ThisIsNotAScene‘s Sarah was taken aback by the latest release “On Death And Cosmos” by Ephel Duath, so much so she put a few questions to founder member and guitarist Davide Tiso. They talked about influences, the musical transition of Ephel Duath, touring, new band member Karyn Crisis and much, much more.
Your new album contains the wacky ideologies of the 70s progressive rock movement (Jethro Tull etc). Where you ever a fan, if so how have these influenced your music?
I see Ephel Duath sharing a lot of affinities with prog rock, especially for what concern the experimental and adventurous way to think about songs typical of this genre, but I have to say I was never that much into Jethro Tull and the scene who followed. The only prog band that I listened for a while were Italians Area: Demetrio Stratos was one of the most incredible talented singer in the history of music! Ask Mike Patton what he thinks about Demetrio.
Some years ago I had the pleasure to meet and chat with Jethro Tull‘s former drummer Clive Bunker. We were touring the UK and our drummer at the time was a friend of his. Clive attended to an Ephel Duath soundcheck and it was great to perform for him, even in an empty venue. After that we had few beers and Clive shared some memories from his career, the one I remember more vividly was about the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, when they played before Jimi Hendrix for more than half a million people.
Karyn Crisis’ vocals are harsh, almost black metal like. What do you think that brings to Ephel Duath’s music?
Having Karyn in the band as a singer is probably the thing that made more happy. We really clicked a lot artistically and we are both big fan of each others. Karyn‘s voice captured me since the very first time I heard it: there are some singing that are like a slap in the face and other that are able to give such strong emotions that you feel them in your stomach. Karyn‘s voice combine both these aspects to me.
How would you describe Ephel Duath’s transition musically over the years?
Ephel Duath is a band in constant motion. With each album I try to show a different aspect of the vast influences that I suck in as a musician. At the beginning of our career we were a duo and we had affinities with experimental, drum machine based, black metal.
We then became a five piece live band and we started adding jazz and blues influences. The band reshaped as a quartet and we started working with open song structures, asymmetric and atonal music. We finished becoming a power trio and developing a more straightforward rock and post rock attitude.
Now we are back as a quartet, dealing with longer and more adventurous songs, heavier than what proposed by the band so far and with a strong death metal flavour.
Your music has changed quite dramatically over the years, how have your fans reacted?
I think that in our jazz metal phase in 2003 we reached the pick in terms of followers. I have the impression that after that moment we had to work harder to keep our fans together and most of them, to this day, would just like to have another album like “The Painter’s Palette”. I think that this new EP will be important to reach new people, especially in the US market. The band is now based in San Francisco and I see the present moment as a new start for Ephel Duath, especially considering that the music we are proposing today is, to me, the strongest to date.
What was it like having Marco Minemann on drums?
When it was time to decide who I wanted to ask to play on the album, regarding drums there was no other choice that Marco Minnemann. Marco understands my playing in an uncanny way, and the drum/guitar tracks seem written by the same person. Just flawless.
We had the chance to have Marco on board also for 2009 “Through my Dog’s Eyes” and I would love to make this collaboration going also in the future. Minnemann is such a talented artist, the joy he puts in his playing is really contagious and I wish him to reach the massive attention he deserve.
Any plans for a UK/European tour?
We will return to play live once the full length album I’m working at moment has been recorded, but only if we are offered the necessary conditions to do some good shows. To compose music is a very intimate process for me, vital I would say: I don’t do it for passion, I do it because I have to.
To bring Ephel Duath live usually means to lose a lot of the artistic side of things, and having to deal with just the practical, and worse, side of music: promoters that don’t pay the fees, shows with lack of promotions, bad planned tours, a lot and a lot of expenses. I’m not interested in repeating that kind of experience once again.
Returning to deal full time on Ephel Duath I promised myself to not accept any more compromises and to take decisions solely based on the band’s benefit. To play live in horrible conditions will not be an option for this band any more.
What musical direction do you see Ephel Duath taking in the future?
I think “On Death and Cosmos” expresses well the direction the band will take next in the future. Slower but heavier material, music that develops through very dense and long songs, with maniacal attention to detail and arrangements and a constant research for intensity. I’m doing the preproduction for the next album at the moment, and I hope we will be able to have it coming out next spring/summer.
Thank you so much for the interview and the support!