Hi Alan! We are enchanted to welcome the sophomore Dread Sovereign album ‘For Doom The Bell Tolls’! So let us have a fine update of things. How are you doing?
I am fine….thanks for asking.
In 2014 your debut full length ‘All Hell’s Martyrs’ was launched at the world. Was the reception by press and fans satisfactory, coming up to the expectations?
I think so. We have carved our own small niche and our own sound. Some gigs and tours. It is not Primordial. It is what it is…
At that time, you and Sol Dubh had a busy schedule with Primordial as well, but nevertheless could you support the debut with enough live gigs?
Well, Sol isn’t in the band anymore, it’s Johnny King on the drums. He wasn’t able to do both. No hard feelings. We moved on. We did some gigs. Of course there could always be more, but we did what we could.
The EP and debut were mainly written by you as I remember well, while worked out with the band. Now that you had a proper band around you, did it change anything in the writing process for the second album? Was the input from the others bigger?
Not really. More or less the same. I come up with maybe 80% or more of the music and we work on the structure. I don’t tell anyone really what to play, the guys come up with the meat on the bones.
As you said, Sol has left his place to drummer Johnny King. Why did he leave and can you tell something about the recruitment of Johnny?
Like I said. Sol cannot tour or play the same shows, so it was pretty natural. Just one of those things. Hard to play more or less for free and take time off work etc.
After an occult intro, we are right away impressed by the thirteen minutes epic ‘Twelve Bells Toll In Salem’., surely one of my favourites on the album. Can you tell a bit more about this particular song?
Just a traditional kind of doom song. No deep dark secret. Maybe a little more Candlemass then you could hear on the last album. The vocals are a bit more in my regular tone, but seems to be a strong opener. It tells the story of the first woman hung in Salem, called Sarah Wildest Averill.
On the first album the lyrics dealt with anti-Christianity but with historical background. I think it is a continuation of those themes, but can you go a bit deeper into those new lyrics?
I am not interested in fantasy, so they have of course some realistic background behind them. Some historical bones. not really anti-Christianity as such, but definitely in the occult, arcane, Luciferian if you will, vein on one level. I've written a lot of lyrics, so I have to work hard to separate them from my other work for those who read them.
Considering the sound of many albums these days, this one stands out in having a live vibe, sense of spontaneous flair and exceptional prominent bass lines! Can you tell more about the recording process? And where was it recorded? With extern producer or not?
We record more or less 80% live….all in the same room. I do the producing and Ola Ejsford does the engineering. The sound and tone is more or less my vision. I want it to sound like a band playing live in a room. Of course there are some touches here and there with eerie overdubs and keyboards, but it really isn’t that hard to get this vibe if you are focused and know what you want. No click tracks, no cut and pasting… I don’t rehearse everything, we leave some things to our instinct. Some of the vocals are one take, having never rehearsed them before.
Of course your voice has a signature sound and expression, but it seems that there is room for experiment, for instance the distortion in ‘The Spines Of Saturn’. In addition to a kind of psychedelic touch, this song even goes in the direction of new wave at some point. Any comments on that?
Sure, absolutely. Everything is considered, I don’t care about restrictions some place on what they create. The vibe I wanted was a bit Hawkwind, a bit psych rock, but darker. I think we got that.
How did you chose the name Dread Sovereign and what is your interpretation?
It’s from the mayflower edict of the first pilgrims who landed on Plymouth rock. It refers to king James, means feared ruler and it also sounds cool.
Dread Sovereign is doom metal with metal fervency, but what are your favourite doom metal bands actually?
Candlemass, Trouble, Pentagram, Solitude Aeternus, Nemesis, and there are plenty of good new bands but no drone, hippie shit or sludge…
Venom us one of the influences, but why covering ‘Live Like An Angel, Die Like A Devil’?
Who did the artwork?
Costin Chiorneau did it. Same as the last two. I think he has created something really original and memorable and distinctly iconic for Dread Sovereign.
Are there plans to create a second album with Twilight Of The Gods?
Right now no plans, but there might be talks about talks…
We look forward to the Primordial gig in Antwerp, late March! What is the latest news about Primordial?
Live album was just released and now we also talk about a new album! Some festivals and weekends here and there.
And what do you have in mind for the near future with Dread Sovereign?
Touring and some shows and maybe a speed metal 12” later in the year!
So, I think it is time to occlude. If there is something you like to add, please feel free to do so…
You are all doomed….