Today we have the privilege of sharing an early stream of Connecticut-based black metal duo INTERMENT ASHES‘ debut cassette tape ‘Interment Ashes‘, which arrives Friday, February 4th on limited Cassette Tape by way of New England-based black metal label Eternal Death. The band have been kind enough to answer a handful of interview questions about the origin of the band, their methods and lyrical inspirations.
Thanks goes out to the band for the interview, their record label and representation for the opportunity to share this fantastic tape. Scroll down to the Bandcamp embed below to experience the whole thing for yourself, as always do your best to support the worldwide black metal underground and grab a physical copy from Eternal Death‘s Bandcamp or their online shop.
From what I gather Interment Ashes formed in 2020, not too long after you’d worked together on Ritual Clearing’s self-titled EP. Should we consider Interment Ashes a side-project of that band or your own major entity? Were these general song ideas and style something BP had conceived prior to formation or is the band an entirely collaborative invention? What’d been the major inspiration for putting together the band and working on the first Interment Ashes demo tape?
BP: I don’t know that I would consider this a side project, as the idea of designating projects by priority doesn’t totally resonate with me. This is a project to express and fulfill a different need I have musically. Ritual Clearing is a more democratic process, which has its benefits, but Interment Ashes is a project where there is little process between an idea and seeing that idea come to fruition. I had started coming up with musical ideas that didn’t necessarily fit in to the structure of Ritual Clearing and given that I had the means and the ability to record these songs on my own I decided to go that path. It didn’t hurt that this was brought about during a time when collaboration was a bit more…difficult than it might have been at other times in recent history. When it came to the idea of vocals, I knew that was something I was not necessarily interested in doing myself. In the spirit of the immediacy of the project I contacted BF, who I go far back with musically, to do vocals. We share similar sensibilities musically and personally and I knew I could trust that whatever he decided to do would fit the project.
BF: The sound of this project really touches upon an initial idea that BP and I had for Ritual Clearing when that project still didn’t even have a band name or other members. And while RC ended up not going that route (in a positive way, given the input of the other members coming into the fold and making their own unique contributions), I enjoy the opportunity to see this initial concept take form and flourish separately. I am glad to have the opportunity to contribute lyrics and vocals to BP’s musical visions, it resembles a methodology we applied in our previous projects from years back. The fraught isolation of the last few years, especially early in the pandemic during the U.S. lockdown fueled my approach to vocals/lyrics for this project.
This second release from the band has some of the cold distance of the early second wave but avoids obscuring your performances. Is there an ethos, mindset, influence, inspiration or particular taste shared between each member that drives the songwriting process? I assume black metal classicism informs your sound but that it is not your sole sphere of influence and experience.
BP: We certainly draw from the old style and more current bands that take a more lo-fi approach. It might be cliché, but if I put on a band and the production is too “good” it immediately turns me off. This isn’t to say everything needs to be blown out and incomprehensible. Both BF and I still enjoy a good riff or hook, so we want to make sure that comes through. The ethos to the project also lead to a lot of how it sounds. When going to record I just put a mic roughly in front of the instrument and proceeded right to recording, knowing that how it came out was how it was supposed to come out. In terms of influence, you are correct that it is not the sole influence. I appreciate a wide variety of music in addition to black metal and wanted to draw on elements of punk and other dark music for this project.
BF: Vocally I really wanted to draw from the vision and tone of DSBM bands, leveraging sparseness and near-improvisation while still sticking to consistent themes and creating a lyrical landscape where feasible. If I had to boil it down, I would say that ‘bleak’ is what I was aiming for. But beyond that, I really wanted to capture a tonality so, for better or worse, years later I could listen to this and still feel the hopelessness that so many individuals encountered during this global catastrophe.
Has the band’s approach/shared goal changed since impetus? I ask because these newer versions of the first two demo songs, “Isolation’s Urge” in particular, seem to have received some notable refinement, specifically the rhythm section arrangements and the voicing of the bass guitar which is particularly strong. How close are you to realizing the imagined ideal sound for Interment Ashes?
BP: I would not say there has been a defined approach or goal of the project other than to let it be whatever it is to be. The original versions of the first two songs were put online only because we had the means to do so and the songs were what we considered done for the time being. As we kept creating, we approached Valder from Eternal Death with the recordings only for him to hear them with no expectations. We were obviously thrilled he wanted to put them out for others to hear as well. Any refinements to the songs were the result of being able to add and change things on a whim as the desire came.
You’ve done a fine job with only submitting finest work for this EP and each piece has its own strong position within the greater flow of things but, I’d found “I Am Not What I Appear” particularly striking. First for the name which infers either a subconscious warning or some manner of alienation within the self, and second for the moodier transitions between its major sections which appear to convey a series of events or thoughts in dramatic order. Are you aiming for a specific narrative, or, conveying personal experiences within longer form songs like this?
BP: Thank you for the kind words on our work. I hope each piece stands alone as well as being a collection. Each song was created at a time trying to just go with flow of what the song was saying it was to be. With regards to the lyrical themes, I will let BF speak to those, but I will say we both share similar strains of anxiety, depression and general outlook on life (though this is not to say we are not very different as well) When asking BF to do vocals I knew his words would resonate with me before him even writing them.
BF: Yes, thank you for the kind words regarding the EP. “I Am Not What I Appear” specifically tackles the dichotomy of the severe depression and anxiety I was grappling with, versus what I chose to convey to most people throughout the pandemic. This was toward the tail end of the 2020-21 winter, just before the release of the vaccine in the U.S. While the entire EP covers aspects of this fraught emotional perspective, the lyrics to this specific track were where I realized I was not writing from an observational perspective, and instead providing a truer, autobiographical account.
What comes next for Interment Ashes beyond this tape? Will you be aiming for a full-length at some point? Do you intend to play live shows/tour if and when that becomes a thing folks do in the future?
BP: We will certainly keep creating, though the pace and form of that is unknown now and I can only trust that it will come when it comes. If the right opportunity presented itself and the right collaborators could be found, I would certainly be interested in doing the project live in the future.
BF: Echoing BP’s remarks, I look forward doing more with this project as it organically presents itself.
What is the best way that fans can support Interment Ashes?
BP: I would say listen to the songs, share them with others if so inclined. Purchasing the tape from Eternal Death would certainly be a good way as well.
BF: Thanks to all who listen, share, and pick up the tape. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time.
BP: You are very welcome and thank you for this opportunity and kind words.
BF: Yes, thank you for reaching out!
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