Interview with doom metal band SOOTHSAYER from Ireland.
translated by Markéta, thank you!
Ave SOOTHSAYER! “At This Great Depth” is your second EP which I have listened so far. Firstly, can you please introduce your band a little bit? Ireland doom metal is not really well-known in the Czech Republic.
Soothsayer came to being several years ago. We formed in rainy Cork, Ireland as five young men with the intention of creating darkly toned, emotive music. In 2015 we recorded our first EP, “The Soothsayer” in the rural South West of Ireland. We self released the EP and played a few gigs around Ireland to support it. Last year we recorded our second EP, “At This Great Depth” in our dimly-lit and smokey rehearsal room. Before we were about to self release this effort, we struck a deal with Transcending Obscurity Records, who released “At This Great Depth” on the 31st of December 2016.
“At This Great Depth” has been published for a while now. What are the feedbacks? How about fans and critics? How do your songs work on concerts?
So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. We did not anticipate such feedback when we recorded the EP. The songs on “At This Great Depth” are songs that we were playing live at the time of recording “The Soothsayer”, so our initial plan was to simply bang out these two songs before beginning writing for our debut album. After Transcending Obscurity released the EP, it took on a new life and grew in stature. We did not expect this EP to be as well received as it has been so far, that is definitely stoking our fires a little bit as we continue to write.
The last year album was published by Indian Transcending Obscurity Records. Why did you chose this label and are you satisfied? A label is very important in these days. But you are visible everywhere. How was the cooperation?
Signing with Transcending Obscurity Records was a real game changer. From the initial conversations with Kunal (label runner), it was very clear that he felt very strongly about what he is doing. It’s not just a business for him, it is also a passion. We could recognise and relate to that firey passion, so Soothsayer and Transcending Obscurity seemed destined to meet. We have a great working relationship with Kunal and are in regular contact with him. We could not have asked for a better deal.
I really like the sound of this album. It is raw and readable at the same time. Sad, atmospheric and the melodies and ideas are beautifully recognizable. Where did you record? Who did the mixing and mastering?
The entire EP was recorded in one day by Eamonn Coleman. Eamonn is an absolute wizard. He handled the entire process- recording, engineering, mixing and mastering. He came to our rehearsal space and recorded us preforming the two songs live, with minimal overdubs. Eamonn has recorded for a few bands in Cork and is an absolute pleasure to work with. He’s on the ball, every second and has the patience of a saint. Bless you, Eamonn Coleman!
Who is the author of “At This Great Depth” cover? I have to admit that it is very interesting for me. How did you choose the cover?
Our vocalist Líam painted the cover for “At This Great Depth” as well as the cover art for “The Soothsayer”. He’s very much into the art side of things and likes to listen to rough mixes of the music and paint to it. This is what he got. Generally speaking, we like to keep every creative aspect of the band in-house. Be it visual or otherwise.
What are the lyrics on “At This Great Depth” about? Who is the author and how were they made?
All the lyrics are written by Líam. They are often laced with double meanings and peppered with esoteric tongue. Having said that, they usually deal with varying aspects of real human emotion- anger, frustration, sadness- and are always striving to reach a place of hope. There is an element of a “misanthropic hippy” coming through in the lyrics, conversing with nature and exploring the plight of humankind. There are attempts to forge a brighter future using the broken remnants of the past. This is working on a personal level as well as attempting to push the idea into a global consciousness.
When someone says - doom metal band from Ireland, you and MOURNING BEVOLETH are the only bands which come to my mind. Do you have any other bands? Do you even have like doom metal scene?
There are some fantastic doom bands rumbling away in the Irish underground. While not strictly doom, Partholón are a special band from our town. They are our spiritual kinfolk and definitely worth your time. In the Northern part of our country, you will hear the juggernaut doom sounds of Nomadic Rituals, the heaviest 3-piece you will ever experience. On the West Coast there are bands like Ten Ton Slug and Weed Priest that will fill your pants with sludge. Then in the midlands there’s the occult groove of Brigantia. There is a particularly bleak and honest quality that each of these bands have in their sound. There isn’t so much a particular doom scene in Ireland, rather, there are pockets of doom hidden around the country that seem to spill out onto the general metal scene every now and then.
How is it to play death metal in Ireland? Do you have a lot of fans on concerts? Do fans support bands? Do they buy CDs, merchandise, etc.? When you organize an event how many people will come?
There is a very strong and healthy metal scene in Ireland. There is a certain style for everyone and those who are a part of the scene are very loyal to it. There are regularly busy shows in every city and large town across the country. Metal in all of it’s forms, is very much alive within the Emerald Isle.
When you look back, what was the first impulse for creating a band? Why did you chose doom metal? It is not the kind of music which can bring you “fame”.
It would seem that the doom chose us. We never sit down and attempt to write a song in a certain style. We write what comes naturally to us and that happens to have an air of doom about it a lot of the time. Though we would not consider ourselves to be a straight doom band. There are blackened, progressive and gothic elements creeping in all the time. Our Irish landscape is predominantly green and grey, with no shortage of wind and rain. Mother Nature has her say in what we create whether it’s conscious or not.
What about SOOTHSAYER and concerts? Have you ever experienced any Europe tour? Do you want to? I would love to see you in Prague!
Unfortunately we have not yet left our island, but that will surely change in the near future. We’re working on it. In the meantime, if anyone reading would care to extend the invitation, we’d be delighted to bring over some Irish misery. We are hoping to escape our island this year!
Do you have any albums which have caught your attention recently?
The recent Partholón release “Follow Me Through Body” is great. As is the new Horse/Bisect split vinyl release. The latest Borknagar album has been getting regular spins, the latest Bolzer album and the latest Great Old Ones.
Do you know and listen any Czech bands?
The only Czech band I’m really aware of is Master’s Hammer. The video for Géniové is pretty amazing.
What are SOOTHSAYER´s plans for the next few months?
Next month we are hoping to record a song for a forthcoming 7” split. In April we have quite a few gigs booked around Ireland. After that, the focus will be on writing for the album and looking into playing overseas. Hopefully we’ll get over to Prague at some point in the near future!
Thank you so much for the interview and I wish you a lot of sold CDs, hundreds of crazy fans and tons of great ideas.
Thank you! I wish you many readers and good fortune! We are the Soothsayer…
Official Soothsayer Bandcamp
Transcending Obscurity Site
Transcending Obscurity Facebook
Transcending Obscurity Site
Transcending Obscurity Facebook