„The future is a very interesting thing...”
Interview mit Ben Harrys-Hayes (Guitars, Vocals)
Hellas Guys! First I wish you a great new year and congratulate you to your awesome début.
Greetings Pink and
readers of Medazzarock.
Thanks for your kind comments, we are glad you enjoyed 'Evolution...' so much as to give it a 9/10 review too.
We're beyond pleased with the response to our début album and hope we can continue to work hard in promoting the record well into 2010...mainly getting on the road and playing in all these amazing countries where these excellent reviews have come from.
When you look back to 2009. Was it a good year for you and what are your wishes for this year?
Without fail, it
was the best year to date for the band.
The list of things we've done in 2009 is more than we could have hoped to achieve, but now we've got a taste for it...we want to expand on the base we have built.
I'm slowly letting go of the fact that 2007 was a terrible year for us and at the end of that year, we didn't know if we'd even have a band anymore...so to be in 2010 now with a solid record that has had amazing press all over Europe...and in other countries too...is a victory for us as people and the independent band!
We got to play Prog Power in Holland, which was incredible and something we'd love to repeat again...and hope to at Metal Camp in Slovenia this year.
We're very much looking forward to playing that festival with some amazing bands.
For this coming year, we can only hope to continue expanding our horizons and pushing this record as far as it can go...and maybe with the help of all the excellent people we have become friends with over the few years...we can reach countries we've never played before and meet all the people who have taken the time to listen to us, buy our crap or leave a nice comment on one of the media mediums we stalk.
We have some UK based tours that we're booking right now and we hope to get back to Europe for some more shows in 2010.
All I can say is that we'll be working hard on further the band this year and maybe begin writing something new at the end of this 2010. The future is very interesting thing...
The music of E.T is compared often (like in my review), with bands like Porcupine Tree, Katatonia and Tool. Can you identify you with these comparisons?
Oh for sure, it's
hard not to when you're influenced by those bands from an early age.
For us, Porcupine Tree is a new one because I personally only heard 'Deadwing' about a year ago...and although I've grown to love that record...it didn't influence our writing for 'Evolution...', but you could say the opposite for the other two bands you mentioned.
We love Tool and Katatonia. We’ve never shied away from that. Both bands have been going nigh on 15 plus years...that's a considerable time to influence ANY genre or scene...and they are generals and shining lights in a field of mediocrity and over-the-top wanky solos...haha
Do you feel branded, when your music is compares with other combos, or is this rather a complement for you?
It makes no odds to us really because we do what we do...and they do what they do. We'll always just do whatever music we want, as any other band will. Comparisons are simply a nice journalistic idea to give people a VAGUE idea of what you MAY sound like...a starting block of information, if you will. It's all quite amusing really some of the comparisons we get...but being compared to bands you actually appreciate and respect is always pleasant things one feels...
Your début don’t have highlights in the classical sense. The whole album actually in my opinion IS a highlight. I personally have to listen the whole album from the first till the last note. Similarly as for example Pink Floyd's „The Dark Side Of The Moon “. Is there any conceptual theme behind?
There isn't a main concept as such...more a collection of thoughts, rants, ideas, outbursts and 'drivellings' that could be seen make up a bigger theme...with that theme simply being Life. I mean, what else is there to write about? Life and living, as main theme, pretty much covers EVERY topic you could EVER write about. So I choose to be vague in my description about our songs and say that we simply write about life...and all it entails.
The last Track, “A Moment To The Death Of An Idea”, has the same title like your EP. Is there maybe a concept between the different outputs? Or isn’t it?
That final track is basically me FINALLY letting go of a load of s**t that made my life a rather tiresome existence for some time. The link is the shared title and that this one song on 'Evolution...' contains a massive “F**k Off, Goodbye and Good Riddance” to the various themes that were housed within the 5 songs on the previous E.P of the same title. Catharsis...you might say...
Are there religious people behind E.T.? And tell me your statement about religions generally if you would?
Each one of us has
their own opinion on religion...I personally cannot stand organised religion.
That's EVERY religion...examples being our Christian 'chums' with their
finger on the button...or our Muslim extremist 'chums', who like to blow
themselves and innocent people up....or the Catholic 'lovelies' who rape
children or whatever...It all just completely puzzles me. How can something that
is supposed to be good, cause so much wrong? The answer is obvious...people are
evil. Its simple when you look at all the horror in this world and all the cruel
events that go on...It makes me sick...so I retract into my own mind and avoid
the news now...I cannot fathom some of the things I read, hear and see.
I'm fully aware of what the human mind is capable of...I've thought and done very dark things myself... However...I will say that religion does offer hope, light and maybe some sort of path (if used correctly) while we're on this crazy dust-ball of a planet. Despite my rants about the nastier side of religion...I always simply say that people should be whatever they must be to get by...I do. Do the right thing and know when you're being a dick...that's key.
What is your favourite tracks of the current output?
I can't really comment on that I'm afraid...but I will offer that we all like different sections in the songs. I personally love the slow-down tempo shift in 'A Monument...', because I love that sections of riffs...especially when we get to play live because I love people reactions at the sonic booms I put in the song...hahaha! A look of mild terror followed by a smile is usually the scene...hahahaha
Who or what stands behind the Lost Orchestra?
They are what they are...extensions of us maybe...or things that are really in tune with us. We'll see...Who knows...Who cares? That is all I can offer really. They expanded our sound and will continue to do so in the future. I am working on arrangements for what I term, 'The Lost Choir' as well...which will push our music forward even further...but we'll see how that works out.
The cover artwork is really amazing. Who had the idea and converted it into the act?
Our Swedish friend Robin Portnoff did the hard work after we gave him some lyrics, some ideas and the general feeling behind the record. He came over to meet Shaun and Sam in 2008 before he started the artwork, so it was great for the guys talk things through with him and see what ideas he had. As you can see, the guy is a talent and we're just so lucky to have had Robin on our team as his visual interpretation of our music is spot on.
Why you released your début by your own label Anomalousz Music? Because a lot of other record labels was interested for publishing „Evolution: Creatio Ex Nihilio”.
It was a case of 'Wait and Die...or Do and Try...' for us. We simply couldn't wait any longer for people to pull their fingers out for us...so we decided to continue to learn the craft and how the industry works. We learned a lot in launching the previous E.P ourselves and we knew we could do a greater job this time because we had a better product and a steep learning curve! Another thing with launching it ourselves is that this is all very close to us...our music, our label...it's all part of us and what we are. Doing this daily for the last 4-5 years has taught us a lot about ourselves...mainly that we're completely insane to even TRY to do anything in the current market with this style of music...but mostly that with some self belief...you can do what you want. Just have to learn how to get where you want to be.
Please describe me, if it’s possible by the way, how is the working process, when E.T write new song material?
n respect of 'Evolution...', I was the 'lucky' person who got to write the material, purely because I'm the guy with the guitars, keyboards and riffs.The songs are always finalised as a band without fail and Shaun and Sam always finalise their own parts but for the main writing process of this record, I sat in my home studio for many nights just demoing tons of ideas. It all started literally after Scott left the band at the end of 2007 and I picked up the guitar again for the first time in a few years...I sat down and just let all this built-up nonsense flow out of me...and 'The Fire Around The Lotus' was the song that came out. It just felt write to move forward with this sound...more epic, more technical and just better overall...yet not moving to a realm of technical wankery that detracts from the point of the song. I continued to write and structure material using MIDI instruments for keys, drums and such, then email the structures to the guys to listen and comment on...we'd then work on it as a band at our practice space. It was tough at times because I’m a crap musician, I really am. I felt at times that I couldn't deliver this amazing record that Shaun and Sam deserved...but I'd give it a damn good try. Luckily, the guys liked the material, we worked on it together till it was what we wanted...and that's it.
In the moment, you are live active. How was the resonances from the Audiences?
It really varies from country to country and venue to venue. Overall we tend to get a reaction of the 'shoe-gaze' variety, which basically entails people standing there confused! I only joke... It really does vary...we've never been booed...which is nice but we've had some cold reactions at venues...but then again, we've had some amazing reactions...and we always remember those nights more.
Are there any gigs planned in Switzerland by the way?
We'd love to play in Switzerland and I hope we can one day soon. I admire the Swiss bands Zatokrev and Knut...I would personally love to support them...if they are both still gigging.
Scott Ware, guitarist and founder member of E.T. Since 2008 he is not on board any more. Aren’t you actually looking for a new guitarist? And how I must imagine your music when you perform it live with only one guitar? Because the guitar melodies are very often spiked with several notes on your compositions.
Well, we're all founder members...and I wrote half of the material on 'A Monument...' E.P and arranged/wrote music for the original demo...so although it made things strange for a while, we knew it was the right way to go because this had to continue. Scott is a good guy and I have a lot of time for him, but it wasn't working out...Scott was man enough to leave and I respect that. His contribution to the band will always be noted because he's on the first ever release by the band, our first E.P. We're not looking for another guitarist at the moment, because we've not met anyone who seems to be on our 'wavelength', as if to say. Sure, we've met guys who can piss all over me technically on the guitar...but they can't write a heartfelt riff for their lives...and that saddens me. It's always style over substance...and we're much the opposite. We need someone who 'feels' this as much as we do. In the live environment, we utilise technology to bring the extra guitars and such to life...it works well so far and we're looking to improve this further by exploring our options with new technology. I'm a music technology fanatic/student...so I'm always looking to embrace anything that I deem useful for the bands evolution...and that list of useful things grows daily.
What are your personal musical influences? With which Bands/Albums you grow up?
The list is numerous! We like all sorts of music ranging right across the board, so it's hard to say...but I think for this particular project, you can hear our influences...however, I like it when people realise the more obscure influences.
Are there any musical styles you absolutely don’t like?
I can find good and bad in all types of music...to me, there really is only good music and bad music.
Ben Harris-Hayes: Your Side project In This Defiance is history. Are you still working in other musical projects? And what’s about the other members in the band? Are there any other projects by them?
Ahhh...'In This Defiance' was fun! I loved playing with Alex D'est-Hoare (drummer of 'In This Defiance') because he was a machine. An amazing drummer who could have clearly gone onto have an amazing career in a big metal band but decided to give up drums...a great shame, but one of the tightest drummers and nicest guys I've ever met. I'm always working on music of various genres under ridiculous pseudonyms because I get bored very easily when E.T isn't doing much and I like to explore other styles...mostly it's for fun and my own self indulgence, but I get to do things I can't do in Enochian Theory. I have various things online for fun that people can find on Myspace and Purevolume, etc..., like an instrumental metal project that I spewed out in under a week called 'The Grieving'. That was something I needed to do after we finished 'Evolution...' because I had a need to get some other music out alongside 'Evolution...' I have some random acoustic rock stuff under my own name ('Benedict Hayes'), some crushing 'sonic doom' with some friends in 'Arachnotaur', experimentally-challenged instrumental nonsense under my 'The Curator' name. I partake with various other bands live when I'm needed and love working with people doing any form of music...I learn a lot from other people...hence why I love doing so many styles of music. It's all fun and games really...but I do like to dabble. The other guys don't dabble really, but I'm sure they will in the future as they seek to explore other musical avenues.
How is your attitude about the whole music downloads in the net? The CD sales went back rapidly in the last years. Have this any negative effects by your own releases?
I was amused and pleased to find that our record was available on torrent sites...at the end of the day, I don't mind illegal downloads (because I can't stop them anyway), as long as people are listening to our music...because those people, although breaking the law initially, will still come to your shows and buy your merchandise, if they like you. What I seem to find within the various 'communities' that I talk to online is that although people download things, they will still buy the original CD for the artwork and to support the artists...a lot of people I know do it that way. At the end of it all, no one can stop it...it takes months to get the courts to shut a website down...but then another springs up...so hey, what can anyone really do? Shut down the internet? Hahaha That is NOT going to happen. Overall, It is both beneficial and damaging to bands and artists the world over....Just depends how you look at things and how you use them to your advantage.
Imagine if you could take a ride with a time machine. Which person/decade gladly would you meet or would like to visit? And why?
There are so many times and places that I would have liked to visit but I can't really suggest anything as they are numerous...depending on my mood and thought pattern.
Thank you for the interview. I wish you much success and creativity for the future. The last words belong to you….
Thanks for your time and the questions...We hope your readers will listen to the music and hopefully enjoy it. May I suggest that your readers visit our website...as it's very pretty Hahaha!
(on behalf of Enochian Theory)
(Interview by Pink)