December 2002 - UNEARTHLY TRANCE
I've become a fan of UNEARTHLY TRANCE, since I've listen to their 7", that was released in the Southern Lord singles club. After that I received the "Hadit" CD-EP, and although I dig the single the EP was much better and shows the full-potential of this exciting three-piece. The music is a addictive mixture of morbid heavy Doom-Drone with Crust- and Black Metal elements, but played in the slowest and punishing way. But guitarist and singer Rion is involved in two other projects. First off, there's the aggressive Black Metal outfit THRALLDOM and his own Noise-project TORCH OF THE 555th ORDER.Enough stuff to talk about, so start reading this interview, where I've talked to Rion.
I think, the "Hadit" CD-EP was the latest release of UNEARHTLY TRANCE .What's going on with the band right now?
Yes, "Hadit" was the latest release of UT. We made limited edition 200 DIY cdrs for our past US tour. We are currently gearing up to go into the studio in January to record our debut full length for RiseAbove/Music Cartel. We have many new songs that will hopefully blow peoples minds.
That are good news! First off, I thought that the UT debut will be released on Southern Lord. Why not, and how did you get together with Rise Above/Music Cartel?
Southern Lord was always our first choice for a label. Greg has and is a huge supporter of us and gave us our first chance. But he declined to do a UT record for reasons that I cannot really understand. Possiblly he had too many releases lined up to take care of NOW. I wouldn't rule out a Southern Lord release in the future as we plan to be around for a long time!!!!
We got together with Rise Above after meeting and becoming friends with Lee Dorrian and Cathedral. Overtime Lee became very interested in putting something out with UT and landed us a tour with Electric Wizard. At this point we became friends with Eric from Music Cartel and he was THE reason that the tour happened. Eric is also located in the same area as UT and it is great to be able to meet up with him and talk. I have much respect for both Rise Above and Music Cartel. Both labels saw what we accomplished and the great feedback we recieved and agreed that now was the time for a UT record on the labels. Rise Above was seeking a sicker,heavier band to fill the void on their label as the stoner rock thing is indeed dying. We are up for that challenge!!hahahah
Most of the readers may not familiar with the band's past.. Please, give us an overlook about the history of UNEARTHLY TRANCE?
History of UT: Formed in 2000. Began with the trio of Jay and I with original drummer Pete. We temporarily added second guitarst Jeremy for the NUIT demo and following that Jeremy and Pete left the band. After this change we decided to move down the doom/drone path with no looking back. We spent the past 2 years writing and crafting our sounds and tones.
You've played some shows this year, together with Sons Of Otis and Electric Wizard in the USA. How did you come on board of this tour and how was the time with both bands? Any entertaining stories, you might want to tell?
Ahhhhhhhh. Many stories to tell of course. The tour was a blast and we got on the tour due to the complete support of Lee Dorrian. He suggested we tour with the Wizard and when it came time to book it, we got the offer. We toured in a "Guns and Roses" style tour bus and it was unbelievable. Met many new friends and drank/smoked the whole way through. All shows were fun and we had amazing reactions from the crowds. One funny story from the tour would be in Montana.... We played to ONE 70 year old man who sat on a chair and somehow sat through our entire set. I asked him if he liked it and he causally nodded with approval.
After that me and Jay actually got into a fist fight over some stupid shit. It was classic yet tragic. But it was a memory for sure!! Playing in Chicago was also a blast, got to meet Ron from Trouble!!!! We also met up with Phil Anselmo and Jimmy Bower in Minnesota. They came to our show as Superjoint Ritual played the same town at an earlier show. Killer times! Electric Wizard are great guys and we would love to tour with them again sometime. Sons Of Otis exclusivly drank Pabts Blue Ribbon beer the whole time through. I would also like to state that John Perez is the best fucking tour manager a band could ask for.
The four songs on "Hadit" got a much heavier and sinister vibe, as the two tracks on the Southern Lord 7". How would you compare both releases and how were the circumstances for the recording-sessions of "Hadit"?
The 7inch was recorded only 9 months after forming. We generally have long songs so we had to put our only 2 songs that could fit on the format of a 7inch. We went to a "pro" studio and are fairly happy with the results. "Hadit" was recorded in our practice studio which was very small. We did it on a 4 track with overdubbed vocals and we regard the sinister vibe of that recording as the most accurate so far on recording. Total Necro hell recording. For our debut record we want to expand on the "Hadit" rawness with a HUGE fucking sound.
Where will you record the debut full-length and is there any favorite producer, you've got in mind?
Well, we will be recording with an old friend of mine Bill Spearl. He has insane equipment and most importantly , he will let us achieve the proper sonic-burial needed to properly represent UT. Stephen O'Malley will morbidly mix our debut..... And most likely do the artwork.
Due to the title "Hadit" or the track "August Sun Of Midnight", Aleister Crowley was an important spiritual influence for the CD-EP. Can you agree and what do you think about his work and his experiences? Do you feel influenced by them?
Crowley is a huge influence on myself. After reading "The Book of the Law" I could almost equate that with a religious awakening. Getting in touch with ones inner WILL is really why we are hear on earth in this human form. The titles NUIT and HADIT are tribute to the great STELE OF REVEALING(666). August Sun Of Midnight is a tribute to A. Crowley with insight on how it pertains to myself (I claim 555 as my numerical name). I am indeed the August Sun Of Midnight ( I was born August 5th in the middle of the night). The thing that intrigues me the most about Crowley is his vast and extensive knowlege and his fearless execution of goals. "Sin is a word of Restricition". And of course his amazing style of poetry. Unearthly Trance aims to perform rituals with our music and our instruments are our tools.
Are there any other occult and mystic things, in which you're interested?
Yes, many things. I enjoy to channel the outer with the use of TAROT cards. It's very personal and perhaps a form of spiritual therapy.I read a lot and some new things I've been into books by Peter Carrol.Liber Kaos, Liber Null and Psychonaut. Great new modern out look on magick. Meditation is also something I have been gettin into. But I have a long road ahead of me to calm my inners.
UNEARTHLY TRANCE have released a 7", EP's and Demos, but no full-length album. What's the reason for it and will it change in the future?
Patience. It's wise to spend some long hard hours in the rehearsal room. Writing and really defining the sound. NOW we are ready for a proper legitamate release. The demo days are a great period for a band .We are ready to conquer now and our name will be heard. Be forewarned.
The other band you're involved in, is THRALLDOM, which are stronger Black Metal oriented. How would you describe the sound and what are the differences to UNEARTHLY TRANCE, sound-wise and from the emotional approach?
Thralldom is a BM-band of mine that is in the true spirit of the old school underground. It's similar to UT in spirit but soundwise the sound is much more colder and faster. The emotional approach is much more filled with hate and the power of black magik. Thralldom is a project and will never play live; Ut is ONLY a live band, which would be the main difference.
When was THRALLDOM founded?Was the band your idea?
Thralldom predates UT. We did our first demo in 1997. It was a bit more in the death/black metal vein. Only as of recent have we taken our cult into the world for humans.
How much gigs have TD played in the past?
Thralldom has never played live and if it is up to me, we never will.
Is the EP on Regimental Records the band's first release?
The EP is the first proper release but we have recorded 3 unreleased demos previously. "IMPIOUS SURVIVAL SEANCE" 1997, "PHOENIX" 1999, "VEINS/CROWN" 1999. The name UNEARTHLY TRANCE comes from the Thralldom song "Crown of the Unearthly Trance".
What are important emotional influences for you, when you're playing with THRALLDOM? Do you need antoher state of mind for playing with the band, in opposite to UT?
No. I think the emotional influences are similar. The occult approach and vibes. Feeding off the riffs and tones. I will say Thralldom is about the spirit of spontanious currents. Where as UT is more stuctured and finite. Influences for UT and Thralldom would be THC and BEER!!!!!
Are in both bands different musicians, or is there a connection between the two bands, except your person?
I am the only one in Thralldom and UT. Thralldom consists of myself (Killusion), Heirosis, and Jaldagar. I play guitar,bass,noise and some vokills. Heirosis is the main vokillist. Jaldagar is the drummer and responsible for soundscapes and engineer of all Thralldom recordings.
Your third musical interest seems to be in harsh electronics and so I like to ask you about your noise-project TORCH OF THE 555th ORDER here. Is it right, that it's your own project?
I did the TORCH tape alone and in solitude for a week straight. It was basically to release some demons inside me.
How important is TORCH for you? Is it something, you take serious or is it more a "fun" project?
Torch is for "fun". I DO take it seriously as it is a total outlet for me. Outside of structured "normal" music. I hope to take it further in the future.
With TORCH it seems, as if you try to let out another emotion. I think, it's got the same vibe as your other two bands, but in TORCH you use a lot of samples, loops and guitar-feedback to create those sinister soundscapes. What's your point of view about it?
Ever since I was young (13 years old), I would create noise with pedals and virtually anything I could get my hands on. I love the beauty of noise and how you can actually visualise soundwaves in shapes. It is a love of mine and will do it till I die. Feedback/loops are for meditation. It is very relaxing even though it may come across as harsh to some.
What do you think about Whitehouse or early Throbbing Gristle?
From the little I've heard, both artists are amazing. Especially Whitehouse. But by no means am I a well versed "fan" of this genre. Harsh noise is great!
Will you release more material of TORCH in the future, maybe only tapes on Tape Kult?
Torch555-"INFINITETONEBULLDOZER" is the first release on TapeKult. I've to really yet to circulate it except for some choice friends in the underground. Soon I will make more copies when time allows. At the moment I am ripping apart my room for the master copy of it. (hahahhahaha) I will relase more tapes when I do more recordings. I encourage you to dub the tape for all who you deem worthy of it in the true underground spirit of tapetrading.
Although I've got no problems with CD-R's, I still prefer the good old tape, just because I've grown up with it.When I was involved in the Punk scene in the early 80's, most of the underground stuff was recorded on tape and still today I prefer to dub songs on a tape, than on a CD-R. What do you think about it and why do you like tapes?
I personally love tapes. Its the epitome of the 80's which I grew up in like yourself. Although I am only 25 I got into music at a very very early age. The first things I listened to were cassettes. Cds suck to me, cuz they are so delicate and can scratch so easily. Where a tape you can dig up from the bottom of a pile of shit and pop it in and usually works.I also just think that tapes have a unique sound that I really love. Perhaps in the future tapes will be regarded in the same way vinyl lovers do. If a tape breaks you can physically perfrom surgery on it and ressurect it!hahahah HAIL TAPES NEW !!!
It seems, as if you're a big supporter of underground spirit. Why is this spirit so important for you?
Metal is underground. The opposite of the mainstream. The underground is total freedom. Any artist can record what they like and it is not for the purpose of making money. It is for art. The underground is worldwide and the diehards are what makes metal real for me. The underground will never die and I will never turn my back on the underground. Perhaps it is that I was born a rebel and a nonconformist. Underground anit establishment is in my blood. Hails to you as you seem to have the same true spirit!!!!!
Although, UT, TD and TORCH are a sounding not very similiar, there's a direct musical connection between them, I think. There are elements or structures, that I find in all three bands. What do you think about it?
I would say, it is my creative and personal artistic slant on music. I always attempt to express myself in the most honest way. I am glad you hear a common thread between the bands. They are just 3 different ways of expression. All equally special to me. It's as if I am a painter who tries different styles but I use the same colors and techniques.
Which band or project is more important to you? Have you any preferences?
Unearthly Trance is my heart. We practice religiously 2 times a week for 3-4 hours and it is my sanctuary. The other projects are when time permits. Jay, Darren and I have put a lot of time, money and sacrifices to make Unearthly Trance something special in the world of music. I hope people will soon understand it and accept our music in their lives.
You've mentioned the word religiously? How important is the spiritual thought in the music of UT?
I guess I make reference to our band as a cult. We consider it almost a religion, because it is what fulfills us spirutally. But fukk organized religion. I am spiritual in the sense that I know my life force has and will exist before and after I am dead. So magnifying my supersoul in the form of music is like a religion to me.Not sure if that makes sense...hahaha
It seems, as if you like every music, as long as it's extreme. Where do you feel influenced from, and what kind of music do you listen to?
Extreme music is of course what I live for. Taking music beyond the boundries of commercial territory. Daring to take things further than the forefathers have. I love doom/drone bands such as EARTH, MELVINS, BURNING WITCH, SUNN 0))). Also traditional doom like TROUBLE, ST VITUS etc.. Old school black metal like BATHORY, DARKTHRONE, BURZUM. I also like rock stuff such as Queens of the Stoneage, Down, Soundgarden. As long as its good and passionate.
Although, we've nearly reached the end of our interview, I like to ask you something about your daily life. Aside of the bands and the project, how you're spending your days in the moment? Have you any kind of regular job and what have you other interests in life?
My days are spent working 5 days a week. I board up houses for the banks when people dont pay their mortgage. I am the grim reaper...hahahaha. It's decent money but I will look for something else eventually, it's a little dangerous. I like to drink and smoke weed with my brothers and have a good time whenever possible. Altough we play some morbid doom metal, I am an upbeat happy person. I live for everyday and try to make the most out of every second that I am here. Seize the day and the glorius night. I also love beautiful women and I am currently on the prowl for a new godess... hahahaha
What are your personal and musical plans for the upcoming next year 2003?
2003 - Unearthly Trance debut record on vinyl/Cd. New Thralldom Ep (30minutes) which is nearing completion as we speak. It is much sicker and heavier than the debut Ep. Spent much more time on it and I am very proud of what we have accomplished. UT summer tour possibly in Europe. Keep your eyes and ears open for that. All around hellraising!!!!!!!!
I like to thank you for your time and good luck for the future. If there's anything, you like to say at least, ...now's the time!
I would like to thank you for the outstanding questions and support. Keep the true metal underground alive!!!If anyone would like a tape of TORCH555 PLEASE EMAIL me at:AugustSunOfMidnight@yahoo.com ... hail satan!