Disenchanter is band that I recently came across and their music instantly made one hell of an impression on me.
Their excellent EP – On Through Portals – is one hell of a ride through the dark worlds of Doom, Psych Rock and Stoner Metal which I recently described as:
An album I recently described as:
You may not think you have witnessed something special but trust me you have. Go back for more listens as Disenchanter have created a beautifully restrained release full of passion that some bands have trouble matching. If you decide to pass on this release then you're truly missing out here as – On Through Portals – is a blistering and brilliant ride into the unknown.“
With that review in mind, I contacted this awesome band from Portland, Oregon, if they would talk to me here at Sludgelord HQ. And they kindly agreed. So here is my interview with Disenchanter.
1 – Hi all. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you today. Thanks to talking to us at Sludgelord HQ.
Thank you for the interest in our band and music…we appreciate all you do for the heavy scene!!
2 – Can you give our readers a brief history of how the band came about and where it is today.
Well Sabine and I started the band down in California. Sabine was just singing at first and after our first guitar player stepped down she got on guitar and we wrote a few of our early songs as a trio. Sabine and I made a return move to Portland, Oregon and, after playing a few shows drummerless and also with out pal JT, we hooked up with Jay, our present drummer, who has really helped us solidify the sound we were going for. Presently we are playing locally, have a short trip up to the Seattle area planned for spring with our pals in Mammoth Salmon and will get back into the studio to record our new songs and most likely tour around a little in Oregon, Washington and Idaho before, hopefully, heading out to California and beyond!
3 – So. Lets start off with your sound. How would you describe it as you include a lot of great noises and sounds.
We started out trying to capture a stonerrock sounds but it seems we also get into some spacey doom as well. Sabine and I are very influenced by the early melodic thrash bands of the 80s SF metal scene as well as newer bands like DOWN, The Sword and Grand Magus. I'm not too sure we actually hit on metal as in thrash music or anything like that but we hope to incorporate many musical styles in our music, especially ones we're inspired by, but heavy rock, spacey stoner doom and things like that seems to fit.
4 – Where did the name Disenchanter came from. Any particular meaning or reason behind this name.
While trying to find a name that wasn't taken already Sabine and I shuffled through a lot of different books. Mostly stuff like occult, horoscopes and books on magic because we like that imagery and it resonates with our lifestyle. I had my Dungeons and Dragons books out and while leafing through the Fiend Folio we came across the description for the Disenchanter a magical beast that absorbs magic and renders magic items mundane. It immediately spoke to both of us and we agreed that would be the name. I think it reflects our attitude toward life as disenchanter is also defined as 'one who removes illusions or false belief' and we really can identify with that.
5 – Which bands and artists influenced you all as musicians.
There are so many…definitely classics like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Rush, Led Zeppelin along with Kyuss and Sleep. We also dig on Down, The Sword and Grand Magus. There are some great local bands that we are certainly influenced by such as Holy Grove and Witch Mountain and lately we've been getting into Electric Wizard, Acid King and Candlemass. The list could go on and on certainly but it seems our main influences have been those 70s and 80s rock bands and stuff like Dust, Captain Beyond, Pale Divine and Spirit Caravan. We have some great friends in Portland who turn us on to new bands every day it seems. Sabine and I are also influenced by many popular music bands and classic 70s country music as well.
6 – What made you decide to become a musician. Any particular band or life changing event.
I think music has been a part of all our lives since early childhood. I grew up in a household with lots of Vinyl being laid and I know Sabine also had experiences with music growing up. Being in the SF bay Area in the early 80s was probably highly influential on us wanting to be not only around music but also performing. Once I got on stage I knew there were very few experiences that could match that feeling. Jay also grew up in a musical family so it seems we were all getting brought up on music from an early age.
7 – You have read our review of your excellent new EP. How would you best describe your new album.
Well, again, spacey stoner doom seems to hit it on the head…there are doomy parts and stoner rock riffs and a lot of those songs are about outer space stuff.
8 – Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for. And would you change anything about it.
It was pretty easy to write the songs themselves. We rely on inspiration when writing our music and rarely feel pressure to get it down. The first track is one we wrote as a band down in California. Journey To Abydos-Moon Maid was our first song we wrote as a band. Invoke is a riff I've had floating around for quite a while and Into Darkness just kind of happened as we were transitioning drummers before finding Jay. I don't think we'd change anything about this album as it seems to capture where we were at that time. I could pick little bits apart but moving on and writing new songs is what we are inspired to do right now.
9 – So where did the name for the new EP came from. On Through Portals. Any particular meaning or reasoning behind it.
It is a lyric from Into darkness…we tossed around a few titles for the album as we were getting ready to release it and it just seemed to fit. I think On Through Portals is kind of relating to the changes we go through in life, the passing of seasons, death, birth, even a subtle sexual connotation and travels through space, time and dimension. I hope everyone can interpret it how they wish.
10 – It's received a whole range of praise from the Doom/Stoner Metal scene. Are you pleased with the responses so far.
We are pleasantly surprised and humbled by the recognition we've received. We write and play primarily because we love to do it. Sabine and I have a lot of other music we've written that isn't necessarily appropriate for Disenchanter. It's just what we do. Jay also has a few musical outlets he's pursuing, so I think we'd all be involved in music one way or another. Being recognized by peers and the public is an added bonus and one we are always appreciative of.
11 – What is the songwriting process in the band. Is it a group process or is it down to one individual.
Well, Sabine and I write and compose most of the songs and then bring them into the rehearsal space and work stuff out with Jay. Either Sabine or I will come up with a riff or harvest one from one of our old recordings and then try to base a composition and lyrics around that. We go into rehearsal and, with Jay, work out any kinks or re-compose as necessary. It's a pretty natural process for us but I also think we are still evolving as a band and it could change as we grow.
12 – Do you guys gig a lot in your hometown or do you have to travel further afield to perform regularly.
We play a lot in Portland. There are so many venues and different scenes all packed into this little city and we try to stay flexible in who and where we play. We obviously have a certain sound but have gotten a positive reaction from almost every band we've played with and we try to support every scene, not just the stoner/doom though that is our home base. We'll be up in Seattle and Port Angeles April 25th and 26th playing some shows with heavies Tee Pee Creeper who have invited us up. We plan to do something along the west coast, and further, as soon as we can figure it all out.
13 – Lets talk about your hometown for a moment. Portland, Oregon. It looks like it has an awesome and vibrant Stoner/Doom/Sludge Metal scene at the moment. Bands such as YOB, Red Fang, Lord Dying starting to make a name for themselves. Also bands such as Sons Of Huns, Blackwitch Pudding, Mammoth Salmon and yourselves of course. What is the scene currently like there being from Portland yourselves. Have you noticed anything different over the last few years.
We really appreciate Portland for it's diverse and accepting arts and music culture. It has a really strong music scene and we really love it here. I had played in a band from '05 to '10 and it's wild how much the scene has literally exploded since those days! Just truly amazing progress!
14 – If you could change anything within the Doom/Stoner Metal scene what would it be. Good or bad.
I would have to say since it's always evolving and changing constantly I wouldn't change anything. I think every scene needs to go through it's process and given how much music is coming from Portland right now I have no complaints and feel we are definitely on the right track.
15 – In 5 words or less what is the live Disenchanter experience like.
Some things we've heard from fans are…enchanting, raw, honest, powerful, heavy
16 – What is your live equipment setup when performing live.
I use an Ampeg SVT classic and 8x10 cab along with Fender basses, one that have both Precision and Jazz bass characteristics as well as a few fuzz pedal. Sabine plays Gibson SG guitars and Laney amps along with her various effects pedals. Jay is using a Custom Classic maple four piece kit and a variety of cymbals.
17 – I have heard that On Through Portals is going to be released on Cassette Tape through Cosmic Tomb Records. How did that come about. Will you be releasing this record on Vinyl in the future as it would make a great sounding vinyl record.
We were approached by the wonderful folks at Cosmic Tomb records in 2013 about doing a release and we couldn't be happier about our relationship with them. Really great people who are supporting some great heavy bands! The cassette should be available for purchase from them in March on their BigCartel page and we'll have some available at our shows as well.
18 – What is your verdict on the whole crowd-funding scene currently going on. Are you a fan of this medium and would yourselves ever go down this route.
I don't have a problem with bands or other artists looking for support from their fans and friends. We have some fans who have asked us about doing it, but if we did I think we'd want it to be something that those willing to invest would get a solid return on.
19 – If you could give any advice to someone wanting to start a band. What helpful advice would you give them.
Work hard and be supportive to bands, bookers and venues. Be kind to everyone you meet, bands and fans alike. Keep at it and ply your trade. Play live, get in the studio and record. Keep at it and never give up.
20 – Finally, Thanks for talking to us here at Sludgelord HQ. Do you have anything to say to your fans.
I think we'd like to thank everyone who has helped us along the path so far…fans, bands, bookers, reviewers, venues and websites that have taken the time to see our shows, buy our music and review our releases. We truly appreciate every bit of support we received.
Thanks for doing this. All the best for your EP in 2014. Hope to hear more great music from Disenchanter in the future.
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Written by Steve Howe