US black metal is a strange beast really. You don’t really know what you’ll get before you put it on. From the basal sound of Profanatica to the shoegazing of Wolves in the Throne Room. SUNLIGHT’S BANE is my latest encounter with USBM. Answers by Nick Holland. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
We all come into music with our own baggage. We want different things from the music. What is this band really all about? What do you want with your music?
-The band first and foremost is about crafting an atmosphere with its music and live sets, one of dread, fear, and aggression, to be more than just a collection of people stepping on stage when it’s their turn with the intention of simply playing a collection of songs and the stepping off the stage and on to the next show.
Is there a difference in people’s attitude towards you if you don’t come from a cool place like LA or NY or London?
-Michigan seems to carry its own connotations around the world, whether it be for the members of the band that live in the areas of wooded nowhere around the state, or those within the limits of a city like Detroit. Each seems to arouse a different set of questions and implications people ask about, but whatever their impression of the band may be because of it is unknown to me.
When you release an album that get pretty good feedback, how do you follow up on that? How important is identification from album to album to you?
-The band is just releasing its first record, but the feedback of reviews has ultimately been of little importance when writing is considered because the first priority for us will always be what emotions the songs invoke in us as we write them. We do however feel it is important that each release has its own identity and atmosphere.
What is the biggest challenge in the creation of an album, to write the songs or to come up digitally or is physical still cooler with really good songs?
-The largest obstruction is often deciding whether to scrap an unsatisfactory bit of material entirely and start over, or to go back and dissect and rebuild it to validate the time that has been put into it up until that moment. Often though, we scrap the whole of the song we are not satisfied with and start over again.
I saw Dave Grohl’s documentary about Sound City and it made me wonder what it is about analogue recording that you don’t get with digital? Have you ever recorded analogue?
-In the age of music being recorded digitally or through digital programs, the use for analogue format does feel ultimately irrelevant because the difference in sound once found in listening to analogue recordings on or through analogue format is lost when comparing digital recordings to digital and analogue format.
How do you view your sound? Would you say that you have a sound that is all your own and that I’d recognize it instantly?
-In the modern era of music, it seems virtually impossible to carry a specific sound of your own. When I listen to our music, I think of the point in time in which the song was written and what considerations were put in to the crafting of it, so the whole of the song is lost on me as the creator. I would really say that it is only the listener that can answer that question for me as I cannot hear the songs with the unbiased ears that they can.
How important are the lyrics and what message do you want to purvey?
-The lyrics and the songs are intended to coalesce and be interdependent of one another. Most lyrics I write are saved until a song is written that feels as though it mirrors the emotions of a specific set of lyrics, as though they are literally putting into word what it is that the language of the song is speaking. The songs rarely reflect any emotions other than hopelessness, but there are at times songs about a yearning for change, a desire to escape from the bleak overtones of distress.
What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
-We spent a year considering the cover for our album, which was eventually created by our friend Patrick who is a talented artist and painter. I imagined a singular image of what I felt reflected the atmosphere of the album, the image of a nude elderly woman submerging a child in dark water either to drown, or baptize. Patrick painted the image from this description and we used it as the cover, feeling it best represented the overall sound of the album.
When you play live do you notice a degree of greater recognition from the fans with each new time you pass through town?
-It does seem as though we return to more and more familiar faces when away from home, but it always seems like the initial reaction is the strongest when we play an area for the first time.
What do you see in the future?
-Continued writing and performing across the country and other continents as a band until we see the need for our presence no longer exists.