Monday, January 13, 2020

interview: Wormhole

Guitar magician Sanil Kunar took a break from the hustle and bustle of their new album The Weakest Among Us to give readers more insight into the workings of the machine. Sanil also says that they have “lots of playthroughs to come” so it’ll be fun to see as the death metal band continues to roll them out in 2020.
Greetings, friends in Wormhole! Are you going to be taking the new music on the road throughout 2020? Do you plan to make your way to the West Coast in 2020 (Seattle?!)?
Yes! We just played in Seattle in 2019 as part of the Tech Trek tour along with Archspire, Inferi, and Virvum, and it was incredible. The crowd in Seattle is always one of my favorites. As for 2020, I can’t give too much information, but we will definitely be on the road a lot and back on the West Coast.
Your band used to a project spread out between the U.S., South Africa and Scotland, but everyone now is in the U.S., right?
That is correct, the entirety of Wormhole now lives in the United States. The band started between my brother Sanjay and I in 2015, we put out our first album Genesis in 2016. Since it was just the two of us, we had programmed the drums and done bass ourselves, and had our pal Duncan Bentley from Vulvodynia handle most of the vocals. Since we planned on touring in 2018, we needed to get a live line-up together, which eventually became the line-up for The Weakest Among Us. We still did not have a bassist until this year, so bass on the new record was written and recorded by our favorite bassist and person Alex Weber (Exist, Defeated Sanity (live)). Going forward the names of these amazing people and musicians that now make up Wormhole are Anshuman Goswami (vocals), Matt Tillett (drums), and Basil Chiasson (bass).
It’s cool that we hear the bass lines rather clearly in such fast, intense music. How would you explain the good results in allowing the bass guitar such room on the album?
There was a lot of time trying to get the bass in there just right. We knew from the beginning that we wanted it to be audible even before we had gotten the bass tracks from Alex. Once we heard what he was bringing to the table there was no question that it needed to be audible.
We all see the bass as an integral part of the sound, no question. For me, the coolest music comes from different instruments or voices comes together to make something bigger than what any individual instrument could create, and the bass guitar is a big part of that. Like, you could give me a sandwich that is just two pieces of bread and pork and I would probably enjoy it, but I would also much rather have a sandwich that only had little bit of meat, a little bit of lettuce, etc.
Speaking of production, where was the album recorded? How many guitars, in general, would you say that there are on the songs?
The vocals and guitars were recorded at me and Sanjay’s place. Recording did not take too much time, but we had a big delay between recording the drums and the vocals that set us back some time. The drums were also recorded in-house, in the same room in our drummer Matt’s house that we practice. We just took the computer and set it up there. Alex Weber also recorded the bass guitar in his home, and just sent us the tracks when he had finished. Matt and Ansh had recorded drums for their band Noisays just a few months before, so we knew more or less what to expect.
For guitars on the album, there are only ever two guitars playing, and then of course 3 during the solos. Sanjay and I are big into counterpoint in death metal and techdeth and we wanted to incorporate that into the Wormhole sound in a clever way, so sometimes the left and right guitars will “split up” and play their own things for a bit. Two guitars and a bass really isn’t that many different voices in the grand scheme of things, so we wanted get the most out of them.
The artwork looks like it is right out of a scary sci-fi movie with evil aliens that have to come to enslave the human race, and the situation is not looking too good for the humans! Do you provide guidelines to the artist?
We went to Lordigan Pedro Sana for the artwork on both Wormhole albums, and we were definitely more picky this time around. We had given him a sketch of what we wanted, which was just a little guy standing up to a big monster, as well as what kind of color scheme we wanted. There were some clichés we wanted to follow and some clichés we wanted to break. We like slam monsters so we needed a slam monster, and we wanted a lot of color – but not necessarily vibrant. We were going for grim. There were a couple weeks where we were sending the art back and forth asking for little changes here and there, but that stuff is important to us. One person may only see a few of those details, but the collective will see all of them.
What inspires such crazy titles like “Wave Quake Generator Plasma Artillery Cannon” or “Quad MB”? The song “rA9/myth” makes us think that we are going to need our calculators to do some equations while banging our heads!
The lyrics for the songs are connected, some more obviously or loosely than others. It was tough coming up with titles for some of the songs, as dumb as that might sound. Every piece of the album works together to make the final product, and the song titles are part of that to me. The song titles and artwork together create a vibe or atmosphere for the album, it is what the audience sees even before listening. The music and cover art for The Weakest Among Us is slammy, spacey sci-fi, and maybe a little unconventional sometimes, so the song titles needed to reflect that. Hence names you just mentioned.
Finally, thank you for remembering to make the album a reasonable duration time of just under the 30-minute mark. At that duration, with eight tracks, it is so much better to really dig in and get into what the band is doing on the album.
We noticed that most of our favorite albums were on the shorter side, mostly because of exactly what you just said. For a slam and techdeth especially, the music is either so intense or so dense that after a while it can be a little draining. We want the audience to finish the album and feel very satisfied like they heard the whole story, but still want to hear more.

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