Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ecthirion interview (3/29/09)

If you could start us off by introducing yourself (or selves) and telling us your significance in the Christian metal scene.

Gab: Hello I'm the guitarist/bass player and songwriter, Ecthirion are trying to reach people in the secular world though we still value christian fans a lot. We are one of the few bands playing this sort of music in the christian scene.
Simon - Hi, I play guitar and a little bass, and help with some of the programming.

Growing up, were you raised in a Christian home? If not when did you come to salvation, and how?

Gab: I was raised in a Christian home though only really became a Christian at about the age of 15 by going along to youth group and then eventually over time grew stronger and stronger.
Simon- I was also brought up by Christian parents, and embraced faith for myself sometime a few years ago.

What has motivated/influenced you to create Ecthirion and go for the sound that you have created so well?

Gab- Well I always loved epic music, which had some kind of majesty to it, I also like dark things as all my friends always seem to pick up on. I really appreciate nature which inspires a lot of Ecthirion songs.
Simon- I wanted to be involved in a metal project with a difference, where we could try to bring a wide variety of musical influences together.

How long have you been working on Ecthirion?

Gab- Simon and I started trying to do some projects before but they didn't really work, and the demo that I made a year ago sounded horrible! I have been working on the EP for a good year and a half or so, in this time I have managed to make so many contacts that we have moved up a step in the business. Eugen was interested in singing on it as well as mixing only if we promised to re-record the guitar tracks (they sounded so bad), so we did. We met up every week and recorded all of them as well as going over arrangements. Looking back my technique has improved since the EP recordings and I have improved my compositions too.

At what age did you get into metal? What were some of the firsts you got into?

Gab- I am a late comer to music, I only started liking any rock music when I was about 15 or so, by the time I was 17 I was getting into metal and now at 20 I'm into metal and a lot more. The first metal bands I got into are shamefully metalcore bands, but the ones I still like now are Zao and Demon Hunter. The bands which really got me hooked on metal were Whitecross, Nightwish, Power Quest, In Flames, Saxon, Stryper, Tourniquet, Megadeth.
Simon- I got into music at about 12, although at the time only pop and a little rock. Since then I have tried to listen to music from all genres, and although I wouldn't really call myself a metaller the first metal bands I liked were Metallica, Whitesnake and Van Halen.

What do you think of the Christian metal scene today (underground mainly)?

Gab- To be completely honest with you (this may offend most of the people who read it) I don't think there are many Christian bands better than their secular equivalents. If there are any bands who invent genres it's always in the secular scene and then the Christian bands just feed off them. I always seem to take a look at Christian metal forums and see people saying certain Christian bands are so amazing, and that they are the best in their genre, then I think of how many better secular versions of that band there are who make them look stupid. It is a big problem, and I think some of the causes are that people are just listening to certain styles, it is no surprise they will end up making the style they listen to. I also don't understand why bands can get away with bad production, maybe they can't afford it but there are plenty of people who would mix songs well for free, you just have to email loads of people! I also think a lot of Christian bands are scared of listening to secular music, which is fair enough: if it is because they believe it will make them sin then that's a wise decision.

What are some of your favorite metal bands? (Christian and secular)

Gab- Nightwish, Dream Theater, Lost Horizon, Power Quest, Turisas, Drumcorps, Megadeth, Dimmu Borgir, In Flames, Nevermore, Jason Becker, Iron Maiden.
Simon- Dream Theater, Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, Iron Maiden, Nightwish, Turisas

For the first Ecthirion release, you have been able to work with two very talented vocalists, how did you come about this, and what made you choose them?

Gab- Well when I was working on the demo last year I used to email somebody different nearly every day, not many replied and most who did had not enough time, however Eugen as I said before surprised me a lot with his generosity, and he really is a big part of how we have improved a lot so quickly. Azahel replied and was up for screaming which was awesome. Also, Josh Edwards, the classical vocalist I know from church, is the best singer I have ever worked with and many people seem to not realise how awesome his vocals are.

The CD has been in works for quite some time, are you satisfied with how the tracks came out? How well do you think people will react to it upon its release?

Gab- Yes, I'm very pleased with what Eugen has done, it will be well worth the wait. I think some people will say its a bit broad and we are very genre-confused, though hopefully some will embrace our style. I'm hoping that many in the secular industry will like it and not slate it for being Christian.

You recently got signed to Soundmass, was this a surprise for you at all?

Gab- I was in talks with them a while back about distro for the EP, they offered to distribute it but I wasn't aware they were an actual label so I thought I'd just got another distro deal. (I had origionally contacted many people around the world to get good distro for the EP but now that we have soundmass none of that is needed) So in a way it came unexpectedly, and also some German promoters have taken interest and wish to do a lot of European promo and distro, you can find out who they are if you google search the band.
Simon- I'm not so heavily involved with promoting the band, so I was surprised and very happy!

As a band, what is the biggest goal for Ecthirion?

Gab- To reach people who hate God and to be a light in their lives and lift them up, on top of this I want to try and be inovative in all ways possible, maybe create a new subgenre or something like that if I'm lucky. The aim for Ecthirion is to make as much of the product as possible, I'm at uni studying music tech and also have a module in website design so I'm hoping to be able to record, mix and produce our album as well as doing all the art and myspace/website design like I have done for the EP, in this way I will be able to have something which is completely how I want it. We will probably be recording drums and vocals in the uni's professional standard recording studios.

What other genres of music do you enjoy aside from metal?

Gab- I love so much music as well as metal, I could talk about bands I like for hours, the genres I'm into apart from metal are: classical, folk, soundtrack, flamenco, trance, techno, electronica, prog, rock, jazz, eastern music, punk and ska. Many people try and put me in a box by saying I just listen to metal and I listen to it all the time - I don't, and find it's too limiting sometimes.
Simon- I've always liked rock but also enjoy jazz, funk, pop, reggae, soul and even some hip-hop. I play drums in a jazz trio, and hopefully that influences some of my work with Ecthirion.

What are your top five favorite albums (Christian and secular)?

1. Dream Theater- Scenes from a Memory
2. Nightwish- Century Child
3. Muse- Absolution
4. Vangelis- Conquest of Paradise
5. Mike Oldfield- Tubular Bells
6. Metallica- St Anger ................just kidding, haha.

1. Jeff Buckley- Grace
2. Handel's Messiah
3. Miles Davis- Kind Of Blue
4. Guns N' Roses- Appetite For Destruction
5. Pearl Jam - Vs.

Favorite song?

Gab- Oh thats a horrible question... at the moment its probably Vangelis- Conquest of Paradise which is just unbelievably epic!
Simon- Good Times Bad Times by Led Zeppelin is one of my all-time favourites.

In the future, do you see Ecthirion touring at any point?

Gab- Hopefully, but first we need a very good keyboard player, a singer or two and a bass player, who shouldn't be too hard to find. I'm hoping that with the release of the EP people will hear about us and ask us if they can join the band.
Simon- I'd absolutely love to tour, but we'd need some great musicians to be able to recreate our music faithfully.

Where do you see Ecthirion going with newer material? Have you begun to plan any out yet?

Gab- Well I'm trying to be as open as possible about the new album, though many of my ideas are too big and take too much time or money to put into action. As things go I have about an album's worth of material, a lot without lyrics yet. I talked to Simon and he said it would be cool to have a whole section of jazz in one of the tracks, this is where his influence can really show through. I also have some ideas about involving other genres such as folk a bit more, one of the calm tracks is a waltz. But if I got all my ideas recorded rather then just writing them down everyywhere I would have 100 songs. I have met many new talented people at uni here in Huddersfield, one is a third year music student who has a beautiful operatic voice which could be compared with the old Nightwish singer, though I haven't yet asked her about being on the album.

As a Christian, do you feel it necessary to spend time reading the Bible daily?

Gab- Of course, it is essential to keep up to date with the word, and of course it is just as important to be at a church where the Bible is well taught.
Simon- I agree!

Do you believe that God still does miracles in people's lives today?

Gab- Yes, definitely, the pastor of my new church has told many a story about miracles, one actually involving a guy who died in hospital then came alive 5 minutes later. He received the name Lazarus from then on.
Simon- I definitely agree, I think God heals physically but can also work miracles in people's lives in more subtle ways too.

Do you place yourself under a specific denomination in the Church? Do you feel there is much division between certain denominations?

Gab- Denominations are silly, for me the word denomination means division. The people of Christ shouldn't be divided into groups which don't like mixing, the Christian Union here at uni is a great example of how Christians from different denominations can be great friends.

What is your favorite verse from the Bible?

Gab- Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgresions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

I find this verse amazing not only because of how it describes the saviour but because it was written so long before he would even be born. The whole chapter is very interesting. I know it as you may have guessed from Stryper.

If I remember correctly, you also do a lot of graphic designing. How long have you been into that?

Gab-I have always had some natural talent for art, more so than music, I really have to work very hard with music. I have been into photoshop for about 2 years, and would like to try some small jobs working as a record label artist or something, so if you know anybody who needs an artist then tell them about me, im also learning Flash, Fireworks and Dreamweaver.

What other activities do you enjoy aside to participate in aside from graphic designing and music?

Gab- A lot of hobbies on top of music, for example I'm into medieval re-enactment, which is awesome, I may be doing my first event at Warwick castle. I also like remote control planes, though I haven't flown mine in a while. I also like fishing, me and my brother used to do a lot of freshwater fishing in our local river. I also like reading when I get the time.

If Ecthirion could tour with any 3 bands (Christian or secular) which would they be in your opinion?

Stryper, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater

Do you get much criticism from the secular scene about your music?

Gab- Nope, we've never had a bad comment from anybody but our friends, who are often very honest in their opinions of our music.

What influenced the name "Ecthirion" and the change from "Axiom"?

Gab- The name is a made up word, mainly because nearly every short word is taken by a band or company. Therefore if you search Ecthirion in google all the results are for us. With AxioM we were impossible to find amongst other bands with the same name. I made the name influenced by the name Ecthelion invented by Tolkien, (the name of the father of Denethor, the stuard of Gondor).

Do you have any advice for small and upcoming Christian bands?

Gab- Try your best in every way you can, never be satisfied with what you have made, reference bands but dont copy them, completely, always look at ways of improving your music, and look outside the box. Keep your life focused and try to keep away from sin.
Simon- I would say be open to trying anything that might make your music better. It won't always work out but it's important to experiment with ideas.

Any last words of encouragement for our readers?

Gab- Use your talents in any way you can to add to the kingdom.

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