Thursday, October 31, 2019

Ploughshare Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new ep?

Thanks for reaching out to us! Since recording Tellurian Insurgency we’ve moved swiftly into writing more music. We dedicate a lot of energy to mapping and planning our material, and we’re always on the lookout for ways to extend and challenge compositional habits we’ve accumulated along the way. For us, developing as an ensemble and furthering our capacities is crucial. In addition to planning, assessing, and discussing future projects, we’ve also had the opportunity to perform some of the material from Tellurian live at some recent shows. It is always a rewarding experience to play new material and we’ve grown as a band from the demands it has imposed on us.

2.You have a new ep coming out during the end of November, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

We feel Tellurian Insurgency to be largely continuous with many of the elements in previous releases. Of course, each release involves a different set of imperatives and motivations and these affect the approach to composing and recording new material. Perhaps a notable shift with Tellurian in particular was the emphasis placed on aspects of Ploughshare’s sound that we’d not explored heavily in previous releases. The opportunity to collaborate with Andrew Nolan was a special one for us in this regard. We’ve long been fans of the many projects he has been a part of over the years and working closely with him certainly influenced our ambitions with Tellurian.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore on the new ep and also how would you describe your progress as songwriters over the years?

Thematically, Tellurian Insurgency addresses and celebrates the sheer munificence and plenitude of the telluric. Apocalyptic speculation and the like too easily beget sad passions. Those bent on ruminating about extinction miss the more exciting point: the earth doesn’t care, it never has, and it never will.

As we’ve mentioned above, developing as an ensemble is very important for us and for what we’re trying to achieve with Ploughshare. How we channel and cultivate progress depends on what we’re grappling with at the time. That said, one strategy we’ve found to be especially useful is to operate within a set of constraints. Exercising restraint and setting limits can be very productive.


4.You have mentioned having an interest in the works of Kristeva, Bataille, and Kafka, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in Western Philosophy?

We find in philosophy and philosophical texts only the resources we need to explicate problems, and the same goes for literature. We’ve no interest in philosophical concepts beyond the ways in which they do something for whatever issue is at hand. Furthermore, we should note that we’ve absolutely no commitment to any specific philosophical ‘canon’ whatsoever, notwithstanding our engagements with the thinkers you’ve listed here. 

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Ploughshare'?

To be honest, there is no inspiration and no meaning behind the name Ploughshare worth spelling out. Ploughshare is a moniker under which we can work and collaborate. If it happens to overflow its basic function in this regard, we’ll honour the fortuitousness. 

6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the ep cover?

All the artwork associated with Ploughshare stems from a longstanding collaboration with our close friend JR. His output is eclectic, sporadic, and spans different mediums; all features which we find particularly appealing. As any artist knows all too well, works amass over the years, often living lonely lives in forgotten spaces. The artwork for Tellurian was a chance encounter salvaged from the annals of an over-productive artist. JR works in different ways these days, but the piece still stood on its own and we recognised this immediately.

7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?

We’ve been fortunate to play plenty of shows with bands we admire and enjoy – they always seem to stick as some of the best.  Recently we played with our friends in Vile Apparition and Faceless Burial, supporting Necrot from the US, which was great. Australia has a fertile heavy music scene, and it’s been a pleasure to play with some of our favourite local bands. Given its geographic isolation, Australia rarely gets many international tours, so playing with Zhrine, the body, Dragged into Sunlight, and Necrot this year has also been exceptional.

In terms of our stage performance, we certainly value precision and execution, and we practice consistently to this end. Arranging ‘complete’ performances is also very important. We strive to make each performance coherent and unified and we like to utilize different instrumentation and arrangements to achieve this. Moreover, performing with intensity is essential for the music we’re creating. Finding different ways to express this intensity is an ongoing component of Ploughshare’s live performances and we hope to be able to do this consistently, with each and every performance.

8.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new ep is released?

We’re in the process of arranging a run of shows in early 2020 in support of the release and we’ve a few upcoming shows towards the end of the year in Canberra, too, including our EP release show, put on by Brilliant Emperor, one of the labels we’re working with on the release. We hope to spend more time in 2020 playing out of Canberra.

9.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black and death metal?

Thus far the responses seem good, which is gratifying. We’ve received some interesting feedback and commentary along the way, too, and we’re incredibly grateful to anyone who has bothered to take some time to check the band out. We have been very lucky in having the support of labels overseas, namely I, Voidhanger and Night Rhythms. They’ve helped the band get some exposure outside of Australia, and it’s been a pleasure to get to work with some of our favourite current labels.

10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

Having commenced writing for the next project, we've already begun to sense some different trajectories unfolding. However, they're all within close proximity to ideas previously explored, even if they're shaping up to be more prominent and perhaps more concentrated. Incorporating different equipment, using new tools, and expanding our abilities as players is also something we're always pushing towards. Output is no problem for us, so it is more a matter of delimiting and assembling in a creative way that becomes important when considering future projects. 

11.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?

It’s difficult for us to list influences that shaped Tellurian Insurgency. How we went about crafting certain riffs in certain ways, or constructing the songs that make up the EP, are far too diffuse. Each project always involves of a period of planning, writing alone and together, in ways that invariably exceed our initial plans. This is a process that would be impossible without the distinct enmeshing of ideas, skills, and experiences that arise when we are together as a band.

As a group we have fairly diverse listening habits. In general, we try and keep up to date with new releases. We’ve especially enjoyed Deathspell Omega’s The Furnaces of Palingesia, Miscreance’s From Awareness to Creation, Charnel Altar’s self-titled demo, Ride for Revenge’s Sinking the Song, and Fran├žois J. Bonnet & Stephen O’Malley’s Cylene. In terms of older material we’ve recently returned to: Swans, Beherit, Khanate, Buried Inside, Ved Buens Ende, Unsane, Blut aus Nord, The Goslings, Ornette Coleman, Cherubs, Kathaaria, Genocide Organ, and Portal.

12.What are some of your non musical interests?

Veganism.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts? 

Thanks for the questions and support the fuckin underground.

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