Hi! How has your sound evolved since your previous album, “Acolytes of Entropy”?
The most obvious change is the addition of orchestral elements to the music. While not nearly as obvious and grandiose as our other band The Design Abstract, the presence adds a new dimension to the music in a way we think is particularly striking.
Songwriting-wise, the tracks are typically much more brisk and concise as well. Shorter runtimes are the result of songs that get to the point and don’t overstay their welcome.
What was the inspiration behind the introduction of orchestral elements in your sound?
I decided that my voice as Voiicide was something I shouldn’t try to suppress. That’s the real reason behind it. In this particular band, I don’t have control over the guitars or much of the songwriting, and while in this album I did play bass, I found that I wanted to contribute melodically in a way that simply isn’t my job.
The others had the option to veto this decision: it was presented as a proof-of-concept when I added my vocals, but unsurprisingly it was a unanimous “yes”. (it’s unsurprising if you know what The Design Abstract sounds like)
Can you discuss the constant sub-theme of the futility and violence of warfare in “Gods of a Dead World”?
We don’t tend to make political music, but I don’t think it’s controversial to say that innocent people shouldn’t die in needless dick-measuring competitions between state leaders who will never see the front lines.
Our angle tends to emphasize the fact that human lifespans are the blink of an eye in the cosmic timeline, and even grand wars that last decades are meaningless squabbles when it will all eventually return to dust. You can fight for or against, you can object and criticize, and it’s all going to eventually return to the void, so why sacrifice lives needlessly?
How does “The Brown Stone Spire” relate to the overall theme of the album, which seems to focus on darker and more serious subjects?
The Brown Stone Spire is definitely one of the more vague tracks and is open to interpretation, which is why I hesitate to even mention the actual inspiration for the track, but I can’t pretend it’s not there so:
The Brown Stone Spire is a recurring object/entity in the radio show/podcast Welcome to Night Vale. The idea of it lent itself very well to a death metal track, but at the core it really is a summary of its appearance in that show.
Rarely do I write lyrics about specific references, though it does happen occasionally with books I’ve read (Tombs from Acolytes of Entropy is a reference to Dan Simmon’s Hyperion) In this case I took a much less serious subject and explored it in a way that I thought was interesting without it being silly. It is ironic that it comes off as a more serious subject matter.
Can you talk about the concept behind “Seeds of Hatred” and the geographic area it describes that is forever torn by war?
I liked the idea of a place that was almost “cursed” with this innate catalyst for hatred between different factions. It’s not necessarily about any real-world place, though it could be applied to countless places with a history of bloodshed. I thought it was interesting to almost de-personify the people actually starting and fighting the wars, and instead look at the timeline of this place that sees empires rise and fall, countless soldiers and civilians lose their lives, because of the nature of this specific place and how it’s a constant force of disorder and death.
“Psychosomatic Suicide” departs from the main theme of the album, can you tell us more about the inspiration behind the song and why it was included on the album?
It definitely doesn’t really fit in. If I’m being honest, I wrote The Art of Ruination and Seeds of Hatred too well and didn’t want to rehash the same idea over and over. Psychosomatic Suicide was written from a place of mental darkness, where I took the idea of mental anguish and brought it to its logical extreme conclusion: full-body death as the result of a dysfunctioning mind.
With Ethereal Void, we don’t write strict concept albums, though a theme is always there, but typically we will depart into more traditional death metal lyrics for a song or two, even if that sort of abstract, heady, “big picture” style we have is still present.
“Decay” is a clean instrumental interlude that explores a style of melodic writing rarely glimpsed in your music, what was the inspiration behind this track?
Our music used to have a lot of clean intros, clean bridges, etc but with this album, I wanted to cut all the extra stuff and get right to the point. That said, every album needs a break. There’s no contrast if it’s just noise from start to end.
The tonality for Decay was a little unexpected. I told Logan I wanted something a little weird, and we jammed it out in person. Actually, it’s probably the only EV song ever that was recorded in-person as a live jam. I would like to explore that sort of tonality more in the future.
How does the band approach songwriting and production, particularly in terms of refining and maintaining a unique angle for each song?
It’s a mix of control and chaos. And by that I mean I’m control and Logan is chaos. Logan will send entire songs with guitars and drums laid out, and typically I will hack them all up and restructure the shit out of them. In this case, I thought the fast, concise nature of the tracks was a positive aspect so I kept myself out of the structure and riffs almost across the board. I tweaked Seeds and a couple others here and there, but overwhelmingly I just wrote lyrics for the songs as Logan presented them.
Leads come from Nemesis after I’ve settled on a structure and recorded bass and scratch vocals. Typically his layers are what tie everything together and go last.
In this case, since the orchestral elements were completely unplanned, a couple of spots needed to be modified to accompany them but it was largely a painless and intuitive process.
Can you tell us more about the role of Voiicide, who produced, mixed, and mastered the album at Abstrakted Records?
That’s me! Typically I’m the creative voice behind a lot of the projects we do, but that’s mostly because I see a specific way things should be done and I won’t let them be done any other way. I’m a nightmare to work with.
With Gods of a Dead World, I tried to be hands-off with the actual writing and structuring of the songs, letting the guitar players actually play guitar instead of micromanaging the album’s process to get a specific end result. That being said, I’m still the one who does the final drum programming/production, the bass, the lyrics/vocals, and all of the production, mixing, and mastering. In this case (and probably from now on) the production will include orchestral scoring as well.
In essence, they let me use this music as a platform to say whatever I want lyrically, I feel it’s the least I can do to trust they’re able to manage their jobs of playing guitar. There was a time when my ear for song structure and riff flow was arguably better than Logan’s… That time is no longer. I stay out of the way and do my job as a vocalist.
Can you discuss the concept behind “Return to the Void” and the theme of entropy and embracing the end of all things?
I can do my best, but you already summed it up! If anything, Return to the Void is the theme song for the band. It’s a nice thesis about our lyrics in general. All things will eventually be consumed by the heat of death in the universe. All things are impermanent and eventually return to Earth, which will eventually decay in orbit and return to the sun, which will eventually burn out and RETURN TO THE VOID. It’s a game of challenging yourself to how all-encompassing your outlook is.
How does the band balance incorporating grooves and progressive elements while maintaining a death metal sound?
Truthfully I don’t hear any progressive elements in the music. Logan writes super groovy death metal riffs. Everything Logan writes has this inherent spark of energy to it. He can’t make soulless chunky garbage death metal riffs like how I write music. We say we have groove and progressive influence, but that’s because everyone else tends to call it that; I’m personally still mystified as to why. Logan listens to shit like Meshuggah and Gojira, so when he writes death metal it has an inherent groove to it. It’s not a conscious decision on his part, it’s basically our take on death metal as a whole.
The same goes for the lyrical content, this is just death metal taken to its logical extreme: the death of everything.
Can you tell us about the original vision for Ethereal Void and how it has evolved over the years, particularly in relation to your other band, The Design Abstract?
Excellent question. When I started this band, I just wanted to make dead-simple throwback death metal like Bloodbath. As the first album took shape, Logan started contributing to the writing process, and inevitably all his ideas were the better ones.
As the band progressed, for a while we simply wanted EV to be “TDA without all the melodic shit” no clean vocals, no orchestra, no extra stuff. Ironic that now it also has orchestral elements. We added more chromaticism and dissonance, but there were some similarities (look at the chorus of Immaculate Destroyer compared to Decryptor)
At this point, my personal goal is to make all the different flavours of orchestral metal. True, the orchestral role in this band is so minimal it’s a stretch to even call it that, but at the core of it, it’s a different combination of elements that shape the different sounds of the bands. I’m convinced we are able to have both EV and TDA exist as two entities both playing orchestral death metal but with very different implementations of those elements. EV is going to be brutal, visceral, and primal. TDA is always going to be more complex, much more melodic, and more conceptual. Maybe you can tell that both bands are the same people, but hopefully, they never sound like the same band.
What can fans expect from Ethereal Void in the future, in terms of music and live performances? Thank you!
Musically, there’s going to be a new TDA release before a new EV one. For live performances we don’t have any interest in any of our bands, so apologies if anyone thought otherwise. We are always hard at work making new music and splitting our time between a host of different bands as our influences evolve and our inspirations change. Everything Logan and I do (some solo, some with other people, most together) gets released under Abstrakted Records. That “label” is shorthand for the musical output from one or both of us. If myself or Logan are involved, it will be an Abstrakted Records release, so you can keep up with future outputs there.
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