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