Enochian Theory - Esoteriske Briter

Intervju - 14.07.2009 - Skrevet av: Reinås

Britiske Enochian Theory både overrasket og imponerte meg med sitt debutalbum "Evolution: Creatio Ex Nihilio". Deres miks av prog, ekstrem-metal og post-rock er både spennende og egenartet. I sammenheng med det ferske mesterverket ble det naturlig å stille bandet noen spørsmål. Låtskriver, vokalist og gitarist Ben Harris-Hayes svarer villig vekk.
1.Let me start this interview by congratulating you with your fantastic debut album, how are your own feelings concerning "Evolution: Creatio Ex Nihilio".

Thanks Rune, We are glad you enjoyed the record so much and we think you actually 'understood' where we were coming from...which is rare!
As for our feelings in regards to the new record...there is so much going on in our heads right now that the noise is quite literally deafening.

We have started our PR campaign for the album and the feedback thus far has been very good...which is incredible.
We didn't expect such positive feedback in such a quantity, in such a short space of time...and we're only just starting the PR campaign...so, yes...we are very excited, apprehensive, pleased and bewildered...all at the same time.

2.Enochian Theory is a fairly new band to me, and probably to most of our readers. Could you tell us a little bit about the band, it's back story and members?

Certainly...But I would advise going to the website (www.enochiantheory.co.uk) and viewing our bio, as that is very comprehensive...and I mean VERY!
But in a nutshell, the band formed at the tail-end of 2004 as a 4 piece...worked our assess off doing everything we could to progress and play shows...Set up our own record label to handle all band affairs...Did two short tours in the UK in support of our début E.P (entitled 'A Monument To The Death Of An Idea')...Lost our lead guitarist due to various reasons, but went on as a 3 piece...Wrote the new record out of sheer frustration and need...And that is our band in a nutshell my curious friends.

3. Where in the UK are Enochian Theory located, and what is the music-scene like on your home-grounds, any opportunities to play live for upcoming bands etc?

The band is based in the immediate area of Portsmouth, England and the local music scene is enjoying a small revival at the moment I think.
I've been part of it here in various guises for about 8 years and I've seen various musical shifts...from the ska punk explosion, to the indie revival through to the current trend of metal/mall-core.
I love it here and we have a world famous venue in our beloved Wedgewood Rooms...which EVERY band needs to play before they can retire.
This venue runs a yearly 'showcase' for new bands, who then play in a competition at the venue.
It's a great idea and regularly has some quality new bands appear.

Sadly we have lost about 4 or 5 'older' venues which were sort of 'proving grounds' before you got to play the Wedgewood Rooms...but various things have closed them down...so that is my only gripe about the city.
We have some excellent bands here and the 'scene' is quite a united and varied one.

4. Would you care to say a little about your musical background, for instance do the members of ET have any other bands or projects in their past (or currently)?

Shaun and Sam have only had ENOCHIAN THEORY as their musical effort to date, but I'm very sure they'll both be creating other projects when they find the time and inclination.

I, however...am a musical whore! Hahaha
I've worked with other people over the years on various styles of music and projects, ranging from live freeform drum'n'bass (performed by a live 8 piece band) to chilled/odd hip-hop to psy-trance and of course...our cherish metal...
I did a rather odd 'tech metal' band called IN THIS DEFIANCE before joining E.T, and that was fun as we did some great shows and we got to open for STRAPPING YOUNG LAD in our home town, so that was a special night.
I simply love learning new things from working with other people and I've learnt so much from jamming that I simply have to do it...plus it keeps me busy and out of trouble!
I currently have a few projects on the go...nothing majorly serious but I'm still recording and putting it out there via various means, purely for my own pleasure more than anything.

I have 'THE GRIEVING' (http://www.myspace.com/thegrieving), which is an instrumental prog metal explosion that I wrote in a week...because I needed to expel some excess 'post-E.T album recording' frustrations and ideas.
I've got a lame ass 'pop acoustic rock' page, if you're really bored...you can listen at www.myspace.com/benedicthayes
Oh...and for all you 'doom' and 'sludge' fans...may I present ARACHNOTAUR!
Proveyors of 'Sonic Doom'.
I may or may not be in this band...haha

But ENOCHIAN THEORY is the main thing we all cherish and is likely to remain our respective main project for a few years to come yet.

5. The name of the band is thought provoking, It could be connected with the angelic language Enochian, recorded by Dr. John Dee, and also used by Anton Zsanor LaVey in his "Satanic Bible". It could also refer to magic performed by the "Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn", based on Enochian scripts. Would you please say a little about how you came up with the name, and any "theme" surrounding the band?

A fascinating subject isn't it?
The thing with 'Enochia' is that is it open to a lot of interpretation, as is anything...and I feel that we take what we want from that, as well as a lot of other things, whether it be religion, philosophy, science or just our gut instinct.
We refuse to be reliant on just one 'thing'.

I will not delve too much into our own ideas as it is simply what we choose for us and our musical vehicle.
We are are simply 3 people sharing a vision...A firm belief in yourself and your own power to do what you feel is right.
I believe what I'm saying is...The unit is what it is, but read between the lines and open up your eyes a little wider...you might see something you missed...

6. The lyrics are not included in the "Evolution : Creatio Ex Nihilio" booklet. What is the reason behind this? Aesthetics, lack of space, or something more sinister perhaps? In either case, could you say a little bit about the lyrical content on the album, your concepts and inspirations?

The lyrics were not included in the record at my request.

There are 3 main reasons for this.
ONE - If I have to 'whore' something I love, just to keep doing what I love as a living...then I want to keep a little bit for myself.
TWO - Right now they are too personal to me, incomprehensible to anyone but me and cover some things I don't want to talk about in interviews, etc..
THREE – I prefer people to get their own understanding of what the song means to them as a person.
I dearly loved doing that when I was younger and still do it...listening to songs I love and getting a supportive meaning from it that means something to me.

Having said that, there are two passages of lyrics in the artwork for the eagle eyed...

7. The artwork created for the album cover and website is quite striking, could you perhaps tell us a bit about the process behind it, and if you consider the artwork to be a reflection of the music and "theme" of the band so to speak?

The artwork was expertly devised by Robin Portnoff, alongside the band.
We gave Robin some sections of lyrics, a general theme to work with and a copy of some pre-productions...and said for him to simply interpret it all in his own way.
I firmly believe we met someone who embraces what we do as much as we do because after seeing the initial sketches and drawings, I was blown away...and I still afford myself a little smile when I hand the CD to people and they say that the artwork is stunning...I simply have to concur with them.
His ideas on some of the inner pages relate perfectly to the lyrics.

8. Could you enlighten us a bit to the creative process when writing and arranging music. Who does what in the band, and do you write more material than you use (is there for instance tracks or parts that did not make it onto the finished album).

It's been a different writing process with each recording we've done, but with this one, I guess I took control of the direction a lot more...I felt I had to because we had to get a record done in a very short space of time and I wrote the lions share of the previous E.P
We literally had about 8 months to write, record and release the new record for various reasons and I think it turned out ok...you can sense that urgency at times within the music though.

I wrote 95% of the music and structured most of it at home using various DAW's like Cubase, Logic and Acid Pro...simply getting riffs down, arranging them in a fluid order and putting drums, keys, etc... behind them...just to see what they sounded like.
I could then email these ideas to the guys to digest and we'd work on them at practice.
Shaping the rough songs into fully fledged ENOCHIAN THEORY music.
I wanted a strong and honest record, so I simply created what I thought sounded good to me.

Saying that, It needed to be refined as a band because without Shaun and Sam's input and ideas, it would simply have not worked in places.
Those guys make an excellent contribution on this record and still blow me away when I listen to all the little intricate bits they have created to make the whole what it is.
It was quite amusing at times because I'd write a song like 'Movement' and it took us a while to nail all the tempo shifts and timing signatures...but then we'd smash out a song like 'A Monument To The Death Of An Idea' with all it's odds tempo shifts in about 6 hours of simply arranging some riffs I had.
We really enjoyed writing this record and we can't wait to write more...I'm itching already but I've been told to 'calm down'!

9. What inspires you to write the kind of multi-faceted music you create? Any inspirations you want to mention, be it musical, literature, movies or other?

A very simply answer to this question...and that is...
LIFE...and all that it entails.
It is the greatest inspiration to us...It is what we know...for now.

10. "Evolution : Creatio Ex Nihilio" was finished in January, have you started writing material for the "difficult second album" or do you concentrate on promotion/shows for now?

We are concentrating on giving the new record the best push we can.
That is our priority and we are working with some excellent people who we hope will do us proud and get the band out there on bigger tours and in as much press as we can get our ugly faces in.

As for the next record...well...we'll see what comes out when we start to think about it.
I've already started getting riffs down and will continue to build a catalogue of sections/riffs/ideas ready for when we decide it is time to create once more.
I have had some ideas about an 'mini-album' or E.P for a while now, just to see where we are at that point.
I like the idea of doing an acoustic based record...but these are all just ideas at the moment.
As I mentioned a moment ago, the priority is supporting 'Evolution...' till it truly flowers...or withers.

11. Before the "A Monument..." EP the band released a demo called "Our Lengthening Shadows", I have heard this referred to as a EP as well, so which is it? Are any tracks from this EP/Demo included on "A Monument" or "Evolution:CEN"?

It is a bit of a joke now to be honest, I was chuckling to myself the other day when I gave it a quick spin...but I won't ever deny where we came from.
Everyone has to start somewhere...and we were a bad grunge/metal band on the 'Our Lengthening Shadows' demo...and it was a demo., an E.P...call it what you will.

It was primarily used to get us shows in the UK and served us well, but we were a rather somewhat different proposition to what we are now.
We wrote 'A Countermeasure In Hindsight', which was on the 1st demo and it re-appeared in a 'different' guise on the 'A Monument...' E.P...but their are no further songs anywhere else.
'Evolution...' is all brand new songs by the band.

12. The press-release states that the album is recorded in your own studios with help from friends, would you care to say a little about the recording process, also I guess you had more time than when recording the "A Monument..." EP?

We created the album at 3 different studios actually.
The drums were laid down at the same studio where we recorded the 'A Monument...' E.P, while the bass, guitars and vocals were done at a different studio and finally the orchestral arrangements, ambient pieces and additional 'textures' were done at are own 'ETHERIAL TANTRUM' studio.
We felt that 'out-sourcing' the recording to better equipped studios would be better for this record while we continue to build our own 'home'.

However...We had some issues with both studios, but that was simply because we wanted things done a certain way and although we got a great deal with it all...there were times when we thought that we were being taken for a ride...but thankfully it all got sorted and the record was completed...but again, it is another thing that shaped the record...with the extra time to reflect and change little bits...it helped in a way.
I wanted to move away from the processed guitar sound of previous recordings and go 'au natural' as if to say.
I remember spending a few days recording guitars using some digital equipment, getting pissed off and we scrapped it all because it simply sounded 'dead'.
So we got to use a nice old school valve combo and that was it for the guitars.

It's not a 'heavy' guitar record by any stretch, but that's because we wanted the 'heaviness' to come from ALL the instruments when they come together as a whole...
The start of 'The Dimensionless Monologue' for example.

13. The Album was mastered by swede "Dave Castillo" who also have worked with bands like Opeth and Katatonia. How did you come in contact with him, and how do you view the work he did for you?

The band simply contacted him and asked him if he'd mix our record.
We sorted a great deal with him and he did an excellent job on making the record sound big.
Despite some things not being what we or David wanted ideally from the initial recording process, it is still a mighty sounding record in places.
David did a great job on giving the record 'an identity', much like the 'A Monument...' E.P and I feel that both records sound 'organic' in a way and that is very much what we are aiming for.

14. Guitarist (and founding member if I remember correctly) Scott Ware left the band in 2008, leaving vocalist Ben Harris-Hayes to pick up the guitar. Did you ever consider recruiting a new member?

We did try someone out for the band for our live shows...but it simply did not work out at all.
We wrote the record as a 3 piece and we can play it all perfectly well live as a 3 piece...so why break a perfectly good working dynamic?

15. The press-release states that the interest from the industry (like Century Media, SPV, Inside Out aso.) to the new album was very good. But that the band decided to start their own label "Anomalousz Music Records" for it's release. Could you tell us a little bit about the philosophy behind this decision.

We had been running AMR for a few years before we started talking to the labels you mentioned.
The plan was to licence the new record through AMR to a bigger label to utilise their extensive PR and promotions ability, but keep it all under our control...mainly because the PR on the 'A Monument' E.P was simply not good enough for what we had planned with 'Evolution...'.
So we started talking, emails back and forth, phone calls...but ultimately we had to make a decision as time had simply run out.

We had to ask ourselves...Do we suck in our pride and take a crappy deal, lose all control of the band and wonder whether we'll simply be resigned to the waste heap at a bigger label...or...put the new record out ourselves and really hammer everything we have into PR and promotion and keep everything to ourselves...
Keeping our 'child' protected yet productive is paramount to us, and we will not compromise that...especially not for a few empty promises that mean nothing to us.

15. How will the album be promoted and distributed around the world then, do you have any deals for distribution, or will all this be done by your own hard work?

The album is available through CODE7/PLASTICHEAD, so we're pretty well covered by one of the biggest distribution networks in the world for rock, metal and much more.
You can order the album directly from us as well, so it really is up to the person wishing to purchase the record...and I do encourage you all to give it a listen.
The PR was being handled by ourselves and we had a very extensive plan of attack, but we've just started working with someone who we hope can take the band to the next level and this person is doing it because he likes the new record and believes in the band's work ethic...so that is excellent for us as this person REALLY knows what they are doing.

16. On your web page it says that Pianos, Synth and orchestral performance is by "The Lost Orchestra". Would you care to say who this is?

'The Lost Orchestra' and its true meaning is something that will remain within the band till we see fit to explain it.
It is something that we wish to keep for ourselves...It is a vital part of our evolution.
Without 'The Lost Orchestra', we would not have been able to create the new album...as it has expanded the sound I heard in my head when I was writing the material.
Let's just say 'The Lost Orchestra' is what it is...and we are glad it is here to help us.

17. The band is scheduled to play at the ProgPower Europe festival in October, where you are at the top of my list of interesting acts.
Any other shows or festivals planned this summer or fall?

It will be good to see you at ProgPower, if you do indeed attend then Rune.
We are currently in discussion with a lot of people who are trying to help us get out there in support of the new record and we hope to have some concrete tour plans in the coming months.
Either way, we WILL be supporting this new record as extensively as we possible can.

18. Any last message to the readers of Metal-Norge?

Thanks for taking the time to allow us to answer your questions, I hope you find them of interest....and above all, I encourage you to give our new record a good listen...you may just like it.
We hope to see you at a venue near you in the coming months.

«Ignite the skies...for we will be fanning the flames...»

Darkest Regards,

(on behalf of ENOCHIAN THEORY)