Check out this interview I did with James (vocals) from TABLEAU MOR. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
What fascinates me is how you can still come up with new combinations of chords to make new songs and sounds that have not been heard before. What is it that fascinates you into coming up with new songs and albums?
-I suppose there are only so many colours and words, yet there are so many paintings and books. As in most artistic movements music is always building on influences to drive the form forward. As most people in bands we’ve all grown listening to a wide variety of music and I suppose this has pushed us to giving it a go ourselves! For me, I really enjoy writing music as I find it channels a lot of energy that could perhaps end up manifest in more negative thoughts. It is both hobby and catharsis.
How is this new recording different from the previous? How do you take your sound one step further?
-So our latest release ‘Veil of Stigma: Mark of Delusion’ is our debut album. We’ve shaped our song on a blend of extreme metal, with a blackened focus. Whilst we have the Orthodox aesthetic, the music looks to a wide range of influences in the selection of riffs on the album. The orthodox thing is… popular at the moment, but I’d like to think our sound is fresh and unique.
When you write songs about the topics you do what kind of reactions do you get? How important is it to have a message in your lyrics? What kind of topics do each song deal with? Is there a red thread to the songs?
-We’ve actually had a few reaction videos posted to our songs Fall of Man, Carpenter of Sorrow and Beyond His Gaze. Other than that a few fans have spoken to me about the lyrics and I really enjoy talking about them. I think for our music at least, it is very important for the lyrics to have some meaning behind them. Whilst we use orthodox-christian imagery, I tend to use it as a metaphor to explore issues outside of religion as well as in it. A lot of black metal can be just out right anti-religious (which is totally fine). However, people tend to follow dogma outside of religion too. I suppose this album deals with that, be it obsession with individuals, political thought or economic systems. Ultimately this is the read thread that flows through the album, a discussion of social dogma perhaps. Though, I always enjoy hearing other’s interpretation of my lyrics. The evolution of language is such that all words mean different things to different people, so if the lyrics mean anything in particular to somebody listening to it then fair enough!
Whenever I think of you I cannot help wandering off to different bands. What bands/sounds do you indentify with?
-As I mentioned earlier in the interview the whole Orthodox thing at the moment is fairly popular, I think we all know what I am talking about there! There are elements of the whole Batushka thing in our music, especially the visual aesthetic. However, I think the music has elements of all sorts of bands in it. We all listen to a wide variety of music, and I think recently somebody almost referred to us as a ‘blackened Septic Flesh’. I don’t know if the other guys in the band totally agree, but I think there is some truth there – we have a range of melody and brutality along our traditional black metal inspirations.
How did you go about choosing art work for this new album? What was important to have in it?
-So our album artwork was done by Nether Temple Design and we couldn’t be happier with it. As we are quite a thematically heavy band it was critical that we had something that visually represented the themes of the album. It is a decaying image of worship, a ghoulish figure bearing a stigma on their hand. Again, we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!
Something that scares me a bit is this I hear from more and more bands that they aren’t that bothered with art work anymore because people today download rather than buy physical. To me the whole point is to have art work that matches the music. I don’t know how many times I’ve been disappointed by weak art work to an otherwise cool album. What’s your opinion on this subject?
-With the rising popularity of Vinyl I think artwork is more important now than it has been in a long time! I understand what you mean, you want the quality of the art to match that of the music. Often you might judge a book by its cover and not give a great album a listen if the artwork is cheap looking. That being said, personally I don’t think I’ve seen any albums in a long time with a cover that has disappointed me, with the exception being the recent Tool album (sorry Tool).
How do you come up with song titles? What do they have to have to fit the songs?
-I tend to write the lyrics first about an idea that I have, and then I’ll pick a name for the tracks based on the lyrics or the idea. I don’t think the name of the song has to be directly from the song at all, and on this album there are some tracks with names taken directly from the lyrics and some not. I wrote the lyrics for this album after being told it needed to be orthodox based, so that is what I did!
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-Times are always changing, love it or hate it. I certainly am a big fan of Spotify as a listener as it is extremely easy to use. I also really like the custom playlists it builds for you, and some of the other features that it has. As an artists… yeah, Spotify’s model doesn’t really benefit you unless you have an army of computer listening to your album on repeat forever. In extreme metal I think we all have to face that making a living off the music might never be realistic. It sucks that it has to be like this!
How much of a live band are you? How important is playing live?
-We’re very much a live band. We have really worked on our stage show which uses a number of lights, smoke machines, candles and incense to deliver a proper show. We all put on our robes and go full on. We really like playing live and our audience feedback has always been pretty positive.
What lies in the future?
-Currently we are working on a follow up release to our debut album, it will likely be an EP rather than another album. We then want to have a slight break in writing so that when we come back to it we can make sure we have a fresh sound. Other than that, we want to play shows.