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Spire

The Australian ambient black metal act Spire recently released their excellent first full-length album ‘Entropy’. An engrossing album full of atmosphere, dark moods and a fresh take on the combination of ambient and black metal. Of course Lords Of Metal was eager to shoot some questions at the anonymous members of the band.

By: Roel de Haan | Archive under black metal

First of all, how are you doing?
Excellent. This is a very important time for us - with the release of our first full length album.

Since this will be the first interview with you for Lords Of Metal, could you introduce Spire to our readers through means of a short biography?
Spire is the culmination of many years of hard work. We aim to make music that invokes an emotional response from the listener. We have been working on our music for many years, but are also patient when it comes to finishing a recording - thus it is usually several years (at least) between albums. When you listen to Spire, you’re hearing the result of hundreds of hours of effort. We put our first self-titled EP together over several years, it was finally released in 2010. The Spire EP is a lot less refined and much more ‘atmospheric’ than later work, but we’re still proud of it. The follow up was another EP ‘Metamorph’. Although this album was released only a year later, the music was actually being worked on for several years beforehand. With ‘Metamorph’ we created a much more developed sound, bringing to life our patient sound, which is broken up with violence and a mournful tone. It took us five years to write the follow up to ‘Metamorph’, our recently released full length ‘Entropy’. We’re very proud of this album and encourage your readers to listen and judge for themselves.

I wanted to compliment you with your first full-length album ‘Entropy’, I enjoyed it quite a bit. How are the general reactions towards the album? What are your own feeling towards the album no that it is out of your hands?
Thanks for your kind words. The album is very well received to date by reviewers and fans! We primarily produce Spire for our own sakes, it’s a very personal and impassioned project. For us it is an extension of ourselves, as such it is very humbling to have so many people enjoy and support our work.

For me the main distinguishing characteristic of ‘Entropy’ is the fusion of black metal with eerie ambient parts and most importantly a strong melodic presence throughout its entirety. How would you describe the album?
This is a difficult question to answer! We’re so close to this project that I don’t feel we can objectively describe it at all. It is an album that tries to force the listener in a series of emotional calamities. It is patient at times, then fierce, hysterical and anguished at others. We aim to make the listener to focus on these changes and by the end of the final track feel emotionally spent.

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The album features quite few vocal approaches including dark haunting chorals in the song ‘Void’. How do you combine and decide what kind of vocals fit the music. Is this by trial and error or is it an intuitive process?
Interesting question. The vocals take a very long time to get finalized. We start with lyric-less demo recordings that are improvised to find the vocal ‘style’ that fits each part. After this we spend time matching the lyrics the album concept. Finally we grind in the studio, doing as many fucking takes as needed to get the exact sound we want. It’s quite a long process.

The production fits the album like a glove; eerie and raw, but with enough definition to actually hear what is going on. Are you satisfied with the result and was this the sound you aimed for when entering the studio?
As a band, we feel we’ve developed and improved not just on our writing, music craftmanship and vocals, we’ve really come a long way production wise. Again, to achieve a thick, yet well defined sound takes a very long time. By the time the mixing is complete, we’re (almost!) tired of hearing it.

You seem like an outfit that doesn’t deal with the usual topics within the metal world. What are the subjects you deal with lyrically and musically?
Lyrically we’re interested in presenting philosophic arguments. We see life and existence as absurd, filled with suffering and purposelessness. While the content is dire, ultimately it is a positive experience to voice such things and work them out of one's subconscious. Spire is essentially a cathartic vehicle to express and physically purge ideas.

There is quite some mystery surrounding Spire’s line-up. What are the reasons behind this secrecy?
It’s not interesting. The music speaks for itself. The people behind art are always inevitably flawed, as are all people. Why distract from what really matters with useless personae?

I imagine a Spire performance would be something quite special. Any news regarding touring? What would an ideal Spire show be like, for you and the audience?
Ideally we’d like to play around the world at shows/festivals where aesthetic is the primary objective. Too many live shows are just a bunch of people playing their music album perfect. This is pointless from our perspective. Unless there is an appropriate and powerful visual accompaniment, live shows are mostly lost potential. Australia’s Portal are a perfect example of providing a live experience, not just a ‘gig’. From our perspective the live shows we’ve performed previously were special. However, we haven’t had the opportunity to truly create our ideal live setting. All in good time.

Ambitions, hopes and dreams every band has them, what are yours? Any insights into your immediate plans for the future?
Immediate plans are to write! Although we take a long time between recordings, we’re never really ‘taking a break’. We just take as much patience as required to end up with an end product which is the absolute best that we can produce. As far as ambitions go, we would like to be able to execute our live performance vision for across Europe.

Thank you very much for your time, it is much appreciated. The traditional final words to our readers are of course completely yours!
Thanks to you and your readers for your time. We also wanted to pass on thanks to Iron Bonehead for the fucking amazing support!

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