Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Sojourner interview done by Patrick on 6-5-16

Here   is  a  new  interview with  the  atmospheric and Epic black metal  band  Sojourner   who  have   members   living  in  New  Zealand  and  Scotland and Sweden.The  debut  cd  "Empires Of Ash"  through  Avantgarde  Music.If you  want  lear  more  about  this   upcoming  band read  the   in-depth  interview  and  but the  debut  cd.

Interview with Sojourner done by Patrick

1. Hello I believe all the members live in different countries how did you all first meet? And was it long before you all decided to form a band?

Mike L.: Hey, thanks for getting in touch about the interview! Yeah, almost all of us live in different countries. Chloe and I both live together in St. Andrews in Scotland at the moment, although we were still back home in Dunedin, New Zealand when the band started up. We’ve known each other for about 10 years; she’s an incredible musician, we love the same stuff, and our writing styles gel perfectly so we’ve always worked on quite a lot of stuff together. I met Emilio about four years ago or so, we were both fans of the other’s band (mine being Lysithea and Emilio’s being Nangilima) so me and him decided we’d take a shot at doing something together. I took a while to finally get around to it, but I eventually ended up writing the song that became ‘Heritage of the Natural Realm’. We felt that the tin whistle lines I put in could do with a bit of fleshing out, so we gave it to Chloe to see what she could do with it and she did an incredible job, and from there the band just kind of took off. We basically just wrote the rest of the album together from that point on. Then we got my Lysithea bandmate, and one of my oldest friends, Mike Wilson in to handle the bass stuff. He still lives back in Dunedin, but that doesn’t really pose any problems since he writes and records his parts over the finished demos and sends them back to me to mix in.

Emilio: I was working hard with my Doom band Nangilima at the time and Mike and I crossed paths due to a common friend Luke 'Hammerheart'. Luke turned me on to his music and we began talking from that point on. I don't remember who suggested the idea of starting something together but we were both curious and excited to see/hear what we could come up with. We actually started with a type of Melodic Doom sound but quickly scrapped it when we weren't happy with it. Not that it was bad, it just wasn't what we wanted to write. Afterwards, it is exactly as Mike explained above. The rest is history, Sojourner is here and for many years to come.

2. How did you all choose the name Sojourner for the band name? Does it have a special meaning?

Mike L.: The name Sojourner was Emilio’s suggestion, and we all loved it. We did what all bands do in the early stages and compiled a list of words and names, trying to find something that felt right, but once we hit on Sojourner we knew that was it. It perfectly sums up the atmosphere we were after. 

Emilio: I chose the name because when we decided what music we truly wanted to create, we knew that it was gonna be epic, fantasy driven, and so on. I made a list of names and nothing seemed to click. I thought about it so hard and then out of the blue one day the name 'Sojourner' popped in my head. I presented it to Mike and Chloe and they really loved it so we decided to name the band that. Sojourner is a person (fictional or otherwise) that doesn't spend a large amount of time in one place or the other. A nomad of sorts, although a nomad has no home and a sojourner just travels throughout many lands. This seemed fitting since we all share a huge love of fantasy and epic things in general, and you mostly have all main characters in books, movies, or games being a sojourner. Since my lyrics pertain to these subjects it was THE only name for us.

3. Sojourner is getting ready to release the debut cd "Empires of Ash" who  usually  writes the  music  for  the  band? How  long  does  it  take  to  finish  one  song?

Mike L.: Chloe and I handle all of the music except for the bass, so we write everything together. Sometimes one of us will have the beginning ideas for a song or a handful of riffs or chord progressions, then we’ll get together and sit down with our guitars and flesh out those ideas. Then there’s a lot of back-and-forth between us, swapping songs and making progress until we’ve got the skeleton of a structure. Then I’ll write the drums, piano, and synth parts and Chloe will write the tin whistle sections. Once that’s all done we sit down together and record it all. Then we send it off to Mike W. and Emilio, who lay down the bass and vocals, and they send that back and I mix it in. In terms of how long each song takes to write...it can definitely vary. Some songs seem to write themselves, like ‘Heritage...’ which came together over the course of two afternoons, while other songs can take quite a lot longer for whatever reason. Sometimes you’ll hit a wall on a song and have no idea where it needs to go next, so you go off to write something else and eventually an idea presents itself for the first song and it all comes together. We like to take our time and make sure we’re happy with everything, we pour over every aspect of each song to make sure we’re entirely happy with it.

Chloe: It usually all comes together pretty easily between me and Mike writing. We had a really clear concept of what sort of overall effect we wanted the album to achieve, and we discussed it with Emilio in relation to his lyrics and themes, so I think that helped. Each song started off with an idea according to where it would be on the album, and then Mike and I just ran with wherever the song seemed to go from there.

4.Emilo I believe you  handle writing the lyrics for the band, what are some topics that you enjoy writing about?

Emilio: My lyrics are generally about fantasy and nature. Yet, within these subjects, others can arise. My lyrics for Heritage of the Natural Realm focus on Mother Nature and how we (humans) are slowly killing her with no remorse. So there is a sad angle to it as well. Another example is Homeward, that song has the full on fantasy-battle subject going on and has this feeling of hope in the lyrics since the person who tells the story will be returning home after so long. I wouldn't say that we sing about sadness, betrayal, and hope since I feel that the fantasy and nature subjects cover it anyway. The main themes are those but with underlying factors.

5. Besides the lyrics you also handle the male vocals for the band, at what age did you become interested in singing? And who are some of your favourite vocalists?

Emilio: Well I started to do vocals 13 years ago. I heard some songs from certain 'nu-metal' bands (boy, the elitists will love this) and was fascinated by it all. Shortly after learning to do it I naturally moved on to more extreme genres and really became obsessed and filled with passion about it all. I give credit to my friend Anders Jacobsson of Draconian for shaping my vocal style the way it is today. Upon hearing him, I knew how I would approach vocals, all the while maintaining my own personal 'mark'. As for favourite vocalists, I have only one real favourite... and that's Anders. I also admire and love vocalists like Josep Brunet Guasp  (Helevorn), George 'Corpsegrinder' (Cannibal Corpse), Jake Rogers (Gallowbraid, Visigoth), Jari Mäenpää (Wintersun), and many MANY more. I don't really have a list of favourites haha. I just really admire and respect vocalists.

6.Chloe you handle the female vocals for the  band, when did you become interested in  singing?  And who are some of your favourite vocalists?

Chloe: I think I’ve always enjoyed singing; I don’t really remember when I started. I took lessons at school, and I’ve sung in bands since I was about 12. Some of my favourite vocalists would have to be Anna Murphy, Anneke van Giersbergen, Heike Langhans, Tomi Joutsen, and Jake Rogers. 

7. Sojourner seems to draw inspiration from many different genres of music. Who are  some of the bands biggest  influences? And  who  are  some  of your  individual   favourite  genre's  and  bands?

Mike L.: A lot of the musical influence came from bands like Agalloch, Moonsorrow, Borknagar, Enslaved, Primordial, Nechochwen, Drudkh, Dissection, Windir, Mgla, Summoning etc. as well as a lot of influence pulled in from doom metal and folk metal. We didn’t really set out with any particular bands in mind as influences, we just wrote and I guess what comes out is always going to naturally be influenced by the bands you love. Personally I love black metal, folk metal, doom metal, and I’ve got a huge soft spot for power metal as well. Aside from that though I love 80s synthrock and synthpop, and anyone that says they don’t is totally lying.

Chloe: As well as the bands Mike mentioned, I love Wardruna, Skuggsjá, Caladan Brood, Eluvietie, Thrawsunblat, and Equilibrium, so I imagine a lot of influences from those crept into Sojourner here and there.

Emilio: As I stated above my biggest influence for music in general is Anders and Draconian. For this genre I would go with Caladan Brood, Summoning, Gallowbraid, and Elderwind as my main influences. Then as an individual I am all about doom, death/doom, and all kinds of black metal. These genres really take up 90% of my musical taste. Sounds close minded but I really enjoy musical scores (Hans Zimmer is the man), classical music, dungeon synth, Enya, and so on. It depends on the mood but doom and black metal are present always!

8. Are there any plans to make a video for any songs off of  "Empires of Ash"?

Mike L.: No, I don’t really see that ever happening. We don’t have the budget or means to do it really, besides, metal videos can be so damn cheesy. We do plan on playing live later in the year though, Emilio is coming over to Scotland so we’re in the process of working out the logistics of that. There’s tentative talk of doing a couple of shows in Sweden next year too, but we’ll have to see how that all plays out.

9. Besides  working  with  Sojourner are  any of the  members currently working with any  other  bands  or  solo  projects?

Mike L.: Mike W. and I have Lysithea, which we’re planning on beginning a new album for at some point soon. I’ve also got a heavier sort of Gojira-style band in the works with some friends from Dundee and Edinburgh here in Scotland, which will be mainly aimed at playing live but we’ll probably record something at some stage too. Other than that I’m tied up working on a mostly electronic synth soundtrack for a Canadian friend’s film, so that’s sort of taking up quite a bit of my focus at the moment.

Chloe: I’ve been working on a folk metal/power metal project for a while, which is mostly an excuse to play around with faster guitar work than feels appropriate in Sojourner. I suppose if you took some of the faster paced aspects of Sojourner and combined them with some more power metal parts then it’s like that. It’s currently a solo project, but I don’t think I want to do all the vocals myself so I might look out for a heavy vocalist at some point, and maybe other band members further down the line.

Emilio: I have my death/doom band Nangilima. We are finishing up our new EP to be released later this year via Xtreem Music. I would also like to start another project at some point but for now I'm quite satisfied.

10. When not working on new music or band business what do you all enjoy doing  in your  free time?

Mike L.: I’m a huge weird/horror fiction fan, so I spent a lot of time reading that sort of thing. Authors like Laird Barron, John Langan, Matthew M. Bartlett, Jeff VanderMeer, Michael Cisco, China Miéville, Thomas Ligotti, Lovecraft...that kind of thing. I’m also a really big science-fiction fan. Otherwise just a lot of gaming or watching films/TV shows/anime.  

Chloe: I spend a lot of time reading, mostly fantasy, horror, sci-fi, or weird fiction. I also love writing; I think I’ll write an epic fantasy series one day. Other than that, I like running (mostly so I can pretend I’m on a Skyrim quest), gaming, and anime.

11. Thank  you  all  for  taking  the  time to  fill this  interview  out  do you  all  have  any  final  words  for  the  readers?

Mike L.: It’s impossible to express our gratitude for the support that people have shown us with this release. We never would have expected so many extremely positive reviews and messages to come in, and so much support in terms of purchasing the album. It means a lot. It’s really cool to see so many people seeming to genuinely enjoy what we’ve created. Thanks for taking the time to interview us Patrick! Cheers. 

Chloe: We’ve been totally overwhelmed by the responses so far, and want to thank everyone for their support. It’s really satisfying to put music out there which feels personal and specific to your own interests, and then find that so many other people understand and enjoy it. Thanks also for the interview, and your help sharing our music!

Emilio: Thanks to everyone for taking the time out of their day to read what we have to say, and for all the support!

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