In The Silence interview (10/2012)
|Conducted by:||Nefarious (e-mail)|
In The Silence
Most MS users will probably be familiar with the name In The Silence by now after it was staff picked, reviewed & spent the last month or so hovering around at the top of the MS charts. This four-piece progressive/atmospheric metal band hailing from Sacramento, California have been on the upswing since releasing their debut 'A Fair Dream Gone Mad' on June 4th, 2012. I recently got the chance to speak with singer/songwriter Josh Burke on the latest developments within the band and their future plans for world domination.
Glenn: On behalf of Metal Storm, I'd like to say thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. Let's start off with a little background information. Could you tell us a bit about the history of the band?
Josh:. Thank you Glenn. We've all been in a number of bands and projects throughout the years, but I started In the Silence as a concept after the gothic metal band Dennis and I were in, called Aetheria, in the early 2000's broke up. I wanted to do something different, and write most of the music myself. In Aetheria, it was basically Dennis's project, and I would write guitar riff's to his songs, and we had a female singer. It was a lot of fun, but I wanted to be more creative and do my own thing. I imagined doing something that would still be metal, but have more of my other influences, and a more melodic, atmospheric approach. The name was probably the first thing to happen. To me it represents the spiritual practice of sitting in silence, listening within to the sound of the inner voice, the universe, or God, or whatever you want to call it, and finding truth and inspiration there. So yes, there is a spiritual aspect to this music, even if we're not part of any religion. In my experience and understanding, we are all spirit, all part of one universal continuum, individuations of the absolute. In quantum physics they talk about the field of all potentiality, and I believe that is a real thing, where basically all time is now, and all things exist in a potential form waiting to be explored in the experience we call life...and you can find some of that in the lyrics. So that's where the name comes from...also, it sounded cool. It was years after that before I got around to finding a band though.
Glenn. How difficult was it to find a settled line-up of musicians with the required talent & shared vision for In The Silence?
Josh: That was honestly the hardest part. I had made several attempts at putting a line-up together prior to this one, and we never managed to get very far. In 2006 I had a completely different group under the same name, and we managed to play a few shows, but then a couple of the guys quit, and I shelved the project. I ended up moving to L.A. with my friend Azeron of Winter Reign, to do another project, that wasn't metal at all. After 6 months, I was like fuck L.A., and came back to Sacramento. I'd met Niko the prior year at a goth club in Sac, and he offered to drum for me after hearing some of the demo's I'd done at home with a drum machine. I saw him again at the same club in 2007, and we started jamming. Dennis, the bassist, I've known since high-school, and we'd been in bands together before as I mentioned. He heard some of the demo's I'd recorded including a cover I did of Depeche Mode's "Halo," (which is something I'd actually like to re-record and release at some point) and was like, "you can sing?" lol. He offered to manage In the Silence, which is what he'd been doing since our last band Aetheria broke up. So, in the beginning, he was on the business side, but when we couldn't find a bassist, he offered to fill in. Well, he's still filling in, lol, but we quit looking. We've played off and on together for so long, it felt really good to be working on music with him again, so we stuck with it. We did a couple demo's in fall of 2008, and then in early 2009, we used those to find a second guitarist, Nate, by posting an ad on Craigslist. He came highly recommended by a friend of ours, and he's definitely proven his worth. So that was that. We started doing shows, and actually had our old Aetheria keyboardist, Maureen Rhines for a while, but she left the band in 2011 for personal reasons.
Glenn: Congratulations on releasing your debut album, 'A Fair Dream Gone Mad'. You seem to have gotten a really positive reaction to it from what I have seen, including right here on Metal Storm. Would you agree?
Josh: Absolutely! The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we feel really blessed for that. It's amazing to hear from so many people around the world who are digging our music. It took a long time to get to this point, so we're very grateful that for the reviews and positive feedback. And, I have to share this, just because it's kind of funny, and very cool. The first person to buy a digital copy of the album when it went live on Amazon.com was none other than David Vincent of Morbid Angel! Dennis met him at the Maryland Death Fest this year, and gave him a cd with a few of the songs on it. He contacted us later and said he loved it, and was gonna put it on his ipod, and when the album went live, he bought it! We were pretty stoked about that, since we've been listening to Morbid Angel since we were teenagers. They're coming to Sacramento on October 13th, and we're planning to hang out with the guys and share a bottle of Crown Royal Black with David. Cheers to that!
Cover art for A Fair Dream Gone Mad
Glenn: What really surprised me about 'A Fair Dream Gone Mad' when I first heard it was how well polished the album was. Everything from the artwork & the production down to the songwriting & immense atmospheres created on this record is of the quality of a band with several albums under their belt & label backing. Yet not only is this your debut, but it is self financed & independently released. How were you able to achieve this? How long did the whole writing & recording process take?
Josh: Well, it took a while! They always say a band has their whole life to write their first album, and that's true. This may be our debut, but we didn't start playing music yesterday you know? We've been in bands for many years, and that really taught us a lot about song-crafting and helped refine the vision of where we wanted to be. Everything was done very carefully. We aren't one of those bands that just whips out complete songs in a couple of practices. When we started, I had some of the songs completely written, but Niko helped arrange things and brought a lot of prog influence with his drumming, stuff like the alternating time signatures on the verses of Beneath these Falling Leaves. Nate brought in a lot more of the rhythmic Meshuggah type influence, and his lead playing is scorching. It's nice to be able to trade solos with him and have two distinct styles going. As for the production, we checked out every studio in the area, and settled on working with Jay Trammell (www.jacktrammellmusic.com) at Fat Cat Recording Studios. He'd done some amazing work with other bands here, as well as composing music for major motion picture trailers like In Time and Mission Impossible. I was particularly impressed with the EP he did for Broken Iris. It sounded like it was put out by a major label, and in particular, the vocals sounded amazing! So, it was an easy choice in the end. He was really patient working with us, and made sure we didn't slack off, and got the best performances possible out of us. His raw mixes, with just what we did tracking the instruments sounded better than most finished products from other studios. We were just fortunate that I had enough money at the time to pay for it! As for the artwork, again, we are very fortunate to have found this guy, Nacho Galacho. We're friends with the guys in Kaura, an amazing band from the SF Bay Area (they live in L.A. now) and I noticed on their facebook page they had uploaded some new art for their Acoustic Sessions box-set, and it was really, really good. I asked Malcolm (the singer) who did it, and he said "It's this guy Nacho Galacho, from Spain!" So I emailed Nacho, and he offered to do the art for free. Needless to say, we took him up on it, and of course, ended up paying him what we could in the end. But he has been a big help, not just in the art, but in getting the album reviewed in Europe and in Spanish language 'zines and blogs around the world. I highly recommend him to any band.
Glenn: Which song is your favorite from the album, both musically & lyrically?
Josh: Shit. I don't know, it changes all the time! I love them all, but I am probably most proud of Beneath these Falling Leaves.
Glenn: Have you received much attention from labels & management companies since your album released? Or do you plan to stay independent?
Josh: Yes. We just signed with IntroMental Management. Claus Jensen, the owner of the company, is working with us right now to find a label to possibly take over marketing and distribution for this album, and of course, for the next album we would like to have a label behind it. Also, an A&R guy from Cleopatra Records contacted us not long after the release about putting one of the songs on a prog-metal compilation, which we are doing. It should be out sometime in early 2013.
Glenn: What are the professions of the band members? Any interesting hobbies outside of music?
Josh: I work for an alternative weekly newspaper in Sacramento, in advertising. Nate works for the State of California, Dennis is actually back in school full-time studying anthropology, Niko has worked in IT and other odd jobs, right now he's an un-employed bum! But, he has a talent for contact juggling and fire-dancing actually. He's great at parties! Dennis is nicknamed "the most charismatic man living on earth at this time," which if you ever meet him, you'll understand. He pretty much is our stage show by himself. Nate, I am not sure if he has any hobbies besides being a badass guitar-player. He's a family guy, married with a step-daughter. I paint, do photography, and actually co-wrote a novel with a friend of mine when we were 20, 21 years old, called The Castle in the Land of Five Suns. We did a self-publishing thing, which did not work out at the time, and it's not currently available for purchase. We will probably re-visit that sometime soon and publish it as an e-book on Amazon, if nothing else. It was really a pretty good book, very funny, but you can tell we were young when we wrote it. Other than that, I think with the exception of Nate, we're all cat people. Nothing against dogs, we love them too, but we get along better with cats. I have 3 of them myself. Oh, and we all like to cook!
Glenn: Does being unsigned while balancing full-time jobs make it difficult to commit time & resources to the band?
Josh: Yes it does. It's a huge pain in the ass! We'd love to do this full-time, and hopefully, we will at some point.
Glenn: What is the music scene like in Sacramento, California?
Josh: It's interesting. It used to be really big, and we had bands like the Deftones, Far, and Papa Roach come out of here. People used to line-up around the block to get into shows. Now days, it's still thriving, but people don't go to shows as much. There's a lot of "indie" bands, which is kind of lame that that is now a genre, since if you're unsigned, you're indie no matter what genre, but I think people know what I mean when I say that. Also, a lot of singer-songwriters, electronic bands, etc. There's a good metal scene, but it doesn't get much press. But, there are a lot of really talented people here. I'd rather be here than L.A. I guess this is where I give a shout out to my homies in Misamore, Electric Dude, and Savi0r, right?
Glenn: Of course! Do you have any shows or tours lined up?
Josh: We're playing the Blue Lamp in Sacramento October 5th, which will probably be past tense by the time this gets posted. We may do a show in L.A. in November, and are hopefully going to do some gigs in the San Francisco area soon. For 2013, we will no doubt have some tours and festivals lined up, but I can't say what or where just yet.
Glenn: What has been your most memorable In The Silence live show?
Josh: Our CD release show, for sure. It was packed, and people were screaming louder than our amps at some points! It was a blast.
Glenn: The internet has undoubtedly been a huge help for you to showcase your music and reach a worldwide audience, especially as an unsigned band with limited promotion. Yet the downside to this is obviously illegal downloading of your music. What is your view on this?
Josh: It is what it is. I'm glad we can get out music out there and find fans around the world at the click of a button. I've been pretty happy to see that a lot of people are still willing to buy good music, though it would obviously be nice if there were more of them. Bandcamp, funny enough, has been bigger for us than all the digital stores like Itunes, Amazon, and Emusic combined!
Glenn: Which bands have had the biggest influences on you as a musician?
Josh: Good question. I would never have learned to play guitar if not for Metallica tab-books. Even though I rarely listen to them these days, you can't deny their influence on pretty much any heavy band alive. I was a big Guns N' Roses fan in my teenage years as well, and still listen to Appetite for Destruction from time to time. Overall, Pink Floyd, Opeth, Dead Can Dance, My Dying Bride, Led Zeppelin, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Fear Factory, and Type O Negative, to name a few. For Dennis, he was into a lot of death metal and goth-industrial early on, and is actually responsible for introducing me to a lot of the music I've gotten into over the years. Niko I know is a huge Dream Theater fan, as well as being into stuff like Incubus and what not. Nate isn't here, so I can't say specifically what his influences are, but I know he's into a lot of the same stuff that we all listen to.
Glenn: What is your favorite album of 2012 so far?
Josh: Probably Dead End Kings by Katatonia, and Anastasis from Dead Can Dance.
Glenn: So what is next for In The Silence?
Josh: World Domination? Just kidding. Next is working with Intromental to get some tours going, marketing the album, finding a label, and doing another album! Then world domination We've got a lot of stuff written already, and I'm really excited about what we'll be putting out next. I think it could be better than A Fair Dream Gone Mad!
Glenn: Thanks a lot for your time, any last words?
Josh: Thank you Glenn, and thanks to everyone who is reading this, listening to In the Silence, sharing our music with their friends, and leaving us comments on Facebook. It makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside when people say nice stuff about our music, so don't be shy! We look forward to seeing you on tour when we can, and putting out great music in the future! We're always glad to answer an e-mail, or sign a CD, so feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook. Cheers!
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