Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Interview: Ashen Horde Hates Cheese

Ashen Horde
Why not check back in with Ashen Horde?

Well, there's a very good reason to shun them. Trev hates cheese, In fact, he stated that it's a violent hatred for cheese.

How can the world continue if there are people out there who hate cheese?

I'm not even going to mention their latest record, Fallen Cathedrals, I will also not point out that they have a great deal going on right now for a dinged corner version of their debut record, Nine Plagues, that you can pick up on BANDCAMP.

Frankly I'm beside myself at this cheese focused blasphemy. I mean, I'm all for a good bit of blasphemy when it's all in good falling down...and stuff.

But dude...cheese is the on wonderful thing in this world that brings together all of humanity. 

I don't want to live on this planet anymore...

But anyway....

1. Good afternoon and thank you for taking some time for me today.

No problem--thanks for having me back! I was happy to see this was NOT an interview about pizza, as I have a violent hatred for all things cheese. 

2. Your sound is a bit left of center if I'm being less than forthcoming. Ashen Horde sounds a little like everything I've heard and a lot like nothing I've ever heard. How do you describe what you do?

Ha--this is a popular topic when it comes to Ashen Horde, including with the band members. It seems no matter what label gets assigned, it's wrong. 

We're too technical (and not grim enough) for black metal purists, but not technical enough for tech death fans; too progressive for OSDM fans, but not progressive enough for prog lovers; too straightforward for grindcore kids, but too heavy for traditional metalheads. 

But we definitely have elements of all of the above, and then some. Honestly, my goal with Ashen Horde is just to do whatever feels right and not worry about being one style or the other. 

It's just metal, IMO. 

Of course, without attaching more specific labels, you run the risk of staying a little too far below most people's radar. 

We've been living with "progressive black/death metal" for a while, but I think "progressive extreme metal" is both simpler and a bit more accurate. 

3. How has living in La La Land influenced Ashen Horde?

Honestly, it's chilled me out a lot. I was much more high-strung and angry when I lived in Brooklyn. People in L.A. are a lot easier going, and the weather is generally phenomenal; I've definitely adapted. 

That's not to say I don't still carry enough angst and bitterness to write brutal metal songs, but I assume it's better for my overall mental health! 

I've always had a secret fear that if I were ever to be too happy I'd just want to write bubblegum pop songs. I guess I haven't hit that point yet, but we'll see what the next album brings.

4. How do you take your tea?

Green or black, always iced. A bit of sugar is ok, but I've gotten used to unsweetened. There are these bottles of pomegranate tea by Tea of a Kind that I've been obsessed with of late. 

Its a bottle of water, and when you twist the top, the concentrated tea shoots down. I think it's supposed to do something helpful in the realm of antioxidants, but I really just like the taste.

Despite being born in London, I've never gotten a taste for proper English tea. One day, perhaps.

5. You've been releasing music since 2013. How do you think your music has progressed since the first EP?

Hmm... great question. There's definitely a bigger focus on melody, especially with the addition of clean vocals here and there. 

I'd like to think the songs flow a bit better, but also with an increased focus on the progressive side. The earlier stuff wasn't miles away from what we're doing now, but it was definitely more firmly rooted in black metal. 

As I mentioned before, now it's a little of everything, so calling it black metal would be a big stretch.

Of course, the addition of Stevie on lead vocals has introduced a whole new level of dynamics in the vocal department. My harsh singing was more raspy and one-dimensional, whereas his stuff is all over the place. 

He's got a bit of an Alice Cooper thing going on, where he almost has different characters for different parts. In fact, I just got the last of his vocals for our new EP, and he went totally old-school black metal. It's fucking cool.

6. What's the perfect length for an album? Concert?

I'm not sure there's a perfect length--albums should be as long or short as they need to be complete. Given the option, I suppose I'd rather a short album with great songs than a long one with tons of filler. 

There are some super long albums that never get boring and super short albums that never seem to end! I feel like Dream Theater's "The Astonishing" was twice as long as it needed to be, but wouldn't add a second to Kiss's "Dressed to Kill." 

I will say, though, as someone with a 30-minute work commute, I tend to neglect the later songs on longer albums!

7. What are the five most important albums of all time?

To the world, or me personally? I'll go with the latter:

The Wildhearts: Earth vs the Wildhearts--this album changed everything for me. It blended pop, rock, metal, punk, and on and on, into pure perfection. It set the stage for me not worrying about being genre-specific, and just going with my gut. The fact that the Wildhearts aren't worldwide superstars is a crime.

Kiss: Love Gun--the first Kiss tape my brother and I got (in the '80s--I'm not that old!). With that album, I knew I had no option but to be a musician

Queen: The Game--a toss-up between this and Stray Cats: Built for Speed, as they are the first albums I fell in love with as a little kid. I had the 7" of "Another One Bites the Dust," and would play it endlessly on my Fisher Price record player

I still get chills when I listen to this album. "Need Your Loving Tonight" is a criminally underrated Queen tune, IMO

Enslaved: Frost--while not my first extreme metal album, this one sliced me open and crawled inside. The course of my writing, which had previously been more firmly rooted in death metal (Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, etc) took a sharp turn into black metal territory because of this album. 

When I heard they were playing it in its entirety at the Decibel Fest in Philly, it wasn't even an option--I had to be there. 

And it was spectacular.

Sepultura: Arise--my buddy Jorden, who plays bass and sings for Weaponizer (check out their most recent album, Lawless Age,) introduced me to this in high school. 

I was already an Anthrax and Megadeth fan but hadn't listened to Sep. What a kick in the teeth! It took the thrash elements I loved from the other bands, but added a new level of heaviness, particularly with the vocals. 

This album opened the gate to the realms of extreme metal for me. 

8. What's your tour plan right now?

We don't really have one. Stevie is very busy--he's heading out on another tour with Inferi shortly and will be hitting the road with Equipoise later this year. 

Our drummer, Robin, lives in Australia, so that doesn't help, either! I'd love to do some shows at some point, but the stars will need to align to make it happen. 

I just finished a record with some other guys, however, and that band has a much better chance of hitting the road. It's more straightforward black metal, and hopefully will be out later this year, so a tour in 2020 is not out of the realm of possibility. 

Stay tuned!

9. What did I forget to ask?

Hmm... what was my most recent celebrity sighting? Candace Cameron from Full House. Saw her walking in Beverly Hills. 

What album was on while doing this interview? AC/DC's Powerage. What band shirt do I have on? Enslaved--Axioma Ethica Odini. What's for dinner? 

Motherfucking grilled salmon and tater tots.

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