1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Hawthorne:The four of us live between London and Sarnia, Ontario. We play a sombre mix of metal emphasizing very dark themes, heavily rooted in black and doom metal, but definitely not limited to.
2.You have your first full length coming out in July, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the ep you had released in 2013?
Hawthorne: Simply, 'Farewell to the Sun' is despairing. While not an unfamiliar element to the EP 'Forest Dweller', Farewell completely encircles the idea and we try to cultivate as much of the feeling as possible in the music. I guess it's really up to a listener to determine the exact 'sound' that is happening, as it tends to be fluid.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
Hawthorne: The loss of, or lack of hope has been a very strong topic from the beginning until now. Whatever wretch that lay deep within humanity may find itself being touched upon sometime or another.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Vow Of Thorns'?
Hawthorne: Originally, it was just a somewhat anagrammatic name for some solo material. With the aid of indecisiveness, it ended up sticking throughout the years.
5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Hawthorne: Our hometowns London and Sarnia always show us a tremendous amount of love, and have been energetic since day one. Our local London promoter Heathen Hammer has been a staple in bringing the community and scene together, and every show they have hosted has been nothing but enjoyable. As for the stage performance, we try to just focus on the songs. We don't tend to be too keen on any stage theatrics or conversation - we're mostly looking for tonal destruction and unanimous despair.
Richards: Our first time in Toronto was our biggest show. That was in July of 2014, opening for Agalloch and Jex Thoth. They brought in the crowd we just had to play, and it seemed to go well. Our first few performances were just about overcoming anxiety for me. Prior to that I had never really played live. Now it’s about a tight performance, drawing the crowd into the songs and projecting that despair that Kevin mentioned.
6.Do you have any touring or show plans once the album is released?
Hawthorne: Aside from the short Canadian tour we're doing with Minnesota's Ashbringer, there's only been brief discussion on future tours. Nothing planned.
Richards: We certainly want to get out and get playing more. It is really just a matter for finding the time and funding to do so.
7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
Richards: Finding a label or releasing it ourselves was something we debated on for a long time. We sent stuff out to a few labels, talked to a couple, and had a couple others approach us. What we have ended up doing is a combination of both. We are taking this opportunity to start our own company/label Forest Dweller Inc. (something we’ve been thinking about doing for awhile) and we have partnered up with Neuropa Records who will be handling European distribution for ‘Farewell to the Sun’.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black and doom metal?
Hawthorne: The EP has popped up in places we'd never expected, and has reached a lot of people outside of the black and doom metal genres. Both in and out of the genre scenes, the response has been overwhelmingly and almost startlingly positive. We started playing music together because we wanted to do it for ourselves, as our own pastime or escape, and that we've received positive and supportive feedback is vastly encouraging.
9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Hawthorne: Not backwards, I hope. We've been toying with more trancing and psychedelic sounds, along with a more aggressive and prominent black metal feel. We've always felt that black metal has only been a small portion of the music, barely enough to even fall into the category. A lot of the response has come from the black metal realm, and we'd very much like to go in that direction for future releases.
Richards: We are somehow working faster than ever, so you may be hearing some of that in the not so distant future.
10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Hawthorne: Collectively and individually, the late Agalloch has to be the strongest influence for us. Musically, they were one of the elements that brought us together. In the recent years, they have been very helpful in the process of the full-length, so we have to give them some extra credit for that as well. Style influence spans across all forms of dark and doomy music; from metal and rock, to folk and ambient. Other band influences include; Drudkh, Krallice, Ulver, and Woods of Ypres. As for records we're currently spinning.. I just grabbed a copy of the Faun Fables promo 'A Table Forgotten', in anticipation for their upcoming Born of the Sun.
Richards: I have a affection for dark music in general. From stuff like Loss to Keaton Henson. Recently I’ve been revisiting a lot of classic Bathory and Mayhem. As for newer stuff, Cobalt’s Slow Forever and Mgla’s Exercises in Futility have been constants on my playlist.
11.What are some of your non musical interests?
Hawthorne: Complaining, self-despair, having a general lack of motivation, contemplating the pointlessness of existence - you know, all the fun stuff.
Richards: Well I’m not quite as nihilistic nowadays. Outside of work and music all my energy is focused on my daughter. I don't have time for much else.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Hawthorne: If any of you decide to take the time to listen to any of the records or songs, we thank you, I hope you can find something in there for yourself.