Q&A: ETHEREAL – LIVERPOOL’S GRIMMEST EXPORT

After a 6 year hiatus, Liverpool black metallers Ethereal returned with their impressive ‘Revelation Beast’ EP in 2011 and are soon to record their debut album. Frontman, Diesektor, speaks to ZT about all things grim.

 

ZT: Who are Ethereal and what are you all about?

 

Diesektor: Were a six piece extreme black metal act, formed and based in Liverpool. The band is about atmosphere, energy and power. Fans of Emperor, Dimmu and Old Mans Child will enjoy us.

 

ZT: You released your first EP in 2005 and then took a six year break before putting out ‘Revelation Beast’. Some would consider this quite a long break between releases – what were there reasons for this? You seem to be more prolific now, given you are already working on new stuff.

 

Diesektor: From my point of view due to illness and difficulties with my throat I had to part ways with Ethereal just after we did the Hells Divine Existence demo- I personally don’t like to think of it as an EP either as it sounds like shit. There are some good tracks on the demo, some of which made it onto the Revelation Beast EP that sound much better. The whole HDE thing was very demoed and recorded with poor equipment so I prefer to think of it as a demo. I think after I left there was a struggle with the line up. I kept in touch with Iyaan during my absence and the general consensus was they wanted me back so I rejoined a couple of years later and things have gone from strength to strength since then. The line up and mentality of the Ethereal camp has vastly matured and developed into a very professional outfit with good goals and aims. There has been significant line up changes over the years but with good reason- I think that would be partly to blame.

 

ZT: You recorded Revelation Beast at Waylands Forge with Jonny and Chris Maudling. How was the studio experience – did things all run smoothly or were there any hiccups, and did you feel the Maudlings were on your wavelength in terms of getting the best out of your sound?

 

Diesektor: I love Jonny and Chris but we won’t be going back to record there again. It was an uphill struggle but that aside it eventually turned out okay…and I mean just okay. I like Revelation Beast. We got what we paid for in the end.

 

ZT: You’ve voiced opinions before that you like to avoid singing about Satan and typical black metal clichés. Where do you find your inspiration when it comes to both lyrics and music?

 

Diesektor: The whole Satanic thing is an integral part of black metal and its imagery, we still have subtle overtones of that incorporated into our music but we’d just be the same as every other fucking black metal band out there if that was our sole focus. We try to think outside of the box as much as possible whilst still adhering to values of the genre. I find a lot of inspiration in dark films such as Event Horizon, Dark City and Silent Hill. I love the concept of the filthy old corridor with whatever is waiting down there, strange megalithic chaotic landscapes and bizarre imagery that really transcend and bend your perception of reality- the whole Ancient Aliens/Chariots Of The God’s concept is also drawn upon. We’re basically looking for source material that doesn’t involve directly the man downstairs, as that concept is old hat. We’re looking at ideas and theologies that are far more dark and sinister. A fresh perspective, as it were.

 

ZT: While I notice a slight death metal influence on the EP, I’d still regard your sound as being much closer to black metal. What does ‘Black Metal’ mean to you, and how do you feel about being labelled as such?

 

Diesektor: We see black metal as an extreme form of expression. The unthinkable taboos that people prefer to ignore or even indulge. It’s like the Dark Side – once you get into black metal there is no turning back; there is something about the sound and imagery that draws you to the scene. It’s a way of life for some of the most die-hard of fans and is definitely an important part of my life. I think people with certain personalities adhere to this kind of genre as everything else seems boring. I tend to find people into this kind of music tend not to be as closed minded as most people into their disco and techno, where they hear noise we hear well written music. We don’t give a fuck what people think and are not bothered about being labelled in such a way- at the end of the day were a black metal band.

 

ZT: As a promoter yourself you must have a good chance to observe the “scene” from various perspectives (and if anything like my own experience, grow very cynical of the “scene”). What are your thoughts and observations on the extreme/black metal scene within the UK and especially in the north where you are based?

 

Diesektor: Well you have hit the nail on the head with cynical. Until recently I was promoting and arranging a regular Terrorizer Grindhouse night in West Yorkshire at The Snooty Fox, Wakefield and The Parish in Huddersfield. Both nights when started did phenomenally , but what I found is that people tend to get excited about something new for the first few months and then tail off later on down the line. This is very disheartening. I personally feel that when running any sort of live music based night you have to have support, especially from the venue. It has to be a mutual collaboration to make an event successful. Promoters go into things with the best of intentions but usually end up sacking things off after a while, as like myself end up massively out of pocket or banging their heads against a wall because they don’t get any help. Terrorizer were massively supportive but I feel it’s down to the venue to help with the PR as it’s in their best interest. I think that the most successful nights when aimed at the metal community are best left to being every now and again so people have something to look forward to. Being a promoter isn’t easy, they all have my full respect, especially Sal at Whiplash.

 

ZT: You are currently working on a debut album, according to your Facebook. How is this coming along, and what can we expect from the new material?

 

Diesektor: It’s coming along brilliantly. I’m really excited about the new directions were going in. To be honest there has been some stressful moments that we’ve had to overcome but that’s common place when you’re in a band. The writing process has been done in a specific way; you know what they say about too many cooks spoiling the broth. Matt and Iyaan do the guitars, I do vox, etc, everyone has their own area and is left to fulfil their share of work. The album is going to be ridiculously epic and tragic from a lyrical point of view with some stunning synth arrangements; we have some great guest musicians involved but that’s a secret. You’ll have to wait until the album is ready to find out whom that will be but they’re very well known and fans of our ilk will be very impressed with what we unleash.

 

ZT: You’re working with Victor Santura of Triptykon for the production of your debut album. What factors did you consider when choosing a producer to work with, and when are you due to enter the studio?

 

Diesektor: Were due to enter the studio very soon. We’ve got nearly all the material written for the album which sounds great. We are currently exploring other options with regards to where we’re going to record at the moment; we won’t be going back to Waylands Forge again anyway. We want to work with a really good professional producer to give us the sound we deserve, so were trying to narrow things down for the album. We’re really aiming to push the boat out on this so expect something monumentally epic when it’s done.

 

ZT: Have you had any contact with record labels and do you hope to have a label to release your debut, or are you planning to self-release the album?

 

Diesektor: We’ve had some interest but nothing of exceptional merit. Those DIY deals that go about make me fucking laugh. We’re still looking for a good label but nothing has come along that we want to put Ethereal on. Labels seem to want a band that’s already a fully working product with big fan base and merch line- I haven’t heard any good reports about any labels that are going out of their way to help their acts recently but if someone out there is interested in offering us something good then we are always welcome to hear what they can offer Ethereal.

 

ZT: Any final words for our readers?

 

Diesektor: If you ever go to a metal gig and pay in to see the band then go and see them. Don’t stand outside smoking all night like a fucking weakener. I’m speaking for a lot of bands and promoters when I say that. Other than that you can listen to some of our music via our www.myspace.com/etherealofficial. We also have a limited run of nice new Ethereal shirts for sale so please take ten mins to check us out.

 

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