The Deathtrip recently put out their debut album Deep Drone Master – see our review of it here. Eager to learn more about the band, we caught up with Host for a chat.
Can you introduce yourself and tell me a little about the band?
Things actually started around 2003 or 4, with the intention of playing black metal but incorporating some of the older magic instead of a lot of what had been coming out for a time. For me, sound got too slick and polished, often all speed or technicality and precision over feeling. Too clever for its own good. I preferred hypnotic primitive repetition – giving riffs space to breathe and allowing the listener to ‘fall into’ the trance of the song. So I made some songs with a minimum of riffs and basic programmed drums, Aldrahn got to hear them, liked them, understood where it was coming from, made some great vocals over those demo versions and there it started.
Can you describe your writing and recording process when it came to Deep Drone Master?
Many of the songs had been written and released as demo tracks already, so we had just refined and developed what was already there. Every song had been demoed beforehand actually, it’s just that people hadn’t heard the demo versions of some of the tracks. The (musical) writing process was quite simple – just get into a certain state of mind and don’t just accept any old riff as being good enough. Have flow whilst keeping up momentum, so no abrupt time-changes, or much variation in drum patterns. Each guitar part and layer had to have a purpose and combine to make a trancelike quality. For me, if I get this ‘feeling’ from the riff, then it has worked. For the album, guitars and drums were recorded in the UK, then I went over to Norway for Aldrahn’s vocal recording session with Snorre, then bass was recorded in Norway, and then mixing completed over there.
My favourite track is A Foot In Each Hell – can you tell me a little more about that one?
I don’t fully know where those riffs come from sometimes so can’t say too much on that – but as with many of the album songs it wanted to sound quite relentless, so no let up, plus the ‘attack’ of the vocals serves it nicely. The lyrical themes are open to interpretation but it actually came about initially from a suicide years ago. Death and spirituality, and it grew from there.
You released some demos since forming in 2007 but it’s taken a while to get the album released – were you taking your time and ensuring the songs were the best they could be, or were you just busy with other projects?
We weren’t particularly taking our time, but we sure weren’t rushing things either. The album got re-recorded and remixed which took a while, then there have been various big delays along the way. Snorre was building his studio during part of that time too. Taken a long time, but no point looking back. There were a few little musical additions I made later on which I think made a difference to the ambience of the album, so the extra time perhaps gave it that edge over the previous version. The songs were quite well established early on, so apart from a few sections here and there, not much has changed along the way.
Personally I think the album is an incredible listen and everything works so well – how did the pair of you start working together?
Thanks. I recorded those early rough demo songs without vocals and Aldrahn got to hear them through Kvohst, who was in DHG at the time and was originally going to do vocals. Aldrahn had not done too much since the Thorns album and wanted something new to get his teeth into and get back out there, and so this came about at the right time.
You worked with Dan ‘Storm’ Mullins and Jon T. Wesseltoft on Deep Drone Master too – what was working with them like?
The main important thing was for drums to sound primitive, playing-wise – a bit in line with the programmed drums of the demos. Nothing fancy, no frills, keeping it cold. Again, all about this hypnotic element. Same for bass really. Non-intrusive but giving it that necessary extra bottom end. That was smooth going. I think Jon knew a lot of the songs already as he was very much into the demos as well. He was doing Thorns at the time so had heard them from Snorre as far as I know.
Are there any plans to play any live shows or is The Deathtrip more of a studio project only?
It has been discussed and there have been a few offers already, so we’ll have to see where it leads. At present I’ve been focussing more on a follow-up album though – that’s a benefit of Deep Drone Master taking so long to come out, in that people might not have to wait long until another album.
What’s been your best experience in the industry so far?
Well personally one of them might be getting Mysticum on Peaceville, and for them to finally release Planet Satan.
What are your plans for 2015?
Hopefully to get the next album completed. Aldrahn has received new demo songs now, so if we decide everything is right to go ahead with it, that will happen.
And finally if The Deathtrip could put their name to a product, what would it be?
Some ultimate psychedelic drug, haha, but maybe not many would dare to take it with a name like that…or a nice, one way, no insurance required package holiday then.
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