1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?
I've been working on the next Sylvan Awe record, the music is mostly written and I like the identity it's taking. My other band Galaxy has just released it's debut album, 'On the Shore of Life', there's been alot of work into the lead up of the release and now, packing orders etc. Galaxy is in a different metallic sphere than S.A with a more traditional approach rooted in heavy metal.
2.Recently you have released a new album, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
On our debut 'Offering', I feel I was finding my feet in the genre. Don't get me wrong, I am still very proud of that release but I can hear it's not really a consistent listen throughout. Although there are highlights in my humble opinion, it waivers at times to me where as 'Transcend' has more direction and a general coherent feel about it. Transcend is more melodic I'd say, probably more aggressive too and definitely more focussed lyrically.
3.This is also your first release in 6 years, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time frame?
After 'Offering', I wrote the music for the Càirdeas Fala - Sons of the North album out on Werewolf Promotions out of Poland. I also wrote the music for the Galaxy EP Lost From the Start and formed a live band. The creation, writing and recording element of music is where my true passion lies rather than the stage so the previously mentioned full length Galaxy album and Transcend followed soon after. My wife and I also had a Daughter and have since moved to the coast.
4.Both of the band members are also in other bands, what is it that you bring into the music of 'Sylvan Awe', that you are not able to do with your other groups?
I feel Cairdeas Fala is colder and more raw with a focus on creating an atmosphere, I tend to listen to that style of black metal more so rather than the cleaner, larger production qualities of Sylvan Awe, but I believe S.A demands that style production. So I'd say the more melodic and modern approach to black metal has my preference in S.A that I wouldn't attack with C.F, and Galaxy is different completely. I also have some other recording projects on the go with a grind/dbeat/melodic hardcore sound, working titles and some collaborations are in process.
5.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with the new album and also how would you describe your progress as songwriters over the years?
Many topics are addressed, but mainly, confronting and crushing the mundane world. A wolf among sheep, calling to one's higher spirit to demand more of oneself and 'ride the tiger'. Ancestral roots, death, addiction and family to name a few.
6.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Sylvan Awe'?
Sylvan Awe is an attempt to put into words that feeling you get when you are taken away elsewhere, but firmly located deep within a forest.
7.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
My wife painted the artwork with minimal direction from me other than a requested colour palette. We have a lot of her artwork hung up around the house and I find myself constantly drawn in by her art so I feel it may attract the same feelings for the listener. My dear friend, R. Allen worked with me on the layout and design, he was across the lyrical direction of the album and an Algiz rune could not have been more fitting and tied the piece together in a striking way I believe.
8.Currently there are only 2 members in the band, are you open to expanding the line up or do you prefer to remain a duo?
Other than maybe the odd guest musician, I don't feel the need to include any extra members.
9.The new album was released on 'Northern Silence Records', how would you compare working with them to your previous label 'Natural World Records'?
I was probably more hands on and involved with NWR, they were an absolute pleasure to work with and the only label I wanted 'Offering' to be released on. I've been a fan of Northern Silence for years, their past and current roster has always been featured in regular listens so I was happy to have S.A have a new home with some more reach to a larger audience and distro. Torsten has been very professional, personable, easy and clear to communicate with and I'm looking forward to seeing the quality of his and his team's products (once I receive them).
10.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal?
Generally in a positive light. I've had plenty of support and kind words around the release. The Mgla / Uada comparisons have come in strong however, but I believe if you dig a little deeper into the album you'll hear more than a so-called Polish influence and discover our own energy and soundscape. To be honest, the recent Khors album, 'Where the Word Acquires Eternity' relit my flame and truly inspired me to write again for Sylvan Awe.
11.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Our new material is taking its own course and occurring rapidly. I would say it's more melodic, dynamic and even verging on progressive at times. A little more technical structurally, but at the same time very coherent and riff focussed especially.
12.What are you listening to nowadays?
As I'm writing this interview I have Krvna - Sempinfernus playing. Recently I've been turning back to some old Satyricon classics, Enslaved too. Rotting Christ - Triarchy of the Lost Lovers is always revisited. Early Odraza, early Agalloch, Vaiya, the new Der Weg einer Freiheit, Ihsahn - AngL, Horrendous - Idol, A Forest Of Stars - Beware of the Sword You Cannot See to name a few. Oh and every era of Voivod, always.
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanks for taking the time to develop and ask questions man, cheers for doing your part in spreading the Sylvan Awe sounds. Thanks to anyone who has taken the time to listen to the album start to finish, I'm not a fan of the modern way music is consumed eg playlists and singles, so anyone who can put any of their time into our music I'm greatly appreciative of. Check out Sylvan Awe - Transcend out on Northern Silence Productions, if you like what you hear please share with your metal community. Hails!