Interview with The Risen Dread

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The Risen Dread

Interview with: William – Guitarist

Interview by Faye Coulman

Hey and thank you for your time. Congratulations on just completing your recent touring cycle in support of Marduk and Vader. It must have been an incredible experience, can you tell us about it?

It was amazing, I think I can speak for everyone in the band that we enjoyed every single day. Unfortunately, we had a few issues on the first and we had to remove on track from the setlist. After that everything went really well. We didn’t know what to expect when we joined the tour. We knew we sound completely different for Vader and Marduk… so, we didn’t know what crowd reactions we were going to get. But it was amazing.

People said they were happy to see a different band on the lineup, we had a few people saying they went to the gig to see us (which was the biggest surprise we could get).

I believe this was your first official tour as a newly-formed band? How did this happen?

You’re right, it was our first tour. It was a combination of things that made it happen. During the pandemic, we worked hard to record the album and be ready to tour as soon as restrictions start being lifted. I believe that was the most important thing to make it happen. We could miss the momento of bands getting back on the road and we wouldn’t be able to join because of the album not being released.

With everything going well with the album, it was time to sell the band to agents and promoters. That’s when the conversation started about joining the ‘United Titans Tour 2022’ with Vader and Marduk. It was meant to happen in January (we were already negotiating the tour with them). Once they postponed it and got the new dates and the conversation started again with the agent. After that, it’s history hahaha

What was it like touring? Do you all get on all of the time? Or were there times you needed space from each other?

Actually, we got on well. We had issues when we were recording the album and I think it was lessons learnt from it.

I’m the quiet one and I need a moment for myself once a day, just to not talk to anyone or maybe call home to check how things are. I’m happy once I have that. Marco was working some days from the venues, so he was busy with some meetings.

As far as the live experiences go, what can fans expect from The Risen Dread show?

A lot of energy on the stage and interaction with the crowd during the songs. We give our 100% on the stage and it could be felt when we played in smaller venues during the tour. It’s unbelievable to have people right in front of you and banging their heads while you play.

Do you like to use props on stage?

I’d like to have flames and lighting engineer, but we just don’t have the money to invest on that for a tour. We always wear a t-shirt with our symbol on the chest. Since our very first show!!

Do you think it’s important for a band to be signed to a label to be recognised in today’s society?

Yes… labels have the network and money to push an artist. Just think of how many people a single video reaches when it’s uploaded to a big label YouTube channel. That’s what any emerging artist wants… just get their music in front of people and let them decide whether they like it or not. There are always people that like your songs, you just need to find them… which is the hardest part. Social Media helps, but metal fans like to see you playing live as well. We’re different from other genres, that’s why playing live is the best thing to do when it comes to a metal band.

Shifting to the origins of the band, what was it that initially brought you all together as a collective? (E.g. shared influences, motivations or creative vision etc.) How did you all meet?

That’s one thing social media is good for. We didn’t’ know each other. Colum posted looking for a guitarist to join a band they were playing back then and I wanted to be back in a band. That band dissolved and the two of us kept jamming. At the end of 2018, Marco found one of Colum’s posts looking for a vocalist and the same thing happened to Mat at the begging of 2019.

We don’t share the same background when it comes to music, but it overlaps with some bands and definitely overlaps 100% with our vision for this band. We’re different from most of the bands, as we weren’t friends before and decided to get together to play what we liked to listen to… we became friends after and we all see this as a business as well. Every move we make it’s well thought why we’re going it and where it can take us. We’re all leaving something behind to put time and effort into this band, we’re all-around 30, and we can’t just have a band for fun!

How did you choose and what’s the origin of the name ‘The Risen Dread’?

If I remember well, it came with the idea we had for the theme of the lyrics. Talking about mental illness and after some brainstorming, Colum came up with that name and we thought it fitted quite well. We have that dread inside of us. So, The Risen Dread is about that.

Have you been in bands previously?

Yes, I was in a Thrash/Death metal band in the early 2000s. I think it was from 2002 to 2006 with a band called Imperial Devastation from Sao Paulo – Brazil. I joined them when I was 17. We did play a lot back then. I remember we had gigs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday for 2 months when I joined; It was a really good experience. I’m still friends with some of the other guitarists and the drummer. Unfortunately, the vocalist passed away last year. After that, I had another band (Extreme Death Metal), but we never played or recorded anything.

When did you first start getting into music and know you wanted to be a band? Was it everything you expected it to be?

I always liked music. I remember staying in my father’s car to listen to the radio. There used to Heavy Metal radio show every Sunday night from 10pm to midnight.

What got me to play was my friends from secondary school. I almost had a high school boy band if that band had happened hahahahaah jokes aside. They were the ones who introduced me to bands like Morbid Angel, Deicide, Krisiun, Cannibal Corpse and so on. They wanted to have an extreme death metal sound and I said I could pick the guitar, even though, I didn’t have a clue how to play. But none of us did. We just wanted to make noise hahaha

I was the only one who actually went for it and tried to learn the instrument. I gave up after a few years of trying to push the guys to get the band together. That’s when I gave a shot with another local Death Metal band, but they said I was too bad as a guitarist (they were right).

A few months later I saw Imperial Devastation playing live, I had their demo and I knew they were looking for a second guitarist. I talked to them on that show and I started to learn the song.

When you first set out to write the ‘Night Hag’, exactly what did you have in mind for this release and how did these early ideas/sketches evolve over the course of the writing and recording process that followed?

We had in mind the theme, which it’d follow the EP and from there we went with the flow. I actually didn’t have much in mind. I just wanted to do something I was going to be proud of. It’s really hard for us to set ‘The Risen Dread’ in a sub-genre. I always thought it’d be more like Melodic Death Metal because of the harmonies, catchy riffs and vocals, but each track fits in a different sub-genre, in my option. I didn’t expect the album to sound how it does. We did a few pre-productions of it and none of them sounded close to the album.

Am I correct in thinking the title ‘Night Hag’ is a reference to the old superstitious term for sleep paralysis?

Yes, you’re right!! And ‘Night Hag’ is mentioned in every single track of the album. She’s not mentioned using the words ‘Night Hag’… but she’s there in every track. That’s why we decided to close the album with the song ‘The Night Hag’ which specifically talks about sleep paralysis.

What is the procedure for producing a new album/EP? Do you have a set way of doing things?

No, I don’t have a way to create music, but this album was different from any other songs I created. Some of the riffs in the album were created when I was working. Like when I had some kind of groove or riff in mind, I opened up the Guitar Pro and wrote it down. I think there’s one entire track that I wrote on Guitar Pro while I was “working”.

I usually like to come up with things when I’m playing… but in this case, I didn’t want to forget my ideas. Which would happen if I’d waited till I get back home.

Do you have a personal favourite track?

I do… I love ‘The Night Hag’; it’s simple and catchy. That way I like it. I also like ‘Sound Of The Unknown’ a lot. They’re my two favourite tracks of the album.

I understand the record is centred on the issue of mental illness – a timeless and darkly evocative topic indeed. What was it specifically that attracted you to this particular subject matter?

We just kept the theme we used for our EP. Almost like a sequence.

What attracted us was that the mental illness subject came up really strong during the pandemic and I don’t think there was any band talking about it in their lyrics. Also, some of our members suffer from depression, anxiety and sleep paralysis. So, some of the tracks are personal to us and we believe that people need to speak up. We as human beings have problems asking for help and the more we encourage people to do so, the more they’ll reach out and the less they’ll suffer.

I understand the record is also written around a number of key historical figures who famously suffered from mental illness. Can you elaborate a little on this?

Our first single, “White Night” is about the Jonestown massacre that happened in 1978 in Guyana. The Cult leader Jim Jones was diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Reverend Jim Jones had ordered his entire community to drink a flavored drink mix treated with a mixture of potassium cyanide and tranquilizers, placed in industrial buckets. In total, 909 individuals died in Jonestown; Jim Jones shot himself in the head at the end of that night.

Our track Lazzaretto tells the story of Poveglia island and the doctor who allegedly experimented on patients with lobotomies and other unorthodox medical treatments. According to legend, the doctor was as mad and sick as his patients. The doctor jumped from the bell tower in the 1930s after claiming he had been driven mad by ghosts from patients he had killed throughout the years.

Where do you draw your influences from when it comes to producing new music/lyrics?

I listened to Lamb Of God, Parkway Drive, In Flames and As I Lay Dying when I was creating the riffs. Marco does the lyrics and he reads a lot. I mean A LOT to write about something. Like for White Night which is about the Jones Town massacre. He read, watched and even listened to the CIA tapes with the original audio from the temple to create the lyrics. That’s how much effort he puts into the lyrics.

Who did your artwork for this release and is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with, be it an artist/photographer?

The artwork was done by Marcelo Vasco. He’s a Brazilian artist who’s worked with names such as Slayer, Kreator, Machine Head, Hatebreed, Dark Funeral and the list goes on. I don’t have anyone in mind I’d like to collaborate with.

Have you found it difficult balancing out being in a band with a ‘normal working life’?

After the tour, yes!! I came back home missing the routine of gigs, setting up the stage and so on. I love being with my family… but the first few days after the tour was weird. I found my job very boring hahahaha

What is the music scene like where you are based? Has it changed given the current circumstances?

It’s good. I wish we had more bands over, but Ireland is so out of route for tours that it costs a lot for bands to come here and play. We know because it costs us a lot to play in Europe or in the UK.

I don’t think the music scene has changed. Everyone wants to be out again enjoying their lives as they used to.

Do you think image is important when being in a band?

I think it depends on each band. Like Black Metal bands have their image, most if not all of them have corpse paint. Another good example is Amon Amarth, they don’t dress up like Vikings but they sell that image really well with stage design and album artworks, a lot of their fans wear Vikings clothes.

What genres of music do you like to listen to personally? Any other new bands that have caught your attention recently?

I listen to a lot of things from Classic Music to Black Metal. New band… definitely Crypta. The girls did a great job on their album. I met Fernanda back when she was in Nervosa at their very beginning and Crypta sound was a very surprising thing, probably because I was expecting something else.

What do you like to do outside of music? Do any of have any interesting hobbies?

I’m a foodie person. So, I like cooking a few things. I like being with my family, and watch TV. I’m very quiet.

Finally, what are your plans and goals for the rest of 2022?

Play, play and play. We’ve got gigs to announce for this summer and autumn. We can’t wait to get back on the road again!

Thank you for your time, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?

Thanks for the space, hope you guys enjoyed the interview. Go check our album if you haven’t had a chance yet and keep an eye out in our social media for the announcements coming soon.

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