A Sunless Road
A few days ago we have reviewed "Tenements of Ephemera" album from one-person project THE WAKEDEAD GATHERING, a mysterious band from the United States. Andrew recorded entire album by himself, and spread only 100 pieces of CD-Rs. Most important thing is there we can feel an absolute devotion to the occult and obscure Death Metal of this project, the expression of wicked inside. I think to support band as TWG is an honor for us, plus I did not find too many interviews with this crazy band, and for our country it will certainly be the first interview, and for many ones probably the first meeting with THE WAKEDEAD GATHERING. So let’s speak Andrew Lampe...
Hell, how's it going for THE WAKEDEAD GATHERING these days?
Great! I’m currently in the process of recording a new EP to be out in February/March titled “Dark Circles.”
How did hit you idea to put your band together? What was the initial idea before you ever recorded the first song?
Basically I just wanted to write and play death metal so I started The Wakedead Gathering as my outlet for this genre. I had been playing in a couple of punk bands before starting this project.
It is interesting that the whole band consists only by yourself; is it a situation that is intentional, or would you like to welcome some other members? Are you an individualist?
It’s not entirely intentional, but I like to work at my own pace and sometimes it’s hard to coordinate schedules with other members. Plus, at least for TWG, I like to have 100% control over the writing process. I’m in another band called Debauch that has other members, but I think TWG will remain a one-man project for a while.
The previous question is clearly shaping up to another question. How have you learned to play all the instruments? If you’d play theoretically in more pieces band, which instrument would meet the highest for you?
I do play all of the instruments except for the drums, which are programmed. I just never learned how to play any percussion instruments. As for being in a band, I would prefer to play guitar but I also enjoy playing bass.
Your first thing was the demo "Ars Notoria". Can you say anything more about it because I had no chance to hear it? What was there different from your debut and how had it meet your expectations?
The demo was really just a collection of the first songs that I wrote before I actually decided to start TWG. I feel like the song writing and production is not as good as “Tenements of Ephemera,” but I’m proud of it as a start and you can see the beginnings of the TWG sound as it is today.
Lets come to your debut. Why have you released debut at your own? Is it so satisfying for you? According to information I received, "Tenements of Ephemera" came as a CD-R, a limited quantity of 100 pcs. Are all 100 pieces out now and how many pieces were sold in the form of MC cassettes by Dark Descent?
I released the debut on my own because I wasn’t signed to a label at that point and it was really the only way to get the music out without waiting for someone else to release it. All of the CD copies are sold out at this point, though a few distros somewhere may have 1 or 2 copies. I think Dark Descent did about 200 cassette copies of the album. I still have a few of the tapes.
Your music brings restlessness and negative feelings into the human soul. Have you always tended towards the dark and sinister Death Metal without any side effects? This is exactly the direction which you will go in the future?
In my opinion, death metal wouldn’t be the same if everyone wrote about how nice the world is or that we should try to love one another. Death Metal is aggressive and pissed off music that should be dark and sinister. Although, I don’t think the music has affected me so much as I just naturally gravitated towards it because of its dark nature. The Wakedead Gathering will always follow this path.
Very strong factor in your music is atmosphere; maybe it was one of your main drivers for music, using music to create atmosphere of music, from which it will run shivers up the back, so the atmosphere is very important for you?
Atmosphere is a very important aspect of my music. I try to create a cohesive idea or story on every release and the use of sound effects or strange intros/outros helps to establish that atmosphere.
I really like and appreciate your way of composition, layering of riffs, transitions and following, everything works as naturally as one whole. How are you taking your own music from a compositional point of view? Do you think the composition is one of the most important things, or just enough atmosphere is sufficient?
Thanks. I generally focus on atmosphere first and then composition, but if a song doesn’t flow quite right or bits and pieces sound out of place, I’ll change things around until I reach the best result.
Another thing I appreciate on your debut is that you are not unnecessarily push ahead, you don’t want THE WAKEDEAD GATHERING to be the fastest and most brutal band ever, and I personally think you leave much room for the darkness of the music, or am I wrong?
That is correct. Most of the death metal that I like tends toward the doomier/Incantation sound so I think that I draw a lot of inspiration from that style. Slow and heavy is sometimes more brutal sounding than going at light speed all the time.
Where do you draw inspiration to creation, whether in music but also in nonmusical spheres? Do you think an artist could create stuff without any external influences, drawing only from his within? What about dreams, drugs, altered states of consciousness?
Lyrically, I draw upon a lot of dreams and the works of old science-fiction/horror authors like H.P. Lovecraft and Francis Stevens. But, also I get ideas from humanity and the absurdity of religion. I think in order to create art, in any form, a person has to be inspired by something in the world. Looking only within would probably fail to produce many ideas. As far as drugs, etc., Debauch touches more on that subject than TWG.
I would like if you told something about your next record, what form of media, and will it come out again at your own in limited quantities? What music compared to "Tenements of Ephemera"?
Well, the next EP is called “Dark Circles” and will either be self-released in Spring 2012 or put out by a label, which I’m in the process of trying to work out. The music is a little different and probably more straight forward than “Tenements of Ephemera,” but there are a few surprises as well…
Where have you actually recorded THE WAKEDEAD GATHERING debut and what was atmosphere in studio, since you're responsible for everything by yourself? Could you reveal something about who produced the album, mix and so on?
Everything recorded by TWG so far has been done at my friend Mike Schwartz’s home studio. It’s actually a pretty laid back atmosphere, except when I’m recording vocals. If you had a camera in the vocal booth you would think I’m about to murder someone. I feel like you have to get psyched up to do a great vocal performance or else it will come across as kind of flat on record. As far as Mike, we’ve known each other since high school and have been in a few bands together as well. He does a great job at mixing and recording and doesn’t charge me anything! Ha!
What is the philosophy of THE WAKEDEAD GATHERING?
There are many things that cause death, we have just not seen them all yet…
Could you write something more about the lyrical concept of "Tenements of Ephemera" because I did not get to your lyrics? Do you think music and lyrics must correspond with and complement each other?
“Tenements…” is a concept album, which is true of anything that TWG has or will release. The story is about a cult that kidnaps and brainwashes its servants by means of torture and deprivation. Basically, a stab at Christianity and religion as a whole. Music and lyrics, I feel, go hand-in-hand so to have great music with nonsense lyrics, and vice versa, just ruins the whole experience.
Have American writer H. P. Lovecraft with his Cthulhu myth had some impact on you? What do you think about NECRONOMICON phenomenon in general? I mean Lovecraft's Necronomicon versus Simonomicon and the like. Do you believe in existence of dark deities from beyond the stars?
As I stated previously, Lovecraft is a huge influence on me lyrically and conceptually. After I first discovered his writing I was just blown away by the idea of using the vastness of the universe as means of terror. Everything involving some ancient cult or alien race is fascinating to me and the Necronomicon is another one of those myths that makes one wonder, “what kind of power are we dealing with here?” I don’t actually believe in any of the Elder Gods or other deities, but to have imagined an entire other dimension/world that is so believable just shows the creative genius of Lovecraft.
Are you interested in some more magic and the occult? Do you believe in the supernatural and how you perceive the issue of death?
I’ve read some writings by Crowley and other occult teachings but it only interests me on the surface. In reality, the occult is just a dark version of religion and meaningless in the end. I don’t personally believe in the supernatural, and I see death simply as a pathological event. You die, and lose consciousness forever.
Is THE WAKEDEAD GATHERING the regular band, or it is just your personal project of your terrible visions? Will we sometimes see the moment you came to the stage? Aren’t you attracted to showcase your music at live?
TWG is my main band/project and I don’t know if TWG will ever play live, but there are plans to do some shows with Debauch at some point.
You play even in DEBAUCH band, and currently you have out a demo. Do you think also fans of THE WAKEDEAD GATHERING might like DEBAUCH? Which of these two bands is more primary for you?
I think anyone who likes TWG will also be into Debauch. It’s not the same style but Debauch is similar enough in sound that I think fans of traditional death metal will be into it. TWG is my primary band, but I try to put equal work into both bands.
I would like to ask about the artist who drew the cover of "Tenements of Ephemera". It is really very impressive, and especially it has atmosphere as the music itself. Who is responsible for this? Has the topic been processed by you, or you let the artist free hand?
That cover was done by Eric Musall, also known as Subtrocity Art, who does a lot of work for Dark Descent as well. I am very happy with how it turned out and have asked him to also do the cover for the new EP. Any artist that I work with knows their style and how to portray an idea so I usually just give them the general idea and some notes about the layout I have in mind and then let them do their thing.
Ok Andrew, it would be perhaps all on my part, if I forgot something important, you have the space, many thanks for answering my questions, I am very happy your band will appear on our site, HORNS UP!
Many thanks for the support! I hope people will find these answers interesting and look for the new EP, “Dark Circles” in the spring!
Andrew 7. 12. 2011 Mortuary