As you might not be that known to most people a short introduction might be in order.
-This is Joshua Ward, drummer and co-writer for the band Rapheumets Well. We are a progressive/symphonic act from the mountains of North Carolina. We are story tellers, portraying science fantasy epics through our music.
How does your latest recording compare to the previous ones?
-Well, we got word a label was interested. I already started some story ideas in regards to what is now “The Exile”, having a interest from label helped us push the album to priority. We wanted to show the label our ability to create music and our desire to be innovative with our spin on progressive metal. This album had more emotion than our debut album “Dimensions”. Both have their own feeling unique to its story. The first album was darker in many ways and focused on the lore of our new established epic. Our newest album is far more emotional and personal, focusing ont he journey of a single person. Since we produced our own album, we had time to correct our sound flaws form the previous album and improve thus a better quality audio. But we value our roots form our original album.
Was it hard for you to come up with a sound you all could agree on?
-Well, much of the music was initially wrote by a single person and relayed to the rest of the band. This established a core sound and direction. What we have done in the more “evolved” version of Rapheumets Well is build upon the foundation laid, adding more intricate and innovative ways to project our vision. Now we work as a full team to write and manifest this project.
How important are the lyrics to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
-Our lyrics are vastly important, this is where we can showcase our time and development of the lore of the story. We spend so much time writing the story, our lyrics allow us to put a poetic spin and lure people into checking out the story which is the spine of our musical creativity. We created a multiverse and we focus on the dimension of Sovael. We discuss matters that mirror issues we have here in our reality. We also discuss ideas central to our very existence and our role in the multi-verse. But we seek to entertain and challenge people to use their imagination through our lyrical content, invoking questions, and encouraging innovative thought.
How important is the cover art work for you? How much do you decide in choosing art work?
-Visuals are the first thing you see. You want something that represents your story, but also creates a emotion or environment that encourages people to engage. As a child, I remember looking at band art pieces, that was initially what pushed me to even listen to bands. We do all of our own art work which represents our story.
Where outside of your country have you had success?
-Well, we have received a quantity of fan mail from Italy, Germany, Russia, Mexico, Japan, Canada, and Brazil. Our international fan base has been outstanding.
Is it harder today to get noticed both nationally and internationally than it was 10 or 20 years ago? Is the competition tougher today?
-It seems harder. Labels have refined their search and their preferences. There are far more bands and even easier outlet for them to get exposure. It seems like there is a endless supply of bands per genre now. But, hard work pays off. It is hard to not only form a band and write tasteful material, but to keep the spirit of the band alive and in optimum shape. You are merging multiple “personal” universes together for a common goal, that in itself can be what makes or breaks a band. Music is art and we do not look at it in a competitive way, though we have found there are bands who do. We are passionate about what we created. It seems you end up working just to get a chance to “possibly” be heard, so the few seconds you have to present to professional outlets needs to be something that stands out.
What is your local scene like? What status does your band have in the national scene?
-We are actually taking a pro-active role in unifying our local scene abit more. Here in the American South, our genre is scarce. What I feel is killing the metal scene is not as apparent on the national level, but the disease is on a fundamental level, one that exist in the local scene as the local scene is the foundation of what becomes a national and international scene. The scene becomes plagued with ego and elitism and divides the our metal family. Local bands get to competitive. But change is being felt and humility is being passed around. So we are working to network and unify our local scene. In this, the very energy can inspire new fans and make a natural support of rising bands. We are new to the national scene. This is our first foot in the national market so at this point, we can only be humble and right now we are seeking to learn from the already successful bands. We hope our creativeness and approach can be appreciated internationally and so far, we are being heard and we are very appreciative.
What is the general population’s opinion on playing music? Is being a musician a respectable choice?
-We live in the American south. Metal to many conduits thoughts of Oujia boards, demons, drugs, and that we are barbaric and bad people when in fact, we are the most open and sincere. In a video recently I spoke about leaving home to play in a metal band at 12 years of age. I was encouraged to finish high-school, went on to get a bachelors of science and a graduate level education, all while writing and being a part of the metal community. But I will say, when people hear the orchestrations, many of them who are not even into metal believe we sound like a movie soundtrack and this manifest some level of respect from them. I have educated many people in the mission of metal, as the music of freedom and creativity.
What does the future hold for you?
-Well, it is boundless. We do not put parameters on our career future. We want to travel to countries and share our music and be apart of the international music community. We want to present our music and our story together to touch fans of music and science fantasy lore. We love writing, if we could we would write two to three albums a year, but that might be a bit too much. But Grant Truesdell of Unleash the Archers and owner Test Your Metal Records has really gave us hope and a method to our mission.