Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mary Shelley Interview

1. Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have never heard of you before?
Mary Shelley was a five piece NW black metal outfit. Our most consistent and, to my mind, the best line up was comprised of David and Ray Lorenz (Drums and Cello) David Hollingsworth (Guitar), Joe DePaul, (Bass), and myself (Chirs Beug, guitar). I joined the band in '09 when I moved to Portland, they had been active for a couple years before that. It is much to my regret that we never manged to get our shit together enough to tour.
2. How would you describe the musical sound of the demos?
The 2009 demo was written before I was in the band. It's more traditional metal than cascadian black, where as "In the Shadow of the Mountain" material is more melodic and quite a bit darker. Tridroid Records out of St. Paul released a limited run of cassettes with both the '09, '11 demos entitled "Crimson Shadows", I believe there might even be a few copies left...
3. What where some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explored with the music?
The unfolding ecological catastrophe is the underpinning of almost all of my writing. That said, we wrote about forest kingdoms, the dying embers of the cities smoking ruins, blood sacrifice, ancient and powerful gods, demonic possession, troubled mariners, broken bodies swirling the the storms clutches... Fairly traditional motifs.
4. I know that the band was named after an author, what was it that interested you about this author in order to name a band after her?
Honestly? We're all terrible nerds. We read lots of books, play role playing games and watch a lot of science fiction. Frankenstein is true classic and is a powerful critique of modern society. It's also to give a nod to a great female author, who, like too many of her gender, get overlooked.
5. What where some of the best shows that the band played, and how would you describe your stage performance?
That's a tough one, we played lot of fun shows, I think the NW Black Circle Fest at the now defunct Satyricon few years back was our best set and it was also a fairly good crowd. I always pushed for a more theatrical approach with black hoods and minimal make up, but that wasn't a priority for the other guys. We used a fog machine and a couple of red gelled par cans for on stage lighting. I generally don't like to use a venues lighting system. I prefer to create as much of the atmosphere as possible.
6. Recently the band split up, what was the cause of the split and do you see yourself reforming the band in the future?
Both myself and Dave Lorenz moved out of town. Dave to Korea to teach English and myself to Eastern Washington, to pursue a career as a hermit. It was an amicable split, we'd already been through a number of line up changes and it seemed inappropriate to continue under the MS moniker with only one original member. From what I understand Dave has been working on some new material, but I've no idea if and when anything will materialize.
7. Can you tell us a little bit more about the musical projects the members formed before or after the split?
At the time I was playing in Megaton Leviathan, but I've moved on from that project as well. I believe Dave (drummer) has plans to put a new line up together and I hope he does. The remaining members formed Barrowlands not long after the spit, adding Jake and Martti from Lykaia on guitar and drums. They play a more prog/doom influenced style than MS. I recently formed Cult of the Black Bear and am writing material as we speak. It's dark and melodic as much of the material I wrote for MS is. In fact I'm lifting "the World Will end in Fire". It'll be retooled and a better recording, but the song is much the same.
8. On a worldwide level how was the feedback to the music by fans of black metal?
We've only reached a very small audience, but the response has been good all around. I've been surprised many times by folks over seas wanting to release material for us. Unfortunately very little of that came to fruition as its not economically feasible to do a high quality release for a band that has no plans to tour.
9. What direction do you see your other musical projects heading into during the future?
As I mentioned earlier I'm currently developing a new project. It's evolving into a mix of blacked doom, dark folk and psychedelic ritualistic black metal. I've been putting together the live show to incorporate older, and to my opinion, the more magikal visual elements of smoke mirrors and celluloid. I've grown really tired of digital projectors and dollar store candles. It's been an important part of my performances to bring more than just a bunch of guys headbanging on stage. I want to transform spaces and individual consciousness with these installations. It's a lofty goal and admittedly a little pretentious, but I believe this is function of real art.
10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
I grew up on CCR , the Doors. Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Judas Priest and ZZ Top. In the 90's discovered death metal and industrial, bands like Morbid Angel and Ministry also My Dying Bride. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Neil Young and my two new favorites from the local metal scene, Usnea and Ephemerous. I also just discovered Thergothon, an amazing funeral doom band from Finland I have no idea how I hadn't heard of them before. And always the doomjazz masters Bohren and Der Club of Gore.
11.Outside of music what are some of your interests?
This is an extremely long list. Various outdoor adventures immediately spring to the forefront: hunting, fishing, mushroom hunting, backpacking, white water rafting to name a few. I grow as much of my own food as possible, make my own alcohol, and do what ever I can to free myself from the consumer death cult that comprises most of our society. I read a lot.
12.Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Plant some seeds and don't let the bastards get you down.

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