Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Ambient Death Interview
1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
We are a blackened death metal band from NYC with 3 record releases under our belt. I incorporate a guitar synthesizer pickup on my guitar to give an additional color and texture to some of the songs. Most of our songs are composed in a chapter-like structure rather than typical verse/chorus style. Also individually we have been part of the NYC underground scene for more than 15 years and opened up for some of the biggest bands like Behemoth, Arch Enemy, Morbid Angel, etc.
2.So far you have released 2 ep's and a full length album, how would you describe the musical sound of all 3 recordings and also how do they differ from each other?
The first EP Time Eclipse I feel was a blueprint for what I wanted to do with Ambient Death. It has a dark feel to it and it's saturated with reverb. The song Crusades has a very epic feel and people loved it. We recorded the album with our friend Vin Cin who occasionally was Peter Steele's bass tech from Type O Negative.
Our Second EP Transmigration Of Souls was recorded by Joey Z from Life Of Agony and it was definitely more aggressive from the first one. Nocturnal Mirage sounds like a ton of bricks right out of the gate. The record sounds more dry and more raw in comparison.
The full length Dismembering The Image Of God I believe showcases our sound and vision. The album was produced by Aady Pandit and took us almost a year to record. We achieved an awesome balance of melody and heaviness. I wanted the album to be an audio experience from beginning to the end.
3.In the 7 years that the band has been together there has only been 3 releases, can you tell us a little bit more about the gaps between recordings?
The main reason is that the last few years were consumed by my studies and my career in Maritime. Also because of our jobs and work schedules it was almost impossible to get something going consistently as far as rehearsals or playing shows. This eventually resulted in some line-up changes which again prolonged things even further. Just like majority of metal bands we do not make a living from this so other things in life have a priority but we play music whenever we can and continue to do so because of our love for it.
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
In one word....death!! lol
Everything I write revolves around death, the afterlife, the mortuary art and philosophical notions of our existence. I've been fascinated by that since I was a little kid and to me death and existentialism are the roots of our beloved metal subculture.
A lot of new metal I hear I feel the lyrics were written by a 12 year old. There's no substance to it and I laugh when I hear a strong emphasis on word combinations such as darkness of the shadows or 30 year old dude singing about slaying dragons lol
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Ambient Death'?
To me the name has a dual meaning. One has to do with the music itself and the ambient interludes as well as the guitar synth pick up I use. Two is my fascination with death and metaphysics which reflects in my lyrics.
The word 'ambient' appeared as a name for one of the guitar effects I used when I was writing some of the stuff for the first EP and it just kind of clicked in my head 'ambient death' and I said why the fuck not! lol
6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
We only played a handful of local shows because of previously mentioned issues we had but one of the shows we played with Malignancy was pretty awesome. A lot of the audience seems enchanted by our instrument proficiency especially when they hear my guitar make keyboard sounds.
7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Yes. We're going to play a few shows here in NY this summer and a few out of state in the late Fall and Winter.
8.According to the fb page the band is looking for a new bass player, have you had any luck in your search?
Not yet! We went through 3 bass players in the process of working on Dismembering and finally we had the 4th one, Aady Pandit (our record producer) knock it out of the park with amazing bass lines on the record. We also had the 5th bass player, Carlos who appears on our two videos. Since I had to let go of our 3rd bass player two days before the video shoot we had Carlos learn the bass lines on the spot and be our stuntman-bass player for the video. lol
Until we find the right fit Aady is going to fulfill the bass role when we play live.
9.Can you tell us a little bit more about Silver Harp Publishing?
Silverharp Publishing is my independent publishing entity registered with ASCAP.
I use it to release our music to the public and collect remainder pennies from our stolen royalties lol
10.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of death and black metal?
I think it's been absolutely amazing. We've had a lot of individuals from all over the globe even from Formentera (look it up lol) who are not afraid to stand alone behind less known independent bands and do their research for themselves rather than have someone tell them who's cool to follow and who's not. Ultimately it's the greatest pay off for our invested time and money to have someone take their time and reach out to us just to say how much they enjoy our music.
11.Are any of the band members involved with any other musical projects these days?
Yes! John is very much involved in a black metal band from NYC Jotunheim fronted by our friend Arthur who was also Ambient Death's 2nd bass player. lol The NY metal scene is very incestual. lol
Also Jaimen is currently playing with The Gemini Method.
12.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Not sure! I would definitely like to experiment with some new sounds and new instruments. I always challenge myself in my abilities which helps me grow in my writing and it's very much noticeable if you listen to our albums in chronological order.
13.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?
Lyrically and musically I always admired the work of Dissection, Death, Paradise Lost, old Opeth. My non-metal influence always have been Dead Can Dance, Tom Waits, New Model Army to name a few. Right now I find myself listening to a lot of Septicflesh, Sopor Aeternus, Barren Earth, Arcana, Arcturus, etc.
14.What are some of your non musical interests?
Definitely water. I work on the water here in NY harbor and I'm very passionate about it just as much as my music.
Jaimen is one of the biggest graffiti artists in NYC and if you're from NYC you probably have seen his work without even knowing.
John has published a book 'From An Ill Mind' (available through Barnes&Noble website) which is a collection of his short poems. Besides writing he likes to spend his time at his local barber shop trimming his perfect beard like a Bonsai tree. lol
15.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Sure. I would like to thank you for giving us a voice and everyone who takes their time to read this and enjoys our music. I also would like to encourage everyone to check out our video for Apotheosis Of The Hangman which was shot on the same stage where Albert Einstein made his speech in late 1800's and more recent Colin Powell. We also have a new video for City Of The Silent coming out any day now!