I know absolutely nothing about DRAEMORA. Answered by Terry Leroy Jenkins – Guitar / Clean Vocals. Anders Ekdahl ©2020
Was it hard to come up with a name? What does the name mean to you? How important is it to have the right name?
-Coming up with a name is one of the harder things to do when you start a project. I don’t think that your name will necessarily define you in any way as far as lyrical content or specific songwriting if you don’t want it to but, when I see a name and the logo it sort of sets the tone for my expectations of the bands overall vibe. Like when I saw the name Cannibal Corpse, I knew that it was going to be something heavy for sure, haha, I didn’t think I was going to hear some Synth Wave or something, although a Synth Wave band Named Cannibal Corpse might be awesome!!! Haha! When Jared and I had started to play together we had some other members that didn’t end up in the band and we started to try to figure out what we were going to call our band. There were a lot of names that had the word blood in them, hahaha. I think there was, Bloodlust, Bloodborne, Blud, and then a few other weird ones I can’t remember. When Jared and I moved on from that group and set out to find new members I came up with the name Draemora, which is a sentient race of demon servants to the Dadric lords in the Elder Scrolls stories. Jared, Max, and I have spent a large amount of time playing video games so they are major influences on us, especially the lore and the soundtracks to the games. I think it suits our aesthetic pretty well, even though we aren’t singing any songs about Elder Scrolls lore.
Who would say have laid the foundation for the kind of sound you have? Who are your heroes musically and what have they meant to you personally and to the sound of your band?
-I wrote all of the music on this EP so, since I love bands like Opeth, Blood Bath, Deftones, Foo Fighters, Mastodon, Strapping Young Lad, Nevermore and Whitechapel, that’s the type of stuff I can genuinely have fun writing, this band would be a lot different sounding if I jammed out to Vanessa Carlton instead of Hatebreed when I was younger. Dave Grohl is probably my biggest influence in the beginning. I was really little when Nirvana was blowing up, I remember watching MTV with my dad when they had the memorial here in Seattle for his death and after that, I became more interested in music because even as a child I could see that this band had touched so many people’s lives, it was incredible the impact that they had. Shortly after that, the first Foo Fighters album came out, I could see it was the drummer from Nirvana, but he was singing with this incredible voice and he was so energetic, it blew my mind! Every song was amazing and you could feel the energy in Daves’s voice and playing, it was absolutely infectious, It made me want to play music every time I listened to them, and I think a lot of my sensibilities as a musician come from listening to the first two Foo Fighters albums 1,000,000 times when I was a kid. The next really big influence for me was going to be Deftones. I remember hearing “Shove it my own summer” and I lost my shit! I bought that album and Adrenaline at the mall and just listened every day, every minute I was not in class. They continued to make such incredible albums as time went on and I am a lifelong fan of what they do, I definitely can tell you without Deftones there would be no Draemora for sure. There are so damn many but I’d say the last biggest influence on my songwriting was Devin Townsend. I started listening to Strapping Young Lad around the “Alien” album in the early 2000s. Devin was so primal on that album and it connected with me and it displayed such a wide array of emotions and musical dynamics in a metal album, I had never, ever heard anything like that before.
I feel like when I approach lyrics, so many of Devins’s vocal melodies and rhythms are engrained in my skull that they come out in a similar fashion. I feel like Devin made it ok for me to put something emotional and personal in a heavy song, not just, Dragons and swords and fictional stuff. He made it ok to get really personal issues off your chest in this style of music for me personally and that is a really amazing feeling when you can use what you love to heal yourself.
When you play slow do you have to think differently arranging the music than if you play faster and vice versa?
-I don’t really think all that much when I’m arranging songs for Draemora, I trust my instinct’s a lot. I usually will have an idea, fast or slow in my head and I’ll pick up a guitar and just start figuring out if my idea translates to the guitar in a way I think is pleasing. One thing I never, ever do is force riffs into arrangements so that I can complete a song, that makes for unpleasant textures. Sometimes I feel delicate and emotional and that is reflected in the song, sometimes I feel angry and the riffs are just dissonance and chugs and noise, haha. I guess to answer the question, I am always just feeling it out, there is no calculated way to write a song for me because that isn’t how my brain works.
Will your music work in a live environment? What kind of stage environment would best suit your music; a big stage or a small club?
-The sound of Draemora to me is enormous, I know during the beginning we will play small shows like every band but this sound I think would be better suited on a big stage, with a big stage show. I think that in a small setting we have all thrived in other bands but we all came from the Seattle Death Metal scene and the audience for our bands was pretty limited due to the content. I think in this band we can all feel that it should be a lot bigger of a setting.
It is very hard to be 100% satisfied. Everybody seems to be disappointed with something they have released. Is there something that you in hindsight would have done differently on this your latest recording?
-I don’t have anything I would have done differently. This album sounds the way we sound right now, like a picture of what we are at this moment. The recording sounds incredible from a technical standpoint and the performances are really intense. I love how it sounds and I get messages every day from new fans that they have listened 3 and 5 times in a row! I couldn’t be prouder of what we did on this EP.
Promotion can be a bitch. Even today with all different platforms it can be hard to reach out to all those that might be interested in your music? What alleys have you used to get people familiarized with your band?
-I make A LOT of videos! I think that it’s much easier for your audience to connect with what you are trying to convey if you are actually saying it to them. I see a lot of locals just trying to pound the same link to a video or song, and I know that I am exhausted by bands that do that. I am always trying to come up with ways to re-introduce a song or video, there is a lot of ways to mix it up and keep it entertaining. I’m also loved in a lot of guitar and amp groups and forums; those relationships allow me to show people specific videos to them that involve my songs and band stuff without it being an advertisement, it’s just me nerding out about gear and stuff and, I was already doing that. For the release of the album we are working with a PR company, and they’re great but you still have to do a lot of work. I love promotion, Its actually another interest of mine just like music. I think it’s fun to create ads and videos that make people laugh, it breaks up the monotony of just having one thing to do, it gives you a break just like working on an arrangement gives you a break from promotions and then writing a song is another gear to switch too. I think it’s all really fun.
To me, artwork can be the difference between bust or success. What to you is a great front cover? What should a cover have to make it great?
-It can really Ice the cake so to speak if you have great album art, you can also alienate your audience if you make the art too specific so it’s a delicate balance you have to have to make something truly great. These days there are a lot of redundancies in album art throughout the metal community, much like how every video is shot in the woods or a parking garage or some dude in frame walking down a city street. I am not minimizing the efforts of my peers in any way but when I see another album cover that is a dude on a cliff with a sword, or, weird-looking mountains with the tree branch logo it doesn’t really draw me in like it used to. I like album art that is striking and memorable and evokes curiosity. I think a lot of album art is way to spoon-fed. Art is perceived beauty, so what one person thinks is great another might not like at all, when art is the least polarizing it is the best for the artist and worse for the outsider, conversely, when it’s very polarizing it can be destructive for the artist because it will come with a lot of criticism, both can still be successful in their own right. Since both of those examples can thrive the only way, I don’t like album art is when it’s trying to be safely in-between those parameters, it is a recipe for bland, grey, office space art. Ha-ha. I guess to summarize I like it when I can tell that the person has created the album art cares about the project, it fits the music, and has created it with intensity, and care.
Do you feel that you are part of a national scene? Is a local/national scene important for the development of new bands?
-We are absolutely brand new as of last month, so no, we are definitely still local. Also, the national quarantine is keeping us from playing shows and trying to get tours together so it’s going to take some real creativity to do that without physical networking. Our goal is to get as big as our potential will allow us to be, and with the personalities, in this band I think we could get really big if we get the right opportunity, and we are ready to crush any drop of opportunity that comes along. I think that the local scene here was at a low point for metal right before this due to a lack of DIY type parties and venues being around like there used to be. Seattle is being gentrified as we speak and I don’t see anyone doing anything about it. That being said there are a few bigger venues around still getting national acts through so hopefully people start supporting it and stop acting like it’s going to just always be here or there isn’t going to be any development for new bands. We need the big acts to come through to keep our venues alive and give us a chance to get seen by people that wouldn’t come to a small local show, which is a lot of people. They need each other really because the band that plays those venues end up selling a lot of tickets to the shows.
I could just be me but I got the feeling that the live scene is not what it used to be. Could be that more and more people use the net to discover bands instead of going out and supporting new bands live. What is your experience with the live scene?
-The scene here in Seattle can be pretty weak at times. I remember when any show being put on got a decent draw and the big shows were packed, but now you could play a show to 10 people even if you have 4 awesome bands and drink specials. When they do fill up it’s usually because the band has amazing star power and those don’t stay local for very long. I agree that people don’t need shows to discover anything anymore and that has a lot to do with it but, it’s not going to change so we need to figure out what the fans want and give them that, stop operating on these old business plans and change with the times.
What does the future hold?
-For Draemora? I see an extremely bright future for us, we have incredible music, the dudes in this band are actually great musicians, like, in person, not just fake internet editing, and we all have a great attitude towards the work we have to do to make Draemora a national act.
For, live music? I see a lot of uncertainty at the moment but I think live music will always be around and I see some great ideas out there to make it safer than ever to see a show, so I can’t wait until it all opens back up.