Within this huge melting pot that calls itself "underground movement" so much is going on that one simply cannot keep track of everything that's bursting out and crawling from the vomits. Especially within Death Metal a lot is going on and bands pop up like acne on a teenagers face. Unfortunately a lot of them are drowning within this flood of bands. One of these bands, that at least to me drowned, would be ECTOVOID who are producing pure tonal horror from the midst of Birmingham, Alabama. The following Q&A will give you some info about a band that definitely knows how to deliver and is worth to be checked out.
ECTOVOID was formed in 2010 and hasn't faced any line-up changes ever since. Could you tell us something about those days when the band was brought to life (death) and in what relationship the three of you stand? How did you come up with the name and what is its actual meaning?
"ECTOVOID was incarnated in late 2010 after the three of us decided to dissolve the projects we were currently involved in and began working on something new that was more in line with our personal interests. We have all known each other for many years and the line-up for the band was solidified before anything else was written or conceptualized. The name was created following several other attempts to conjure a title that suited our visions in both a musical and conceptual sense. The name means "outer void."
You're originally from Birmingham, Alabama which is not really a known place on the map of Death Metal. How did you get in touch with extreme music and what especially inspired you to play this very (at least to me) European sounding style of Death Metal. Your music really reminds me of bands like NECROS CHRISTOS, KAAMOS (RIP) or DEAD CONGREGATION with the only difference that you have a more raw and natural approach to it which adds a lot of horror to your music instead of a spiritual vibe.
"We have always been drawn to the obscure reaches of Death and Black Metal and have actively sought out bands of this ilk for many years. As most people do, we initially became interested in certain bands that were more widely known and gradually progressed from there. We play this style of Death Metal because it is something that the three of us have always appreciated and it was something that we found natural and inspiring from both a compositional and instrumental perspective."
In 2011 you released your first demo "Breathing Blackness" all by yourself. How was the process of putting these songs together and recording them? Unholy Domain Records did a tape version of it as well, how did you get in touch and how was the response to the demo in general?
"The three songs on the demo were written fairly quickly, as we were eager to release something to solidify the band as a legitimate entity. We recorded and mixed the songs ourselves in our old rehearsal space using an 8-track recorder in our possession. After first releasing the demo ourselves on CD-R, Unholy Domain Records contacted us with interest in reissuing it as a pro-printed cassette. The response to the demo was fairly positive. Although it had limited exposure when it was first released, it seems as if more people investigated it once they heard our first album and we have heard many people express appreciation for it."
Almost one year after your demo release you managed to put out your debut album "Fractured In The Timeless Abyss" with Polish Helltrasher Productions which was later released on vinyl through Blood Harvest. Was there never a thought about working together with an American label at this point? Did the record come together in the same way as the demo or were there some changes in the songwriting approach noticeable?
"There was definitely interest in working with an American label, but this didn't end up happening and we were perfectly satisfied with working with Hellthrasher and Blood Harvest, two very dedicated labels that both expressed interest in releasing the first album in different formats. The songwriting process for the album material was more structured than that for the demo songs. While those tracks gained a lot of their substance through improvisation and experimentation, the subsequent songs were mostly composed by C.B. in their basic forms and then brought to rehearsal where they were further developed into finished works."
I really like the analog production on your debut. Was it something intentional to record analog or rather an encounter of different factors? What equipment did you use to achieve this really crunchy and timeless guitar tone?
"The only reason that album was recorded in analog was because that was the only option available from the studio open to us in our area. There were no "purist" opinions about recording and sound that went into this decision. We found that we much prefer digital recording and mixing, which is why we went this route for our second album."
The following year (2013) you released a live tape in cooperation with Ritual Ugliness strictly limited to 50 copies which makes me guess this was something done rather for friends and people close to the band rather than a broader audience. What was the intention behind the release and more important how does it sound since I'd be really interested in hearing it but couldn't find any samples on the internet.
"The "Rituals of Hallucination" live cassette was part of a series of releases by a label called Ritual Ugliness Productions that was intended to capture performances in the burgeoning underground Metal community in Atlanta, Georgia, a city near to us. Though we do not actually live in this city, we perform there often and were thus interested in being part of this project with a live release of our own. Our performance was captured with a single microphone and the sound is raw, abrasive, and punishing. We were pleased with how it turned out. There is little chance of the cassettes ever being reissued, but the recordings may be included on a compilation at a future time."
How was the live situation around that time for the band? Was is because of a lot of gigs that it took you two years (which nevertheless is pretty fast anyways compared to todays standards) to release your current album "Dark Abstraction" or just the time you needed to let your creativity flow free.
"A combination of both. We perform live on a fairly regular basis, though as we currently do not tour our live shows do not represent a significant time commitment. We knew we wanted to take the time to make our second album a big step forward from our debut. This led to longer periods of songwriting, rehearsal, and work on recording and production before it was ready to be released."
I got to admit that I really like the slow progression your band went through from your first demo up to now. You didn't change a lot over the years but rather improved in what you're already good at to make the whole package more menacing and well round. How would you consider the change from 2010 up to 2015. Is there even a change for you? I'm not only talking about the way you write your music but the whole atmosphere that surrounds the band.
"Our primary artistic goals will always remain the same. We started this band to create dark, cryptic, and crushing Death Metal that satisfies us as musicians and as creators. As the band has progressed we have sought to find different ways to interpret this vision and draw inspiration from it, while remaining true to the fundamental principles of how it was conceived. Our basic approach is similar now to what it was in 2010, but we have pushed ourselves to expand upon it in a multitude of ways."
Besides the musical side of ECTOVOID I really like the song titles and lyrics. You do not re-invent the wheel but manage to make classic themes appear fresh and interesting. It says that your drummer is responsible for the lyrics am I right with that? What's the inspiration behind them?
"Correct - I am responsible for almost all of the lyrics in the band. My inspiration comes primarily from the facets of existence that reside outside of the parameters of human consciousness, perception, and comprehension. Our lyrics and themes are driven by the overwhelming immensity of the chaos and mystery that surrounds virtually every aspect of our being - our place in the cosmos, the relationship between our conscious self and our material self, the limits and fallibility of our sensory and cognitive perception, and our ultimately futile attempts to comprehend or conquer these ideas. So many bands strive to fit their music into pre-constructed ideological, philosophical, and even religious frameworks, and while we respect and support plenty of these bands, I have always aimed to take our lyrics in a direction that represents a point of view outside of these expected norms. These concepts and the lyrical themes that they inspire are perfectly suited to the kind of music thats we create. There is no darkness more powerful than that which surrounds the unknown and, even more so, the unknowable."
As far as I know you haven't played any shows in Europe yet. Are there maybe any plans to come over sooner or later? Or let's start with the question if you'd be interested in it at all.
"We have never played in Europe or anywhere outside of our country at this point, but doing this is obviously high on our list of goals and something we will definitely pursue when given the opportunity."
I gotta say thank you for taking your time in doing this interview. Feel free to add whatever you want to.
"Hails and thanks for the interview."
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