'Ruin' has a monumental sound. Can you tell us about the recording process, which studio it was, how long did it take and more details?
It actually took about a year to record the CD. We would work on it sporadically…whenever we could book an hour here or there with the studio. We recorded at a local studio called The Recording Zone. The engineer there, a good friend of mine, also played a couple of guest guitar lines on the CD. His name is Jhon Ackerman. His brother, Keith, is the drummer for the stoner doom band, Atomic Bitchwax.
Did you get some help from a producer or is it more a self-recording piece of music?
Jhon was the producer, but it was still at least 50% self-recorded. We gave as much advice in the mixing process as we took.
You first released the demo 'Appassionata'. Was it with raw versions of songs from 'Ruin' or totally different songs?
Appassionata had totally different songs. Those were the tracks that we had posted on mp3.com before that service got closed down. They were up for about two years. Appassionata was more raw in terms of performance and production, but nowhere near as heavy or riff-oriented as Ruin came out. A lot of those songs on the demo were written using the keyboard first.
There is not that much info to find about you, the core members. Do you want to keep this distant, mystic image or feel free to tell some more about R.H. and G.C. now…
It isn't really important to give our full names on our CD. What matters is the collective result of our efforts – the music. We are pretty much unknown in the metal scene, and don't mind remaining clandestine. Part of the appeal of a doom band – say, like Skepticism – is not knowing much about the people who perform. If you really need to know, however, my name is Ryan (the “R”) and Greer is the “G” in G.C.
And maybe something about the session musicians you work(ed) with?
Jhon was the only consistent session musician on the CD. The violinist on 'Stillborn Twilight', Laura, only worked with us for an hour or two. She recorded four violin tracks, which we blended together in ProTools to get that 'string quartet' feel.
The roots of Necare are the English doom/death bands of the early nineties. What do you find of My Dying Bride, Anathema and Paradise Lost nowadays?
Hard question. My Dying Bride is the only one of those three still making music that I enjoy, but even with MDB, I prefer their early material over what they are doing now. I still have immense respect for those guys for sticking to their guns and not changing their sound to conform to more accessible genres. Anathema, as it stands, was always my favourite of the three in their early days, but I don't own any of their releases after “The Silent Enigma”, if that gives you a hint. What they are doing now is not my cup of tea, but more power to them if that's what they want to do.
Not only doom, but at the end of 'Celia' we can hear an excellent wah-wah guitar solo. Can you introduce us to your guitar influences and all time heroes, if you have any?
Guitar influences? Well, I'm not a big fan of 'shredders' or 'guitar gods'. I prefer guitar players who integrate rather than purposefully stand out; who use the guitar as another instrument in a collective rather than the feature. I value guitarists that strive to write good, memorable riffs and songs, and who severely limit the “showing off”. Iron Maiden's guitar work has always been a valuable example of this attitude. Even with three guitar players nowadays, you don't get the sense that any one is taking centre stage over the other. Their latest, 'Dance Of Death' is chock-full of great songs with heavy riffing - like 'Montsegeur' and 'Paschendaele'. So if I have guitar heroes, the top three are Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Janick Gers. Another is Chuck Schuldiner. He was completely self-taught, and before his untimely death he had written some of the most intricate music I have ever heard, with none of the chaotic 'look-at-me' fret wankery of some of his so-called 'technical' peers. I could never be as good a player as Chuck was, but I admire his 'self-starter' attitude and initiative.
You call your music 'regal doom death metal'. Has this something to do with the atmospheric, almost symphonic keyboard parts in your music?
Yes. Actually, Clint from Dragon Flight Recordings described us as 'regal doom' a couple of years ago…I liked that term so I guess it kind of stuck. With that description, we fill the need to make it clear to those who haven't heard us that we don't play the extreme or minimalist doom that is popular these days. And, boy, are we taking a lot of flak from underground 'zine reviewers for not playing those styles! Some have said we are 'unoriginal' for playing our style of doom. What a fucking joke. What is 'original'? Play me a metal band and I'll tell you its influences, spot on - every time. We want to be the Bloodbath of doom metal, anyway…paying tribute to a style long forgotten and sadly under-appreciated. And, most importantly, we play what we want and don't care about being 'accepted' by the overall metal scene. Fuck trends.
The lyrics have a lot in common with poetry, more images than fluent lines. Are there some writers that have influenced the lyrics of Necare?
Our biggest influence lyrically comes from the old 'free verse' that Aaron Stainthorpe used to write. As far as poets, my favourites are Wilfred Owen, Sylvia Plath, and some of the English romantics, like Swinburne and Tennyson. Believe it or not, a lot of the lyrics I write are in the style of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer – almost a ritualistic air to them in places.
At the links page at the website, the Dutch band Officium Triste is mentioned. What's your affinity with them?
Pim and I communicated a long time ago, back when Necare was first starting up. The only work I have of theirs, though, is their split with Cold Mourning. I hear they are doing well for themselves these days.
One fine thing on the site is also that people can listen to 'Touching Eternity' as a whole, not just a fragment. An important item we should mention here, so people can check out your music…
Since we are hardly known, it's important to give people a substantial preview of what we are all about. Since we have a contract with a label, though, we probably can't share any more songs like that. I don't know.
A subject that looms up in your lyrics is the despair of mankind when confronted with the loss of death and the tragedies in life. Can you tell us a bit more about this fascination of yours?
It's less of a fascination and more of a reality. We all will eventually lose people that we love. It is something that everyone faces. What I am interested in conveying to the listener in our songs is that gnawing tension and the manic swings of emotion that one experiences with the knowledge of death's inevitability.
Are you planning to play live? (For example at the Templars of Doom festival in the USA)
No. We are a studio band only.
Any plans about the merchandise?
We are going to see how 'Ruin' does, sales wise. We will probably make shirts (a very limited number), stickers, and posters if the CD sells well. Maybe in about six months or so we'll get started.
Is there something you want to add for the doom fans from abroad?
Keep the spirit of atmospheric doom alive.