Tech-Death Madness: Interviews with Archspire and Beyond Creation

JACKET

It’s tech-death double bill month as we bring to you two of the most highly technical death metal heroes of the year, Archspire and Beyond Creation. While each band presents different face of tech-death – Archspire‘s brutal and intense style vis-a-vis Beyond Creation‘s neoclassical inspired style, the brilliance exuded by each of their latest masterpieces, The Lucid Collective and Earthborn Evolution respectively leaves one wondering what it is in Canadian waters that is spawning such musical excellence.

Read the interviews with:
Archspire
Beyond Creation

First up, we talk to Archspire

Archspire promo picture

Greetings Archspire. Archspire was formed in 2009, and on Metal Archives it is stated that the band was previously named Defenestrate between 2007 and 2009. Tell us about the history of Archspire – how did this lineup come about, and how did things fall into place for Archspire?

Hello! We started out with the name “Defenstrated” back in 2009, yes. It was a slightly different lineup, but after a few months and a couple member changes, we solidified our group and changed the name. Archspire seems like a name that is a bit more memorable and easier to pronounce, hahaha. We started the band with the goal of making the fastest most intense songs we could play. While still focusing on melody and songwriting, we still maintain that we are a tech death band – and we will continue to write the most intense music we can.

What is the meaning behind the band’s name, and how does it resonate with the style that Archspire plays?

We wanted a name that was original and memorable, something that made it easy for fans to find us online, and something that wasn’t too hard to pronounce. It’s also an anagram in the lyrics of the song “Archspire” off of our first album “All Shall Align.” An “Arch” and a “Spire” are also two structures that can’t exist together, which is an interesting idea.

The band’s 2011 debut All Shall Align created a stir in the tech-death scene, and Archspire’s status is cemented with this year’s release, The Lucid Collective. Was such reception of the band’s music expected, and what do you think is one of the major contributing factor to the success of The Lucid Collective?

We didn’t know what exactly to expect for this release, and we have been very excited about the response. It seems a lot of people enjoy it, so that’s good! I’m not sure if there is a main reason for the good response, it’s a combination of our hard work while writing, pairing with a good producer and studio, and having the right label working to get our music out there.

The Lucid Collective was released under Trendkill Recordings back in 2011, but the band’s style quickly caught the attention of Season of Mist, who released The Lucid Collective this year. How did this partnership with Season of Mist come about, and how different has it been for the band moving from Trendkill to Season of Mist, one of the biggest names in metal?

We met Michael, the owner of Season of Mist, on a tour through Europe back in 2011, he came to a show in France and seemed interested in the band. It took a while to hammer out all the details, but we feel that signing with SOM was a great step for us. The label has worked with some of the genres’ biggest artists, and the U.S. office is headed by Gordon Conrad, a guy who literally knows everything about the industry. So for us we feel pretty good about the position we are in.

The Lucid Collective is probably one of the fastest and most intense death metal records that I have listened to of late, and it has certainly left a deep impression on me. Are there any practice routines that each of you as musicians, as well as collectively as a band have to be able to play at such speeds, yet maintain such deadly precision?

We practice 3-4 nights a week as a group, so that definitely has a big impact on our tightness together. We also play with a click track, and we all have Sennheiser in-ear monitors, which means that everyone is hearing the same click track in their ears, as well as his own personal monitor mix. It’s a very beneficial system, it allows us to do so many things that just aren’t possible without it. Spencer, practices on his own more than most people that I know, so that is a huge factor as well.

While brutality and technicality are the forefront of the listening experience of The Lucid Collective, careful listening reveals the melodic side of the band as well, displaying the diversity and versatility of the band. What are some of the individual band members’ influences when writing and recording for The Lucid Collective?

I am a big fan of virtuoso guitar players, plenty of tech death, but also of concert music composers like Bach, Chopin, and Debussy. Tobi is more into old-school death metal, along with much of the same virtuoso guitar music. Spencer listens to music often for the drumming alone, however his ear while writing music is a tool we couldn’t do without. Oli listens mostly to speed rad, Tech N9ne and Twizta, as well as much of the same tech death that we all listen to.

Each of the tracks on The Lucid Collective are extremely intense, but my favourite track is Seven Crowns and the Oblivion Chain. With such intensity and technical flair on the album, which is the band’s favourite track to perform, and why?

Seven crowns is the newest song we have added to our live set, and it’s quite challenging for us. I feel that there are points in every song that are just super fun to play live, and although our song selection changes all the time, at the moment our live set consists of:

Scream Feeding
Fathom Infinite Depth
Seven Crowns and the Oblivion Chain
Rapid Elemental Dissolve
Lucid Collective Somnambulation

Archspire live

The album contains the instrumental track Kairos Chamber. What is the significance behind the track, and how does it fit into the grand scheme of things on The Lucid Collective?

Ancient greeks had two meanings for the concept of time: One being “Chronos,” which is linear time, and the other, “Kairos,” which is a seemingly endless moment in time, usually achieved through physical exertion or a state of mental bliss. In the context of the story, a character becomes trapped in a moment of “Kairos,” and spends eternity in an instant of hell, essentially.

I guess one other thing that attracted me from the start are the imagery on the cover artworks. All Shall Align and The Lucid Collective each had an almost sci-fi themes to them, but The Lucid Collective really captured my attention. Could you tell us more about the concept behind the artwork on The Lucid Collective? 

The album cover is a combination of lyrics from a few songs, “Fathom Infinite Depth,” and “Lucid Collective Somnambulation.” The man in the foreground is existing in three states: Living, dreaming, and death. The pit below him represents the inherent fear of infinity, and the sky above him represents ascension beyond the waking human physical realm.

Archspire - The Lucid Collective

Also, what is the story behind the lyrics of The Lucid Collective? Where does the band draw inspiration when writing them?

The story is about the first two people who share the exact same dream. One man becomes blood, and the woman turns to sand, together they merge and form the shoreline of a new dimension. Others begin to join their dream, and with each new being the dimension grows larger, essentially creating a new earth free of linear time. Basically it’s about two minds constructing matter from the unification of consciousness during lucid dreaming. Oli draws a lot of his inspiration from dreams he has.

The Canadian tech-death scene is blooming, with bands such as yourselves and Beyond Creation bearing the flag of the genre. What are some other bands that you reckon fans of your music should check out?

Beyond creation is awesome!!! They are really good friends of ours and we have played many shows together. Some other awesome Canadian tech death bands are Beneath the Massacre, Martyr, Despised Icon, and Cryptopsy. But outside of Canada, we are always listening to bands like Soreption, Spawn of Possession, and The Zenith Passage.

Archspire on the internet:
Facebook
MySpace
BandCamp
Season of Mist

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We also chat with Simon to learn more about the process behind writing of Earthborn Evolution.

Beyond Creation 2014

Greetings Beyond Creation. The band was formed in 2005, but it wasn’t until 6 years later in 2011 that the debut album, The Aura was released. How did the formation of the band come about, and what was the reason behind this long delay before the release of the debut?

Simon – The reason why we took so long is that I had not found all the musicians until 2010. Before that I was composing the music and recording tracks with my first guitarist at the time “Nicolas Domingo Viotto.” With the arrival of Guyot (ex-drummer) in 2008, replacing Nicolas by Kevin on guitar and Dominic on bass, the group finally saw the day with the recording of our first demo appeared in 2010. Couple months later, our first full lenght album called The Aura been released.

The Aura was initially released in 2011 under PRC Music, but received reissue treatment by Season of Mist last year. How did this arrangement come about, and what was the reason behind the decision to reissue the album? 

It’s hard to enter a big Label when you never released any album so far so at the time, we wanted to have some help with the distribution of our first album. PRC Music helped us with the Canadian distribution but we wanted something bigger than that. After couple months, we saw that our album was loved and shared by lots people so we both decide our Label and us to stop this relation so we can reach what we where really looking for. I will always remember, Season of Mist sent me a message that they where interest in working with us the exact date of my birthday. I was so excited because this Label was the one we where looking at from the beginning. They actually decided to reissue The Aura because it never been distributed in Europe and USA before so that been something especially good for us and our worldwide visibility.

3 years after The Aura, the band releases the sophomore full length, Earthborn Evolution, receiving critical acclaim. Was this expected by the band, and how does the band feel being compared to classic bands like Necrophagist and Obscura?

We take the time to make music as best as we can so we knew that Earthborn Evolution would had an impact but we never expected something big like that. This is a really nice surprise for us to see how much people love this album and how much support we recieve from our fans. Of course this is a absolute honor to be compared to thoses bands. Necrophagist is one of my favorite band and for me, it’s a true legend in technical death metal history so I really enjoy that.

Along with the new album, Beyond Creation has seen a slight shift in members, with the departure of Guyot and the inclusion of drummer Philippe Boucher on Earthborn Evolution. How’s the lineup working out for the band so far?

Philippe is my cousin and I’m really proud to have him part of this project. We have a solid lineup and we really enjoy playing music all together. We are good friends so the communication and the energy is very nice and our goal is the same for each members so we see future with positive things to accomplish. We are open minded people and musically, we feel closely related to what we play and bring to the band.

With the technicality and complexity on Earthborn Evolution, Philippe has certainly proven his abilities. On Earthborn Evolution, what was the songwriting like, and how has Philippe’s addition changed the dynamics of the band in terms of the creative process? 

Yes Philippe did an amazing job on the album. When he got in the band, he starts practicing progressive and jazz music because I said to him that Beyond Creation’s goal is not about the speed but the feels. By practicing this, he discovered a lot of new technics and things that allowed him to evolve in his playing. Now he can really drives the songs and make it loud but he’s also able to play and feels those progressive parts and make a good balance out of it. I would say that Philippe brings a darker touch with his playing and also a lot of intensity. About the songwriting, I’m the one who compose all the songs, lyrics and a part of the arrangements. Then after, I sit with each members individually so they can create their own arrangements.

Beyond Creation - Earthborn Evolution

The comparisons to Necrophagist and Obscura are numerous and obvious, with the band’s fusion of death metal brutality and neo-classical shredding. What are some of the less obvious influences that have gone into the writing of Earthborn Evolution, and how did the individual members’ interests in these musical genres come about?

Going out of death metal music, I’ve been influenced by jazz and prog and even fingerstyle picking cause I also play that acoustic music. All members in the bands are looking to evolve with their instruments in music and what’s good about it is that new ideas(styles) will bring new technics.

While The Aura had lyrics that were more focused on issues related to Humanity, Earthborn Evolution showed a shift in interest, with a heavier sci-fi theme this time round. How did inspiration for tracks like The Axiom and the title track come about?

Actually we where looking for an album title and Dominic come with the word Theorem. I loved the idea so I’ve done some research on this, the fractal world and the anatomic molecules and that’s how I came to The Axiom. I took that subject because it refer to the science but on a philosophical point, you can use it like: Maybe most of us cannot see it but we all know it exist and we cannot refute it cause that as been scientifically proved with definite proof…so it’s more than just a logical or popular thinking, this is the absolute truth.

Beyond Creation live 2013

At the same time, the band retains some elements of societal issues, like on the tracks The Great Revelation and Theatrical Delirium. How did the themes and lyrics on these tracks come about? 

I’m the kind of guy that analyse and observe a lot. In that way of thinking, The Great Revelation describe how bad human with Power, Religion, and Money can be. They force us to do things that most people don’t even realizing before it crash because they just didn’t think of it or just making with eyes closed what they are being told to do. I don’t say here that I’m smater than anyone else, everyone can do this but we just have to think of what we are really doing and make things that have senses for our mankind. Theatrical Delirium is more of an introspective to myself. We’ll never know what’s life is really about but one thing is sure, it’s that we have effects on each others and our environnement even when we don’t care about life. So that’s our choice to make positive things that will help us on our passage on earth or negative things that will destroy us.

Beyond Creation on the internet:
Facebook
MySpace
BandCamp
Season of Mist

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