domingo, 5 de febrero de 2023


 Good evening, thank you very much for answering these questions, how is everything going in Hollywood? 

Thanks for reaching out! Things are going well. We had a lot of rain recently, which is not common in L.A. The minute it rains, everything immediately floods, so we were dealing with that. There’s mold and stuff growing in the garage, which feels a bit like “The Last of Us,” haha.

1. You have been active for almost a decade now, at what point did you make the decision to start the band active? Why did you choose the name Ashen Horde and what does it refer to?

Ashen Horde came to life a couple years after I moved from New York to Los Angeles. I’d been looking for other people to play music with, but wasn’t having much luck, so I decided to try to make an álbum by myself. I first released an álbum under the name Bite Wound, which was a bit more punk and grindcore-inspired. But I really wanted to get back to my black and death metal roots. I had a couple songs I’d been working on here and there, so I finished those, and Ashen Horde was born.

I honestly don’t remember exactly when the name came to me, but I remember thinking it was cool. The first thing I did was Google it to make sure it wasn’t already taken, and was happy to find that it wasn’t! It doesn’t really mean anything specific, but I still like it.

2. Since your beginnings you have maintained a fairly constant, almost annual, rhythm of publishing new music. How has this long process of these ten years been for you until it culminated with the release of “Antimony”?

Yeah, I love to write and record, and do it almost every day, so I’m always thinking about the next reléase, whether that’s a single, EP or álbum. The story idea for Antimony goes back many years—I’d actually considered it for what became our second álbum, Nine Plagues, but it didn’t feel like the right time. But after Fallen Cathedrals was completed, I decided it was finally time to work on an álbum about Charles Bravo’s death since I was so fascinated after reading about it. The music writing started back in maybe 2018? Before Fallen Cathedrals came out, for sure. I tend to write about 3-4 years ahead, haha!

3. You have just released your fourth album “Antimony”, an album that gives continuity to your previous “Fallen Cathedrals”, with two eps also released in between. How has the writing and recording process for this new album been? brands of instruments have you used in the process?

The biggest difference between Fallen Cathedrals and Antimony is that I used a full band. The early releases were just me, and Fallen Cathedrals was just me and Stevie (on harsh vocals). For Antimony, I wanted it to be a full band with live drums. Bringing Robin in to drum definitely changed my process. Even though I had detailed demos with programmed drums, he put his own spin on things. Sometimes I didn’t love it, and would have him get closer to the demo, but sometimes what he played was way cooler than what I’d written. A few times I even changed the guitar parts to match his drums. So it was more collaborative than anything we’d done previously. 

I’m not 100% sure what gear the other guys used, but all the guitars were played on my favorite BC Rich Mockingbird, which has been used on almost all Ashen Horde recordings. I record through a Little Labs Redeye 3D Phantom that goes through an Avid Eleven Rack amplifier into Pro Tools. I like my tones, but I think Shane ultimately re-amped them at his studio, haha.

4. In this new album, if we talk about style, you have delved even more into your facet of progressive black, like wanting to break or take a step forward with respect to your previous albums. Are you aware of this evolution in your sound in This latest album? How would you define the sound of “Antimony”, for those who haven't heard it yet? Where do you look for inspiration when defining your sound?

It’s funny—I don’t think it was specifically about trying to take a step forward; rather, it was feeling more comfortable about trying different things. Even though my philosophy with Ashen Horde has always been to not worry about genre labels and just do what feels right, I didn’t necessarily go as far as I could have. There are plenty of times I would throw away a riff (or whole song) because it didn’t feel heavy enough. This time, I tried not to worry about that. I just wrote songs that I liked and that I thought fit the story. At the same time, I do always try to push myself and a writer and guitarist, so I’m always trying new things. That probably added the progressive piece, too. 

I guess I’d define the sound as progressive blackened death metal, since that covers a lot of bases, but it’s a bit of a mouthful! It also doesn’t take into account the thrash, traditional metal or even punk influences. So maybe just extreme metal?! 

In terms of inspiration, again, I just try to write songs that sound cool to me. I listen to a LOT of music, and I know what I like and what I don’t like. But regardless, I try to take elements of everything I like and put my own spin on them.

5. More than fifty minutes long today, it's very good, especially taking into account the brevity of many albums nowadays where the average is about forty minutes, do you try in any way that with this length the album becomes more immersive? What themes do you deal with in your lyrics? Do you adapt the music to the lyrics or vice versa?

I didn’t really think about length, to be honest. I just write the songs until they feel complete to me. I guess I usually like them to be longer, though, haha. But I do feel like I would have a hard time writing very short songs, because I don’t think they’d be—as you said—as immersive. It’s about what feels right, ultimately.

When it comes to lyrics, all Ashen Horde albums have been based on stories. I guess I write better when things are stretched out over multiple songs! Each story is very different, but they certianly all have darker themes: Nine Plagues was about suffering, Fallen Cathedrals was about class warfare, and Antimony is about murder. In each case, I really try to get into the minds of the people going through these horrible situations, and think about why they do what they do. It’s fascinating, because it forces you to think not only about how would deal with a situation, but also how someone else would.

I almost always write music first, though I do usually have some idea about the story, so I try to make songs fit the part of the story that the lyrics will cover. On Antimony, “The Physician” is a bit more technical since it’s about a doctor, whereas “The Barrister” is more varied and melodic, since it deals with the victim’s abused wife.

6. The recording process for this new album seems to have been an arduous process, in which four different studios have participated, including one located in Australia, almost nothing, why all this process? Were there any details? from previous Asehn Horde albums, with which you were not completely satisfied and therefore this situation arose when facing the recording?

Yeah, it was definitely a new challenge! But at the same time, everyone who played on the álbum is super professional and used to working remotely. Robin, for instance, does drums for people all over the world. He works very hard, and knows what needs to be done. Really, I just wanted the best musicians I could find to play on it, and technology luckily allowed me to find that across the globe.

I wouldn’t say I wasn’t satisfied with the earlier albums, but I really wanted this álbum to have a more natural, human feel.

7. The cover also differs somewhat from your previous works, hence also what I commented before about the style of this new album, the artwork has been done by Niklas Sundin from Dark Tranquility, how did you make the decision to work with him to make the cover? What does this cover represent and how does it relate to the content of the album?

I first reached out to Nik for another álbum I was working on (hopefully out this year). I absolutely loved the artwork he did for Dark Tranquillity’s álbum Atoma, and after looking at other stuff he’d done, I knew I wanted to work with him. It was a bit nerve-wracking reaching out since I was such a fan of Dark Tranquillity and his artwork, but he was extremely nice and easy to work with. 

We’d actually commissioned a different artist for the cover originally, but the piece just didn’t work; it wasn’t what I was hoping for. So I hit up Nik, and he was able to come up with something that worked much better. He told me it depicts the victim after being poisoned. He’s looking up at two Victorian figures who may have killed him, but they’re nightmarish and hard to see since he’s losing conciousness. I thought it worked perfectly for the álbum!

8. You have also changed your record label, Transcending Obscurity Records for the occasion. How did you come into contact and the subsequent release of the album with Transcendins? Is it a bit complicated to work with a record label based in India? Wasn't there? Possibility of considering other publishing possibilities in formats such as vinyl or cassette?

I first got in contact with Kunal right after Nine Plagues cameo out. At the time, he still had his webzine, and our álbum got a really great review on his site. I reached out to him and we stayed in touch. When Fallen Cathedrals was done, he had too much going on, so we weren’t able to work together on it (that one came out through Extreme Metal Music). But we kept in contact, and the timing was finally right. I haven’t had any issues with him being in India, except that he’s usually asleep when I’m awake and vice versa, so it can be hard to chat in real time!

While TO only released the digital and cd versions, we did an Indiegogo campaign to get the álbum out on vinyl. It was successful, and the vinyl should be here in a few months. It’s a super limited reléase, but we do still have copies if people are interested. There are a couple other exclusives, too—a t-shirt and a 7”—that are only available through Indiegogo. As soon as the vinyl sells out, we’ll stop offering those. I don’t know about cassette, but would love to see that happen with TO or another label.

9. Thanks to the new additions to the band's line-up, is there a possibility that you start to play some concerts on a regular basis?

I’d love to, but it’s challenging. Robin is in Australia, so getting him here would be far too expensive! Stevie tours with Inferi quite a lot, so his schedule is already busy. But hopefully we can find a way to play live soon. I’d really love to play some of the festivals in different parts of the world, and that would be a good excuse to fly Robin in!

10. How were your beginnings in music: first concerts you attended, first albums you bought? What event in your life pushed you to want to be a musician?

Music has always been a big part of my life. Even as a little kid—when I was 5 or 6—I would listen to my dad’s vinyl singles on my Fisher Price record player. Things like the Beatles, Stray Cats, the Police, and one of my earliest favorites, Queen! I was probably the only kid in kindergarten that knew all the words to “Another One Bites the Dust,” haha. 

I really knew I wanted to play music when I saw “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park.” My dad had recorded it off of late-night TV, and I watched it a million times. I started getting Kiss tapes for birthdays and stuff, and couldn’t get enough. 

Fittingly, my first real concert (beyond some kids shows and what not) was Kiss! It was the Hot in the Shade tour with Winger and Slaughter, and was even cooler than I imagined. They sounded great, looked cool, and the Sphinx stage was amazing! Looking back, I’m thankful that I got to see Eric Carr, too.

While the Kiss tapes were some of the earliest I got (along with Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Poison and stuff like that), the first cassette I remember buying with my own money was the Black Crowes’ Shake Your Money Maker. I went to see them play that álbum in L.A. in 2021, and it was my first show post-Covid. It was awesome.

11. What album represents for you the essence of black metal? What last albums have you bought?

There are several I could choose from, but Enslaved’s Frost is probably the most important one for me. While it may not be considered “true” black metal, musically it embodies everything that got me into the genre in the first place. It’s melodic, fast, cold and epic. I still love it as much as I did when I first heard it. Emperor’s Anthems… and Satyricon’s Nemesis Divina are also up there for me. I also cite album’s like Solefald’s The Linear Scaffold, since it represents the more Avant garde side of the genre that I’m into.

Recent purchases? Hmm… I just got the newest Kampfar álbum, Til Klovers Takt, and have been playing it a lot. I didn’t check it out in 2022, but if I had, it probably would have been in my Top 10 albums of the year. The newest Khold álbum is good, even if I didn’t love it as much as their early works. Oh, and I really like the new Slegest álbum, Avstand. It’s truly excellent black n’ roll. I’m excited to check out the new … And Oceans, but haven’t had a chance yet.

12. What future plans do you have for Ashen Horde once you finish editing your new album?

Hopefully more and more music! In addition to already working hard on the next álbum, we’re also working on a special EP to celebrate our 10th anniversary. I’m hoping to have that out in the fall. Who knows, maybe we’ll actually find a way to do some shows!

13. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions for Black Metal Spirit, if you want to add something for Ashen Horde fans this is the place. I hope the questions are to your liking.

Thanks so much for the interview! I want to thank everyone who has purchased, streamed, reviewed and talked about Antimony. We’re very proud of the álbum, and are happy to finally have it out in the world. Please spread the word, and we’ll keep making the music we love to make! Cheers.


Tengger Cavalry – Die On My Ride 19,99 €

Includes lyric sheet.
Limited edition transparent gold vinyl.

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario