Tormentium interview - April 2016
Sky (vocals, lyrics, visuals)
Wes (guitars, song writing, lyrics, vocals)
1.Can you give us an update as to what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?
Sky: Mainly just working on getting the album released, all the details and final touches. I know the guys have been diligent as always in writing new stuff, rehearsing and drinking beers.
2.You have a new album coming out, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording, and how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
Wes: It's not a far cry from anything we've ever done. I think the production is the best we've had thus far. We've had several years to cut our teeth on some of these songs. So it was nice to finally record this material.
Sky: The production is definitely a major factor… We never really felt our songwriting had benefitted from an appropriate production in the end. Writing wise, I think we stepped up our game on all fronts. I feel like this chunk of music is more cohesive and well organized.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores in the newer music?
Wes: There's definitely a range of subject matter. Our songs tend to have a common thread of misanthropy, depression, and hate. I'd say that the lyrics for "Requiem Within" are definitely the most overtly personal that I've gotten in this band.
Sky: When I write lyrics for Tormentium, I definitely make an attempt to conceive of a narrative story structure, letting it lead me as it goes, and ultimately it represents feelings and situations that eat away at me internally. That way, hopefully the listener gets a compelling drama experience, fiction and nonfiction, depending how you look at it. That’s been my take on the lyrics on Bound To The Depths.
4.This is the first album to be released in 4 years, can you tell us about what has been going on during that time frame?
Wes: We practice on the regular. Sky is in Portland[, Oregon] now, and we're still in Eugene[, Oregon] but we're always cultivating new riffs and new songs. I've discarded far more songs for this band, guitar wise, than we've ever learned as a whole band. It's all part of the writing process. We jam at practice and come up with a lot of the most potent riffs from working together as a band. That's why practicing regularly is important to us. Also, this shit doesn't happen overnight. We recorded this album a year ago. The 2 or 3 years prior to that we were writing it. So although 4 years seems like a long time, in hindsight it was just a blink. Sometimes shit takes a while in the underground. We're trying to find our stride though.
Sky: Yeah, we take our time with this band. Our older releases have all been smaller projects, like splits and demos. But in all honesty this is our most ambitious release to date, and towers in size and detail over our older efforts. So, it doesn't surprise me that it’s been a few years since our last, but we do this project for ourselves anyways.
5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Sky: We’ve mostly just played shows in our home state, and sparingly since 2008 or so. Every few years we get the honor of playing alongside a big name band, but I feel like our best performances have been smaller ones. It's hard to always predict when you’re gonna have an “on” night, crowd on your side, and sound great... But we try like hell. Describing our stage show is a tough question, being that we’re always on the wrong side of the stage. But I can tell you there’s lots of blood, spikes, and loud noises.
Wes: We've had many good times, and been lucky enough to share the stage with many great bands. I was drunk for all of it. After the smoke clears I'll let you know. Ha ha
6.Do you have any touring or show plans now that the new album is released?
Wes: We did the tape release in our home town of Eugene, OR, last month. We're doing a CD release in Portland on May 21st [with Gloam, Daemoniis Ad Noctum, and Hiding]. We don't have any tours booked, but we plan on it in the near future.
Sky: We’re eager to tour, but we’re all broke-workin’-geezers, so the stars must align.
7.The new album is coming out on Exile Musick, can you tell us a little bit about this label?
Sky: Exile Musick is a tape label that specializes in small batch, hand made DIY releases. Real old school, cult style. They’ve believed in us since day one and it's great to have that kind of support.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been by fans of black metal?
Sky: Well, the honest answer is that's not really something we’ve ever investigated. Our international reach has always been shit. But our material tends to be appreciated by fans of all kinds of metal; black, death, thrash, etc. It tends to be quite varied genre-wise. We get some of the riffy-heads and the atmosphere-lovers. Depressive-hobbits and blast beat duders.
9.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects that some of the band members are a part of?
Wes: My band Hiding just released our first offering, a self-titled EP. We're actually on a West Coast Tour as I'm writing this. Ha ha. Cheers!
Sky: I’ve been doing vocals for an older gore band named Splatterhouse, and we played Maryland Deathfest in 2015, but I’m waiting to hear new tunes from them. I’m also really looking forward to contributing lyrics and vocals on a secret new DSBM project.
10.Where do you see the band heading musically in the future?
Wes: I think it's detrimental to the integrity of our music to overthink it. We have a wealth of material for the next album that we're currently cultivating. I know that as a guitarist I always want to keep progressing. So we'll see where it goes.
Sky: I couldn’t say for certain. But I’d like to see our music keep getting darker, honest, and realized. The kind of stuff we wanna play, our own way, and rad as fuck.
11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Wes: I'm very heavily influenced by some of the Swedish black metal greats like Dawn, Dissection, Dark Funeral, Lord Belial, and Shining. They are staples of my listening diet. There are so many good bands these days. Honestly, I just try to stay away from that hipster, bullshit scene mentality. There is no time for that shit. Stay true, and stay metal!
Sky: Vocally, the kind of stuff that influenced me on the “Bound…” was odd, passionate shit. Shining was a big influence, as well as Dark Fortress - “Ylem”, Primordial, Maniac era Mayhem, Blood of Kingu, and Behexen. Lately, I’ve been listening to all sorts of random shit… obscure black metal, hip hop, classical, darkjazz… My mood decides.
12.How would you describe your views on Occultism?
Wes: I prefer to observe the clandestine forces of this world in my own personal way. Occult philosophy is just one of many tools to help one come to terms with their existence and inevitable death. You can become a slave to your own absolutes. It doesn't matter what forces you pray to. They probably don't give a shit.
Sky: It’s neat, but I invest 0% into all belief systems, even the cool ones.
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Sky: Art only justifies life.