With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to SMOULDER. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
How important is the band’s name in giving out the right kind of vibe?
Vincent: Having a strong band name was very important to Sarah and I. We wanted a one word name that hadn’t been used and we got lucky that Smoulder wasn’t in use yet. I think it exudes the perfect vibe for our style of music
I wanted to start a band in the 80s but couldn’t fin d the right people to do so with. What was it that made you want to do the band?
Vincent: It was a mutual love and appreciation, between Sarah and I, for the more powerful and epic side of Doom Metal, and a desire to create something in the same obscure spectrum.
With so many genres and sub-genres of metal today what is your definition of the music you play?
Kevin: We refer to our sound as “Arcane Power Doom”. Our main influences derive from bands within the Epic Doom and Power Metal genres, but we delve into many more styles of metal, especially that which originates from the 80’s.
How do you arrange the tracks? Is there a method to how you arrange the songs on a record?
Kevin: Up to this point, most of the songwriting has been through composition programs on the computer. Since the band is split up geographically, we don’t have the luxury of just coming up with songs while jamming together.
I am fascinated by how people can still come up with things that hasn’t been done before, chord structures that hasn’t been written, sentences that hasn’t been constructed before. Where do you find your inspiration to create?
Collin: Most of our inspiration comes from the bands we like and the literature we collectively read. Anymore it’s hard to come up with something totally original, but we definitely try our best to do things to set our music apart from the pack. I guess at the end of the day, the real goal is to make music that we ourselves would listen to and enjoy if that makes any sense.
How important is the graphic side of the band? How much thought goes into art work etc.?
Collin: I think the visual aspect, especially with artwork, is extremely important. Making an album isn’t just writing songs in my eyes; everything has to fit the vibe/mood, artwork included. I feel that having appropriate artwork is really important as it gives a quick impression of what sonic possibilities the album in question could hold.
I get the feeling that more and more metalheads too are just downloading single tracks. Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
Adam: Personally I still tend to listen to full albums more often than single tracks or playlists, and that hasn’t changed even though I do listen to a lot of music digitally. Metal lends itself well to albums as many bands focus on writing to a theme and on making their albums flow well from start to finish. Smoulder certainly works this way, and we’ve tried to be dynamic with the songwriting so that there’s a good deal of variety in terms of speed and mood as you progress through the album. That said, if someone has a favourite song and they just want to listen to it on a loop, or as part of a playlist, I don’t have a problem with that! It’s great to have that as an option as well as more traditional formats like vinyl.
Are we killing our beloved metal scene by supporting digital downloading or can anything positive come from supporting single tracks and not albums? Will the fan as we know him/her be gone soon?
Adam: You can’t kill the metal. The metal will live on! Personally I never became a musician in the hopes of “making it” — all of us in Smoulder have day jobs and we do this because we share a passion for music and in particular epic heavy and doom metal. I think metal fans are much the same: They’re here because they love the music, and they’ll keep buying records as long as good records are coming out. When I go to shows and festivals I still see thousands of die-hard fans sporting battle jackets and singing along, so I’m not worried about the health of the metal scene at all.
Is there a scene to speak of for a band like yours? Where do you fit in?
Sarah: We seem to be part of the larger wave of the New Wave of the Traditional Heavy Metal that is sweeping across Canada and the USA right now, and have band friends internationally, so we feel absolutely like we fit into multiple scenes. In the USA and Canada alone, we are friends with and have sonic similarities with bands like Eternal Champion, Visigoth, Ice Sword, Manacle, Hounskull, Blood Ceremony, Cauchemar, Rough Spells, Seax, Challice and numerous more. All these bands skirt the genre lines – NWOTHM integrates power metal, epic metal, speed metal, thrash metal, and doom – so we fit in comfortable there.
What does the future hold?
Sarah: We are playing festivals, touring, and writing more music! Things are looking up for sure.