domingo, 25 de agosto de 2013


Stellar Descent aims to create atmospheric, depressive, folkish black metal. Stellar Descent is musically inspired by bands such as Burzum, Wyrd, Skagos, Boreal, Agalloch, Alda, etc. Stellar Descent is lyrically inspired by the the vastness of space and time, the delicate condition of humanity and its only known home, Earth, and the understanding and appreciation that we are all simply temporary expressions of the universe. 

1. Why did you decide to form Stellar Descent in 2010? Have you ever belonged to other bands such as Bleak, Soulfuckingblight, Twilight Falls, Funebrial, all completed today, so his old lagoon groups are present in Stellar Descent or has nothing to do with them?
I started recording under Stellar Descent a couple years after graduating college. Much of my earlier music was partially inspired by nature. But the newer material that I was recording under Stellar Descent was far more so. And I was very inspired by bands like Alda. So the new material was quite different both lyrically and musically, and so it didn't seem appropriate to continue recording under previous projects, like Bleak, Twilight Falls, or Funebrial. 
I abruptly ended my involvement with these previous projects years ago. I needed to finish my studies at the university. I was approaching my mid/late 20s, and I still didn't have a degree-- in fact, I was flunking out. I had been an awful student, and I was spending far too much of my time with music. So I stopped completely, changed my major, and concentrated on school.

2. Farallon, the Split-edit coming Aylwin in my point of view it seems very timely as there are many similarities between the two bands, how decided to undertake this collaboration? How was the writing and recording process of Farallon?
Issaiah from Aylwin contacted me. He was interested in recording a split. I hadn't heard of Aylwin, but after listening to their music the answer was obvious: Yes. It was a lot of fun to work with Aylwin. I think there's a good chance we'll do something again in the future.

3. Since 2010 Stellar Descent takes regularly putting out material very underground, do you think that black metal and more specifically bands like Stellar Descent should follow in the underground as a way to remain authentic?
Aside from Accretion, everything I've released under Stellar Descent has been self-released. But that's just due to time and money constraints. 
I've released instrumental CDr previews of Darkening Peaks and On the Shores of this Cosmic Ocean. These were released in very limited numbers because the albums aren't actually complete yet. They still lack vocals. And it also takes a bit of money and time to make a decent DIY release. When these releases are complete, I hope to find a label for a proper release.
We also self released a very limited number of Aylwin/Stellar Descent split CDrs. Again, money and time were a factor. These CDrs came with 3 color booklets. The printing costs were very high. We actually sold these at a loss. The split was also released by Atlatl Music Group, which was run by Issaiah of Aylwin, but he didn't have time to continue running Atlatl. Farallon was planned to be released on cassette by Eternal Warfare this summer, but at least for the time being, future Eternal Warfare releases are on hold due to funding issues.
I don't think anyone needs to stay underground to remain authentic. I think folks should just create and listen to music that they like. 

4. What concepts covered in your lyrics? What the listener attempts to transmit with your music?
Stellar Descent is  inspired by the the vastness of space and time, the delicate condition of humanity and its only known home, Earth, and the understanding and appreciation that we are all simply temporary expressions of the universe. 
Album concepts so far have dealt with cycles of life, geological mountain building, nature,  climate change, etc. Climate change impacts everything under the sun, and it is certainly a strong concept in all my music. 

5. How bands like Burzum, Wyrd, Skagos, Boreal, Agalloch, Alda, you have influence when composing and form Stellar Descent?
Burzum and Wyrd have created some amazing atmosphere from more or less minimal progressions. And I love it. I start almost every part of every recording with something that has a similar sound-- or I try to, at least.
Agalloch, Skagos, and Alda do a fantastic job of creating atmosphere that just feels natural. Accretion was actually written and recorded after a camping and hiking trip in the Sierra Nevada. I listened to Alda almost the entire time. I was inspired by how well the music captured the experience. 
Boreal is in its own world. Especially the yet-released material. It's dark. It's atmospheric. It's psychedelic. And it's influenced my writing and recording a great deal. It's inspired me to experiment and it's driven me further toward atmospheric and ambient sounds. Its psychedelic influence comes through a bit in Darkening Peaks and is probably the most important aspect of  my newest material, the yet-released Cycles of Life.

6. Could you explain a bit the concept of Stellar Descent which refers the name of the group?
Stellar Descent is meant to be taken rather literally. It means we are descendants of stars. It is a way to describe our shared cosmic origin. 

7. How were your beginnings in music and it was decided by the black?
My grandma taught me how to play piano when I was young. That was my first experience playing a musical instrument.
I played drums for a horrible band back around high school. Ash (Boreal) was the guitarist. We were awful. Just terrible. But that was my first experience in a band.
Sometime around 1998 or so, Ash and I began writing and recording metal together, some of which eventually evolved into Twilight Falls. And I began recording some music on my own, some of which eventually evolved into Bleak. And then other stuff followed. 

8. While editing your work comes through Eternal Warfare, Farallon has been self-released. Why the decisions to self-edit the Split? What is your relationship with Eternal Warfare?
Farallon is planned to be released on cassette by Eternal Warfare. But everything is on hold for now due to funding shortfalls. We self-released a Farallon CDr to help raise money for the Eternal Warfare Fest. We covered the expenses and gave all sales money to Eternal Warfare.
I've really enjoyed working with Eternal Warfare. Nate is a really interesting person, and it's been a real kick getting to know him. He's also an extremely interesting musician. His most recent Mania release, Revel, is absolutely incredible. It is definitely one of my favorite releases of 2013. 

9. What can fans expect from Stellar Descent in the near future regarding upcoming releases, reissues, etc?
Accretion should be released on pro CD through Pest Productions within the next couple months. In fact, I've just sent off the master WAVs today. 
Farallon is planned to be released on cassette through Eternal Warfare, but that is currently delayed indefinitely. 
The Boreal/Twilight Falls/Stellar Descent split will be released through Cloister Recordings very soon. We are hoping to have these ready by Stella. Ash and I will be covering the costs of the DIY release, and all proceeds will be donated to Cloister Recordings to help Marcus establish the label.
A new release called Cycles of Life will likely be available at Stella as well-- at least an instrumental preview CDr. The album will consist of one track. It will be over 90 minutes long. And it will be the most atmospheric, psychedelic Stellar Descent release to date. 
I plan next to release a video on DVR. Initially, I wanted to have this ready by Stella as well, but I don't think it's going to happen.

10. Are you satisfied with the impact they are having your work?
I've been very satisfied with everything Stellar Descent related so far. I've had the opportunity to really improve my composition and recording abilities. I've learned a lot. I've met a lot of wonderful folks. And labels and bands with whom I've worked have been fantastic.

11. Thank you very much for taking the time to Black Metal Spirit, if you want to add something for fans of Stellar Descent, this is the place. I hope the questions are to your liking.
I think I would like to write a few extra words..
The Lakes Basin recreation area in the Plumas National forest inspired Accretion. I first visited the area on a field trip in '06 or so. I used to camp annually with family in Plumas Eureka State Park, which is just north of Lakes Basin. I've returned a few times. In fact, I was just there a few weeks back. The field recordings from Accretion and Nevadan (From the upcoming Boreal/Twilight Falls/Stellar Descent split) were recorded there. It's one of my favorite places. At about 6,500 feet, it's a great place to escape the dry, summer valley heat.
But not this year. It was hot. And dry. And things didn't look as lush as they usually do. Vegetation appeared stressed. Trees weren't as green as usual. And ground cover and brush were even worse. Some broad leafed plants were burnt to a crisp. And it was hot-- over 90 degrees F.
When I returned home, I checked historical temperature data for the area. In a typical year, the highest temperature recorded is about 85 degrees F. But we weren't just unlucky in happening to visit during 90+ degree temperatures; it had about 104 degrees multiple times that month-- that's 30+ degrees hotter than the hottest temperatures typically experienced in this area, and it's the hottest ever recorded July temperature. The entire month of July was hotter than the hottest temperature recorded in a typical year.
This trend isn't isolated. Hansen et. al., 2012, demonstrated that the most extreme heat waves are occurring with increasing frequency and intensity. Extremely hot temperatures that just a few decades ago covered only 0.1% of Earth now cover about 10% of Earth. Temperatures that now cover 0.1% of Earth are simply not represented by historical data. This is an alarming increase.
Here in California, this alarming increase is combining with increased dead wood, shrubs, brush, etc, from years of forest fire suppression to create nightmarish fire conditions. And that's what we saw in the Lakes Basin area. We saw a temperature stressed ecosystem just one lightening strike away from devastation. But it's not just happening in California.  These conditions are being felt nation-wide. In just 30 years, federal fire fighting costs have increased by nearly 10 times. The frequency of large forest fires in the west has increased dramatically since the 1970s. And the fires we see now are like none we've seen before. The combination of increased fuel, temperature, and drought is feeding monstrous fires that burn fiercely and quickly. 
Other places have it even worse. Increased winter temperatures are creating favorable breeding conditions for bark beetles. Current bark beetle infestations in Canada are 10 times worse than they used to be because multiple generations of bark beetles can survive the warmer winter temperatures we now see. And warmer temperatures are bringing far more bark beetles into places like Colorado, where forests are being devastated. These massive kill areas simply add to the already increased fuel from forest fire suppression, high temperatures, and drought. 
I saw a fascinating bit of research down in the poster session at the Fall 2010 AGU meeting. A researcher had combed through forests in the southwest collecting proxy data (e.g., from tree rings) for things like drought, temperature, and fire. He was able to use these data to create an impressive historical record of climate and fire in the southwest over the past couple thousand years. He created a simple mathematical formula using climate attributes like drought, high temperature, summer length, etc., that predicted the fire record very well. And then he fed this formula some modest climate projections over the course of this century. 
Discussing research with scientists in poster sessions is a wonderful experience. You can see the scientists' eyes light up. You can hear the excitement in their voices. And when there's a small group listening-- like there was in this case-- and the science is good-- like it was in this case-- and the implications are interesting-- like they were in this case-- there's an indescribable energy in the air. It's electric. It's exhilarating. And it was, in this case. That is, until we looked at the projections. Everyone was suddenly quiet. No one really knew what to say. The results were terrifying. They were depressing. And they are more or less in line with other research that has tried to do the same thing: Forests in the southwest are going to burn like crazy from here on out.
Fire is a way for an ecosystem to equilibrate with climate. After a large fire moves through, decreased competition for available resources like sun, water, and nutrients allow vegetation that is best suited for the current climate to take over. Because temperatures have steadily increased over the past decades, much of the Sierra Nevada is out of balance. The ecosystems in place currently will not take hold again after fire decreases resource competition. They will be replaced by ecosystems that love heat. And drought. This process is already occurring. Scientists have already seen ecosystems moving both upslope and poleward toward cooler temperatures. And this process will continue well past the end of this century. 
As I write this, the Rim Fire is burning out of control. It has entered remote locations of Yosemite, potentially threatening two groves of giant sequoias. Giant sequoias only grow naturally in limited groves on western facing Sierra Nevadan slopes. They are some of the largest and oldest trees on Earth. And the conditions we are creating threaten them, along with every other significant attribute that we currently ascribe to the Sierra Nevada. We've already set the stage for dramatic change. Our descendants will never have a chance to experience the Sierra Nevada as we know it today. 
Thanks for the interview.

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