Ecthirion is a very interesting project Of Gabriel Neale; the EP Apocalyptic Visions made me curious and I sent over some questions to learn more about Ecthirion!
Most won't know you, so please tell us a bit about the beginning of Ecthirion! And about the name Ecthirion!
Ecthirion is mostly done by me though Simon does help a lot at the recording stage. I started off just making instrumentals on guitar pro and then recording them onto my computer, when I eventually got some good equipment it started getting more serious. I made a demo which never got released in the end because it turned into an EP, Apocalyptic Vision in which we have experimented with many different styles of metal as well as classical, Spanish and Eastern music. Then name Ecthirion came about because our old name AxioM was used by too many artists and companies, I decided on the name 'Ecthirion' because it has never been used by anybody else before. The name is inspired by the name Ecthelion from the Lord Of The Rings, which is one of my favourite books!
How did you get in touch with the Australian label Soundmass?
I contacted them and asked for them to distibute my CD, they then offered us a record deal.
Ecthirion is a trio, but you worked with different singers on Apocalyptic Visions. What's the idea behind this? Being more flexible? Have a larger variety?
Exactly that, most bands are limited to the one singer they have, we have chosen to be unique in this sense, when was the last time you heard of a band who had 3 lead singers for one release then 3 different ones for the next?
But using different singer makes it difficult to do live shows... So, are you looking for a singer? Or is Ecthirion a studio project?
Currently Ecthirion is a studio project, though after the album is released we intend to start playing live, we would have to spend a lot of money especially on keyboard related items. I am always on the look out for keen musicians in the UK who would be willing to do a few festival gigs a year or so. Having 3 singers broadens what we can pull off in the studio over the range of many bands, this mean that I would like to try and get 2 singers for shows, maybe we could tour one CD with the singers from that album. I have had many ideas about how the full force of the orchestra could be captured in a live set with only a single keyboard player, this would involve a Mac with Logic or Cubase being controlled by a touch sensitive mixing desk enabling a large number of samples on the computer to be player and controlled at once. This however would cost up to a few thousand pounds, but its a price I'm definitley willing to pay to play better shows.
Have you had a singer in mind when you wrote the songs? Or have you later thought about who can do the certain parts? And how did you get them involved?
I wrote the songs for the EP without thinking about singers, Immortality was meant to be just a fun heavy jam to help me tighten up my riffs, it ended up being my favorite track on the release! I wrote the lyrics completely separate and then one day realized they fitted the track very well. I have many contacts, I used to email somebody different every few days to ask if they would sing, and eventually I found Azahel who said yes, as well as Eugen who was very willing to do singing as well as much more.
On Apocalyptic Visions you offer a quite unique sound, have you ever feared that this might make it more difficult to get attention? Or do you think this is nowadays the only way not to drown in the mass of releases?
I have thought about this a lot, if people who are looking for new bands who are pushing boundaries then they will be pleased when they hear our stuff and our vision. I don't like to follow the masses and I tire of listening to genres of music quicker than they are being invented, so if things don't move forward I'll get very bored and tired, recently I had a stage where no music could really have an effect on me unless it was a genre I hadn't listened too much. I think genres are getting broader and broader because there are always people trying to forge their way ahead of the rest of the pack, we are trying exactly that, its only up to the fans weather our splash will become a wave. (New Wave of Symphonic Metal) I don't know where music is going for the future, but i don't want Metal to die!!
I guess you already got some feedback for Apocalyptic Visions... Are you satisfied so far?
Yes, very, there have however been a few very biased people who have reviewed our stuff, they never start by talking about the music, it's always about our beliefs, which obviously proves they aren't really very trustworthy. Apart from these few people I have been very pleased, many people have picked up on our forward thinking vision and given us good reviews. I have noticed a definite improvement for the tracks for the album, it is much more experimental in terms of the metal that is on it as well as having many different genres fused together. I would say with the up-coming release that we will be pushing our own boundaries once again.
What inspires you when you write music? Which bands / musicians influenced you?
I have a very large amount of influences, though my top artists are: Nighwish, Vangelis, Dream Theater, Muse, Vivaldi and Dimmu Borgir. I'm inspired by my faith, I really like the book of Revelation in the bible because it portrays the shear greatness of God, I try to portray this in music, though I don't want to make preachy music. Nature is also a key influence, I love mountains and beautiful landscapes as well as animals.
Day to day events inspire me, I get ideas from things people have said and done. I also get a lot of inspiration from art, art is a big part of a CD for me, that is why I do the art for Ecthirion, nobody out of the band will ever do art for us, I want our releases to express us not somebody else.
Is your vision of the world negative? Or is the dark picture you paint just an exaggeration?
No, the message isn't negative, it's a warning, things can't be covered up, if they are bad, they need to be understood and changed and yes sometimes that takes exaggeration, though in many people cases these lyrics might not be exaggerations because their situation is so bad, I try to paint a true picture of the world and express myself by doing it, my music is personal to me, I also want my music not to have any wishy washy lyrics which are to be taken lightly.
What have you planned for the rest of 2009?
I am busy recording vocalists for the new album, we have 2 main singers again, none are the same as on the EP, Things are going slowly because Dave is ill, though I can't wait till we get going again.
I plan to get the new CD Through My Eyes released by 2010, this will take a lot of work but it will be worth the wait. We have done a preproduction of all the tracks and are working of final vocals, once the vocals are done all the guitars and bass will be re-recorded to a better quality. I have also almost completed the art for the release, some can be seen on www.gabrielneale.deviantart.com .
Thanks a lot for the interview!!
Many thanks to Gabriel for taking time to answer my questions - and I can't wait to hear Through My Eyes!