album and how it differs from previous releases?
A: I can't say I feel entirely comfortable describing the sound of our music. I guess it's black metal if you're not too orthodox with your definition of black metal. We play folk influenced music as well. We tend to alternate between styles largely because when we play live we don't have extra musicians to play "folk" instruments while we play the "metal" instruments. There are only four of us.
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the new album explores?
A: There's an underlying theme, but no specific topic or concept that flows in any sequence. The lyrics are roughly my thoughts on the relationship between mankind and the natural world in the present day, written from differing angles and perspectives. They're not all from my point of view or opinion. Really they're not too metaphorical or veiled. All of the lyrics to the new record are posted on our blog and in the liner notes for the CD; I think they are rather self-explanatory.
4. Has the band had any opportunities to do any live shows yet and if so what are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
A: As of the summer of 2010 we've had a line-up that is able to perform live and we've played a good number of shows, though no extensive tours. We participated in two mini-tours with Seidr, one of them with All in the Merry Month of May and another with Lake of Blood. Both were amazing experiences in that we formed lasting friendships with all the folks we traveled with. This September we played a couple shows in New England with Thou / Wolves in the Throne Room which both took place outdoors under a near-full moon. Those stood out as particularly great experiences whether or not we played well. We got to hang out again with some great folks in Vermont at Dead End Farm and of course at the Maine show we were just with all our old friends.
5. Are there any touring plans for the new release?
A: Nothing that would qualify as "plans" but yes.. we will do some sort of touring for the album eventually. Where we'll play is beyond me, but it will happen. My guess would be a small tour or two; nothing major.
6. I read on the Metal Archives page that Anarchy is one the topics that the band rights about, how would you describe your views on this topic since it is not something you see a lot of in the black metal scene?
A: I'm not going to speak for anyone else in the band, but anarchy to me is nothing chaotic or violent but a very organic form of natural order in the world. Human beings are not only capable of thriving in "anarchic" social structures but have existed that way successfully for the VAST majority of our time on this planet. It's the way of all rivers, lakes, and oceans. All forests and all mountains, all flora and fauna. We are neither separate from nor above any of Earth's inhabitants and the popular myth of ascendancy through systematically controlling and destroying this planet leaves little room for faith in man-made "systems" or the necessity of the few governing the many. We're killing our landbase and we're killing each other and much of this stems from our unwillingness to take responsibility into our own hands. Apologies for the pseudo-poetic obnoxious ranting but I think it answers the question well enough.
7. I know that the band lives in Maine what kind of influence does that have on the music since you are not surrounded by a lot of big cities and I am sure there is plenty of nature out there?
A: Everyone in the current line-up of the band has essentially lived in Maine for their whole life. It's an indescribably beautiful state with the Appalachian mountains populating the western region and miles upon miles of rocky Atlantic coastline to the east. The north woods are rather breathtaking and a truly spiritual experience to visit. A lot of inspiration for this music has come from various trips to the Maine wilderness but certainly not all of it derives from that. We currently live in Portland which is Maine's largest city (very small city, mind you… more of a big town) so there's an element of despair and frustration that stems from modernity and "city" life; the sort of alienation so many of us have become accustomed to and accept as the human condition.
8. I have noticed that in the past your older albums were available for download on Myspace for free, a lot of bands are against it for some reasons but do you feel that it expands the bands audience?
A: Honestly, while we no longer have a myspace account, we had those early recordings posted for free because we really don't like them very much. They are worth giving out for free to those who wish to hear it but we're not comfortable charging money for any of it. I'm not sure what happened to those links since we deleted our page but we certainly approve of downloading that early stuff if you wish to hear what Ray and I sounded like years ago, without any attempt to really write songs or practice parts. The lack of direction was somewhat enjoyable for us, however, and it sowed the seeds for what we hope will be a better future. Maybe one day we'll write some music that we can stand hearing!
9. On a worldwide level how has your new album been received by black/folk/dark metal fans?
A: I don't really know. Somewhat well? We've obviously gotten a mixture of reviews and everybody has their own taste. I think some people have had a strong emotional response to it and that's all we can hope for. Others not so much, and that's to be expected. Outside of writing music to fulfill our own creative needs we really just hope to connect with people on some emotional and primal level. If it hasn't worked yet I suppose we'll keep trying.
10. What direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?
A: It's hard to tell at this juncture. We're working on a couple songs for a split LP which will be in a somewhat similar style to our music of the recent past. In terms of the next full-length a lot of the riffs I've been coming up with have been very depressing and melancholic but mostly folk / acoustic oriented. Don't take that as "depressive black metal" or whatever, it's just predominantly sad sounding. As it's shaping up now much of it is very slow and almost doomy but come time for song composition / full band rehearsals this could change completely. I really don't know how it will sound. Different from our other material I hope.
11. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
A: Everybody involved with this band has their own taste as well as a lot of common ground. Artists I feel we all share a love for would be Enslaved, Emperor, Ulver and such. Personally I've been listening to a lot of stuff like Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt, old Willie Nelson, Conway Twitty and the like, as well as a lot of NWOBHM and old heavy metal stuff. Other favorites of mine that are always in rotation would be Bathory, Songs: Ohia, Manilla Road, Darkthrone, etc. I've also recently rediscovered my love for good death metal which has become so scarce these days. You know… Immolation, early Cryptopsy, Suffocation, Death, Bolt Thrower. I'm going to stop now.
12. Does Paganism or Occultism play any role in the music and if so how would you describe your views on these topics?
A: As much as I love old black metal and death metal, occultism has no role in our music whatsoever. I can appreciate it on an aesthetic level and it translates to some pretty amazing music but that's where my relationship with occultism ends. Paganism I can get behind but I'm not really pagan in any traditional or formal way. I share a lot of similar views and spiritual tendencies but I would be lying if I told you I was deeply involved with paganism or the ritual practices that go with it. This applies to the rest of the band as well, unless there's something I don't know.
13. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
A: Nothing of much interest to tell. I find some sort of peace in camping and hiking. I read quite a bit but I don't feel the need to have my face buried in a book for thirty hours a day in search of enlightenment or a higher plane of existence. Biking is pretty great as it enables me to escape Portland and explore the surrounding area. That doesn't quite sum it up but I think I've bored you enough.
14. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
A: Can't say I do.