1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the newer material?
We’re already writing some tracks for our follow up to our first album Apocalyptic Metal. We’re also re-arranging some pretty awesome 60’s and 70’s songs for a covers album we are thinking about doing. We would like to take old songs and pretty much “butcher” them, morphing them into our style. Ideas about going on tour to promote this release and our first album from 2012 has also been thrown around but things are very chaotic for us at the moment so we aren’t sure when that will happen.
2.Recently you have released a split album, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical direction the band has taken with the newer music and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
We are very excited about the split. The songs on our Apocalyptic Metal album were very melodic and more influence by Swedish Death Metal than Black Metal. We have always strived to be something very different since the beginning but on these 3 tracks we feel that we are finally getting to the sound the we “envisioned” for our band. These songs are much more darker, atmospheric, and surely more Black Metal inspired but done so in a style that we believe we can call our own.
3.The band calls it's musical style 'apocalyptic metal' can you tell us a little bit more about this term?
The apocalypse to us is something more of an enlightenment than an end. It’s something that causes destruction and chaos through the drastic changes in the human psyche. When the boundaries of order are broken, both beautiful and demonic forces are discovered. We wanted our style to be something that represented all of that in an aural form, something that demonstrates the beauty and destruction in opening your mind. We create metal that is atmospheric, brutal, calm, and transcendental all in one. Our goal is to set your mind free and get it thinking about everything and anything. One minute you are enjoying a peaceful day and then all hell breaks loose… We aren’t sure if we have yet achieved it but we get closer and closer every release.
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer material?
Our lyrics before were about cities crumbling, people dying, werewolves & vampires, anti-christianity and other really cliche metal themes. We still stay true to some of those ideas, especially the apocalypse, but we’ve expanded on the idea of what armageddon could be. Suffer the Salvation speaks of pedophile priests and fundamentalist christians bringing their own demise. ‘Withering Youth’ is actually based on the novel “The Children of Men” about a military police state world on the fringes of Armageddon, something we feel is right around the corner for us all. Finally, ‘The Dissolution of the Clay Children’ is about the ridding the world of organized religion, namely Christianity.
5.The band was originally known as Withering Youth, what was the decision behind the name change and also the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Tragic Death'?
Withering Youth was formed with Steven, Cody and our old bassist Jake. Many of the songs written for Withering Youth appeared on Tragic Death’s Apocalyptic Metal album. As things didn’t work out with our old bassist we felt that it wouldn’t be right to continue Withering Youth without him so we changed the name when we recruited Joe. Both of the names have an apocalyptic idea to them but Tragic Death is a band name Steven has been using since he was 12 years old. When Withering Youth dissolved Cody and Steven had the realization that Tragic Death would be the perfect name to continue carrying our Apocalyptic Metal idea.
6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
We’ve done some pre-show shows for Danzig and Dimmu Borgir. Those were pretty amazing even though we technically weren’t sharing the same stage as them. We’ve had some pretty amazing shows that we ourselves have set up. One of the craziest towns we have ever played in was Brooklyn, WI. Those guys are nuts and we had the place hopping every time we showed up. When we played with Macabre people were smashing beer bottles everywhere! We have that effect on our fans, making them go apeshit, and that is the best compliment we can get. As a 3-piece it’s hard to move around a lot on stage. We do keep the fans pretty active by getting them to mosh and screaming at them to go nuts. We have always prided ourselves on having a highly energetic stage performance.
7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Things are pretty chaotic for the band right now. We have huge goals of touring the West Coast, Midwest, and East Coast in the near future. We also have plans of getting out to Europe to support some bands we are huge fans of. Simply put, work, travel, and legal issues are clouding up some of those plans but we will definitely be playing a lot of shows in California and Wisconsin very soon.
8.Recently you where a part of a split album with Fiends At Feast' what are your thoughts on the other band that was a part of the album?
We are friends with some of the members of Fiends At Feast. We love their style. It’s brutal, organic, dark and compliments the atmospheric style we approached on this release. The guys are all awesome. We hope to eventually get out to Cali and play some shows with these guys. It’s been a pleasure and very easy to work with Fiends At Feast and we couldn’t have asked for a better band to work with on our first split release.
9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of extreme metal?
It’s actually pretty insane. Indonesia and Brazil love us for some reason!! WE HOPE TO SEE YOU GUYS SOMETIME! In the beginning we were kind of laughed at for calling ourselves Apocalyptic Metal but the response to that style is really positive lately. People seem to be taking us seriously and the feedback we have been receiving from the split so far is above what we expected.
10.What is going on with the other musical projects these days, that some of the band members are involved with?
Even though Tragic Death is the main focus for all our members, music is our lives and we all keep very busy that way. Joe plays in a local Madison band called Cast in Fire. Cody has been working very hard lately on Nexion (name may change soon). It’s an acoustic based metal project that is different from many others where there is focus on tremolo and power chords instead of finger picking and strumming. He uses the acoustic like a metal guitar! Steven does vocals in Lords of Discipline who will be releasing another album very soon. He also has a Black Metal project Chaosophy that focuses on Chaos-Gnostic themes. They will be recording their first album beginning in August.
11.When can we expect another full length album and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Work has already begun on our next full length. We are always writing and we seem to churn stuff out fairly quickly but we are thinking of adding in many World music influences on this next one as well as upping the atmospheric synths and phrases of our music heard on Purgatory Rites so it is difficult to pinpoint when that will be complete.
12.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?
Sun of the Blind has really effected us. That is a band that is definitely under-rated. Deathspell Omega also had a profound influence on us and, of course, Dissection and Rotting Christ will alway remain a huge influence to all in the band. Lately we’ve been listening to bands like Agalloch, Dordeduh, Blut aus Nord, and Woods of Desolation. We’re really loving the atmospheric black metal coming out recently.
13.How would you describe your views on Satanism and Occultism?
Cody and Steven consider themselves Chaos Gnostic, which is a very vague definition. Basically chaos is a huge part of our lives and we live each day as chaotically as possible. We feel that this carries over into our music. The occult is something we are hugely interested in. We are constantly seeking out information about the forbidden unknown and that gives us new inspiration and insight. Modern Satanism can be ridiculous, especially LaVeyan Satanism. We feel that LaVeyanism is essentially another form of Christianity and just another means for an archaic, parasitic, religion to thrive in the times of knowledge and transcendence. When bands and people go to extremes to try and prove they are Satanic, then it’s obvious they are trying to hard and that automatically disproves any true Satanic outlook.
14.What are some of your non musical interests?
The Occult and specifically Chaos Gnosticism. Crowley, Lovecraft, and other dark writers. RPG games like the Elder Scrolls series. World philosophies and anything relating to the “end-times”. We are knowledge seekers in this band so our interests are constantly drifting and being ‘updated’ so to speak.
15.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thank you so much for your time. We appreciate all our fans across the world and hope to eventually meet you all! We are very eager to spread our Apocalyptic Metal. Enjoy the new split and we’ll see you all soon enough. http://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/purgatory-rites-split-cd