Chris Rigby – What the hell is industrial doom metal? What is there in the word industrial?
-Good question! What the hell is Industrial Doom Metal? DYING OF THE LIGHT plays what we describe as “Monolithic slabs of heavy as fuck ass-kickery”. Other people may have labeled us Industrial Doom Metal but it’s not something we would refer to our sound as. Even though you may be able find traces of that description in parts of it. The word “Industrial” implies a dark grey dirty soundscape flowing over the rhythmic grinding sounds of large pieces of undefined machinery. Which is definitely something you can hear in our music from time to time. If you are talking about “industrial music” as a genre, we definitely don’t play that. True industrial music originates from the 70s and was played by the likes of “Throbbing Gristle” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8klW9trVTQ) and Einstürzende Neubauten (http://youtu.be/VZsCvABTX90) of which we don’t sound anything like. Then again perhaps there is a little bit of that in this song, our collaboration track with New Zealand noise artist “Crude”: http://soundcloud.com/dyingofthelight/crude-collaboration
Is there a challenge in using monotony as an instrument in doom metal or can doom metal be just as vibrant and exciting as any other metal without losing its doomier edge?
-I’m not sure what you mean by “using monotony”, but we do like simple powerful song structures with heavy as fuck riffs. There is no point in having 32 riffs in a song that each have 14 to 25 notes if they don’t evoke an emotion, feeling or at least make a good song. Power comes from simplicity! While our song structures might be simple, we do make them vibrant and exciting by layering the canvas they create with different sounds and vocals. You can hear that in our song “Rapture in Black”: http://soundcloud.com/dyingofthelight/rapture-in-black and “Hush”: http://soundcloud.com/dyingofthelight/hush
When does doom metal stop being doom metal? Is there any limitation in being categorized as this or that?
-We really don’t know (or care) when doom metal stops being that. If we did we would probably have restricted ourselves to only playing that style. An interesting misconception people seem to have with Dying of the Light is that we started the band intending to play Doom. The reality is that the first song we released on line “Suffer the Fall” (http://soundcloud.com/dyingofthelight/suffer-the-fall) just happened to comfortably fit into that description. A lot of people in the local Stoner Doom scene embraced that song, but seemed a little confused when we released out next few songs “Skyscraper Blues” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXD64pzGVWw), “Hegemony” (http://soundcloud.com/dyingofthelight/hegemony) and “Initiation+Sacrifice” (http://soundcloud.com/dyingofthelight/initiation-sacrifice). All of which sound completely different. We just want to make our own Heavy as fuck music without feeling like we need to conform to a specific genre or scene. By the way the 4 songs mentioned above made up our debut 4 song EP which you can download here:http://soundcloud.com/dyingofthelight/sets/debut-ep/
I have a special fascination for band names and the meaning the combination of ordinary words take when they are combined. Dying Of The Light could mean that each day we die a bit more on our journey towards the ultimate end. It could also mean something completely different. What was the choice in picking just these words to become the band’s name?
-“Dying of the Light” is taken from the poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do_Not_Go_Gentle_into_That_Good_Night) which he wrote about his dying father, encouraging him to fight off his impending death. We didn’t choose the name because of that, but rather because we liked the way it sounded as well as the images and meanings it invokes in ones mind. Your interpretation of what it means is a perfect example of that. For you that is the correct meaning. It may mean something different to someone else. For them that interpretation will also be correct.
We are all influenced by different things and it is these things that make up who we are and what we become. What in the evolution of Dying Of The Light pointed you in the direction you ended up in?
-I work as a Union organizer. Some of the things I experience in my daily job have influenced my lyrics. “Hegemony” (mentioned in question 3) is a good example of that. Various life experiences are another influence of my lyrics (Check out “Skyscraper Blues”). At the same time Rangi and I have known each other since we were 13 years old. We grew up on Horror movies and 2000 AD comics (http://www.2000adonline.com/), so Science Fiction themes have also influenced our music (“Suffer the Fall”). Musically there was one key event that had an impact on both me and Rangi; We lived in Picton, a small town of 2000 to 3000 people. We didn’t have a good record shop there so we would often go on day trips to bigger towns to check out the stores there. There was one day around the beginning of 1991 where we visited Everyman records in Nelson and also visited some friend that lived in the town. On that day we were exposed to three key albums that would shape us forever. They were Nirvana – Bleach, Godflesh – Streetcleaner and the first Deicide. Aside from the latter (I now hate Decide with a fucking passion: http://www.talios.com/deicide__at_the_studio.htm ) those albums have left a lasting impression on the music we make to this day. It’s worth also pointing out that DYING OF THE LIGHT is a continuation of a band called CHAPEL OF GRISTLE that Rangi and I were in for most of the 90s when we were both living in Christchurch (http://youtu.be/jop7wJZdapU). The band split up after Rangi moved out of town. But we found ourselves both living in Auckland a few years ago and started DYING OF THE LIGHT. Which is a more focused and refined version of the music we played in Chapel of Gristle. Chapel was much more raw and basic sounding. One of the last songs that I wrote, but we never played in Chapel of Gristle is “Everyone You Know Here Is Dead”. This is the version that we play now: http://soundcloud.com/dyingofthelight/everyone-you-know-here-is-dead
How important is it that each band member moves in the same direction or is there a creativeness to the conflict within?
-There is a bit of both within our music. I’ve already talked about the focused and refined sound that we have compared to our past music. But I think it’s important that there is an element of conflict within the creative process when more than one person is involved. If there is the right balance of conflict it means that those involved are passionate about what they are creating. Providing that conflict doesn’t result in a compromise to agreeing on a watered down idea just so each person is kind of happy, or the destruction of the band, the end result should be vibrant fresh music or whatever end product you are trying to create. Good examples of that for us would be that despite the fact that Rangi and I are best friends, we still argue like fuck. Particularly when it comes to pushing each other to come up with good ideas when writing songs and recording songs. If we think something could be better we let each other know about it and don’t settle until we’ve got it right! The other example with us is with our drummer JP. A point to note is that most of our recordings on-line have been written and recorded with programmed drums (with the exception of “Everyone You Know Here…” which has both live and digital drums together). We’ve found that this is an effective way to write our songs. But a couple of years ago JP joined the band as we wanted to play our music live with the energy of a real drummer. Initially we experimented unsuccessfully with combining the electronic drums with JPs real drums. Eventually we decided it was easier to play live interpretations of the recorded songs. There have been times when there has been tension in the practice room, when debate has come up over whether JP should play like the recorded version of a song or his own version of how the drums should go. The ultimate result is that there is now two versions of DYING OF THE LIGHT. One is the version that you can check out by following the links in this interview and the other is the big heavy live band that we have evolved into. We are planning a studio session at the moment to record the live version of DYING OF THE LIGHT.
Not knowing anything else this might be hard to answer but how has living in New Zealand affected the way you write music? Can we talk of a New Zealand metal soul, a specific groove all exclusive to New Zealand?
-Living in New Zealand it’s hard to really say if there is a specific New Zealand metal soul or specific groove. You might be a better person to answer that question as you are looking in from the outside. Here are some links to New Zealand Bands who have inspired us to give you an idea:
Solid Gold Hell: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmVXAqrvUk8
Sticky Filth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ3VjU_pHFI
We have a lot of good Metal bands here at the moment also. You may be familiar with some of them.
Sinistrous Diabolus: http://youtu.be/qpbIkmKo0O8
There are many more, but that’s enough to give you a taste and an idea as to whether there is a unique sound to New Zealand Metal.
What is the live scene like in Auckland? Do you get any big acts coming through New Zealand on their tours? Any opportunities to play with these big gigs?
-The live scene is very healthy here. Last week had Stonerfest 2011 (https://www.facebook.com/events/226519790742685/), which featured national bands playing music of that description (we played Stonerfest 2009 and 2010 but didn’t do this year). It was an amazing show with each of the bands playing kick ass sets. It was held in two small connected venues (Whammy Bar and The Wine Cellar) with the bands playing alternating sets on each stage one after another. This made for a quick paced great party atmosphere. Highlights of the night for me were Shallow Grave (http://youtu.be/3SGWLzxyWQI), Arc of Ascent (http://youtu.be/3ZqwmVFbeoE), Stone Angels (http://www.mediafire.com/?kcji223goapbyyo) and The House of Capricorn (http://www.facebook.com/thehouseofcapricorn). We get some good international gigs coming through New Zealand. In the last year or so we’ve seen Swans, Melvins, Portishead, Mayhem, and Exodus. Early next year Roky Erickson and Absu are coming to town! So far the biggest artist we have played with was when we opened for Paul Di’anno in mid 2010. We played a good set to an appreciative audience. But man does Paul need to get over himself. I mean who really likes listening to some bitter old guy making bigoted remarks and threatening the audience in between songs. He should just shut up and sing….something he’s still very good at when he’s not just shouting the lyrics over Iron Maiden songs.
How important is a vibrant national metal scene in this time and age of Social Medias and internet communication? You’re just a click away from the world of metal.
-Coming from New Zealand, the furthest country from just about anywhere, the internet it’s self has made it much easier to promote yourself as a band to other parts of the world. In the last few years many of the local bands I have mentioned here have been able to gain recognition from abroad and have their music released on international labels. When I first got involved in underground music in the early 90s (http://subcide-webzine.blogspot.com/) this sort of thing seemed impossible. Then the Internet came along and sped the lines of international communication dramatically. It would be fair to say that because of this our national metal scene has become more vibrant as a result.
Where do you want Dying Of The Light to go in the future?
-We want to find a label who will release a DYING OF THE LIGHT Album or EP to the world. Long term, we’d love to play a 3 or 4 week tour of Europe, Asia or the States to promote said releases. If you like what our music sounds like and think these things should happen please share our music and spread the word! Thank you Anders for the opportunity of this interview.