Featured Interview: Ecorche Part 2

A couple of weeks ago I featured Part One of the interview I conducted with Ecorche. Today is the second and final installment of the interview with the second half of the band and his name is Wolfman. Enjoy!

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When writing for Deep in the Ground, was there a certain sound/direction you were aiming for?

WM: Most of the writing is JGW’s department, just as much of the production is mine. I’m self-taught and I have plenty to learn, even though I’m using software that’s most of a decade old. One of my many goals is to make the album have a more consistent beginning-to-end production tone, regardless of what’s going on musically at any given moment. Each song should be different musically, but if the production is inconsistent then the album gets a weird disjointed vibe: maybe that’s something we might want at some point for the sake of imparting a certain feeling, but if it happens now, it’s happening accidentally and in spite of my effort to the contrary. Our prior full-length definitely suffered from this: one song didn’t fit well with the others from a mixing standpoint, and our first reviewer pointed it out right away.

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?

WM: I think JGW answered this well in his half of the interview, but I’d add that when you put some metal dudes together in a goth/industrial band, the metal starts poking through eventually. Pantera had their infamous first album or two, maybe it’s a similar story to that. In hindsight, though, I’m surprised we didn’t get into the metal track much earlier. Maybe that would have rescued the 2007 iteration of the band. 

Before creating Écorché, what were you two doing musically?

WM: I was recording a few minutes of material by myself on an extremely irregular and occasional basis. I would come up with an idea, try to record it, work on it for a while, get frustrated that the recording sounded nothing like that thing in my head, and go back to doing nothing for another long while. Or I’d realize partway through the process that I was recording a song that already existed (Black Boned Angel’s The Witch Must Be Killed, for example) and I’d let that deter me.

Who/what are some of your inspirations to create this type of music?

WM: My contributions are primarily in the “world music” side of our work. That’s not to say I’m influenced by world music itself, but rather by others who’ve incorporated the same sort of stuff. On our self-titled release, I brought a bunch of Tuvan throat-singing into the latter half of the song; I think I was channeling White Zombie’s Blood Milk & Sky and Ministry’s Khyber Pass. If Rob and Al can make it work, I speculate we can too. I’ve also tried to tell stories via samples in the songs. Grotesque III, the last song on our latest album, has no lyrics other than some poetry samples, but I’ve tried to communicate Honore Fragonard’s everyday experience working in the grime of a 17th-century dissection room as he struggled against the stench and flies to make his ecorches (after which we took our name).

Overall, what has been the response like toward your music?

WM: Is it bad to say that I’m really not sure? All I know is it’s getting some downloads and we’re getting more than zero attention as a result.

What are some things that you changed between your first record and Deep in the Ground?

WM: To take it back a step further, we put out our first EP, Revelation, at the very end of 2014. It was three songs, all of which were four-and-a-half to five minutes long or thereabout. A 15-minute total run time was a good way to ease back into recording and mixing, which neither of us have done much of in the past few years. Since then, we’ve become much more comfortable with the process and our songs have evolved to match, even if you rule out our more experimental pieces and just look at the “traditional” “metal” output, the songs are getting lengthier and more complicated, with an increasingly greater number of elements. Now on Deep In The Ground we’re looking at seven tracks with a 50-minute run time, which would have been too intimidating to even contemplate one year ago.

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?

WM: Absolutely. With nothing really off-limits, we’re not running up against “we can’t do that because doesn’t sound like us.” That said, we’ll also flavor everything our way, and try to come up with some sort of flow so that the album’s not headed off in dozens of directions and lacking coherence.

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?

WM: A certain amount of that is deliberate. We didn’t have a formula on our first full-length, but in hindsight we enjoyed the way that one progressed from start to finish – metal to sparse gothy/ambient to noise/drone. We made a conscious decision to try replicating that on Deep In The Ground, but it because apparent pretty early on that things were taking a different trajectory. We had the option to force them back into adherence with the original plan, but it was more interesting to see where they went of their own accord. We want the albums to have moods, and if we do things reasonably well then that won’t simply come across as being inconsistent.

I have three standard questions. The first being: Out of your band shirts which one is your most coveted?

WM: The oldest shirt I have that I still wear is a gray T from Death’s album Symbolic (I saw them on their Sound Of Perseverance tour, but the Symbolic shirt came from a stand on the New Jersey boardwalk a few years prior to that). The ones that make it into rotation most frequently, on the other hand, are Buried At Sea and Iron Monkey.

The second is: Growing up, what was your favorite record?

WM: Killing Is My Business… by Megadeth was huge for me, it’s too bad the band couldn’t keep that feel in their music. I remember listening to the cassette on a tiny mono player while raking leaves from the front of our house back when I was 12 or so. The neighbors probably considered this behavior unusual.

If you were able to work with anyone alive or deceased who would it be?

WM: I’d be intimidated to work with anyone I respect enough to name here, but sharing stage time with Sunn and using their gear at full blast – that would be amazing.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to answer these questions!

E¦ücorche¦ü - Deep In The Ground - cover Ecorche and their album Deep in the Ground is out now through Merdumgiriz.

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