Interview with Ben of ELM STREET

Interview with Ben of ELM STREET

- in Written interviews

Peter Coulson

Hi! “The Great Tribulation” seems to be a departure from your previous albums in terms of its complexity and heaviness. Can you talk about the evolution of your sound and what inspired this new direction?
Hi! Thanks for having us. We really just wrote an album that was a moment in time of where we are at as musicians, but also our own personal experiences. We never set out to make this album heavier or technical, although it makes sense that it’s completely different to ‘Barbed Wire Metal’, which was written by 4 teenagers in 2012. I think that’s the exciting part about writing music in this band; there really are no limits.

The album features a wide range of songs, from the epic 11-minute opener “Seven Sirens” to the party metal vibe of “Take The Night”. How did you approach the songwriting process to create such diverse tracks that still feel cohesive as an album?
Similar to the style, we put no barriers around the length of a song. If it felt right to add another 2 guitar solos, we did it. In the end it may sound cohesive as each and every section was added for a purpose.

Can you elaborate on the lyrical themes of the album and the message you hope to convey to your listeners?
That the world can be f’d haha. The last few years almost felt like the end of days and each song speaks about dark times that have impacted us or the world around us. Some of the lyrics may give people a sense of hope.

The lyrics across the album seem to explore themes of apocalyptic scenarios, societal corruption, and the consequences of human actions. What inspired this dark and intense lyrical direction, and what message do you hope listeners will take away from the album as a whole?
We thought it would be good to sing about themes that were mentioned in the bible. As much as we love Stryper, we’re not solely a Christian band haha, but as bands tend to look at dark themes in other areas, the bible has some cool themes that really suit metal. We thought to tie in the events of the past few years with that.

The album’s lyrics also confront harsh realities such as war, manipulation, and the darker aspects of human nature. How do you navigate the line between artistic expression and potentially controversial themes? Do you believe it’s important for music to challenge societal norms and provoke thought, even if it sparks controversy?
I think so and at the end of the day, it’s our platform to personally share our thoughts. We have always treated our albums this way and never refrain from mentioning anything.

The album includes a re-recorded version of “The Last Judgement” from your 2021 release. What prompted the decision to revisit and revamp this particular track, and how does the new version differ from the original?
The track was always intended for the next album release, although as COVID set us back with studio recording time, we thought why not stay active and record a rough demo version while we were in lockdown. It turned out cool but the album version definitely dials it up to 11 haha.

“Behind The Eyes Of Evil” is described as a mid-tempo hammer from hell with shocking lyrics based on real events. Could you share more about the inspiration behind this specific song and the story it tells?
To me it gives off an 80’s slasher movie vibe and it does tell a similar story. I don’t want to give too much away, as we tend to leave the door open for the listener to interpret their own story, although madness is involved.

The album features a ballad, “The Darker Side Of Blue”. What was the creative process like for this song, and how did the addition of orchestral elements enhance the emotional impact of the track?
Up until 2 months before we began the final recording sessions we had no intention of adding orchestral parts to the song. There was always a missing element and Diego Zapatero really did an amazing job on a few of the songs on the album. The whole piece for me personally was uncertain; vocally I had no idea how I was going to pull it off on the album and up until recording day, I was certain this song would be a B-Side on a future release. Surprisingly, I pulled it off haha.

You’ve worked with renowned professionals like Luke Cincotta and Michael Mainx for the recording and mixing of the album. How did their expertise contribute to shaping the final sound of “The Great Tribulation”?
Both were great! Luke is an amazing producer and engineer who we will definitely work with again. We hadn’t heard his work in the past and I’m not certain he heard of Elm Street in the past. He guided us in the right direction and for me was a huge help during the vocal recordings. Michael was another professional at his craft. It was the most we had been involved in the mixing process and even though at times we struggled to verbalize our mix feedback, he somehow knew exactly what we meant on any revisions.

Can you explain the concept behind the artwork and how it relates to the themes explored in the album?
This was the simple part….. innocent life impacted by the bulls!#t going on around him haha. Andreas Marschall really pulled it off!

What was the vision behind “Take The Night” and “The Price Of War” videos, and how do they complement the music and lyrics of the respective songs?
Nick (Bass Player) took the creative lead on this one and worked closely with Stupid Old Studios + old time friend Gareth McGilvray. We did both infront of a massive LED screen and it worked out great for the party vibe of Take The Night and the dark visuals of The Price of War.

“The Great Tribulation” was recorded at Melbourne’s Sing Sing Studios. How did the studio environment influence the recording process, and do you believe it added a unique quality to the album?
It definitely did… well at least for us it mattered. Haha we’re musicians and we want to play around with sounds and get creative in a studio. Being in that environment just gives you that push to express your ideas. When you work with a talented producer like Luke Cincotta, then he’s in his element and we create something unique.

As a band that has gained recognition for its live performances, how do you envision translating the energy and complexity of the new album into your live shows? Are there specific songs from the album that you are particularly excited to perform live?
We’re debuting a number of shows this weekend. It’s been years since we’ve rebuilt a set with entirely new material and that alone is excited. I’m super interested to see how ‘Behind The Eyes of Evil’ sounds like as listening back to the record, it’s super heavy and you just want to bang your head haha.

How do you see this album influencing your future work, and do you feel any pressure to meet or exceed the expectations set by this release?
I don’t really see it impacting our work in any way. When we begin writing or preparing the release, ‘The Great Tribulation’ will be a past release and it will be cool to look back at it as a memory of 2020 to 2023. We’ll never try to recreate it or compare it to a future release.

How important is it for you to use your music as a platform for social or political commentary, and what impact do you hope your songs will have on your listeners?
Not overly important for us as the songs are so personal. We’re hoping people find their own connection and it can provide a positive influence on their lives.

How do you think “The Great Tribulation” will be remembered in the context of your discography, and what makes this album stand out from your previous work?
I can already see and as you mentioned, it will be known as the ‘darker and heavier’ album. I agree with that and looking from the outside, I can see how people land on that conclusion. The song length makes the album stand out and giving listeners the ability to check back in on the album after a few months and discover something new.

With the release of “The Great Tribulation”, what do you hope your fans will take away from the album, and what do you believe sets ELM STREET apart in the contemporary heavy metal scene? Thank you for your time!
We hope it’s an enjoyable album for metalheads that love all styles of metal. We do and we don’t restrict ourselves to any style. Instead, we write music that feels right, no matter the sound. In the end; we’re just 4 guys navigating life and listening to rocking metal. Thanks again and see you soon!

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