Saturday, May 27, 2017

interview: Isenordal (part 2

Here is the conclusion to the interview with Seattle epic metal band Isenordal. Here is also the link to the first part, just in case you might have missed it.
They are a type of creative extreme metal, and one the most important things about it all is the ambitious nature of the music and the band's hard work into making an album of this caliber. The hope is that you, the listener, can have a bit of patience and give the album some proper attention and get to know it. The link to hear the album is at the end of the interview. Once you hear the whole album, it is rather clear that this recording took hard work and imagination to come to life.
Making music is fun and a great creative outlet for musicians, of course, but it takes money to do this. How is the situation in the case of your band? Are you homeless as a result of making the album?!
SAM: Tracking was expensive, for sure, but not prohibitively so. We all live really modestly as people, but we set aside some money for this and splitting it between everyone in the band helps with cost a lot.
LIEU: Passion knows no bounds. If you want it enough, you will figure out how to make it happen, even if you have to make some personal sacrifices along the way.
Coming back to the album, are those real acoustic guitars that I hear on the album? Do you use a real piano on the album, too? Did one of you play a real piano on the album? Do you a real cello, too?
SAM: Proud to say that everything on the album is real, done from scratch. Kerry played the piano on Shores. You’re close, it’s a real viola throughout the whole album! Marisa did a killer job with that and her vocals. Jeff used to play cello in the band, and did so on the IMBOLC demo, but we haven’t recorded anything with cello since. Wait for the next album, though, you might be surprised by what you hear. We’ll do acoustic neofolk sets with Jeff on the cello occasionally.
LIEU: I joined the band during the recording process, so there were some piano parts already recorded, but I wrote and added some parts of my own, as well as re-recording a few parts that were already written. It was great to be able to play a real piano for the album; as great as digital piano sounds have gotten, you really cannot beat the sound and feel of a real piano.
MARISA: There is no cello on Shores of Mourning. All of the string performances are done entirely on viola, with occasional multi-tracking for layered orchestral passages.
Did this band always envision having those instruments in addition to the usual rock music setup of guitar, bass and drums? Or, is this something has been developing as you go along and feel the need for a more expansive sound? When will you find that epic metal accordionist that will rock your world and join your band?
SAM: I think Kerry always wanted strings in the band. I love having keyboards as well, it really thickens up the soundscape and opens up a bunch of avenues for songwriting. Take a black metal band like NORTT, they use piano super effectively in their music. Lieu actually plays accordion, too, we may be adding some of that down the line!
KERRY: I have absolutely always wanted strings and piano. With the previous lineup, some of the other folks didn’t want to waste time trying to find a keyboard player, but I had songs I had been writing that were specifically for piano (i.e., “Shores” and “Pyres”). The suggestion of just moving the parts to guitar was not satisfying for me. Viola and piano are some of the most beautiful sounding instruments there are, and nothing can replace it.
LIEU: As someone who loves metal, but is not yet good enough to play guitar or drums in a metal band, I was stoked to have the opportunity to play my favorite instrument in a band that plays some of my favorite metal genres. I was originally just going to fill in for a couple shows, but everything just fell into place so well and I was able to get time off work to tour, so now here I am. I’m looking forward to writing more technical piano parts for our new songs, and funny you should ask, I might do some accordion parts as well!
MARISA: I have loved metal as long as I have loved classical music and have wanted to do a project like this my whole life.
On the song “A Gallows Prayer” there is choir-like singing, with both male and female voices. Did you do this in the studio or did you get it from an application or software, like a library of sounds? Was that a new, challenging thing to do? Growling and screaming is something that you do well, but choir-like voices must be a new thing to try, no?
KERRY: That’s us! No software needed, haha. I did a small amount of clean vocals on Imbolc, but nothing really beyond that. It was a little bit challenging to get the tonality right for sure. Everyone tells you to try and move a lot of air when doing clean vocals, but honestly I have found that singing quieter sounds better in the studio.
MARISA: I love singing and was able to explore the possibility of mimicking the timbre of viola in my vocals. That was really fun in the studio!
By the way, why have there been so few of the band online? There were some pictures but they are faded or grey and I could not see much of anything! Why was this?
SAM: We’re not too concerned with hiding ourselves! Anyone who’s seen us live can attest to that we’re actually pretty out there, we try to get in the audience’s faces a little. We don’t wear corpse paint, or shrouds, or use stage names online or anything like that. With that being said, the music has a really atmospheric and emotional nature to it, and we tried to evoke that shadow and ephemeral energy in some of the photography. Our friend Monica took that photo of us that’s on the tape, that one of us around the campfire, and she did a great job of achieving exactly what we were going for.
KERRY: To be honest, it’s really just been a matter of getting us all in the same room at the same time. Our keyboard player currently lives in Pittsburgh, so we didn’t really have a way to get a full band photo before Shores came out! But with our U.S. tour we will definitely have a lot more full band pictures.
Ok, you did it. You finally finished your album and now it is done, and it is out of your hands. Now people will listen to it, and some will call you doom, others atmospheric black, some others epic, yet others will say gothic, still some will say folk, and some of us do not care. So, now, what are some more of your plans to promote the album? You did a 30-day tour of the U.S. You’ve done shows in Seattle and also one in Everett! Not bad, right?!
SAM: I like to think we’re a little bit of all of those things.
We worked with Earsplit PR to do some promo for the record, but thus far a good deal of it has been word-of-mouth as well. I’m really flattered that people seem into the material. I want to say thanks to everybody that helped spread the word thus far! Metal Injection and Cvlt Nation both wrote us up, as well as a bunch of others, too many to name, you know who you are and we’re in reverence to you!
KERRY: We are currently working on some new material, hopefully we can do a recording session after our US tour, but it depends highly on everyone’s schedules. I just want to release more songs and play more shows!
LIEU: I think we all just want to celebrate by writing more albums! Now that we have a really dedicated line-up, we are feeling really inspired by each other and developing a lot of ideas musically. I’m looking forward to expanding our sound even more and continuing to frustrate genre-assigners. ;)
Finally, do you have any other news that I have not asked about? People say, “Oh, man, I love your band! Your music is great!”, but tell us for real, what can people do to support your band in an actual way that benefits your band in a tangible manner? I recommend that people say to you, “Shut up and take my money!” What do you think?
SAM: I’m flattered that people listen to us at all, much less buy our merch and download our records as much as they do. We’re really floored by the support, and really grateful for it. If you want to get merch and throw some money our way, we’ve got posters, t shirts, patches, all on our bandcamp page! But I’m happy as long as anyone’s listening at all. Just enjoy the tracks and show your friends!
KERRY: I am extremely grateful for the response we have gotten from this album. I really just want people to enjoy it, no matter if you like metal or not. I strongly dislike elitism in music scenes. What is important to me is the emotion that music conveys, and I think that emotion transcends genres or scenes.

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