Dylan Hughes - Hecate Enthroned

January 10, 2005

You guys formed back in 1993 under another name.

Yeah, of course you can go back a bit further than that actually when really the band began. It was sort of a black metal thing. It took us about, yeah, about '93. Daemonium the band was called then.

Do you guys consider yourselves a combination of both death and black metal?

Yeah, definitely. I mean, we are I suppose, really. Originally it was only really Nigel that's left from the original band even though me and Rob have been there for quite a while. Weíve always been into sort of death metal. We started off getting into death metal and the black metal thing followed. The band came on after that and we got started there. We just enjoyed them both. I think at the time it was more black metal because that was what we were doing. That's what we were into at the time so we started off as really totally black but we went into death metal then and listened to a lot of it. I think it's progressively sort of crept up.

What is the major difference between the two?

I think it's orchestration to be honest. If you've got a death metal song, you can play it exactly the same. If you add this sort of symphonic sound to it, all of a sudden it becomes black metal. I suppose thereís a bit of a variation of the vocals. Black metal vocals tend to be more sort of screamed. That rounds them out. I think what sometimes is regarded as black metal is really death metal. Itís more death metal than black metal. I think itís a thin line. I think that itís keyboard orchestration and maybe the beats. Some of them are black beats, thatís black metal. Death metal uses black beats as well but theyíre punched at a different pace.

I think death metal is more guitar oriented than keyboards.

A lot of black metal bands, at least what I think are regarded as black metal bands, keyboards do take center stage most of the time.

I was reading some of the CD reviews of your new CD and people keep comparing you with Cradle Of Filth.

Do they? Weíve always had that right from the start. Itís understandable but itís a pain in the ass. I think it gets a bit too much out of hand sometimes. Considering we started and Jon left the band pre-Daemonium and then it was Daemonium. He actually had a start then basically with Cradle. He came back to do vocals. At the time we didnít have a vocalist so Jon came back then on vocals and I must admit that his vocals are very much like that sort of screaming. Then again if youíre doing black metal, youíve got to be using it really, the black metal scream. So thatís how it started and itís gone from there. At first we did sound very similar, thereís no doubt about it. We were both British and we were both playing symphonic black metal. They made it before we did. They got really big. Weíre always going to be in the shadows of them coming from the same country. We started off the same way in some respect but I think weíve pulled a bit from that route many years ago. Thereís no way there are any sort of similarities now really. Not out and out musically. It gets a bit old when people say all we do is sit down and copy Cradle Of Filth. Thereís very few Cradle Of Filth songs I actually know. When people say all we do is copy another band, itís insulting. If people donít like our music, fine. Maybe they can see similarities but itís our own and itís original. We just play the music we want to play. We canít help it if other people are doing the same music that we choose to do.

I didnít really see it myself because I listened to the CD and I just saw Cradle Of Filth recently.

The first EP and I suppose maybe our first album sounds that way but thatís only the vocals. We both play symphonic black metal. I think there is a difference in ours. Weíve always been more aggressive in black metal. I think Cradle is a bit more gothic. Any similarities I think went with Jon really and that was just down to his vocal style. There are other bands out there that you could have said that we were similar to but just because we were both British, we got put in the Cradle thing. And of course Jon was with us for a while. Redimus and Kings Of Chaos, I hear more death metal in those albums. The guitars come to the fore a lot more.

You guys just recently put out Redimus. Tell me a bit about it.

Weíre very proud of it. We actually produced it ourselves for the first time. It was something we wanted to do previously on CDs but we never actually got around to doing it. Not every album you do, youíre always very proud of. I think weíre more so because of the fact that we produced it. I think itís a good blend of death metal and sort of black metal styles. I think itís the heaviest album weíve done to date without a doubt. We went to a cheaper studio than weíve done before. A totally digital studio which is not new. But because we werenít paying a producer, we saved a bit more money. We had more time in there. We really worked on the drum sound and the guitar sound and we really got a good blend. I think itís the best sounding album weíve done. Itís heavy. Some of the parts are extremely quick. It still has the death metal elements and the ethereal parts with the keyboards and a lot of piano. I think itís a good extreme metal album.

When you produce it yourself, you have more control over what goes on.

We went to a studio in Manchester. It was only a small studio. It was a little digital studio. The owner there was a good lad. It was his studio. He built it. He knew it inside out so we used the guyís help with all the technical aspects. We knew how we wanted it to sound. We knew how the drums were supposed to sound. And the guitars were supposed to sound. We just did that. We just mixed it all ourselves and got the sound that we wanted.

I was curious. People always tell me when they start an album, they lay the drum tracks down first. They use those drum tracks. Why donít you re-record some of the drums if you feel they donít sound right?

Itís pretty difficult to do if youíre recording the drums live. If you get a full track of drums and you start cutting them up and botching them, you can tell itís not a smooth run. The sound of it. It doesnít really work. You can to a certain degree. You can fiddle with them a bit. It depends on how you do it. If you do it totally digital, then you control the drums and you can have perfect drums every time. We prefer a more natural sound. The drummer has to perform and make it sound right or as well as he possibly can.

The reason I asked that is because drummers have told me that when they played on an album and listened back, they didnít like the drums. I was wondering why they didnít redo them if it was that bad but I guess it would be a problem.

I think if you listen to something, youre critical of yourself. You listen to an album and go ďoh man, I should have done this and I should have done that.Ē When youíre there in the studio and youĎre trying to work fast because you donít have the biggest budget for money, youíll always be pressed for time. Youíd always like to do a bit more and spend a bit more time but itís not really realistic. We spent more time than we ever have before. Weíre very pleased with it but still, we feel we could have done more. We could have done this and we could have done that. Thatís the problem with that. Itís just quicker once you get the drums down. As quickly as you can, get the kicks down. You go on from there.

Your vocalist Dean left. Have you found a new vocalist yet?

Yeah. We actually talked with Dean in the studio. He finished the recording. It was very amicable. He was going to be a father which he is now. Thatís going to take up a lot of his time. He wants to spend time with the new baby. I think he was getting increasingly disheartened with the scene. Dean is very old school. Heís proper black metal. He doesnít want to go through a bunch of rigmarole. He just wants to get on stage and scream. I think he was getting a bit disheartened. We found a lad and heís from up north of England. Heís a bit further again from where we are. His name is Dagon and weíve known him for quite a while. Heís been in another British band, Heathen Deity. Thatís a local black metal band. Weíve played with him before on a few gigs as support over a few years. He heard we were after a vocalist and he got in touch. Again, heís very traditional black metal. Heís got a good range with a good low and a good high. Heís a little bit further away so he doesnít practice as regularly with us as Dean used to. Heís very good. We did think of him originally when Dean said he was leaving but we werenít sure what he was doing. Luckily he got in touch with us and we knew him. He knew us. He came down for a couple of practices and that just seemed to work.

You had a change in keyboardists as well. You have a new guy named Peter.

Yeah and again, weíve known Peter for a long time. Heís actually from the same town as me and Nigel. About four or five years ago when our old keyboard player left, Peter came into the band. He played with us for a few practices and a few gigs and then he went away to a university. Funny enough he got out and he was back up around here. We saw him when we were out one night and we got to talking and he was keen to come back for another gig. Heís a fantastic pianist. Heís classically trained. He actually reads and writes music. He writes something and just plays it. Heís a very knowledgeable musician. The new stuff weíre writing now is very good and the keyboards are coming back into it a bit more. Theyíre a bigger presence. The last couple of releases have been more of the guitars taking over. Nigel and I have been writing most of the songs so itís been strongly guitars. Now the keys have come back into it a bit more and weíve thrown together a good blend there.

Itís funny how there are so many people in the music business but so few of them can actually read music.

Iíve done music and I couldnít. Heíll sort of sit there as weíre playing and heíll write something with the transcript of the proper music. Heíll just be writing it down. Thatís how he plays. He just has these sheets by him and he looks down and he knows exactly where he is and what heís doing. Heíll follow an entire set and back up what he learns in about a week. He just sat down like a sponge and just came out and played it. Yeah, itís surprising. Not many people actually recognize it. In our band, itís only Pete. We all know the music but couldnít actually read and write it like that.

Yeah, learning to read sheet music is like learning a foreign language.

It is. I think itís very mathematically minded.

Are you guys doing any gigs right now or do you have any tours lined up?

Yeah, we want to tour for Redimus but thereís not much forthcoming. I think it was a few months back the label pulled out the support with the money and we havenít really come up with anything else. Weíre a bit disappointed because we saw Redimus as being very well accepted. Weíve had some good responses. We want to get out there into Europe and start gigging it but weíre still hopeful for things to come up. Weíve played over here in Britain. Weíve gotten a few gigs and weíve got some more coming up down in London. Three or four in London, Manchester, and Liverpool. Weíve got a couple of gigs in the Czech Republic in May. It was going to be a one off date but they came up and changed it to another one. Itís only two days but you never know if something else might expand from it.

Itís always amazing to hear people talk about going to Budapest or the Czech Republic and doing shows there. I always find it pretty cool to hear that.

Yeah, itís Eastern Europe. The band actually travels there quite a lot. Itís got a lot of really beautiful cities but on the other hand itís pretty run down. You get some real poverty out there but itís great. I donít know. Thereís something about it. It suits the decor with the music. With black metal. Sort of a city you visit. Itís real gothic. Itís a great place and I actually want to go back.

Donít you hate it when you get your expectations up for a tour and at the last minute youíre told itís not going to happen?

Yeah, there were a few dodgy parts. I understand a couple of shows got cancelled. I think the label just thought we were going to get stranded out there. They donít trust the promoter so they pulled the money.

The last thing you want is to get stranded somewhere.

Well, yeah. I think it probably would have been all right but thatís record labels for you.

How long has Redimus been out?

About four months.

People are digging it?

Yeah, reviews have been very good. A lot of feedback and itís all been positive. I mean you get some negative reviews but you just accept that. Itís been very well received. I havenít really seen any figures yet although we should be getting our statements any week or any day so we can see what our figures are like. Iíve been talking to some people at the label. Theyíre saying itís coming around. Itís been well received. Because we produced it ourselves weíve been like proud fathers. The most important thing is we enjoyed it. Weíre really pleased with it. We enjoyed the process. Itís a very important album for us. Obviously, if other people take it very well thatís even better. I think itís doing well.

Any other thoughts or comments?

I thank you for the interview and we send our darkest regards to all your readers. Weíve never actually even been approached about playing in America but itís something weíd like to do because we get a lot of interest from people in America. Thatís strange. On my website weíve got a lot of people on our forum. I think the majority are probably from America. Weíve never ever had the opportunity to get out there.

Hopefully sometime in the future you will come and visit us.

It would be good.

Hecate Enthroned