1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the solo project?
Defod is the Welsh word for 'ritual' or 'ceremony' and it's something I created as an outlet for me to explore musical ideas and themes without being contained within the limitations and tastes of others. Playing in a band is amazing, and I've had lots of good times in the past performing, rehearsing ect, however it's also restricting; sometimes you have to be the driving force, to organise and to enthuse others, and this can become very tiresome. One aspect of starting Defod that really appealed to me was the ability to sit and create something, then immediately be able to move it on to recording a demo or working on lyrics at a pace that suited me. It's obviously much more work when you're playing every instruments, writing lyrics, recording and producing, creating artwork and layouts ect, however ultimately it's good to have total creative control and freedom.
2.Recently you have released an ep, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical style that yuo went for on the recording?
When I recorded the first single 'Defod Un' I wanted to create something atmospheric and ritualistic, with no lyrics. At that point I felt like this would be where I'd take future work, so I started off using the descriptor 'Atmospheric Black Metal', however as the EP progressed I felt like I didn't want to try and write to a given style, and my natural creativity came through, which resulted in more of a blend of mostly black with some death metal elements, and little hints of other styles mixed in.
3.A lot of your lyrics are inspired by the landscapes and ancient Monuments of Wales, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topic?
We're very lucky here in North Wales to have the massive range and variation in landscapes and environments. You can find wild and undeveloped places with dramatic mountains, glacial lakes, and deep cut valleys, all the way to long sandy beaches or hidden coves with tidal caves, and it's no wonder that our ancestors made their homes here. There is a wealth of remnants of human activity, from early prehistory right through to the present, and through my own research and visits to many of these sites, such as the many neolithic burial chambers or iron age hut circles on Anglsey for example, I feel a deep connection to our shared past and am inspired to use this in my creative output. I also feel that it's of huge importance to educate ourselves so we are able to embrace and preserve our culture and heritage in a progressively more and more homogenised and sterile existence.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Defod'?
Defod is the Welsh word for 'ritual' or 'ceremony' and it captures the intention of the project. When I began writing music for this I envisioned more atmospheric black metal, however it's developed into something a bit more broader in scope, but still true to the nature of the ritualistic concept.
5.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the ep cover?
I took that picture at a neolithic burial chamber in a place called Capel Garmon. It's a beautiful area with views over the mountain ranges of Snowdonia, so it's not hard to see why this it was chosen as a sacred place to bury their ancestors. It's actually a bit of a mystery in terms of its construction, as it reflects a different style (Cotswold-Severn) than that which is usually found in this area. It's definitely worth a visit!
6.With this project you record everything by yourself but have experience working with a full line up, how would you compare the two?
Working on a solo project is entirely a different beast to playing in a band. With a band there's the jamming, rehearsing and playing live that is fundamentally why most people play or write music in the first place. There's also the friendships that form and develop as a result of playing gigs and traveling around. Comparatively, working on a solo project, you definitely feel the absence of those things, however it's also easier, for me at least, to focus on the work and be able to form and shape the music and creative vision much faster and with less compromise.
7.So far you have worked with 'Cavernous Records and 'F.H.E.D'. do you feel these labels have been very helpful when it comes to getting your music out there heard?
Cavernous were the first label to get in touch, and they've been really good to work with so far. We worked out a deal for the next album, so we've yet to see how that goes, but the label themselves have been great.
FHED were in touch shortly after and we were both keen to work together, so we arranged a re release of the EP as it had sold out on CD. We're doing a digipak CD and cassette tape release, with the single as a bonus track, so it's got a little something extra to differentiate it from the original CD release. As far as how they've been to work with, all I can say about them is massively positive things! We're in regular contact, with ideas and artwork flowing between, and honestly I can't wait to see how they turn out. I'd definitely be up for working with FHED again in future.
8.On a worldwide l evel how has the reaction been to your music by fans of atmospheric black metal?
It's been good, I've sent CDs out as far as Australia, which is literally the other side of the Earth, so it's gone as far as it could! There have been a few to mainland Europe too, but the majority of buyers are UK based, with a large proportion of those from Wales.
9.What is going on with 'Emissaries Of Syn' these days?
The pandemic has pretty much halted progress with that at the moment. We all live spread out across the full width of North Wales, so it's sometimes difficult to get together even before restrictions on travel ect. We've had national lockdowns, and also county lockdowns, so there have been times when some of us could travel but not all. There is a full length album in the works, and we're undecided yet wether to record ourselves or go to a studio for that, but you should see some activity towards the end of summer with gigs hopefully starting up again.
10.When can we expect a full length and also where do you see yourself heading into as a musician during the future?
There's a full length album in progress at the moment; I've got a few completed tracks, which I'm really happy with how they're sounding, and there are several in different states of completion. I've said I'm aiming for a summer release, which gives a little bit of room either way depending on how long it takes to complete, get artwork sorted ect.
As far as where do I see myself going as a musician, I think I'll enjoy starting up playing live again with EoS, and Defod will continue to be my more personal outlet. I'd like to maybe do a few gigs as Defod, and see how that goes, but it would definitely have to be with the right people and at the right time.
11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Some of my favourite bands, that I still listen to on a regular basis are Marduk, Nile, Mayhem, Gorgoroth, Deicide, Meads of Asphodel, Taake, to name just a few. It's impossible to not be influenced by anything you hear, so all those bands have had some kind of impression on my creativity.
In terms of what I'm listening to right now it's been a heavy rotation of Celtic Frost, Akercocke and Watain. I also listen to a podcast called Into the Necrosphere. It's well worth checking out, and I've discovered a ton of bands on there, and it keeps my music taste from becoming stagnant.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Yes; keep supporting artists! It's been a difficult and crazy time for everyone, and it's easy to become complacent or apathetic, but for so many of us, music and art is our escape.
Thanks for the interview!