banner ad
banner ad
banner ad

A Dirty Dozen with PETER KOWALSKY from ETHER COVEN – February 2020

| 9 February 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Sonically expansive, aurally depressive metal band Ether Coven release their new track, “This House Is A Tomb of Memories.” “This House Is A Tomb Of Memories” is off the band’s full-length album, Everything Is Temporary Except Suffering. Born from the ashes of vocalist/guitarist Peter Kowlasky’s (vocals and guitar) former (and occasionally still active) band, Remembering Never, Ether Coven marry the dissonant sounds of Neurosis and Swans, the sumptuous gloom of Type O Negative and the riffing of their home state’s death metal heritage. Helmed by a creative core of Kowalsky and Devin Estep (vocals, guitar), the band has spent the past three years touring clubs and DIY venues across the Eastern seaboard and Canada, performing alongside the likes of The Body, Eyehategod, Cro-Mags and Torche.”  We get vocalist / guitarist Peter to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Everything is Temporary Except Suffering is our 3rd full length record and our first official for Century Media. It was written over the span of maybe a year, as we try to stay pushing and pulling creativity in a stream instead of dedicating specific times to writing or touring or breaking, etc. We aren’t an easy pill to choke down if you are the average music listener. At the expense of sounding like a pretentious dickhead, most of the songs on the record have a deep level of sophistication in that there are huge movements within the music… and inversely there are some complete knuckle dragging fucking juggernauts on there as well. We try to keep a decent balance. The music industry caters to short attention spans and shorter records, singles, etc, and we are quite the opposite, as we have a record that clocks in at just under an hour and most of the songs come out passed the 7 minute mark. So it isn’t for everyone, and that’s reasonable. If you enjoy some layers to your metal and huge fucking riffs, welcome home.  We also have a lot of politics involved in our lyrics, which isn’t necessarily popular in metal but coming from a hardcore background, it comes with the territory. I do like do incorporate little nods to influential bands and reference our previous lines or riffs in current songs, which we did a few times on our new record. We absolutely borrowed an Earth Crisis line for a song (we wont spoil which one), and a reference to our previous record on a line in the same song. I’ve previously stolen lines from Tom Waits and Sole.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

When I was a kid the only job I remember wanting to do was Undertaking… and eventually I found music more and more appealing as it was the only constant thing in my life. I was never into sports or cars or whatever generic shit kids are into. I have older sisters that used to listen to Judas Priest and Maiden and all the big 80’s metal so my affinity for heavy music started when I was around 6. Eventually I became obsessed with everything Roadrunner related in the 90’s and knew that all I wanted was to play music in some form or fashion.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

As mentioned, Roadrunner bands from the 90’s, and then hardcore definitely catapulted that into a reality.  I was super into Life of Agony, Biohazard, Fear Factory, Type O, Machine Head and eventually got into bands like Earth Crisis, One King Down, VOD, Morning Again, Culture, Shai Hulud and from there started my own bands, which lead me to going on tour with my old band/s Remembering Never and Until The End as my first taste of being in a band and playing shows outside of the tri-county area.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

This will always be a tough question. For me personally, I would say Tom Waits, Crowbar, Earth Crisis, Howlin’ Wolf, Giant (Braveyoung), Bjork, and old Wu-Tang Clan. (rules are meant to be broken)

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Mike Patton. Faith No More has been one of my favorite bands since I was knee high to a grasshopper and he does more than extraordinary things with his voice. Easily one of the most versatile artists of our lifetime. Bjork would be a close 2nd because she has all the elements that make really fucking heartbreaking music, and that voice. 3rd would be Erykah Badu, because well… its fucking Erykah Badu and she is everything that is right with the world. and 4th would be The Weeknd for obvious reasons.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

It pulls your in different directions that not everyone feels comfortable in. We try to write angular and moving songs that can be the softest subtle sounds, into the most crushing, essentially heavy on opposite sides of the spectrum. We try to haunt or crush the room; not much in between. And thus far we’ve only been flattered with comparisons, most notably: Neurosis, Crowbar, Acid Bath, Isis, Deftones, Type O, Tragedy and other bands that fit somewhere in there. I think in these cases, it only helps as those are all bands that have influenced one or more of us.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

We are actually probably pretty boring by comparison to other bands. We leave the cooking to Devin who is a fucking god in the kitchen in his own right. My dude can make a 5 course meal out of some mustard, baking soda, and half an onion. Devin also is most likely to get the drinks started, but we only have 2 drinkers in the band, so it isn’t a huge part of band culture. We usually just talk about current events or harp on music. We’re pretty big music nerds. When we’re on tour we usually try to do touristy stuff like museums and historical landmarks and any new vegan spots we haven’t been to… I usually drag everyone to record stores and Devin usually finds the bars that have arcades so Shane and I can drink kid drinks and play video games.

8. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

As corny as it sounds, it may have been Erik Rutan, who recorded our last record. We’re all huge Morbid fans, and Devin and myself really cut our teeth on those early records when we were kids that lead us into the direction of really fucking aggressive music, so when we even got an email back from him about recording our new record our jaws dropped. Being in the studio with him was such a surreal experience because here is this death metal legend recording our record and offering insights (and beating the shit out of… I mean, playing my Rickenbacker like its never been played before)… and he’s treating us like peers. Every day in the studio was a huge learning experience but it didn’t feel like a chore or work. He was also vegan for most of the recording process after we showed him a part of Earthlings. The whole thing was just an incredible experience. We also got to hold the guitar that was on Morbid Angel’s Domination.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

We aren’t full time musicians, and all have full time jobs. I am a veterinary technician, Devin works in a trophy factory, Shane installs ventilation, and Justin is a housing administrator for differently-abled people. The best part of being a musician while we’re on tour? Absolutely the whole thing. Equal parts not having to go to a job every day, hanging out with my best friends for weeks at a time, and playing music that we all had a hand in creating live every nite to strangers. I do enjoy all the cool shit we do in between and the record stores and seeing friends all over the country, so there isn’t much of a downside for me. I miss my dog over everything else, and I enjoy the luxury of being able to work out on the regular when I’m home, but the show must go on. We appreciate our loved ones at home that can feel the affect of how taxing being away can get.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Really I enjoy any questions about music and just geeking out on music related topics. I would like to discuss more about veganism and philosophy and politics, but I imagine most interviewers steer clear of topics that may be polarizing, which is really a disservice to everyone. We can’t rely on celebrities or political leaders to discuss real matters or even give a well thought out explanation on nearly anything. I could really do without the dreaded “how did the band start” or any other equally painful generic question that has little bearing on what is happening today.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Absolutely. I would have removed myself (or others) that didn’t have the best interest of the band at heart, in this case my old(er) band, Remembering Never. There was one person in particular I would have kicked out early on that was extremely toxic to everything he touched and took advantage of any situation he could. I didn’t know quite know how to navigate things that I do now, but I’m a firm believer if you aren’t helping, you’re hurting and you’ve got to go. In my old age I’ve been able to close my circle a bit to keep out opportunists and people who only have their own best interests at heart. I pride myself on having a tight knit group of only the truest and kindest people. Not everything is meant to be forever and that is more than fine.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Probably Howlin’ Wolf or Muddy Waters, or any of that old blues stuff where they used real equipment and recording devices. Those were pure fucking sounds and they were HUGE. Etta James with that huge voice, or Little Walter distorting a harmonica, Charley Patton to see how the first recordings were made and to hear how gross that voice was in person, Billie Holiday recording Gloomy Sunday would have been some next level shit. So many huge recordings by some of the first people to put it on tape… fucking huge. Or Wu-Tang’s 36 Chambers record because those are some of the best MCs of all time, notably Ghostface, Rae, and the GZA, and created one of the most important records in the history of music.



Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

Leave a Reply

Please verify you\'re a real person: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

banner ad
banner ad