Ancient Ascendant Interview
With Alex Butler – Vocals/guitar,
Nariman Poushin – Guitar,
Alan Webb – Bass and
Dave Moulding – Drums
Inteview by Caitlin Smith @ The Underworld, Camden
18th November, 2012
Interview Photos by Sabrina Dersel
Before playing alongside German thrash metal giants Sodom that night, Ancient Ascendant gave us a few minutes of their time to talk to us about the past events of the year, and what is coming up for them.
From the onset I could see how this band have such a good thing going. Trying to keep up with the banter and the in-jokes going on between them was tough and they are obviously a close-knit group with a similar sense of humour, mostly sarcasm and self-deprivation. The guys, however, did make a good attempt to be serious and informative in this interview… mostly!
So, your new EP into the dark has recently come out, how has it been received?
AB – Yeah it’s been great, lots of positive reviews: fans liking it, critics liking it, we pretty much like it as well. Dan’s [swano] one who liked it, but we did pay him to mix and master it so…I guess he had to
NP – Yeah we’d already paid him by the time he said nice stuff so there was nothing in it for him [laughs]
For those people who haven’t heard the album, are there any major themes running through it?
AB - So I guess the main theme of all Ancient Ascendant is sort of groove, and then Into the Dark is sort of like groovy black and death metal and if you like any of those then your going like it.
NP – Do you mean musically or thematically?
Either is pretty good.
AW – Black candles…
NP – Yeah black candles and stuff!
AB – In terms of the themes of the album like other than the music it’s occult themed sort of thing, all the lyrics cover occult and stuff like that.
Has there been any progression in sound from your previous albums?
AB – Yeah so people that know our previous stuff like The Grim Awakening and The Heathen Throne, with Into the Dark has a lot more black in there, so it’s got more of a black feel, bit of black n’ roll, more sort of black sections along with the death as well. We’ve mixed in our styles more evenly I think in this than in any other previous release.
AW – Yeah it’s all in all of the songs.
NP – I think in terms of production we’ve moved more towards how we want to sound as well, it’s not just riffs.
AW – We’ve got the sound that we want to keep, to stick with now.
So onto your name, who came up with it?
AB – I did, so you want to know what it means?
That is the next question!
It’s pretty much going to turn up first in alphabetic. You can take it to mean just really old god, I guess would be another way of saying it. Really old god was one of the first ones we thought of, not as catchy!
AW – Neither is Ancient Ascendant to be fair
AB – Maybe Ancient Ascendants not that catchy, but it hasn’t been used, that’s the main thing!
How do you think your sound stands out from other Death metal bands?
AB – Well I think were a bit easier to listen to, some death metal can be pretty boring as well when it’s just blast beats all the way through the whole album, we don’t do that. Mainly because Dave just can’t do that, but after we found that…
NP – Thanks Dave!
AB – We try and keep every moment of the song as interesting as possible, throw in as many things as we can and it’s just sort of densely packed. I think, cleverly written, because I like to come up with it myself.
NP – At least some sections are…
AB – And that’s what we try and do basically, it’s for a discerning listener.
So I’ve got the impression that half of you live in Reading and half of you live London…
NP – errr no… only Alex lives in London, and he doesn’t actually live in London anymore, he lives in Hatfield
AW – He moved out, he betrayed London. He used to live down the road.
NP – He used to be in London, but me Webb and Dave, we all live in Reading.
AB – We’re all Reading lads originally.
Well I was going to ask how this affected the song writing process?
AW – yeah we don’t see Alex.
NP – Bit of a blessing really!
AB – We just send emails to each other all the time basically. It’s good, it works.
NP – We’ve always written using computers anyway, so we send files back and forth. I mean it’s kind of hard to, with the genre of music we play, extreme metal or death metal or black metal, it’s hard to jam out a song. You know, get into the practice room with a six-pack of beer and like “hey man I’m just really feeling it, like this is how it goes.”
AW – It’s like 30-second notice.
NP – Exactly! Everyone has things they want to do on…
AB – We still do that but we just don’t use that stuff
NP – So yeah it’s really not affected us that much at all.
You played Bloodstock in August, how does playing a festival differ from playing a venue?
NP – I couldn’t hear a goddamn thing. [laughs] No I mean it was overwhelmingly, nerve shatteringly awesome. You got out there and there’s loads of people but just to listen to the dynamics of the crowd being much further away, there being a crowd, the sound onstage. Obviously you still have a brilliant sound guy for front of house but for monitor mixes, there just wasn’t time to sort everyone out.
AW – It was pretty stressful.
NP – I mean Dave was playing the drums and he couldn’t hear his snare, and that’s right in front of his face!
AB – It was massively rushed and at the time I had loads of stuff to sort out with my set up and also the roadies blew up my amp as well, so I had to find a new fucking fuse.
AW – That was stressful as well.
AB – I was like AGHHH just stressing me out. So yeah I had to sort that out, it was pretty stressful and then we just carted on and started playing straight away but it was really good, and the crowd was great. It was a massive crowd, definitely the biggest amount of people we’ve played to.
Good reception, crowd was amazing. So you’re on stage with Gospel of the horns and Sodom tonight. Are you excited?
DM – Yeah.
AW – Really, really yeah.
NP – Yeah.
AB – Yeah massively, yeah.
AW – We’ve been looking forward to it for fucking months, yeah.
AB – I remember me and Dave in secondary school used to listen to Sodom and stuff so they’re one of those bands that are masters of their craft.
If you could play with anyone though, who would it be?
NP – Anyone living or dead or anyone
NP – Dissection
DM – Dissection and Satyricon. In the same gig.
AW – Witchery.
AB – Witchery, yeah.
NP – Yeah, so Witchery open, then Satyricon, then Dissection then us.
AW – Yeah, yeah obviously we headline.
AB – We’re putting this thing together and they’ve not emailed us once!
Are there any great aftershow or tour stories?
NP – errr…
AB – Nariman?
AW – Your looking for stories
NP – A gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell and neither do I. There’s been a lot of amazing moments, like maybe hanging out with people you really look up to. When we toured with 1349 we’d just hang out just after the shows with Frost and with the rest of the band.
AB – Yeah, every time we play with a black metal band I think they’re going to be cunts and really standoffish or something but they always turn out to be really nice.
NP – Its mainly because they’re Norwegian or Swedish, they’re the nicest people in the world.
AW – Yeah 1349 sound checking with Thin Lizzy and stuff.
NP – Exactly, or us soundchecking with Satyricon and realizing, that’s how I play?
AW – That’s my band!
AB – Plus you normally soundcheck over Top Gun.
NP – It’s a majestic tune!
What can we expect from Ancient Ascendant in the next couple of years?
AB – Yeah within the next couple of years we’ll probably be putting out the next album which is a really big deal for us as were on a bigger label, so were all planning that but for the moment were just pushing Into the Dark.
NP – Bit more touring, more festivals.
AB – Yeah much more touring, we definitely want to play a lot more festivals, so were on that at the moment. Basically trying to do that.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to the readers?
NP – Thanks for actually reading this, thanks for giving a shit.
AW – Yeah, check us out.
NP – The problem is a lot of people don’t give a shit because there are so many bands out there.
AB – Just check us out, were on ancientascendant.com
AW – Spotify, youtube…
AB – We’ve got a video you can watch. Spotify, itunes, you can buy stuff direct from us.
NP – And google or spell check ancient ascendant, I type it in wrong sometimes.
AW - The next ones ancient astronauts though so…
NP – Check out our videos and our albums on spotify, if you like it, buy a copy from us and help us.
AB – Even if you don’t like it, just buy it!
NP – Well I mean that would be dishonest.
Well thanks for taking time to talk to us. Enjoy the show!