As Autumn Calls – Interview

As Autumn Calls

I caught up with As Autumn Calls guitarist/vocalist Andrew recently to talk about the bands history and future.  Here is what he had to say.

Gerry:
How is work going on the new album?

Andrew:
Slow and steady is probably the best way to describe the progress.  We’ve had a number of things, both personal and technical, come up that have been slowing the recording process.  We’re really looking forward to getting this album out there, and for it to be our best one yet, but we don’t want to rush anything or cut corners.  At this point we’re hoping for a mid-2013 release.

Gerry:
What is the best thing about recording an album?

Andrew:
Probably my favourite thing about recording an album is seeing where you end up when you’re finished compared to what the original idea was.  We start with the songs written, we’ve jammed them for a while, then we get into the studio and things keep progressing and changing.  It’s amazing how much each song, or the entire album, can change after we’ve all put our personal touch on them.

Gerry:
What differences can fans expect to hear on ‘Cold, Black & Everlasting’?

Andrew:
The new album will definitely be a progression from where we left off with the ‘Emotionless EP’.  There’s a lot of atmosphere and emotion, and the song writing has gotten more technical.  We’re using more acoustic guitar (even a little 12 string) and the vocals have improved all around.  We’re trying to focus more on the fine details to make sure we’re 100% happy with every part of the album.  This is the album we’ve been waiting to release for some time now and we’re very excited about it.

Gerry:
Why did the ‘Emotionless E.P.’ get released before ‘An Autumn Departure’, even though it was written before it?

Andrew:
That’s probably the most confusing thing about our history to date.  Most people think the music was written in the order it was released, so expect that our sound is heading in the direction of ‘An Autumn Departure’.  But the fact is the new material is much closer to ‘Emotionless’ than ‘AAD’.
James and I wrote, and originally recorded, ‘An Autumn Departure’ over a three year period while I was living out of town.  We were still new to the recording process and the end result just didn’t have the quality we were looking for.  So we stuck that album on the shelf and simplified our process a little to record and release ‘Emotionless’ when I moved back home in 2009.  Shortly after that release, we were approached by Canadian cassette label The Northern Cold Productions who asked us if we were interested in putting out a release on cassette.  We thought this might be a good time to re-record and release ‘An Autumn Departure’.  After our label (Naturmacht Productions / Rain Without End Records) heard the recording they wanted us to release the album on CD as well.  So that’s how the albums were released in the reverse order from how they were written.  Told you it was confusing…

Gerry:
Did you feel that the album songs were unsuitable for the E.P.?

Andrew:
I think it was more that we weren’t sure what we were going to do with ‘An Autumn Departure’, if anything, in the future, so we wanted to move on to the next project and write some new material to see where the music would go next.  We spent the better part of three years focused on our first attempt at an album, so I think we were looking for a bit of a break from it to be honest.

Gerry:
There is a lot of acoustic on both current releases, and I found it to have a kind of Latin feel to the sound.  Have you any particular styles that inspired you to use the acoustic guitar?

Andrew:
Both James and I really like the sound we get when mixing acoustic guitar with doom metal.  There’s just so much emotion you can get with an acoustic guitar that adds a lot to our sound.  I don’t think it was a conscious decision to add a lot of acoustic guitar, I think it was more that certain parts of our songs (in our minds anyway) need that acoustic sound to get the feel and emotion we are trying to achieve.

Gerry:
You mentioned previously in other interviews that you have yet to perform live, is this still the case?  If so, what plans have you to tour the new record?

Andrew:
Unfortunately yes, this is still the case.  We’ve had great intentions of getting organized and finally playing live.  But the new album has been the priority the past year so the live performances have taken a back seat.  Once we are done in the studio, we are looking forward to getting back to jamming as that’s where we have the most fun.  From there we’ll see what opportunities come up to play live.  I’m not sure we’ll ever ‘tour’ in the traditional sense of the word, but I think we’re definitely open to local shows and maybe a show here and there not too far from our home town.  I know our label has already tossed us the idea of heading across the pond and playing in Germany, but that may be pushing it a little as we all have jobs and families.  Might be a fun family vacation for everyone though!

Gerry:
Who would be your ideal touring partners be?

Andrew:
There definitely aren’t many bands locally, or even in Canada, whose sound ours would complement.  There isn’t any other doom acts locally and they are few and far between across Canada.  So if I was to pick ideal touring partners from anywhere in the world Agalloch would probably be up there at the top of the list for me.  We just saw them in Toronto recently and I could definitely picture us opening for them.
Any band from our label (Rain Without End Records) would be a good touring partners for us as well.  And there are a number of other great doom bands we would love to tour with as well:  Saturnus, Loss, StS, the list goes on.

Gerry:
What themes do you write about on the new record?

Andrew:
The new album, just like ‘Emotionless’, is written as a story that progresses from song to song.  ‘Cold, Black and Everlasting’ represents a journey from the perspective of one individual who is struggling to come to terms with life and reality.  I think James said it best in another interview that it’s about the constant struggle of facing the darkness and trying to find that place in your mind where you can find contentment and maybe even happiness.  Each step of that journey is captured by the sound, feel and emotion of the individual songs.

Gerry:
Has the economic downturn affected the band? If so, then how?

Andrew:
No, I don’t think the economic downturn has affected us at all to be honest.  The biggest part of that is probably that we do all the recording, mixing and mastering ourselves.  It definitely helps keep the cost down.  We have, however, had some equipment issues during the recording process, so it was a little more expensive than any previous album.

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