1. Can you tell us a little bit about the musical projects for those that have never heard of them?
Grue is a two-person black metal band that’s been slowly getting off the ground over the past year, and Word of Unmaking is a funeral doom studio project that I recorded while living in a barely-heated farmhouse the winter before last.
2. How would you describe the musical sound of both of the projects and how they differ from each other?
The back stories behind them are pretty different. The Word of Unmaking track on this split was recorded in bits and pieces over a period of several months, so I spent a lot of time adding and fine-tuning parts before burying them all in the mix. I was trying to make it not sound like “a band” (that you could visualize standing side by side with instruments in their hands), and more like a disembodied piece of music, if that makes sense. On the other hand, although I wrote all the Grue songs, the drummer and I arranged them together so the end result sounds much more band-like, to me at least: you’ve got your drum kit, you’ve got your loud guitar-thing, andyou’ve got a voice on top of it all.
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects that you explore with the music?
Both bands kind of converge in terms of lyrics, in that so far they’re all coming from a place of feeling disillusioned with a
human-dominated planet, and pessimistic about its future. Not really in the sense of being a “nature person” - I’ve lived in cities for most of my life and don’t own hiking boots - but more in the sense of feeling that a lot of human endeavor comes at a huge cost when you look behind the curtain. No matter how far we “progress” or how smart we think we’ve become, horror and futility are never far behind.
4. What are the meanings and inspirations between the names of Grue and Word of Unmaking?
“Grue” is a word that H.P. Lovecraft used in some of his letters to describe things that creepy or supernatural - I assume it came from "gruesome.” It’s also a creature in a Jack Vance book. “Word of Unmaking” was inspired by “The Word of Unbinding,” which is the title of an early Ursula Le Guin story.
5. Currently both of the projects are solo, are you planning on creating a line up for any of the musical projects in the future?
I unsuccessfully tried to put together a live lineup for Word of Unmaking years ago, before this recording. Some great people were willing to give it a shot with me, but it wasn’t really a great format for writing and arranging this kind of music. I wouldn’t rule out doing the odd one-off live show, though...
Grue, on the other hand, has played a few live shows already and was always meant to be a live band. It’s been slowing down a bit this fall but we’ve got a new drummer and are writing new songs again; hopefully we’ll be playing out again by the time winter is underway.
6. Currently you are unsigned are you looking for a label and if so, what kind of label do you feel that would be a perfect fit for your music?
In every other band I’ve been in that put out records, there was always another member with more visual art and design experience, so this demo might be the first time I’ve personally tried to convey anything through the visual presentation of the record. I know I’ve got a lot to learn in that area, so I guess it’d be cool to work with people who were also into that?
7. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your musical projects by fans of black metal and funeral doom?
So far I’ve gotten a few orders from Europe, which has been great.
Locally we’ve been lucky enough to play some awesome shows with bands like Nachzehrer, Obsidian Tongue, Hekseri - Eastern Massachusetts is a great place for metal these days.
8. What direction do you see the music heading ito on future releases?
For Word of Unmaking, I’ve been thinking about doing the next recording with an actual drummer - layering everything on top of a live bass+drums rhythm track instead of doing it all myself. For Grue, I’m excited to start writing new songs again and eventually play some more shows.
9. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
In terms of doom, I’ve been pretty picky about recent bands because I’m not usually that into the “stoner metal” and “sludge” ends of the spectrum, which means I feel pretty out of touch with what “doom”seems to mean to a lot of people in 2012. The bands that have influenced me the most in that area have been ones whose music was heavy in a way that sounded otherworldly and non-human, rather than heavy in a “dudes rocking out with guitars” way - bands like
Skepticism, Wormphlegm, Stabat Mater, Mournful Congregation, earlyAhab, Disembowelment, Catacombs.
As far as black metal goes, there’s a lot more coming out that I like these days. In the past few years I’ve been really into Mgla, Nazxul, Inquisition, Angantyr, Portal, Sargeist, Arckanum, Deathspell Omega. Locally bands like Torture Chain, Obsidian Tongue, and Nachzehrer haveput out some great records and tapes. In terms of more general influences early Emperor will always be huge for me, as well as the Quebecquois metal scene from Voivod to Gris to Forteresse.
Outside of metal, I also listen to a lot of North American, Canadian, Scotch/Irish, and Breton folk music. It doesn’t necessarily have adirect “influence” every time I pick up a guitar, but it’s always in the background for me.
10. How would you describe your views on Occultism?
I wouldn’t say I was a “believer” in the sense of literally believing in supernatural influences or revelations, but do feel a strong affinity for art and folk traditions that attempt to deal with the non-rational or Dionysian aspects of human existence. For me, musican be a big part of that but I know people for whom things like painting or chaos magic fill a similar need.
11. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
Lately I’ve been really into older fantasy writers, like Lord Dunsany, William Morris, E.R. Eddison, and obviously Lovecraft. I think that they were much better at capturing the primal weirdness of the world as they saw it, compared to later fantasy writers who were fundamentally predictable and orderly, no matter how “weird” they tried to be. I’ll always love Tolkien, but fantasy literature took a huge turn for the worse in his wake.
12. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Nope. Sorry this has taken me so long to finish.