I imagine that when you set out to form a band you had a grand scheme of world domination. What does your master plan look like and where did it all start from?
-I would say this is a good assumption. I think that all bands including ourselves set out for world domination. You always feel a little big headed when starting a band and you do your first show and everyone says how good you were, especially when you are playing material as we are that actually sounds and feels really good to play. The band was started by our guitarist/manager Iyaan and his brother Dayve who is also the bassist. With regards to our master plan we don’t really have one, we have aims and goals that are more realistic now but no real master plan we are working towards. Initially I would say we had hopes above our station but as time has passed over the years we’ve learnt how the industry works and that it’s not as easy as some may think. Only very lucky bands get offered good record deals straight away and they are usually product based bands, act that are designed to fill a certain niche or fad that teenagers find presently appealing that so called industry moguls wish to shape and mould to their own liking. Bands like that don’t usually last or stay around for very long and they’re material eventually becomes tiresome and obsolete, Coal Chamber are a perfect example of this (laughs) what a rubbish band.
-Ethereal is about longevity, we’ll be around for many years to come and to be honest wed be really happy to make our mark on the scene by releasing some well thought out respected albums and playing some well organized high profile shows to an audience we would appeal to and enjoy. As much as we would all like to make a load of money, we still have our integrity. We’ll just keep working hard and see what the future holds.
The UK black metal scene has a long history. How much does this play a part subconsciously when you’re a black metal band in the 21st century?
-In all honesty I don’t think this is any of our subconscious. I can safely say that there are many acts out there who try to live up to their peers, were in league of our own because in all honesty I can say were really not bothered about what has gone before, we’ve made mistakes and learnt by them which has improved our outlook and approach towards the band as a business. I would say were more interested in what is going on now and what will happen in the future.
Black metal musically isn’t just one specific style. Within it you find different sub-genres. What is it that’s so great about the musical path you’ve chosen?
-For me personally it would be the stigma attached to being in a band of this ilk, with every fiber in my being I sincerely mean it when I say I love this genre. In my opinion Black Metal is by far the most extreme form of musical expression; there are no limits and boundaries to be met when it comes to the style. I find that Death and Black metal are very similar but with black metal there is a distinct coldness, atmosphere and razor edged malevolence to the sound that very much separates the two. I find that black metal makes you think more and has more of an impact on the psyche that most genres of metal.
Black metal is just as much about ideology as anything else. What kind of ideology hides behind the name Ethereal?
-I don’t speak for everyone when I say this as I have ideals and visions of my own when it comes to my musical input. I suppose a connection with the unknown would be a good description. From my point of view as vocalist my ideology comes from ancient alternative history, dark and provocative literature like the book ‘House of Leaves’ , the title track of our new EP Revelation Beast is loosely based around certain chapters in that novel which is seriously twisted. I’ve really tried to stay away from the typical Satanic stuff as it quite frankly doesn’t interest me in the slightest, however we still have elements in their; I find the whole concept a little banal and tiresome as its been milked to death. There are far darker and more disturbing facts about life with real compelling evidence, which we are as a species, where do we come from? That really inspires my own ideology, I suppose in a way the name Ethereal has a different meaning for each of us.
You seem to spend a lot of thought on the appearance of the band. How important is it to create a feeling of otherworldliness for the band?
-It’s of paramount importance you have a good image. It’s what set you apart from other bands, first impressions are everything so we gone out of our way to make sure we’ve got something that most black metal don’t have which is an awesome image. I’m sick of seeing all the photos of kids in black and white make up posing in forests, church yards and graveyards adorned in baking foil and their dads old rusty 25 inch nails rammed through some gaffer tape they’ve attached to their arms. Ethereal adorn a very mainstream professional looking image that people find interesting and in some instances attractive (appeal to the ladies), the feedback we’ve had from fans and friends has been great; the guy who did our photos Mr. Will Woodhouse from Admirion Photography is simply amazing, what a talented guy!
-All the photos were done against green screen in his living room, when we got some of them back our jaws simply dropped, we couldn’t believe how professional and dark they looked, they really summed up the image and persona that is Ethereal. I recommend this guy to anyone but he only tends to work with on certain projects he feels he will enjoy that he can develop in his own style and Will is a big Black Metal fan, his house is awesome. Old furniture and artwork adorn his living room (not forgetting the numerous bottles of “Absinthe” ) he really sets the mood for you when you go to his place and its out in the middle of nowhere so there are no distractions. We landed on our feet with him; he’s now our official photo shoot guy.
With a new album out what kind of progress do you feel you’ve achieved this time round?
-Well we have an EP out, were currently working on material for our debut album which is yet untitled. The only thing I can reveal is that the recording may yet have a concept theme but were keeping the theme secret for now until we’ve decided on what were going to do with it. I can tell you though the new material is awesome. Matt our Lead Guitarist has been writing solidly now for months and he’s really onto something with the new stuff so I’m looking forward to getting a demo of the album done. Some of the new material is varied and diverse I’m positive that it will definitely have a direct impact on fans of the genre highly critical when it comes to black metal so if it was shit id tell matt but he’s worked his ass off to come up with pretty epic stuff that I’m looking really forward to doing the vox on.
How do you go about choosing where to record? Or do you go with the tried and tested where you know you get your money’s worth?
-We shop around, we’re set on recording the album with the Trypticon guitarist Victor in Germany next May, he’s worked with many good bands and his rates are good so we should be looking at a late summer 2012 release.
I wouldn’t know where to look when it comes to finding people to do cover artwork, take promo shots and all the general stuff involved with releasing an album. How do you find the right people to do this and how do you know that they are the right ones?
-Trial and error. We’ve had tried using a few other sources here and there that are either very good or completely unreliable, we find we get people saying they are going to do stuff for us and don’t follow through with what they say or folk that do stuff that turns out to be utter crap after they have said how good it was going to be. We’ve definitely had a few instances like that over the years but we won’t mention any names. I think since we’ve got on board the people we can trust to do a good job that it’s really helped us to move forward and present our fans with a good solid well thought out piece of Black Metal art that were all very proud of.
Everywhere you look in the UK there’s a history of great metal bands. Birmingham, Newcastle, Liverpool all has a history of great metal bands. When you dig deeper you find that there’s a very vital metal scene still going today but you don’t get to hear that much about it unless it’s the flavor of the week. Do you feel that you’re fighting an uphill battle in getting your name out to the masses?
-Very much so. My own personal view on this is that there are so many acts out at the moment and with us being in an age of digital downloading the music industry isn’t giving away record deals to good bands like they used to. I remember the good old days when you could send in a rough demo tape and you could get signed from it. These days were fighting against silver spoon fed Nu Metal bands and EMO acts that seem to get things handed to them on a plate, it makes me sick. All these bands sound the same to me, just a pure marketing product, no depth or originality at all. I know I sound a little bitter about this but this subject really gets my goat especially when I have so many friends in bands making huge sacrifices to try and get somewhere, falling out with friends and loved ones to try and make a better future for themselves and these awesome individuals don’t get any recognition for their hard work. Put it this way, we know who are friends are in on the UK metal scene and who isn’t. I hate seeing these kids come out of nowhere that are instantly hailed as the next big thing. It’s a massive joke, we tried getting through the Metal To The Masses thing to play Bloodstock 2011 and we felt the whole thing was a total scam. We were beaten by EMO covers bands playing Slipknot and Sepultura tracks (WTF????) and also some of these bands even had the audacity to even steal our drummer’s brand new bag of cymbals and a stand. Those individuals better never let us find out who they are.
-But just so you know and other bands that will hopeful read this I will have a little insight into how Metal To The Masses works is you and your mates get a grand together which you pay to get a one line mention on a quarter page ad in one issue of Terrorizer (rip off), find a venue to put it on, cheat all the other really good original bands that compete (and for no fee as well) and then you put your mate’s band through. I know this to be true as I’m friends with two of venues that have put it on that told me how they wangled it so yes , I feel it is an uphill struggle. Don’t get me wrong though I do love going the Bloodstock festival as it’s an awesome event but I can’t be arsed with these little nobody promoters and bands who are no good at all musically, they can all fuck off. We don’t want, nor do we need hand outs from any one, well get there on our own merit and hard work.
If you were to choose where you want Ethereal to end up where would that be?
Simply put-Signed to a major label and be able to quit our jobs. We’d all like to be in a comfortable position where we can focus on our music and not have to worry about the usually stuff like money and time constraints. But like I’ve said, we’ll see what happens.watch this space. We’ve got some good things coming up so the future is looking good.