I have a fascination with tracking a bands evolutionary road but since I’ve only come about Falls Of Rauros recently could you please fill me in on some of the earlier days?
Ray: The project started as an experiment. Aaron and I found a connection in our musical interests and desire to capture ideas with no outlet. The early material was spontaneous and erratic, with very little thought about production or any concept of success. We recorded simply, playing all instruments with the freedom that a lack of pressure or outside interest can evoke. Surprisingly, people discovered and enjoyed our endeavor. We began to play some small shows, which necessitated a change in lineup. These new experiences yielded material for Hail Wind and Hewn Oak, the first real album. From there, it was a struggle to maintain a drummer, which delayed future output until we were offered the services of Panopticon’s Austin Lunn, who generously lent his talent for the latest release, Light that Dwells… The events that followed have led us to our current lineup, allowing us to write new material as a full four-piece – a welcome change from earlier times.
To me Maine is a small state filled with forests and darkness. An ideal place to compose heartfelt and deeply emotional music. Is this were you get your inspirations from?
Ray: We are, of course, a product of our surroundings. As just about any form of artistic output will reflect the environment of its creator, we too are embraced by the nature and diversity of our area. The product is a sound infused with our continual battle against the daily obstacles of dealing with a population of negligent and disrespectful citizens, along with our own contemplation on the beauty of the world.
You’ve released records as Falls Of Rauros before but only in small editions. Was there a bigger thought to this or was it just that the situation only allowed for it to happen that way?
Ray: We have released material as our situation allowed. There was not enough interest in the early days to invest in “proper production” for an album, so we made a small DIY batch of discs to sell at shows, and posted the digital form for any who happened to stumble across us. With support from labels (first Morbid Winter Records, and now Bindrune Recordings) and Austin, we have been fortunate enough to have merchandise to assist with funding for touring and recording.
I’ve been thinking about these falls of Rauros. Is there something so mythical and magical to them that you had to choose them as band name?
Ray: Though a name is ultimately irrelevant, the Falls of Rauros represent a very relatable idea of man’s power to discover compassion, instead of abusing his abilities and enabling destruction through a heartless desire for additional power. It is an example of our capacity to overcome the limitations of conformity and become truly human.
All over the Northeast/Northwest there seem to be a whole new movement of black metal springing to life that are more focused on nature and its powers instead of the usual dark, satanic imagery. And it seems to be more of an American phenomenon than anything else. Do you have any explanation to this development?
Ray: There is probably more of an emotional response with nature-related music. I certainly can identify more with the distress of a crumbling society than how many evil wizards can be summoned. That doesn’t make the music itself “better” or more infectious, but it may open some minds to the freedom of any sub-genre. I don’t really have an answer to this, though, or much of an opinion.
Reading the titles of your songs you notice that they aren’t your typical “Hail Satan, kill all humans” type of lyrics. Is there a greater concept to the lyrics and what would this be?
Ray: The lyrics will speak to each person differently, and hopefully be internalized as uniquely as emotions tend to be. We are obviously voicing frustration and our dismay at the state of things, with hopes for a more enlightened and sustainable future.
“The Light That Dwells In Rotten Wood” is quite a descriptive title. Should the title be interpreted as a hopeful one, in that even from something so dead it starts to rot something good can come out of it?
Ray: It is an excerpt from Henry David Thoreau’s “The Maine Woods” that resonates with the ideas discussed above.
Is there any advantages to coming from a smaller place in terms of being allowed to grow into a cohesive unit in your own time with no pressure from any kind of outside competition (i.e. other bands competing for attention)?
Ray: It has never been our intention to become well known or noticed by anybody of consequence. Our isolated birth may have stunted our initial growth, due to a lack of live opportunities. Though there is strong support in the community, there are not many chances to increase our exposure.
Do you feel that it is only now with “The Light That Dwells In Rotten Wood” that things are starting to take off, or has it been a slow build up to this point?
Ray: Things do appear to have gained a certain momentum from this release. We have solidified our lineup, honing our musical integration by practicing and writing. The reception for the album has been outstanding, more than any of us thought possible. With any luck, we’ll be able to continue to do what we enjoy.
With the momentum that has built up now, how do you take it from here?
Ray: We plan to begin the writing and recording process again. If the opportunity to play shows or tour presents itself, we may have to postpone further production, but will keep rocking in the meantime.