Now on Sludgelord it is my honour to be interviewing Andrew Arnold. The brilliant One-Man Sludge/Post-Metal crew known as DETERIOR
I have been a fan of Andrew's alter ego Deterior for a number of years now. I always get excited when he releases a new album. As each album is better than the last. Andrew learns from his mistakes from previous releases and one that turns him into a better musician.
Deterior's latest album – Torchbearer – is quite possibly his finest work yet. It's a dark and brooding experience that you should all check out now.
I have featured Deterior's work a few times now. So it's about time I find out more information about this brilliant musician. And that time is now.
Ladies and Gentleman – DETERIOR!!!
Q1 – Hi Andrew. How are things with you today. Thanks for doing this. Really happy you agreed to do this. Been a fan of yours for a very long.
Thanks, I'm well. Been following Sludgelord for a while now and I'm very happy to be here.
Q2 – Can you give people a brief history on how you came involved with music.
I've been a fan of music all my life, and have a pretty musical family; most notably, my dad has been in a few bar bands and my cousin has been in a couple well-known punk bands. I played various instruments in the school band (both orchestral and jazz, believe it or not). I first started writing my own stuff in early high school, really bad cheesy metal (we all have to start somewhere), but never had anything polished enough to release for several years.
Q3 – When did you decide to publish your music to the world. That must have been a daunting task for you to do. Possibly fear of rejection or criticism.
I put out my first release, the debut Deterior EP, back in 2007. It's true that I was a bit afraid of rejection, but I figured I didn't have anything to lose! It helped that I showed it to a few friends beforehand to get some criticism, which helped. Plus, hardly anybody even heard it when it came out.
Q4 – Your involved with a whole range of genres. Black Metal, Grind, Experimental and Sludge/Post-Metal. Is it hard to devote your time to all those genres or does focusing one area of music not your style.
I usually focus on just one thing at a time. Deterior has evolved through several different styles but I try to not go crazy and do all sorts of things at once. I started out emulating the post-rock and sludge bands I was a fan of at the time (mostly Isis, Rosetta, etc.) and what I write usually simply reflects the kind of stuff I'm into at the time.
Q5 – Now as you know I am a huge fan of your Deterior alter-ego. How did that one came about and where did the name came from.
I created Deterior simply to have a name for the music I wanted to one day release; nothing special. Godspeed You! Black Emperor was my all-time favorite band in high school (you could say they still are). Their apocryphal first cassette tape had a few tracks on it titled "Deterior 23", "Deterior 17", and "Deterior Three". I pulled the name from there. I got pretty lucky, I still think it's a great name, evocative of the kind of doomy, oppressive atmospheres I try to create in my music.
Q6 – How would you describe Deterior's music.
Most of it has always been some kind of sludge metal, obviously, since sludge has been my favorite genre for a long time now, and I like to experiment with different variations on that. My last album Torchbearer, for example, has a lot of black metal influence, simply because I have been into black metal for a long time and wanted to try to incorporate that into my own music. It fits well since I like to try to write music that's dark and oppressive.
Q7 – Which bands and artists have influenced you as a musician.
All the standard atmospheric-sludge-metal bands, of course; Isis, Cult of Luna, and Rosetta are the big three. And, as I mentioned, Godspeed for the post-rock side and experimental noise/sampling stuff. Lots of times when I go to shows I usually see or hear the band do something and think to myself, "Wow, that'd be cool if I did that in my own music!" So just about everything I listen to influences my own writing, but mostly other metal and punk music.
Q8 – Are you a full time musician or do you have a regular job to pay the bills.
I have a full-time regular boring desk job as a software developer. Music has always been a side project and a hobby. I'm kind of amazed that I manage to find the time to work on music sometimes, especially since I was so busy a couple years ago when I was in college full-time, had a part-time job, AND wrote music.
Q9 – Are your family and friends supportive of your music.
Not as much as you might think! They all know about it, but I don't think most of them particularly care (probably because it's not the kind of music any of them like). There is the one exception of my girlfriend, who I turn to for advice on my songwriting and mixes. She even made a brief guest appearance on a cover song I did some time ago.
Q10 – Now you record everything by yourself. Which instruments do you play. And what is your most favourite instrument to use.
I play bass guitar, regular guitar, and do vocals. Drums are programmed because I don't own my own kit and, although I know how to play the drums, I'm not very good. I think regular guitar might be my favorite because there's so much you can do with it; bass is good too though since it's what I started on and it's still very fun to play.
Q11 – How do you decide on which musical project to start next. Do you write ideas down and then decide that is a Deterior project or another side project like your Drone/Noise/Black Metal alter egos. Though it's been a while since you have released some of your other projects.
I always know ahead of time. Basically, if it's anything metal-related, it's Deterior. If it's more on the noise/experimental side, I just put it out under my own name. It's true I've been ignoring that project for a while, but I might work on something new soon.
Q12 – Do you have any additional help in the studio when recording your material or is everything done by yourself.
I do everything by myself. As I mentioned before, occasionally I'll get the opinions of one or two other people about my mixes. It's not a system I'd recommend, though! When you do everything yourself, there's a lot of mistakes that are easy to miss.
Q13 – You setup your label – GarageMonkey Productions a while back. Do you still participate in that project.
I actually didn't start GarageMonkey Productions; it was created by some friends of mine in high school for some video projects we worked on. Anyway, I don't update its blog anymore. Nowadays it's just a name to attach to anything I release. Record labels are pretty obsolete nowadays anyway since self-publishing on the Internet is so easy to do.
Q14 – Have you been pleased with the responses your music has received so far. You do have a few fans within the Sludge Metal world.
Yes, I've been very pleased. The response to my music has always been supportive, if not positive, so people either like it or are farily and politely critical. Either way, it's good for me; I take the criticisms to heart and try to improve for the next time. It's also a pleasant surprise as to how many people have heard of Deterior considering that I don't tour and don't do much promotion at all... that's the power of the Internet, I guess.
Q15 – What are your favourite bands around at the moment. Do you listen to modern day rock/metal or do you just listen to the classic era of Stoner/Sludge/Doom Metal.
Although I try not to limit myself to one or the other, I mostly listen to modern-day rock; the "classics" have never really appealed that much to me. It's good to know where the style came from, but I am more interested in where it's going!
Q16 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of releasing and recording music as a solo artist. Possibly the expense of it all can be classed as a negative aspect.
Actually, the expense isn't as bad as you might think. Since I don't have to pay for studio time or anything like that, my only expenses are guitar strings. And the new guitar I bought two years ago. Since I have a regular job, it evens out. Anyway, like I mentioned before, the most rewarding part to me is knowing that something I put tons of time and thought into is appreciated by others. On the other hand, there's no one to share it with.
Q17 - Are you fans of any other one-man metal projects like Judd Madden, Cloudkicker and Diamenson X. Are you aware of their music or any other projects like that.
Of those three, I've only heard of Cloudkicker and I'm definitely a fan of his stuff (fun fact, he's from the same city as I am). Other than that, I don't go out of my way to listen to one-man bands (most of them aren't that great... hypocritical of me to say, maybe, but it's true). - (Sludgelord Note - Folks I am a fan of both Judd Madden and Diamenson X).
Q18 – Has BandCamp been a big help of getting your music across. It did for me when I came across you guys. Then I read about your recent EP being re-released.
Bandcamp is one of the best things that's happened for independent music in general. It makes it so easy to publish your music and get easy exposure. For me personally, I know there are now hundreds of people who have listened to my music that would never have heard of it otherwise. It's a really good feeling to see those numbers go up and know that people enjoy something you created so much.
Q19 – What are you views of record companies shutting blogs and websites down due to illegal downloading. Some people have a very different opinion on this.
I used to use those blogs all the time, so at first I was upset about the good ones all getting shut down. But since then I've learned that it's really not a bad thing. With Bandcamp, Spotify, and similar services, it's easier and cheaper than ever to find and get good music.
Q20 – What do you think of bands and musicians using sites like Kickstart and Indiegogo to help raise funds to record their next release. Would you yourself ever go down this route.
If it works for them, go for it. Personally I've always been suspicious about paying upfront for the promise of things that don't exist yet, be it music, movies, games, etc. Since my own production costs are so low, I don't think I'll ever need to participate in anything like that.
Q21 – So what are you currently listening to on your MP3 Player. Any album that is starting to rock your world big time. Any albums your too ashamed to admit to liking and listening to.
As far as sludge goes, there's this Australian band called Islands that put out an awesome album last year. I've also been digging a new black metal band called Vuyvr; real raw, classic stuff. My biggest indulgence lately, though, is the modern emo scene, bands like Arrows in Her, Old Gray, Have Mercy, etc. It's such good stuff and I can't get enough!
Q22 – So what are your future plans for the next 12 months or so. Anything exciting we should be looking forward to.
I'm not sure... usually I don't plan out my music in advance, but I'm thinking about playing around with some noise/experimental stuff in the coming months and MAYBE starting to write a new Deterior album later this year. But that's a big maybe.
Q23 – Finally do you have anything to say to our readers.
Thanks for listening and for all your support!
Thanks to Andrew for talking to us. Great guy and hell of a musician. If you haven't checked his work out. Do it now.