GRAVECOVEN is another cool band that is new to me. As the inquisitive reporter I am I wanted to know more so I interviewed James Rauh. Anders Ekdahl ©2016.
How hard was it to come up with a band name and how does the name fit the music?
JAMES: Graves and Covens are two of our favorite gatherings. We strive to make haunting hymns of mortal agony.
As I am new to your band perhaps a short introduction might be in order?
JAMES: Phillip Gallagher is the mastermind behind the project, Phillip plays Guitar, Bass, & Drums and is an extremely motivated individual. When not playing in Grave Coven, Phillip is creating monstrous riffs in his Doom Metal band Bog Oak. Vocally, I try to make this project different sounding then any of the other bands I am playing in. I keep my chops up in a Psychedelic Sludge band called Swamp Witch, & in a Death Doom band called Caffa. Throughout the years, Phillip and I have played shows together and became friends that always talked about creating with one another. When I saw that Phillip was going to be doing a new project, I immediately got in contact with him to collaborate and from that moment we have continued our momentum.
As I am no musician I have no idea how it works, but how do you make your own music based on what influences you? What parts do you pick?
JAMES: We are into loud, abrasive, and emotional music. We have a deep appreciation for sound and reverberation above any sort of near sighted genre worship and simple replication. Our goal is to push music forward combining elements of Extreme Metal from Depressive Suicidal Black Metal to Death Doom with some lighter and more delicate passages to create depths of unsettling atmosphere. Here’s a list of bands that inspire us to create, Disembowelment, Thorr’s Hammer, Noothgrush, Grief, Nyktalgia, Craft, Leviathan, The Angelic Process, The Gault, Arizmenda, Volahn, Coldworld, Wedard, Black Fucking Cancer, Portal, Mgla, Bolzer, Silencer, Darkthrone, & Bathory.
When you are in a band does it feel like you are a part of a worldwide movement?
JAMES: With the advancement of technology it is a lot easier to stay connected with artists all over the world. In a sense there is a global connection in the isolation of the extreme metal underground but in reality most despise each other.
How important is it that you look the part in promo shots and stuff? How important is the graphic side of the band?
JAMES: We have a strong visual aesthetic that we like to lead with. We aren’t trying to portray ourselves in the forest frolicking around like hippies. We live within the darkness of actuality.
What would you say influences your lyrics? How important are they?
JAMES: Existence, Psychosis, & Deceit. The delivery of lyrics in wails or screams help murk up the atmosphere we are aurally conjuring. There’s a focus on writing songs about reality that are relatable on a mass level as opposed to writing passive abstract lyrics.
Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
JAMES: We are fans of music first and foremost regardless of the format that it is released on. I have a tape label called Transylvanian Tapes that specializes in analog releases. I am also a huge fan of digital music, we live in a digital age where only the most dedicated fans get excited about “old” physical forms. That is who physical albums are for, the diehards, those people are important. The digital realm in cyber reality is absolute chaos. If you are going to make music, it should be available. The notion of albums being important is really subjective, back in the 70’s/80’s bands were on big contracts and would release albums with 3-4 good songs and then the rest would be filler, at some point people got tired of paying for mediocrity. I prefer quality over quantity, that is why in modern days you will find bands putting out amazing EP’s & Demos that are sometimes more important than actual Full Length releases.
Where will the future of format end – digital verses physical verses whatever?
JAMES: I have been able to listen to demos of bands that never got around to making physical copies of their music because shortly after recording they killed themselves or died, but thanks to digital transfers I have been able to appreciate their eternal pain and misery. There’s a lane for each format to prosper. Hopefully the beach bums and coldplaya will stop clogging our presses. There’s no reason to listen to mainstream artists on analog formats, contemporary music is extremely digital and should stay that way.
How much of a touring entity are you guys? What is a live experience with you like?
JAMES: We are open to the idea of travelling and performing in far off lands for the right offers, but full-time touring is not something we are actively interested in. Eating shit in middle America and anywhere other than the coasts of the United States is gonna be a hard sell for us, but we’d be willing to entertain the idea of filling out a lineup to make it come to fruition.
What lies in the future?
JAMES: Godz Ov War from Poland is going to be releasing our debut on compact disc. We have been in talks with a label from France to release an LP version of “Coughing Blood”, and we are currently talking to few Stateside labels about releasing our album in America. There’s more up our sleeves, but in due time you will see what we have planned.