ARCEYE

I love discovering new British metal acts. Had it not been for NWOBHM I would not be writing this. ARCEYE interview answered by Craig Mackay (drummer and band artist). Anders Ekdahl ©2013

Let us start with a short introduction of the band for all of us not familiar with you guys?
-We are Arceye. A thrash, death, progressive metal band from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK. The currently lineup is Al Llewellyn (Bass & lead vocals), Craig Mackay (Drums, samples & artwork), Dave Roberts (Guitars & Vocals) and Luke Durston (Guitars & Vocals). Our debut album ‘The Divide Between Chaos & Order’ was released in 2009 and we are just about to release our second album ‘At First Light’ which is released worldwide on August 7th through Hostile Media.

For the last 20 – 25 years we haven’t seen that many British bands breaking big. We get the old stalwarts like Iron Maiden or Saxon doing the rounds but not that many new acts. Why do you think it is that way?
-I suppose when it comes to thrash and death metal bands then yeah there’s not as many that have broken through but then you look at UK bands such as Bring Me The Horizon, Bullet For My Valentine, Sylosis, Skindred etc. to name a few and there is obviously a healthy scene going on. I think the main problem nowadays is that there are just so many other bands out there and it’s really difficult to rise above the competition and get noticed. There’s lots of bands that I’ve thought should be massive but they just haven’t had the opportunity to get the music to the masses. These are the same issues we face.

When you started the band where did you turn to for inspiration? How much did you look back at the history of British death/extreme metal?
-To be honest although we love classic British metal bands like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin etc our influence in thrash tends to come from more American bands such as Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Testament and also Swedish bands like Opeth, In Flames, Soilwork etc. I personally wouldn’t say that my influences are just from metal bands though as I love pretty much every type of music going. I think it’s really important to listen to more than just the style of music you like to play.

What have you made specially to ensure that people will turn their attention to you guys and not another act?
-Put simply we’ve just tried to make the best music that we could make at the time. There’s no point in spending all that time and money into an album that you don’t believe in so it sounds clichéd but it’s got to come from the heart. We’ve just tried to make music that we’re into and we would happily listen to even if we weren’t in the band. Hopefully that translates and other people will dig it too.

What does it mean to have a “product” to show for when you fight for attention these days? Do people appreciate that they can get your music as a package?
-It’s always important to us as a band to have a complete package. We’re fully aware that some people will simply download our album and miss out on the artwork etc. and that’s fine because that’s the world we live in now but it’s also nice to have the option for the purists out there too. Being an Illustrator and Graphic designer its never been an option to do a half-assed job of the packaging and if for no other reason we want to have a product that looks slick and that we are all proud of. All we can hope is that the public appreciate the time and effort that goes into it too.

How pleased are you with your latest recording? What kind of expectations do you have on it?
-I think I can confidently say that the whole band is very happy with the finished album. We set out to write an album that had big dynamics, was heavy as hell but also had hooks and a strong groove. I believe that we did that.
It’s been a hard slog getting the songs written and demoed and then we had to look at how and where we were going to record it. We ended up recording drums at Foel Studios with Chris Fielding and then we setup our own Pro Tools rig to record guitars, vocals and bass. The main reason for this was so that we could be relaxed and take the time needed to get a great performance without the added pressure of time and money. Once everything was recorded we sent it all to Scott Atkins at Grindstone studio (Cradle Of Filth, Sylosis, Amon Amarth) to mix and master.

When you write your music I guess you have an idea of what it is to you. How strange is it that once it is out people will interpret the music in ways you never ever imagined it?
-That’s what I love about being an artist. Whether it’s the music or artwork we always try to have a strong vision of a concept but we like to leave it open to interpretation. Sometimes people will comment on things that we never even thought of but that’s great and we are flattered that our audience reads between the lines and thinks about what everything means. It’s fun to think of how you can tie an album together and make it work as a whole as well as individual songs.

I sometime feel that the digital download will kill the way music used to be consumed. Now it is quick fixes and instant gratification and not so much time for an album to be an album. What are your thoughts on this?
-I’ve always come from a record collectors background where I would spend vast amounts of money buying CDs because I like to have the complete package but saying that even I have gotten to a point where I will regularly download albums. I think it’s just a sign of the times.
One thing that I will always do though is download a complete album so that I can hear it as a complete piece of work rather than just downloading the songs I’ve heard on the radio. Especially when you listen to bands like Tool, Mastodon and Dream Theater. Their albums are made to be heard as a whole.

How do you intend on promoting the new recording?
-We’ve teamed up with Future PR and they’re doing a great job of getting the album to the right people. We’ve also just released a new video for the song ‘I Silently Wait’ which is doing very well and we hope to follow that up with a 2nd video soon. In the run up to releasing the album we also released 3 videos that show the writing and recording process too.
We spent a while stuck in our practice room doing this album so we are looking forward to getting out there and promoting the album with some great gigs.

What else does the future hold?
-Well at the moment our focus is on the release of ‘At First Light’ and doing what we can to promote it. As always our ethos is to be the best band that we can be and push the band as far as it can go. We will no doubt be gigging lots while also writing and thinking about album number 3. No rest for the wicked!

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