Since recording “In Lands Thought Lost” I have just about finished writing and recording demos for what will be the fourth full-length. I'll soon send the demos to Austin once I've finished the last bit of tinkering and then we'll set about the recording in full once he has learned the songs. And at the moment I am actually also writing riffs for what will become album five.
2.You have a new album coming out in September, what are some of the things you have done musically on this recording that you where not able to do on your previous releases?
Having real drums is a big step forward, especially when they're played by someone as good as Austin. He really brought a new sense of dynamics and aggression to the music. Aside from that, Spencer Morris, who mastered the album, gave me a lot of help with the mix which has made this by far the best sounding Paths album. It feels like I'm finally reaching the sound I've always wanted to have but struggled to get.
3.In 2013 and 14 you released a great amount of material and then took a break until this year, can you tell us a little bit more about what was going on during that time frame?
The initial spout of releases was definitely a very creative time for me. I was just inspired all the time and had such a craving to find new sounds and to experiment, though with admittedly mixed results. When I listen back to the demos now I can see what I was going for and what I tried to do, but the execution was rather sloppy. Things really started coming together in a clearer and more refined direction when I did the first full-length, “Where the Oakenhearted Dwell.” Shortly after the digital release I did myself of that album, Werewolf Promotions came into the picture. They released the first album on tape, the second album, “Beauty and Nihility,” on CD and finally a 2 tape set compiling all the demos. These releases should all still be available on the Werewolf Promotions site for anyone who hasn't gotten them yet.
“In Lands Thought Lost” was written at the end of this period. I originally recorded the album back in May of 2015, shortly before a temporary move across the country which led to a halt in writing and recording. The album was recorded with programmed drums, like everything before it. It was around this time I got in contact with Austin from Panopticon. I'd been a fan of his work since around 2007, and it was rather humbling to find out that he liked my own music after his has been such an influence on me for so long. At that point I was just sitting on the finished “In Lands Thought Lost” album. I sent it to Austin as I was curious to hear what he thought of the new material. He really liked it, so much so that he offered to record drums for it. Once his participation in the project was decided, it only made sense that we would release the album through Bindrune Recordings. Unfortunately, a number of unforeseen circumstances arose that delayed the release till now.
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore on the new album and also how would you describe your progress as a songwriter over the years?
Thematically, there are a lot of similarities to the lyrics on the first album. Nature, overcoming personal struggles, and Odinic themes of sacrifice and growth are prominent. Though the final epic on the album delves into history rather than mythology, being inspired by the doomed expedition to the South Pole led by Robert Falcon Scott (though there is a metaphorical meaning to this song as well). I have been an avid student of history since childhood, even gaining a degree in history at university, but this is the first time I've let that other passion seep into my lyrics.
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Paths'?
When I started the project I knew I wanted an ambiguous name. Something that didn't tie me down to a specific style or theme. The name itself is taken from the Sol Invictus song of the same name.
6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
The artwork is done by Solfjall Design. She has worked on album art for a number of other bands, including Panopticon, Jodöden and Falls of Rauros. I made a VERY rough mock-up in photoshop to give an idea of what I wanted, then she took that rough and sloppy idea and turned it into a wonderful work of art.
7.With this musical project you record mostly everything by yourself, is this more of a personal project to you?
Paths is definitely a very personal project. Having full control of the musical direction and overall sound of the band is very important to me. Paths is just the music that flows naturally out of me and I don't know how well I would be able to work within the constraints of a full band.
8.On the new album you also had some session work from a member from 'Panopticon', can you tell us a little bit more about his contribution to the recording?
I touched on this a bit earlier, but to go into a bit more detail, I sent Austin what I thought was a finished album. I had programmed and mixed all the drums, and thought it was done, but then he came on board to do real drums. He learned the songs based on the beats I had programmed, but I allowed him some leeway. He changed the beats in a few places based on his own ideas, plus threw in his own fills. He sent me recordings of what he'd played and I loved the changes he made. The songs felt so much more dynamic and felt like they had much more forward momentum.
I also then did some additional guitar recording, and completely re-mixed the album from scratch with Austin's drums. The resulting 5 songs are by far the best music I have made to date and I am immensely proud of what we made created. I can't overstate just how important Austin's contributions to this album are and I am eternally grateful to him.
9.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal?
Bindrune put up a song (titled “To Brave the Storm”) from the album on youtube last month and the reaction has been nothing but positive so far.
10.Can you tell us a little bit more about 'Teeth of The Wolf'?
Teeth of the Wolf is my side project. It was conceived as an acoustic-singer songwriter sort of thing, somewhere between neofolk and Townes Van Zandt, though also incorporating elements of ambient and darkwave. I recorded two demos and played a couple shows, but since then have had little inspiration for writing acoustic songs. My musical focus has been solely on Paths since then, and it looks to continue that way for the foreseeable future. So I guess Teeth of the Wolf is on hiatus.
11.Where do you see yourself heading into musically during the future?
The material I've written for the fourth album, and am currently writing for the fifth is much more direct, and, dare I say it, catchy. My song writing has become much more disciplined and focused, yet at the same time I think the songs are a lot more exciting and lively. I've been experimenting more with writing dual guitar parts and it's really adding an exciting element to this new material. I'm very much looking forward to the future of Paths' ever shifting sound. The fourth album looks to be a bit more of a straight forward black metal album, while the filth is slowly going into some weird directions, though that's still in the very early stages of writing so I can't say for sure...
12.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?
The biggest influence on Paths is the Norwegian second wave as a whole, but also bands like Moonsorrow, Falkenbach, Drudkh, Walknut, Agalloch, Hate Forest, Bathory, Panopticon, Wodensthrone, Ygg, Angantyr, Mgla, Winterfylleth, and Death Fortress. I may disagree with the politics of some of those bands, but their music is a continuing inspiration.
That said, my musical taste has been slowly changing over the last few years. Or maybe regressing is a better description. I find myself drawn more and more to older bands, the bands I got into as a teenager, particularly first and second wave black metal bands, and classic heavy metal in general. My interest in contemporary black metal, particularly so-called post-black metal, has waned quite a lot, with the exception of a handful of exceptional bands.
I have been exploring heavy and epic metal much more thoroughly in the last few years. Bands like Manilla Road, Omen, Heavy Load, Ashbury, Fates Warning, Sumerlands, Doomsword etc. All this change in listening habits over the last few years is definitely filtering into my riff writing as well...
13.What are some of your non musical interests?
A mentioned earlier, I am a history buff. Particularly military history. Outside of that, I am an avid reader in general. In particular, writers like J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, E. M. Cioran, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Ernest Hemingway, Friedrich Nietzsche, H. P. Lovecraft, and many more that I have doubtless forgotten to mention. Beyond that I like to spend time outside, especially in forests. Whether with friends or in solitude, trees provide a much more comforting surrounding than the the grey concrete of everyday life.
14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanks to everyone who has supported this project so far. It's been a long wait, but new material is finally dawning. We are currently awaiting the test presses of the vinyl and we're hoping to have “In Lands Thought Lost” released sometime this fall. And believe me, it will be worth the wait. After that, the time in between this new album and the next should be much less than three years! There is lots of new Paths music on the horizon...