Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dunnock Interview

1. For those that have never heard of you before can you tell us a little bit about the band?
1.We’re a lo-fi bedroom project based out of Berkeley, California, and we specialize in raw, atmospheric black metal. At the moment we’re just a duo, myself and Aidan, though on the last album we had two guest vocalists from my hometown in rural West Virginia and hope to bring in more guests for the next one.
2. How would you describe your musical sound for those that have yet to hear the music?
2. We play black metal you could fall asleep to. The ambient interludes are just as important to our songs as the more brutal sections, and the brutal sections, when they come, are compressed and hazed out. We use a lot of stringed instruments and keyboards, though we’re most definitely not “symphonic” anything, and we’re particularly fond of cheap digital distortion and horror movie samples.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
3. The first album was a grab bag. I sang about alcoholism, mental illness, and the amphibian nature of human existence. There’s some surreal horror on there too, both Appalachian and urban. I also paraphrased Sarah Kane’s last play and borrowed a line from post-Ronnie James Dio era Rainbow. I sing about bugs a lot, because they terrify me. Especially their role in the decay on the human body.
The next album’s going to be pretty different lyrically. Each of the record’s songs is going to focus on a different murder that takes place near bodies of water that have had special significance for me. They’ve all been fictionalized but are drawn from real events, in one case involving someone I knew personally. They’re also all from the victim’s perspective, and told after the even has transpired.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name Dunnock?
4. For a number of years now Aidan and I have had an experimental ambient project named Accentor, which is also the name of a family of songbirds. The last couple albums we recorded explored black ambient and out and out black metal to varying degrees, so we decided to create a new project to explore this direction more fully. Dunnocks are a variety of accentors, so it was a logical enough name choice.

5.Has the band done any live shows or is this a studio project?
5. Accentor has performed live, but it’s not really my thing. I’m pretty shy and not much of an outgoing person. Which isn’t to say that it won’t ever happen. We’re trying to get more local musicians together to play on this next record with us. If that happens and we’ve got a good thing going, I might consider taking it out into the world. People shouldn’t be surprised if I just sit on the side of the stage by myself though.
6. Recently Alphecphle Winter released your music on cassette, where you satisfied with the final results?
6. Seeing as Aidan and I make up 2/3 of the people responsible for Acephale Winter Productions, we’d have no one to blame but ourselves if we weren’t. On the whole, though, I’d say I’m pretty happy with the way things turned out. It’d be nice to have access to the sort of advertising and distribution that a larger indie could bring us, but having control of our own music and art is something we really value.
7.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
7. I don’t know how well we’ve done with the people who expect orthodoxy from their black metal. We’re never going to make an Immortal record and I’m sure we couldn’t if we tried. But among the folks that are on the lookout for forward thinking underground bands with a tendency towards atmospheric textures I feel we’ve done decently for a brand new act on a brand new label with zero advertising. Outside of the US we’ve done surprisingly well in Russia, but then they have a large dunnock population there, so perhaps we’ve had some help from Google.
8.Are there any other musical projects besides this band?
8. Accentor has mostly been on hold for the past year or so. We’ve started a lot of things but never got around to finishing and releasing them. I have been sketching out the plans lately for a possible split release with another act on Acephale Winter Productions. I haven’t approached them formally yet though, so I won’t say who. I’ve also started collaborating this month with a sound artist based in Malang, Indonesia on an album of ambient noise/doom metal. Tentatively it’s going to be about the life and times of Padre Pio, with future records to focus on other controversial 20th century figures. Lastly, I also have a harsh noise project called Tyrant Flycatcher, but I’ve yet to record any albums that I consider worth distributing to more than a couple close friends.
9.What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
9. The songs are going to get a lot longer on the next full-length. There’s going to be more space between the heavier moments and, hopefully, the ambient sections are going to seem less like interludes and more like integral parts of the compositions. There’s also going to be more field recordings, strings, and slower, doomier passages than before. The demo version of one of the tracks will be coming out this winter as a floppy disk only single on Aleatoric Records. Now having said all that, I’d also like to do an EP sometime in the next year of really raw and direct lo-fi black metal, and throw some real paint peeling stuff out into the world.
10.What are some bands o musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
10. The biggest inspiration for Dunnock probably came from Striborg and the music of Sin Nanna. The first time I heard “A Tragic Journey Towards the Light” I knew I needed to make a black metal album. He made do with what resources he had on that record and the results were amazing. Sutekh Hexen’s “Luciform” was also very big in my mind when I was deciding early on how I wanted “A Forest of Shattered Promise” to sound. The same could probably be said for Velvet Cacoon, who I was listening to on rotation when we were working on this disk. I don’t personally listen to a lot of shoegaze, but it’d be intellectually dishonest of me if I didn’t admit that the way I layer distortion and reverb tracks is in emulation, however poorly, of Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine. 
Lately I’ve been listening to the new albums from Altar of Plagues, Deafheaven, Vattnet Viskar, and Meads of Asophodel. Most nights I fall asleep to all the Paysage D’Hiver releases on shuffle. As far as non-black metal stuff I’ve been listening to Black Flag’s “My War” and Swans “The Seer” a lot. This morning it’s been Juan Atkins and “The Phil Spector Collection.”
11.Outside of music what are some of your interests?
11. I don’t think my “real” life is all that remarkable. I work at a high school with disabled teenagers. Some of them are really into metal, which is cool. I ride my bicycle pretty much everywhere I go, so I suppose you could say I’m passionate about that. I watch five or six movies a week and eat Indian food almost every day. Lately I’ve been plowing through a lot of books about Padre Pio in research for that particular project.

12.Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
12. I just want to say thanks for interviewing me. You feature a lot of my favorite underground bands on your page and it’s a real honor to appear alongside them.

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