Replayed by J. William W.
by Giancarlo Bolther
Can you give us an introduction to your band with the history of your group?
It’s a long story. Agalloch has been around for quite some time. An introduction or biography can be redundant and can be easily found on the Internet.
In the new album your sound is more influenced by heavy metal instead the previous one, why this choice?
To me, heavy metal is a disgusting term. It means nothing. It conjures images of everything from Iron Maiden to Poison to Burzum, and is way too broad. Most things labelled heavy metal we have little to nothing to do with. The difference between The Mantle and Ashes Against The Grain that you are referring to is perhaps the use of electric guitars versus acoustic guitars. This decision to use more electric guitars than on The Mantle was merely semi-conscious. Its what the songs demanded.
Your sound reminds to me a cross between artists like Sol Invictus, Ophet and Anathema, what kind of music are you looking for?
It’s a cliché, but whatever sounds good to us. A mixture of influences and ideas, and out comes Agalloch. Impossible to explain fully.
What does the title mean?
It’s a line from the whole story that Haughm wrote for the lyrics for the album. Haughm can only explain the deeper meanings. But to me, it symbolizes decay and rebirth, as well as going against the norm and what is expected. Everyone expected us to go in a more folk direction, and we made our heaviest album yet.
Where do you find inspiration for writing your lyrics?
Haughm writes all the lyrics. His inspiration comes from cinema, music and life.
How do you go about the process of composing songs?
Typically, Haughm writes the foundations, and then Anderson and I write on top of that. Usually we don’t even play the songs together at all until the album is finished. There is a lot of writing done in the studio.
How long did you take to realize the new album?
years. Agalloch takes years to compose. The infancy of the songs can last for years, and then towards the end of the compositional process, things can speed up a lot. Overall, the songs on the new album took shape slowly after many years.
Your new album is very strong and dark, which is the message that you want to say, do you want to wake up people about the reality that surround us, or it’s just a personal reflection about what was happening in the world?
It’s a personal reflection. What people get from the message or lyrics is up to them.
How are going the responses?
The response so far to the album has been incredible. Of course we feel it is the strongest work we have done to date, and hopefully people will recognize its beauty as well.
Between your albums you have made some Ep’s, can you tell me more about them (as like they are particular projects or so...)?
The Eps we have done are smaller more insignificant works. We have done a handful of them over the years. They are expressions that we feel don’t belong on a full-length album. They definitely fit with Agalloch, but are some departed from our main work.
Somebody labels your music as prog (I agree in the meaning that you are trying someting new), but do you feel to be part of the prog scene?
No. We have prog elements, but Agalloch is not a prog band. Some label us as such, because we are not a cookie cutter rehashed band, but I am not comfortable calling us a prog band.
What do you think about the actual progressive scene and what developments will be for progressive music in future?
Most bands in the prog scene that are labelled prog, I don’t care for. Each of us has a different and wide variety of prog band we like. My favourites that could be considered prog are Fantomas, Ruins, Melt Banana and bands such as this.
You have got some folk influences as well, can you tell me more about, please?
We are fans of neo-folk like Current 93 and Death In June, as well as lesser known bands as well. It shines through in our music at times, especially on The Mantle.
There is a long tradition of artists that play folk music crossed with rock since the seventies, there is something that you like?
In my opinion the 70’s were all about The Ramones, Black Flag and The Germs. Everything else is inconsequential. Some members enjoy 70’s prog a lot, but I do not.
Did you play on tour after the realization of the cd, what is that caracterize your live performances?
We’ve done a couple shows in America after the album, and will have our first European tour this fall. Our live performances are volatile, and intense, and showcases a different side of agalloch that many do not know.
How do you live the day-to-day reality outside the band? What kind of person are you as men and as artists?
Each of us is different in many ways, but we all have a common sensibility. I am a father, a husband, and hard worker. I work full time to support my family, as well as run Audio Savant records, write for Metal Maniacs, and my side projects. Don is a professor and in a PHD program.
Which is the greatest satisfaction happened to you in your musical carreer?
Hard to say. It’s afforded me so many opportunities, and rewarded me in so many ways. I feel that Europe will be our biggest satisfaction.
What kind of music do you listen to? What are your favourite bands actually and what are your inspirations from the past?
I will speak for me only. My favourite bands of today and yesterday are Carcass, Mr. Bungle, Faith No More, The Ramones, Thought Industry, Obituary, Estradasphere, GG Allin, Bjork and many more.
How culturally connected are you to your native land?
America is so diverse that I challenge anyone to say they are connected with America as a whole. I feel no connection to the Midwest or the south, these seem like foreign lands to me. The Northwest where I live, I feel at home. This is my clulture.
Thanks a lot for this interview. Feel free for a final salute...
JWW: Thanks for the interview. Visit www.agalloch.org for up to date info on Agalloch.
Reviews (only in italian): The Mantle; Ashes Against the Grain