Whenever I come upon a band with a cool name I gotta know more. Hence my interest in SORROWSEED. ©2016 Anders Ekdahl
I am a word buff so when I find a band name that excites me I want to know the reason behind the choice. So how did you pick your name?
Morte McAdaver: The name came to me when I was imagining a modern day apocalypse cult. Since the general themes of the music were meant to revolve around cataclysms and end times, it seemed appropriate that we were planting the seed of sorrow within mankind that would prepare us for our fated demise, whatever form it would take. The first story was that of the Reaping Willow, whose wrath was carried out through nature itself and the unseen realms of the Fae, both wracked and ruined by mankind’s influence. The seed and earthen imagery have persisted ever since.
There are so many genres and sub-genres of metal today that it is hard to keep track of them all. So what was it that made you pick the style of metal you play?
Lilith Astaroth: Vocally, I like to push my voice to do anything and everything, so
that’s why I like to switch up my technique a lot. I wanted to work
with a band that would give me the ability to do this, and I’m glad I
finally have one. It’s been a tough thing to find.
Morte: One of two things tend to happen most often when I am writing: either I want to write a musical “love letter” to a band I love (like Amorphis or Opeth), or I have a concept clearly in mind and I write whatever goes along with the vision playing in my head. The latter happens more often. It’s quite fascinating to hear from fans what styles we sound like, but it is not always intentional.
Prometheus: Black metal is just naturally what we’ve been writing. The older material was more melodic and gothic, and newer songs we’ve been writing have had more of a death metal edge to them, but the foundation of our sound and style has always been black metal. There’s no real “Why?” to it; that’s just what we play, plain and simple. We’ve definitely been adding more progressive elements to our music as of late too, which I’m all for since I’m a total prog snob.
Giove Marte: My two favorite sub genres are black metal & death metal. I love the evil & sometimes epic sounds of black metal. And I also love the ferociousness & brutality that death metal brings. They’re both energy driven & unrelenting in their own ways. So when I really wanted to start writing my own music, I wanted to take a little piece from both genres because I like them so much.
What influences you in creating your music? What is/has been the single greatest influence?
Lilith: Life. Death. Hatred.
Morte: I grew up reading a lot of Dungeons and Dragons books, and I enjoyed the lore of Warhammer, War Machine, Magic: The Gathering, and other nerdy pastimes. Combined, they have been the biggest influence on me. Beyond that, everything comes from my overactive imagination and whatever music happens to be inspiring me at the time.
Prometheus: The biggest influence on my end for this specific project has been Cradle of Filth, particularly their 90s output like Dusk and Her Embrace or the Vempire EP. Stylistically it’s just so similar to what we’re doing with our music right now. On my end, my drumming style as of late has just been this weird hybrid of Nick Barker (ex-Cradle of Filth, ex-Dimmu Borgir, Lock Up), Gene Hoglan (Death, Testament, ex-Strapping Young Lad), Martin Lopez (ex-Opeth), and Derek Roddy (ex-Hate Eternal, Serpents Rise, Nader Sadek), which I think is complimenting the much more aggressive material we’ve been writing splendidly.
Giove: I love stuff that sounds dark, heavy, fast, intense, & epic. And when creating music, those are some of the characteristics that I like to work around. My single greatest influence was/is & probably always will be life. All the things that happen to you or you make happen throughout the course of day affects your moods. Which in turn affects your writing & other artistic ideas whatever they may be.
How important is it to have a message as a band?
Lilith: Extremely. It’s so easy to spew out meaningless words, especially in
metal, but having a powerful message brings so much more to the music
Morte: The importance is subjective. To me, Morte McAdaver, I do prefer it when a band has substance and meaning to what they are doing, even if the main intention is to have fun and express themselves (which should be the primary goal in the first place). My reasoning is that I would like to see more people, both fans and the artists themselves, analyzing the content critically.
Prometheus: Well, that depends on the message of the band in question. There are certain artists and groups like Devin Townsend who just give off this certain vibe with their music that is actually really hard to describe. I think in his case, “affirmation” is the best word to describe it since his music is so naturally powerful in what it’s setting out to do that it can move you to tears (I’ve seen it happen at his shows before). It really is a case-by-case basis for this, as some band have way more meaning and depth in one chord progression than others have in entire careers.
In the case of Sorrowseed, our message has changed over the years. We started off as a very misanthropic band, to the point that our first album was all about “Humanity sucks and everyone needs to die”. Over time that element of the band has given way to doing a more King Diamond sort of thing where each album is just a dark concept album with a linear narrative. The misanthropy thing is still a part of our identity, so it will always be there in some form, but I don’t anticipate we’ll make another album where the whole point of it is to loudly proclaim how much we hate people. It’s more of an undercurrent through our entire persona at this point.
Is image an important factor to the bands appearance?
Lilith: Yes and no. At the end of the day, it’s about the musicianship and abilities of the members comprising the band. That being said, when I go to see a show, I like when a band’s at least got a uniform image (everyone looks the same) rather than seeing a bunch of slobs that look like they just rolled out of a pile of dirty, unmatched laundry. I think it does detract from the band’s live presence when it’s obvious no one makes an effort, or cares how they look on stage. Part of going to SEE a show is watching what’s in front of you. Sure, it’s not necessary to look over the top for people to enjoy it, but when there’s visuals or a band dresses in a certain way, it definitely adds something to the show.
I personally really like visuals. I wish we could have upside-down crosses flashing in different color lights like Slayer. That would be sick. Most of us in Sorrowseed like to take things up a notch with our image and usually cover ourselves in corpse paint, blood, black sand, dirt, masks, shredded clothing, whatever. We do usually make an effort in our visual appearance, however, that’s not to say there aren’t days where I don’t want to bother with any of that, and show up in cargo shorts and a beater. We don’t need all that shit (the theatrics) to be good at what we do. It’s just fun to look disgusting and creepy on stage, so we enjoy doing it.
Morte: Not as important as substance, but in order to create a memorable live show and create interest for the project as a whole, it is best to have a quality visual element/theme/cohesion.
Prometheus: Image is extremely important, especially if you’re a more theatrical, showy band like we are. We’ve gradually become much more focused with how we present ourselves as a band, unifying our live image while still maintaining our own individual look at the same time. It’s incredibly important to me that even if you’re going to go the “Every band member wears the same thing” route, each person in the band still has their own trademarks that make them easily identifiable. The sole exception to this is Ghost, because they are awesome no matter what.
Giove: Image isn’t as important to me as the music is but it is something that I like to have fun with. But it is important for me to find an image I like for Sorrowseed because as a band we want to be able to put on a full theatrical show as well as play the best music we can.
How important is it to have an album cover that stands out to grab people’s attention in this day and age?
Lilith: It’s always been important. Having great cover art is a good way to get discovered by people browsing around and looking to find new music, which is a beloved pasttime for any lover of music. I definitely remember frequently going to music stores to browse around when I was in high school, and buying music from bands I hadn’t heard yet, just based on their cover art. Discovered some great underground bands that way. So yeah, people still do that, and we have always considered packaging and presentation important, which should be evident in our albums.
Morte: Not very important. I love album covers and the artistic effort that goes into them, but with the glut of music that people see and (hopefully) hear online, I feel that few will take the time to appreciate or even notice the album covers and simply go straight for the music.
Prometheus: That sort of ties into the previous question a bit. I’ll use an analogy to answer this one. Remember when video stores existed and you would scour the aisles for a good movie or game to rent for the weekend? You’d look up and down each row, every genre and style, looking for something that appears interesting. Then you see a box art that just catches your eye and doesn’t let go, and even if you didn’t know anything about the movie or game in question, that’s what you rented just because it looked cool. The same exact idea can be applied to album art. Remember here that one of my absolute favorite albums of all time, Tales from the Thousand Lakes by Amorphis, was introduced to me simply because I saw the artwork and immediately wanted to listen to the album solely based on that. We’ve been fortunate to have some incredible artists working on our albums in the past, and we’ll make sure that these relationships continue into the future.
Giove: I think it’s important. A good cover can grab your attention & a person will check it out, even if he or she had no intention of buying it in the first place. I still buy music music in a store or online. When I see a nifty looking cover, I will usually check out the artwork for a moment.
What kind of respect do you get from your local scene?
Lilith: We get a fair amount of respect around home. It’s a little tough because we’re extremely different from most of the bands in New England. In New England, straight up, no-frills, death metal and hardcore dominate the music scene. We’re kind of the creepy red-headed stepchild that some people, including fellow musicians, either scoff at, and/or are weirded out by. I think a lot of people
really just aren’t sure what to think about us until they’ve seen us… and then some of them still aren’t sure even then. *laughs* Because we encompass so many different styles of music as well, it can
be difficult to get booked on certain genre shows – pure death metal shows for example, which are the most common around here – even though we could easily cut the more melodic or doomy songs out of the set and fit the bill with the rest of the bands easily.
We are versatile in that way, but it’s hard for promoters to think of us that way until they actually see it for themselves. We’re still waiting for that chance with a handful of the promoters around here, even after several years of being active. We also get lumped into the whole “female fronted” category semi-often which I think is absolute crap… (the exceptions being the Damsels of Darkness tour shows in 2014, and the Goddesses show Justin Sane had us on in Providence this year). So, all in all, I can’t say I am completely satisfied with the way we are viewed by everyone around home, but I do know that we have respect from a ton of our friends and fans who come out to support us regularly, and all we can do is keep pushing to achieve more, and be on top of our game every time. As long as our crowd is having fun, that’s what matters to us.
Morte: From what I have observed, people have been especially kind and respectful to us, and that’s bloody awesome. We are grateful for the treatment we’ve received thus far, and for the polite, passionate fans we have gained amongst bands and concert-goers alike.
Prometheus: People come out to the shows and have fun. At the end of the day, that’s really all I want. We did completely sell out our anniversary show last July in Providence, Rhode Island though. Sold out the bar too. I’ve never heard of a show doing that before. That made me happy for sure.
Giove: I’d say there is a fair amount of respect that goes back & fourth. We go out to our friend’s shows & our friends have reciprocated. I personally like helping out with photos. It’s fun for me. We’ve had a lot of people take pictures for us so why not give back a little. Especially if it’s fun.
How massive is it to get response from places you have never heard of?
Lilith: Pretty awesome, it always blows my mind when fans contact us from remote corners of the world asking if they can buy CDs, or if we’re coming to their area to tour, etc. We are still at the underground level so it’s reassuring to know that people in the other parts of earth are indeed hearing what we put out there. It’s really cool when we find reviews from around the world or fan pics, fan pages etc that we had nothing to do with. Definitely keeps us motivated!
Morte: It’s a really bizarre but wonderful feeling. It becomes so easy to believe that you’re not having much of an impact or reaching that many people, so having that experience now and then is refreshing as hell.
Prometheus: It’s really cool to get any sort of response internationally. We’ve got fans all over the world, which in general is just crazy to think about. We’ve got fans in Bangladesh of all places. F’ing Bangladesh. To think that our music is that far reaching and there are people all over the world who know who we are and enjoy what we create affirms to me that we’re doing something good and fulfilling with this band.
Giove: I’m that guy that thinks it’s cool to get any sort of response regardless if we’ve heard of the area or not. If you take the time out to say a few cool words to us online or at a show, we really appreciate that.
Is playing live still a great way to get new fans to discover you?
Lilith: Of course it is – at our level it is the greatest way for new fans to discover us.
Morte: Yes. There is great value in meeting people face to face and developing that essential human connection.
Prometheus: Playing live will always be the best way to attract new fans. Even in this digital age where everything you’d ever want to know is available in your pocket, the most efficient way to get your name out there and become known is to just play wherever, whenever. Sometimes it’s an enormous hassle to do a show (travel, terrible promoters, crappy venues, etc.), but there’s nothing that can compare to when a room full of people are there to see you do your thing and are cheering you on. It’s the best high in the world.
Giove: I think so. The people that come out to shows don’t always know who we are, so in their eyes they are watching a new band. Some like it, some don’t but that’s ok. I still think it’s a great way for new fans to discover us.
What does the future have in its womb?
Lilith: There are many great things in store including a new album, and a new tour in the summer, to midwest and southern regions of the USA that we have never been to before. We are very excited. Our first shows of 2016, as well as the tour, are already in the works, and recording has already begun for the 3rd album. Make sure to stay updated by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and joining our email list! You can also find all of our music on iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, and Spotify.
Morte: More shows, more melodies. One way or another, making music until the money runs out.
Prometheus: We’re recording a brand new album right now, and we’re going to be releasing an EP of new material in 2016. There are a few other really cool things we’ve got planned that we’ll reveal in due time. Until then, we’re gonna sulk back into the shadows for a few months and fester, so when we come back, there will be no stopping us.
Lilith Astaroth: Vocals
Morte McAdaver: Guitars and keyboards
Giové Marté: Lead guitars
Prometheus: Drums and percussion