Hello Mares! Congratulations with your sophomore full length 'Eigengrau'! We did an interview when the debut came out, so let us have a nice sequel since then... I hope you're doing well...
Hi there! Hope you're doing well... We've been keeping ourselves very busy since our debut full length. We've had a few lineup changes, released a five track EP, recorded and are about to release our second full length album, played our first international tours and significantly shifted our sound. It's been a very productive time for us.
In March 2015 the EP 'Dramatis Personae' came out and it was quite a surprise with line-up changes and a heavier and more orchestral approach. Can you explain as creators how this development occurred?
I think it's quite simple. 'Write what you feel' is the philosophy. Obviously with the new lineup, there was a new dynamic as well... Music has a tendency to reflect life. Life changes. Perspective changes. The music will evolve because of new experiences and interactions. New people shape you. That said, I am always in favor of musical development. I wanted to step away from what people were expecting me to write... to let my creativity flow with no restrictions. It's all part of maturing as a musician. I've found that after ‘Dramatis Personae’, a progression to a heavier and darker sound was very natural.
That EP included a guest appearance of Grutle Kjellson of Enslaved. How did this contribution come into being?
We were the national support for Enslaved's Australian tour in 2013. We maintained contact with them after the tour was done and simply asked him to do 'his thing' on one of our tracks. He was particularly suited to the song we asked him to contribute to... we're glad he was happy to be a part of it.
You played many shows after the release of the EP. Can you fly though the live experiences that followed and the impact they had on the band, the growing of success and on you personally?
The release of ‘Dramatis Personae’ was a very interesting time, it felt like we'd hit the refresh button. Some new members were introduced and we reassessed what we wanted to be. We shed the gothic imagery and began pursuing something more suited to the new direction. We started changing our appearances, removing individual identities to be viewed as a collective and put more focus on our live performances. Less 'gloomy musicians', more aggression. We are conduits for the music, and it demanded more of us than it had done previously. Our touring schedule was pretty intensive. The last three years have been incredible as far as experience goes... we've learned a huge amount about how to tour effectively, self-manage and take care of ourselves. It's been wild and hugely rewarding. There's been a shift in how we approach this, I guess you could call it personal development, haha.
Was Australia the only place you toured and played until now (already huge enough hehe) or did you do gigs on other continents in the meantime? I heard something about Japan... what about this adventure?
We were fortunate enough to tour Japan with Eternal Tears Of Sorrow as our first international tour, and we were joined by Japanese band Nameless One. We had a great time, Eternal Tears Of Sorrow are a really good crew of people. Very relaxed and humble. We returned to Japan six months later with Arcturus, 1349 and Sigh. That was an exciting tour. Japan is very welcoming and everyone we encountered was incredibly hospitable to us.
When did you start writing the new material for 'Eigengrau' and can you tell a bit more about the writing process this time?
Well a magician never reveals his secrets... haha. Writing an album is a long process, some riffs and sections are much older than others. Ideas are constantly churning, I record what I can, when I can and revisit things when inspiration strikes. I write everything at home and when I feel it's complete, we take it to a rehearsal room and piece it together. We may be inspired for vocals or lyrics during those rehearsals, but they're a 'finishing touch', not a primary focus. Writing vocals is an interesting process for us. The music is written first and whatever that music leans towards (conceptually) is what we use to create the lyrics and vocals.
'Eigengrau' is a title that leaps to the eye. Can you explain it and why this theme had your interest?
Eigengrau is a German word for the deep grey shade the human eye sees in the absence of light. A 'perfect darkness' so to speak. The album itself is an exploration of different facets of darkness, and as a phenomenon, it perfectly summarized where we were heading with this album.
And can you go deeper into the lyrics in general as well?
We draw influence from many places... occultism, dream states, neurological phenomena, H. P. Lovecraft, Carl Jung's psychology, religious indoctrination, the experience of death, existentialism... As far as concepts go, there's a lot in there.
The album is surely heavy, but also very orchestral and multilayered... I think it goes more in the direction of Septicflesh or Fleshgod Apocalypse now... do you agree with that and how would you describe your musical evolution yourself?
I suppose it does, doesn't it? I guess I'd agree with that... it's been a natural progression for us. Like we touched on previously, different members bring different influences and we keep pushing to create something more aggressive, bigger and more engaging with each release.
This time mix and mastering was done by Logan Mader, also a famous producer. How did you come to this choice and how was it working with him?
Logan has worked on some albums we all enjoyed as far as production goes. He's not a typical choice for our genre, and that was something we wanted to explore. He worked really well with ‘Eigengrau’, and it's an interesting take on this style... we didn't want a generic sound. We were after something clear and polished, but also wanted dark, aggressive moments. The orchestrations and mellow passages needed their own breathing space too... It was a lot to ask of a producer! He has a great ear for clarity and was very professional, friendly and patient. He was great to work with.
Are there guests on the album?
There are two other Australian musicians who contributed to the album. Ryan Huthnance (The Seer) laid down some vocal layers for ‘Into Aetherium’ and Samantha Kempster (Promethean Misery/Cruciform) is responsible for the melancholic violin on ‘Forged In Eidolon’.
Would you like to shoot a video clip for one of the songs? Which one would you prefer?
We're planning on shooting a clip very soon! You'll just have to wait and see which one we've chosen, haha.
Every band has its own idea about internet. Due to the fact that Australia is far away from Europe and potential fans in US, what has been the influence of internet on your career? Is it for you a blessing or a curse?
It's a huge positive as far as I'm concerned. We can access and be accessed by people from all across the globe, people we wouldn't normally encounter through traditional means. There's also a whole new level of engagement with people through social media and online interactions... you can make great personal connections even though there are thousands of kilometers between you.
Which happenings or experiences were the highlights in your career until now?
The main one for me is being able to tour and meet a lot of influential artists.
To occlude, can you tell anything of Seth's artwork?
Seth is a very talented man. We explained the concept of ‘Eigengrau’ to him and left him to his own devices. He has a great eye for detail and all of his artworks are incredibly rich and textured. We like working with him, because he understands the creative process and consistently creates beautiful art.
And what are the plans for the near future? Any gigs or tours in the making? Or some other news you'd like to share?
There are a lot of things in the works for Rise Of Avernus at the moment... releasing ‘Eigengrau’ and touring new places are at the top of the list.