Sunday, August 16, 2015

Ecorche Interview

Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?
JGW: After releasing the album “Deep In the Ground” we put out a single for “My Dead Lover” and we also just recorded a video for “A Necrotic Mind,” (a track off the “Necrotic Minds” LP that was released earlier this year). Necrotic Minds, if anyone reading this hasn’t heard the album, is half extreme black metal and half ambient music. “A Necrotic Mind” is one of the dark ambient tracks that was inspired by actual letters written by patients in an asylum in Great Britain in the 19th century. The title of the song refers not only to the patients living there, but also to the ‘doctors’ treating them. In many cases, the symptoms of the treatments were far worse than the disease itself. The video can be seen here:

W: We spent the past 8 months recording a backlog of material that was written a year or two ago, mixed in with a few newer songs along the way.  Field Of The Impaled, which appears on DitG, is the final track of that lot.  Now, for the first time in a while, we need to write some new stuff before we can get back to the studio phase.

In July you had released an album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
JGW: “Deep In the Ground” is a mix of new and old songs, so I think it is a taste of where we are going in the future and also it was a chance for us to finally put the “Kunstkammer” demo to rest. “The Grotesque (II and III)”, “LV-426”, and “I Am In Hell Help Me” are completely new songs, and I think they show where we’re going. The songs are longer and more experimental. The “Kunstkammer” songs are all shorter and more straightforward metal, but we had an opportunity to re-work them to make them more in line with what we’re doing now. For example, “My Dead Lover,” was updated to include not only new lyrics and guitar parts since the original demo version, but also a female voice reciting poems by Emily Dickinson.

W: The easiest way to tell our newer music from the older, even on the same album, is to look at the track length.  Anything old is in the 4-5 minute range.  The newer stuff has consistently ended up clocking in at 7-20 minutes.  We’re not going to rule out something that sounds good just because it’s short, but that’s definitely the direction we’ve been headed.  And a 10-minute track, if it’s interesting, can’t just be verse/chorus/verse/chorus indefinitely, so along with more time comes more complexity: different movements, more storytelling, and so on.

The band was formed in 2006 but you also had split up for awhile, what was the cause of the split and also the decision to reform the band?
JGW: We were a three man industrial metal band (including myself and Wolfman) that lasted for about a year sometime around 2006. We played some shows in Philadelphia, recorded one demo on CD, and started recording a second demo, but never finished it. Not sure what happened really. Things just sort of ended. In 2014, a friend of mine wanted to start playing music, and we needed a bassist so I called up Wolfman. The new band was a five man metal band and A LOT of people came and went for a while. By about a year ago, it finally ended up just being myself and Wolfman and we continued on at that point as the ‘new’ Écorché.

W: I think our priorities just went in different directions for a while.  There weren’t any creative differences or big arguments or anything exciting.

Since 2014 the band has released 3 full lengths and 2 ep's, do you put a great amount of time and effort in creating and writing new music?
JGW: We don’t play live shows this time around, so all we do is create music. I like it this way – no carrying tube amps and stacks to shows. Life is much easier!

W: As I mentioned earlier, we’ve spent the past few months recording all the stuff that we worked on with our rotating lineup of other band members.  Once they were out of the picture, we decided to go ahead with recording all the songs that the two of us already knew forwards and backwards, with an occasional new one mixed in.  If we’re going to keep up that recording pace, we’re going to have to buckle down and get seriously creative for the first time in a while.

What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?
JGW: Some of the songs have been inspired by Honore Fragonard’s écorchés (Écorché and The Grotesque series of songs) and that will probably continue to be an inspiration now and again. So, historical figures and events have been an influence, along with sci fi and horror films, such as the Alien movies and Hellraiser.

W: All I can really account for beyond that is the samples I’ve added during production.  There’s a lot from the Hellraiser and Alien series in there, of course, in addition to religious revival preachers, folk music from various places, industrial and natural sounds, poetry, generic horror movie sound effects, and clips from films such as Solaris, The Prophecy and What Dreams May Come.

I know that the band’s name means "cut away" in French, how does this name fit in with the musical style that you play?
JGW: That’s not 100% accurate, though somebody put it on our Encylopaedia Metallum page. We can’t change it: you need to earn brownie points on that page (which we don’t have) before they’ll let you edit that info. The name actually refers to a human cadaver or an animal with the skin removed for anatomical study. It was inspired by the works of Honore Fragonard, an 18th century French veterinarian who did bizarre sculptures using human cadavers and animals ranging from horses to monkeys. His works are still on display today in a tiny museum in France.  How does fit in with our musical style? Not sure. Just thought it was really creepy and it’s a cool sounding word.

W: It had more to do with the music we were putting out back in 2006, which is a little different from anything we’ve done lately.  But we already had the name, we still had a bunch of art to go along with it, and we got the blessing of the only person who was in the band back then who isn’t still playing with us anymore.

Currently there are only 2 member in the band but you have worked with other musicians before, are you open to expanding the lineup again in the future?
JGW: Not sure. We have been a 2 man band for the past year, and in that time, as noted, we’ve put out a WHOLE LOT of albums since then. If we ever decide to play live, having a human drummer would be nice. I think bands without drummers look funny.

W: We were looking for a vocalist for a while too – someone to really front the band – but since we haven’t been trying to book shows, that hasn’t been a priority.  Perhaps we’ll do a little better in that search now that we have a bandcamp page with six albums on it: we only had some rough demos when we were trying to recruit people before.

What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
JGW: We haven’t played a show since 2006, so, not much to add on that one.

W: Two of the three venues where we played in 2006 no longer exist.  Perhaps we ruined them.

Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
JGW: Again, not much to say.

On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your recordings by fans of underground music?
JGW: It’s been fascinating.  We have few or no fans in the United States it seems. A majority of our ‘likes’ seem to be from Central America, South America, and from Mediterranean countries in Europe. Americans (or at least people living in the USA) don’t seem to have any interest in whatever weird variation of black metal it is that we’re playing.

W: I think English-speakers are turned away by our unapologetic use of letters with accents on them.

Where do you see your music heading into during the future?
JGW: I just want to keep experimenting. I want to get weirder synth / world music instrument sounds going on and I also starting doing some more guitar solos (as I began experimenting with this past album). Maybe try to get better at the guitar, as I haven’t actually taken a lesson since I was in middle school. And now that we finally have all the ‘old’ material out of the way, I think I’d like to do a concept album. Not sure what that concept is, but we’ve discussed maybe basing it on a sci-fi movie, or a series of sci-fi movies.

W: If Austrian Death Machine hadn’t already cornered the market on Schwarzenegger-movie-metal, I’d be pushing for a Total Recall concept album.  I’m sure we can think of something else, though – or come to an agreement with ADM.

What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
JGW: Still listen to a lot of old Industrial stuff that I’ve always liked, and I’ve recently gotten back into Black Metal, which I hadn’t really listened to since the 90’s. Some bands that I’ve been listening to lately are early Satyricon, Alrakis, Arcturus, The Beast of the Apocalypse, Behemoth, early Cradle of Filth, De Silence Et D’Ombre, Elderwind, Gorgoroth, The Horn, Immortal, Mayhem, Paradise Lost, The Ruins of Beverast, Sar Nath, Ministry, Pig, Skinny Puppy, and Nine Inch Nails. I could go on, but that’s probably enough.

W: I come at it from a somewhat different angle: I hear a lot of Monarch, Thisquietarmy, Nadja, Black Boned Angel, Monument Of Urns, and My Dying Bride figuring into my contributions.

What are some of your non musical interests?
JGW: Music takes up a lot of my time. I’d say it’s my main interest. I try to read but don’t have much time for it. Really only have time to read on the short train ride to and from work these days. And I’m enjoying making videos for the band. I’m really new to it (downloaded the free movie making software less than a year ago), so the first ones I did were pretty terrible – just stills with the music playing, but I’ve done a few ‘real’ videos now and feel like they’re starting to get almost passible.

W: JGW’s video production skills have come a long way in the past year, so I’m looking forward to seeing where he is a year from now in that regard.  My own outside interests: roller derby, travel and beer.  Often all three in conjunction with one another.

 Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
JGW: Thanks for interviewing us. Download our stuff for free on Bandcamp and you can buy CDs from Merdumgiriz (and also soon from our Bandcamp site). Follow us on Facebook. We’re always making new material. Hopefully we’ll have something new out this winter and we’re discussing doing a split album with fellow Merdumgiriz artist Sar Nath. That will probably be in the Spring of 2016.
W: When a band is coming halfway around the world to play a show in your country but they skip over your town, maybe you should shut up and drive a few hours to see them instead of badmouthing them on the internet.


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