Earlier this week I reviewed Ecorche’s new album Deep in the Ground and you can find that here. Ecorche was kind enough to answer a few questions I had for them. This is part one of two as the second band member Wolfman was not available at the time to answer the questions. However, when he is available I will bring to you the second part of the interview for your enjoyment.
When writing for Deep in the Ground, was there a certain sound/direction you were aiming for?
JGW: Deep In the Ground is more a collection of songs rather than an album. 4 of the songs are new songs and 3 are older songs. The 4 new songs were written during the last year when Écorché became a two man industrial black metal act. The other 3 songs were written in the previous year before, which was before we were using the name Écorché. We were a 5 piece metal band with the intent of playing out live. As a 2 man act, we’re much freer to experiment and just make the music we want to make rather than worrying about what someone in a bar or club thinks about our stuff. The songs are longer (occasionally much longer), noisier, and don’t really confirm to any genre in particular. I think Deep In the Ground is a transitional album, a taste of things to come. And now that we’ve got all of the old stuff out of the way, we’re finally free to create something unconstrained from scratch. The next album is going to be a concept album and we’re intent on actually making a cohesive album from start to finish.
Adding industrial elements to metal is something that is certainly new to me. How did you come up with the idea to add those elements?
JGW: I’d say it’s the other way around really. We’re more of an industrial band that is adding metal elements to our music. Wolfman and I (plus one other) used the name Écorché from 2006-2007. Back then, Écorché had a more Goth/Industrial feel than the current version. Once we trimmed down to our current line up from the five man metal band, we decided to go back to our roots. I recently started listening to black metal again, which I hadn’t done since the mid-1990’s, so I thought it would be interesting to mix that with Industrial (plus whatever else we felt like doing), and voila, the new Écorché.
Before creating Écorché, what were you two doing musically?
JGW: Strictly speaking about the newest incarnation of Écorché, as noted above, we were in a “metal” band with a revolving list of members. That lasted about a year and didn’t amount to much of anything. And prior to that (2007-2013), I didn’t even pick up a guitar. I wasn’t doing anything. I’m very happy to be back to making music, and thanks to social media, it’s fairly easy to just message someone and say “I see you’re into X band or X style of music, let’s chat.” Much easier than the bad old days of standing outside of a club with a stack full of CDs to hand out to people.
Who/what are some of your inspirations to create this type of music?
JGW: The inspiration for the name Écorché comes from the works of Honore Fragonard, an 18th century French veterinarian who created shocking sculptures from animal carcasses and human cadavers. The term écorché, an animal or human with the skin removed for anatomical study, is the term generally used to refer to his sculptures. In general, I look to the past for inspiration. Fiction can never be stranger than the things that humans have actually done in ‘real’ life. We also like to sample from horror movies and our one odd ball futuristic song is LV-426, based on the Aliens movies. I was listening to a lot of space black metal at one point a little while back and thought this would be a fun topic to cover. And possibly we’ll do an entire album of sci-fi, future stuff…in the future.
Overall, what has been the response like toward your music?
JGW: Pretty positive amongst fans, (MOST) critics, and some other bands. We had one bad review recently where the reviewer was just completely baffled by us. I was amused really. He didn’t make any comments like ‘these guys can’t play, the singer can’t sing,’ it more just ‘I don’t know what this is, one song is black metal, and the next song is atmospheric noise, what is going on???’ People are either going to get it or they’re not. We’re just making music that we want to make.
What are some things that you changed between your first record and Deep in the Ground?
JGW: I think the overall sound has gotten more Écorché-sounding, which is 100% thanks to Wolfman. He does all the mixing. We record everything ‘clean,’ but when he mixes it, he basically maxes everything out. It’s super raw-sounding, so much so that sometimes even the drum get distorted. It’s like a slap in the face.
When adding all of the different elements that you do to your music, does that enable you to experiment freely and eventually experiment further with your music?
JGW: I think adding different sounds and samples to the songs isn’t so much experimentation as just trying to create a certain feeling that you don’t get when you just have guitar, bass and drums. I don’t know what it is, maybe that every time you listen or if you change the EQ on your music player, you will hear something new that maybe you didn’t hear before. I think it makes the music stay fresh that way and creates a sort of landscape in the same way that you get through painting a lot of layers one on top of the other that you can stare at for hours.
When listening to Deep in the Ground, it’s pretty difficult to pigeonhole you in one specific genre. Did you want to make music where you couldn’t be defined by one genre, or did the music just happen naturally?
JGW: I’m just making music that I like. I like a lot of different genres and I think they’re all represented, probably not equally, but at least a little bit in each of our songs.
I have three standard questions. The first being: Out of your band shirts which one is your most coveted?
JGW: I mostly just wear black T-shirts that come three to a pack. I haven’t really bought a band shirt in about 10 years or more. Though going back, my favorite band shirt was probably my Skinny Puppy Last Rights shirt.
The second is: Growing up, what was your favorite record?
Just 1 is tough…how about my 3 favorite? 1) Carcass – Necroticism: Descanting the Insulubrious 2) Cradle of Filth – The Principle of Evil Made Flesh 3) Type O Negative – October Rust
If you were able to work with anyone alive or deceased who would it be?
JGW: Brendon Perry and Lisa Girard of Dead Can Dance.
Thank you for your time and for the interview!
Deep in the Ground is out now through Merdumgiriz.