Interview with The Infernal Sea
C.R. – Bass Guitar
Interview by Annalisa Orlando
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- Could you tell us a little about your music-making history? Have you been musical from an early age, or is it a passion you developed later on?
I have been involved in music in one way or another since around age 7. I started off playing brass instruments before moving onto the guitar around age 10. Once I got to high school this became a real obsession and eventually found a love for rock and metal. I continued with the cornet and playing percussion in brass bands/school orchestras until I was around 18. I play bass in TIS but guitar is my instrument really. I’ve been playing the drums on and off for about 15 years too. Through high school and into my 20’s I played in a bunch of different bands, nothing noteworthy. In my early 20’s I got involved in drum and bass production, I came to black metal around the same time and joined TIS not long after.
- You guys have been making music together since 2010. What makes you gel so well creatively? Do you have individual strengths and weaknesses that complement each other?
We are all actually very different, maybe this helps us to gel. We all have different backgrounds and skills. J and I write separately but when we get together we do write well. D doesn’t speak the same language but knows what he wants so we get there eventually. JB is a phenomenal player and will play pretty much whatever we throw at him.
- Do you do anything outside of music? Like a day job, hobby, or another creative outlet?
Of course! I work in care management, the other guys have pretty varied jobs. I have 2 young children so this naturally is the most important thing in my life and takes up the most time! I’m pretty easy going and enjoy a few other simple pleasures – weight training, video games, movies etc.
- Could you tell us a little about how the songwriting process went for Negotium Crucis? Was this an easy record to make or did you encounter some creative difficulties?
This record was quite hard to make, knowing ourselves a little bit now, we don’t work well without deadlines and tend to let things take longer than needed. In the end, it all came together and I’m very pleased with the result. From song to song the writing was pretty varied, some were written by one writer in isolation, others were much more collaborative, some songs were played together extensively prior to recording and a couple we had never played before we actually recorded them. With the album being recorded & mixed by our drummer JB this gave us a lot of flexibility and freedom. This works well for us and is a huge plus.
- What makes this album different to your previous releases?
This record has been pretty freeing, we have just written the songs we wanted to hear. We just let them come out naturally. I think it’s easy for bands to get trapped in writing the songs they think they should, or writing songs for other people. It’s only our third record so I hope we are still young in our career in the grand scheme of things. In terms of comparison to our other work – this record shows more of our rock and punk influences, as well as holding a more raw or live-sounding production style. We wanted to bring the record closer to our live sound.
- How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?
I think it sounds like fans of a wide range of music looking at their influences through a black metal lens. I know that’s pretentious but I re-wrote this answer 5 or 6 times to try and make it sound less so and it was getting a bit shit so there you have it.
- Do you have a favourite track from the album?
Mine is ‘Befallen Order’. It showcases all the things I like best about our music.
- I noticed that there was a strong conceptual voice throughout the album. Are your songs ordered in a linear story or are they more loosely tied together in the concept of the album?
It’s not a linear story. The songs are different stories or accounts from different things happening during the time period we looked at. We work closely with each other to maintain some tonal consistency throughout the album. A lot of work goes into research for the concept.
- The album takes inspiration and themes from the 12th-century plague. Was this just a coincidence with the onset of COVID or was that deliberate?
It’s an interesting coincidence; like I said we’ve been working on this record for the best part of 3 years on and off, pretty early on the concept was established. There are a lot of parallels between the two pandemics.
- Are you guys lovers of history in general or do you just think it lines up well with the black metal aesthetic?
For me, it’s both. We are interested in history but equally many of the grim things we are looking at doing line up well with black metal as you say.
- What are your favourite bands at the moment? Can you recommend us something to listen to?
I think I’m very unreliable for this question as I tend to listen to the same things repeatedly. I’ve enjoyed a lot of ambient music recently, and keep going back to ‘Stasis Sounds for Long-Distance Space Travel’ by 36 & Zaké.
- Tell us a little about your relationship with black metal and the black metal scene. What makes it better or worse for you than other genres of metal? Do you enjoy the culture surrounding it, or are there things you would change?
I love it. This is such a rich and diverse subgenre and really enjoy all the different sounds and angles different bands come to it. Black metal to me is not blasting beats and tremolo picking, it’s an attitude, a feeling, snake oil even! It’s difficult to quantify what it is, but when you hear it, you know it. I really enjoy the way it infects other subgenres and enjoys bands that are ‘black metal adjacent’ too. I’m not sure what to say about black metal culture, I’m not sure I’m involved in it aside from contributing to it musically.
- What are you missing the most about playing live at the moment?
I love playing live and everything about it. I guess to go back to the previous question this is the part of the culture I enjoy. I like people and going to new places. I really enjoy playing live, this is TIS in its purest form.
- Do you find it tricky to balance out your commitments to the band with others in life?
Yes sometimes, it all works out in the end though. It’s no hardship and being in a band that has had any degree of success or admiration is a privilege, so I think if you have a busy life and can make it work, then it’s cool.
- Thank you again! Anything you would like to tell our readers in closing?
Thanks for making it to the end, and buy the new album!
Negotium Crucis is out now, order your copy here!
1. Destruction of Shum
2. Befallen Order
3. God Wills It
4. Field of the Burned
5. Devoid of Fear
6. Negotium Crucis
7. Unholy Crusade
8. Rex Mundi
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