Esoteric – Interview (EN)

esoteric_logoHi. To begin with, tell us what’s new in Esoteric.

Hi Zuzanna and Dominik!  We have just completed a tour of Europe, covering Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium.  Now we will take a break from gigging in order to continue with the writing of the seventh album.  We will be on stage again in November, at the November to Dismember festival in Romania.

Your last album, “Paragon of Dissonance,” was released in 2011, so some time has passed. Are you working on new material?

Yes, we have been writing new material and we plan to use the next six months purely for song writing and rehearsing new material.  We take our time because we put a lot of detail into the song writing and sounds, and we are usually writing double albums.

So when can we expect a new release?

The next album will be released in 2015.  I can’t give a definite time frame until we are in the recording studio, but I am confident that it will be next year.

Are you going to experiment much on your next album, just as you like, or will there be a little fewer effects, just like on “Paragon of Dissonance”?

This time we are experimenting more, not only with sounds but with the song writing also.  Paragon was a slightly less chaotic approach to the sound, since we wanted to give the music a little more space to breathe in the mix.  The sounds and experimentation was still there and prevalent, but it was in lower doses than some of our previous albums.

It’s 2014 and nowadays doom metal is not that popular. Do you think it will change?

The more extreme forms of doom metal have never been popular.  The scene is much bigger now than it was when Esoteric started in 1992, so to me it seems relative.  There were only a handful of bands around the world that were playing this style back then.  I don’t think it is a style of music that can become too popular, no.  It often contains the kind of emotions that only some people can appreciate.

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 You played on Asymmetry Festival in 2010, but right now you’re in a small club. Tell us, which stages do you prefer, those on festivals or in clubs?

I think it depends on many things as to what makes a good gig.  If the performance is good and the sound is good that helps a lot and if the crowd are responsive and adding to the atmosphere then I don’t think it matters whether you are in a small club or a festival.  The main advantage of bigger venues is that they are usually better equipped and staffed.  I don’t really have a preference, as long as we can fit on the stage.

As a producer and sound engineer you must look at production of your albums from a slightly different perspective. How would you describe it?

I would say that with our experience in the studio, we approach the songwriting not only with the arrangements in mind, but also how it will work live and in the studio.  If you are thinking about the mix and the dynamics of the song and the sounds when you are writing, and working on this for some time before the recording, then it makes it possible to put in a lot of details and nuances into the playing and the sound.  Everything should fit together in order to create a sound and atmosphere that suits the mood of the music.  I think the main benefit from working on both sides of the studio is that it enables us to prepare well and also to have a good idea of how to capture the sounds in the way that we like.

You own Priory Recording Studios, so we can say that your entire life is connected with music. So tell us, how’s business?

Yes, and it’s good to be able to work solely with music, as my career and as my passion.  The studio is generally very busy.  The music industry is not as lucrative as it once was for bands, labels and studios, so it’s necessary to be working constantly in order to survive.

You release on average an album every four-five years. Is it some kind of a rule now or does it happen spontaneously and accidentally?

It is usually every 3 to 4 years.  Line-up changes have also played a part here, because it takes time to integrate new band members.  There’s no rule, but most of the albums we’ve released have been double albums, so there is a lot of material on there.  We could release albums more frequently, but personally I don’t see so much value in it, unless I really had a lot of free time on my hands to devote to it.  It takes time to craft something with a lot of detail.  And the majority of musicians are working in full time jobs without any income from their music.  I like to write music when I feel inspired to do so, rather than forcing it.  Sitting down to write can also bring some good ideas, but I find the best time to write is when I am overtaken with the need to purge the mind.

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During those twenty two years, haven’t you ever had any moment of discouragement or doubt?

Of course, yes.  Sometimes it can be quite discouraging if you have bad fortune, or instability.  For example, when band members leave or money is lost touring, and so on.  But I think those with a strong passion for music find a way to continue.  If not with one project, then with another.

Music and lyrics on your albums are a combination of inspirations and emotions. Where do you find them?

I draw from within in order to write.  Usually through introspection, or the expression of a mood, thought or emotion.

Gordon and you have been in the band since its beginnings. Was it difficult for you to find the right musicians that would understand and fit in the music that Esoteric makes?

Yes, in some ways it is difficult.  There are quite a lot of good musicians in England, and in Birmingham.  But there are not so many that are experienced with the heavy use and manipulation of sounds and effects – less still that would want to play music that is predominantly slow.  So it can take time to find the right people who are also not too busy with other bands.

As far as we know, you have two albums contracted with Season of Mist. “Paragon of Dissonance” is the first one. How is the cooperation going? Are you planning further cooperation after termination of the contract?

We have been with Season of Mist since 2004, which indicates that we’ve had a pretty good run with them and dealing with them has been fine.  Yes, we have one more album.  After that, it’s impossible to predict.  I guess it depends on how the album is received.

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14’th april you didn’t make your show in Szczecin. What was the reason?

The reason was because the van we had hired broke down.  We had 2 flat tyres in one day and no spare wheel or repair kit.  We changed the tyres in Germany and continued towards Poland, but one of the rear wheels was cracked and it deteriorated as we drove until the tyre couldn’t hold any air.  We couldn’t get a new wheel until the next morning and we were still too far away to be collected in time to play.  It was a shitty day for us and we are very sorry we didn’t make it.

After your unrealized show in Szczecin you played in Wrocław and Warszawa. What are your impressions those shows?

We enjoyed the shows in Poland.  There were not too many people there, but they were receptive and appreciative and there was a good atmosphere for all of the bands playing.  That was really cool.

Have you drunk Polish vodka yet?

Yes, although I didn’t drink any this time in Poland.  But it’s quite easy to get polish vodka and beer in England.  The last polish vodka I drank was 79% alcohol.  I don’t remember the name.  I used it to make some homemade absinthe.  It was an acquired taste.

The last word is up to you.

Thank you for the interview.  Your support is much appreciated!

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